Misc 10/11/2014

9N vote: Catalonia sends last warning with massive, civic turnout

2 min

The 9N consultation can only be described as a resounding success, for the massive participation achieved and for the behavior of those who turned out to vote: civic-minded, impeccable, respectful behavior --indeed, with practically no incidents-- from the citizens. It is a powerful lesson: you can't deprive the people of their dreams and plans, and even less of their own voice and rights. But it's something else, too. It is a very serious political warning from Catalan society to the Spanish government. A warning that, if not heeded, will surely be the last.

If the reaction from Madrid is to ignore the cry of the people and to keep the doors shut to a negotiated solution that would allow for the essential exercise of the right to self-determination, it will push this country to turn the page once and for all. Can they continue to undervalue more than two million votes? Can they continue denying such a solid and persistent political reality? There have now been many consecutive, massive demonstrations, many expressions of determination, civil behavior, and plans for a better country. Each new "no" from Madrid reinforces the will of the Catalan people to decide their own political future, and weakens the ability of the State to reach agreements with Catalonia like those agreed to --with absolute normality-- in Scotland's case.

If anyone still doubted, yesterday's vote is proof that Catalan society will not do an about-face. The process towards the right to self-determination has passed another test, has taken a decisive step. It is irreversible. Yesterday's consultation, despite its limitations and prior intimidations, was not a collective act of disobedience but, rather, a conscious act of democratic obedience to the Catalan government, of participation and popular commitment-- for many, of emotion and hope. And it was all this despite the initial split within the pro-sovereignty bloc, and despite the direct opposition of the State.

Catalonia has emerged from this consultation strengthened and cohesive, without exclusions. Democracy, the act of voting, is never divisive. The blindness that Spanish president Mariano Rajoy has shown up to now, with some cooperation from Pedro Sánchez, leader of the PSOE, contrasts with a Catalonia that is maturing quickly in its conviction that it must turn the page by having recourse to the legal verdict of the ballot.