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Government Politics

Catalonia Declares Independence; Spain Approves Central Takeover Of Region (npr.org) 579

Readers share a report: Lawmakers in Catalonia have declared independence from Spain in a historic vote that prompted protests and celebration. The government in Madrid, vowing to halt any would-be secession, has authorized the Spanish prime minister to take over direct rule of the previously semi-autonomous region. The vote in the Catalan Parliament comes nearly a month after the region held a referendum on independence, over Spain's objections. The regional president then declared his support for separation from Spain but also called for talks with Madrid, in an ambiguous speech. Spain's central government, promising to crack down harshly if the declaration was real, told the region's leaders to make up their mind: Yes or no? Independence or not? Now it's final: Independence, Catalonia said.
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Catalonia Declares Independence; Spain Approves Central Takeover Of Region

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  • nasty situation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cederic ( 9623 ) on Friday October 27, 2017 @12:34PM (#55445071) Journal

    While I generally support self determination for geographic regions the law in Spain does seem to make the declaration of independence illegal.

    What I still don't understand is the heavy handed response to the referendum. Declare that it has no standing in law and ignore it; by interfering with it using unnecessary violence then refusing any dialogue the Spanish have given the Catalonians no options.

    I can only see this one getting seriously violent from here. Either that or Spain is going to need a few thousand extra prisons to keep up with the sedition charges.

    • Re:nasty situation (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 27, 2017 @12:48PM (#55445187)

      Every time a governed people declare independence it has been "illegal" by the current government's law. The US revolution was illegal according to English law, the Mexican Revolution was illegal according to Spanish law, etc. The only question is, can they defend and enforce their independence by use of martial force.

      • When the dominant nation is broke, and the independent region has economic power, all they have to do is 'general strike' and bleed the rulers.

    • by halivar ( 535827 )

      I agree with the rule of law argument, but the brutal repression of free expression served to invalidate the law and confirm the righteousness of independence. But that may be a distinctly american/puritan perspective.

      "An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law." - Dr. Martin Luther King

    • Declare that it has no standing in law and ignore it; by interfering with it using unnecessary violence then refusing any dialogue the Spanish have given the Catalonians no options.

      That isn't really feasible.

      If Spain does nothing now, eventually Catalonia will do something that Spain must respond to. I mean, Catalonia wants independence because they want something that Spain isn't giving them, right?

      Ignoring it may allow time for reconciliation, but most likely it will simply allow Catalonia to prepare its defense and seek allies.

      I have no opinion for or against Catalonian independence, but it is quite reasonable for Spain to respond with immediate and decisive military action if they

    • I don't think it's something that can be ignored, because regardless of Spains response or lack thereof, this is all looking to be heading towards a Spanish civil war. Whether the Spanish national government can head that off by deposing, arresting, and replacing Catalonian politicians is the question. If the news I've been hearing and reading about this issue is correct, the citizens of the Catalan region are divided on the issue; the question then becomes whether or not there is enough popular support for
    • Re:nasty situation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jez9999 ( 618189 ) on Friday October 27, 2017 @01:02PM (#55445345) Homepage Journal

      While I generally support self determination for geographic regions the law in Spain does seem to make the declaration of independence illegal.

      Could someone explain this one to me? So you support independence unless the mother country passes a law declaring it illegal lol. Not exactly difficult for the mother country to do that, is it? In fact almost all countries have laws against secession. The Scottish referendum was an oddity (and frankly I still don't know why Cameron even allowed it).

      • IIRC, the UK and Scotland agreed there would be a vote and that recent referendum was that agreement being upheld thereby making any successful vote of independence legal. Scotland joined under the assumption that such a vote would happen just as the UK agreed they would accept the results of such a vote.

        As opposed to having no legal framework or agreement that would "allow" a vote of independence as in the case of Spain.

    • You are kidding right? Of course it is "illegal". Who cares if it is "illegal" or not. The US didn't in 1776!
    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      The usual cave-men are at work here, believing that violence will solve all of their problems. The actual truth is that Spain is economically in much worse shape than Catalonia and was content to just leave it at that. The Catalonians obviously were fed up with this state of affairs. This also means that if Spain now takes over by force in Catalonia, they will be massively hurting themselves. But it takes two brain-cells to rub together to see that, and the cave-men in power do not have those. All they need

    • Declare that it has no standing in law and ignore it

      Ignoring a self declared independent region when they have ignored the high court's ruling of their actions against the constitution of the land is not likely to make the situation better.

      Either that or Spain is going to need a few thousand extra prisons to keep up with the sedition charges.

      Other than a handful of people who assaulted police officers the only arrests have been members of parliament. The bitching about citizens is something that you CAN ignore.

    • by pjt33 ( 739471 )

      What I still don't understand is the heavy handed response to the referendum. Declare that it has no standing in law and ignore it

      That's what they did last time, in 2014, and you can see how well it worked then.

      That aside, one of the main functions of a government is to maintain the rule of law. To repeatedly sit back and allow people (and elected officials, at that) to openly defy the highest court in the country when they have pre-notification of the date and method of their defiance would be a tremendous

  • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Friday October 27, 2017 @12:36PM (#55445091)

    We kind of have some experience with this in Canada... the problem will be the separatists who want full autonomy (fine) will not care if they drag non-separatists with them (not fine), and likely won't even respect the concept of parts of their region separating from them to stay with Spain (also not fine).

    Spain kind of has a responsibility to the citizens of the region who DON'T want to go (even if there's only one of them, because they don't have a lot of responsibility for those who are at least technically traitors due to acts of sedition).

    And if you magically get all that sorted out, there's still the endless bickering over how to divide up Spain - borders, debt share, citizenship rights, trade agreements, government pensions... every single item on the list (including bajillions of items I've likely overlooked) has the potential to bring the two sides to civil war.

    • > Spain kind of has a responsibility to the citizens of the region who DON'T want to go

      Good point.

      > they don't have a lot of responsibility for those who are at least technically traitors

      It seems to me traitors support the enemy. Separately isn't treason, I don't think. If during World World II some people in California were trying to have California join the Axis, acting in unlawful ways to make that happen, they would be traitors. I don't know that voting to separate into two friendly nations is

    • If the separatists outnumber the non-separatists, then that's just democracy at work; the minority get out voted and have to suck it up or leave. That happens in election. When nations separate amicably, they can negotiate for a deal that compensates the non-separatists in some way (often a land swap). But that requires a willingness to negotiate in good faith.

      This is something that all modern countries are going to have to come to grips with. It's unreasonable to expect that the borders drawn up in 1945

      • by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Friday October 27, 2017 @01:00PM (#55445321)

        How big does a border region have to be to have it's own vote?

        e.g. If CA left the USA, the north coast, the central valley and Sierra would leave CA and (some parts) rejoin the USA. Perhaps also SanDiego.

        • It's funny you mention that, because as much as I think subdividing a modern nation is a far worse idea than trying to fix its internal divisions... I'm starting to think that maybe the US states would be happier if they were organized into two or three different entities instead of all under the same federal government. There's about 30% of the nation that can't reconcile its politics with the other 70%.

      • >the minority get out voted and have to suck it up or leave.

        People really don't like becoming Displaced Persons. Ultimately this comes down to how willing people are to use force.

        >that requires a willingness to negotiate in good faith.

        Usually they believe they are, but ALSO usually both sides have issues on which they are inflexible, and they're seldom issues the other side is willing to make concessions on.

        >This is something that all modern countries are going to have to come to grips with.

        As the

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          As the city-state died, we're seeing the nation-state dying in favour of larger political entities.

          The trend is clearly in the opposite direction The 20th century was the death of large empires. First it was the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires that failed. Then the British, Dutch and French Colonial empires. India partitioned. The Soviet Union collapsed. Yugoslavia fell apart.

          The most prosperous countries in the world today are either small countries (like the Nordic states) or actual city states

  • by plover ( 150551 ) on Friday October 27, 2017 @12:41PM (#55445133) Homepage Journal

    Is this "Spexit" or "Cexit"?

  • So these little breakaway regions would likely still depend on the EU, right? Between stuff like this and the UK/Scotland thing, are we witnessing the breakdown of the 'old' nations of the EU as they dissolve into something more like states are in the United States? The US federal government relative to the states is more powerful than the EU relative to its countries in my understanding, but if Spain breaks up then its constituent nations no longer form a voting bloc and are less powerful in swinging the
    • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

      Except that all the far lefties who lead these "independence" movements want to immediately join up with the EU, thereby forfeiting their independence to Brussels. It's a bad joke.

      • Maybe they don't care so much about some sort of chest-thumping independence, but just that they want local control of local issues and think Spain doesn't respect that enough? Perhaps Brussels executes its authority differently than Madrid?

  • by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Friday October 27, 2017 @12:54PM (#55445255)
    Many of the driving forces involved were the same ones that started the Civil War in 1936. Just without the fascists this time.
  • This is an excellent example of why to avoid and diffuse geographic income concentration. When a high concentration of wealthy workers are gathered into one region, they'll soon want to secede so that they can live in a country free of poor people. The super-rich have options like Monaco, St. Bart's, and ships like The World and Utopia, but wealthy workers can't afford these so they go for secession.

    You see similar secessionist urges coming from Silicon Valley for the same reason. No word on what they plan to do with their large homeless population though, perhaps they'd make it a law of their new country that anyone below a certain net worth would be exiled? No word on who will clean the toilets etc. either. Maybe they'll have very loose immigrant labor policies so that people can commute across the border?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 27, 2017 @02:31PM (#55446297)

      Apart from the fact that they were a nation of their own once, have a separate cultural identity and language that was suppressed via fascist dictatorship, your correct, it's just a group of rich people gathering together to screw the poor.

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