The Catalan Way towards independence
The Catalan National Assembly (ANC) is a wide-reaching and inclusive civil society organisation that brings together people from the right, from the left and from the centre; people of various political parties, and people who have never been involved in politics. However, they all share the same wish that Catalonia will become a new state in Europe.
Last year we organised the largest demonstration in our history and one of the biggest in Europe, which had the slogan ‘Catalonia, a new state of Europe’. It was a demonstration that showed the world our desire for freedom and our will to become an independent state. This year, we have gone a step further and organised the ‘Catalan way towards independence’, which will span - from north to south - the 400-kilometre length of our country, creating a human chain, so as to continue showing the world our desire for sovereignty and liberty.
Since 1714, Catalonia has been part of Spain, as we lost the Spanish War of Succession (1701-1715), which was fought between the Crown of Castile and the Crown of Aragon in an international conflict that involved many European states. While Castile supported Philip of Bourbon, Catalonia gave its support to Archduke Charles of Austria, because he offered guarantees to respect Catalonia’s constitutions and freedoms, as opposed to the Bourbon pretender.
For 300 years, we have had a state imposed on us as a result of a military defeat, but we have never given up our sovereignty. We have been part of a state that has economically plundered us and that has endeavoured to erase our language and identity. In spite of serious difficulties, we have been able to survive and preserve our culture.
Now, through democracy and for the first time in history, we can restore the national and civil liberties that we lost by the use of military force. We can do so because in the 21st century and within the European Union, national liberation conflicts are resolved through dialogue, reason, justice and democracy.
Catalans want to peacefully and democratically decide our future. We want our place in History as a free country. We want to exercise the right to self-determination because we are a sovereign people, as the Parliament of Catalonia recognised on the 23rd of January. We want to build a country that is fairer, more democratic, more prosperous and freer.
Why can the Scottish exercise their right to self-determination through a referendum agreed with the United Kingdom, but not the Catalans? The only reason is that the United Kingdom is a democratic state and Spain is not. It is impossible to explain - and it is even harder to justify - this grievance. The right to self-determination is a human right recognised by the United Nations Charter, and the European Union cannot allow this injustice within its borders; it cannot deny a people their own right to exist, in spite of the intolerance of the Spanish State.
by Carme Forcadell Lluís
Chairperson of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC)
Picture taken by Galdric Peñarroja