Now is time for democracy
Today, the National Day of Catalonia, we will live through a new historic day of citizen mobilisation to demand our right to decide. Thousands of Catalans will express our firm will to go to the polls on the coming November the 9th via a huge human mosaic in the heart of Barcelona. A unique and spectacular image that will display to the world our determination to vote.
For another year we will be beside our relatives, friends and neighbours; children, young people, adults and elders together. We will share positive emotions and good spirits, because everyone who is involved will be making their mark on the design of the future. Catalans with very different geographical origins, social conditions and political orientations will be brought together in a convergence of will that provokes the admiration of observers.
Far from stereotypes and divisions, we will be a unity, which is also replicated at the Catalan Parliament as two thirds of the chamber supports the future Law on Consultation Votes. The desire to decide on the political future is very strong, cross-cutting, peaceful and inclusive. According to opinion polls, eight out of ten Catalans want to vote on November the 9th.
The 10th of July 2010 was the beginning of this path. Years ago we left the protests behind in order to define the proposal together. Catalonia's political and social majority supports the 9th of November consultation vote, convinced that political dilemmas should be solved democratically. There are many of us who have built a civic movement of exceptional dimensions. In the two months running up to the 9th of November, we are in front of a historic crossroad and we reaffirm that we, as European citizens, will decide our future. Like the Scots will do on September the 18th.
2014 is, in fact, a very special year in our collective memory. We commemorate the 300 years of our defeat in the War of Succession. It was exactly on the 11th of September 1714 when the city of Barcelona fell to Felipe V, after it resisted the unthinkable. Now, 300 years later, we are the consequence of this mix of the past and the present. And together we will steer ourselves towards a better future without exclusions, with everyone who lives and works in Catalonia.
The self-determination process is a two-way movement. Is is a group of people seeking a common goal and a reflection of social transformation, because everybody wants to achieve profound changes in the political and social structures, in order to change a Catalonia that suffers a harsh and unfair reality, not only because of the economic crisis. The mobilisation of today will also show that thousands of people remain active and engaged in making this change in order to decide the future of their country.
The defenders of Catalonia's independence want to build a new European state. However, now we find ourselves in a previous stage. Since we, the pro-independence supporters, believe in democracy, on the 9th of November everybody has to express themselves through the ballot boxes on what future they want for Catalonia, both those voting 'yes' and those who oppose independence. Because it is through a consultation vote that we will be able to know whether there really is a majority of Catalans who want to freely walk their own way, with a friendly attitude towards Spain as their neighbour. Just as the Czech Republic and Slovakia are doing, for instance.
All the people who are going to be in Barcelona today, physically or in spirit – since many people will not be able to come for health, work or personal reasons- are united by the desire to build a better country. We are aware that we have a great amount of work ahead and that what we have in mind is not an easy task; challenges are manifold and complex. However, we are fully convinced that we want to face them with contrasting arguments within the framework of a democratic debate, rejecting arguments based on fear and fake promises. The law cannot be indefinitely imposed on democratic legitimacy.
Today we will fill the streets because we want to fill the ballot boxes on the 9th of November. Because the time for full democracy has come for us Catalans.
by Muriel Casals
President of Òmnium Cultural, a civil society association promoting Catalan culture and language. Òmnium Cultural is one of the organisers of the massive pro-independence rally on the 11th of September and has 42,000 members.