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Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Sovereignty
 303054866X, 9783030548667

Table of contents :
Preface
Contents
Notes on Contributors
List of Figures
Part I Introduction
1 The Catalan Way to Independence and the Spanish–Catalan Conflict
Tracing the Roots of Catalan Nationalism
The Changing Political Climate
Popular and National Sovereignty
Internationalizing Catalan Independence
Structure of the Book
References
Part II Understanding Sovereignty and its People
2 The Independence Procés in Catalonia: The Triple Spanish Crisis and an Unresolved Question of Sovereignty
Background of the Procés
Consolidating the Autonomous Model
Politicisation of the Autonomous Model: The Crisis
The Events of the Rupture: The TC’s Ruling and CiU’s Strategy
The Procés: An Intense Five Years
Five Years of Social, Political and Institutional Protest
2012–2015: CiU Government, 9 November, and Plebiscites
2015–2017: JxSí Government, 1 October, and the Declaration of Independence
Electoral Realignment and Transformations of the Party System
Social and Cultural Changes: The Impact on the Political Culture
Post-Procés: Impasse of Weaknesses
Conclusion: Managing (Post-)Conflict
References
3 Banal Populism: Nationalism and Everyday Victimhood in the Spanish–Catalan Clash
When Nationalism Meets Populism
Exploring Affective Narratives
Banal Populism in Catalonia and Spain
Reiterating the Humiliated Nation
Shaping the People-as-Nation: Victimhood and Action
Conclusion
References
4 Discussing Ethnos, Polis, Demos and Cives in the Context of Spanish Politics
The Spanish Constitutional System and the State Administration
Some Basic Data About Catalonia
A Short Story of How the Crisis Was Cooked
Eros and Thanatos of Ethnos: Spanish and Catalan Nationalisms
Demos: Metonymies of Democracy and Rule of Law
Sovereignty and Democracy
And What About Cives?
Conclusion
References
Part III Understanding Collective Identities and Actions
5 Moving Towards the Future, Returning to the Past: Catalan Collective Memories in Times of Unstable Hegemony
The Politics of Memory and National Identity
1-O as Crisis Event
The War of Spanish Succession
The Death of Luís Campanys and the Fight Between Law and Legitimacy
The Return of Josep Tarradellas
Conclusion
References
6 Repression and Democracy Amidst the Eventful 1-O Referendum
The 1-O as a Transformative Event
Organizational Transformations
1-O Referendum and Action Repertoires
Shifting Frames for Mobilization?
Conclusion
References
7 Quixote in Catalonia
Narrative Confusions
Poetry of the Past, Prose of the Present
Constitutional Contradictions
Organic Crisis and the Discourse of Sovereignty
The Solution to All Our Problems
The Anti-capitalist Right, the Pro-austeritary Left
A Contradictory Majority
Quixote in Barcelona
References
Part IV Understanding Internationalisation
8 Catalan Independence as an ‘Internal Affair’? Europeanization and Secession After the 2017 Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Catalonia
Europeanization and Secession
Bottom up Vertical Europeanisation: Lobbying for and Against Independence in Europe
Top-Down Vertical Europeanization: International Mediation or an Internal Spanish Affair?
Horizontal Europeanization and Strategic ‘Uses of Europe’ in Discourse
Political Opportunity Structures Revisited: The Fight for Authoritative International Endorsement of Political Claims
Conclusion
References
9 Someone Else’s Crisis? UK Press Coverage of the Failed 2017 Catalan Declaration of Independence
Narrative Structures and Strategies: Conflict, Personalisation, Internationalisation and Domestication
Illegality and Illegitimacy of the Referendum
The Narrative Portrayal of the Nationalist Camp: Reality Versus Fiction
Division Versus Unity
The War of Words: Empty, Bogus, Provocative Claims
The Anti-independence Camp: Errors of Judgement
The Cautionary Tone
The Half-Way House, Meandering Position
Refereeing the Blame Game: The Guardian/Observer
Shifting the Blame Game: The Telegraph
Conclusion: The “Domestication” of the Catalan Issue
References
10 The Catalan Issue from a Comparative Constitutional Perspective
The Legal Nature of the Instruments Adopted by Catalan Institutions
Is a Referendum on Secession Compatible with the Spanish Constitutional Framework?
Veneto, Bavaria, Canada and Scotland … Are They Comparable Cases?
Veneto and Bavaria Within Two ‘Closed Systems’
Quebec and Scotland Within Two ‘Flexible Systems’
Conclusion
References
Part V Conclusion
11 Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Sovereignty
Ruler Sovereignty and Political Sovereignty
People’s Sovereignty
Shared Sovereignty
External Sovereignty
Sovereignty and State of Emergency
References
Index

Citation preview

Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Sovereignty Edited by Óscar García Agustín

Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Sovereignty

Óscar García Agustín Editor

Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Sovereignty

Editor Óscar García Agustín Department of Culture and Learning Aalborg University Aalborg, Denmark

ISBN 978-3-030-54866-7 ISBN 978-3-030-54867-4 (eBook) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54867-4 © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG, part of Springer Nature 2021 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Cover credit: Jordi Boixareu/Alamy Stock Photo This Palgrave Macmillan imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland

Preface

The Catalan mobilizations and referendum on 1-O 2017 is clearly one of those moments where it is inevitable, for someone working in the field of political and social sciences, to address the developments from an academic angle with the urgency of being involved in the debates on the events as well as the need for slower analytical reflections. Shortly after 1 October 2017, the idea of organizing an open discussion in our local setting on the situation in Catalonia emerged. Ignacio Brescó and I organized a talk at Aalborg University (Denmark) with a massive response from students and colleagues, eager to understand what was going on. Later, my colleague Malayna Raftopoulos and I travelled to Barcelona to follow the evolution of the political conjuncture closer. We continued working on and analysing the Catalan issue and, among other things, we organized a seminar with international scholars from different disciplines, presenting their analysis on the conflict between Spain and Catalonia. The disciplines of the participants as well as their positions on the issue differed; however, the discussion immediately showed how rich exchange and open dialogue are. This stands in total contrast to what we have witnessed in the political arena. The collective academic production of knowledge is a dialogic process that contributes to shed light on political phenomena as well as a constructive way of thinking of politics and contribute, although modestly, to the public debate. As one of the outcomes of that initial seminar, this book reflects the spirit of a deliberative and analytical approach to the Catalan issues which proves the value v

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of diversity and dialogue as drivers for academic debates on politics. The volume aims not only to highlight some of the problems (which indeed exist) but also to reflect on what might be satisfactory solutions. I would like to thank all the contributors for their commitment and willingness to address the Catalan issue with the conviction that complex situations require complex reflections. Aalborg, Denmark

Óscar García Agustín

Contents

Part I Introduction 1

The Catalan Way to Independence and the Spanish–Catalan Conflict Óscar García Agustín and Malayna Raftopoulos

3

Part II Understanding Sovereignty and its People 2

3

4

The Independence Procés in Catalonia: The Triple Spanish Crisis and an Unresolved Question of Sovereignty Gemma Ubasart-González

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Banal Populism: Nationalism and Everyday Victimhood in the Spanish–Catalan Clash Paolo Cossarini

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Discussing Ethnos, Polis, Demos and Cives in the Context of Spanish Politics Ignacio Brescó de Luna and Alberto Rosa

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CONTENTS

Part III

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6

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Moving Towards the Future, Returning to the Past: Catalan Collective Memories in Times of Unstable Hegemony Óscar García Agustín and Malayna Raftopoulos Repression and Democracy Amidst the Eventful 1-O Referendum Donatella della Porta, Hans Jonas Gunzelmann, and Martín Portos Quixote in Catalonia Bue Rübner Hansen

Part IV 8

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Someone Else’s Crisis? UK Press Coverage of the Failed 2017 Catalan Declaration of Independence Fernando León-Solís and Hugh O’Donnell The Catalan Issue from a Comparative Constitutional Perspective Sabrina Ragone and Gabriel Moreno González

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Conclusion

Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Sovereignty Óscar García Agustín

Index

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Understanding Internationalisation

Catalan Independence as an ‘Internal Affair’? Europeanization and Secession After the 2017 Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Catalonia Angela K. Bourne

Part V 11

Understanding Collective Identities and Actions

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Notes on Contributors

Óscar García Agustín is an Associate Professor in the Department of Culture and Learning at Aalborg University, Denmark. He is Head of the DEMOS (Democracy, Migration and Movements) research group. His main research areas are populism, democracy and critical theory, social movements and migration. He is PI of the project ‘Geographies of Populism in Europe: Imagination, people and places’ (2020–2023) funded by the Danish Research Council. With Christian Ydesen he has coedited the book Post-Crisis Perspectives: The Common and its Powers (Peter Lang, 2013), and with Martin Bak Jørgensen he has co-edited Politics of Dissent (Peter Lang, 2015) and Solidarity without Borders: Gramscian Perspectives on Migration and Civil Society (Pluto Press, 2016). Together with Marco Briziarelli he has co-edited Podemos and the New Political Cycle. Left-Wing Populism and Anti-Establishment Politics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). He is author of Sociology of Discourse: From Institutions to Social Change (John Benjamins, 2015), Left-Wing Populism. The politics of the People (Emerald, 2020) and co-author together with Martin Bak Jørgensen of Solidarity and the ‘Refugee Crisis’ in Europe (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). Angela K. Bourne is a Professor MSO at the Institute for Social Science and Business at Roskilde University. She teaches and researches on EU politics, including theories of European integration, regionalism, social movements and Euroscepticism and on comparative European politics themes, particularly the responses of democratic states to political ix

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extremism. Publications include Democratic Dilemmas: Why Democracies Ban Political Parties (Routledge, 2018); European Social Movements and the Transnationalisation of Public Spheres (editor, 2018 Routledge); The European Union and the Accommodation of Basque Difference in Spain (Manchester University Press, 2008), The EU and Territorial Politics Within Member States: Conflict or Co-operation? (editor, Brill, 2004) and European Union Studies (editor with Michelle Cini, Palgrave, 2006) as well as articles in European Journal of Political Research, Journal of Civil Society, Journal of Common Market Studies, Democratization and Comparative European Politics, among others. Ignacio Brescó de Luna is an Associate Professor at the Department of Communication and Psychology, Aalborg University (Denmark). He is member of the Niels Bohr Center for Cultural Psychology and the Culture of Grief Centre. He received a Ph.D. at the Autonomous University of Madrid, where he worked as an associate professor until 2014. His research topics revolve around collective memory, national identity, the teaching of history and the narrative mediation of remembering. Among his recent books are: The Psychology of Imagination: History, Theory and New Research Horizons, with Brady Wagoner and Sarah H. Awad (Info Age, 2017) and The Road to Actualized Democracy: A Psychological Exploration, with Brady Wagoner and Vlad Gl˘aveanu (Info Age, 2018). Paolo Cossarini is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of International Studies at the University of Trento, Italy. He previously taught Politics and International Relations at Loughborough University, UK. He has held visiting positions at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, Queen Mary University of London, and has been a member of the research project ‘The political consequences of the economic crisis’, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Education. His research focuses on democratic theory and populism, Spanish politics and nationalism, and the role of emotions in protest movements and political communication, as well as border and migration studies. He has published in Global Discourse, European Political Science, and Revista de Estudios Políticos, among other journals. He’s co-editor (with Fernando Vallespín) of Populism and passions. Democratic legitimacy after austerity (Routledge). Gabriel Moreno González is an Assistant Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Extremadura. Ph.D. in Law Cum Laude by the

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University of Valencia, with International Mention; Higher Secondary Education Special Graduation Award, Special Graduation Award by the University of Extremadura, Best Student National Award, Master in Constitutional Law at the Centre of Political and Constitutional Studies, with research stays in UNAM (México), University of Sussex (England), Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (Germany) and the Federal University of Recife (Brasil). He recently published La democracia humanista (Athenaica, 2020). Hans Jonas Gunzelmann is a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science and Sociology at the Scuola Normale Superiore (SNS) in Florence, Italy, working on a dissertation about organizing in the Catalan independence movement. His research addresses the question of how organizational practices, processes and structures in social movements change during phases of intense contention by looking at the 2017 referendum in Catalonia. Jonas has been a visiting researcher at the University of Barcelona and the University of Gothenburg. Before his doctoral research, he studied Political Science in Marburg, Madrid and Madison (Wisconsin). Bue Rübner Hansen is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Aarhus University with the project ‘Emergent ideas of the good life in Common’ where he explores the municipalist movement, which emerged in Spain in recent years, with particular focus on Barcelona. He holds a Ph.D. in Businesses and Management from Queen Mary University. He is editor of Viewpoint magazine, and writes about political theory, philosophy, social movements and political economy. Hugh O’Donnell has research experience in the cross-cultural analysis of popular cultural products. His main area of interest is Western Europe, though on occasions he also includes North America, Latin America and Russia. He has been a Visiting Professor in Argentina, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain and the United States (Tennessee and Pennsylvania). He has also given invited papers at conferences in Bhutan, Germany, Norway, Russia, Spain and Taiwan, as well as the UK. Donatella della Porta is a Professor of Political Science, Dean of the Institute for Humanities and the Social Sciences and Director of the Ph.D. programme in Political Science and Sociology at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence, where she also leads the Center on Social Movement Studies (COSMOS). Among the main topics of her research:

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social movements, political violence, terrorism, corruption, the police and protest policing. She has directed a major ERC project Mobilizing for Democracy, on civil society participation in democratization processes in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. In 2011, she was the recipient of the Mattei Dogan Prize for distinguished achievements in the field of political sociology. She is Honorary Doctor of the universities of Lausanne, Bucharest and Goteborg. She is the author of more than 130 journal articles, 130 contributions in edited volumes and 85 books, among which Solidarity Mobilizations in the ‘Refugee Crisis’: Contentious Moves (editor; Palgrave, 2018); Movement Parties in Times of Austerity (with J. Fernández, H. Kouki & L. Mosca; Polity, 2017), Where did the Revolution go? (Cambridge University Press, 2016); The Oxford Handbook of Social Movements (editor, with M. Diani; Oxford University Press, 2016); Social Movements in Times of Austerity (Polity, 2015), Methodological Practices in Social Movement Research (editor; Oxford University Press, 2014). Citations Google Scholar (April 2018): 27,302; h-index 77; i10–index 252. Martín Portos is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre on Social Movements (COSMOS), Scuola Normale Superiore (Florence). He completed a Ph.D. in Political and Social Sciences at the European University Institute in February 2017, with a thesis focused on anti-austerity protests in Southern Europe. His research interests include political participation, social movements, democratic attitudes, institutions and nationalism. Martín holds a BA (Hons) in Political Science from the University of Santiago de Compostela (Regional and National Award for Excellence in Academic Performance, 2011), a MSc Politics Research from the University of Oxford and a MRes from the EUI. He has participated in different international projects and has been awarded grants and fellowships from institutions such as Fundación Caja Madrid, Linares Rivas– Oxford University, Banc Sabadell and Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas. His contributions have featured in different peer-reviewed journals such as Mobilization, Acta Politica, and Regional Studies, and has coauthored the monograph Social Movements and Referendums from Below: Direct Democracy in the Neoliberal Crisis (with D. della Porta et al.; Policy Press/Bristol University Press, 2017). Malayna Raftopoulos holds a Ph.D. in Latin American studies from the University of Liverpool. She is an Associate Professor in Development Studies and International Relations/Latin American Studies at

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Aalborg University. She is also an associate research fellow at the Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London, the Human Rights Consortium, University of London, and the Centro Latino Americano de Ecología Social, Uruguay. Her research interests focus on environmental governance, climate change mitigation and adaptation, extractivism and natural resource development and human rights. Her publications include; Provincialising Nature: Multidisciplinary Approaches to the Politics of Nature in Latin America (ILAS, University of London Press); Natural Resource Development and Human Rights in Latin America: State and Non-state Actors in the Promotion and Opposition to Extractivism Activities (HRC, University of London Press); and SocialEnvironmental Conflicts, Extractivism and Human Rights in Latin America (Routledge). Sabrina Ragone is an Associate Professor of comparative public law at the University of Bologna and a senior research affiliate of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg (MPIL). Previously, she was a research fellow at the MPIL, at the Centre for Political and Constitutional Studies in Madrid and at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. She has held positions as a researcher, lecturer and visiting professor in several academic institutions in France, Germany, Italy and Spain, as well as Latin America and the United States. She has published extensively on comparative law methodology and substance, with respect to territorial organization, constitutional adjudication and supranational integration. Among her most recent publications, the book Parlamentarismos y crisis económica: afectación de los encajes constitucionales en Italia y España [Parliamentary Systems and Economic Crisis: Changes to Constitutional Arrangements in Italy and Spain], Bosch, 2020. Alberto Rosa is a retired professor of Psychology at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, where he lectured on History of Psychology and Cultural Psychology. He has also carried out research on developmental psychology of the physically challenged and on the influence of culture in the shaping of identity and citizenship. He is currently interested in the semiotic analysis of action and experience as mediated by cultural artefacts. Fernando León-Solís is a Senior Lecturer in Spanish and Head of Languages at the University of the West of Scotland. His academic interest and publications concern media representations of national identity and

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politics in Spain. His latest research output is a co-authored chapter for the Scotland’s Referendum and the Media: National and International Perspectives (Edinburgh University Press, 2016). Gemma Ubasart-González is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Vice-Dean of the Law School at the University of Girona in Spain. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Autonomous University of Barcelona and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Autonomous University of Madrid. She has also been a visiting scholar at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the Università di Padova, the University of Ottawa, the Institut d’études politiques de París and the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales-Ecuador. Her research interests revolve around Spanish and Catalan politics, social movements and political conflict, the welfare state and public policies. Her work has been published in various peer-reviewed journals such as Crime, Law and Social Change; Revista de Estudios Politicos; Social Compass; Política y Gobierno; ACME: An International e-Journal for Critical Geographies; Iconos—Revista de Ciencias Sociales, among others.

List of Figures

Fig. 3.1 Fig. 3.2

Fig. 4.1

CUP manifesto for the 2017 referendum (Source www.cup.cat) Vox banner against pro-independence politicians (here Carles Puigdemont) (Source https://www.facebook.com/vox.espana) Responses to the question: “Catalonia should be …” Survey conducted in Catalonia by the Generalitat’s official research body Centre d’Estudis d’Opinió (2019) between July 2006 and March 2019 (Source Centre d’Estudis d’Opinió 2019)

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PART I

Introduction

CHAPTER 1

The Catalan Way to Independence and the Spanish–Catalan Conflict

Óscar García Agustín and Malayna Raftopoulos

12 February 2019 represents a new important moment of tension between Catalonia and Spain, preceded and followed by hectic political activities. Twelve separatist leaders went on trial in Spain’s high court, charged for their involvement in the organization of the independence referendum held on the 1 October 2017 and the posterior unilateral declaration of independence. The twelve defendants were accused of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds (Jones 2019). Earlier in February 2019, 45,000 people demonstrated in Madrid against any kind of dialogue between the Spanish government, led by Pedro Sánchez as president, and the Catalan regional government, and instead pushed for new elections. The mass protest supposed the union of the centreright parties, Popular Party (PP) and Ciudadanos (Cs), together with the

Ó. G. Agustín (B) Department of Culture and Learning, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark e-mail: [email protected] M. Raftopoulos Department of Politics and Society, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2021 Ó. G. Agustín (ed.), Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Sovereignty, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54867-4_1

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far-right, Vox. The leader of PP, Pablo Casado, expressed euphorically that: “Today the reconquest of the hearts of the Spaniards, who have said ‘enough’, has started”. It did not matter for the protesters that the Sanchez’ government withdrew its proposal for dialogue with the separatist parties in the days prior to the demonstrations. According to the Spanish government the requirement for a binding referendum and the right to self-determination (Hernández 2019) hindered efforts to make progresses in the dialogue. The response from the separatist parties, which were supporting Sanchez’ minority government, became evident only one day after the beginning of the trial: both the conservative PdeCat and the centre-left Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) voted against the budget. In consequence, the social-democratic government was pushed into an impossible situation if it wanted to continue in power. The solution came on 15th February when Sánchez announced fast elections, scheduled for 28 April 2019. Paradoxically, the claims in the streets for new elections were fulfilled rapidly but not (only) due to the pressure of the right-wing protesters but because of the decision of the Catalan pro-independence parties to stop their support for the the government of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government, backed by the left-wing party Podemos. Within very few days the extreme complexity of the situation of Spain and Catalonia was portrayed. Firstly, the constant judicialization of the Catalan issue. The massive protests in Catalonia, which reached their climax with the referendum of 1st October, led in their attempt to overcome the restrictions of the Spanish legislation to a reinforcement of the judicial way in which the space to discuss the Catalan independence was eliminated. The prolonged application of the article 155 of the Spanish Constitution and the imprisonment of separatist political and social leaders, as well as the forced decision of others to leave Spain, created a scenario with very few options to find political solutions. When the conservative leader Mariano Rajoy was replaced by Sánchez, the possibilities to recover trust and dialogue turned out to be quite weak. Secondly, the Catalan nationalist movement evolved towards an independence movement in which the recognition of the Catalan Republic was at the end the only feasible goal. This shift implied the expansion of the social basis supporting independence, particularly after 1st October, but also the difficulty of fitting the claim for independence with the Spanish legislation. However, the interconnectedness of Spanish and Catalan politics remains evident when Spanish nationalism has become

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strongly articulated and visible. The opposition to the Catalan independence was easily transformed into the defense of the Spanish unity. While the PP became insignificant in Catalonia, Cs was the most voted party in the Catalan regional elections of 2017 and Vox emerged as the first far-right party after the dictatorship. Although maintaining the division between left and right-wing blocs, the national issue became the main, if not the only, framework of Spanish politics. Finally, the international context plays an important role. Not far away from the Scottish referendum for independence, the Catalan separatist movement gained force in times characterized by the Brexit negotiations and the re-emergence of nationalism which frequently is mixed with populism all over the globe. International media’s suspicions of traits of Franquism in the Spanish use of force or application of restrictive legislation, the lack of European support for independence by the Catalan government or the use of the trial to reach a global audience to portrait the Spanish state as oppressor (Orihuela 2019) are clear examples of the difficulties in limiting the Catalan issue within the Spanish borders and not attend to its international dimension.

Tracing the Roots of Catalan Nationalism The roots of Catalan nationalism can be traced back to its medieval past and is founded on a historical narrative which celebrates both Catalonia at its territorial and cultural height as well as its downfall at the cusp of the modern age (Varagas 2015). Catalonia’s long history and distinct cultural history, especially in linguistic terms, has allowed Catalan nationalism to justify its demands for enhanced autonomy and later outright independence in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Until the early eighteenth century, Catalonia had enjoyed a great deal of autonomy largely due to the union of Aragon in 1137 which recognized separate political identities and its rising international prominence and powerful Mediterranean empire built on its commercial success which emerged in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries (Guibernau 2014). However, as Varagas notes, “just as other nations were becoming states the Catalan people found themselves subjugated to the accidental outcome of Castilian dynastic inheritance” (2015, p. 40). Triggered by the death of King Martin the Humane who died in 1410 without a successor, Catalonia suddenly found itself under the rule of Fernando de Antequera from the Castilian family of the Trastámara whose dynasty

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was later cemented in 1469 by the marriage of the King of Aragon, Ferdinand II, to his cousin Isabella, the Queen of Castile (Varagas 2015). The following centuries were marked by the gradual erosion of Catalonia’s traditional laws and repression. In 1621, Catalonia become caught up in the Count Duke Olivares, Felipe IV’s chief minister, Union of Arms policy which required each territory to send conscripts to the imperial army fighting the Thirty Years’ War, accumulating in 1640 in the Revolt of the Reapers which saw a full-scale Catalan uprising against a century of Castilian imposition. What would later become known as one of the first nationalist revolutions of Europe, marked an important turning point in Catalan history. The signing of the Peace if the Pyrenees in 1659 which brought the Thirty Years War to an end, saw Catalan speaking territory carved up among the French and Castillian royal rivals (Guibernau 2014; Varagas 2015). After the War of Spanish Succession, Catalonia found itself on the losing side and saw its political and cultural autonomy curbed as the Spanish crown sought a centralized model of power, dissolving Catalan political institutions and forbidding the use of the Catalan language (Dowling 2017, p. 9). From 1808 to 1939, Spain’s priority was centred on constructing a Spanish nation that could maintain internal control and democratizing its emerging liberal order. Dowling argues that Catalanism during this period “represented a bifurcation: a state project for Spain and a cultural project for Catalonia” (2017, p. 10). The late nineteenth and early twentieth century saw the emergence of political Catalanism and a number of Catalan groups, including the powerful Lliga Regionalista in 1901 which functioned as a hegemonic conservative force. Political Catalanism, centred on achieving autonomy alongside promoting Catalan political leadership in Spain and protecting its industry, “sought in its initial phase for autonomy to be a tool in the modernization of the state” (Dowling 2017, p. 60). The intensification industrialisation in Catalonia and Catalan protectivism as well as the growth of anarcho-syndicalism by Catalan organized labour who were driving the political agenda, led to increased tensions with Madrid during this period (Dowling 2017). The early years of Francoism which followed the overthrow of the Spanish Second Republic would be marked by “the systematic destruction of all that represented a societal, political or cultural challenge to the new regime” (Dowling 2017, p. 17). This included the suppression of Catalan political institutions, the banning of the Catalan language and symbols of

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Catalan identity such as the Senyera flag and the national anthem, Els Segadors. The destruction of the historical nations within Spain by the Franco regime forced members of the Generalitat , political parties and the labour movement into exile and thousands were murdered including the President of the Generalitat, Lluís Companys, who was executed in Montjuïc castle on 15 October 1940. During the final years of Francoism, the Catalans, along with the Basques, organized some of the strongest opposition movements to the regime, primarily through nonviolent tactics with the exception being the 12,000 strong maquis which operated in the Pyrenes during the 1950s (Guibernau 2014). Catalan nationalism during the Franco regime was primarily centred on resistance and restoration, both in terms of cultural resistance, which by 1968 the Catalan language and identity had survived largely intact despite high level of migration from other parts of Spain and was viewed as a political symbol, as well as democratization and the return of the regions autonomous institutions. On 7 November 1971, the clandestine Assembly of Catalonia was founded by three hundred people from a variety of political, social and professional sectors of Catalan society, and was quickly established as the most important Catalan movement since the Civil War. Catalan resistance, alongside the increasingly mobilized organized labour movement which was composed of a significant number of Spanish native speakers, cumulated in the protest of over a million people on 11 September 1977, in Barcelona, demanding the restoration of a Statute of Autonomy. As Edwards explains: The “Generalitat in exile” became the symbol of Catalan political identity and, although powerless, represented a mythical reality, a historical reminder of Catalan autonomy. It was the return of the president and the formal re-establishment of this institution that became the focus for the Catalan campaigning after Franco: to ‘re-construct the nation.’ (1999, p. 667)

The return of president of the Catalan government, Josep Tarradellas, from France in 1977 and his reappointed by Royal decree as part of the restoration of the Generalitat marked the beginning of the implementation of the “autonomy model” in Catalonia and the move away from authoritarian centralism. While, the Generalitats power was equal to that of the provincial deputation it had just replaced, the gesture was symbolic and fostered a sense of optimism that self-government could

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be possible through the autonomy regime (Edwards 1999). However, while the 1978 Spanish Constitution sought to restore democracy, recognizing the existence of the different nationalities and regions within Spain, it also revealed “the tension between defending the unity of Spain and the social pressure for the historical nationalities, laying the foundations for future conflicts over an España plural ” (Guibernau 2014, p. 12). Yet, despite these difference, the majority of Catalans voted yes for the Constitution. The Autonomy model was implemented under the new Statute of Autonomy in 1979 and while it provided the legislative framework for the restitution of Catalan political institutions, language and culture, political decentralization fell short in giving Catalonia the extended political powers it desired that would curtail the incursion of the central state (Kraus 2017). In 1980 following the first democratic Catalan election, Jordi Pujol, leader of the Convergence and Union Coalition (Convergència i Unió, CiU) was elected president of the Generalitat , reflecting the transformations Catalan society had undergone and the shift in political authority from the working to the middle class following the weakening of organized labour. Pujol’s pragmatic approach redefined Catalan nationalism, institutionalizing Catalan identity through the Generalitat and building a cultural infrastructure that allowed new social sectors to be brought into the Catalan political project. Pujol, who would remain as president until 2003, was particularly successfully in connecting with the distinct layers of Catalan society that had emerged as a result of the demographic transformations experienced in Catalonia during the Franco era, especially with Catalan speakers (Dowling 2017).

The Changing Political Climate While independence had not feature heavily on the Catalan nationalist movement’s political agenda since its inception in the late nineteenth century, the changing political landscape in Catalonia from the late 1990s saw Catalan nationalism enter a new phrase, moving away from a climate of cooperation under Pujol towards a more “hard ball” stance under the Tripartite Coalition (Levrat et al. 2017). Dowling describes the Catalan independence movement prior to the 1990s as “little more than an extra-parliamentary political culture, made up of micro-parties and intense factional disputes” (2017, p. 72). However, the revival of the ERC, which had been severely punished under the Franco regime, with the incorporation of new members from radical and pro-independence

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sectors in the late 1980s, saw the party develop a more radical nationalist agenda and a shift its territorial strategy from federalism to independence. The ERC’s challenge for the nationalist narrative resulted in the party’s municipal representation increase significantly between 1995 and 2003, contributing to the gradual decline of the CiU and its subsequent defeat during the Catalan elections in November 2003 (Dowling 2017). The installation of a new three-party coalition government, el tripartite (Tripartite), made up off the Socialist Party of Catalonia (Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya, PSC), ERC and the Initiative for Catalonia Greens (Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds, ICV) and Paqual Maragall as President of the Generalitat brought with it radical political change and a firm commitment to hold a referendum on independence before the end of 2014 (Pérez and Sanjaume 2013). The CiU, led by Artur Mas, would later regain control of the Catalan government in 2010 and push the nationalist agenda further towards independence. Serra et al. (2018), contend that the rise of secessionism in Catalonia moves beyond the tensions that have historically existed between Catalan and Spanish nationalism, and is heavily related to the triple crisis (economic, political and territorial) Spain experienced from 2007 onwards. The global financial crisis which triggered the economic recession in 2008 was acutely felt in Spain and led to the introduction of austerity measures, tightening government budgets and cuts to public spending. With unemployment tripling in five years from 8% in 2007 to 25% in 2012 (Habibur Rahman et al. 2017, p. 60) and rising levels of inequality and poverty, the exacerbated social distortions led to an increasing resentment and awareness of the Spanish governments economic policies. In particular, the financial arrangements imposed by Madrid whereby Catalonia sends more in taxes to the central government than it receives back in services or investment and the accumulating annual deficit of 8% of Catalonia’s GDP (Guibernau 2014, pp. 15–17). Economic justice was increasingly framed in a territorial sense, with the Catalan sovereign state projected as the only viable solution to restoring the Catalan economy (Dowling 2017). The political crisis can be attributed to the increasing dissatisfaction with Catalan political elites to respond to the economic crisis, the rejection of the Spanish political class and their increasing cultural and political domination in Catalonia as well as corruption scandals which engulfed parties across the political spectrum and lack of trust in institutions of representation (Dowling 2017; Della Porta et al. 2017). As Serra et al., explain, the crisis of political representation emerged from “the exhaustion of the

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consensus of the Transition and of the party-based sclerosis generated by a bipartisan system between the PP and the PSOE, which encouraged the lack of control (and, therefore, corruption) and ended up creating strong doses of apathy, especially among young people” (2018, p. 23). The crisis of legitimacy faced by the major political parties in Spain during the recession opened up the space for the emergence of alternatives (Della Porta et al. 2017). The territorial crisis unfolded out of failure of the territorial model established under the 1978 Constitution to deal adequately with demands for self-government by the Basques and the Catalans. While the model created 17 autonomous communities with their own institutions, with the exception of the Basque Country and Navarra, these entities were left without fiscal collection capacity. Despite rising discontent, José M. Aznar’s conservative PP government (1996–2004) failed to respond to Catalan demands for greater autonomy at a time when secession was not on the cards (Guibernau 2014). During Aznar’s second administration (2000–2003), Spanish nationalism, which had remerged in the mid 1990s on the basis of constitutional patriotism and national unity, became the mobilizing narrative against peripheral nationalism for the PP allowing the government to place the norms of the central state over those of those of an autonomous community (Kraus 2017) and disregard the growing discontent within the autonomous regions on the basis that they were “discriminating against a common and shared heritage of Spanishness” (Dowling 2017, p. 71). In the run up to the general election of 2004, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero announced in response to the increasing frustrations of the Catalan’s and Basques over the resurging Spanish nationalism and in an attempt to gain votes, that the autonomous regions of Spain would have the opportunity to update their status of autonomy if he was elected prime minister. Following Zapatero’s election, the Catalan government drafted and approved a proposal for reform on 30 September 2005. Despite Zapatero’s promise that he would accept the changes proposed by the Catalan government, what followed was the “trimming” down of parts of the 2006 Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia by the Spanish High Court after it had been sanctioned by the Catalan Parliament, the Spanish Congress and Senate and also the Catalan people in a referendum. Stating that 14 articles of the statute were totally or partially unconstitutional as well as ordering the reinterpretation of 30 articles, the ruling rendered the statue effectively meaningless, creating

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major political tension between Madrid and Barcelona and further alienating Catalan society. Critically, it ruled that Catalonia could not be considered a nation in either a political or legal terms, annulled the institutional process proposed by the Catalan government to create a new funding and Catalan judiciary system and also deemed that Catalan could not become the preferred public language of public administration, communication and education (Kraus and Vergés Gifra 2017). Both the Madrid government and the Catalan parliament have been able to appeal to these grievances in order to win electoral votes (Serra et al. 2018). While the economic crisis played a key role in “discrediting moderate nationalism and paving the way for the shift from pro-autonomy to proindependence in the Catalan nationalist camp” (Kraus and Vergés Gifra 2017, p. 13), it is widely recognized that “the Catalan process”, known as el procés, began with the large-scale protest on 10 July 2010 by over one million Catalans under the slogan “we are a nation, we decide” in Barcelona against the ruling on the statue by the High Court on 28 June 2010. Since 2012, the National Day of Catalonia, La Diada, has become an overtly political affair, with protests held every year including, “Catalonia, a new state of Europe” in 2012, the human chain and the “Catalan way to independence” in 2013, “V” and the vote for independence in 2014, “Free way to the Catalan Republic” in 2015, “Ready” in 2016, “Referendum is democracy” in 2017 and “Let’s Build the Catalan Republic” in 2018. Kraus argues that: From the Catalan perspective, independence become the only viable option to overcome the shortcomings of an autonomy regime that, because of the structural inertia of Spain’s institutional system, does not respond to the aspirations of a collectivity which is conceived of by many of its members as a subjugated nation. (2017, pp. 99–100)

However, the transformation of structural discontent, which increased in recent years in Catalonia because of the triple crisis, into action has been possible because of two crucial mechanism. Firstly, grievance formation and the conditions and feelings that pushes society to challenge authorities via social movements and secondly, the appropriation of opportunities and the importance of seizing and actin upon political opportunities (Della Porta et al. 2017).

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The perceived grievances of injustice, feelings of dissatisfaction, and resentment over the failure of recognition have contributed to the upsurge in pro-independence movements and the increasing polarization and radicalization of Catalan politics between two blocks: the independent and the unionist. While the Catalan political elite was initially reluctant to hold a referendum on independence, faced with continual stonewalling by Mariano Rajoy’s government, increasing grassroots mobilization for independence, particularly between September 2009 and April 2011, and the strengthening of pro-independence movements such as the Platform for the Right to Decide, (Plataforma pel Dret a Decidir, PDD) and the National Catalan Assembly (Assemblea Nacional Catalana, ANC), forced them to reassess their position. The 2015 elections, defined by the Catalan pro-independence parties as “plebiscitarian”, was a pivotal point in Catalonia’s move towards independence. While the pro-independence platform “Together for Yes” (Junts pel si), an alliance between the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya, CDC) and the ERC, the Democrats of Catalonia (Demòcrates de Catalunya, DC) and the Left Movement (Moviment d’Esquerres, MES), won the election, their failure to gain an absolute majority saw the platform forge an alliance with the Popular Unity Candidacy (Candidatura d’Unitat Popular, CUP). After years of arguing for a political solution to the question of independence, the Catalan government, led by pro-independence parties, passed the Law on the Referendum on Self-determination of Catalonia on 6 September 2017. Despite the Law being suspended and later declared void by the Spanish Supreme Court who insisted that any referendum would be illegal because it would violate Article 2 of the Constitution—the “indissoluble unity of the Spanish Nation, the common and indivisible homeland of all Spaniards”—the Catalan government went ahead with the October 1 referendum that same year and later declared independence from Spain on 27 October 2017. On the same day as the declaration, the Spanish government approved the application of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, which allowed the central government to take direct control of Catalan affairs and dismiss the then president of the Catalan parliament Carles Puigdemont and his government. In its push for a referendum on independence, the pro-independence block has constructed a political framework based on arguments relating to democratic values, collective emancipation and social justice. During the parliamentary term 2012–2015, institutional strategies were directed

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towards delivering the “right to decide” promise and developing an institutional roadmap on a future Catalan sovereignty (Sanjuame-Calvet and Pérez Lozano 2016). Stonewalling by the Spanish authorities over a vote on independence provided Catalan nationalist with an opportunity for the framing around its struggle for sovereignty to evolve from the right to decide their political future to outright independence (della Porta et al. 2017). The call for a referendum on the Catalan independence and the complete rejection from the Spanish government to allow for such a referendum fixed two irreconcilable positions: the desire of a new (Catalan) nation state and the desire of maintaining the unity of the existing (Spanish) nation state. The application of Article 155 and the then President Mariano Rajoy’s decision to call a snap election to quash the efforts of separatists following the unilateral declaration of Catalan independence in the regional parliament on 27 October 2017, backfired spectacularly. Pro-independence parties returned with a majority following the Catalan regional parliament elections held on 21 December 2017, sparking the biggest political crisis since democracy was returned in Spain in 1975. Defying predictions of a hung parliament, the secessionist parties secured an absolute majority of 70 seats out of a possible 135 and 47.5% of the popular vote. Whereas the union block only secured 57 seats and 43.4% of the vote, although the anti-separatist party Ciudadanos led by Ines Arrimadas succeeded in winning the largest number of seats, dealing a severe blow to the Spanish government and highlighting how polarized Catalan society has become with voters seemingly entrenched on one side or the other. The PP dropped from eleven to just three seats in the regional chamber, all but wiping out the party in the region. Rajoy’s bold move not only aimed to put the unionists in power but also wipe the idea of Catalan independence from the political agenda. Shortly after the declaration of independence, Puigdemont fled to Brussels in a self-imposed exile. Meanwhile, on 2 November 2017 the Spanish High Court ordered the arrest of nine members of the deposed Catalan government, including Oriol Junqueras (ERC) the former deputy leader of the Catalan government, who still remain in prison to date awaiting trial on charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds. Tension were once again reignited in March 2018 following the issuing of international arrest warrants for six other Catalan politicians, including Puigdemont, who had fled abroad (Scotland, Belgium and Switzerland) to avoid prosecution in Spain. The exiled leader was detained on a

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European arrest warrant by German police while attempting to cross the border from Germany into Denmark on his way back to Belgium from Finland and later released. Germany’s refusal to extradite Puigdemont demonstrated the difficulty Spain has faced in trying to persuade other countries in the European Union to assist the Spanish government in bringing former members of the Catalonia’s regional government to trail. Backed into a corner, Spain’s Supreme Court dropped the European arrest warrant against all the Catalan pro-independence leaders living abroad. However, while the Spanish government was unsuccessful in bringing Puigdemont back to Spain, it was successful in pressuring the Catalan government to put forward a “clean candidate” for the presidency of the Generalitat , forcing him to abandon his attempt to return to office and stepped aside. Puigdemont’s first-choice for the presidency, Jordi Sànchez from the Together for Catalonia (JxCat) party and the former leader of the influential grassroots Catalan National Assembly (ANC), was also forced to drop his bid to leave the parliament following Spain’s Supreme Court refusal to free him from Prison to attend an investiture ceremony. Following talks to find a new candidate to lead the government, Quim Torra was sworn in as the 131st president of Catalonia in May 2018, ending nearly six months of political paralysis. Addressing the parliament following his election, Torra pledged to continue to “implement the mandate from the October referendum” and “build an independent state in the form of a republic”. Unionist leader, Ines Arrimadas of the antiindependence Ciudadanos party, was quick to respond calling Mr Torra a “puppet for Puigdemont”. Despite the change in leadership Madrid, the relationship between the Spanish government and Catalonia remains tense and at an impasse. Following the historic no-confidence motion against Rajoy, the PP administration was replaced by a fragile Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) government, backed by the Catalan and Basque nationalists and also Podemos. Immediately after his swearing in as prime minister, Pedro Sánchez called for talks with Torra and promised to revisit the forty-five demands previously presented to Madrid by the Catalans, signalling a thaw in relations and a move towards the normalization of relations. Although Sánchez’s party defends Spanish unity, and does not support a referendum, it is open to increasing the autonomy of Catalonia. However, the conflict remains polarized, despite internal tensions within the two blocs, and an immediate solution based on dialogue does not seem possible at this moment.

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Popular and National Sovereignty In times of uncertainty about the real capacities of state sovereignty due to globalization and increasing financial and economic transnational influence and because of an ongoing debate about the meaning and implications of sovereignty nowadays, the claim for Catalan independence has implied the return of sovereignty as a core political issue. However, considerations regarding the challenges faced by nation states are not generally part of the political debate. Instead, sovereignty is disputed in order to gain legitimacy. Briefly summarized, the Spanish side sustains the predominance of national sovereignty as postulated by the Constitution, while the Catalan side argues for the need for independence to match popular sovereignty. Nationalism is usually related to a nation achieving independence and likewise associated to popular sovereignty (Ichijo 2009; Yack 2001). Bernard Yack (2001) compares the nation and the people and emphasizes that they are two types of “imagined communities”, following Benedict Anderson’s concept: national community is an image of community over time and the people presents an image of community over space. The former allows for imagining a community, which is preceding and surviving the existing ones; the latter points to a community in a particular moment which is dealing with the state’s coercive authority. Atsuko Ichijo (2009) adds that sovereignty is a principle that orders power both internally, as ultimate power over the territory and the people who live within it, and externally, as the right to no interference and to be treated like equals. The Catalan question has shown the complexity of sovereignty since the wish for independence, in opposition to the will of the Spanish state, reflects tensions in the relation between national and popular sovereignty; the power of the state and the power of collective identities; and the possibility of the coexistence of different national identities (the Spanish and the Catalan) or the will of people in relation to the existing constitutional framework. Referring to the crisis of the nation state, Manuel Castells (1997) affirms that people’s identity is expressed in territories which differ from the nation state territory. The flexible approach to separatism has traditionally characterized Catalan nationalism and has been considered a way of creating open and inclusive forms of national identity (Spencer and Wollman 2002). When this situation changed and the positions of the Spanish and Catalan governments became irreconcilable, the fight

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for redefining sovereignty went beyond the identitarian question. The Spanish state deployed means of coercion, but the separatist movement responded with diverse forms of resistance (Castells 2017) from continuous protests to the declaration of independence, despite their uneven results. The assumption of independence as final goal for the separatist movement entails, not surprisingly, a shift from nationalism to a new stage. Indeed, Catalan separatism makes an effort to leave nationalism behind as the essence of the movement. The claim for sovereignty offers the possibility to expand the horizons of the separatist project beyond national identity and to focus on questions of the internal (coercive) power executed by the state. Carles Puigdemont totally refused the label of “nationalism” to define the intention of creating an independent state: “We never talk in terms of nationalism, but of sovereignty. What is happening in Catalonia is not a traditional, nationalist struggle for independence. If our aim were to create a nation state, we would have tried to do so earlier. Nationalism is a danger to Europe” (in Zuber and von Rohr 2018). Although the difference between nationalism and the Catalan separatist movement, as pointed out by Puigdemont, remains unclear, he disassociates himself from nationalism as a reaction to the European Union and argues that the Catalan Republic would be compatible with the European project. In this regard, sovereignty would reflect better the separatist goal of gaining power over the territory, internally over the people living in Catalonia, and externally, in order to realign its relations with other states and institutions. Thus, sovereignty resides here only in the Catalan people, represented by the Catalan parliament, and excluding the Spanish people. The interpretation of sovereignty as only Catalan is achieved through appellations to democracy and the Catalan people. The Catalan president, Quim Torra, actually claimed in a radio interview (Onda Cero 2019) that he places democracy above any law since it reflects the will of the citizens, meaning the sovereignty of the Catalan people, which resides in the Parliament. The conceptualization of sovereignty residing in the Catalan people as the main source of power clashes with the one of the Spanish state in which sovereignty resides in the Spanish nation and people and is guaranteed by the Constitution. Opposite to Torra’s idea of democracy above law, the Spanish government argues that law assures democracy. The resolution of the Constitutional Court in 2017 (Brunet 2017) repealing the

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unilateral declaration of independence was grounded in the encroachment by the Catalan Parliament on powers inherent to sovereignty and consequently greater than those of a region. The declaration, in particular, infringed upon national sovereignty, residing in the Spanish people, and the unity of the nation. The legal impossibility of achieving independence or even of calling for a binding referendum explains the emphasis on people’s sovereignty as the only way to open up the possibility to increase self-government. The rejection of the existing institutions and legal framework is accompanied by the defense of the will of the people. Thus, the separatist movement is not only characterized by the national issue but has also been labelled populist or national-populist. The understanding of the Catalan process as populist implies that there is a diversity of positions within the movement, depending on whether the focus is placed on the national or the social issue; whether the process is led by the elites or including the popular classes; or whether it becomes more authoritative or democratic over time. In any case, the assumption of a populist form to express the demand for independence reflects how the referendum of 1st October and the unilateral declaration of independence are articulated through the predominance of popular sovereignty. The indivisibility of the national sovereignty and the application of the legal framework have so far led to a rejection of any kind of road towards independence within the Spanish nation state.

Internationalizing Catalan Independence Carles Puigdemont, the president “in exile”, and Quim Torra, the Catalan president, announced in October 2018 the Council for the Republic, a sort of parallel government, with a dual goal: to overcome the limitations experienced by the Catalan institutions and to search for “the international recognition of the right to self-determination” (RTVE.es 2018). Supported by PdCAT and ERC, the unofficial entity is linked to the “popular mandate” emerged from 1st October and open to citizens’ registration and people’s participation. Together with the internationalization of the Catalan right to independence, Puigdemont highlighted that the article 155, and in general the Spanish legislation, could not be applied to the Council since its headquarters are in Waterloo (Belgium). The symbolism of connecting Barcelona (the elected government) and

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Waterloo (the government “in exile”) is used to legitimize the Catalan process but also the figure of Puigdemont. The headquarters are indeed the house in which Puigdemont lives in Waterloo. Besides he uses his residence to give interviews to international media and tries to maintain the internationalization of the Catalan process. The Catalan leader and the MPs of Ciudadanos protested in February 2019 ten minutes in front of Puigdemont’s house in Waterloo. Arrimadas expressed that: “The Republic does not exist. We want to tell the separatists to stop opening a ‘beach bar’ like this and open the Catalan Parliament instead” (In Suanzes 2019). The protest was paradoxical: on the one hand, it aimed to reclaim the Catalan Parliament as the place to do Catalan politics, and, on the other, it took place in front of the headquarters of the Council for the Republic in Waterloo. Although Arrimadas refused to talk personally with Puigdemont, the event reflected the importance gained by the international dimension. Few days before, the Spanish government of Pedro Sánchez accused Arrimadas of internationalizing the Catalan issue. Like in this example, it is clear that the separatist struggle has played out not only within the Spanish state but also in the international arena. The constraints and impossibility in its current form to achieve independence or call for a referendum make the international arena a priority for the Catalan government in order to gain support. The referendum of 1st October provoked many concerns about the reaction of the Spanish government regarding the level of democracy such as guaranteeing the right to protest, and the excessive use of violence. The international public opinion was mainly in favour of the separatist movement and the narrative for independence. This does not mean that the media massively supports the Catalan right to independence. Actually, many newspaper editorials defended the Spanish constitutional order and the legitimacy of the government (Polo 2017). However, the sympathy for the separatist movement was widespread and the Spanish government was questioned in its actions and handling of the relation with Catalonia. The references to Francoism were common and connected the dictatorial past of Spain with its heritage in the present. Foreign Policy, for instance, used the headline “The ghost of Franco still haunts Catalonia” and claimed that the use of violence was an expression of Spanish conservatism (Encarnación 2017) and Independent included testimonies in which the repression from the Civil Guard was compared with that under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco (Vila 2017).

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The imaged projected by the Spanish government concerned the European Union too but it never became a point of disagreement regarding its position towards the Catalan independence. The Catalan government tried to get international support for independence, even before the unilateral declaration of independence. The Catalan government intensified its “foreign policy” through Catalan delegations in nine European cities, which were later shut down by the application of article 155 with the exception of the one in Brussels. The concerns about the Spanish government far from implied any kind of support for Catalan independence. None of the EU member states recognized Catalonia as independent (Pérez 2017) after the declaration and the idea of the Catalan issue as a Spanish domestic politic issue prevailed. The application of article 155 and the call for elections in December 2017 did not change the EU position either. The Catalan government did not renounce to internationalize the Catalan and Spanish conflict and pursued European mediation but the refusal of Mariano Rajoy to accept it and the EU support for the Spanish government (Juliana 2017) made it impossible. Nonetheless, the separatist movements still trust the idea of international mediation, as expressed recently by president Torra (2018) in a conference at the University of Geneva. The juridical arena has, however, been more complicated. The Catalan politicians “in exile” in different European cities have created tensions between the Spanish and the European legislation. The most prominent case is the one of Puigdemont. Already the first time when he travelled from Brussels to Copenhagen to participate in an academic event, the Spanish government issued a European arrest and extradition order without success. Most controversial was the arrest of Puigdemont in Germany. The Court in Schleswig-Holsteinisches Oberlandesgericht (2018) considered that the extradition of Puigdemont due to the accusation of “rebellion” was inadmissible and doubted the accusations of embezzlement of public funds. The German minister of Justice, Katarina Barley, supported the resolution and emphasized that Puigdemont could live in a “free country” after that. The Spanish newspaper El País (2018) called the German position “unacceptable interference” and regretted that the “populist demagogy” had gained so much support in Europe. The internationalization of the Catalan issue has thus been unavoidable, although it has different dimensions: from the international public opinion, which questioned the means deployed by the Spanish government, particularly after the referendum, to the conflicts and contradictions within the international legal system. However political order has

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remained intact so far. while the international opinion has mainly been critical towards the arbitrary use of power and the international juridical resolutions have revealed inconsistencies regarding the accusations against the separatist movement, progression towards political, Catalan independence has not been significant. Internationally, the criterium of noninterference and the consideration of the Catalan issue as Spanish and not European explain the reasons for that.

Structure of the Book This book offers an interdisciplinary analysis of the Catalan–Spanish conflict. While the referendum of 1 October 2017 is a key moment in the recent history of the conflict, the analyzes offered by the chapters of the book shed light on processes and developments both prior and posterior to the event of the referendum as well. The book is divided into three main parts in addition to the introduction and the conclusion: sovereignty and its people; collective identities and actions; and internationalization. The different contributions thus reflect the main problematics of the conflict: independence, sovereignty, nationalism and populism, in the first section; mobilisations, frames and collective memories, in the second section; and Europeanization, judicialization and comparative media and legal perspectives, in the third section. In the introductory chapter, The Catalan Way to Independence and the Spanish-Catalan Conflict, Óscar García Agustín and Malayna Raftopoulos set the frame for the analysis of the conflict. The referendum and its rejection by the Spanish government fixed two irreconcilable positions: the desire of a new (Catalan) nation state and the desire of maintaining the unity of the existing (Spanish) nation state. The declaration of independence by the Catalan government and the application of article 155 by the Spanish government (implying the imprisonment of pro-independence leaders) judicialized the issue and an almost inexistent space for political solutions was maintained. The chapter explains how the Spanish–Catalan conflict must be understood within the framework of multiple economic, political and territorial crises, some of which are specific to domestic politics whereas others are comparable to other movements and situations in the rest of Europe. The case of Catalonia shows tensions between the shaping of the will of the people and the existing judicial framework, the connections between civil society mobilisations and political actions, and between plurality (the coexistence of different nations in the

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same territory) as an alternative project and the tendency to homogeneity, characteristic of nation states. In Part II, entitled Understanding Sovereignty and its People, Gemma Ubasart-González’ chapter on The Independence Procés in Catalonia: the Triple Spanish Crisis and an Unresolved Question of Sovereignty analyzes the transformation of political actors, dynamics and discourses within the context of Catalonia’s bid for independence. The enormous demonstration of 2012 is considered to be the beginning of the Catalan independence procés . On 11 September, the Diada Nacional (National Day) of Catalonia, social organizations managed to organize a historic turnout. After this show of overwhelming public support for independence, Convergència i Unió (CiU), the longstanding coalition of the nationalist centre-right, which had regained the presidency of the region two years before, took up the independence cause. The president of the Generalitat (Catalan regional government), Artur Mas, then called for early elections with a platform focused on the independence question, leading to a process of realignment in political and electoral life. UbasartGonzález argues that the procés emerged for two reasons. The first was situational: the recentralising drift of the second Aznar government (2000–2004); the failure of the attempt to reform the Estatut d’Autonomia (Catalan Magna Carta) when the Constitutional Court declared some of its articles to be unconstitutional (2010); and the struggle for hegemony in the Catalan nationalist sphere (‘ethnic outbidding’ between the ERC (Catalan Republican Left) and CiU), among other factors. However, these issues would not have risen to their current prominence without a second more structural series of causes: in a world in turmoil, in a Europe impacted by the recent financial crisis (which was also political and cultural), in circumstances of widespread social unrest, conflicts arose where the seams were already frayed. In Spain, this involved the question of sovereignty. The chapter therefore considers these issues in order to understand the magnitude of these transformations as well as the underlying challenges. In Chapter 3, Banal Populism: Nationalism and Everyday Victimhood in the Spanish-Catalan Clash, Paolo Cossarini discusses the way in which emotions have played a role in the Spanish/Catalan crisis. Despite the growing media and scholarly attention to Catalan separatism, the literature has mostly remained in the field of nationalism studies, while little has been said from a perspective centred on populist politics. The chapter builds upon the idea of Catalan independence movement as a

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populist–nationalist project, insofar as the 2017 referendum of independence has created a fertile ground for a people-versus-elite narrative, which has progressively merged with the more established separatist discourse. Against this background, Cossarini contends that a focus on emotions is a fruitful perspective through which the nationalism-populism compound has to be studied. Borrowing from Billig’s idea of “banal flaggings”, the focus of the chapter is on a heterogeneous array of discursive performances that have been characterizing the political debate in the run up to the 2017 Catalan independence referendum and its aftermath. Through discourse and visual analysis the chapter traces features of “banal flaggings” and stresses how emotions—along with shared cultural and linguistic habits—have been linked to the down-up/antagonist narrative, which characterizes populist politics, and have contributed to the conflation with the nationalist project in Catalonia. Ignacio Brescó and Alberto Rosa set out to answer a number of key questions on the Catalan crisis in Chapter 4 (Discussing Ethnos, Polis, Demos and Cives in the Context of Spanish Politics) in light of the current crisis of nation states and the existing theories on nationalism. The point of departure is the identification of two simultaneous dynamics: on the one hand, globalization and successive waves of economic crisis are eroding nation state sovereignty and shaking the social pact upon which modern states base their legitimacy; on the other hand, nationalism is naturalized in today’s society, being a powerful symbolic tool whereby people can be emotionally mobilized whenever the nation is perceived to be at risk. As has become apparent in Europe and in Trump´s America, nationalism may cast away its banal appearance and take up xenophobic tones, advocating for ethnos (the cultural imagined community) to be the basis legitimizing polis (the state) at the expense of cives (the citizens’ rights and duties). Within this scenario, the authors ask whether the realm of affectivity can be dissociated from the rational realm of rights and duties? Can civic and political participation be decoupled from cultural and territorial dimensions of citizenship? The chapter discusses this in light of the crisis of nation states, and reflects in particular on the notions of social pact, imagined community, banal nationalism and demos in relation to the Catalan crisis. In the first chapter of Part III, Understanding Collective Identities and Actions, Óscar García Agustín and Malayna Raftopoulos address the “clash of memories”, derived from the conflict about Catalan independence (Moving Towards the Future, Returning to the Past: Catalan

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Collective Memories in Times of Unstable Hegemony). Besides becoming the peak of the conflict between the Spanish and the Catalan governments, the 1-O referendum represents a moment of hegemonic instability in the sense that counter-voices provoke the re-negotiation of power relations and their historic causes. The polarization between two blocs (unionist and pro-independence) entails a struggle for the politics of memory since memories and narratives of the past are (re)constructed and become essential within current political positions against and in favour of independence. The chapter identifies three different types of collective memories in times of unstable hegemony: the articulation of (counterhegemonic) collective memory as history of oppression and resistance; the re-articulation of the hegemonic collective memory grounded in the “Spanish consent” and the end of the Catalan silent majority; and minority polyphonic counter-memories in which an emergent third space opposes the bipolar reductionism. In Chapter 6, Repression and Democracy Amidst the Eventful 1-O Referendum, Donatella della Porta, H. Jonas Gunzelmann and Martín Portos examine the popular mobilization behind Catalonia’s bid for Independence. Over recent years, social movements formed in response to European neoliberal austerity measures have played an increasingly important role in referendums, especially in contexts where the territorial cleavage has re-intensified, such as Scotland and Catalonia. The eventful perspective on protest and mobilization processes stresses their transformative capacity. Besides the mere act of voting, the Catalan 1O referendum can be read as a massive contentious performance, a key turning point within the independentist cycle of mobilization. Drawing on social movement literature, the chapter sheds light on the eventful character of the 1-O events, and how these contributed to shape secessionist milieus. While large civil society organizations such as the National Catalan Assembly and Òmnium Cultural took the lead of mobilization, staging several mass demonstrative events since 2010, the 1-0 events represented a landmark of civil disobedience, which were followed by campaigns in solidarity with the prominent pro-independence figures in jail. The 1-O referendum had been anticipated primarily as an expression of democratic emancipation; however, narratives of police violence and state repression of democratic rights dominated in its aftermath. Importantly, given the prior evolution of key master frames from the right to decide to secession, the 1-O paved the ground for developing narratives around sovereignty. Through the comparison of prospective and

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retrospective components around the 1-O referendum, the chapter illustrates how the political event influenced organizational settings, action repertoires and frames for mobilization of pro-independence actors. Bue Rübner Hansen in Chapter 7 (Quixote in Catalonia) discusses how a space opens for the production of new ideas when old hegemonic ideas of the good life in common enter into crisis. Rübner Hansen argues that the rise of the Catalan independence movement cannot be understood outside the broader context of the crises of the welfare state, the post-dictatorship constitutional order and Europeanization. The chapter thus analyzes the emergence of the Catalan movement’s ideas of the good life in common—the republic, national sovereignty and a reaffirmed Europeanism—through three types of questions: Historically, what are the origins of the Catalan procés, and to what extent does it constitute a rupture with the history of Catalan nationalism after dictatorship? Ideationally, how can the “we” of the Catalan movement be characterized, and how does it narrate its historical mission? Contextually, how is the movement shaped by contestation with other emergent political forces and their competing collective identities, solutions, aims and narratives? Situating the movement within this complex conjuncture, the chapter shows how the response of the movement is shaped by the key problems of the period after 2008, and how answers to these challenges differ from other emergent political forces, from the movements of 2011 (the 15 M, or indignados), Podemos-Podem and Barcelona en Comú. Chapter 8, Catalan Independence as an ‘Internal Affair’? Europeanization and Secession After the 2017 Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Catalonia, introduces part IV of the book (Understanding Internationalization). In the chapter, Angela K. Bourne argues that the EU provides a complex web of opportunities and constraints for the Catalan independence movement. The EU and its member states were unwilling to support the Catalan unilateral declaration of independence and reluctant to go against the wishes of the Spanish government. Nevertheless, the increased judicialization of conflict in the post-1-O referendum phase weakened the EU and Spanish government’s argument that the Catalan independence crisis is an entirely “internal affair” for the Spanish state. In Europe, the evolution of supranational legal bodies— particularly the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)—has pluralized legal systems and created new opportunities for the Catalan independence movement to strengthen their position vis-à-vis the Spanish state. In the chapter, Bourne examines discourses and strategies mobilized

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in recent episodes of the Catalonia independence campaign in order to assess how the EU as an actor or as a political institutional context affects contemporary secessionist politics within member states. More specifically, the chapter examines the externalization strategies of the Catalan independence movement, the counteractions of the Spanish government abroad and discursive “uses of Europe”. Hugh O’Donnell and Fernando León-Solís in Chapter 9 (Someone Else’s Crisis? UK Press Coverage of the Failed 2017 Catalan Declaration of Independence) study the coverage of the Catalan crisis in the editorial columns of two of the most widely read British broadsheets, The Guardian/The Observer and The Telegraph, between September and December 2017. The analysis reveals consistent use of narrative structures as interpretative frames and, despite the differences in their general political stances, key agreements: on the illegality of the 1 October 2017 referendum; on the representation of the issue as a class between two blocs; on the characterization of pro-independence parties and their claims as unrealistic and empty; on the portrayal of the Spanish Central Government and its reaction as inept and counterproductive; on their painstaking attempt not to take sides; and on the use of the crisis to discuss internal British issues, more specifically Brexit and Scottish Nationalism. O’Donnell and León-Solis argue that narrative structures and metaphors can play a cognitive role in how complicated political processes are constructed by the media and understood by their audiences. The chapter shows that the different interpretations provided by the UK press should be seen from the perspective of “domestication” of international politics, a process that not only makes global issues easier for local audiences, but also involves the use of these international issues as a proxy for dealing with local problems. In Chapter 10, The Catalan Issue from a Comparative Constitutional Perspective, Sabrina Ragone and Gabriel Moreno González analyze the Catalan strive for independence through the prism of constitutional law of both Spain and other countries where independentist claims have also emerged over the past few years. The authors address the legal instruments adopted by Catalan institutions in order to pursue the separation from Spain and/or a popular vote on the issue, explaining from a domestic constitutional perspective the different statutes and declarations passed by the Catalan Parliament. Ragone and Moreno González focus on the reaction by the Spanish Government and, in particular, on the role allotted to the Constitutional Court in the solution of the conflicts

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between the central and the regional level. Finally, the chapter places the Catalan case in a wider context by making a comparison with essential aspects of the claims in the cases of Quebec, Scotland, Veneto and Bavaria. The conclusion, Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Sovereignty, discusses different meanings and uses of the concept of sovereignty. The 1-O and the unilateral declaration of independence questioned the Spanish state and legislation as the ultimate authority. The reaction of the Spanish state unveiled its limitation and incapacity to offer a solution by either tightening legislation or shy attempts to dialogue. Sovereignty cannot be reduced to national or state sovereignty and several meanings of sovereignty are at stake. While internal sovereignty has been challenged, external sovereignty has generally been endorsed by foreign actors, mainly the EU. As alternatives, people’s sovereignty and shared sovereignty search for other ways of governing by opposing the Spanish state, or by defending multilevel sovereignty which does not rely exclusively on the state. Finally, the conclusion addresses the most recent developments in the Spanish–Catalan conflict in relation to the implementation of the state of emergency in Spring 2020 as response to the COVID-19 pandemic which provoked new tensions within the Spanish state and showed that the crisis of sovereignty is far from being solved.

References Brunet J. M. (2017, November 8). El TC anula la DUI porque Catalunya no tiene soberanía. La Vanguardia. Retrieved from https://www.lavanguardia. com/politica/20171108/432718836677/tribunal-constitucional-anula-duideclaracion-independencia-cataluna.html. Castells, M. (1997, October 26). ¿Fin del Estado nación? El País. Retrieved from https://elpais.com/diario/1997/10/26/opinion/877816 803_850215.html. Castells, M. (2017, August 5). Catalunya: ¿patria o muerte? El País. Retrieved from https://www.lavanguardia.com/opinion/20170805/433298 02265/catalunya-patria-muerte.html. Della Porta, D., O’Connor, F., Portos, M., & Subirats Ribas, A. (2017). Social movements and referendums from below: Direct democracy in the Neoliberal crisis. UK: Polity Press. Dowling, A. (2017). The rise of Catalan independence: Spain’s territorial crisis. London: Routledge. Edwards, S. (1999). Reconstructing the nation: The process of establishing Catalan autonomy. Parliamentary Affairs, 52(4), 666–676.

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El País. (2018, April 20). Interferencia inadmisible. El País. Retrieved from https://elpais.com/elpais/2018/04/09/opinion/1523293009_022030. html. Encarnación, O. G. (2017, October 5). The ghost of Franco still haunts Catalonia. Foreign Policy. Retrieved from https://www.foreignpolicy.com/ 2017/10/05/the-ghostof-franco-still-haunts-catalonia/. Guibernau, M. (2014). Prospects for an independent Catalonia. International Journal of Politics Culture and Society, 27 (1), 5–23. Habibur Rahman, Md, Sanguino Galván, R., & Barroso Martínez, A. (2017). Economic recession in Spain: Exploring the root causes, consequences and recoveries for the sustainable economic growth. International Journal of Econometrics and Financial Management, 5(2), 60–68. Hernández, M. (2019, February 8). Pedro Sánchez echa el freno ante el clamor social y del PSOE por sus cesiones al independentismo. El Mundo. Retrieved from https://www.elmundo.es/espana/2019/02/08/5c5d8449fc6c83c862 8b45e6.html. Ichijo, A. (2009). Sovereignty and nationalism in the twenty-first century: The Scottish case. Ethnopolitics, 8(2), 155–172. Jones, S. (2019, February 10). Thousands protest in Madrid before trial of Catalan separatists. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian. com/world/2019/feb/10/thousands-protest-in-madrid-as-catalan-separa tists-trial-looms. Juliana, E. (2017, November 26). La mediación que no llegó. La Vanguardia. Retrieved from https://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20171126/433202 123811/mediacion-catalunya-espana-generalitat.html. Kraus, P. A. (2017). Democratizing sovereignty: The Catalan “process” in a theoretical perspective. In P. A. Kraus & J. Vergés Gifra (Eds.), The Catalan process: sovereignty, self-determination and democracy in the 21st century (pp. 99–119). Barcelona: Institut d’Estudis de l’Autogovern. Kraus, P. A., & Vergés Gifra, J. (2017). Introduction. In P. A. Kraus, & J. Vergés Gifra (Eds.), The Catalan process: Sovereignty, self-determination and democracy in the 21st century (pp. 11–28). Barcelona: Institut d’Estudis de l’Autogovern. Levrat, N., Antunes, S., Tusseau, G., & William, P. (2017). Catalonia’s legitimate right to decide, paths to self-determination. Retrieved from https://www.unige. ch/gsi/files/9115/0461/7417/EXECUTIVE_SUMMARY_Catalogne.pdf. Onda Cero. (2019, February 13). Vídeo de la entrevista completa a Quim Torra en Más de uno. Onda Cero. Retrieved from https://www.ondacero.es/pro gramas/mas-de-uno/videos/video-de-la-entrevista-completa-a-quim-torra-car los-alsina_201902135c63d9e60cf2d3edce324bc1.html. Orihuela, R. (2019, February 12). Catalan crisis still shapes Spain as separatist trial begins. Bloomberg. Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/

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articles/2019-02-12/catalonia-crisis-still-shaping-spain-as-separatist-trialbegins. Pérez, C. (October 27, 2017). La UE no reconoce la declaración de independencia de Cataluña. El País. Retrieved from https://elpais.com/politica/ 2017/10/27/actualidad/1509120610_062639.html. Pérez, L., & Sanjaume, M. (2013). Legalizing secession: The Catalan case. Journal of Conflictology, 2, 3–12. Polo, A. (2017, October 18). Por qué Cataluña triunfa en la prensa extranjera. Expansión. Retrieved from https://www.expansion.com/blogs/polo/2017/ 10/18/por-que-cataluna-triunfa-en-la-prensa.html. RTVE.es. (2018, October 30). Puigdemont y Torra presentan un gobierno catalán paralelo para el reconocimiento internacional del independentismo. RTVE.es. Retrieved from http://www.rtve.es/noticias/20181030/puigde mont-torra-presentan-consell-para-republica-mandato-hacer-efectivo-1/182 9780.shtml. Schleswig-Holsteinisches Oberlandesgericht. (2018, July 12). Matter Carles Puigdemont: The extradition for the accusation of embezzlement of public funds is admissible; an extradition for the accusation of rebellion is inadmissible. Carles Puigdemont remains free. Retrieved from https://www.schleswig-hol stein.de/DE/Justiz/OLG/Presse/PI/201806Puigdemontenglisch.html. Serra, M., Ubasart González, G., & Martí i Puig, S. (2018). Cataluña y La Triple Crisis Española. Nueva Sociedad: Democracia y Política en América Latin. Retrieved from: http://nuso.org/articulo/cataluna-y-la-triple-crisisespanola/. Sanjaume-Calvet, M., & Pérez Lozano, L. (2016). Catalan Countries. In D. Turp & M. Sanjuame-Calvet (Eds.), The emergence of a democratic rights to selfdetermination in Europe (pp. 66–89). Brussels: Centre Maurits Coppieters. Spencer, P., & Wollman, H. (2002). Nationalism: A critical introduction. London: Sage. Suanzes, P. R. (2019, February 24). Inés Arrimadas ante la casa de Puigdemont en Waterloo: “La República no existe”. El Mundo. Retrieved from https:// www.elmundo.es/espana/2019/02/24/5c727eadfdddff00b88b458b.html. Torra, Q. (2018, 17 October). The quality of democracy in Europe is at stake,’ claims Torra. Catalan News. Retrieved from https://www.catalannews.com/ politics/item/the-quality-of-democracy-in-europe-is-at-stake-claims-torra. Varagas, M. (2015). “Catalonia is not Spain”: Projecting Catalan identity to tourists in and around Barcelona. Journal of Tourism History, 7 (1–2), 36–53. Vila, A. O. (2017, October 11). Thank you, Spain—Because of Mariano Rajoy’s actions, Catalonia has already won. Independent. Retrieved from https:// www.independent.co.uk/voices/catalonia-independence-declaration-spainprime-minister-mariano-rajoy-government-catalan-residents-puigdemonta7 994566.html.

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Yack, B. (2001). Popular sovereignty and nationalism. Political Theory, 29(4), 517–536. Zuber, H., & von Rhor, M. (2018, August 13). Former Catalan president Puigdemont ‘I don’t like being in exile’. Spiegel. Retrieved from http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/former-catalan-presidentpuigdemont-i-don-t-like-being-in-exile-a-1222545.html.

PART II

Understanding Sovereignty and its People

CHAPTER 2

The Independence Procés in Catalonia: The Triple Spanish Crisis and an Unresolved Question of Sovereignty Gemma Ubasart-González

The mass demonstration of 11 September 2012 may be considered as the beginning of the Catalan pro-independence procés 1 (hereafter procés ). Under the slogan ‘Catalunya, nou Estat d’Europa’ (Catalonia, new European state), the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) managed to rally hundreds of thousands of people in the streets of Barcelona (600,000 according to the Spanish Government Delegation and 2 million according to the organisers). The diada is the national day of Catalonia, which commemorates the loss of civil and institutional liberties after the defeat in 1714 of the local pro-Habsburg forces in the War of the Spanish Succession. What set this occasion apart was that the call for independence surpassed all previous celebrations of the diada and now became 1 The term ‘procés’ has been used in Catalonia and Spain to designate the period of pro-independence social, political and institutional protest spanning from the national day of Catalonia on 11 September 11 2012 to the elections on 21 December 2017.

G. Ubasart-González (B) University of Girona, Girona, Spain e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2021 Ó. G. Agustín (ed.), Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Sovereignty, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54867-4_2

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central. After this show of strength through social protest, Convergència i Unió (CiU), the traditional coalition of the nationalist centre-right that had regained the presidency of the regional government two years prior, adopted the independence cause. Artur Mas, the president of the Generalitat , as the Catalan regional government is known, called early elections with a campaign focusing on the national question. This sparked an intense cycle of political and social protest, along with a process of electoral realignment and transformation of the political party system. The ensuing five years involved profound changes on both the Catalan and Spanish political stages that produced significant mutations in political and social actors, the dynamics of action, and discursive frameworks (Marcet and Medina 2017). The national question has been ever-present in Catalan political life. With its roots in the nineteenth century and the emergence of romanticism and European nationalisms, Catalan nationalism rose and divided into two major streams: progressive (federalist, republican) (Gabriel 2007) and moderate (bourgeois, Catholic) (Enrlich 1998). Nationalist actors became prominent during the first third of the twentieth century with the creation of the Commonwealth (Mancomunitat ) of Catalonia, led by Enric Prat de la Riba (Balcells et al. 1996), and later during the Second Spanish Republic when the Catalan left became dominant. Over the course of the subsequent dictatorship, the anti-Franco struggle became intertwined with demands for national, linguistic, and cultural plurality (Dowling 2012). Afterwards, during the democratic transition, progress was associated with a certain vision of a diverse Spain (Guibernau 2004). Nevertheless, despite the continuous challenge of the national definition of Spain and the form of territorial organisation over the better part of the previous two centuries, the independence movement had never been widespread in Catalan nationalism (Amat 2018). There were certainly pro-independence actors throughout this period, though they were in the minority and were unable to join the mainstream. This all changed, however, between 2010 and 2012. Calls for secession grew and the social and political actors campaigning to separate Catalonia from Spain became stronger and stronger. This raising of the pro-independence ‘voice’ (Hirschman 1970) coincided with the start of the procés . Various reasons have been proposed to explain the rise in the demand for independence and the cycle of grievance. The author’s view is that the interplay of causes of different natures may account for the procés . On the one hand there were conjunctural factors: the recentralising drift

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of the second government of the conservative José María Aznar (2000– 2004); the failure of the reform of the Statute of Catalan Autonomy due to the ruling of the Constitutional Court (2010); and the power struggle within Catalan nationalist circles—‘ethnic outbidding’ (Barrio and Rodríguez-Teruel 2017)—themselves, among others. These factors will be discussed in the section examining the pre-procés. Yet, these issues might not have reached their current magnitude without having coincided with more structural causes. In a troubled world, in a Europe still reeling from the last financial—but also political and cultural—crisis, in a climate of distrust and widespread social unrest, conflicts and splits had arisen in each nation over matters in which the seams were more frayed (Fernández-Albertos 2018; Innerarity 2018). Accordingly, in Spain, these divisions had widened due to regional issues. The Triple Spanish Crisis It is of the utmost importance to relate the development of the procés to the triple crisis experienced by Spain during the second decade of the 2000s (Serra et al. 2018). First was the financial crisis and the welfare model, which cannot be disentangled from the global financial crisis, although it hit particularly hard in Spain (as well as other European countries) due to an extremely fragile growth model, with unemployment rates that were and continue to be double the European average. Spain officially entered recession in early 2009, after two consecutive quarterly declines in GDP. What was initially a crisis in the speculative market quickly spread to the general economy, impacting the levels of economic growth and unemployment rates as well as public and private debt. The shocks of the economic crisis were magnified by the policies implemented to combat them: austerity measures. The European troika (the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund) imposed a scramble for reductions in the public deficit at all costs and the centrality and primacy of the principles of budgetary restraint, together with an erosion of social and employment rights. These types of interventions cast doubt on the sustainability of welfare states, economically and ideologically, similar to the political convictions of Reagan and Thatcher in the 1980s. Second was the political crisis, in which the main intermediaries between the state and society—political parties, labour unions and social organisations—have all experienced a significant loss in credibility in

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recent years (Kriesi and Pappas 2015). On the one hand was the perception of their inability to address the major challenges that flood across a nation state’s borders: economic globalisation, climate change and armed conflict. On the other, and more specific to the Spanish situation, political parties were undergoing a process of becoming ‘cartel parties’ (Katz and Mair 1995) that blurred the lines between party, government and state. The two-party state, with either the People’s Party (PP) or the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) leading, resulted in a lack of oversight and the spread of misappropriation of funds and corruption, which in turn caused high degrees of apathy and alienation among the public. Third was the territorial crisis, in which the autonomous region model supplied two opposing forces at the same time in various regions of the Spanish state: one centrifugal (recentralisation) and one centripetal (demands for greater autonomy) that rendered it dysfunctional. At the turn of the millennium, these forces only increased the crisis and the hard-fought and hard-won consensus of the democratic transition began to fall apart.

´ Background of the Proces In the midst of the transition to democracy and during the constitutional debate, discussions of the national-territorial issue were very much to the fore (Archilés and Saz 2014). Anti-Franco political and social organisations were highly conscious of the fact that work had to be done to accommodate the demands of Catalan, Basque and Galician nationalisms in the new democratic reality. During the Second Republic (1931–1939), these three regions had already passed their own statutes of autonomy, which endowed each of them with a sort of national charter. Consolidating the Autonomous Model The Spanish Constitution emerged from the common commitment to negotiation and agreement between different political sensibilities, which is to say that it responded to a correlation of specific forces. Democratic organisations succeeded in shaping it to reflect important social, economic and national demands, while compromising with others (Alonso and Muro 2011). A perfect example of this commitment may be observed in the Constitution: Article 2 declares the ‘indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation, the common and indivisible homeland of all Spaniards’, which

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fulfilled the wishes of the most reactionary segments, including the military leadership; yet at the same time ‘it recognises and guarantees the right to autonomy of the nationalities and regions that form it and the solidarity among them all’, suggesting a sort of national plurality that emphasises a double typology of territories. It should also be noted that Title VIII of the Constitution, which covers territorial organisation, was left openended to allow for significant levels of decentralisation as well as for the adoption of various speeds and degrees to attaining self-governance. Just after the formation of the Catalan and Basque governments (1980), an accelerated and profound devolution of powers to both regions took place between 1980 and 1982, leading to the establishment of a de facto plurinational quasi-state in which self-governance was becoming a reality. During these years, 47 transfers of powers to Catalonia were made, although later, between 1983 and 1984, there were only 11 transfers (Lo Cascio 2008). The model appeared to be flexible enough to satisfy, at least partially, these regions’ aspirations. While lacking all the instruments of asymmetric federalism, the Constitution and the statutes approved made it possible to approach something like it (Caminal 2002). However, this process was cut short by an attempted coup d’etat in 1981 by a group of soldiers, which occasioned a change in the course of the model’s development. On 30 June 1982, thanks to an agreement signed between the two main parties in Spain at the time, the PSOE and the Union of the Democratic Centre (UCD), the Organic Law on the Harmonisation of the Autonomy Process (LOAPA) was passed with the intention of standardising and homogenising the decentralisation process. Although the law was declared largely unconstitutional, the subsequent shift from the LOAPA to the Autonomous Process Act (1983) mutated the evolution of the regional model established in the early years: in one year the 17 autonomous communities were created and powers transferred to them in order to dismiss any claims of historical nationalities. Thus began the so-called ‘café para todos ’ or ‘coffee for all’: uniformity, irrespective of greater or lesser desire for self-governance. Emulating French doctrine, this all resulted in a constitutional framework (bloc de constitutionnalité) that lays out the constitutional and legal grounds for questions touching on the form of the Spanish state.

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Politicisation of the Autonomous Model: The Crisis The state of autonomous regions (Aja 2014) that came into being was not what the founding fathers of the Spanish Constitution had had in mind. Neither was it what most political actors from the so-called historical nationalities had wanted: not the nationalist forces (CiU, the Esquerra Republicana de Cataluña [ERC], Basque Nationalist Party [PNV] or the Abertzale [Basque nationalist] left) nor those Catalan progressives (the Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya [PSC] or Partit Socialista Unificat de Catalunya [PSUC]). Meanwhile, the existence of bilateral mechanisms that enabled the decentralisation of powers and the managing of important issues such as language, culture and education to proceed, as well as ‘state’ competencies such as security and prisons, ushered in a period of relative calm despite occasional disputes between the central and regional governments. This degree of equilibrium was lost during the second Aznar legislature (2000–2004). Whereas in his first term as leader of the PP government he had agreed the investiture and governance of Catalan and Basque nationalists, with an absolute majority in his second, he appealed to the ‘constitutional patriotism’ forwarded by the ultra-neoliberal and ultranationalist Foundation for Analysis and Social Studies (FAES) think tank. During this period, a veritable process of state recentralisation was set in motion, which obstructed the progress of the decentralising dynamics that had been generated thus far, as well as the ability to exercise self-governance. It was partly in response to the Aznar years that the first socialist government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (2004–2008) subsequently explored the idea of a ‘plural Spain’, demonstrating a national openness that was different in character to that of the previous president. At the same time, the president of Catalonia, Pasqual Maragall, who led the PSC (sister party to the Spanish PSOE), initiated preparations for a new statute of autonomy (a sort of regional constitution) in Catalonia. He trusted that it would be possible with a Spanish president who had a different attitude (Mercader 2008). The main motivation of this initiative was to take maximum advantage of the possibilities offered by the constitutional framework to realise self-governance fully in an effort to guard against whatever recentralising shifts future central governments might attempt. After tortuous parliamentary debate (Ridao 2006), the new statute was passed by the Catalan parliament on 30 September 2005 with the support

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of all groups except the PP, which at the time held 11% of the seats; then with changes by the Spanish parliament on 10 May 2006; and was finally approved by referendum in Catalonia on 18 June 2006. Nevertheless, adopting a strategy of opposition to the PSOE government, the PP collected enough signatures to lodge an appeal of unconstitutionality with the Constitutional Court (TC) that politicised and polarised more than ever the debate over the autonomous model (Del Pino 2017). The Events of the Rupture: The TC’s Ruling and CiU’s Strategy The Constitutional Court issued Ruling 31/2010 on 28 June, in which it declared some of the articles of the Catalan statute to be unlawful and offered an alternative interpretation in another part of the text; it never rains but it pours. The PP had previously manoeuvred to prevent reform of the high court, clearly politicising an institution that had thus far maintained a productive equilibrium. The decision provoked significant social and political unrest. On 10 July there was a mass protest led by all the present and former presidents of the Generalitat and the Catalan parliament since the democratic transition. In the midst of this, the Catalan president at the time, the socialist José Montilla, warned of a growing feeling of ‘estrangement’ from Spain in Catalan society. According to constitutionalists such as Pérez Royo (2016), this ruling shut the door on the processes of agreement and negotiation between governments, as well as on the sort of bilateral relationship—the basis of consensus with the autonomous communities—that the model had left room for up to that point. The court’s ruling undoubtedly reinforced the pro-independence narrative that social organisations working for secession had constructed over the years (Buch 2017). However, other variables must be considered in order to understand why the independence issue surged to the top of the agenda from 2012 onwards, but not earlier from 2010. On the one hand is the link to the unrest and outrage experienced throughout the Spanish state and southern Europe after the financial crisis: the call for independence was a way to channel the people’s feelings and insecurities. The Spanish state’s historical underfunding of the region, the neglect of infrastructure and logistics in comparison to other autonomous communities, as well as significant rises in poverty, vulnerability, and inequality, overwhelmed a portion of an already agitated population.

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On the other hand, and related to these issues, was CiU’s commitment to the independence process. In 2010 Artur Mas won the election and recaptured the presidency of the Generalitat for the centre-right. His approach was business-friendly, creating in essence a truly neoliberal laboratory with the aim of reversing the policy legacy formulated by the previous Catalan nationalist and left-wing—also known as the tripartit —government.2 During his first term, his leadership was backed by the right-wing PP, with the Catalan executive demonstrating itself to be an outstanding student of the austerity policies promoted throughout Europe (Ubasart-González and Gomà 2018). Herein lies the explanation for the widespread anti-austerity protests throughout Spain on 15 May 2011, of the indignados movement, which in Catalonia centred around criticism of the cuts to the welfare state (Ubasart-González 2015). The distinctly social nature of the protests and general discontent expressed by people in the street spooked the leaders of the Catalan government with a return of the spectre of the left. Both for fear of losing the upcoming elections and in his struggle for power within the nationalist camp, Mas rode the ‘independence wave’ after the President of the Spanish government Mariano Rajoy’s refusal to negotiate a ‘fiscal pact’ with Catalonia (Lo Cascio 2016; Medina 2017).

´ : An Intense Five Years The Proces At the institutional level, the cycle started with the approval on 27 September 2012 of a declaration in the Catalan parliament—supported by CiU, the ERC, Initiative for Catalonia Greens (ICV) and Solidaritat per la Independència (SI)—that proclaimed: ‘Catalonia must exercise the right to decide3 in the next legislative session’. Just after its approval, Mas called early elections.

2 The progressive government in Catalonia (2003–2010) represented a parenthesis in the domination of the centre-right that governed the region from 1980 to 2003 and from 2010 to the present. See Maragall (2008), Vallès (2008) and Montilla (2013). 3 Unlike the concept of the right to self-determination, which in international law concerns only colonial states, the right to decide arose within the framework of liberal democratic states from the perspective of the radicalisation of democracy (not identitybased). See Ridao (2014) and Corretja (2016).

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Five Years of Social, Political and Institutional Protest The electoral campaign unfolded within a discursive framework different to the previous one. CiU’s platform had changed from a neoliberal approach along an ideological axis in 2010 to a half-baked proindependence one along national lines in 2012. Thus, the demand for independence also made its way into the political agenda. Displacing other issues and debates, the question of nation became central to the political contest (Rodon and Orriols 2014), which began a trend that would be maintained and reinforced in subsequent elections. This election was held on 25 November: CiU lost 12 seats while the ERC gained the same; the PSC lost its place as the second-largest party for the first time, but maintained its 20 seats; Ciudadanos (C’s) gained, increasing from 3 to 9 seats, as did ICV, which increased from 10 to 13; and lastly, the Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) was represented for the first time in the Catalan parliament. 2012–2015: CiU Government, 9 November, and Plebiscites Artur Mas, who sought an absolute majority in the Catalan parliament, was forced to form a coalition with the ERC. On 19 December, the leaders of both parties signed the ‘Agreement on national transition and to ensure the parliamentary stability of the Catalan government’, which took into account ‘the desire to give voice to the people through a consultation, as well as the desire that Catalonia become a new state in Europe’. As a result of the agreement, but also of the initial economic recovery, there was a certain easing of the neoliberal stance and austerity in economic and social policies. The institutional measure taken to hold the consultation was the approval on 19 September 2014 of ‘Law 10/14 on non-binding popular consultations and other forms of citizen participation’ with the support of all parliamentary groups except the PP and C’s. On this legal basis, Mas signed on 27 September the decree calling for a public consultation to be held on 9 November (Barberà 2014). Mariano Rajoy’s government appealed to the Spanish Constitutional Court against the law and decree, which were suspended pending a ruling. Despite this official impasse, grassroots organisation by the public itself ensured there were ballot boxes in every town and city in Catalonia. With more than two million people participating on the day, the high degree of participation on 9 November surprised both the Catalan and Spanish governments. The course that Mas chose in response to this unexpected

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mass turnout was to call early elections yet again, which under the circumstances gave them the air of a plebiscite. In his words, the elections would in effect be the referendum that could not otherwise be held. During the almost three years of this government, the issue uppermost in the public and political agenda was the national question. In particular, the enormous demonstrations of political will by the independence movement on the Catalan national days, 11 September, after 2012 are worth noting. In 2013 a human chain, dubbed the Via Catalana or Catalan Way, was organised that stretched across the length of the entire territory. In 2014 crowds filled the roads of Avinguda Diagonal and Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, forming a ‘V’ where they intersected, in Barcelona city centre. People were dressed in either red or yellow shirts, according to their assigned sections, to create a senyera, the Catalan flag of alternating red and yellow stripes. 2015 was the most politicised diada due to the impending elections, with the Avinguda Meridiana filled with demonstrators. The official attendance figures for every demonstration have been contested continually, but the numbers of people in the streets have remained stable since the first one in 2012 (Vilaregut 2018). 2015–2017: JxSí Government, 1 October, and the Declaration of Independence Artur Mas called elections for 27 September 2015. In this race, Junts pel Sí (JxSí) or ‘Together for yes’, a coalition of CDC4 and the ERC, stood for election. This electoral list broke traditional party logic, uniting the centre-right and the left over the issue of independence (hence the ‘yes’), and it was not clear who the presidential candidates would be. At the head of the list was the former leader of the ICV, Raül Romeva, followed by the leaders of the major independent social organisations (Muriel Casals of Òmnium Cultural and Carme Forcadell of the ANC), and finally the political leaders Artur Mas (CDC) and Oriol Junqueras (ERC). The electoral campaign revolved around the plebiscitary character that both the pro-independence (JxSí and the CUP) and anti-independence candidates (C’s with Inés Arrimadas as their candidate) wanted the contest to reflect (Barrio 2017b). Thus, the electoral blocs were fixed. There were also two

4 For the first time since the democratic transition, Convergencia Democrática de Catalunya (CDC) stood for election without Unió Democrática de Catalunya (UDC). See Barrio (2017a).

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political forces that tried without much success to advocate gradual or intermediate solutions (the PSC and Catalunya Sí que es Pot 5 ). The pro-independence parties had drawn up a road map to independence in their campaign platforms based on whether they won the referendum—or rather, the elections. Turnout was high (74.95%), with JxSí and the CUP winning an absolute majority of seats (72 out of 135) but not of votes (47.8%) (Argelaguet 2017; Orriols and Rodon 2016). The complex maths and internal diversity of the bloc resulted in parliamentary gridlock for a few months. Finally, with the clock running down, the CUP agreed to hand the presidency to JxSí on condition that there was a change of candidate: Artur Mas, whom they held responsible for previously slashing social programmes, would not be sworn in but rather Carles Puigdemont, who was then the mayor of the city of Girona and number 3 in the JxSí list for the province of Girona. The pact between JxSí and the CUP also led to changes in the initial roadmap of the new president’s party: independence would no longer be proclaimed in 18 months, but instead a ‘yes or yes’ referendum—either agreed with Spain or unilateral (with no deal)—would be held that would signal the beginning of the independence process. The debate during the 12th Parliament was again monopolised by the national question, and in particular by the independence debate. During these two intense years, major demonstrations—on the diadas in 2016 and 2017—and grassroots initiatives were held in both towns and cities. These were arranged by the pro-independence parties and organisations such as the ANC or Òmnium, which were dispersed throughout the region, but also by newly created groups such as the Comités de Defensa de la República (CDR) in the final months of the period. The Catalan but also Spanish media were saturated with news on the subject in a climate of continuously escalating tension. On 6 and 7 September 2017, rhetoric became deeds. A referendum law and a law of juridical transition were quickly passed by emergency motion in the Catalan parliament, supported solely by the pro-independence parties and two members of CSQEP who crossed party lines. There was significant criticism, especially when considering that the constitutional and statutory rules of the game had been changed by a narrow parliamentary majority. The Constitutional Court subsequently issued a preliminary 5 Catalunya Sí que es Pot (CSQP), or ‘Catalonia, yes we can’, was a coalition comprising Podemos, the ICV, the EUiA, EQUO and independents.

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injunction and eventually declared all of these legislative actions to be unlawful. Nevertheless, grassroots efforts again ensured that on 1 October polls, ballots, and premises were ready for the referendum (Vicens and Tedós 2017; Sallés 2018). On the day, more than two million people voted, despite an express ban as well as police violence by the Spanish Civil Guard and national police, especially during the first part of the day. On 3 October, there was a general strike throughout the region that was supported by those in favour of independence, but also by those outraged by the actions of the security forces. The same day ended with an intervention by King Philip VI, who called for an end to defiance of the law that was widely criticised for being a show of partiality. Finally, on 10 October, President Carles Puigdemont both declared independence and its immediate suspension to allow for dialogue and negotiation with the Spanish state. Electoral Realignment and Transformations of the Party System The Catalan political party system enjoyed almost three decades of stability between the 1984 and 2010 elections (Castro 2011). In 1980, Jordi Pujol won the elections with a simple majority and assumed the presidency thanks to the support of the UCD and ERC. That first legislature was characterised by cooperation and dialogue: the major legislation was agreed between different political groups, most by consensus. In 1984, however, CiU won its first absolute majority and cemented Pujol’s domination. The second party in the regional elections at the time was the PSC, with three other parties much further back afield: the PSUCICV, AP-PP, and ERC. Five factors defined this particular period: (1) Electoral options ran on one side or another of two divisions: the ‘leftright’ of ideology and the ‘Catalan-Spanish’ of nationalism, though the primary contest lay along the ideological axis (Barrio and RodríguezTeruel 2018) and developed a pre-eminently centripetal logic; (2) There was much more party fragmentation than in Spain—in 2006, C’s, a political force that sought to challenge the Catalan nationalist consensus that until then had been in the majority, waded in with the five parties already active during this time; (3) During the period in question CiU won all the regional elections by seats and votes except in 1999 and 2003, in which the PSC was first in votes; (4) The phenomenon of differential abstention emerged, where a segment of the population voted in general elections

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but not in regional ones; (5) And in parallel to this was the existence of a dual vote, in which CiU was first in regional elections whereas the PSC led the results in general elections as well as local ones in most of the large municipalities. Much of this changed during the five years of the procés . This was a time not only of intense social, political, and institutional protest but also of transformations in political life and in the actors that drove it. The 2012 elections, which had been called early by Mas just after he had embraced the demand for independence, may be understood as a marked transition in which the national issue came to the fore. All the same, some of the dynamics of the past remained. However, in the 2015 and 2017 elections, the change in electoral behaviour patterns deepened further and a sort of transformation of the party system occurred. Thus, in examining the five factors mentioned above, we observe new elements: (1) National issues became central and preeminent. Although it had always been present, an almost cross-sectional Catalan nationalism served to forge a broad consensus. Also noteworthy was the shift towards a competitive logic that was first and foremost centrifugal, especially in the arena of national dispute. (2) Party fragmentation continued and increased. In 2012, the Candidatura d’Unitat Popular (CUP), which is both anti-capitalist and pro-independence, surfaced, bringing to seven the number of parties in the Catalan parliament. Other political spaces were also transformed: various attempts were made to reinvent the postCIU space, among other reasons, for the corruption scandals that plagued the party; a new space aligned with the alternative left was carved out. (3) Another new element was the fact that the post-CiU space lost electoral momentum but managed to stay in power (in 2015 through the JxSí coalition and in 2017 in coalition with the ERC). Throughout, the ERC fought hard to see that the independence movement would reign supreme. C’s surged, initially to second and then to the largest single party (though still in the minority) by parliamentary seats. (4) High levels of participation effectively eliminated differential abstention. (5) The dual vote, if it continued to exist, did not follow past patterns. It may be reforming along the fault line on the left between the ERC and PSC (Rios 2019). All of these dramatic changes shaped what has been called a process of electoral realignment (Serra Serra et al. 2020). The literature shows that this type of process may be identified when, over the course of just a few elections, there is a sudden alteration of pre-existing divisions and new

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ones appear or previous ones shift, restructuring the party system and the dynamics of competition within the same (Key 1959). I believe that it may be confidently asserted that in Catalonia—as in other European countries after the financial crisis—we are able to detect not only an increase in party fragmentation, electoral volatility, and party polarisation (Hernández and Kriesi 2016), but also that the electoral and political framework itself has been transformed, which may also be seen in the social dynamics and profound transformations in the political culture of the public. Social and Cultural Changes: The Impact on the Political Culture There were also transformations in the social and cultural fabric itself: throughout the cycle, important mutations in the political culture may be observed. This was understood by Almond and Verba (1970, p. 31) as the ‘set of specifically political orientations of citizens towards the political system, towards the parts that compose it, and towards oneself as part of the system’. Thus, there are two dimensions, which at the same time may also be considered as causes and consequences of the procés , to be discussed in this section. First were the transformations that occurred in the indicators of political culture both before and during the procés that ran fairly parallel to those in the Spanish state. Second were the changes experienced during five years of social, political and institutional protest, which adopted their own logic in the case analysed. Maravall (1982) spoke of ‘democratic cynicism’ to refer to the political culture of the Spanish public in the early years of democracy, which combined a wholehearted acceptance of the democratic system with a critical perception of the functioning of the system and especially the actors within it, together with significant political disaffection. Put another way, there was little interest in participating in politics. These characteristics were consistent with low levels of electoral and political participation (Botella 1992), a lack of concern for the collective, as well as weak or non-existent public scrutiny of politicians and officials. Montero et al. have pointed out that this distancing of the people from politics, from both political institutions and actors, was one of the features that most differentiates Spain from other European countries (1999). However, things began to change in the 2000s. Two symbolic phenomena of these transformations must be considered: The mass demonstrations against the Iraq war in 2003 and the anti-austerity or ‘15-M’ (15 May) movement in 2011, which also served to accelerate

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transformations in the patterns of orientation towards political objects within the state. Unconditional acceptance of democracy was accompanied by growing discontent over the effectiveness of the system. Distrust of political actors but greater interest in politics and a higher propensity to participate may also be observed. In short, they were a critical public but increasingly active and politicised (Ubasart-González 2018). The procés emerged within this context. However, during these years there were also some peculiarities in Catalonia. For example, the appreciation of public institutions assumed its own dynamic. 2017 data from the Catalan regional government’s Centre d’Estudis d’Opinió’s (CEO) barometer of political opinion showed that the Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan police), the town halls, the Catalan government, and the provincial councils were the only institutions that met with approval in the eyes of the public. The closer the administrations were to the people, the more positive the assessments tended to be. In contrast, the European Union, the security forces of the Spanish state, and the Spanish courts of justice and government (in that order) received ‘failing’ marks in surveys. Observed over time, these figures indicate that all experienced an erosion of trust, though to varying degrees. The town halls fell the least and the Catalan government gently decreased only to recover again from 2012. Conversely, trust in the Spanish government declined much more sharply (Bonet 2018). Another illustrative indicator is the one concerning the public’s degree of engagement with certain territorial units. Two decades ago (Public Opinion Survey ICPS), the public felt closest to Catalonia (more than 9 on a scale of 10), followed very closely by Spain (over 8 out of 10), and finally Europe (6 out of 10). If we observe the same indicators today, Spain is the one that has experienced the most dramatic fall. In 2012, which coincided with the beginning of the procés , people’s closeness to Spain had dropped by 20 points, though it still lay above their closeness to Europe (Bonet 2018). These two indicators suggest a kind of estrangement in the Catalan public towards institutions and towards the same idea of Spain. The patterns of engagement with political life underwent major changes in Catalonia during the 2000s, facilitating, among other phenomena, the emergence of the procés . At the same time, the actions of political actors and the behaviour of institutions during these five years of protest have also led to transformations in citizen subjectivities. In summary, it is clear

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that today Catalan society’s relationship with public life is distinct to what we had before the procés .

´ : Impasse of Weaknesses Post-Proces Returning to events, on 16 October, the courts decided to act on the matter. The investigating judge of the Audiencia Nacional, Carmen Lamela, ordered provisional imprisonment without bail for the social leaders Jordi Cuixart, the president of Òmnium, and Jordi Sánchez, the president of the ANC. They were considered to be the ringleaders and promoters of the demonstrations in front of the headquarters of the Department of Economy on 20 and 21 September to protest against some searches being conducted by the Spanish Civil. This act had an enormous emotional impact. On 27 October 27, the pro-independence members of the Catalan parliament approved a text in which it was confirmed that the Catalan Republic had been proclaimed. Although technically it was the declarative section of a resolution that had not been subject to a vote, on the street it was understood to be a unilateral declaration of independence. At the same time, the Spanish Senate approved the enforcement of Article 155 of the Constitution. Hours later, Mariano Rajoy, the president of the Spanish government, announced the manner in which this instrument of federal coercion would be invoked: dismissal of the president of the Generalitat and his government, dissolution of the Catalan parliament, and calling new elections on 21 December. All the Catalan parties agreed to participate in the election, and the Catalan parliament and regional government accepted the intervention of the Spanish government (García 2018). In the aftermath, uncertainty set in among political leaders and the general public. President Puigdemont and other ministers travelled to Brussels and held a press conference on the morning of 31 October, in which they demanded guarantees and a fair trial. The same day, judge Carmen Lamela, in hearing charges of rebellion, sedition and misappropriation of funds brought by the state prosecutor, summoned all members of the Catalan government to appear on 2 and 3 November. Those who did, Vice President Junqueras and seven former ministers, were remanded in custody without bail, which greatly escalated the conflict. What was initially foreseen as an electoral campaign that would return the situation to a degree of normality, re-escalated the dispute to highly emotional

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levels. Thus, the sense of exceptionality—suspension of autonomy and imprisonment of the deposed members of the government—profoundly affected how the elections, which again were highly polarised and saw high levels of participation (79.04%), played out. The results of 21 December created a sort of permanent draw. The elections were won by C’s, who had 36 seats. For the first time in history, a party that was not part of the Catalan nationalist consensus was the single largest one. On the other hand, the three pro-independence parties together held 70 seats, which meant they had an absolute majority. The most polarised parties in the campaign also obtained the best results: not only C’s but also Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) or ‘Together for Catalonia’ (the latter a reformulation of the post-CiU space under the extensive control of Puigdemont). In this contest, populist appeals were the winning tickets. The difficulty of forming a government reappeared. There were initially attempts to invest Carles Puigdemont, who was abroad, or Jordi Sánchez, who had been imprisoned, as president, as they were numbers one and two respectively, of JxCat. The Catalan parliamentary assembly, in the wake of express prohibition by the Spanish Constitutional Court, did not allow debate or an investiture vote to be held as neither candidate was able to appear in chamber. Subsequently, Jordi Turull, a member of parliament with JxCat and former minister, was proposed for investiture. He lost the first vote as the CUP had no confidence in him and a second vote could not be held as he was returned to prison by Spanish authorities as a preventive measure. In the end, after numerous candidates had been considered, all of them from JxCat, Joaquim Torra, who was number eleven on the JxCat list in the constituency of Barcelona, was selected. The parliament began to move forward with a coalition government of JxCat and ERC. With a lack of either agreement among the ministers or internal cohesion, the conflict continued without an end in sight. Then, the unexpected: a motion of no confidence was introduced by the Spanish opposition socialist party (PSOE) against Mariano Rajoy. Against all odds, and for the first time in history, the opposition leader managed to unseat the sitting president. Thus, Pedro Sánchez became the new president of the Spanish government on 31 May 2018 with the support of the PSOE and Podemos , but also of peripheral nationalist and proindependence parties: the ERC, PDECat, PNV, and Euskal Herria Bildu, as well as Compromís and Nueva Canarias. An opportunity for détente

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opened up that, after several crises, toned down the conflict, though not to such a degree that parliament was able to put an end to it.

Conclusion: Managing (Post-)Conflict Two years after the ‘events of October’, the dispute is still far from being resolved. In addition, the Catalan question is one of the most important causes of impasse in the Spanish and Catalan political system. At the same time, this paralysis makes it difficult to take decisions and action that could lead to resolving the conflict, like a snake eating its own tail, all within the context of a troubled Europe. This chapter has not closed, though by way of conclusion two challenges and a reflection should be considered. The first challenge is how to de-escalate the conflict by politically managing the issue of punishment. Some authors and actors have described the state response as a consequence of the phenomenon of the judicialisation of politics, in which political conflicts are handed off to the judiciary, or as a practice of ‘lawfare’ or judicial warfare, which is abusive use of the justice system with the aim of harming an opponent (Proner 2019). What seems to be evident is that when a dispute moves from the political to the judicial arena, the ability to control the situation is lost. On 14 October, the ruling on the pro-independence leaders was made public, convicting some for the crimes of sedition and misappropriation of funds (former Vice President Junqueras was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment; and former ministers Dolors Bassa, Jordi Turull and Raül Romeva to 12 years each); of sedition alone (former President of the Parliament Carme Forcadell to 11 and a half years; former ministers Joaquim Forn and Josep Rull to 10 and a half years each; and the leaders of Òmnium and the ANC Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sánchez to 9 years each) and others for disobedience (Carles Mundó, Meritxell Borràs and Santi Vila were each barred from holding public office). The ruling having been issued there are various possibilities for moving forward: insisting that they serve the full sentence would appease the hardest core of Spanish nationalism; searching for solutions to soften the sentence via furloughs or minimum security prison units would satisfy moderates; or exploring options such as pardons, amnesty or reform of the penal code would suit those who want to address the roots of the problem and start anew. It should be remembered that these are not the only legal proceedings related to the procés , for there are more to come: those yet to face trial include the Catalan police leadership in the Audiencia Nacional; the Catalan parliamentary

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assembly itself, with the exception of the president, and other leaders in the Catalan High Court of Justice; the Catalan Electoral Commission; and the as-yet unnamed organisers of the independence referendum in court 13 of Barcelona. The second challenge is how to manage the crisis of the regional model: a political paradigm that, for varying reasons, is no longer functional either in its national definition or in its form of territorial organisation. In this sense, one could choose to compartmentalise the dispute by not offering any kind of response to the open conflict; to push through proposals, such as the devolution of powers and/or a new system for distributing state funds, within the existing legislative and constitutional framework; or even to explore sweeping transformations that would result in updating an institutional system designed more than 40 years ago. Two interdependent aspects in particular must be considered, though they should be addressed differently. On the one hand is the aspect related to issues of recognition, which touches on national, cultural, and linguistic diversity. Is there one or several nations? What do we understand by ‘nation’? Is it cultural or political? On the other hand, is the one related to the concept of redistribution, of how resources and competences are organised. Would a federal or confederal arrangement serve? Which units might be decentralised? Would federated entities have the right to decide? There remain many open questions that will most likely not be resolved in the immediate future. After the challenges, a reflection. The procés cycle ended with the elections of 21 December 2017, closing a turbulent and highly stressful period. These were times of enormous social, political and institutional protest during which questions of nation became central to Catalan political life, at first pro-independence, then followed by more reactive but still significant anti-independence activity towards the end. A surge of intensely contentious and sustained activity was experienced over time: gigantic demonstrations and rallies; symbolic and media activity; forms of spontaneous regional grassroots organisation in the form of a network; and even the unfolding of unconventional and non-violent action, especially during the ‘events of October’. During these years, institutional formulas were also explored to advance the pro-independence cause. The Catalan parliament and executive developed proposals within the legal framework, right at its limits, as well as outside of them. A period of change and transformations. These five years witnessed changes in the map of political and social actors. The former included the

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entry of new protagonists (CUP), transformations of party spaces (the post-CiU and alternative left landscape), changes in their relative positions and new ideological detours (e.g. the centre-right embracing the independence movement). As for the latter, some social organisations (Òmnium and pro-independence ANC members, and later the anti-independence Societat Civil ) gained prominence and influenced the actions of parties and institutions. Similarly, the electoral map was transformed, producing electoral realignment that altered behavioural patterns that had become entrenched in electoral and political activity since the constitution of self-governance in 1980. As the Catalan and Spanish party systems are interrelated (Baras and Matas 1998), mutations in the Catalan arena also impacted and transformed its Spanish counterpart and vice versa. The subjectivity of the citizenry also mutated during this stage. Some changes were fundamental and could also be observed in Europe and/or in Spain. Others were more specific and confined to the Catalan sphere and were directly related to the dispute to which we have dedicated ourselves in this article: we may witness a citizenry critical of the way democracies function, but increasingly concerned by public policy and more likely to participate, as well as the fact that some Catalans are less and less attached to Spain and more sceptical of state institutions. Ultimately, the procés was a period of turbulence and high tension, one of change and transformations. The post-procés continues to unfold and the outcomes are still uncertain, though in any case, nothing will be as it was before.

References Aja, E. (2014). Estado autonómico y reforma federal. Madrid: Alianza. Almond, G., & Verba, S. (1970). La cultura Cívica (1963). Madrid: Euroamèrica. Alonso, G., & Muro, D. (2011). The politics and memory of democratic transition. London: Routledge. Amat, J. (2018). Largo proceso, amargo sueño. Cultura y política en la Cataluña contemporánea. Barcelona: Tusquets. Archilés, F., & Saz, I. (Eds.). (2014). Naciones y Estado: la cuestión española. Valencia: PUV. Argelaguet, J. (2017). Las elecciones al Parlamento de Cataluña de 27 de septiembre de 2015: el casi plebiscito sobre la independencia con un resultado abierto. In J. Marcet & L. Medina (Eds.), La política del proceso: actores y elecciones (2010–2016). Barcelona: ICPS.

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CHAPTER 3

Banal Populism: Nationalism and Everyday Victimhood in the Spanish–Catalan Clash Paolo Cossarini

1 October 2017, the day the Catalan referendum of independence was held amid major police efforts to prevent it, will most probably be remembered as a significant turning point in Catalan and Spanish politics. The referendum and the subsequent developments, such as the unilateral declaration of independence, and the suspension of autonomy by the central Spanish government, further reinforced the media and scholarly attention for the political and territorial dispute in this part of Europe. Surprisingly, despite the growing literature, the scholarship on Catalan separatism has mostly remained in the field of nationalism studies (see Balcells 1996; Barrio et al. 2018; Borgen 2010; Crameri 2016; Gibernau 2014; Morató 2016; Orriols and Rodon 2016), while little has been said from a perspective centred on populist politics (e.g. Canal 2016) Yet, the Catalan referendum has represented a fertile ground for political narratives centred on keys ideas of populism, and the referendum campaign

P. Cossarini (B) University of Trento, Trento, Italy e-mail: [email protected]

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has unquestionably epitomized a claim for citizens’ direct participation— remarkable is in this sense the slogan ‘we are a nation, we decide’ used in several marches in Catalonia, as well as the overwhelmingly employed idea of the ‘will of the people’. Moreover, numerous demonstrations were organized over the last decade ‘claiming Catalonia was a “nation” with its own “right to decide”, and popular non-binding consultations on independence were held in more than 500 municipalities between 2009 and 2011’ (Serrano 2013, pp. 523–524). During the long series of marches mainly organized by civil society organizations such as the Platform for the Right to Decide, (Plataforma pel Dret a Decidir) and the National Catalan Assembly (Assemblea Nacional Catalana), people have been claiming their ‘right to decide’ and have been demanding secession from the rest of Spain. Shouts for independence have been often accompanied by flags of the Catalan Republic and banners against Spanish state repression. Interestingly enough, it is worth stressing that, in the name of the common goal—i.e. holding a referendum of independence—left- and right-wing forces allied, at least since 2015, and pro-independence parties made it feasible to sidestep their ideological differences. This parallels the fact that referendums and similar forms of direct participation—which have gained traction in the aftermath of the Great Recession (e.g. Della Porta et al. 2017)—have been at the core of the strategy of the independence process (el procés in Catalan). They have in fact been the mechanism through which pro-independence forces have shifted the idea of secession into a question of democratic legitimacy (Crameri 2016). With this in mind, this chapter builds upon the idea of Catalan independence movement as a populist-nationalist project (e.g. Ruiz Casado 2019), where the idea of ‘Catalan people’ (and its counterparts) needs to be understood both in its populist and nationalist dimensions. In addition to that, in this chapter I also stress the affective dimension of both nationalism and populist politics. Undeniably, significant has been the rhetorical use of emotions and affect, in the context of the 2017 referendum and more broadly within the independence movement and, as I shall show in this chapter, by the opposing forces in Catalonia and the rest of Spain. ‘Love Democracy’, for instance, was the slogan chosen by the organizers of the rally announcing the Catalan referendum, whereas

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many banners and mottoes during the mass mobilizations after the referendum read, among other things, ‘We want to vote’; ‘Spain is a Fascist State’; ‘Freedom for Catalonia’ or ‘Franco is back’. The aim of the chapter is to explore the relationship between nationalism and populist politics in the Spanish–Catalan clash, and to assess the extent to which specific affective dynamics on the ground enable to shed light on the current political dynamics. The main set of hypotheses steams from the literature that contributed to the affective and visual turns in social studies. Drawing on that scholarship, in this chapter I suggest that in the Catalan case we have been witnessing a conflation of nationalist and populist politics. Moreover, in the pages that follow I borrow from Billig’s (1995) idea of ‘banal nationalism’ in order to advance a hypothesis about the nature of populism in current Catalan and Spanish politics. The chapter is structured as follows. Part II discusses the relationship between populism and nationalism in recent literature, elucidating the pertinence of a combined analysis for the understanding of the case study. Part III delves into the affective dimension of populism, and sketches out a methodological standpoint. Subsequently. Part IV explores some of the discursive and visual features of the Spanish–Catalan dispute.

When Nationalism Meets Populism Much has been written about Catalan nationalism, its history and current political dynamics. Its roots can certainly be traced back to medieval times. However, the current political narratives in Spanish territorial politics have been mainly determined by the political developments in the twentieth century, notably the years of Francoism, the democratization process and crisis of the political and regional setting created in 1978. The harsh consequences of the economic crisis that hit Spain since 2008 have then contributed to the raise of the hostilities between Catalonia and the Spanish state, to an extent that the support for independence—which rarely rose above 10% until the early 2000s—almost touched 50% by the early 2010s. Yet, the literature has mainly stressed the nationalist dimension of Catalan politics and its relationship with the rest of Spain, bypassing the populist element. However, as this chapter finds its starting point with the idea of a nationalism–populism nexus in current Catalan politics, some unpacking about these concepts is necessary.

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Nationalism and populism are quite often intertwined, when not conflated, in the European public debate. The concepts of ‘the nation’ and ‘the people’ often overlap, to an extent that ‘the people’ in populism frequently refers to ethnos rather than demos (e.g. Akkerman 2011), or both ethnos and demos. On a general note, the populist-nationalist nexus in European societies tends to manifest itself as a form of rightwing populism, for which the ‘people’ is understood as the majority and native nation (hence the exclusion of ethno-territorial minorities and immigrants), against the ‘corrupt elites’, conceived as those political forces that do not protect the homogeneity of the nation (e.g. Loch 2017; Heinisch et al. 2018). However, this strong link between such concepts also generates some problems for the understanding of both phenomena. The extensive literature on populism has set out different models of analysis of this multifaceted phenomenon. As such, populism has been conceptualized as a particular form of political organization (e.g. Germani 1978; Taggart 1995), as a thin ideology (e.g. Albertazzi and McDonnell 2008; Canovan 2008; Kaltwasser et al. 2017; Mudde 2004; Mudde and Kaltwasser 2017), as a political style (e.g. Mazzoleni et al. 2003; Moffitt 2016), and as discourse (e.g. Laclau 2005; Wodak et al. 2013). Indubitably, these approaches have many similarities and, although they include different nuances and variables, they all stress the people-versuselite divide. Nationalism, on its turn, can be broadly defined as the act of ‘politicizing a feeling of national belonging’ (Sutherland 2011, p. 7). Although theorists of nationalism have long challenged the apparent objectivity of nations (e.g. Anderson 2006), it can be affirmed that if the nation-state project is not (internally or externally) questioned, state nationalism remains an implicit and unchallenged ideology. Sub-state nationalism, as in the Catalan case, may represent a challenge for state nationalism, since it ‘attempt[s] to mobilize voters behind [an] alternative ideological interpretation of the nation’, (Sutherland 2011, p. 7). In so doing, it challenges the national identity on which a state seeks to build its political legitimacy. In the context of two opposing forms of nationalism (Spanish and Catalan ones), it is useful to retake Michael Billig’s (1995) seminal work, Banal Nationalism. Pointing to the ubiquitous ideology of nationalism and to the everyday performances of nation-ness, Billig stresses the ways in which the nation is remembered through little reminders, which he calls ‘banal flaggings’. Thanks to the daily repetition of ‘a whole complex

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of beliefs, assumptions, habits, representations and practices’ (Billig 1995, p. 6), the existence of the nation is affirmed. National identity in established nations is remembered because it is embedded in routines of life, which constantly remind, or ‘flag’, nationhood. However, these reminders, or ‘flaggings’, are so numerous and they are such a familiar part of the social environment, that they operated mindlessly, rather than mindfully. (Billig 1995, p. 38)

One of the key points in Billig’s argument is the fact that, precisely because of their ubiquity, these flaggings go unnoticed. In Billig’s words: ‘banal nationalism operates with prosaic, routine words, which take nations for granted, and which, in so doing, enhabit [sic] them. Small words, rather than grand memorable phrases, offer constant, but barely conscious, reminders of the homeland, making “our” national identity unforgettable’ (Billig 1995, p. 93). People, in other words, do not consciously register nationalism’s routine language, which thus enables nationhood to be constantly reiterated. Whether Juan Liz was right in affirming that part of the problem in the Spanish–Catalan dispute is due to the fact that the competing national projects are simultaneously too strong and too weak (Linz 1973), it is undoubtedly true that both nationalism are embedded in cultural and discursive structures, so predominant that they often pass as invisible. In this chapter I link these assumptions about the ‘banal’ nature of nationalism to a socio-culturalist (e.g. Moffitt 2016; Ostiguy 2017) and discursive perspectives (Laclau 2005) on populist and nationalist politics. According to this approach, the key is not the content of these forms of politics; rather the way populism and nationalism are formulated and articulate their claims. Therefore, nationalism is here considered as a discourse structured around the nodal point ‘nation’, seen as a territorial-defined and sovereign community that is constructed through a horizontal spatial line, an in/out (member/non-member) opposition between the nation and its out-groups. As for populism, on the other hand, this is considered as the discourse centred around the nodal points ‘the people’ and ‘the elite’, in which the meaning of these is constructed through a down/up antagonism between ‘the people’ as a large powerless group and ‘the elite’ as a small and illegitimately powerful group. These two discursive approaches can work autonomously when articulated by different ideologies, but can also interconnect in ‘a particular structure of meaning in

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which a multi-layered meaning of “the people” (as underdog and as nation) plays a central role’ (De Cleen 2017, p. 347; De Cleen and Stavrakakis 2017; Stavrakakis 2017). Quite intuitively, however, ‘the people’ and the ‘elite’ (in populism), and the ‘nation’ (in nationalism) are not actual entities; rather they are constructed by specific political discourses. Seeing populism and nationalism as discourse and performance means to pay attention to their major features, which are: (1) the idea of ‘the people’ in populism and ‘the nation’ in nationalism and (2) the division of society between two main blocs, either in the vertical (populism) or horizontal (nationalism) axis. Given this theoretical framework, in this chapter I contend that through the construction of a bottom/up antagonism, in which the referendum became the central axis of the whole spectrum of political forces, and thanks to the permanent mobilization of civil society, Catalan separatism has been moving towards a combination of nationalist and populist strategies. Remarkable in this sense is Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC)’s political strategy, clearly exposed since the early 2010s. Catalonia wants to make a proposal to the entire world. A proposal that is radically democratic, based on the right to decide, which places the sovereignty of the people in the center of the national and social life. Catalonia has an opportunity to create the first state appropriate for the 21st century: founded on social (…) and economic stability. A state built on social participation, democracy, and the right to choose. A state associated with the European Union. The first state in the world built for the future. (Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya 2012)

Similar statement were made, a few years later, by opposite parties in the ideological spectrum. Furthermore, political parties from dissimilar ideological background have been able to collaborate thanks to the construction of a common enemy—the Spanish State—which has epitomized at the same time the ‘elite’ and the out-group. All in all, seeing populism and nationalism as discourse and performance enables to explore the way in which their claims have been voiced.

Exploring Affective Narratives How have ‘the people’ and ‘the nation’ been articulated in the political discourse in Catalonia and Spain? In order to answer this question

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it is convenient to retake some of the ideas developed by the recent scholarship within the so-called ‘affective turn’. Over the last decades, a broad array of scientific fields in social sciences has pointed to the role of emotion within the social and political domains, and has influenced research on nationalism, populism, and social movement studies among other subjects (e.g. Damasio 1994; Forgas 2000; Goodwin et al. 2001). On a general note, it is argued that emotions are part of our identity, and they play a crucial role in forming our worldviews and creating social bonds, together with values, attitudes, rituals and performances of all kinds. In addition, emotions motivate individuals and groups to engage in political action. They can be both the means and the ends of these actions, and they shape, often rhetorically, political goals and strategies. The scholarship has emphasized the idea that people mobilize, also stimulated by their affective dispositions, in order to overcome some form of perceived and real injustice. Drawing on this broad literature, and challenging a rigid positivist interpretation of politics, a heterogeneous scholarship has recently highlighted the emotive underpinnings of populist politics (e.g. Cossarini 2018; Cossarini and Vallespín 2019; Demertzis 2013, 2019; Mouffe 2013; Rico et al. 2017; Stavrakakis 2005, 2017), pointing to the affective dimension as an essential aspect through which looking at this form of doing politics. Either stressing the charismatic leadership, or the ‘bad manners’ supposedly associated to populist politicians, social research has recently focused on various concrete types of emotions. Fear, nostalgia and anger, for instance, are being analyzed as important drivers of populism (Kenny 2017), in backward-looking, reactionary, and anti-liberal political parties (Betz and Johnson 2004) as well as in ‘radical’ left-wing politics (Boym 2002; Magni 2017; Rico et al. 2017). Similarly, humiliation and victimhood have attracted the scholarly attention, being considered as twin concepts (e.g. Jacoby 2015). Humiliation and victimhood have a long history in Western culture, describing a harmful sensation as well as a vector of social control. In the scholarship, these emotions have been linked to a framing process of a given situation perceived as unjust (Campbell and Manning 2014). Furthermore, these affective dispositions are considered culturally and historically rooted phenomena, heavily dependent on a given geographical sensibility. Linked to that, the scholarship on politics of collective trauma has been focusing on the way in which political conflicts are linked to the perception of victimhood among individuals and groups (e.g. Noor et al.

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2017; Vollhardt 2012). Victimhood and victimhood nationalism have been seen as a type of identity narrative involving the politicized narration of collective trauma—which often stem from war, colonial oppression or ethnic cleansing—that leads to a sense of loss and resultant grievances (Lerner 2018). However, this scholarship has only vaguely been linked to the study of collective identity within ethno-regionalist movements and nationalism. Drawing on this literature, in this chapter I explore how nationalism and populism are intertwined and linked to an array of political narratives structured around specific affective dispositions—among which everyday victimhood is seen as a specific part of the Catalan populist-nationalist trajectory. Methodologically, affect and emotions are considered within the framework of an integrated model that incorporates different fields of research, such as social movement studies (e.g. Gamson 1992; Goodwin et al. 2001), discourse theory, and visual and communication analysis. In this sense, it is worth noting that within the field of political communication various forms of populist and nationalist discourse have been linked to an extensive use of emotional rhetoric (Engesser et al. 2017; Van Kessel and Castelein 2016). Interestingly enough, the scholarship has also stressed how images and symbols contribute to collective identityformation through the evoking of shared affective dynamics (e.g. Doerr et al. 2013; Bleiker 2018). Here it is argued that visual methods add valuable insights to text-based discourse analysis, and enable to properly deal with the rhetorical and visual expressions of emotions. This body of literature shows how the affective dynamics are related to the process of social mobilization and identity-formation, and are thus connected to the discursive and performative construction of the central ideas of nationalism and populism, ‘the people’ and ‘the nation’. In this sense, to analyze the role of affective dynamics in the populismnationalism nexus means exploring how the former are rhetorically and visually articulated.

Banal Populism in Catalonia and Spain It has to be acknowledged that Billig’s idea of nationalism is based on his state-centred and top-down notion of nationhood, which to some extent overlooks the place of individuals in discursively producing the nation (Skey and Antonsich 2017). Yet, the banal flaggings, while remaining

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in the background, give substance to the logic of national identity and the articulation of nationalist discourses. Drawing on the aforementioned framework, and borrowing from Billig’s idea of ‘banal’, this chapter moves on to consider the affective and visual dynamics in the populismnationalism nexus in Catalonia. The focus will be on a heterogeneous set of ‘flaggings’ (statements, discourses, images, tweets, etc.) that have been characterizing the political debate within the Spanish–Catalan dispute. The argument is twofold. On the one hand, I argue that it is through these ‘banal flaggings’ that the connection between populism and nationalism comes about and becomes politically relevant. On the other hand, I contend that populism to some extent goes unnoticed, as much as nationalism in Billig’s argument, also thanks to the discursive and performative role of affect. In fact, if national identity is ‘greatly enhanced by the widespread acceptance of collective symbols such as the flag, anthem, or national holiday whose meanings may change over time but whose forms remain relatively fixed’ (Smith 2009, p. 25), populist discourse witnesses a similar process. Also given the pervasive logic of current forms of political communication, made of social media’s echo chambers, the ubiquitous ‘populist flaggings’ become an everyday experience triggering individual and collective identity-formation. In this process, the conceptualization of the key elements of populism and nationalism, ‘the people’ and ‘the nation’, as well as the division of society into two main blocs, are subject to current communication dynamics, which often operate on the basis of flows of praise or discredit, hence emotions and affect. Reiterating the Humiliated Nation The process of framing reality as an unjust situation, where a harmful act gives birth to a specific political narrative centred on humiliation and victimhood, has for long been at the centre of the Spanish–Catalan relationship. A long series of episodes are illustrative of this. Right at the beginning of Spanish democratic history, Jordi Pujol (former Governor of Catalonia) fostered the institutionalization of Catalan nationalism, fuelling with his political discourse the perceived inferiority of the Catalan people in regard to the Spanish national identity. He often contended that, as a result of the Francoist dictatorship, the Catalans emerged in the new democratic context in manifest linguistic, political and institutional inferiority (Pujol 1977). In more recent years, this process has been

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backed by different social and political actors. The former governor of Catalonia Artur Mas, for instance, has been massively using the language of injustice, often relating it to economic variables. In Mas’ words: ‘This is the new central issue in Catalonia. A Catalonia that suffers, like the rest of the countries in Europe, the harsh consequences of the financial crisis, that suffers the consequences of having to drastically reduce its public spending to meet the deficit objectives that are disproportionately, unjustly, and disloyally imposed by Spain, and that suffers the consequences of having to shoulder the return of a debt of massive dimensions. It faces this difficult and complex situation without any of the tools that states have at their disposal, and with the growing sensation that the state that we helped to construct neither protects us, nor defends us, nor respects us’ (Castro 2013, p. 11). In this process of framing the reality as an unjust situation, the identification of an enemy is an essential step. There is no victim without a perpetrator. The victimhood identity promoted by leading Catalan figures contributed to shape the common enemy, Spain, understood as the central State and its political and institutional actors including conservative forces, such as the Popular party, the Monarchy and the judiciary apparatus. In 2014, the year of in which the first referendum of independence was held (officially reframed as citizen participatory process), Mas was clear: ‘I know that the real adversary is the Spanish state, as it does everything possible so that the people of Catalonia can not be consulted’ (Ruiz Casado 2019, p. 10). These few example parallel what has happened during the 2017 referendum campaign and in its aftermath. Following the police intervention, Catalan civil society took the streets to demonstrate against the violent and brutal actions of police officers that took place on the referendum day. Besides, Òmnium Cultural circulated a video campaign called ‘Help Catalonia’ which went viral in the months following the referendum. Participants take part in rallies, showing their outrage and employing a silenced face and the motto of ‘Help Catalonia’ as rhetorical device to voice critique of Spanish intervention during the October 1 referendum and the subsequent suspension of the Catalan self-government. This parallels the heterogeneous slogans and mottoes that were shouted during the street’s acts and protests all over Catalonia, but also in other Spanish cities, which have also monopolized the online debate thanks to the widespread use of hashtags such as

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#SpainIsAFascistState; #catalunyalliure; #LlibertatPresosPoliticsiExiliats; #NiOblitNiPerdo, among others. Interestingly enough, the Assemblea Nacional Catalana along with other civil society organizations and political forces accused the Spanish government (Popular Party was in charge in the Autumn 2017) for having infringed basic human rights, affirming that ‘the Catalan people did not want war but the Spanish state had declared war on us’ (Orriols 2017). These diverse discourses draw on affective dispositions that converge around the humiliation-victimhood and precisely shape the two key entities of all manifestations of populism and nationalism—that is, ‘the people’ and ‘the nation’. In this sense, the unjust situation can leads to identity-formation, besides inspiring a diverse set of affective disposition, from resentment, to anger and overt rebellion. Shaping the People-as-Nation: Victimhood and Action It is worth stressing that identity can be both a precondition for, and a result of mass mobilization. In both cases, collective action needs the presence of a ‘we’, which supplies the sense of cohesion and solidarity, as well as the identification of the ‘others’, which is the collective the movement or collective action moves against (Melucci 1996). Catalan separatism has been able to mobilize vast swathes of the society over the last years, taking the streets and claiming for an array of demands, which have converged around identity-related issues (Catalan language and heritage), but also more concrete financial requests, and political ideals. Here, it is important to stress widespread use of flags made by Catalan separatism. The Catalan flag—in both its Senyera and Estelada versions, though the latter gained special visibility recently—has been used as symbol of republicanism (against the Spanish Crown), and icon of the peaceful and democratic separatist movement. This is opposed to the use of the Spanish national flag, which often is symbolically and emotionally connected to a pro-status quo idea of Spain, based on territorial unity and constitutional monarchy. A first consideration about mass mobilization and the use of flags is that, symbolically and aesthetically, flags determine the contours of belonging and emotionally synthetize the participation of citizens to one of the opposing sides. Also, flags are part of the performative features that reiterate, reinforce and essentialize the stark divisions within society. This also leads to the fact that the use of such symbols is politically related to specific conceptualizations of the

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state and democracy. Catalan separatism has been peacefully claiming for a legal referendum of independence. #wewanttovote has been one of the most common hashtag employed by citizens and political leaders sympathizing with independence. In the Oriol Junquera’s official Twitter account on 12 December 2013 reads: @junqueras: ‘Our goal is to put the future of Catalonia in the citizens hands #tovoteistheway’. As well as in the civil association Súmate account: @sumate_asoc on 27 September 2014: #presidentMas: ‘Catalonia wants to talk and to be listened to; Catalonia wants to vote #wewanttovote’. Grounded in this discourses, the populist idea of ‘the people’ is conflated into those who belong to the new national-democratic project and relies on the idea of a sovereign subject who democratically choses its future as a nation through an in-out referendum. Additionally, in a ERC’s tweet on 8 April 2014 political action is combined with a positive affective response to the unjust situation perpetrated by Spain. @esquerra_ERC: @MartaRovira: ‘No podran res davant d’un poble, unit, alegre i combatiu’ #QueremosVotar (They cannot do anything to a united, joyful and combative people #wewanttovote). Similarly, while Junts pel Sí (JxSí, Together for ‘Yes’) contended that the 2015 plebiscite vote would lead to ‘economic prosperity, social justice, solidarity, equal opportunities, hope, dignity and freedom’ (Roger 2015), the CUP (Popular Unity Candidacy)’s mobilization and referendum campaign was based on the slogan ‘No fareu callar la veu d’un poble’ (You will not silence the voice of a people) (Fig. 3.1). This image is the CUP’s banner for the referendum campaign for the 2017 referendum of independence. This picture is particularly interesting since it epitomize the conflation of the vertical/horizontal axis that characterizes and distinguishes populism and nationalism according to the literature (De Cleen and Stavrakakis 2017). Visually, the in-out, horizontal axis of nationalism is represented by Spanish figures who are expelled by hitting them with a broom, while the contour of the vertical axis is represented by Catalan figures—such as Artur Mas—who are symbol of the ‘corrupt elite’. Additionally, noteworthy is the use of visual language, and the fact that political parties and social movements often tap into the shared visual knowledge of the society they are rooted in. In the Spanish context, this takes the form of a longstanding, historical and political battle between Catalonia and the rest of Spain that reached its pick during the Francoist dictatorship. Using a pre-existing collective imaginary to criticize

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Fig. 3.1 CUP manifesto for the 2017 referendum (Source www.cup.cat)

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current power dynamics also triggers the collective identity-formation. Indeed, political forces and civil society in Catalonia have been framing the Spanish government’s often-violent reaction in term humiliation, therefore contributing to a sense of victimhood and injustice. Furthermore, while emotions are essential to identity-formation, they also lead individuals and groups to mobilization. Seen as the feeling side of values, emotions can perform an important link between political and moral principles and actions. In this vein, contending the status quo, mobilizations often re-interpret specific aspects of political realm through an emotional, cognitive, and normative re-framing of the reality. Moreover, as has been argued, participants tend also to experience an array of affective dispositions from their being involved in public ‘encounters’ with other peers during the protests (Tejerina et al. 2013, p. 437). As such, both cognitive and emotional mechanism are embedded into networks of relations. By creating shared social bonds, these affective trends can engender trust and solidarity, and thus form a basis for collective identity and more persistent engagement with the movement. Despite outrage and indignation being considered essential emotions during protests and marches, other affective states such as joy, empowerment, and hope were clearly involved and played a key role in generating and sustaining collective identities. As one may expect, this is the case for rallies in favour of Catalan independence as well as for those citizens who marched against it. On 10 February 2019 right-wing parties called for mobilization in support of Spanish Unity. The rising far right party Vox, along with Popular Party and Citizens (Ciudadanos in Spanish) managed to gather thousands of people in Colón Square, central Madrid, one of the traditional areas where conservative forces celebrate their victories and march against progressive policies. This pairs with the different right-wing rallies that have since late 2017 taken place in major Spanish cities (included Barcelona), where national flags and slogans to unity, Spanish national proud, Monarchy and constitutional order abounded—which undoubtedly represented a fertile ground for the re-emergence of the deeply conservative narrative that lies at the core of Vox (Fig. 3.2). The image above is taken from the Vox’s official Facebook account where the face of Carles Puigdemont was posted, and it reads: ‘Don’t let them get away with it; participants in the coup d’état to prison’. The image visually reproduces a separatist leader to be jailed and revels a certain degree of trivialization of the public debate. This, to some extent,

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Fig. 3.2 Vox banner against pro-independence politicians (here Carles Puigdemont) (Source https://www.facebook.com/vox.espana)

resonates with the ‘bad manners’ that Moffitt (2016, p. 55) identifies as a stylistic essence of populism, which in turn echoes the performative logic that populism activates increasing the emotional dynamics of the dichotomous division in opposing social blocs.

Conclusion This chapter analyzed the Spanish–Catalan clash by addressing the populism–nationalism nexus and its visual and affective dimension. Drawing on a mixed approach that bridges populism and nationalism studies on the one hand, and affective and visual analysis on the other hand, in this chapter I advanced some hypotheses about the interplay between the nationalist and the populist discourse in the Spanish and Catalan context. Drawing on current literature on populism and nationalism, I first elucidated their relationship and their connection. I then acknowledged the centrality of affect and emotions in politics, and highlighted their link to the central set of ideas of populist and nationalist politics. In this sense, emotions and their visual translations are viewed not simply as another set of variables but as crucial components of concrete

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struggles for power and as methodological tools for theorizing such processes. Drawing on a discourse and visual analysis of the events that led to and followed the Catalan referendum of independence in 2017, I stressed some patterns and dynamics that enhance the understanding of the populism–nationalism nexus in the Catalan and Spanish context. First, affect and emotions have undoubtedly contributed to reinforce the antagonistic split between two social and political blocs. Second, political discourse and its affective dimension have created the basis for a conflation of the key elements of both populism and nationalism. In this vein, the link between nationalism and populism is to be found in the identification of the nation as the underdog ‘the people’ who, through the referendum, participate in the nationalist-democratic project and face another opposing power bloc, represented by the Spanish state. Moreover, in this article, I borrowed from Billig’s idea of ‘banal’ in order to epitomize the process of ‘populist flaggings’, through which populism and nationalism are connected and become an everyday and unnoticed, yet pervasive experience.

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CHAPTER 4

Discussing Ethnos, Polis, Demos and Cives in the Context of Spanish Politics Ignacio Brescó de Luna and Alberto Rosa

It could reasonably be said that we are living in challenging and uncertain times. On the one hand, globalization and the successive waves of economic crisis are shaking the social pact and eroding the sovereignty of nation states. On the other hand, cultural identities offer powerful symbolic tools whereby people can be emotionally mobilized whenever they feel that their group of belonging is at risk. As has become apparent in Europe and in Trump’s America, nationalism may cast away its banal appearance and take up xenophobic tones, advocating for ethnos (the cultural imagined community) to be the basis legitimizing polis (the state) at the expense of cives (citizens’ rights and duties). This makes one wonder whether the realm of affectivity (attached to a particular community) may be dissociated from the more rational realm of rights and

I. Brescó de Luna (B) Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark e-mail: [email protected] A. Rosa Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2021 Ó. G. Agustín (ed.), Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Sovereignty, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54867-4_4

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duties, and civic and political participation decoupled from the cultural and territorial dimensions of citizenship. Against the backdrop of these issues, this chapter will address some questions that are more specific to the current Catalan crisis: What sparked this crisis? Is this crisis about the civic right of the Catalan people to vote and decide upon their future? If so, how can such demos be defined? Does the Catalan issue mask a more large-scale political crisis affecting the Spanish political order? And if this were the case, is the Catalan crisis pointing to the need to renew the social pact in Spain? Is it calling attention to the need to re-signify Spain as an imagined community? These are questions that can only be addressed by broadening the view and looking at Catalonia within the wider context of the ups and downs of Spanish and Catalan political life over the last decades. We will start with a short review of the current Spanish political system and how Catalan society has been faring within it. We will continue with a review of what triggered the Catalan crisis and, from there, we will move onto a discussion of some key issues involved in it, such as the notion of sovereignty and the rhetorical uses of the term democracy by both sides. We will wrap up the chapter with some tentative conclusions.

The Spanish Constitutional System and the State Administration The 1978 Spanish Constitution currently in force was conceived as an attempt by the main political parties emerging from the first democratic election since the Spanish Civil War, and after forty years of dictatorship (Aguilar 2001), to reach a new social pact. During the so-called democratic transition period (1975–1979), the urge to reach a consensus between the forces stemming from the Franco dictatorship—especially the military—and those opposing the old regime—ranging from leftwing parties and trade unions to Basque and Catalan nationalists—gave rise to a constitutional text that was deliberately open and imprecise in some parts, particularly those concerning the territorial model. Approved in the Spanish parliament by a vast majority (325 votes in favour), the constitutional text received just 6 votes against and 14 abstentions from Basque nationalists and members of today’s People’s Party, with all but one Catalan MP supporting the bill. The Constitution was subsequently ratified in a national referendum with the support of 91.8% of voters from

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a turnout of 67.1%. It is worth noting that Catalonia was among the regions that yielded the highest public support. The territorial model established by the Spanish 1978 Constitution resulted in the division of the country into 17 autonomous regions or communities, each of them endowed with their own ‘Statute of Autonomy’. These statutes constitute the most important Spanish legal norms, second only to the National Constitution. They define, among other things, the political institutions of each region (its government, parliament and regional administration), as well as their competences, and financing. The consequence of such a model is that each of these regions has developed its own legislation (in addition to national laws), its own administration and, in some cases, (for example, in the Basque Country, Navarre and Catalonia) its own police force. Autonomous regions have taken charge of most State expenditure (health, education, housing, water, agriculture, roads, etc.), and they also have the legal capacity to create their own taxes, besides national taxes. However, the State retains control of most tax revenue (mainly income tax and VAT), which is then redistributed among the regions through the so-called Council for Tax and Finance Policy, comprised of the State Ministry of Finance and the finance secretaries of each regional government. The Basque Country and Navarre are an exception to this norm, since their respective Statutes of Autonomy establish—because of alleged historical reasons recognized by law—that their citizens do not have to pay any taxes to the Central Government but to their own taxing authority alone. This authority then pays for the services that the State provides in their territories, and for some other items such as national defense. This results in a cupo (quota), a fixed amount agreed upon through a five-yearly bilateral negotiation between each of these two regions and the Spanish Tax Ministry. One of the flaws of the Spanish constitutional system is that it fails to provide a stable framework for the link between the central administration and the autonomous regions. Consequently, these regions are constantly claiming new competences and more funding from the central administration. This, together with the existence of nationalist parties with a significant number of MPs in the Spanish Parliament, mainly from Catalonia and the Basque Country, makes the central government (irrespectively of which of the two main national parties is in office) to be in a rather weak position when there is not a stable majority in the chamber. All in all, since the end of the dictatorship and throughout the last four decades, Spain’s political structure has evolved from being

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a highly centralized state to an open and as yet undefined decentralized model, which nonetheless enshrines a unitary conception of national sovereignty, as stated in the Preliminary Title of the Spanish Constitution (1978), particularly in Articles 1.2 and 2: Article 1.2: National sovereignty belongs to the Spanish people, from whom all State powers emanate. Article 2: The Constitution is based on the indissoluble unity of the Spanish Nation, the common and indivisible homeland of all Spaniards; it recognizes and guarantees the right to self-government of the nationalities and regions of which it is composed and the solidarity among them all.

The ambiguous term nationality, referring to those regions endowed with a particular linguistic, cultural and historical identity, implies a merely political meaning, with no further legal consequences, the Spanish nation being the single sovereign demos recognized in the Constitution of which nationalities form part (Guibernau 2013). Such a territorial model amounts to a decentralized unitary state, yet not a federation, since sovereignty belongs to the people of Spain at large and is not shared among autonomous regions and the Spanish State (Kraus 2017). As the Spanish Constitutional Court clearly stated in one of its first judgments rendered in the early years of the democratic period: ‘autonomy is not sovereignty’ (judgement 7/81, February 2, 1981, quoted in Kraus 2017). This has obvious implications when it comes to the right of self-determination insomuch as, according to the case-law of the same court, a self-determination referendum cannot be held without a prior constitutional reform for which a qualified majority in the Spanish Parliament, along with the subsequent ratification by the Spanish people as a whole, is needed (Queralt 2018). Such legal requirements—provided for in the Constitution itself—have led some critical voices (Guibernau 2013; Gagnon and Sanjaume-Calvet 2017) to denounce the legal gridlock that this model implies. According to Guibernau (2013, p. 12), ‘this implies that even if the majority of Catalans were to defend a specific option, because they are a minority within Spain, they have no possibility of moving forward unless specifically allowed by the Spanish state’.

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Some Basic Data About Catalonia Catalonia has a strong sense of identity, founded primarily on language and a thriving cultural life, in addition to a strong economic structure and civil society. It was there, and in the Basque Country, where the industrial revolution first gained a foothold in Spain. Throughout the twentieth century, these two regions therefore attracted immigration from other areas of Spain with weaker economies. As a result, a significant proportion of the immigrant working-class population were seen as foreign to vernacular traditions. As time went by, Catalonia became a fairly well-integrated society, with many of its members being fully bilingual. As Dowling (2017, p. 49) rightly points out, ‘there are few spaces of homogenous Spanish-speaking or Catalan-only-speaking communities. Heterogeneity and hybridity is therefore the principle feature of contemporary Catalonia’. According to the National Statistics Institute of Spain, in 2018 Cataluña was the autonomous region with the highest GNP in Spain, the second in population and the third in GNP per capita. This region—together with Madrid, the Basque Country, Navarre and Aragon—therefore has a GNP per capita that is above the EU average, while that of Spain as a whole amounts to 93% of the EU average. Catalanism, as a political movement, first appeared at the end of the nineteenth century. It was inspired by two main goals: the reinvigoration of cultural community (ethnos ) in Catalonia via the achievement of greater levels of autonomy; and the modernization of the state (polis ) in Spain under a Catalan political and economic leadership (Cacho Viu 1998; Dowling 2017). At the beginning of the twentieth century, some levels of autonomy were achieved; first, by the foundation of the Mancomunitat1 (1914), outlawed during the Primo de Rivera dictatorship (1923–1930) and again reinforced some years later, during the Second Republic (1931– 1939), with the first Statute of Autonomy (1932), abolished by Franco after the Civil War (1936–1939). Franco’s regime recentralized the country and forbade the use of any language besides Castilian. Unsurprisingly, this attempt backfired and only helped to fuel a sense of grievance, even if many members of the Catalan high bourgeoisie enthusiastically collaborated with Franco’s regime. Another effect was that language turned into an identity issue, making the defense of the Catalan language 1 A deliberative assembly that set up numerous public institutions related to health, culture and the Catalan language.

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a political demand supported by the vast majority of the population in Catalonia. At that point, the demands for democracy became inherently intertwined with claims for autonomy in Catalonia and the recognition of a pluralistic vision of the Spanish nationhood. In the early stages of the democratic transition period, a decree-law allowed for the restoration of the Generalitat , the Catalan government, suppressed by Franco. Following the proclamation of the 1978 Spanish Constitution, the Catalan Statute was approved in a referendum by a large majority of the population of Catalonia. This ushered in a period of political stability and economic growth, characterized by the ruling hegemony in Catalonia of the centre-right nationalist party CIU (Convergència i Unió) led by Jordi Pujol. From the early 80s to the early 2000s, the Catalan government’s policy line was inspired by what was known as pragmatic Catalanism, combining a successful institutionalized reinforcement of national identity (e.g. normalization of the Catalan language in schools and institutions, establishing regional public media, a Catalan police force, etc.), while ruling out any push for independence. This resulted in the propagation of a kind of banal nationalism (Crameri 2015) that left little room for pro-independence movements, which were virtually marginal at that time in Catalonia. This stood in contrast to the Basque Country, which was by then immersed in a wave of terrorist attacks by the terrorist group ETA. Pragmatic Catalanism also led the CIU to give parliamentary support to the two main political parties alternating in Spanish government, namely, the Socialist Party (PSOE) and the conservative People’s Party (PP), in exchange for the transfer of competences to the Catalan autonomous region. However, CIU support became unnecessary after the PP’s parliamentary majority in the 2000 national elections. The People’s Party government began toughening its discourse on Spanish nationalism, alleging the gradual splitting up of the Spanish nation and the undermining of the Spanish language, particularly in Catalonia. Regarded as a threat to Spanish national unity, ‘peripheral nationalism was increasingly portrayed as discriminating against a common and shared heritage of Spanishness’ (Dowling 2017, p. 71). In the years to come, the CIU would pay the price for its alliances with the PP. In 2003, the socialist Pasqual Maragall, the former mayor of Barcelona, became president of the Generalitat, thus putting an end to 23 years of uninterrupted government by the CIU. Coinciding with the PSOE’s accession to Spanish government, the Maragall-led coalition—comprised of socialists (PSC), former communists and ecologists

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(ICV), and left-wing Catalan nationalists (ERC)—took the reformist path of Catalanism by promoting a federal political project for Spain—deeply rooted in republican Catalanism—based on the idea of Spain as a nation of nations. By then, a wide social and political consensus on the need to review the Catalan Statute of Autonomy of 1979, as a solution for renewing the Catalan political project within Spain, was already formed. In fact, all the political parties in the 2003 Catalan elections (except the PP) included a reform proposal for the Statute in their programmes. As Dowling (2017, p. 3) puts it, ‘this was broadly seen as an opportunity to update autonomy and bring it into line with the social and economic changes that had occurred since the late 1970s’. Apart from the recognition of Catalonia as a nation within a multinational conception of Spain, the draft for the new Statute included: the legal protection of certain regional competences, the creation of a Catalan judiciary system similar to those applied in federal states, the equalization of the Castilian and Catalan languages in terms of rights and duties—giving preference to the latter in the Catalan administration and educational system—and a new regional financing and taxation model. The latter aspect touches upon one of the major traditional claims emanating from Catalonia, namely the fact that it has little political say over its fiscal relationship with the rest of Spain. When it comes to wealth distribution, Catalonia’s average contribution to Spain is—along with that of other regions, such as Madrid and the Balearic islands—larger than what it receives in terms of state investment in the region.2 This is known as the fiscal deficit, sometimes expressed in the slogan Espanya ens roba, Spain is robbing us. As Dowling (2017, p. 134) points out, ‘whilst estimates vary as to its full extent, there is no denial of its existence’. All in all, the transformative project for Spain through the agreement on a new Statute is reflected in the following words uttered by Maragall in the Catalan Parliament back in 2000:

2 Recent official data published by newspapers on state investment since 2010 put the average state investment in Catalonia at 13% of GDP, six points below the weight of Catalonia (19%) in proportion to Spanish production on the whole, and three below the percentage of the Catalan population in Spain (16%) (see Spanish newspaper El País 2019).

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We need a Catalonian economic strategy aimed at restoring our position of leadership in relation to Spain and Europe. And we need this not just for the sake of Catalanism; we need it because we are convinced that Catalonia’s contribution to the construction of a more developed and harmonious Spain and Europe may be important… without the sincere involvement of Catalonia, Spain will not be complete, not only will it not be what we would like it to be, it will not be Spain. (quoted in Grad Fuchsel and Martín Rojo 2003, p. 46)

A Short Story of How the Crisis Was Cooked The Catalan crisis is the expression of many crises, especially of an economic, political and territorial kind (Serra et al. 2018). As Rübner Hansen (2017) points out, it is the product of a perfect storm, where current international issues stemming from the 2008 financial crisis, the growing political deterioration of liberal democracies and the rearrangement of national sovereignty around the world mingle with an explosive combination of Spanish local matters. Of particular importance is the erosion of legitimacy of political institutions following countless scandals—affecting major political parties (both Spanish and Catalan), the banking system and even the monarchy—that came to light at the same time as severe economic cutbacks and austerity measures were being inflicted upon society. However, above and beyond these matters, there is a widespread consensus that the Catalan crisis was triggered by the 2010 ruling of the Spanish Constitutional Court on the reform of the Catalan Statute, which prompted many Catalans to move from reformist to unilateral secessionist positions. The proposal for the reform of the Statute was launched at a time when the Socialist Party was in power in Madrid and also in Barcelona with the Maragall-led coalition with the Catalan nationalist left. The proposal was approved in the Catalan Parliament in 2005 with the support of 90% of its MPs, with the negative votes coming from the People’s Party (PP). After that, the bill was approved by the Spanish Parliament with the support of all the political parties with the exception of the PP, by then the main opposition party, even though many of its articles were amended to comply with the Spanish Constitution. One year later, the bill was ratified in a referendum in Catalonia. Immediately afterwards, the PP made a plea of unconstitutionality before the Spanish Constitutional Court arguing

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that some parts of the Statute did not comply with the Constitution, a move that initiated the so-called judicialization of the Catalan political problem, with knock-on effects that would decide the political agenda right up to the present day. The PP also led a collection of signatures against the Statute, while some sectors close to that party encouraged a national boycott of Catalan products. This was in conjunction with harsh attacks on the Socialist Government for its negotiations with ETA, which eventually caused the Basque terrorist organization to lay down arms. It seemed that fanning Spanish nationalism (and stoking anti-Catalanism) was a profitable rhetorical strategy for toppling Rodríguez Zapatero’s Socialist government in Spain. In 2010, at the peak of the economic crisis, the Spanish Constitutional Court ruled that 14 articles of the Statute were unconstitutional and dictated the interpretation of about 30 more. These articles referred to the preferential use of the Catalan language over Castilian, the organization of the judiciary system and taxation. Furthermore, the Constitutional Court reaffirmed the different natures of the Catalan and the Spanish nations, the former being cultural and historical, and the latter being legal (Payero 2015). This ruling was not without controversy. To start with, it was the first time since the restoration of democracy that the Constitutional Court had ruled on a fundamental law ratified by referendum. In addition, such a decision took place amidst very exceptional circumstances within the Court itself. When the appeal against the Statute was resolved, the term of 3 of its 12 members had already expired, a fourth member had died with no successor having been appointed, and another member was disqualified as his impartiality was challenged.3 The Court’s decision sparked a high level of frustration in Catalonia that gave rise to a first mass demonstration in Barcelona in 2010 under the slogan: We are a nation. We decide. This demonstration—the first of a series held each September 11th, Catalonia’s national day—was initially backed by all the Catalan parties except for the PP. Some months before the ruling, when the Catalan question was still about improving autonomy, a joint article published by the 12 newspapers based in Catalonia warned:

3 This was a consequence of the PP refusal to negotiating in parliament, as mandatory

by law, who were to replace these justices.

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Let us not be confused, the real dilemma is whether to go forward or backward; whether to accept the democratic maturity of a plural Spain or blockade it. Not only is this or that article [of the Catalan Statute] at stake, but the constitutional dynamic itself is in danger: the spirit of 1977, which made the peaceful transition possible. There is serious cause for concern, as a maneuver to transform the ruling on the Statute into an authentic institutional lockdown could be on its way. A defensive tactic that is contrary to the foremost virtue of the Constitution, which is none other than its open and inclusive nature. (La Vanguardia 2009)

As some authors point out (Blas 2013, p. 400), ‘a judicial institution was challenging the decision adopted by democratic bodies (the Catalan and the Spanish parliament) and the Catalan people in a referendum. For many, it was no longer a matter of national or economic accommodation of Catalonia into Spain, but a democratic matter, too’. The consequence of these events translates well into figures. In 2006, when the new Statute was first approved, only 13.9% of the Catalan population was in favour of independence. Four years later, after the new Statute was toppled, the figure rocketed to 41% of supporters (see evolution of proindependence option in Fig. 4.1). In light of these figures, and due to the People’s Party’s hardline position on the Catalan issue, some people started regarding this political party as a kind of pro-independence-making machine. The rest of the events that precipitated the current deadlock situation are well known: Growing political wear on the Socialist government and landslide victory of Rajoy’s PP in the 2011 national elections. Mass demonstrations every September 11th in Catalonia with increasing

Fig. 4.1 Responses to the question: “Catalonia should be …” Survey conducted in Catalonia by the Generalitat’s official research body Centre d’Estudis d’Opinió (2019) between July 2006 and March 2019 (Source Centre d’Estudis d’Opinió 2019)

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support by civil entities. Social mobilizations, inspired by the Spanish Indignados movement, against the cutbacks by the Catalan centre-right CIU government headed by Artur Mas, in power since 2010; mobilizations that reached their peak in 2011 with the siege of the Catalan Parliament, forcing Mas to gain access by helicopter. Ensuing political shift in favour of Catalonia’s self-determination by Mas, thus initiating the so-called sovereignty process. New regional elections in Catalonia framed in a plebiscitary manner, with pro-independence parties running through a united front. Absolute majority of the pro-independence parties (70 seats out of 135) in the Catalan chamber4 and the swearing-in of Carles Puigdemont as the new president of the Generalitat, committed to moving the independence process forward. Approval, in a tense session in the Catalan Parliament, of the so-called ‘disconnection laws’, later annulled by the Spanish Constitutional Court on the grounds that they provided for a binding self-determination referendum and the transition towards an independent Catalan republic. Catalan independence referendum on 1 October 2017 and police response by the Spanish government. Declaration of independence by the Catalan Parliament on October 27th, followed by the suppression of Catalan autonomy, the imposition of direct rule by the Spanish State and the imprisonment of Catalan politicians and activists on charges of rebellion against the State. Puigdemont’s flight abroad, along with other politicians. Elections in Catalonia and new pro-independence government. Motion of no confidence in Rajoy’s government, resulting in a minority socialist government supported by the left (Unidos Podemos ) and the Catalan and Basque nationalists (2018). National elections strongly marked by the Catalan problem and the rise of the Spanish extreme right for the first time since the Franco regime. Victory of the Socialist party (April 2019) and new horizons for a political way out of the Catalan issue, albeit heavily conditioned by a looming Supreme Court sentence on Catalan politicians, which is expected to be harsh.

4 But not in the number of votes cast, as only 47, 5% of voters backed pro-independence parties (http://gencat.cat/economia/resultats-parlament2017/09AU/ DAU09999CM.htm?lang=es).

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Eros and Thanatos of Ethnos: Spanish and Catalan Nationalisms One important side effect of the Catalan issue has been the rise of Spanish far-right nationalist groups, something unprecedented since the democratic transition. Unlike in other European countries—with the exception of Portugal and Ireland—extreme-right groups had not been very visible in Spain, even despite the economic crisis and important migrant waves, partly because a significant proportion of their supporters were within the PP constituency. Now, far-right political parties, such as Vox, are gaining momentum—making their way into regional parliaments and the National Congress—not so much due to migration or the recent refugee crisis, but in the heat of the political instrumentation of the Catalan issue. The People’s Party’s traditional hardline position on that issue may be considered as a pro-independence-making machine, but the escalation of the conflict has propelled, in turn, a radicalization of Spanish nationalist discourse. According to Billig (1995, p. 78), nationalism is an ideology of the first person plural, where there can be no us without a them. The paradox in the Catalan issue is that large sectors fervently flying the flag of Spanish unity consider Catalans to be both part of us —as an essential part of the Spanish indissoluble unity—and, at the same time, part of them, a significant other vis-à-vis the Spanish nation. If political Catalanism failed to lead a state project for Spain, a common project on notions of cultural and political nationhood was never fully achieved in Spain either (Dowling 2017, p. 10). As Linz (1996) put it, the history of Hispanic nationalisms is the story of partially failed projects and shared frustrations. Spanish nationalism has not managed to build a solid and fully accepted nation-state; nor have peripheral nationalisms—particularly Catalan and Basque—managed to exercise sovereign power in their territories, whether as federal or independent states. Three main factors can be highlighted to account for the feeble nation-building process in Spain during the nineteenth century. The first one derives from a weak and slow modernization. According to Gellner (1983), nation-building processes went hand in hand with industrialization and the emergence of the bourgeoisie. In the case of Spain, industrialization started late and was mostly concentrated in the regions of the Basque Country and Catalonia; regions with a strong bourgeoisie class that rapidly started to develop their own nationalist programmes. The result was that Spanish nation building

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was not associated with a political, social or economic modernization project (Dowling 2017, p. 11). A second element has to do with education and the establishment of a national school system. Education is not only a means by which to spread a standardized language over the territory, but also to instil a national doctrine through history teaching and the nationalization of the past (Brescó 2008) in order to create a common imagined future (Brescó 2017). In Spain, though, the schooling rate was very low by the end of the nineteenth century. More importantly, education was mostly monopolized by the Catholic Church, who initially—and not without reason—regarded nationalism as a rival secular religion (Brescó and Martínez-Guerrero 2019). In Making Spaniards, Quiroga (2007) points out that it was not until the second decade of the twentieth century when the nationalization of the masses was systematically implemented in Spanish schools, under the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera. Thus, one century after the emergence of nationalisms in Europe, the Church cooperated with the Spanish State in the indoctrination of students according to the so-called National Catholicism ideology, a defining principle of Spanish nationality based on Catholicism, national unity and pride for the imperial past. This became the official ideology during Franco’s dictatorship (Boyd 1997), conveyed in the motto One, Great and Free, which was added to the national coat of arms. The third element refers to the historical construction of the internal other. According to Mosse (1975), the nationalization of the masses in Europe was mainly fueled by modern wars (e.g. the Franco-Prussian war, WWI, WWII, etc.) and by the new colonial empires. However, Spain had nothing of the sort. After the Napoleonic wars, Spain did not take part in any international conflict, its old empire was rapidly shrinking and it only experienced a few colonial wars, most of which ended in failure (see Brescó 2018). Indeed, the loss of the last overseas territories in the Spanish-American War (1898)—known in Spain as the Disaster of ’98—‘was seen by many as the complete collapse of the nation, unable to compare itself with the expanding European powers of the period’ (Álvarez Junco 2002, 32). Even more significantly, during the nineteenth century, while imperial expansion and nation cohesiveness were feeding each other in European counterparts, Spain underwent three long civil wars—the so-called Carlist wars—over the suppression of medieval law arrangements in the Basque country and Catalonia. In the twentieth century, Spain did not participate in either of the two World Wars but

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instead experienced a bloody civil war (1936–1939) resulting in a 40year dictatorship. Franco’s centralist and nationalist dictatorship did not manage to root out peripheral nationalisms, but they were rather activated and legitimized during that period—hence the term negative nationalization, referring to the Franco regime (Riquer i Permanyer 2018, p. 143). In sum, the nationalization of the masses in Spain arrived late and in a weak manner, and unlike in most European countries, it was not developed against external enemies or imperial rulers but against an ‘internal other’, be it that of leftists or that of regional separatism. In other words, Spanish nationalism fell short of creating an inclusive imagined community (Anderson 1983) that people—not only Catalans and Basques—could assume as their own. In that regard, it is significant that both Spain’s anthem (one of the few national anthems without lyrics) and the Spanish national flag (originally the Bourbon monarchy’s mid-eighteenth-century emblem, differing from that of the Republic) are still rejected by large segments of the population, particularly in Catalonia and the Basque Country, since they are symbolically associated with Franco’s regime. It was precisely in order to revert Franco’s appropriation of national symbols that the concept of constitutional patriotism was adopted in the mid1990s as the intellectual basis for a renewed Spanish nationalism wherein the Constitution of 1978 came to be given a talismanic quality (Dowling 2017, p. 71). Coined by Dolf Sternberger in 1979, and later popularized by Jürgen Habermas, the notion of constitutional patriotism was originally conceived as a new way to frame political identity in Germany, not on the basis of ethnicity and cultural traditions but on the organizational principles of the state and the democratic and civic values enshrined in a particular constitution (Habermas 1992). Whereas the notion of constitutional patriotism implied an obvious effort to push forward a renewed collective identity, this concept has not fared so well in the Spanish political context. According to Payero (2012), one crucial element underpinning German’s constitutional patriotism has to do with the politics of memory, something that, due to historical reasons, does not operate in the same way in the Spanish case. The 1978 Spanish Constitution resulted from a commitment to avoid further confrontation between the winners and the defeated in the Civil War, which also included an amnesty for the

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crimes perpetrated during the war and the subsequent dictatorship. This was supposed to heal old wounds, and so it did at that time, but a generation afterwards, it seems the healing was not complete. The so-called pact of silence, imposed during the democratic transition, still looms large in today’s memory politics (see Brescó 2019). Legislative efforts such as the Historical Memory Act (2007), approved by parliament in order to recover the memory of those killed, exiled and disappeared during the Civil War and the ensuing Francoist repression has been continuously met with a strong opposition. This intentional oblivion of a shameful past comes together with a version of political correctness that tries to wash past Francoist sins by turning nationalism into a sort of dirty word, so that while others can be termed (Catalan or Basque) nationalists, the word constitutionalism sometimes can act as a euphemism masking one’s own Spanish nationalism. Another important difference, according to Payero (2012), lies in the significance assigned to the constitution itself. Whereas in Habermas, the constitution stands as the core of liberties and rights recognized in a democracy, the Spanish context tends to focus on the literal wording of the Constitution passed in 1978, conceived as an object of patriotic adherence (Payero 2012, p. 13), resulting in what Velasco (2002) calls constitutional fundamentalism. Along these lines, during the second Aznar administration (2000–2004), a new Spanish nationalism, wrapped now in the Constitution, started portraying itself as the guardian of democracy while defining nationalism as that exhibited by others, particularly that of the Basques and the Catalans (Dowling 2017, p. 71).

Demos: Metonymies of Democracy and Rule of Law In his lucid essay on the Catalan issue, Rübner Hansen (2017, p. 27) notes, ‘In Catalonia, as elsewhere, “sovereignty” has become an empty signifier of the solution to the uncertainty of the interregnum, an affirmation of the need to “take back control”’. The same might be said about democracy, as all actors involved in the Catalan issue—regardless of their position—frame their respective political claims on the basis of democratic principles while accusing their opponents of being undemocratic, fascist or even supremacist. Disciplines such as social psychology have long studied how group dynamics operate; how collective action frequently involves increased perception of group homogeneity, a growing reification of both ingroups and outgroups, along with a mounting polarization between

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them (Mazur and Neset 2018, p. 100). Drawing on the classical Social Identity Theory (Tajfel 1982), Reicher and Hopkins (2001) highlight how groups create and use different categories to define themselves and others, how these collective categories mediate groups’ actions, and how conflicts at large come to be understood through such categories, which end up becoming something taken for granted. As these authors point out, it is often assumed ‘that we know who is confronting whom: black people versus white people, women versus men, Catholics versus Protestants, and so on. Yet, […] the nature of the sides is often a matter of dispute, and the differences between the views of the different parties can be a crucial part of the elaboration of the conflict’ (Reicher and Hopkins 2001, p. 394). A way to prevent this reification of social categories is to analyze them in relation to the organization of action, by looking, for instance, at how political claims by different actors are rhetorically expressed through language. In the Catalan issue, political claims are usually devoid of direct references to any nationalist goal. As indicated previously, claims are instead justified by appealing to democracy. This results in the use of different lexical dichotomies—albeit not semantically antonymous—to rhetorically define the opposition between us and them (see Grad Fuchsel and Martín Rojo 2003, p. 49). Dichotomies such as democrats and constitutionalists vs. nationalists, on the one hand, and sovereigntists vs. centralists and fascists, on the other, point to two different rhetoric strategies. In the former case, nationalism is assigned to the others as something contrary to the Spanish constitution, and hence to democracy, whereas in the latter case, sovereignty stands as a democratic demand vis-à-vis Spanish centralism and fascism, the antithesis of democracy. If, according to Voloshinov (1973/1930), there is a constant battle for the sign, we can observe that battle being waged over the meaning of democracy, whether by equating this term to the right to hold an independence referendum, or to the right (and duty) to enforce the legal order and prevent this referendum from happening. In both cases, the complex meaning of democracy is reduced to some of its parts: voting in a referendum for selfdetermination vs. the rule of law. In other words, metonymy—the figure of speech whereby the part is taken for the whole—stands as a rhetoric device used by each side in order to reify their respective position and political claims. On one side, it seems that democracy is reduced to the right to decide on a question framed in national terms, taking it for granted

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that it is for people to choose the national state to which they want to belong. The slogan, We vote to be free, released in the months leading up to the October referendum and stated in first person plural, points to the existence of a Catalan people, which is thus presented as a legitimate demos. We can also note a metonymic use in how the will of the Catalan people (along with their goals and the means by which to reach them) is voiced by particular social and political actors, who claim to stand for Catalan society as a whole. Either way, as García Agustín and Raftopoulos point out in the introduction chapter, the Catalan sovereigntist movement has managed to frame its claims in democratic terms by leaving nationalism aside in its discourses, while denouncing the coercive force of the State and claiming a democratic deficit in its organizational principles, particularly the Constitution and the judiciary. Indeed, the alleged right to decide has posed a major challenge to the Spanish legal order, as the Spanish Constitution only recognizes a single demos formed by ‘all Spaniards’, thus making any attempt to hold a referendum on self-determination illegal, unless there were a previous constitutional reform. That is precisely the key element of the discourse coming from the other side, according to which democracy is presented as abiding with the rule of law, specifically with the 1978 Spanish Constitution, and more particularly with Articles 1.2 and 2 of that law. Thus, according to this view, democracy would amount to the unity of Spain and, therefore, any attempt to call this unity into question is regarded as an anti-democratic move, even as a coup d’état; something that would allow—if not legally bind—the State to react with all means necessary. This rationale took on its most dramatic expression during the referendum in October 2017. As Rübner Hansen (2017, p. 21) points out, ‘the Spanish government […] weaponized the empty signifier “democracy” in defense of repression: since the constitution is the legal ground of Spanish democracy, and the referendum is against the constitution, cops beating voters would only be considered a defense of democracy’. However, as this author goes on to say, the result was that ‘the violent actions of the Guardia Civil made the point Catalan independentists have often failed to make convincingly: Spain and Catalonia are only held together by the threat or actuality of violence’ (Rübner Hansen 2017, p. 21).

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Sovereignty and Democracy Whether by putting democracy above the legal system in the form of a referendum based on the alleged sovereignty of the Catalan people, or by subsuming the popular will to the current legal framework—based on Spanish sovereignty—as a way to preserve democracy, the problem lies in the definition of demos, as the political subject where popular sovereignty resides. This seems to pose a quandary: should the Catalan issue be addressed through a referendum among all the citizens within the boundaries of the Catalan autonomous community or among all the citizens of Spain? Just like the majority rule principle, the democratic process presupposes a unity seen as legitimate by the population. In other words, ‘if there is no basic consensus about the identity of […] demos, invoking the principle of internal sovereignty to justify a majority decision may lead to major legitimacy problems’ (Kraus 2017, p. 107). To paraphrase Ivor Jennings’ famous remark: while it seems reasonable to let the people decide, the people cannot decide until someone decides who the people are (Jennings 1956, p. 56). Put another way, in these cases, collective self-determination goes hand in hand with the determination of collective selves (Yack 2001, p. 536). Popular sovereignty doctrine has traditionally used the existing state boundaries as a taken-for-granted basis on which to define the collective subject. According to Kraus (2017, p. 107), the Peace of Westphalia (1648) laid the groundwork for the connection between the territorial state and the identity of the collective subject who, with the advent of the popular sovereignty principle, would eventually replace the monarch as the bearer of sovereignty within a given state unit. As this author goes on to say, this pre-democratic origin of today’s understanding of sovereignty somehow resonates in the stress ‘the Spanish Constitution places on the one and indivisible nation’ (2017, p. 108, emphasis in the original). This natural assumption of political borders tends to be opposed by another natural assumption of what national communities are, taking the latter as the legitimizing basis for national self-determination and therefore the legitimate source of democracy and popular sovereignty. In this vein, Guibernau’s (2013) concept of emancipatory nationalism defends ‘the nation’s willingness to act and be recognized as a “demos” able to decide upon its own political future’, thus signalling ‘a key transition in the life of the nation evolving from adolescence to adulthood’.

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However, the problem with this organicist approach also lies in the predemocratic assumption of sovereignty, in this case based on a previously assumed ethnos willing to act and be recognized as a demos. Various ways of addressing the democratic challenge raised by the Catalan issue are on the table: making demos coincide with polis (the current Spanish state unit), or with an alleged preexisting ethnos (the Catalan nation), or identifying different demoi under the same polis (a plurinational state model). Whatever solution is chosen, it should involve examining the extent to which it contributes towards strengthening or undermining democratic values. In other words, the key point is to what extent is demos constituted according to democratic values, not the fact that it is constituted in the first place; something that seems an invariant of politics and, therefore, a historically unquestionable event. According to Innerarity (2018, p. 17), ‘there is no other solution than thinking of demos as a reflective, questionable, revisable and open reality’; a solution that would call for legal procedures not only aimed at securing and enforcing the current social pact, but also at allowing for democratic ways of actualizing it. As Linz (1996) reminds us, we must not forget that democracy is a way of organizing political life in a State. In other words, in the absence of a modicum of civic commitment to the organizational principles of the state, democracy is hardly a viable project.

And What About Cives? The concept of citizenship has traditionally been linked to and studied alongside the notions of ‘peoplehood’, ‘state’ or ‘nation’. While the notion can be traced back to Ancient Greece, the more recent (and contingent) link between citizenship, nationality and statehood is so ingrained nowadays that these terms seem to be virtually interchangeable. As Sindic (2011, p. 202) points out, ‘to be a citizen is to be a citizen of a specific country. Even the shaky concept of European citizenship is no real exception, for such citizenship can only be gained through being a citizen of one of the member-states in the first place’. However, the category of citizen, traditionally conceived as one equally applicable to all members of a political society, has now been confronted by the politics of difference in an ever-growing heterogeneous society and against the backdrop of a social pact that seems to be shaking (Rosa and Brescó 2017). The question of what makes somebody equal or different in rights and duties, to be one of us or one of them, has been at the core of a number

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of discussions on the notion of citizenship (see Rosa and González 2018). For some (e.g. Taylor 1989), there is no way in which a political community could exist without sharing cultural values, thus making demos and polis overlap and somehow making citizenship redundant (or making it collapse into nationhood). In a bid to surpass the nationality-based model of citizenship, others advocate for decoupling cives and polis from ethnos, thus separating civic and political participation-based on reason and human rights—from a national identity based on a cultural dimension. In Habermas’ (1994, p. 23) words, ‘the nation of citizens does not derive its identity from common ethnic and cultural properties but rather from the praxis of citizens who actively exercise their civil rights’. For other authors (Kymlicka and Norman 1994), political and cultural communities intersect, although not always smoothly. Citizenship is not simply a legal status defined by a set of rights and responsibilities. It is also an identity psychologically grounded in how people experience their participation within a given community (González and Rosa 2014). It is the assumption of forming part of the same group that legitimizes the redistribution of wealth through the tax system, or any political decision in which some stand to lose out for the sake of others and/or in the name of the general interest (Sindic 2011, p. 204). Given that politics of citizenship can no longer be sustained in nationally homogeneous identities, new ways of articulating the concept of citizenship with the political are required. According to Purvis and Hunt (1999), this implies taking the cultural dimension of the political, qua political, instead of expelling it out into a pre-political sphere. From this standpoint, the tension between citizenship and the politics of identity is one that cannot be resolved by rejecting one of these two dimensions, nor can it be surpassed by giving preeminence to one over the other. This is a permanent and open tension, but at the same time, ‘a uniquely productive one, marking a crucial condition of possibility for sustaining democratic politics’ (Purvis and Hunt 1999, p. 458). As these authors point out, ‘in the struggle to achieve an always contestable equilibrium of compromise between universality and particularity, resides the very precondition of democracy. If a solution to this paradox were to be found this would render democracy, indeed politics, redundant’ (p. 476).

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Conclusion There is no doubt that political tension in Catalonia will remain high in the short and medium term, not least in face of the imminent court decision on the Catalan politicians—in custody for over a year—and the next government formation in Spain, not to mention the future of Brexit and a possible second referendum in Scotland. Whether this is a problem relating to cives (viz., a growing minority no longer identified with the current social pact in Spain) or to ethnos (viz., the existence of a national identity different from that of the Spanish State), this is definitely an issue that should involve polis, or more precisely, a political response aimed at rethinking the organizational principles of the Spanish State. The Catalan crisis has called into question both this idea of demos in Spain and the current space for the exercise of rights and duties granted by the Spanish Constitution. Articles of this constitution sanctioning the existence of an allegedly pre-political community are now brought into political discussion with voices calling for a referendum in Catalonia. However, with more than 70% of Catalan residents advocating for some kind of referendum as a way out of the current political deadlock,5 no political proposal has been put on the table by the Spanish government so far. While some authors argue that sovereignty claims in Catalonia are not against Spain or Spaniards but against a deaf and motionless State, stonewalled to any kind of referendum on the matter, others warn against the partisan use of the referendum as a political weapon, rather than as an instrument for resolving the conflict (Garzón 2017). Given the fragmented state of the current Spanish political landscape, it seems that any attempt to break the current deadlock will require a commitment to overcoming received views about what nation or unity means. However difficult this endeavor may be, it should not be forgotten that, while there are competitive dimensions of democracy, which are governed by majority rule and result in the victory of one over the other, there is also a democracy based on political negotiation, more suitable for plural societies where social fracture stands as an actual risk (Innerarity 2018, p. 20). By the same token, if the Spanish State is to regain part of its

5 See surveys published in the Spanish newspaper El País (2017), https://elp ais.com/elpais/2017/09/22/media/1506106430_606062.html and in La Vanguardia (2019), https://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20190405/461465702740/partidariosindependencia-suben-barometro-ceo-referendum.html.

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legitimacy lost in view of many in Catalonia, it should make the social pact enshrined in the Spanish constitution be perceived as a resource rather than an obstacle in order to solve a political crisis affecting both Catalonia and Spain. Actualizing the social pact by adapting the constitution to an ever-complex political and social reality should focus on another important element implicit throughout this chapter: Eros (Shore 2004), not linked to an alleged ethnos, but to a reinvigorated cives.

References Aguilar, P. (2001). Justice, politics, and memory in the Spanish transition. In A. Barahona de Brito, C. González, & P. Aguilar (Eds.), Politics of memory: Transitional justice in democratizing societies (pp. 92–118). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Álvarez Junco, J. (2002). The formation of Spanish identity and its adaptation to the age of nations. History & Memory, 14(1/2), 13–36. Anderson, B. (1983). Imagined communities. London, UK: Verso. Billig, M. (1995). Banal nationalism. London, UK: Sage. Blas, A. (2013). Catalonian secessionism made in Spain. Ethnopolitics, 12(4), 398–401. https://doi.org/10.1080/17449057.2013.843247. Boyd, C. P. (1997). Historia patria: Politics, history, and national identity in Spain, 1875–1975. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Brescó, I. (2008). Giving national form to the content of the past: A study of the narrative construction of historical events. Journal of Psychology and Society, 1(1), 1–14. Brescó, I. (2017). The end into the beginning: Prolepsis and the reconstruction of the collective past. Culture & Psychology, 23(2), 280–294. Brescó, I. (2018). A rosy foreign country: Examining colonialism in Spanish history textbooks (1960–2010). In J. Pires & K. van Niuwenhuyse (Eds.), Representations of colonial pasts in (post)colonial presents: Historical and social psychological perspectives through textbook analysis (pp. 71–93). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishers. Brescó, I. (2019). Between the unbearable weight and lightness of the past. Banal Silence in Spain’s Post-Dictatorship Memory Politics. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 53(1), 44–56. Brescó, I., & Martínez-Guerrero, L. (2019). New wine into old wineskins: Examining nationalism as a secular religion. In S. Brown & L. Tateo (Ed.), The method of imagination (pp. 39–53). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishers. Cacho Viu, V. (1998). El Nacionalismo Catalán como Factor de Modernización. Barcelona: Quaderns Crema.

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Centre d’Estudis d’Opinió. (2019). CEO. Press Report of Political Opinion Barometer: 1st wave 2019. Retrieved from http://upceo.ceo.gencat.cat/wsc eop/7008/Abstract%20in%20English%20-919.pdf3. Crameri, K. (2015). Political power and civil counterpower: The complex dynamics of the Catalan independence movement. Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, 21(1), 104–120. https://doi.org/10.1080/13537113.2015.100 3491. Dowling, A. (2017). The rise of Catalan independence: Spain’s territorial crisis. London, UK: Routledge. El País. (2017, September 24). Sondeo sobre el referéndum en Cataluña. El País. Retrieved from https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/09/22/media/150 6106430_606062.html. El País. (2019, May 30). Las inversiones del Estado en Cataluña caen un 16% en 2018. El País. Retrieved from https://elpais.com/ccaa/2019/05/30/catalu nya/1559238690_879157.html. Gagnon, A. G., & Sanjaume-Calvet, M. (2017). Clash of legitimacies in Catalonia and Spain: The imperial logic of modern constitutionalism versus multinational federalism. In P. A. Kraus & J. Vergés Gifra (Eds.), The Catalan process: Sovereignty, self-determination and democracy in the 21st century (pp. 275–302). Barcelona: Generalitat de Catalunya, Institut d’Estudis de l’Autogovern. Garzón, A. (2017). The abstract independence of Catalonia: A reply to Pau Llonch. International Journal of Socialist Renewal, The Catalan national struggle and the left in the Spanish state—A dossier. Retrieved from http:// links.org.au/catalan-national-struggle-left-Spanish-state. Gellner, E. (1983). Nations and nationalism. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. González, M. F., & Rosa, A. (Eds.). (2014). Hacer (se) ciudadan@s: Una psicología para la democracia. Buenos Aires: Miño y Dávila. Grad Fuchsel, H. & Martín Rojo, L. (2003). “Civic” and “ethnic” nationalist discourses in Spanish parliamentary debates. Journal of Language and Politics, 2(1), 31–70. Guibernau, M. (2013). Secessionism in Catalonia: After democracy. Ethnopolitics, 12(4), 368–393. https://doi.org/10.1080/17449057.2013.843245. Habermas, J. (1992). Citizenship and national identity: Some Reflections on the future of Europe. Praxis International, 12(1), 1–19. Habermas, J. (1994). Citizenship and national identity. In B. van Steenbergen (Ed.), The condition of citizenship (pp. 20–36). London, UK: Sage. Innerarity, D. (2018). Punt de partida: La democracia en qüestió. In G. Ubasart & M. Seguró (Eds.), En clau de procés: 11 conceptes polítics (pp. 11–24). Barcelona: Herder.

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Jennings, W. I. (1956). The approach to self-government. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Kraus, P. A. (2017). Democratizing sovereignty: The Catalan “process” in a theoretical perspective. In P. A. Kraus & J. Vergés Gifra (Eds.), The Catalan process: Sovereignty, self-determination and democracy in the 21st century (pp. 99–119). Barcelona: Generalitat de Catalunya, Institut d’Estudis de l’Autogovern. Kymlicka, W., & Norman, W. (1994). Return of the citizen: A survey of recent work on citizenship theory. Ethics, 104, 257–289. La Vanguardia. (2009, November 26). La Dignidad de Catalunya. La Vanguardia. Available at: https://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/200 91126/53831123016/la-dignidad-de-catalunya.html. La Vanguardia. (2019, April 5). Los partidarios de la independencia siguen en auge pero no alcanzan el nivel de octubre de 2017. La Vanguardia. Retrieved from https://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20190405/461465 702740/partidarios-independencia-suben-barometro-ceo-referendum.html. Linz, J. (1996). Within nation differences and comparisons: The eight Spains. In R. L. Merritt & S. Rokkan (Eds.), Comparing nations (pp. 267–319). New Haven: Yale University Press. Mazur, L. B., & Neset, S. (2018). Democratic revolutions? Insights on social stability and social change from psychology and politics. In B. Wagoner, I. Brescó, & V. Gl˘aveanu (Eds.), The road to actualized democracy: A psychological exploration (pp. 85–109). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishers. Mosse, G. L. (1975). The nationalization of the masses. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Payero, L. (2012). Theoretical misconstructions used to support Spanish national unity: The introduction of constitutional patriotism in Spain. Presented at the European Consortium for Political Research Graduate Student Conference 2012, Bremen. Payero, L. (2015). The ‘citizen participation process’ in Catalonia: Past, present and future. Liverpool Law Review, 36, 237–256. https://doi.org/10.1007/ s10991-015-9174-7. Purvis, T., & Hunt, A. (1999). Identity versus citizenship: Transformations in the discourses and practices of citizenship. Social & Legal Studies, 8(4), 457–482. Queralt, A. (2018). Constitució. In G. Ubasart & M. Seguró (Eds.), En clau de procés: 11 conceptes polítics (pp. 71–83). Barcelona: Herder. Quiroga, A. (2007). Making Spaniards: Primo de Rivera and the nationalization of the masses, 1923–1930. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. Reicher, S., & Hopkins, N. (2001). Psychology and the end of history: A critique and a proposal for the psychology of social categorization. Political Psychology, 22(2), 383–407.

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Riquer i Permanyer, B. (2018). La Nació. In G. Ubasart & M. Seguró (Eds.), En clau de procés: 11 conceptes polítics (pp. 137–150). Barcelona: Herder. Rosa, A., & Brescó, I. (2017). What history to teach when the social pact shakes? In M. Carretero, S. Berger, & M. Grever (Eds.), Palgrave handbook of research in historical cultural and education (pp. 413–425). London: Palgrave Macmillan. Rosa, A., & González, F. (2018). Nurturing democratic citizens: A commitment for psychology? In B. Wagoner, I. Brescó, & V. Gl˘aveanu (Eds.), The road to actualized democracy: A psychological exploration (pp. 225–243). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishers. Rübner Hansen, B. (2017). Winter in Catalonia. Viewpoint Magazine. Available at: https://www.viewpointmag.com/2017/12/19/winter-in-catalonia/. Serra, M., Ubasart González, G., & Martí i Puig, S. (2018). Cataluña y La Triple Crisis Española. Nueva Sociedad: Democracia y Política en América Latin. Retrieved from http://nuso.org/articulo/cataluna-y-la-triple-crisis-esp anola/. Shore, C. (2004). Whither European citizenship? Eros and civilization revisited. European Journal of Social Theory, 7 (1), 27–44. Sindic, D. (2011). Psychological citizenship and national identity. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 21, 202–214. https://doi.org/10. 1002/casp.1093. Spanish Constitution. (1978). Boletín Oficial del Estado, 29 de diciembre de 1978, núm. 311, pp. 29313–29424. Tajfel, H. (Ed.). (1982). Social identity and intergroup relations. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Taylor, C. (1989). The sources of the self . Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Velasco, J. C. (2002). Patriotismo constitucional y republicanismo. Claves 125. Voloshinov, V. N. (1973/1930). Marxism and the philosophy of language (L. Matejka & I. R. Titunik, Trans.). New York and London: Seminar Press. Yack, B. (2001). Popular sovereignty and nationalism. Political Theory, 29(4), 517–536.

PART III

Understanding Collective Identities and Actions

CHAPTER 5

Moving Towards the Future, Returning to the Past: Catalan Collective Memories in Times of Unstable Hegemony

Óscar García Agustín and Malayna Raftopoulos

In an act of homage of the exiles from Banyoles and the Catalan region Pla de l’Estany (Girona), the Catalan president Quim Torra claimed that the historical memory must be based on “memory, justice, truth and repair” (in Europa Press 2019). Torra added that historical memory would only be possible if it ended up with repair and that: “We [Catalans] were capable of resisting Francoism and exile because we knew that the soul of the nation relied on resistance” (in Europa Press 2019). Although his words refer to the Catalans in exile, it is unavoidable to interpret Torra’s understanding of historical memory in a larger context, namely the resistance against Francoism and dictatorship. Torra makes

Ó. G. Agustín (B) Department of Culture and Learning, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark e-mail: [email protected] M. Raftopoulos Department of Politics and Society, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2021 Ó. G. Agustín (ed.), Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Sovereignty, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54867-4_5

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clear that the soul of the Catalan nation was developed for those who resisted oppression. The parallelism of the past with the present is quite obvious and the claim to repair contains evident implications about how to solve conflicts. References to the Catalan history in terms of oppression and resistance are not unusual in the case of Torra. One year prior to the homage act, in 2018, the Catalan president was acting as guide for a group of visitors to the Palau de la Generalitat and denounced the imposition of Spanish power over Catalan history. He complained specifically about the abundance of paintings of the Catholic monarchs of Spain. According to Torra, the paintings by Torres García were covered and removed under the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera because they were considered to be too Catalanist. This moment of oppression is extended by Torra to other recognisable moments: “During the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera, as usually happens to us, the [article] 155, Primo de Rivera, Franco, etc., they decided that it [fulfilling the assignment of the painter Torres García] cannot be” (in Fernández 2018). Rather than just being an anecdote about the paintings, it is important to note how it also illustrates the oppression by the Spanish state throughout history and how the dictators, Primo de Rivera and Franco, are equated with the application of article 155 and consequently with the government of Mariano Rajoy. These couple of examples show how history becomes one of the main elements at stake in the conflict between the Spanish and the Catalan governments. Collective memory becomes important to understand how groups create their identity through narratives which connect the past and the present. Mentions of the “national soul” of Catalonia resisting Spanish dictatorship through history reflect how the pro-independence movement evokes and re-signifies historical events and symbols to enhance a collective memory differentiated from and in conflict with the Spanish one. On the other hand, the unionist side activates a collective memory in which Catalonia has always been part of Spain and the Spanish state has the responsibility of maintaining the constitutional order. The antagonism of both historical memories contributes to highlight the deep level of disagreement and lack of common ground expressed politically by the impossibility of finding a solution to the Catalan situation. This chapter examines how the Catalan pro-independence movement shapes a collective identity, in opposition to the Spanish state, through historical references which are interpreted from the perspective of the present. Our understanding of collective memory is attached to the

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notion of hegemony and counter-hegemony since we argue that the different versions of history are conflictual and defined in terms of imposition and resistance (from the pro-independence side). We contend that 1-O worked as an event (or political moment) which enhanced the possibility of deepening a collective memory to explain the relation between the Spanish state and Catalonia as one of oppression and resistance. The hegemonic crisis, reflected by the necessity of the Spanish state to deploy coercion rather than consent, enabled pro-independents to connect the historical narratives of oppression with the narrative and explanation of 1-O. After reflecting on the relevance of 1-0 to reshape the collective memory, the chapter moves on to focus on other historical events that contribute to conform this alternative collective history: the war on secession, dictatorship and exile. All these references to Catalan history prove, for the pro-independence movement, that the current situation is not new and that it can only be understood by appealing to the collective memory.

The Politics of Memory and National Identity Historical memory, tied explicitly to “collective memory”, has played an important role in the evolution of Catalan nationalism. As Wang notes, “the link between historical memory and the rise of nationalism is essential to note because myths, memories, traditions, and symbols of ethnic heritage are what gives nationalism power” (2018, p. 31). Politicians frequently draw on the past to mobilise public support for their politics and political messages. Within politics, historical events and narratives are often used as instruments of politics, and strategically deployed to frame important issues or influence a society’s emotions in order to legitimise actions (Verovšek 2016). Defined as “a form of social memory in which a group constructs a selective representation of its own imagined past” (Boyd 2008, p. 134), historical memory has assumed a fundamental role in both creating and maintaining a sense of group activity (Crameri 2012, p. 35). However, given that historical memory is fluid, ideas are often reshaped by a number of factors like time, emotion or the politically savvy (Wang 2018, p. 2) and can result in the exacerbation of current animosities (Jedlicki 1999, p. 226). Jedlicki argues that this occurs firstly through the sanctification of certain historical events which not only turns dates, places, actors and relics into powerful symbols but also stories into unifying myths. Secondly, “a memory of collective wrongs

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and losses suffered in the past from another nation, but also an awareness, however dim, of one’s own nation’s responsibility for wrongs done to other peoples, burden the present conflict with strong resentments and make it appear to be either a historical repetition, or a historical redress” (1999, p. 226). Therefore, it is hardly surprising that collective memory has come to play such an important role in the evolution of Catalan nationalism given Spain’s own struggle with transitional justice and political use of its historical memory in relation to the civil war and the Franco era. Contemporary debates on historical memory in Catalonia evolved during the second half of the twentieth century on a similar basis to those in the rest of Spain with regard to the shared desire for the atrocities of the civil war to be acknowledged, mass graves excavated and concern that the past has been forgotten in order to achieve the transition to democracy. What is endogenous to Catalonia and closely related to the evolution of nationalism in the region is how historical memory is used to show both the historical differences and injustices the Catalans have suffered from the rest of Spain (Crameri 2012, p. 36). As Colmeiro comments, “the politics of memory (in its diverse manifestations as mourning, nostalgia, counter-memory, and forgetting) has become a site of struggle for cultural definition in Spain in the long period from dictatorship to democracy, and the construction of memory has played a key role in the subsequent process of political and cultural decentralisation in post-Franco Spain” (2011, p. 23). However, while historical memory has always played an important role in the content of collective memory in Catalan society, the last decade or so has witnessed the resignification of narratives to support different ideas of nation and nation building within Spain. The rise of Catalan nationalism has been accompanied by the extension of collective memory narratives to include more recent events such as 1-O referendum and the subsequent declaration of independence as well as also the mobilisation and shaping of narratives by the pro-independence movement into the nationalist project to undermine national unity, widening the division between Spain and Catalonia, and to unite nationalist forces with the region. Within Spain, the constitutional crisis has revived Spanish nationalism in defence of the nation’s unity. Encouraged by the nationalist-authoritarian position of the PP towards Catalonia, Spanish identity has witnessed a resurgence not seen since the days of General Franco when nationalism took centre stage.

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As mentioned, the notion of national identity within the context of nationalism has become intrinsically connected to the concept of collective memory and the role it plays in shaping identity across time and space (Bell 2003). Contemporary usages of the term can be traced back to Halbwach’s pioneering work in which he argued that “collective memory reconstructs its various recollections to accord with contemporary ideas and preoccupations” (1992, p. 224). Treating collective memory as a critical element of a group’s identity, Halbwach conceptualised memory as a social construction, whereby all forms of memory, including individual memory, “always use social frameworks when they remember” (1992, p. 40) because “it is in society that people normally acquire their memories. It is also in society that they recall, recognise, and localise their memories” (Halbwach 1992, p. 38). Although collective memories can inform individual memory, they typically exist outside of personal lived memories though mnemonic or symbolic cultural practices such as oral traditions, commemorations or monuments. Therefore, memory or narratives of the past are (re)constructed through social frameworks that are informed by contemporary political considerations and are “always mediated through complex mechanism of conscious manipulation by elites and unconscious absorption by members of society” (Verovšek 2016, p. 531). As Verovšek posits, “collective memory exerts its influence both from the bottom up, as interpretations of the past affect the identities and understandings of the political elite, as well as from the top down, as statements by public figures place certain events into the national consciousness, while silencing or forgetting other” (2016, p. 529). Questioning the way in which the relationship between memory and national identity is conceived, Bell argues that collective memory is “the result of the process whereby individuals interact socially to articulate their memories – of lost relatives, of protest and dissent, of days gone by” (2003, p. 72). However, for Bell, memory cannot be passed from generation to generation and is not transferable to individuals who have not lived the event themselves. Critical to creating a strong communal sense of identity for nationalist movements is the ability to tell the “story” of the nation and its importance. Therefore, the memory evoked by nationalists is often a nationalist myth: “a story that simplifies, dramatises and selectively narrates the story of a nation’s past and its place in the world” (Bell 2003, p. 75). Introducing the notion of a mythscape—“the temporally and spatially extended discursive realm wherein the struggle for control of people’s memories and the formation of nationalist myths is debated,

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contested and subverted incessantly”—Bell concludes that it is through the formation of such myths by “governing or multifarious subaltern forms” and their interaction with individual or collective memories that national narratives are (re)written and able to overcome any temporal restraints (2003, pp. 66, 75). The struggle around memories becomes evident in times of “memory wars”, characterised by the competition between hegemonic and counterhegemonic agencies. In this regard, Berthold Molden (2016) proposes the notion of mnemonic hegemony to account for how a version of the past has been imposed (and consequently become hegemonic) since there is apparently only one possible history to justify the present. Countermemory, on the other hand, questions the memories which are prioritised and the power relations implied by them. The struggle for the politics of memory is provoked by a crisis event which “is never integrated into the dominant discourse, but radically changes it through the recurrent inscription of disturbing voices into the hegemonic discursive instances” (Molden 2016, p. 130). Thus, the counter-mnemonic groups have the opportunity to challenge the hegemonic discourse and create the political conditions for change. The instability of the hegemonic order is a pre-condition for the emergence of a counter narrative but the consolidation of the latter depends on the capacity of the counter-mnemonic coalitions. As a consequence, power relations and their historical causes are renegotiated and can be modified. In the case of Catalonia, the collective memory promoted by nationalism finds a larger social basis due to the hegemonic instability and the promotion of a counter-memory opposed to the hegemonic one from the Spanish state. However, the dynamic between hegemony and counter-hegemony is everything but simple in this case. The pro-independence movement became hegemonic in Catalonia with access to government, media, institutions and the capacity of fostering a version of history which is contested by the minority unionism within the Catalan territory. In the Spanish territory, the correlation of forces is still asymmetrical and the Catalan pro-independence version of history remains counter-hegemonic and opposed to the Spanish politics of memory. In the following, we address 1-O as the moment to challenge the Spanish mnemonic memory and to enhance a collective memory by connecting the past with the present to highlight how the Catalan national identity has been forged through resistance to the Spanish state, conceived as an anti-democratic force.

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1-O as Crisis Event As Catalonia prepared to go to the polls to cast the ballots in the Catalan referendum for independence, the world’s attention was quickly drawn to one of the most dramatic events in Europe in recent years. The unrestrained police violence, attacks on polling stations, the seizure of ballot papers and referendum materials, the takeover of communication centres and websites and the arrest of government officials very quickly evoked historical memories of Spain’s dictatorship and the suffering Catalonia had experienced under General Francisco Franco from 1939 to 1975. We consider 1-O as an event: it is a historical event since it transforms social relations in ways that were up until then unpredictable (Bassett 2008); it is a crisis event because it questions the hegemonic discourse and opens up the political space to counter-hegemonic voices and it is a narrative event in which the event is not what has to be explained (the point of arrival) but the point of departure to explain everything else (Augé 2002). This means that 1-O changes the relation between the Spanish state and Catalonia. For the pro-independence movement, it entails a new frame or narrative to explain the conflictual relation between unionism and independence and a new event which immediately becomes part of that narrative. In other words, historical events as part of the collective memory are re-interpreted in the light of 1-O and, at the same time, 1-O likewise becomes an important episode of the collective memory. 1-O as crisis event unveiled the hegemonic instability and the incapability of the Spanish government to solve the territorial crisis and find a political solution in Catalonia. It also presents a new narrative on oppression and resistance, defeat and victory. Curiously, despite its political and juridical consequences, 1-O is interpreted as the victory of the Catalan people against the Spanish state and its violence. This interpretation becomes important for the pro-independence movement to explain and legitimate their posterior actions and decisions. Few days before the first anniversary of 1-O, president Torra emphasised that day as a victory when claiming that “it is great day of victory” as “we won against the State which tried everything, and we knew how to resist and defend ourselves” (in EFE 2018). Besides being part of the past and the collective memory of resistance, it influences the future and it becomes the guidelines to act in the future. Torra continued: “This is what we have to do from now: to resist and defend every step we make until we arrive at the final moment” (in EFE 2018). It is interesting to notice that Torra presents

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1-O as the beginning of a collective project which should finally achieve its goal (“the final moment”), despite the obstacles or the lack of evidence about the real options of becoming a Catalan Republic. While the appeal to democracy became dominant in the pro-independence discourse, the narrative of resistance and victory is central in the collective history to reinterpret the past and to give meaning to the present actions in order to fulfil their desires for the future. A few days later, Torra (Gutiérrez 2018) mentioned that it would be necessary to make a new 1-O in order to reach the Catalan Republic. These words show the difference between the event and its interpretation within the narrative, in the case of the Catalan government: the event enabled the convergence of a vast diversity of the Catalan population but its interpretation aims to reinforce the position of the government and its political project. The institutionalisation of the collective memory of 1-O followed a similar path in the sense that the memories evoked by 1-O were connected to the Catalan Republic and the claim for justice and repair, particularly for the imprisoned politicians and the trial of Catalan proindependence leaders. After 1-O several municipalities started to name or rename squares and streets with the name of 1-O. In 2018, more than 50 municipalities had already named streets and squares 1-O to commemorate the event. In these mainly small municipalities, the initiative was proposed by the pro-independence parties and was successful since they had majority. It explains why Girona was the only capital of a region whose municipality adopted the renaming the square of the Constitution as 1-O square (De Puig and Pauné 2018). The way in which the clash of memories was handled in favour of the pro-independence side and the traces of unionism (the reference to the constitution) were replaced and practically erased. The sculpture by Francisco López portraying the only girl who was born the same day as the constitution was enacted is the only remaining sign of the former name but now in a new context and frequently covered by yellow ribbons which symbolises the independence (and the release of the “political prisoners”). Naming streets and squares is not the only mechanism to strengthen the collective memory and promote the imaginary of victory and resistance. Quite soon 1-O became object for collection by museums. From the beginning, there was an awareness—particularly from the proindependence movement—of the transcendence of the referendum to influence both the past and the future. The 3rd of October Lluís Puig, then Community Minister of Culture and now in exile, launched the

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campaign #memòria1oct to protect any document (written, graphic, visual, audio) and avoid that they would vanish. In a tweet, Puig announced: “The Community Minister of Culture will enable a system of audiovisual data collection these days. Keep them! They are also our heritage” (in Abad and Montañes 2018). The goal was explicitly to guarantee the collective memory. The Museu d’Història de Catalunya is responsible for collecting those documents and other kinds of symbols such as flags, banners, ribbons, etc. Maybe the most relevant piece so far is the door of the school in which Puigdemont was supposed to vote, a door that was destroyed by the police. Albeit there is no doubt about the value of preserving this kind of material to document history, it is less clear how it can contribute to a shared and not divided collective memory since the collected material corresponds mainly to the pro-independence movement. The same can be applied to the multiple commemorative events, organised by the pro-independence movement, where the focus is on shaping the counter-memory in opposition to the Spanish state. On the other side, the events organised by unionism aim mainly to dispute the pro-independence narrative and to emphasise the relevance of the events proving the strength of unionism. It can be concluded that 1-O entailed a moment of rupture that made the fragility of the Spanish hegemonic formation visible. It offers likewise the opportunity to rethink or narrate the present from the past since it was connected with other relevant episodes of resistance in Catalan history. The resulting collective memory which derives from 1-O cannot be reduced to nationalism but it indeed reinforces a sense of national community which still divides the society into polarised positions (Amat 2019). Being assumed as counter-memory (and connecting the resistance against the Spanish state in the past with the wish for the Catalan Republic in the future), the resulting collective memory fosters a national community constituted negatively, against the oppressive Spanish state, and positively, reflecting the victory of the Catalan people. Despite not being aimed at nationalist people, the collective memory of 1-O does not include those who do not share the desire of becoming republic to culminate the event triggered by 1-O or, at least, those who do not consider the politics of the Spanish state as imposition over the Catalan common will.

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The War of Spanish Succession As mentioned, certain historical events turn into unifying myths, like the National Day of Catalonia (September 11), known as Diada. The day commemorates the siege of Barcelona which supposed the end of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714). While Castilla sided with Philip V from the Bourbon royal family, Catalonia supported Charles III from the Habsburg royal family. When the Catalan troops in Barcelona surrendered on 11 September 1714, the Catalan institutions were abolished. Despite the defeat, the day commemorates the braveness of the people defending their city against the Castilian troops. Traditionally, it has been associated with the claim for more rights and liberties for Catalonia. The impact in media terms as well as in participation increased since 2012 where the rallies were increasingly linked to independence. The interpretation of the event of 1714 embedded within the long path towards independence was contested by other contrary versions of history which complained about the replacing of “succession” with “secession”, as formulated by the former conservative Minister of the Interior Jorge Fernández Díaz (Agencias 2012). In this regard, these voices alerted about the use of the historical episode to support the pro-independence project. This conflict of interpretation of historical memory can be explained by the notion of mythscape according to which the pro-independence use of myth is contested and discussed. The point of disagreement is the understanding of Catalan history as resistance against the Spanish invasion or of the successful integration of a national community called Spain. The memory of 1714 was thus strongly present in the proindependence movement before 1-O. The celebration of the Diada, with massive popular support, can only be explained by civil society’s involvement. We want to illustrate the use of historical memory with the manifesto in favour of the right to decide, signed by, among others, Pep Guardiola and Josep Carreras. The manifesto refers to the American independence to illustrate how the revolutionary process by the American colonies led to a new Constitution. Time showed that the United States of America and the United Kingdom could become close allies and have a good relationship. The intention of this narrative is to show how history is a living proof that people cannot be forced to remain united and that is not at all a condition for a good relationship. The connection with the Spanish and Catalan history is made explicit:

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On the contrary, a mutually beneficial, loyal and profitable relationship is usually built on the basis of respect and cooperation. That is exactly what could happen with Spain and Catalonia. Unlike Scotland, which willingly joined the United Kingdom and was allowed to vote on whether they wanted to leave with the full agreement of London, Catalonia was conquered and lost its liberty. Now, after centuries of trying to find the right fit for Catalonia inside Spain, we Catalans want to vote on our political future, as the Scots just did. (Independent Voices 2014)

The references to USA and Scotland are used to illustrate how independence is not an obstacle to cooperation between countries and imply that the Catalan right to decide could be mutually beneficial. The referendum of 1-O soon echoed 11 October 1714 and intensified the sense of emergency to claim for the right to decide. In a political event, Quim Torra said that 1-O was “light and freedom”. 131 lanterns were lit at the mountain Montserrat to commemorate all the presidents of the Generalitat . Torra singled out that the history of Catalonia is attached to the search for liberty. To the Catalan president, October 11 and the 1-O are two days of resistance and freedom (La Razón 2019). Both events are connected and highlight the contrast between the bravery of Catalan people and the loss of their autonomous institutions. But specifically, 1-O is the founding event for the Catalan Republic whose historical memory is rooted in the event of 1714. Moreover, Torra refers to other episodes from the war on the Spanish succession to shape the Catalan counter-memory: the battle of Talamanca and the surrender of Cardona. The battle of Talamanca happened on 13 August 1714. It was the last victory of the Catalan troops against the Castilian-French Bourbon alliance. In a commemorative event, Torra appealed to the spirit of Talamanca that should accompany the proindependence movement and should show the path: “Either freedom or freedom” (EP 2018). The castle of Cardona was the last fortress to surrender to the Bourbon troops on September 18 and it became a symbol of resistance. In Cardona, Torra sent a message to the politicians in prison and in exile because of their defenc of the Catalan defence: “I am in the best position to say that we feel no fear, and we have never felt any fear. Cardona felt no fear in 1714 and we feel no fear either in 2018 because no one can ever feel the fear of freedom” (El Nacional 2018). The allusions to the war of Spanish succession are not casual and they aim to emphasise the Catalan history of resistance, the most

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recent chapter being the unilateral declaration of independence. Besides the loss of Catalan institutions and the increasing centralisation by the Spanish state, the war of Spanish succession was a war against the Bourbon dynasty. This fact creates a parallel with the current situation, particularly when the Bourbon king then was Philip V and the current one is Philip VI. The controversial intervention of Philip VI regarding Catalonia and in defecse of the Constitutional order revives the conflict against the Bourbons. The war of Spanish succession thus becomes a central episode of the historic memory of the pro-independence movement and the right to reclaim their freedom against the Spanish state incarnated, in the past and in the present, by the Bourbon dynasty.

The Death of Luís Campanys and the Fight Between Law and Legitimacy In the days following the Catalan referendum and under pressure from the Spanish government to clarify the Catalonia’s position on its independence status, Puigdemont attended a memorial event at Montjuïc Castle to mark the 77th anniversary of the execution of the former president of the Generalitat , Lluis Companys, under Franco in the Civil War. Puigdemont used his speech marking the execution of Companys, who was widely considered to be a martyr by the pro-independence movement long before the referendum and deeply ingrained in Catalan historical memory, to re-signify his death and reflect upon the relationship between law and legitimacy in Spain. We contend that by linking Companys struggle for independence and Catalonia’s current political crisis, Puigdemont wanted to strengthen Catalan counter-memory by reawakening historical consciousness of the collective injustices suffered by the Catalan people under Franco and their resistance in the face of adversity while extending the narrative to include the grievances incurred during and in the aftermath of 1-0. Recalling that “Companys was shot for being President of Catalonia” and “in the name of the prevailing political order and legality”, Puigdemont made reference to him as “a victim of a very unequal struggle between democratic legitimacy and the vileness of Franco’s regime” (in Pruna 2017). Interestingly, Puigdemont evoked the memory of Companys death to emphasise that the fight between legitimacy and the strength of the state continues in Spain. Reflecting on this historical injustice, Puigdemont criticised the Spanish state for failing to apologise for his murder, stating that, although “Companys was

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assassinated in the name of established order and legality and still today, 77 years later, when it is assumed that the order and the legality that allowed such execution have changed, the figure of Companys has not received from the State the worthy treatment he deserves” (in Pruna 2017). Although Puigdemont was talking about the injustice suffered by Companys, his statement was reflective of the Catalan crisis and the treatment of Catalonia. Furthermore, reproaching the Spanish state’s support of fascism during the political turmoil, Puigdemont accused the PP, which was founded by old Francoist-fascists, and Ciudadanos, of using the murder of Companys to their political advantage and continuing “to march in demonstrations side by side with companions who give raised-arm salutes” (in Acín 2017). With this statement, Puigdemont was referring to members of the far-right group Franco’s Falange who performed the fascist salute and sang the dictatorship anthem La Cara del Sol during protests against Catalan independence, offering a stark reminder of the continued presence of fascism in Spain which, he argued, was once again being tolerated by the state. For Puigdemont, the repressive and aggressive way in which Madrid reacted to the independence referendum was comparable to the way Companys was treated following his declaration of a Catalan state within the framework of a Spanish Federal republic on 6 October 1934, and reopened wounds of the Civil War. To bolster support for the independence cause, Puigdemont appealed directly to the Catalan public to reject the Spanish governments conflictual approach to the political crisis and “oppose violence, with civility; oppose threats and fear, with hope; oppose provocateurs, with serenity; oppose insults, with respect” (in Acín 2017). Furthermore, to create a counter narrative to the aggressive actions of Spanish state and the violent police actions, which in days following the referendum were met by international condemnation for violating fundamental rights, Puigdemont reiterated his commitment to “peace and democracy” in the face of “violence, aggression and imposition”. The political divide between Madrid and Barcelona and re-emergence of historical narratives of oppression was never more stark then when the spokesman of the PP, Pablo Casado, warned during a press conference that if Puigdemont declared independence he might “end up like the man [Campanys] who declared it 83 years ago” (in Pruna 2017). The resignification of the death of Companys, which symbolises a central episode in Catalan resistance against the Spanish state and moment of oppression, created a parallel

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between the past and the present day, allowing Puigdemont to illustrate the continued injustice and repression against the pro-independence movement by the state while appealing for democracy.

The Return of Josep Tarradellas The fortieth anniversary of the return of the former President Josep Taradellas and the restoration of the Generalitat of Catalonia in 2017 coincided with two critical political moments that marked the beginning of a new transitional moment in the history of Catalonia: The declaration of Catalan independence from Spain and the founding of an independent Catalan state and the application of article 155 and the dissolution of the Catalan Parliament. We argue that by invoking the historical memory of Tarradellas, the pro-independence movement attempted to reshape hegemonic collective memory around the granting of regional autonomy in order to gain support for the Catalan referendum for self-determination and Puigdemont’s subsequent self-imposed exile in Brussels. Drawing on historical events, like the historic episode of Tarradellas’ return, makes it more likely that the reinterpretation of collective memory will be accepted by society (Bostorff and Goldzwig 2005). Although Tarradellas symbolic proclamation of “Citizens of Catalonia, I am here at last!” (Ciutadans de Catalunya, ja sóc aquí !) from the balcony of the Palau de Generalitat in 1977 following his return from exile after 38 years was considered an historical moment for both Spain in its transition to democracy and Catalonia’s struggle for autonomy, his memory has been (re)constructed for different ideological purposes. Within hegemonic collective memory, the restoration of Generalitat is firmly equated with the transitional period and the successful integration of Spain. The negotiated return of Tarradellas following talks with Spain’s Prime Minister Adolfo Suárez and King Juan Carlos, was viewed as critical in the restoration of the constitutional order and democracy in Spain. This historic gesture of reconciliation and symbol of respect for Catalan political identity was seen as turning point in securing the participation of Catalonia’s political parties in an orderly transition without breaking with the past. As Suárez observed in his speech at the inauguration for the restoration of the Generalitat , that “an autonomy born in these circumstances cannot fail”, while Tarradellas responded, “respecting their freedom, Catalonia has always known how to correspond with loyalty” (Heródotus 2018), indicating that while Catalonia

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wanted self-government, it still considered itself part of Spain. Therefore, for unionists, Tarradellas is a symbol of institutional loyalty and national unity and has been praised for opting for a diplomatic route in the struggle for autonomy. Tarradellas return to Spain and his role in negotiating the transfer of powers from the central government to the provisional Generalitat while the new Statute was approved also marked an important historical moment in Catalonia’s counter-hegemonic collective memory. For the independence movement, Tarradellas legacy is a symbol of Catalan nationalist aspirations and resistance because of his valiant efforts in maintaining the presidency of the Generalitat against all adversity while in exile and during the complex negotiations with Suárez. Comparing the transition period following Franco’s death to the current political crisis, Puigdemont praised Taradellas’ “courage in the face of adversaries, and his flexibility in negotiating”, noting that although the political situation was very different today, the current generation was prepared to assume the same “capacity for sacrifice” and to adopt “high policy” decisions favourable to Catalonia. Moreover, in connecting this past episode of resistance with the present, Puigdemont argued that Tarradellas was still highly relevant today and that his figure, “has not diminished over the years, on the contrary, his image has matured despite the specific circumstances that affected his life” (in Ecodiario 2017). Such is the importance of Tarradellas in Catalan historical memory that in 1999, to celebrate the centenary of his birth, a monument was constructed in the avenue bearing his name. Sculpted by Xavier Corberó, the 23-metre high column is made up of five blocks of basalt stone alternating with four of polished white marble, resembling the Catalan senyera flag. Since then, a number of events have been organised by the Diputación de Barcelona aimed at further institutionalising Tarradellas collective memory and shaping Catalan counter-memory of the transitional period. These events included an exhibition in 2003 to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of his return to Spain titled “Tarradellas or the importance of memory”, and in 2017, the exhibition “Tarradellas, the legitimacy of a double presidency” celebrating the fortieth anniversary of this historic event. The 2017 exhibition, which was dedicated to reconstructing Tarradellas return and explaining how the restoration of the Generalitat was legally agreed, displayed phrases by Tarradellas including his comment to Suárez in 1977, “do not forget that a head of government

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who does not know how to solve the problem of Catalonia endangers the monarchy” (Cataloniatoday 2017). The selection of comments by Taradellas such as the aforementioned offered a timely reminder of Catalonia’s history of resistance against Spain. Puigdemont used the inauguration of the exhibition on Tarradellas to mobilise collective memory around this historical episode and reshape the narrative around restoration of the Generalitat and Catalonia’s current situation. Puigdemont was able to do this by praising Tarradellas “politics with a capital P” and his bottom up approach to doing politics, as well as comparing the 1977 transition to democracy and the 2017 declaration of independence. Creating a parallel with the current situation, Puigdemont wanted to show that unlike during the transition period when Madrid showed a willingness to remove legal barriers and repeal Franco’s decree annulling the Catalan Statute following the 1977 Spanish general election—which acted as a plebiscite to legitimise politically and democratically the restoration of the Generalitat —Madrid had instead adopted a conflictual response to the Catalan referendum, deploying the law to illegalise the pro-independence process. Puigdemont remarked that the return of Tarradellas would not have been possible if all sides hadn’t been willing to compromise and “it would not have been understood that the desire of the majority of citizens of Catalonia could not have been realised because of some legalism or formality” (in eldiario 2017). Puigdemont used the historical memory of Taradellas to demonstrate that just as Madrid was not able to deny the will of the Catalan people in 1977, they could not deny Catalonia’s historic vote for independence. Furthermore, to emphasise the lack of willingness by Rajoy’s government for dialogue and the standoff with Madrid, Puigdemont drew on the historical memory of Tarradellas return to praise the ability of the political class to find a solution during a complex political situation. Puigdemont explained that, “it was a happy collection of compromises and hopes from different positions that led to the return of Tarradellas and many other things” (in La Vanguardia 2017). Through recollections like these, Puigdemont attempted to reassure the citizens of Catalonia that it was possible to overcome the current stalemate while putting pressure on Madrid to negotiate with the Catalan government rather than respond with silence or repression and accept their proposal for dialogue. In the months following the referendum, Puigdemont and the proindependence movement frequently evoked the historical memory of Tarradellas in public statements to emphasise the legitimate authority of

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Generalitat and gain support for their decision to hold a referendum for independence. Critical to the articulation of this counter-hegemonic collective memory was the fact that the Generalitat was founded in the fourteenth century prior to the Republic and the Constitution. In October 2017, when he was discussing the Generalitat in the wake of the invocation of Article 155, Puigdemont was quick to point out that “it is not an institution that was born with the current Spanish Constitution”, rather its long-standing history was restored because of its “historical legitimacy and the continuity that presidents Campanys, Irla and Tarradellas ensured while in exile” (in Catalangovernment.eu 2017). This opinion was also voiced by other pro-independence figures such as Jordi Sànchez, who “defended Catalonia’s right to demand a referendum for self-determination on the basis that Catalonia’s autonomy does not derive from the 1978 Constitution but rather from the restoration of the Generalitat which is connected with the thirties” (Manchón 2016). Following Puigdemont exile to Brussels alongside several members of his ousted government at the end of October 2017 and the establishment of their “government in exile”, the pro-independence movement were quick to draw comparisons between the two Presidents. During his first news conference in Brussels, Puigdemont drew on the historical memory of Taradellas and Catalonia’s long struggle for autonomy to justify his exile and appealed to his grassroots supporters who were caught by surprise by his sudden departure and disappointed by the lack of resistance. Puigdemont explained that of because Spain was planning a “highly aggressive and unprecedented offensive against the Catalan people”, he had decided against resisting orders in the interests of keeping citizens safe (in Edmontonjournal 2017). Portraying the idea of a “President in exile”, Puigdemont appeared regularly throughout the December 2017 election campaign on screen to reiterate that the elections should work as a referendum for independence and bring the legitimate government back. In promising to return to Catalonia if he was reelected President, Puigdemont once again evoked the memory of Tarradellas return from exile. Through the figure of Tarradellas, the pro-independence movement mobilised collective memory to foster support its political project and, critically though the questioning of hegemonic narrative of restoration of the Generalitat , attempted to legitimise and justify the Catalan referendum.

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Conclusion This chapter has shown how the struggle for the politics of memory become a central aspect of the Catalan (Spanish) crisis and the conflict between the Spanish state and the Catalan government. Although historical memory has featured prominently in evolution of Catalan nationalism since the end of the Spanish civil war, connecting historical narratives of resistance and oppression, in recent years, particularly since the Catalan referendum for independence, important events, figures and symbols in collective memory have been resignifed and extended as a means of undermining national unity and mobilising public support for the political project of independence. The day of the referendum worked as a crisis event which not only reshaped the political and social situation regarding the relationship between Catalonia and Spain but also acted as a new frame from which to reinterpret historic episodes and rearticulate hegemonic collective memory. Since then, key political figures from the pro-independence movement, including the former Catalan president Puigdemont and the current president Torra, have frequently drawn on Catalan historical memory during public events, connecting past injustices, wrongs and loses with Catalonia’s current fight to reclaim its freedom from the Spanish state and its right to decide. Furthermore, the pro-independence movement attempted to further advance Catalan nationalism and defend their right to self-determination by constructing a new counter-hegemonic narrative based on oppression, resistance, democracy, rights and justice.

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CHAPTER 6

Repression and Democracy Amidst the Eventful 1-O Referendum Donatella della Porta, Hans Jonas Gunzelmann, and Martín Portos

Amid high expectations on the side of supporters for independence, the 130th President of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont stepped in front of the Catalan parliament on October 10, 2017. Thousands of people in the street followed the Catalan president’s speech. When Puigdemont declared independence, waves of joy hit the streets. Less than a minute later, however, he proposed to suspend the immediate effects of independence, essentially nullifying his previous declaration. In the streets, tears of joy turned into tears of disbelief, sadness and anger. Although the Catalan parliament did pass the bill on the unilateral declaration of independence on October 27, it did so in response to the Spanish government proceeding with article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, suspending

D. Porta · H. J. Gunzelmann Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, Scuola Normale Superiore, Florence, Italy M. Portos (B) Department of Social Sciences, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Madrid, Spain e-mail: [email protected]

© The Author(s) 2021 Ó. G. Agustín (ed.), Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Sovereignty, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54867-4_6

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Catalan autonomy and calling for a snap election in the region. The next day, Puigdemont and other members of the Govern, the Catalan government, flew to Brussels to escape potential juridical consequences of their declaration of independence, even if more as a symbolic statement than as a consequential act. The Catalan bid for immediate independence had failed, but the polarization on the issue, in Catalonia and in Spain, continued. One could rush to conclude that the referendum on October 1 (socalled ‘1-O’), which had mobilized over two million Catalans to cast their vote on independence, did not fulfil its aspiration. However, even if secession was not a result of the referendum (at least in the short term), it still had a profound, far-reaching effect on Catalan politics. The symbolic affirmation of sovereignty and self-determination in the face of repression gives the 1-O an ‘eventful’ character (Della Porta 2008), transforming several features of the Independence Movement. In this chapter, we argue that the 1-O’s peculiar combination of voting, mass mobilization, and the resistance against police repression (Letamendia 2018) can be read as a massive contentious performance (Tilly 2008). As Charles Tilly pointed out: 17th -century French villagers did not strike, picket, or strip themselves naked in public protest. Nor did their 20th-century successors engage in suicide bombing, coups d’état, or ecstatic religious rituals. … participants in uprisings and local struggles followed available scripts, adapted those scripts, but only changed them bit by bit. A metaphor came readily to mind: like troupes of street musicians, those French people drew their claim-making performances from standardized, limited repertoires. (2008, p. xiii)

Yet, contentious performances, such as the 1-O referendum, do not merely refer to repertoires of action at hand within broader cycles of contestation. Sometimes events have a transformative effect (Sewell 1996a), transforming ‘structures largely by constituting and empowering new groups of actors or by re-empowering existing groups in new ways’ (Sewell 1996b, p. 271). In this perspective, mass protest events can become critical junctures, leading to profound consequences in the political arena (Della Porta 2018a). Events often affect political conflict beyond the very moment in which they happen, leading to fundamental change in political discourse, public policy or even regime types. This is

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why these moments have been called transformative events (McAdam and Sewell 2001) or historical events (Sewell 1996a), defined as ‘very brief, spatially concentrated, and relatively chaotic sequences of action can have durable, spatially extended, and profoundly structural effects’ (McAdam and Sewell 2001, p. 102). Had the 1-O resulted in secession from Spain and the formation of an independent Catalan Republic, it certainly would qualify as a structural transformation of the magnitude William Sewell and Doug McAdam had in mind. Even if they do not result in revolutions or independence, contentious performances can be eventful and have long-lasting consequences for the very movements that carry them out (Della Porta 2008, 2018a). In social movement research, transformative events are often defined as crucial turning points for a social movement that dramatically increase or decrease the level of mobilization (Hess and Martin 2006, p. 249). Eventful protests represent transformative experiences for activists, triggering change through relational, emotional and cognitive mechanisms (Della Porta 2008). In the words of Della Porta et al.: During protest events, new tactics are experimented with, signals about the possibility of collective action are sent, feelings of solidarity are created, organizational networks are consolidated, and sometimes public outrage at repression is generated. Events initially constrained by the external, structural conditions, help, therefore, in redefining the conditions for a successive chain of events. (2019a, p. 4)

Hence, the eventful character of specific protest events (or sets of events) such as the October 1, 2017 referendum can make them become key turning points within a cycle. In the next section, we build on previous works on transformative events (McAdam and Sewell 2001; Sewell 1996a, b) and critical junctures (Della Porta 2018a) to explore the eventful character of the 1-O. In the remaining three sections, we analyze the series of consequences for organizational settings, action repertoires and frames for mobilization of pro-independence actors. Given these transformations, we suggest that the 1-O in fact constitutes a key turning point within the independentist cycle of mobilization, with important consequences for the prospects of independence, the Catalan political landscape—and beyond.

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The 1-O as a Transformative Event In a controversial plenary session held on September 6, 2017, the Corts (Parliament of Catalonia) passed a bill calling the Catalan people to vote on whether they want ‘Catalonia to be an independent state in the form of a republic?’ (Act 19/2017). Branded as either ‘illegal referendum’ or ‘constitutive referendum’ on the side of Spanish state and Catalan authorities respectively, the call for a binding consultation moved however masses: 2,286,217 Catalan citizens tried to exercise the ‘right to decide’ by casting their vote to ultimately become ‘stateless citizens’ on October 1, 2017, giving a large majority to the ‘yes’ (Calzada 2019). The vote did not take place under normal circumstances though. The Spanish Constitutional Court had declared the law calling for the referendum, passed in the Catalan parliament, illegal and prohibited any preparatory action by the Catalan institutions (Pérez 2017). At the same time, Spanish national police carried out a series of searches for ballots and ballot boxes throughout Catalonia, culminating in the raid of the Catalan Department of Economics on September 20 (Giménez and Gunzelmann 2019). In response to the rising level of repression, pro-independence activists not only protested the police intervention on September 20, but two days before the referendum they also organized locally to occupy voting stations. On the day of the referendum itself, Spanish police forcefully intervened in many voting station trying to impede the referendum (Barceló 2018), facing non-violent resistance from the occupying activists and voters (Della Porta et al. 2017a, b; Della Porta et al. 2019a, b). In this situation, voting in the referendum meant not only participating in a direct democratic decision, but also reclaiming the right to self-determination and sovereignty. Irrespective of their legal status (binding in legal terms, institutionally endorsed or symbolic), referendums have become epicentres of contestation across the world, and are often accompanied by broader cycles of contention. Rather than mere devices that institutional actors use to retrospectively legitimize technocratic decisions, ‘referendums from below’ rely on participatory and grassroots processes that foster—and conversely, are fostered by—years of civil society mobilization that predate the actual vote (Della Porta et al. 2017a, b; Della Porta et al. 2019a). Only in Catalonia, hundreds of symbolic municipal plebiscites on independence took place since 2009; moreover, 2.3 million citizens cast their votes in a—non-binding—consultation led by civil society organizations

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in November 2014 (Basta 2017; Della Porta et al. 2017a, b). While traditional moderate nationalist parties engaged in an outbidding competition on the independentist positions, during these years hundreds of thousands flocked onto the streets to claim for independence (Rico and Liñeira 2014; Barrio and Rodríguez-Teruel 2017). Since 2015, the Catalan pro-independence government has been rooted in its promise to hold a fully-fledged, binding referendum on independence—leading to a unilateral declaration of independence provided it obtained more than 50% in favour of it. Running the gauntlet of state violence (including hundreds of detentions, police charges, the shutting down of 400 polling stations, etc.), on October 1, 2017, 2.2 million Catalans cast their votes on a referendum organized by civil society but ultimately supported by the Catalan government. Activists coordinated through the ‘Comitès de Defensa del Referèndum’ (Referendum Defence Committees), which communicated mostly through social media. As Della Porta et al. (2017b) put it: The actions of ordinary people meant that the Spanish national police were only able to shut down 400 out of a total of 2,315 polling stations.1 People not only voted but hid ballot boxes and papers from the Spanish authorities over the weeks preceding the referendum. They occupied polling stations – preventing them from being sealed by the police the Friday before the referendum. Farmers’ tractors were used in hundreds of polling stations as protective barriers… thousands of volunteers gathered to enable voting; youths and adults barricaded themselves outside to peacefully block police access while older people and children gathered inside”.

For the Independence Movement, the 1-O has become a symbol for the affirmation of sovereignty and self-determination in the face of violent repression from the Spanish state. With regard to relations, organizing the occupation of voting stations created—and strengthened previously loosely connected—networks between new and experienced activists at the local level (Letamendia 2018). The common experience of violent repression by the Spanish national police strengthened the emotional bonds among activists and reinforced their independentist identity (Balcells et al. 2020). Finally, on the cognitive side, repression 1 There is conflicting evidence about the exact number of polling stations that were shut down. Pérez (2017) reports 319. According to Guinjoan and Rodón (2017), it’s only 90. Barceló (2018) mentions ‘about 100’.

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and failed secession led to a reevaluation of strategies (Giménez and Gunzelmann 2019). In the remainder of this chapter, we focus on how the experiences of mobilization and repression around the 1-O referendum shaped different features of the Independence Movement. First, we explore organizational transformations; second, we study shifts in the action repertoires, and finally, we shed light on the changes in the mobilizing frames and articulation of discourses on the side of independentist activists.

Organizational Transformations For a long time, the Catalan cycle of mobilization has mainly been driven by two large civil society associations, Òmnium Cultural and the Assemblea Nacional Catalana (ANC). However, the confrontation with the Spanish state before, during, and after the 1-O has changed the organizational structure of the Independence Movement fundamentally. We focus on two main transformations: first, the organizational change of ANC and Òmnium Cultural, and second, the emergence of the Committees for the Defense of the Referendum/Republic as a third major social movement actor. First, since the beginning of the independentist cycle of mobilizations in 2009–10, ANC and Òmnium Cultural have been the two most important civil society actors. During these years, they have been highly successful in recruiting members and resources, founding dozens of local chapters throughout Catalonia and even abroad, as well as in promoting independence and organizing mass dissent. Moreover, their organizational capacity has been crucial in pressuring the Catalan government to organize the 1-O referendum. Formed by progressive members of the Catalan bourgeoisie and intellectuals, Òmnium Cultural is a cultural organization that since the 1960s has been promoting Catalan culture and language, without taking explicit political stances. In 2010, however, it started to get involved in contentious politics in the streets as it organized the first large protest in the cycle of mobilization, claiming ‘We are a nation. We decide’ (catalan: ‘Som una nació. Nosaltres decidim’). With this protest, Òmnium Cultural also began to shift towards a pro-independence position, which was made official at its General Assembly in Santa Coloma de Gramenet

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in 2012. Organizationally, Òmnium Cultural is a highly professionalized association with a strong leadership and concentrated decision-making. The ANC emerged in 2012 as a successor to the Platform for the Right to Decide (Plataforma pel Dret de Decidir), recruiting many activists from the local referendums that had taken place between 2009 and 2011 (Crameri 2015). From 2012 on, the ANC has been staging massive demonstrations every National Day of Catalonia on September 11 (called La Diada), mobilizing regularly over a million supporters. The organizational structure of the ANC combines horizontal and vertical elements. On the one hand, there is a strong commitment to decentralized and democratic decision-making. Local chapters have some autonomy and most members of the steering committee are elected through them. On the other hand, the leadership dominates the decision-making and has the support of a large professional staff. The period of contention around the 1-O referendum strongly affected the ANC and Òmnium Cultural. When the Spanish Guardia Civil raided the Catalan Ministry of Economy in search of documents, confiscated 9.6 million referendum ballot papers as part of an operation to prevent the referendum from taking place, and arrested 14 senior officials on September 20, 2017, ANC and Òmnium Cultural quickly called for a protest outside the building and impeded the police to leave the building for several hours (Giménez and Gunzelmann 2019; Della Porta et al. 2017b). As a result, the two leaders of the organizations, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez were taken into custody without bail on October 16, 2017, on charges of sedition, and subsequently charged with rebellion in March 2017. Their imprisonments have transformed both associations to the core, all the more so given that both (especially, but not only, Òmnium Cultural) relied on strong leaderships. However, there are differences in their reactions. While the ANC elected a new steering committee and a new president, Elisenda Paluzie, Òmnium Cultural decided not to do so and continue with president Jordi Cuixart in jail. This required readjusting the internal communication flow, which slowed down the decision-making processes of the association. Second, the mobilizations of the 1-O also created new organizational structures. In the weeks prior to the 1-O, there had been uncertainty among activists and supporters of the Independence Movement as to whether the consultation will have taken place. The searches and

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detentions on September 20 triggered however a dynamic of local organizing to ‘defend’ the referendum from Spanish state interventions. In neighbourhoods, small towns, and villages, rank-and-file members from parties and organizations formed new groups to empower people, many of them converging under the label of ‘Committees for the Defense of the Referendum’ (CDR). This rooting at the very local scale is illustrated with the following quote from an interview with an activist: CDRs are born in an autonomous way, to organize neighbours, they are born to cover this need… in a way, they are the natural evolution of large organizations such as ANC and Òmnium. These organizations became mass endeavours but do a very superficial activism… it has been very much criticized as activism-for-the-picture: I organize a massive demonstration, with millions of people, I take a wonderful picture, but it has zero impact, then they do very little work at the local level. It doesn’t create a fabric and works in a very hierarchical way. … CDRs instead come from the local people who feel they need to get organized in order to have the referendum”. (In Della Porta et al. 2019a, p. 8)

Through WhatsApp groups and face-to-face assemblies, CDRs coordinated themselves to occupy the voting station two days before the referendum in order to prevent them from being closed by police forces and ensure that the vote could be carried out (Letamendia 2018). After the 1-O, the CDRs decided to continue holding assemblies, thus transforming themselves into a permanent space for mobilization, switching the meaning of the ‘R’ in their acronym from ‘Referendum’ to ‘Republic’. Around the same time, representatives from each CDR formed an organizational body at the Catalan level, which has been meeting regularly since, remaining however a merely coordinating space, as the local CDRs keep a great deal of autonomy over their decisions and actions. This high degree of local autonomy also means that there is great variation among the CDR regarding participation and strategies. However, there are some common traits that all local CDR share. First, they are only loosely structured: there is no membership, rules and procedures remain informal, and usually there is no division of tasks and roles within the group, with the main decisions being taken through open, popular assemblies. At the same time, there is a great commitment to consensus decision-making and deliberative democracy, as well as openness and inclusiveness towards new participants. Second, the change of name, from Referendum to Republic also embodies the discursive basis for their organizational identity and

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strategy. They claim that the vote in the referendum was legitimate and as consequence, their aim is to implement the Catalan Republic from below through civil disobedience and unilaterality vis-à-vis the Spanish state (see more in the section on action repertoires). Born out of the mobilizations of the 1-O, the CDR have so established themselves as the third major civil society actor besides Òmnium Cultural and the ANC. This has fundamentally altered the structural basis of the Independence Movement. With their emphasis on deliberation, local autonomy, and lack of fixed structures, the CDR are organizationally somewhat complementary to the ANC and Òmnium Cultural and their strong leaderships and professionalization. Their organizational informality in fact allows them to pursue a different repertoire of action than the two large organizations. Moreover, being a non-partisan space, in the beginning they were able to attract members from various other organizations, but also many people without previous activist experience. Overall, the relationship of the CDR to the established organizations has a complementary rather than competitive character. Although they have been suffering from demobilization in the long run, which might be a consequence of their lack of formal structures, the CDRs managed to stage some large protests in the period after the 1-O. Thus, many of their local chapters have narrowed down to a small group of core organizers, while most of their mobilizing potential remains dormant. Shifts in these organizational dynamics are in part consequence of repression and mobilization before, during, and after the 1-O. Spanish state repression first targeted the established civil society associations that have lead the organization of mass dissent, bringing about organizational challenges. At the same time, the emergence of new organizations throughout the cycle in periods of heightened contention is not rare (Tarrow 1994), although in the specific Catalan case it followed a distinctive (or at last not-so-widespread) pattern of downward scale shift (see Della Porta et al. 2019a). On top of the CDRs, sectorial groups are organized to promote independence. For instance, the newly founded Universitats per la República/Universities for the Republic platform founded in May 2017 to promote the 1-O referendum was key in the organization of students protests following the 1-O referendum, which tried to pressure then President Puigdemont to declare unilateral independence (see Mouzo Quintáns 2017; Portos 2020).

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1-O Referendum and Action Repertoires The broad mobilization for the implementation of the 1-O referendum, declared illegal by the Spanish courts, and the ensuing repression also had important effects in terms of repertoires of action. Social movement scholars have often noted that protest performances tend to change during periods of intense contention. Contentious politics builds upon a broad range of non-routinized, often disruptive, ways of affecting political, social and cultural processes, including more conventional forms of action such as petitioning but also more conflictual blockades as well as episodes of violence (Della Porta 2018b). A protest cycle has been defined as: A phase of heightened conflict and contention across the social system that includes: a rapid diffusion of collective action from more mobilized to less mobilized sectors; a quickened pace of innovation in the forms of contention; new or transformed collective action frames; a combination of organized and unorganized participation; and sequences of intensified inter-actions between challengers and authorities which can end in reform, repression and sometimes revolution. (Tarrow 1994, p. 153)

Not only protests events cluster in time and space, defining ‘a punctuated history of heightened challenges and relative stability’ (Beissinger 2002, p. 16), cycles tend to develop through some specific sequences in their rise, peak and decline as mobilization unfolds ‘from institutional conflict to enthusiastic peak to ultimate collapse’ (Tarrow 1994, p. 168), following relational, cognitive and emotional mechanisms that concatenate in different ways. Typically, the repertoire of protest is more innovative at the emergence of protest, with disruptive tactics promoted by new social and political actors in order to surprise the authorities and attract media attention, but as the cycle evolves, their disruptive capacity normally declines, with processes of institutionalization and radicalization co-occurring in different mixes (Tarrow 1994; Della Porta 2013; Portos 2019). Repression affects the trajectories of action institutionalization and radicalization. As the cycle unfolds, authorities often increase repression, targeting especially some actors and some specific forms of action, with the parallel acceptance of others. The more they are perceived as unjust, the more repressive events tend to trigger public outrage, thus potentially leading to greater movement mobilization (Hess and Martin

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2006). Internal competition between movement organizations might also facilitate radicalization, as some of them defend more disruptive forms of action and others prefer tactical moderation instead (Tarrow 1994; Della Porta 1995; Portos 2019). While radicalization has been considered as more likely face to the closing down of political opportunities, it is however no inevitable consequence of cyclical dynamics (Della Porta 1995, 2018b; Portos 2019). Previous research on the Catalan case has however pointed at the need to distinguish between behavioural and ideational forms of radicalization (i.e. radicalization of forms of protest versus radicalization of frames of protest; Busher et al. 2018). As Della Porta et al. (2019a) noted, radicalisation of frames has been visible in the adoption of independence rather than enhanced autonomy as an objective, while radicalization of forms of protest was visible in increasing degrees of disruptiveness such as the blocking of motorways rather than the symbolic performances of the diadas (National Day of Catalonia). From a relational approach, radicalization moves through a spiral of negative and unforeseen feedback that comes from the interactions between relevant actors such as challengers and authorities (Alimi et al. 2015; Della Porta 2018b). The specific strategic choices in terms of repertoires of action, with constrained and selective forms of radicalization at least until late 2018, can be explained by the combination of closed political opportunities at the national level, but open political opportunities at the local and regional levels, with broad support by local governments but also in the Catalan institutions. The rootedness of the independentist movements is reflected in high reliance on demonstrative actions, based on the logics of number, but also by symbolic performances, pointing at the long-lasting struggle of the Catalan people. In addition, more confrontational actions, especially in the form of civil disobedience, have developed especially during the campaign around the 1-O referendum and in its aftermath. The repertoire of action became more disruptive already after some key articles of the Statute of Autonomy (Catalonia’s basic law), approved by the Catalan parliament and endorsed in a Catalan wide referendum in 2006, were ruled unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court in 2010 (Basta 2017). The conflict between centre and periphery spiralled then as the Great Recession hit Spain, resulting in a complicated multilevel economic, social, political and territorial crisis that developed during this period. It was then that:

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Given the seemingly insurmountable legal and political obstacles precluding any possibility of substantially altering Catalonia’s relationship with Spain, the cycle of contention swung toward grassroots movement actors, with increasing pressure from the streets in the form of mass protest. In fact, the cycle of protest was characterized by a considerable capacity for innovation of the protest repertoire, as well as a broadening of the social bases of mobilization. (Della Porta et al. 2019a, p. 5)

Since 2012, the National Day of Catalonia was celebrated through broad forms of protest as civil society organizations such as Òmnium Cultural and Assemblea Nacional Catalana organized diadas with massive participation. On September 11, 2012, as many as one in five Catalans gathered in the (then) largest pro-independence march in democratic Spain. On September 11, 2013, the 400-kilometre Catalan coastline along the ancient Via Augusta was covered by a human chain made of 1.6 million people—many of them wearing t-shirts with the logo ‘My place in history. Catalan Via towards Independence’. On September 11, 2015, about two million protesters filled the streets of Barcelona in alternate colourful rows reproducing the Catalan flag, the Senyera). Besides public opinion campaigns and cultural performances (Crameri 2015, pp. 104–105), a frequently used form of action was the organization of non-binding consultations on independence: more than 500 at the municipal-level between 2009 and 2011 (Muñoz and Guinjoan 2013), followed by a Catalonia-wide massive voting performance on November 9, 2014, during which about 2.3 million people casted their votes in a led by extra-parliamentary actors and movements, with the collaboration of the Catalan parliament (Della Porta et al. 2017a, p. 39). While the 2014 non-binding symbolic vote was tolerated by Spanish authorities, the 2017 referendum was considered much more challenging. As, on October 1, 2017, 2.2 million Catalans turned out to vote, defying the heavy repression by state security forces who resorted to firing rubber bullets and the aggressive seizure of ballot boxes and closure of polling stations, massive civil disobedience by ordinary people defended the polling stations so that the police could shut down only 319 out of a total of 2315 (Noguer 2017). This defense involved hiding ballot boxes, occupying polling stations in order to prevent the police seizing them, replicating the website created to organize the referendum (www.refere ndum.cat) under new domains as it was removed, and erecting barricades

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on the day of the vote in order to facilitate voting and block police access (Della Porta et al. 2017b). In addition, before, during and in the aftermath of the 1-O, the conflict escalated with tensions and clashes between activists and police increasing (see La Nación/GDA 2017; Oms 2018; Salmon 2017). While the repressive turn brought about a considerable degree of radicalization and polarization of claims, frames and justifications for independence (and anti-secessionism), actual violent forms of action by the challengers, mainly in the form of intermittent clashes with police, remained occasional. As noted: A combination of three mechanisms restrained escalation: the appropriation of local opportunities, downward scale shift and movement convergence. Regarding the first one, while political opportunities closed at the Spanish state level, the pro-independence parties maintained power in Catalonia, providing channels of institutional access for movement actors. The second mechanism channelled popular outrage derived from the moral shock of repression viewed as unwarranted in its brutality into a dense array of mostly non-violent initiatives organized by local CDRs. Yet, some of these actions were sufficiently confrontational to appease the tactical preferences of more militant actors. (Della Porta et al. 2019a, p. 10)

While the broadened social bases of movements might have facilitated the adoption of rather disruptive (but mostly peaceful) repertoires of action such as blockades and strikes (Della Porta and Portos 2020), ‘repression in turn guaranteed solidarization processes, as it opened up local spaces where activists from across the spectrum (from radical to moderate, from left to right) could mobilize together, thus maintaining broad support and inhibiting the formation of potentially violent radical splinters’ (Della Porta et al. 2019a, p. 10). It was only in the late 2018 and in 2019 that, reacting to the Spanish Supreme Court decision to inflicted heavy prison sentence to nine Catalan leaders, actions of civil disobedience frequently took the form of blockades of motorways, railways stations and even the international airport, leading to heavy confrontation with the police. Starting on October 14, 2019, the first week of protest saw about 600 injured people, almost 200 arrested activists and overall damage amounting to more than 2.5 million euros (EFE 2019). On October 14, 2019, few hours after the sentence became public, thousands of protestors converged at the airport of Barcelona. While the Catalan Government, called for an amnesty of the convicted leaders, the

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Mossos d’Esquadra (the Catalan police) charged with batons and later with tear gas, the protesters, that resisted building barricades. Even if condemning violence, the speaker of the Catalan parliament and then President of the Catalan autonomous government, Quim Torra, called at the same time for peaceful mobilization against the judicial ruling. Massive protests followed indeed, with occasional storming of buildings belonging to the Spanish Government and clashes with the police. On October 18, after Quim Torra promised a new independence referendum, at least half-a-million peaceful protesters converged on Barcelona with five different marches, with blockades of major roads, including the main ones at the border with France. Some clashes between masked protestors and the police while a general strike was called involving also students. Flights and trains were cancelled as protestors also occupied main tourist sites waving the Catalan secessionist flag and chanting slogans for independence. Clashes happened also on the next days, in Barcelona and outside of it. While masked protestors built barricades, the riot police responded with foam and rubber bullets, tear gas, smoke grenades and water cannon trunks. A Spanish judge ordered the closure of the independentist web page Democratic Tsunami, which had taken the lead of organization of protest thanks to social media—Democratic Tsunami accused the Spanish Authorities of censorship. On October 26, 2019, 350,000 people attended a peaceful rally in Barcelona called by the Catalanist organizations Assemblea Nacional Catalana and Òmnium Cultural, but another protests organized by the Committees for the Defense of the Republic escalated. In short, while the appeal of the Catalan government for massive but peaceful protests were broadly followed after the court sentenced to jail prominent independentist figures in charge of the 1-O referendum, for a few weeks conflicts between activists and the police (including the Catalan police) escalated with activists building and defending barricades and the police charging them, among others through the use of less-lethal arms.

Shifting Frames for Mobilization? Framing theories put the emphasis on the cultural interpretive processes that mediate the attribution of meanings to objects, events and experiences (Goffman 1974). In order to recruit new members and keep on motivating individuals who are already engaged, social movement actors need to engage in framing work (Della Porta et al. 2019b). In the context

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of social movement scholarship, frames refer to the dominant worldviews that guide and coordinate the behaviour of individual and collective actors, thus emphasizing the need of building rationales for action. Specifically, framing efforts are often defined as ‘the signifying work or meaning construction engaged in by movement adherents (e.g. leaders, activists, and rank-and-file participants) and other actors (e.g. adversaries, institutional elites, media, social control agents, counter-movements) relevant to the interests of movements and the challenges they mount in pursuit of those interests’ (Snow 2013). As frames engage in the symbolic (re)construction of external reality, they perform three main functions (Snow and Benford 1988; Snow 2013). First, frames determine what is relevant in relation to the object of orientation (i.e. what, in our sensorial field, is ‘in-frame’) and what is irrelevant (i.e. what is ‘out-of-frame’). Second, frames convey sets of meanings by articulating some narratives to the detriment of others. Third, frames shape perceptions, conceptions, and interrelationships between objects of attention. Framing literature in social movements can be divided into two broad perspectives, depending on whether they address the micro- or the meso-levels of analysis (Noakes and Johnston 2005). The first looks at individuals’ framing of events into familiar categories in order to make sense of cognitive processes that shape social dynamics (Gamson 1988), the second points at how organizations and collective entrepreneurs symbolically construct reality (Snow and Benford 1988)—see Portos (2020). There are usually three stages processes of meaning attribution: First, certain occurrences, which might previously have been attributed to individual responsibility or to natural factors and phenomena, are recognised as and converted into problems; second, potential strategies to address them are identified and developed; and third, motivations to act upon this knowledge are put forward. (Della Porta et al. 2019b)

In short, these three steps correspond to the diagnostic, prognostic and motivational dimensions of framing. The most important shift in terms of framing the 1-O led to the building of narratives around state repression and victimhood. The peaceful repertoires deployed by the independentist movement during the 1-O are contrasted with the excessive force on the side of state authorities in order to prevent the vote, framed as a democratic right, from taking place. Indeed, in the words of a 17 years old pro-independence activist:

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Yesterday around 300 of us decided to spend the night in Jaume Balmes secondary school, playing sport, listening to music and watching movies in a relaxed and festive atmosphere with the aim of being able to open the school on Sunday for the referendum. This morning, when we opened the doors, vanloads of riot police arrived. We had agreed on a policy of passive resistance to protect the ballot boxes. The aggression of the state security forces created an atmosphere of tension, beating the young and elderly alike with their truncheons”. (In Russell et al. 2017)

Secessionist narratives often emphasize the presence of particularly vulnerable groups at the polling locations during the 1-O, including children and elderly population. This helps reinforcing the contrast between the independentists’ defenceless and peaceful aspirations and tactics versus the police (unnecessary and unjustified) brutality on the day of the vote. As the following quote illustrates, the use of police violence against unarmed people is considered as particularly outrageous: At the Pau Claris School in Barcelona, amateur footage filmed by one voter showed police roughing up unarmed people standing in their way. An amateur video from other locations showed similar tactics, with people seen being hit, kicked and thrown around by police, including elderly people with their dogs, young girls and regular citizens of all stripes. Many tried to shield themselves from being smacked on the head. (Parra and Wilson 2017)

Narratives on state repression were of course neither new nor unique after the 1-O events. In light of detentions of high-ranking regional officials in the run-up to independence vote, then Catalan President Puigdemont had already accused Spain’s central government of ‘totalitarian’ behaviour (Al Jazeera 2017). Importantly, one of the key—motivational— frames developed by the secessionist movement in the last couple of years concerned solidarity with pro-independence figures and groups that had been hit by State repression. An intense campaign developed in solidarity with the ‘political prisoners’ and against what independentist milieus defined as ‘state aggressions’, including putting activists in jail without bail on the grounds of sedition and rebellion, a measure officially justified by the fear they might—if released—commit new offenses and/or escape (King 2019). After pro-independence leaders spent months in detention with no trial, in October 2019, nine of them were eventually sentenced

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to prison terms of between nine and 13 years each on charges of sedition (Rolfe and McAuley 2019). Challenging repression and imprisonment, traditional protest repertoires have been combined with symbolic ones. For instance, yellowribbons displayed by pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong were adopted by Catalan separatists and used to decorate streets, monuments and even beaches in order to denounce that there are Catalan ‘political prisoners and […people in exile] who should be given their freedom back and have the charges against them dropped’, and call for their release (King 2019). Also, civil society organizations created the Solidarity Funds (“La Caixa de Solidaritat”) to fund legal expenses, fines imposed for political actions, and the bailing of people facing trials coming from the independence procés-related charges.2 Some scholarly work has emphasized, not only the criminalization of such campaigns of yellow ribbons but also the broader repression of the Catalan 1-O referendum through criminal law as rare, and even ‘unique’, in the liberal democratic context (López Bofill 2019). Moreover, statements against the ‘repressive’ backsliding of the Spanish state and in solidarity with the ‘genuinely democratic’ and peaceful nature of the secessionist avantgarde and the broader Independence Movement proliferated in the months following the 1-O events. In contrast to an important part of the elites in Madrid who tend to ‘view any serious challenge to national unity—even demands for self-determination in a democratic referendum—as nothing short of treason’ (Balcells 2019), the secessionist milieus made a clear effort to depict incarcerated leaders as ‘dedicated democrats, committed to the cause of peaceful democratic change to Spain’s fragile post-Franco constitution’ (Puigdemont 2019). In fact, the repressive turn in the policing of secessionism and the broader criminalization of dissent in the Spanish state (see Calvo and Portos 2019) are often used by the Independence Movement as a reminder of the dictatorial and authoritarian past of Spain and framed into a broader perspective of democratic deconsolidation, pointing that ‘the quality and integrity of Spanish democracy is also at stake’ (Moreno Zacares 2019).

2 See https://caixadesolidaritat.cat/.

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Conclusion October 1, 2017, has been certainly a turning point in the history of Catalanism. Even if the referendum results were not consequential, as the majoritarian vote for independence was not implemented in practice, it has been however deeply transformative. In this chapter, we have used the concept of eventful protest as an analytic instrument that allows understanding the transformations in the organizational structure, collective framing and repertoire of contention by locating social movements within complex relations that quickly intensify. Especially, repression catalyzes responses that, far from solving the conflict, have hardened it. As we have noted, from the organizational point of view, while supported by parties and local institutions, the referendum has been accompanied by an increasing role of civil society organizations. The need for a massive mobilization to promote the ‘yes’ at the election, but also the need to defend the ballot boots and electoral stations on the days leading to the referendum and on 1-O brought about a downward scale shift, with deep transformation in the main Catalan secessionist civil society organizations but also the emergence of new, more horizontal and networked ones. As a protest performance, the referendum process was accompanied by a growing relevance of politics in the street, with massive demonstrations and prefigurative, symbolic action. While the repression of the ‘right to decide’ initially brought about a radicalization of the framing of the aims of the movement, the heavy police and legal repression eventually triggered also behavioural radicalization. The use of more disruptive forms of civil disobedience, including blockades of roads, railway stations and even of Barcelona’s international airport, debouched in clashes with the police. This process was accompanied by a transformation in the diagnostic, prognostic and motivational framing. As claims for the democratic right to decide were accompanied by the denunciation of the non-democratic reactions by the state, and the peaceful protest contrasted with police violence, the secessionist narrative acquired momentum. The process of the referendum was indeed especially powerful in catalyzing a moment of rupture, located within momentous times: great transformation, great recession as well as great regression have been frequently used short-cut terms to characterize the period following the financial breakdown of 2008.

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In the social sciences, scholars have attempted to address these periods by reflecting on the social perception of time—especially of time acceleration in modernization processes (Scheuerman 2004), as the routinized, predictable period of the welfare state is replaced by the uncertain, fluid, or disjointed time of today’s capitalism (Bauman 1998). As Mark Beissinger noted, writing about nationalism: Not all historical eras are alike. There are times when change occurs so slowly that time seems almost frozen, though beneath the surface considerable turbulence and evolution may be silently at work. There are other times when change is so compressed, blaring, and fundamental that it is almost impossible to take its measure”. (Beissinger 2002, p. 47)

In these periods, ‘the constraining parameters of politics undergo fundamental challenges, leading to rapidly shifting assumptions about the limits of the possible’ (Beissinger 2002, p. 151). Within a momentous approach to contentious politics, we can in fact single out some eventful protests that trigger critical junctures, producing abrupt changes which develop contingently and become path dependent. While routinized protests proliferate in normal times, some protests—or moments of protest—act as shocks, catalyzing intense and massive campaigns of protest (Della Porta 2018a). As we have suggested, the 1-O can certainly be conceptualized as one of these intense moments.

References Alimi, E. Y., Demetriou, C., & Bosi, L. (2015). The dynamics of radicalization: A relational and comparative perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Balcells, L. (2019, November 27). A way out of Spain’s Catalan crisis: And why madrid is unlikely to take it. Foreign Affairs. Retrieved from https://www.for eignaffairs.com/articles/europe/2019-11-27/way-out-spains-catalan-crisis. Balcells, L., Dorsey, S., & Tellez, J. F. (2020). Repression and dissent in contemporary Catalonia. British Journal of Political Science. https://doi.org/10. 1017/S0007123420000307. Barceló, J. (2018). Batons and ballots: The effectiveness of state violence in fighting against Catalan separatism. Research & Politics, 5(2), 1–9. Barrio, A., & Rodríguez-Teruel, J. (2017). Reducing the gap between leaders and voters? Elite polarization, outbidding competition, and the rise of secessionism in Catalonia. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 40(10), 1776–1794.

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Della Porta, D., O’Connor, F., Portos, M., & Subirats Ribas, A. (2017a). Social movements and referendums from below: Direct democracy in the neoliberal crisis. Bristol: Policy Press/ Bristol University Press. Della Porta, D., O’Connor, F., Portos, M., & Subirats Ribas, A. (2017b, October 5). “The streets will always be ours”—Catalonia, a referendum from below. Open Democracy. Retrieved from https://www.opendemocracy. net/can-europe-make-it/donatella-della-porta-francis-oconnor-martin-portosanna-subirats-ribas/streets-w. Della Porta, D., & Portos, M. (2020). A bourgeois story? The class basis of Catalan independentism. Territory, Politics, Governance, https://doi.org/10. 1080/21622671.2020.1737208. Gamson, W. A. (1988). Political discourse and collective action. International Social Movement Research, 1, 219–244. Giménez, F., & Gunzelmann, H. J. (2019). Conflict and collaboration in contentious events. The case of the 1-O in Catalonia. In B. Tejerina, C. Miranda de Almeida de Barros, & I. Perugorría (Eds.). Sharing society: The impact of collaborative and collective actions in the transformation of contemporary societies: [conference proceedings], Zabalduz, (pp. 582–592). Bilbao: Servicio Editorial de la Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitateko Argitalpen Zerbitzu Nagusia. Goffman, E. (1974). Frame analysis: An essay on the organization of experience. New York: Harper Colophon Books. Hess, D., & Martin, B. (2006). Repression, backfire, and the theory of transformative events. Mobilization: An International Quarterly, 11(2), 249–267. Letamendia, A. (2018). Movilización, Represión y Voto: Rastreando Las Claves Del Referéndum de Autodeterminación Del 1 de Octubre de 2017 de Catalunya. Anuari Del Conflicte Social (7). López Bofill, H. (2019). Hubris, constitutionalism, and “the indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation”: The repression of Catalan secessionist referenda in Spanish constitutional law. International Journal of Constitutional Law, 17 (3), 943–969. https://doi.org/10.1093/icon/moz064. McAdam, D., & Sewell, W. H., Jr. (2001). It’s about time: Temporality in the study of social movements and revolutions. In R. R. Aminzade, J. A. Goldstone, D. McAdam, E. J. Perry, W. H. Sewell Jr., S. Tarrow, & C. Tilley (Eds.), Silence and voice in the study of contentious politics (pp. 89–125). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Muñoz, J., & Guinjoan, M. (2013). Accounting for internal variation in nationalist mobilization: Unofficial referendums for independence in Catalonia (2009–11). Nations & Nationalism, 19, 44–67. Noakes, J. A., & Johnston, H. (Eds.). (2005). Frames of protest: Social movements and the framing perspective. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

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Portos, M. (2019). Keeping dissent alive under the great recession: Noradicalisation and protest in Spain after the eventful 15 M/indignados campaign. Acta Politica, 54(1), 45–74. Portos, M. (2020). Europe in the procés: European dis-integration and Catalan secessionism. European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology. https:// doi.org/10.1080/23254823.2020.1774912. Rico, G., & Liñeira, R. (2014). Bringing secessionism into the mainstream: The 2012 regional election in Catalonia. South European Society and Politics, 19, 257–280. Scheuerman, W. E. (2004). Liberal democracy and the acceleration of time. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Sewell, W. H., Jr. (1996a). Historical events as transformations of structures: Inventing revolution at the Bastille. Theory and Society, 25(6), 841–881. Sewell, W. H. (1996b). Three temporalities: Toward an eventful sociology. In T. J. McDonald (Ed.), The historic turn in the human sciences (pp. 245–280). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. Snow, D. A. (2013). Grievances, individual and mobilizing. In D.A. Snow, D. della Porta, B. Klandermans & D. McAdam (Eds.), The Wiley-Blackwell encyclopedia of social and political movements. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. https:// doi.org/10.1002/9780470674871.wbespm100. Snow, D. A., & Benford, R. D. (1988). Ideology, frame resonance, and participant mobilization. International Social Movement Research, 1, 197–217. Tarrow, S. G. (1994). Power in movement: Social movements, collective action, and politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Tilly, C. (2008). Contentious performances. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Media Sources ACT 19/2017. September 6, on the referendum on selfdetermination. Retrieved from http://exteriors.gencat.cat/web/.content/00_ACTUALITAT/notes_ context/Law-19_2017-on-the-Referendum-on-Self-determination.pdf. Al Jazeera. (2017, September 21). Catalan leader accuses Spain of ‘totalitarian’ actions. Al Jazeera. Retrieved from https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/ 09/catalan-leader-accuses-spain-totalitarian-actions-170920131456772.html. EFE. (2019, October 20). Casi 600 heridos, 200 detenciones, daños… Las cifras de una semana de disturbios. Retrieved from https://www.lavanguar dia.com/politica/20191020/471095242135/cataluna-disturbios-detenidospolicia-heridos-barcelona.html. Guinjoan, M., & Rodón, T. (October 10, 2017). L’1-O a anàlisi (1): La pressió policial va empènyer la participació a la baixa. NacióDigital. Retrieved

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from https://www.naciodigital.cat/elpatidescobert/noticia/37/1-o/analisi/ pressio/policial/va/empenyer/participacio/baixa. King, R. (2019, July 26). Why are people in Catalonia wearing yellow ribbons? ElNacional.cat. Retrieved from https://www.elnacional.cat/en/life/why-cat alonia-wearing-yellow-ribbons_405817_102.html. La Nación/GDA. (2017, October 1). Enfrentamientos en España entre la Policía y los votantes: hay cientos de heridos. El País. Retrieved from https://www.elpais.com.uy/mundo/enfrentamientos-espana-policia-vot antes-hay-heridos.html. Moreno Zacares, J. (2019). The Spanish constitutional settlement is in crisis. Al Jazeera. Retrieved from https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/spa nish-constitutional-settlement-crisis-191017122257481.html. Mouzo Quintáns, J. (2017, October 26). Los estudiantes encabezan la presión a Puigdemont. El País. Retrieved from https://elpais.com/ccaa/2017/10/ 26/catalunya/1509008565_991104.html. Noguer, M. (2017, October 2). Rajoy recurre a la fuerza policial para descabezar el referéndum ilegal. El País. Retrieved from https://elpais.com/ccaa/2017/ 10/01/catalunya/1506820373_674242.html. Oms, J. (2018, September 29). El independentismo radical acaba con su tregua en el homenaje a los policías del 1-O. El Mundo. Retrieved from https://www.elmundo.es/cataluna/2018/09/29/5bafd9392 2601d0e1c8b4654.html. Parra, A., & Wilson, J. (2017, October 2). “Yes” side wins Catalonia independence vote marred by chaos. AP. Retrieved from https://apnews.com/534 1651334024917ad52c0cfa96c3cfd. Pérez, F. J. (2017). El Constitucional Suspende de Urgencia La Ley Del Referéndum. El País. Retrieved from https://elpais.com/politica/2017/09/07/ actualidad/1504781825_809788.html. Protestas de Cataluña de 2019. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved January 14, 2020, from https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestas_de_Catalu%C3%B1a_de_2019. Puigdemont, C. (October 14, 2019). Spain’s imprisonment of Catalan leaders is a desperate move that will backfire. The Guardian. Retrieved from https:// www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/oct/14/spain-imprisonmentcatalan-leaders-supreme-cout-jailed-nine. Rolfe, P., & McAuley, J. (2019, October 14). Spanish supreme court sentences Catalan separatists to jail. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www. washingtonpost.com/world/spanish-supreme-court-sentences-catalan-separa tists-to-jail/2019/10/14/a0590366-ee59-11e9-89eb-ec56cd414732_story. html. Russell, G., Slawson, N., & Greenfield, P. (2017). Catalonia referendum: 90% voted for independence, say officials—As it happened. The Guardian.

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https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2017/oct/01/catalan-independe nce-referendum-spain-catalonia-vote-live?page=with:block-59d132a6e4b0320 1709840e9. Salmon, N. (2017, October 1). Riot police clash with voters as polls open in Catalonia’s independence referendum. Independent. Retrieved from https:// www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/catalonia-independence-ref erendum-polls-open-vote-protests-barcelona-madrid-police-guardia-civil-a79 76341.html.

CHAPTER 7

Quixote in Catalonia Bue Rübner Hansen

Narrative Confusions In Catalonia morbid symptoms abound.1 The population lives through bitter division. The Catalan leadership is in prison or exile. The left and right alike are divided. In the self-declared Catalan republic, all political parties participate in elections forced on them by the Spanish government. In the confusion of the interregnum of the Spanish state, all actors struggle to find a narrative form that might elevate their mission of establishing a new regnum.2 It is no wonder the world struggles to discern the narrative form of the Catalan independence struggle. Official European opinion, never a good reader, sees a morality tale of the dangers of populism and nationalism, in 1 An earlier version of this essay was published by Viewpoint Magazine (Hansen 2017), crediting Carlos Delclos, Manuela Zechner, Oscar Reyes, Andreas Mulvad, Adrià Rodríguez, Tim Savage, Evan Calder Williams and Ben Mabie for help and inspiration. 2 Long ago, Aristotle suggested that praxis has a narrative structure, which helps the subject apprehend the conditions of its actions and inscribe them into a meaningful, temporal sequence. (Hartley 2017, p. 170). See also Hayden White (1973) on the role of emplotment in the narration of history.

B. R. Hansen (B) University of Jena, Jena, Germany

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which a reluctant Spanish hero is forced to put into place a rogue separatist government. Meanwhile, unofficial opinion is rallying to the Catalan cause, interpreting it in the register of a great epic of national liberation and the struggle against Francoism. Horrified and enthusiastic spectators alike cannot but observe the Catalan secession drama through the lenses of its key antagonists: the gobierno of Mariano Rajoy in Madrid and the independentistas lead by Carles Puigdemont’s now deposed govern. But the very nature of an interregnum is that governments cannot truly rule, and that people do not wish to be ruled. In the interregnum genres fail, and when the epic fails, the result is invariably tragicomic. The greatest reflection on that is Cervantes’ Don Quixote.3 A few years ago, a professor in Girona gave a series of lectures where he scandalously argued that Don Quixote was originally written in Catalan before it was appropriated as the quintessential work of Spanish literature (Bilbeny 2013). True or not, the book does provide a useful allegory of the present Catalan liberation struggle, in which noble hearts draw on a heroic past to clash with an unheroic present. “Don Quixote,” wrote Marx, “long ago paid the penalty for wrongly imagining that knight errantry was compatible with all economical forms of society” (Marx 1976, p. 176). Now the knights and squires of Catalan independence are paying the price for imagining that national liberation struggles are compatible with all forms of society. To Quixote, the ideals and weapons of medieval romances seemed more solid than the upside-down world of early seventeenth century Spain, unproductive and speculative due to the influx of cheap colonial silver.4 But the ideas and practices of a world of small principalities failed spectacularly to comprehend or undo 3 To be precise, Quixote much like Catalan independentism until recently, was not trying to live out an epic proper, but a romance, a more minor heroic genre. The romance, especially in the form of the picaresque, is the genre of valiant losers, while the epic is the genre of history’s winners, most paradigmatically of founders of nations and states. See Fredric Jameson’s (2009) discussion of David Quint’s Empire and Epic. I thank Daniel Hartley for drawing my attention to that passage. 4 The crisis of early Seventeenth Century Spain had one important similarity with that of today: it had its root in the failure of a globally integrated speculative economy in what was presumed to epitomize “real” value (then silver, now real estate). “The crisis of consciousness was just as acute as the factual crisis,” writes the Annales historian Pierre Vilar. The secure foundation under political and economic thought having slipped, it was hard to come up with realistic solutions. This unproductive economy produced a number of social ills, from declassing to banditry to a veritable frenzy of epics and romances celebrating the pursuits of a more heroic past (Vilar 1971).

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the symptoms of the crisis of a global empire. So to say the Catalan independence movement is Quixotic is not to suggest it has nothing to struggle against, but that it does so with ideals that have become abstract and formal, divorced from their material conditions. Behind the epic narrative of cultural and political resistance, Catalan independentism is deeply limited by the political economy, class composition and geopolitical intertwinements of Catalonia. I write this as someone who spent the Catalan autumn in Barcelona, alienated yet affected, enraged and estranged. Every day police helicopters circling overhead stirred the blood of the city and tensed its tone. I saw one hundred military police in riot gear storm an election point and beat up voters, as well as a friend who had travelled from Madrid to put his body on the line in the protection of the referendum. In that situation, he was like so many others who inhabit Catalonia and the Spanish state: without a vote in either, and with a voice that speaks uninvited. My text emerges from this strange position, in hopes of estranging us from the spectacle and from the urgencies of actions in order to focus on their conditions. It is guided by the words Walter Benjamin chose to describe Brecht’s subversion of the epic genre: “Instead of identifying with the characters the audience should be astonished at the circumstances under which they function” (Benjamin 2013, p. 150). The first step is a deflation of the epic.

Poetry of the Past, Prose of the Present For a period, the favourite mainstream reference for independence was Scotland and Quebec, two regions who undramatically were conceded the right to self-determination in referendums in 1995 and 2014. Votar és normal, voting is normal, as a slogan had it. But references to more epic, even insurrectionary struggles of national liberation have always been made in the Catalan context, and they are becoming more common. In 2014, for instance a flurry of exhibitions and publications centred on the tri-centennial of the Catalan independence declaration of 1714. On the independentist left the 1934 independence declaration is held dearer, through parts of the narrative tend to be downplayed, particularly the fact that the short-lived 1934 Catalan republic, declared in the context of insurrections across the Spanish state, saw itself as a part of a federation of Iberian republics.

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It has by now become common to subvert these solemn invocations with an apt reference to Marx’s dictum that all great world-historic facts and personages appear twice—first as tragedy, then as farce.5 The October 2017 declaration of independence, vaguely formulated and never acted upon, stands in for the deadly repression of the 1934 Catalan Republic. Then, president Companys was imprisoned by Lerroux and executed by Franco. Now, in a toned-down reboot, President Puigdemont was chased to Brussels by Rajoy. And indeed, the farce becomes total when Rajoy, leader of a deeply authoritarian party mired in corruption, sends thousands of police officers, hosted in a cruise ship covered in Looney Toons characters, to beat up voters in Catalonia to “restore legality and democracy”. Similarly, Carles Puigdemont’s twists and turns, his two-second declaration of independence, his last-minute changes of heart, and his flight to Brussels have all been rich sources of satire—though his possible 30-year sentence, and the long sentences to his fellow leaders, are not. Sometimes the current actors wear their masks so well that the repetition maintains its epic tenor and sense of world historical appearance, whether in the civil disobedience of millions of voters on October 1st or the ominous warnings of Pablo Casado, then press secretary and current leader of the Spanish Partido Popular (PP), that Puigdemont “might end up like Companys” (Mayor Ortega 2017). Descriptions of the Spanish police as an “occupying army”—understandable after the repression of the referendum—and of the PP as “fascist” are widespread in Catalonia. While the sentiments these epithets convey depict the opening of a profound chasm, no one acts as if they genuinely believe them to be true. Rather, they largely seem to act as spirits of the past conjured up to cast current battles as heroic. However, they also signal the virtue of Catalan nationalism, which—right or left—has historically needed to constitute itself against post-imperial and authoritarian Spanish conservatism, from Primo de Rivera’s (1923–1930) and Francisco Franco’s (1939–1975) dictatorships to the current conservative government. This also explains why both the white left and bourgeois politicians have compared their struggle to black liberation without raising many eyebrows locally. Back in 2013, Artur Mas—then Catalan president—compared the annual demonstration for Catalan independence with Martin Luther King’s March on Washington. Appropriately choosing a more radical reference than 5 A simple google-search for [Catalunya farsa tragedia] reveals well more than a dozen texts with that phrase.

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their unlikely and uneasy ally, leaders of the far-left assembly-based party CUP (La Candidatura d’Unitat Popular) have invoked the example of Malcolm X. And the independence movement’s choice of non-violent resistance is often described as “Gandhian”.6 Of course, Puigdemont’s Catalonia is nothing like the Guinea-Bissau of Amilcar Cabral or the Algeria of Ben Bella, as acerbically noted by Madrid-based historian and sociologist Emmanuel Rodríguez (2017a). But, hyperbolic appropriations notwithstanding, the Catalan independence struggle does have one thing in common with other struggles of national liberation: to succeed it must produce, as Frantz Fanon wrote, a Manichean division along national lines, strong enough to force a positive answer to the question “yes or no to independence”. For Fanon, this is the labour of constructing a cohesive social majority out of everyday antagonisms and local and episodic struggles. In anti-colonial liberation, the decisive question poses itself in the everyday interactions between the colonizer and the colonized, providing the affective charge and existential necessities that need only find their political articulation (Fanon 1968). In Catalonia, the national independence movement has weak roots in the everyday material struggles of people. As we will see, behind the Manichean clashes of the Catalan autumn lies a motley assemblage of factors. The historical factors are well known: the memory of and trauma from the facistist extermination of the social revolution in Catalonia and the systematic attempt to repress and efface Catalan culture during the following dictatorship. Such memory of oppression functions as an interpretive framework for current events, one which is especially powerful when Spain is governed by the PP. However, they are not sufficient in explaining the turn to independentism, which has only approached a social majority beginning in 2012, after the onset of the economic crisis. This is of crucial significance. Because at their root, the most dynamic factors of the movement, those grievances capable of spurring a critical mass into action, are not specific to Catalonia, but rather belong to the entirety of the crisis-ridden Spanish state. If the current Catalan secession crisis is a product of the crisis of the constitutional order of 1978, independentism is merely one of the responses to this crisis. This too belies the invocations of a singular anti-colonial struggles. Such hyperbole is deeply and sincerely felt, partly because the arrogance of the PP 6 For contrast, see Asad Haider’s (2018) important reflection on emplotment in black and anti-colonial struggle.

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government has specifically targeted Catalonia and tried to mobilize voters around anti-Catalan Spanish nationalism, and partly because the insurgent nationhood of Catalans seems to open a way out of the deadlock of the ossified régime of the 1978 Constitution and towards a republic, more social and democratic than the current order. Seen through the prism of Catalan history, these factors explain much of the international left-wing fascination with the Catalan fight and its readiness to narrate current events—messy, contradictory, farcical, and divisive as they are—in an epic mode. In this linear story, the Catalans are the collective hero who, against all odds, has now arrived at the urgency of the final battle. The story I want to tell here is more profane, more broken, more surprising.

Constitutional Contradictions The impetus of the independence movement was the economic crisis, but the fault line it revealed and expanded was a contradiction in the constitutional arrangement of the Spanish state. It is often said against the 1978 Constitution that it—and particularly its definition of Spain as a unitary rather than federal state—marks its continuity with the fascist régime. And indeed, Francoists were still in control of both military and army as it was written.7 However, this narrative is only one half of the story: that of victimhood. The other side of the story is that the Francoists accepted the constitution under fear of communist, anarchist, and nationalist insurgencies. The problem is not that the constitution was imposed by fascists, as many argue, but rather that it was a compromise with people one should not have to compromise with. As such, the constitution is insufficiently democratic and federal to accommodate the plurality of Spain, and not authoritarian and centralist enough to repress it.8 Since its inception, Catalanism has been “a byword for moderation, caution and incremental change” (Dowling 2014, p. 220). As such, Catalanism was an expression of the wider political culture post-dictatorship 7 For the Francoist oligarchy and capital, democracy was an acceptable price to pay for access to European markets. Thus, Jaume Franquesa (2019) can provocatively argue that “the regime of 1978” arose through a passive revolution, following Gramsci. 8 In a long term perspective, Catalan independentism can be understood as a failure of Spanish nation-building, as pointed out by Luke Stobard (2017). See also Ronald Fraser (2009).

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Spain, during which a rapidly growing middle class distanced itself not merely from the years of fascism, but also from the social revolution it exterminated. It was a culture that accepted both the victory and the death of Franco, in order to let Spain enter into the new liberal European order. For decades after the transition to constitutional monarchy, Catalan nation-building, historical trauma and resentment were insufficient to gather anything near a pro-independence majority. Quite the opposite in fact; in 1977 when the fear of Francoism was still strong—perhaps precisely for that reason—only 5% of Catalans expressed a preference for independence. Presiding over the constitutional compromise was the European Community and its promise of membership. For the Francoist oligarchy and capital, democracy was an acceptable price to pay for access to European markets, while the socialist trade unions and left saw the EU (then EC) as a guarantor of democratic and economic development, and a way to marginalize the communist party. From 1978 until 2010 Catalan autonomy seemed to be gradually expanding, with no clear endpoint in sight. From 1986, EU-membership gave many Catalans who mistrusted Madrid the confidence that their minority rights were guaranteed, and that the nation state would be gradually eroded in favour of a Europe of regions. With the Catalan economy and cultural development progressing, support for independence was low. Catalonia now shared a horizon of “modernization” with the rest of Spain: Europeanization. The question of sovereignty within the Spanish state was partially diffused by a transmission of sovereignty to the European level. In this period, the dominant articulation of nationalism was “pragmatic Catalanism” rather than independentism. As noted by Kathryn Crameri, “one of the factors that has traditionally united political and civil nationalist groups in Catalonia is a reluctance to pursue the idea of a Catalan state” (2015, p. 108). In those years, Catalan independentism was the minority position of a relatively weak left, particularly the historic centreleft party of Companys, Ezquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC), as well as the small armed liberation movement Terra Lluire (“Free Land”). For many years, the constitutional compromise gave the contradiction room to move, but its granting of nation-building capacities to regional governments was bound to run into conflict with its own insistence on

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the “indissoluble unity of the Spanish Nation”, especially in times when sluggish economic growth raised hard distribution questions.9 At the beginning of the millennium, the hegemony of CiU was strained by its support for minority PP governments in the Spanish Cortes. Backing the main party of Spanish nationalism was unpopular, but nonetheless grounded in CiU’s pragmatic tradition of seeking influence in Madrid. At the same time, the Catalan economy was experiencing a relative decline, transforming net transfers to Madrid and poorer regions of Spain into an issue of contention (Dowling 2014, p. 228). These developments created space for the surge of ERC. From this point onwards, competition between ERC and CiU over the nationalist vote created a more lively debate over Catalonia’s future and brought the discussion of independence back into the mainstream. In 2003, the PSC, heading the first non-CiU regional government since the transition, proposed a renewal of Catalonia’s Statute of Autonomy, the Estatut, which had been in existence since the transition. The aim was to secure a government alliance with ERC and stop the independentist drift of Catalan politics. But rather than dampen independentism, the attempted reform ended up accelerating it. After much debate and watering down,10 the Estatut was voted through the Catalan and Spanish parliaments in 2005–2006 but was immediately suspended when the PP asked the Constitutional Court to assess its legality.11 With the Estatut caught in a legal limbo, the question of independence began percolating into the general population, starting in 2006 with a demonstration of 200,000 organized by the ERCdominated Plataforma pel Dret de Decidir (Platform for the Right to Decide). In 2009 and 2010, CUP were influential in setting up referendums on independence in a number of small municipalities, showing the movement’s increasing capacities.

9 Article 2 states: “The Constitution is based on the indissoluble unity of the Spanish Nation, the common and indivisible homeland of all Spaniards; it recognizes and guarantees the right to self-government of the nationalities and regions of which it is composed and the solidarity among them all.” 10 The draft preamble boldly defined Catalonia as a “nation,” which was considered unpalatable in the Cortes. Instead, the agreed preamble stated that the Estatut recognizes that the Catalan parliament has defined Catalonia as a nation by an ample majority. 11 The Estatut was also challenged by Defensor del Pueblo (the Spanish ombudsman) and other autonomous communities (Dowling 2014, p. 226).

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In 2010 and 2011, support for independence went up from 20 to 28%, rising rapidly to 44% in 2012 before peaking at 48.5% in 2013. Referendum-style polls, in which options beyond yes or no are absent, showed 57% support for independence in 2012. In 2005 it would have been foolish to predict such a development. That year, barely 1% told pollsters that they followed the debate over the Estatut “with interest”, and though the “yes” won the Estatut referendum solidly with 74% support, participation only reached 49%. But two internal factors raised Catalanism to a qualitatively new level: the transformation of CiU into a pro-independence platform and the activation of Catalan civil society around an issue that had hitherto been driven by political elites.

Organic Crisis and the Discourse of Sovereignty It is no coincidence that the intensification of the conflict happened after the onset of the worst economic crisis since the civil war. Hardly sui generis, the Catalan independence process is, in a sense, the crisis of the Spanish state with Catalan characteristics. This crisis prompted CiU to displace the blame for austerity onto Madrid, hit the Catalan middle class with an acute threat of declassing, and led to a general crisis of representation and legitimacy for the whole post-1978 régime. But, as noted by Andrew Dowling, for a movement arising in such a severe economic crisis it was surprisingly moderate and contained remarkably little critique of the current economic order (Dowling 2014). After the transition, the insults and collaboration between the elites in Madrid and Barcelona flowed relatively smoothly as long as economic growth created surpluses large enough to secure social consensus and fill hungry bank accounts in Panama and Andorra alike (a large number of PP politicians went for the former option, Pujol and his family for the latter). This order came crashing down with the construction and mortgage bubbles, which managed to surprise a country that had constructed more than twice as much real estate as Germany, Italy and France combined over the preceding decade. By 2013, more than 350,000 households had been evicted from their homes, while unemployment rates rose sharply, leaving more than 50% of the youth jobless.12

12 For a discerning economic analysis of the Spanish crisis and its causes (see López and Rodríguez 2011).

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Resistance to these developments was impressive. First, the antieviction movement PAH (Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca, founded in 2009) spread from Barcelona across the Spanish state, resisting evictions and occupying bank branches, gaining significant concessions from banks and pushing regional governments to introduce the abovementioned anti-eviction laws (Garcia Lamarca 2017). PAH was hugely important in creating solidarity and collective leverage between regular and subprime mortgage lenders, between declassed middle class and working class people, and between people with and without migrant backgrounds (Colau and Alemany 2014). Then on May 15th 2011, Spain saw the beginning of one of the most impressive of the square occupation movements in Europe, the Movimiento 15M, elsewhere known as the “indignados” usefully referencing that quintessential middle-class affect of indignation. In 2011, the 15M was estimated to have up to 1.5 million very active participants, with 8.5 million participating in some activities, and 32 million out of Spain’s 47 million expressed sympathy with the movement. 25 Such numbers would have been impossible without the crisis of the middle class and its meritocratic horizon of expectation, its investment in existing institutions, and its sense of entitlement.13 Thus, the movement system’s centre of gravity lay with the middle class, and this introduced a tension between the radical democratic class practices and the desire to regain lost class positions or promises, through electoral politics aimed to claim the sovereign power of the state. The limits of the politics of sovereignty are always the same: the protagonism of the citizen and the forgetting of the immigrant, the prioritization of representative politics, and the instrumentalization or neglect of the construction of popular or class power. The dominant demand of the 15M, “real democracy now”, would come to play a major role in the construction of projects of popular sovereignty and citizenship, with its focus on the voter-citizen and electoral politics, and its exhausting campaigning cycles. Gradually, the content the struggle was hollowed out, in order to build “social majorities”, “govern for everyone”, and

13 In a technical sense, most of the “middle class” is working class, as it does not

control the means of reproduction, a predicament that is mostly dealt with through wage labor. However, through education and meritocracy it expects to be paid well enough to eventually mitigate or exit from that condition through homeownership, entrepreneurship, and other forms of investment. Middle class thus principally names a subjectivity and a set of strategies of life, which may be more or less in sync with economic realities.

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“include those that are missing” (Rodríguez 2017b). The roots of the “sovereigntism” in Catalonia, in Spain as elsewhere, lies in the crisis of the middle class. Quixote put on plated armour to regain through just deeds the class position and honour that was slipping away from his class, the hidalgos privileged by the state of his time yet owning little real property. Today, the crisis of the middle class is broadening the constituency for the discourse of national sovereignty, which in the past was its horizon of a social, but not too social state, which would secure dignified lives for its “productive” citizens. Perhaps because such a state has always been circumscribed by the Spanish state in Catalonia, the call for national sovereignty is more enchanting there.

The Solution to All Our Problems As the movements of 2011 swept the country, harsh austerity was being meted out by both national and regional governments. Austerity was backed by repressive measures culminating in the PP passing the infamous Ley Mordaza, a gag law enabling harsh punishments of protesters, photographers of police brutality, and racialized populations alike (Jones 2015). In Catalonia, the governing neoliberals of CiU, hugely unpopular for having presided over a failed economic model, austerity and repression, began to point the finger at Madrid. They started asking: would austerity really be necessary in Catalonia, if it was not a net-contributor to the rest of Spain and if the Spanish bureaucracy was as efficient as the Catalan one? In an English-language anthology of arguments for independence, the Catalan president Artur Mas wrote: This is the new central issue in Catalonia. A Catalonia that suffers, like the rest of the countries in Europe, the harsh consequences of the financial crisis, that suffers the consequences of having to drastically reduce its public spending to meet the deficit objectives that are disproportionately, unjustly, and disloyally imposed by Spain, and that suffers the consequences of having to shoulder the return of a debt of massive dimensions. It faces this difficult and complex situation without any of the tools that states have at their disposal, and with the growing sensation that the state that we helped to construct neither protects us, nor defends us, nor respects us. (Mas, 2013, p. 11)

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Mas wrote this after having implemented harsh budget cuts in the Generalitat and regularly deploying the Mossos d’Esquadra, the Catalan police, to tackle protesters. Fiscal sovereignty became the magic wand with which the Catalan élite tried to transform the critique of the banks, the real estate bubble, Troika-cuts, and their own neoliberalism into a critique of Spanish inefficiency and exploitation of Catalonia. For the Catalan left, foremost among them ERC and CUP, the crisis constituted a historic opportunity to achieve the old aim of an independent republic, while the neoliberal Catalan right, tainted by economic mismanagement and austerity, embraced the quest for independence opportunistically as a source of renewed legitimacy. This uneasy alliance repeated an age-old particularity of Catalan politics, an effect of the political economy of consensus and contestation in a dominated territory. Because of its subaltern position with regard to the Spanish bourgeoisie, sections of the Catalan bourgeoisie have always supported the cause of autonomy. And because it never truly rules, it can take up progressive positions and make alliances with popular classes and left-wing parties at relatively low cost (Fraser 1976). Catalanism is the historical language of such class alliances, which are inconceivable in the Spanish capital. In this way, social discontent, opportunism, and thwarted desires for more autonomy mixed to fuel a broad independence alliance capable of mobilizing millions. This surge would have been unimaginable without the general fervour of the spring of 2011 and the accelerated crisis of the legitimacy of all ruling political parties. The polarization was fuelled by the PP government, which saw how a conflict with Catalonia could position the party as the defender of Spanish unity in the rest of the state, and provide it with a winning card after years of corruption scandals and austerity. Thus Catalan leadership was faced with a stark choice between capitulation or escalation. The constitutional court blocked the prospect of any compromise within the constitution, while the Spanish government rejected not only negotiation, but also the idea of the Catalan government as an interlocutor on the question. In effect, the constitutional contradiction between accommodation of Catalan nation building and the prohibition of Catalan nationhood was brought to a head. As an effect of these developments, a very large proportion of the Catalan middle class changed its allegiance from catatalism to independentism. This significantly included a large section of the cultural élite, from academics and intellectuals to media professionals (Crameri 2015). The professional middle class was crucial to the formation in 2012 of

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the biggest pro-independence civic association Assemblea Nacional Catalana (ANC) and the transformation of the old Catalan cultural association Òmnium into a pro-independence vehicle. From then on, the question of independence was no longer mainly party political, and civic associations gave independentism an affective and social expression outside the calculations of parliamentary politics. Through these years, the independentist left remained relatively weak in parliamentary terms, with ERC winning 7 and 14% in the Catalan elections of 2010 and 2012, and CUP entering the Catalan parliament for the first time at 3% in 2012 (in both elections CiU received 38–39% of the vote). As we have seen, the roots of the independence process are not social grievances so much as political ones. In other words, the Catalan independence struggle is not the politicization and expression of social problems, but the socialization of political problems. For this to happen, social problems necessarily became subsumed and misrepresented in the independence process, and the cross-class project of Catalan independence was sold as a solution to the problems of the economic crisis and the crisis of representation. It is no surprise that morbid symptoms abound.

The Anti-capitalist Right, the Pro-austeritary Left Gaining no concessions from Madrid and having unleashed a strong movement, there was no turning back for the CiU-led Catalan government. Artur Mas was increasingly moving contrary to the interests of his constituency, Catalan capital, or at any rate the dominant larger enterprises within it, who considered independence and possible detachment from the Spanish and European markets a disaster. The culmination of this radicalizing drift was the consultative independence referendum on the 9th of November 2014, in which “yes” received 81% on a meagre 39% turnout due to a boycott by anti-independence parties. The referendum campaign was fought by a cross-political alliance of the right and left, which was symbolized in the warm embrace between the leader of the far-left party CUP, David Fernàndez, and Artur Mas on the night of the referendum. From 2014, non-independentist parties coming out of the 15M and housing rights movement rose metorically, opening a path beyond the binary of the “independence” or “repression” of Catalonia. The foremost actors capable of opening that path were Podemos and its municipalist

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allies, Barcelona en Comú which won the municipal elections in may 2015, largely drawing its votes from the parts of working class and precarious middle class, that finds its origins outside of Catalonia.14 Simultaneously with Podemos’ and Barcelona en Comú’s impressive rises, the polarization was deepening. The split between the independentist and non-independentist left, which has brought much bitterness, go back to two events in November 2014.15 First, there were the images of CUP-leader David Fernàndez embracing Artur Mas after the 9 N referendum. Then there was CUP’s refusal to enter into the Barcelona en Comú confluencia, despite having taken part in the process that shaped its code of ethics. To non-independentists, these were serious signs that CUP was prioritizing the national question over the social one. In the summer of 2015, the advance of the Comuns shook independentism. Polls suggested that a hypothetical “Catalonia en Comú” party could come close to displacing CiU as the largest party in the Catalan elections, proposing a federalist alternative to both independentism and Spanish centralism. The countermove came quickly: Òmnium and ANC, CiU, ERC and CUP attempted to set up a common electoral front “without politicians” to decisively make the upcoming election a plebiscite on the national question. In the end, Artur Mas refused to accept the faceless list, opting for a narrower alliance with ERC, Junts Pel Sí , or JxSí (Palà 2015). The independentist front did not stop the rise of the newly build electoral alliance between Comuns and Podemos, En Comú Podem, which became the largest party in Catalonia with 24.7 and 24.5% of the vote in the state-wide elections of December 2015 and June 2016. However, it solidified the independentist bloc, and created the conditions of a rightleft alliance on the regional level. Thus, in January 2015, JxSí formed a government. After much internal turmoil and a miraculous 1515–1515 assembly vote, the CUP decided to support this neoliberal-led Catalan

14 In 2012, 36.6% of the Catalan population had been born outside of Catalonia (18.6% outside Spain, and 18% in the rest of Spain (Domingo 2013, p. 40), with numbers much higher in Barcelona. 15 For an excellent selection of texts from the debate over independence on the left in Spain and Catalonia, see “The Catalan national struggle and the left in the Spanish state,” International Journal of Socialist Renewal. http://links.org.au/catalan-national-struggleleft-Spanish-state.

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government and its austerity budget. In return, the CUP received guarantees that a referendum would be held within 18 months, and secured the replacement of the tainted Mas by Carles Puigdemont, also CiU, who was seen as a truer believer in the cause of independence. For the independence movement, the time for pushing the polarization to the point of a decision was approaching. The prospect of constitutional reform receded, and the window of opportunity for an independentist rupture narrowed as the Catalan economy exited the worst of the crisis years. The Manichean phase would have to be traversed. Knowing that their pro-independence majority wasn’t secure, many independentists began to consider any party that didn’t openly campaign for independence as de facto unionist. The Spanish unionists, equally trying to shore up support, considered any non-independentist support for the right to decide, a treasonous opening of the door to secession. After this followed the referendum on October 1st 2017, brutally repressed by Spanish police, and Puigdemont’s declaration of independence on October 27. The Catalan Republic was declared on Friday, took the weekend off, and was gone by Monday morning, except in the hearts of millions of Catalans. Several of these were in Brussel, exiled and seeking the support of the EU, which had already played its hand: full support for the enforcement of the Spanish constitution. Two months later, the parties of the independent republic competed in regional elections forced upon them by the Spanish government. Two years later, nine Catalan leaders were sentence to long prison terms, leading to a predictable uprising, with its impressive show of popular power, and another layer of scars.16

A Contradictory Majority All defeats are relational. Defeat is not merely a matter of the strength and determination of the enemy, but of one’s own relative weakness or indecisiveness. There would have been no defeat if not for the intransigence of the Spanish state, its preference for a violent crackdown on voters, its will to exile and imprison Catalan leaders rather than negotiate with them. But part of the defeat has to be traced to the composition of the Catalan independence movement and in its illusions. The strange

16 For my commentary on these events, see Hansen (2019a, b).

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disjunction between the plan and the playing field, the ambition and the strenght, is what makes the defeat Quixotic. The interregnum is characterized by ungovernability—it creates a crack in political time, an opening for radical change, and so a more decisive and differently composed movement may have succeeded in forcing constitutional change. Such openings depend entirely on people’s willingness to take risks, the strength of their ties of solidarity, and the urgency of their collective needs and desires. In the movement of the local, self-organized committees in defence of the referendum (CDRs), all these factors appeared to be strong. On the basis of popular autonomy, Catalonia might have been able to destitute Spanish sovereignty, without constituting its own. But without daring to pass through a phase of ungovernability, the Catalan project of sovereignty could not realize its own majority, and eventually it submitted itself to existing legality. When Puigdemont looked ready to fold on October 26th, shouts of “traitor” rang out among those assembled near the Catalan parliament, ready to protect the govern in case of a Spanish police intervention. But his course of action came as no surprise to the Catalan left. As many pointed out, Puigdemont’s capitulation, his fear of rupture, and his illusions about the EU testify to his politics and his conservative and liberal middle-class constituency. Some pro-independence leftists (Rodríguez 2017a) uncovered one particularly apt passage from Marx’s 18th Brumaire: If the peaceful demonstration was meant seriously, then it was folly not to foresee that it would be given a warlike reception. If a real struggle was intended, then it was a queer idea to lay down the weapons with which it would have to be waged. But the revolutionary threats of the petty bourgeois and their democratic representatives are mere attempts to intimidate the antagonist … The blaring overture that announced the contest dies away in a pusillanimous snarl as soon as the struggle has to begin, the actors cease to take themselves au sorieux, and the action collapses completely, like a pricked bubble. (Marx 1852)

How fitting this quote was, was later demonstrated in the court case against the Catalan leaders following the 2017 declaration of independence. Here the defence claimed that the leaders knew full well that the declaration of independence was impossible to implement, and so not an act of rebellion, but an attempt to force the central government to the

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negotiating table. The Supreme Court accepted this argument and abandoned the charge of rebellion. Yet the Sanchos of the independentist left followed their Quixote. The simply reason was that in parliamentary terms, there could be no majoritarian movement for independence expect through a broad rightleft alliance. This cross-political alliance reflected the class composition of the pro-independence constituency. In fact, the strongest predictors of pro-independence attitudes were Catalan family and class. In a breakdown of a June 2017 poll made by the public polling company of Catalonia, CEO, Kiko Llaneras showed that only 29% of those that earn 900–1200e per month support independence, a number which rises to between 53 and 55% in the categories of those that earn between 1800 and 4000e (Llaneras 2017). Among those that report trouble with paying their rent, independence also received 29% support, while 51% of those that “live comfortably” wanted a Catalan state. Family ties to Catalonia were an even stronger predictor. 12% of those born in other parts of Spain, 25% of those born abroad, and 29% of those born by non-Catalan parents support independence. Pro-independence majorities are only found among those who have two Catalan-born parents (62%), with the highest support (75%) among those whose parents and grandparents were all born in Catalonia. Overall, among those with Catalan family-background, support for independence grows with income, while pro-independence support is lowest among those that were born in the rest of Spain earning less than 900e. Apart from the “troika of repression” (PP, PSC and Ciudadanos), the only party seeking to represent this category of traditional social democratic and communist voters is Podem/Catalunya en Comú. In effect, the independence question divides not only the left in Catalonia, but also the working class. Built on a large right-wing and middle components, the independence movement went surprising far in its challenge to the Spanish state, but as soon as the question of effecting a true material rupture comes on the table, its unity and resolve falters. This was witnessed in October 2019, when the new Catalan president, Quim Torra called for civil disobedience to protest the conviction of the Catalan leaders, on the same day that he called on the riot police to dissolve road blockades and protests with force.

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Quixote in Barcelona As befits epic theatre, we take leave of our heroes without conclusion, without catharsis, without a for-ever-after. What remains, on the request of several readers, is a reflection on the failure of the epic of national sovereignty. The aim is not in order to criticize or defend actions and strategies, but to ask in what sense Marx’s quip about Don Quixote applies not to the Catalan struggle for sovereignty, and perhaps elsewhere in Europe today. In Catalonia as elsewhere, “sovereignty” has become an empty signifier of the solution to the uncertainty of the interregnum, an affirmation of the need to “take back control”. The signifier will remain empty as long as it is a projection-surface and catch-all solution rather than a politically, socially, and economically feasible plan for the establishment of sovereignty. As Marx’s, Don Quixote the Catalan secession struggle paid the penalty for wrongly imagining that its struggle was compatible with all economical forms of society. The Catalans cannot live on Catalanism,17 and the limits of the independence process have to be found in the way Catalonia makes its living, profoundly integrated as it is with European markets and global migration flows. And the sovereignty of small states is profoundly circumscribed by global finance capital and the EU—even if you detach yourself to join its external periphery. How to disentangle oneself from the EU and global finance, and how to survive outside, but within the sphere of interest of a quasi-empire and on the margins of global flow of financing? Such questions have remained firmly off the agenda of the mainstream middle class independence movement. The inability to raise these the questions and the persistence of the hope that the EU will come to the rescue suggest the disavowal of an awkward truth: the costs, particularly to the middle class, of a clash with the EU. Both the truth and its disavowal suggest the limits of the class base of the independence movement; the middle class turns out to be both its condition of possibility and its condition of impossibility. Louis Althusser once pointed out that “the possibilities and limits of the nation’s realization depend upon a whole series of factors … which in some sense prestructure the aleatory space in which the nation will be able to take shape” (Althusser 2011, p. 11). Objectively, many of 17 My reference here is to Marx’s comment in Capital that, “the Middle Ages could not live on Catholicism, nor could the ancient world on politics” Marx (1976, p. 176).

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the factors that have made wagers on struggles for national sovereignty timely (a multipolar world system, the feasibility of guerrilla struggles or civil war, the relative economic self-sufficiency of populations in mainly agricultural economies, the capitalist need to produce integrated national markets where there were none, etc.) are not present. For these reasons, the Catalan government came to rely on the most formal and ideal means of the epic of national liberation: the demands for self-determination, a republic, and national sovereignty, and the weapons of majorities, referenda, and representative democracy. With this mortuary, the goodwill of the enemy or its imperial masters became a condition of liberation. Subjectively, the conditions for national liberation struggle are also poor. Heroism has become a rarity in a world where very few, even among the most indignant, most unemployed, and most austerity-stricken, would be willing to follow leaders to the point of risking everything for the national cause. The middle class from which the independence movement finds its leadership and core constituency, has much more to lose than its chains, even if for many this is not property but merely aspiration, a belief in meritocracy, the possibility of self-realization through wage labour, and a horizon of home ownership. These subjective and objective conditions bring to mind the point made by Györgi Lukács, and distilled by Fredric Jameson, that a “renewed epic cannot come into being until the world itself has been transfigured, regenerated…” (Jameson 1974, p. 178; Lukács 1971, p. 152). The Catalan secession crisis is the product of a singular conjuncture, in which the tensions of the competing subaltern Catalan nationalism and dominant Spanish nationalisms, the contradictions of the constitution, and the various crises of the Spanish state and the EU all culminated simultaneously. The interregnum objectively posed the problem of a reconstitution of the state, which gave rise to a variety of practices centred on the strategy of establishing or reaffirming national sovereignty. In Catalonia, the strategy naturally adopted an epic register, which is closely intertwined with nation-formation, not so much as an optional propaganda tool, but as an expression of a struggle grappling with “the whole of its age and national circumstances”.18

18 Hegel himself already proposed that the epic world had been replaced by a “world of prose,” as the organization of life as a totality of experience was replaced by middle-class individualism (Hegel 1975, Part 3, Section 3; Jameson 1974, p. 352).

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In its most radical moments, the Catalan independence struggle has seemed close to epic: from the civil disobedience of more than two million voters, over the self-organized local defence committees and strikes to demonstrations that habitually count hundreds of thousands. If the Catalan struggle arrived at the threshold of the epic, it was because it built on the transfiguration of the world that was begun negatively by the crises, and positively by the social movements and moved sociality of 2011. Thus, the Catalan independence movement tried to subsume all political questions to the national question, or postpone them until independence was achieved. This genre of politics, with its affective and subjective register—the mix of sentimentality, pathos, and focused commitment, the combination of urgency with a spirit of perseverance— and its unwillingness to compose, its strategic disregard for transversality, indeed its monomania, has long been politically useful to national liberation struggles, invoking and cohering a collective subject, conjuring up the heroic courage needed in order to solve the problem of one’s age. But not all ages are heroic ages. The Catalan débâcle is Quixotic in a very precise way: the narrative the hero told about himself failed, to both tragic and comic effect. The conditions seemed to cry out for heroism, but ruthlessly punished it.

References Althusser, L. (2011). Machiavelli and us (G. Elliott, Trans.). London: Verso. Benjamin, W. (2013). What is epic theatre? In Illuminations. New York: Schocken Books. Bilbeny, J. (2013). El Quixot és la traducció d’una obra catalana, d’en Joan Miquel Servent (J. Vilarrodà, Interviewer). Institut Nova Història. Retrieved from https://www.inh.cat/articles/%27El-Quixot-es-la-traducciod-una-obra-catalana,-d-en-Joan-Miquel-Servent%27. Colau, A., & Alemany, A. (2014). Mortgaged lives. Los Angeles: JOAAP. Crameri, K. (2015). Political power and civil counterpower: The complex dynamics of the Catalan independence movement. Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, 21(1), 104–120. Domingo, A. (2013). Catalonia, land of immigration. In What’s up with Catalonia?: The causes which impel them to the separation. Ashfield, MA: Catalonia Press. Dowling, A. (2014). Accounting for the turn towards secession in Catalonia. International Journal of Iberian Studies, 27 (2–3), 21–234. Fanon, F. (1968). Wretched of the earth. New York: Grove Press.

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Franquesa, J. (2019). The vanishing exception: Republican and reactionary specters of populism in rural Spain. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 46(3), 537–560. Fraser, R. (1976, March–April). Spain on the brink. New Left Review, 96, 3–33. Fraser, R. (2009). Peninsular mythologies. New Left Review, 55, 153–160. Haider, A. (2018, June 19). Organizing histories. Viewpoint Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.viewpointmag.com/2018/06/19/organizing-histories/. Hansen, B. R. (2017, December 19). Winter in Catalonia. Viewpoint Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.viewpointmag.com/2017/12/19/winter-in-cat alonia/. Hansen, B. R. (2019a, October 19). Tsunami of dissent floods the steets of Catalonia. Roar Magazine. Retrieved from https://roarmag.org/essays/cat alonia-independence-protests/. Hansen, B. R. (2019b, October 24). Catalonia, alone? Lessons from the contradictions of the independence movement. Novara Media. Retrieved from https://novaramedia.com/2019/10/24/catalonia-alone-lessons-fromthe-contradictions-of-the-independence-movement/. Hartley, D. (2017). The politics of style. Leiden: Brill. Hegel, G. W. F. (1975). Lectures on aesthetics. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Jameson, F. (1974). Marxism and Form: 20th-Century dialectical theories of literature. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Jameson, F. (2009). Valences of the dialectic. New York: Verso. Jones, J. (2015, July 1). The ten most repressive points of Spain’s gag law. The Local. Retrieved from https://www.thelocal.es/20150701/the-ten-most-rep ressive-aspects-of-spains-new-gag-law. Garcia Lamarca, M. (2017). From occupying plazas to recuperating housing: Insurgent practices in Spain. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 41(1), 37–53. Llaneras, K. (2017, September 18). El apoyo à la independencia tiene raíces económicas y de origen social. El País. Retrieved from https://elpais.com/ politica/2017/09/28/ratio/1506601198_808440.html. López, I., & Rodríguez, E. (2011). The Spanish model. New Left Review, 69, 5–29. Lukács, G. (1971). Theory of the Novel. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Mas, A. (2013). Prologue: A new path for Catalonia. In L. Castro (Ed. and Trans.), What’s up with Catalonia?: The causes which impel them to the separation. Ashfield, MA: Catalonia Press. Marx, K. (1852). 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon. Marxists.org. Retrieved from https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1852/18th-bru maire/ch03.htm. Marx, K. (1976). Capital (Vol. 1). London: Penguin.

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Mayor Ortega, L. (2017, October 10). El PP blande el Código Penal y recuerda a Puigdemont que puede acabar como Companys. La Vanguardia. Retrieved from https://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20171009/431922 539247/pp-puigdemont-acabar-lluis-companys-dui.html. Palà, R. (2015, September 25). Set dies de juliol que haurien pogut canviar-ho tot: de la ‘llista sense president’ a Junts pel Sí. El Critic. Retrieved from https://www.elcritic.cat/investigacio/set-dies-de-juliol-quehaurien-pogut-canviar-ho-tot-de-la-llista-sense-president-a-junts-pel-si-10230. Rodríguez, A. (2017, July 28). The independence referendum and the Catalan national question. Marxism.com. Retrieved from https://www.marxist.com/ the-independence-referendum-and-the-catalan-national-question.htm. Rodríguez, E. (2017a, October 30). 1934–2017. Visca la República, o cuando el problema es la izquierda. Ctxt. Retrieved from http://ctxt.es/es/20171025/ Firmas/15861/republica-izquierda-espana-catalunya-historia.htm. Rodríguez, E. (2017b). La política en el ocaso de la clase media: El ciclo 15 m-Podemos. Madrid: Traficantes de Sueños. Stobard, L. (2017, October 10). Catalonia: Past and future: Jacobin. Retrieved from https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/10/catalonia-indepe ndence-franco-spain-nationalism. Vilar, P. (1971). The age of Quixote. New Left Review, 68, 59–71. White, H. (1973). Metahistory: The historical imagination in 19th century Europe. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

PART IV

Understanding Internationalisation

CHAPTER 8

Catalan Independence as an ‘Internal Affair’? Europeanization and Secession After the 2017 Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Catalonia Angela K. Bourne

On 16 October 2017, the pro-Catalan independence organization Òmnium Cultural released a YouTube video titled ‘Help Catalonia. Save Europe’.1 It was released about two weeks after the unofficial Catalan independence referendum of 1 October. In the video, a young woman, close to tears, appeals directly to European citizens. She calls for help to ‘defend’ Catalan attempts to realize European values of ‘democracy and freedom’ from what were presented as repressive Spanish state efforts to prevent the independence vote. The woman declares that the events of 1

1 Help Catalonia. Save Europe YouTube video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= wouNL14tAks.

A. K. Bourne (B) Department of Social Science and Business, Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2021 Ó. G. Agustín (ed.), Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Sovereignty, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54867-4_8

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October were not an ‘internal Spanish affair’ and that Catalans ‘are European citizens just like you and we need your help’. Moreover, to ‘Help Catalonia’ was to ‘Save Europe’. This coupling of the Catalan crisis and the future of Europe is a key theme of the Catalan independence movement’s externalization strategy. It encapsulates the idea that Europe has an interest in ensuring democracy and justice in Catalonia, if it wants to protect and credibly stand for these values in the long term. This chapter aims to understand externalization of the Catalan independence crisis and discursive mobilization of meanings of Europe with reference to the concept of Europeanization. As used in this chapter, Europeanization refers to the impact of European integration, broadly conceived, on the domestic politics of its member states (Radaelli 2003). Previous research points to the importance of the international context, and more specifically the European context, for understanding contemporary politics of secession. Within existing EU member states, independence advocates generally need to argue convincingly that their new state will easily join international organizations fundamentally affecting economic prosperity and security (Tierney 2013, p. 370; Bourne 2014). Various scholars have argued that the prospect that a new state could remain part of the EU’s common market and seek protection under its latent security umbrella appeared to reduce the costs and risks of separation from another state (e.g. Keating and McGarry 2001; Hepburn 2010, p. 76). Minority nationalists have long used European integration as a political resource “grafted onto their political discourse” to bolster demands for autonomy (Lynch 1996, pp. 16–17; Hepburn 2010). Some also expect ‘contagion effects’ or independence for one stateless nation in Europe to encourage other highly mobilized movements to also pursue independence (Tierney 2013, p. 359). At the same time, the predominance of member state governments within the EU institutional structure appears to have provided more constraints than opportunities for pro-independence activists (Bourne 2014). EU treaties do not regulate the formation of new states. However, the EU may affect what happens after a new state emerges, by, for example, defining conditions for recognition (Coppieters 2007, 2010; Caplan 2005). Furthermore, domestic actors on either side of secession debates have incentives to try to reinforce or reconstruct what Bruno Coppieters (2010) refers to as a developing EU ‘strategic culture’ on secession. Coppieters argues that, despite the continuing importance of an individual state’s historic experiences and priorities in their decisions

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on whether to recognize new states, and the many differences that emerge among member states when new states ask for recognition, the EU has developed a ‘strategic culture’ on secession. This strategic culture is characterized by preferences for regional self-government models respecting territorial integrity of existing states, for reformist and democratic (rather than violent secessionist) movements and ‘just cause’ over ‘democratic choice’ rationales for secession (2010, p. 255). In short, the EU provides a complex web of opportunities and constraints for pro- and anti-independence movements within its territory. The EU’s role in recognition of new states, the hope of future accession and the search for sympathy among European publics for independence movements, gives domestic actors on either side of secession debates incentives to develop strategies to try to influence views beyond their states. Moreover, as the above-mentioned Òmnium Cultural YouTube video illustrates, ‘Europe’ can also be mobilized discursively as a source of appeals to images, histories and experiences in political reasoning in secession debates (see also Bourne 2014). In its current phase, the Catalan independence movement’s strategy for the creation of a new Catalan republic appears to goes against EU secession security culture. On 1 October 2017 (henceforth 1-O), Catalans had the opportunity to engage in an act of civil disobedience by voting in a referendum on the question ‘Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?’ Catalan law regulating the proposed referendum was declared unconstitutional by the Spanish Constitutional Court. The events of 1-O were accompanied by widely publicized images of violent encounters between police, activists and Catalan voters attempting to cast a ballot. Despite what was clearly an irregular electoral process, (contested) results released by the Catalan government showed some 2.3 million people (43% of the electorate) had voted and that 90.2% voted yes for an independent state, while 7.8% voted no. On 10 October 2017 the Catalan President Carles Puigdemont made a unilateral declaration of independence (UDI), but suspended it immediately afterwards. On 27 October 2017, the Catalan Parliament unilaterally proclaimed a Catalan Republic. Among the immediate consequences of the UDI was activation of Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, suspending the Catalan government and parliament until new elections were in December that year. It was approved in the Spanish senate by the main state-wide parties by 214 votes in favour

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(mainly Partido Popular (Popular Party, PP), Partido Socialista Obrero Español (Spanish Socialist Labour Party, PSOE) and Ciudadanos (Citizens, Cs)); with 47 votes against (including Unidas Podemos (United ‘We Can’, UP), Catalan and Basque nationalists). Another consequence was a 2019 Supreme Court ruling sentencing 12 leaders of the independence movement—including Catalan government vice-president and various Catalan government ministers—to sentences ranging from fines to 13 years imprisonment for crimes of sedition, misuse of public funds or disobedience. In this chapter, I examine the externalization strategies of the Catalan independence movement, the counteractions of the Spanish government abroad, and discursive ‘uses of Europe’. As a follow up to my previous analysis of earlier phases (Bourne 2014), I focus on the phase of Catalan pro-independence mobilization, runing from the 1-O referendum in 2017 until January 2020. It ended with investiture of Pedro Sánchez, lead a PSOE-UP coalition government in Spain which was more willing to negotiate with Catalan nationalists. I argue that Europe remains an important arena in which the politics of secession in Spain is played out. The EU and its member states remain reluctant to support the Catalan UDI or to go against the wishes of a member state government. Nevertheless, the increased judicialization of conflict in the post 1-O referendum phase weakens the EU and Spanish government’s argument that the Catalan independence crisis is an entirely ‘internal affair’ for the Spanish state. In Europe, the evolution of supranational legal bodies—particularly the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)—has pluralized legal systems and created new opportunities for the Catalan independence movement to strengthen their position vis-à-vis the Spanish state.

Europeanization and Secession ‘Europeanization’ can be conceived as the ways in which European integration affects the politics, policies and institutions within EU member states (Radaelli 2003). EU treaties do not formally regulate the formation of new states and as such the concepts and research strategies associated with a bottom-up (rather than a top-down) Europeanization approach are more appropriate for this research (Lynggaard 2011). A bottom-up approach focuses on changes that may occur without ‘pressure to adapt’ to Europe, usually generated by commitment to implement EU laws. Rather it focuses on how domestic agents may ‘capture’ or influence EU

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institutions or policies, or use EU discourse strategically to bring about preferred domestic changes (ibid., 23). The multilevel political-institutional context in which secession movements within EU member states operate can be conceived as a ‘political opportunity structure’, a concept drawn from scholarly analysis of social movements (Gamson and Meyer 1996; Kriesi 2007). Political opportunity structures focus attention on factors exogenous to a movement—that is the social, political or institutional environment in which groups operate—and their effects on the activities, influence and organization of collective actors. Change in the external environment can alter the ‘structure of opportunity’ for political action by enhancing or inhibiting prospects for mobilization, affecting the types of claims advanced or strategies pursed and the likely influence of collective actors. The EU can be conceived as one such exogenous factor influencing the politics of independence, providing opportunities or constraints on domestic actors, which may contribute to or undermine the realization of their goals. The concept of ‘vertical Europeanization’ is also useful for conceptualizing EU effects on secession movements within member states. Developed in work on the Europeanization of public spheres (Koopmans and Erbe 2003; Koopmans and Statham 2010), vertical Europeanization involves “communicative linkages between the national and the European level” (Koopmans and Erbe 2003, p. 6). In top-down vertical Europeanization, “European actors intervene in national publics in the name of European regulations and common interests”. In the bottom-up variant, “national actors address European actors and/or make claims on European issues” (ibid.). A role for the EU as an actor in domestic secession processes—and a rationale for top-down vertical Europeanization—is bolstered by new states’ need to be recognized by existing states to obtain the privileges the international community accords with statehood. In theory, if not always in practice, EU coordination on recognition gives it a chance to influence the terms of secession (Caplan 2005). Furthermore, institutions with an authoritative role in EU enlargement processes—such as the European Commission—have been compelled to comment on the hypothetical claims by pro-independence campaigners. In particular, they have been asked to verify that quick or immediate accession to the EU will take place, and thereby deliver the reduction in uncertainty and costs of independence that membership of the EU theoretically entails (Bourne 2014).

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Finally, arguments focussing on the impact of discursive opportunity structures can be developed further with reference to theoretical work on ‘usages of Europe’ (Woll and Jacquot 2010) and horizontal Europeanization (Koopmans and Erbe 2003; Koopmans and Statham 2010). The concept of ‘usages of Europe’ asserts that the “EU can become a vector of change by providing new resources, references and policy frames, which national actors use strategically” (Woll and Jacquot 2010, p. 113). In essence, the concept aims to highlight “how actors engage with, interpret, appropriate or ignore the dynamics of European integration’ through social practices that seize the EU as a set of opportunities” (ibid., p. 116). The concept is useful for understanding forms of strategic usage of Europe which took the form of what Koopmans and Erbe (2003) and Koopmans and Statham (2010) define as horizontal Europeanization, which involves “communicative linkages between different European countries” (Koopmans and Erbe 2003, p. 6). Of particular interest here is what the authors define as a ‘strong variant’ of horizontal Europeanization which occurs when “actors from one country explicitly address or refer to actors or policies in another European country” (Koopmans and Statham 2010, p. 38). Such communicative links may take the form of domestic actors comparing their own situation with that in other countries as well as evaluating developments abroad. More specifically, the concept of horizontal Europeanization helps conceptualize the ways in which references to other secessionist movements may be used to portray opponents in a negative light, and themselves in a positive light; mobilize participants within domestic movements; project possible future scenarios through reference to ‘success stories’ and undermine the validity of opponent’s arguments (Bourne 2014). In the following analysis, I examine the implications of political and discursive ‘opportunity structures’ created by Spain’s EU membership in relation to the Catalan independence crisis. I begin applying the concepts of ‘bottom-up vertical Europeanisation’ to examine claimmaking by Catalan and Spanish political actors and ‘top-down vertical Europeanisation’ to examine EU actors’ responses to these claims. This is followed by examining ‘horizontal Europeanization’, or discursive ‘uses of Europe’ generated by strategic referencing of experiences of other European countries. I examine claims made from a variety of sources. I began searching claims reported in 91 articles collected from a keyword search of La Vanguardia, a Catalan daily newspaper published in both

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Catalan and Castillian languages, which has the widest circulation in Catalonia. These were supplemented by analysis of core legal documents. In order to capture a wider range of views and practices than those typically reported in newspapers, I also undertook ethnographic fieldwork in December 2019 in Barcelona. This was in the week leading up to several important EU court decisions relating to key figures in the Catalan independence movement (see below). During the fieldwork, I photographed and recorded publically displayed political graffiti, placards or posters, particularly those with references to ‘Europe’, ‘Europeans’ or the ‘European Union’. As Mark F. Hau has shown in his own ethnographic study (2016), Barcelona is a ‘battlefield’, “inscribed with visual cues that designate and classify space as being Catalan or Spanish” (2016, p. 92). In addition, I conducted interviews with 14 pro-independence activists during a Tsunami Democràtic (Democratic Tsunami) demonstration. The demonstration was held outside a football match between Barcelona and Real Madrid football clubs, a match known as ‘el clásico’, and which was televised and watched worldwide. It was widely anticipated in the media that activists would use the match to bring international attention to the Catalan independence cause. As such, it was a good opportunity to observe claims and practices of pro-independence activists oriented to the outside world. The first group of activists I spoke to were wary of giving details about themselves or to be recorded, claiming they could be later pursued by the Spanish security services. At this point, I stopped recording interviews and henceforth describe informants with reference to where they said they came from, gender and age. All informants who I asked agreed to speak to me. All but one interview (in English) was conducted in Spanish. I spoke to people who were in small groups, which was how they were naturally gathered. I selected informants of different age ranges, and group configurations in order to get a range of views; i.e. I spoke to a groups of young (male) students; a family (mother and daughter); a mixed group of middle-aged men and women; two middle-aged women who had their teenage children with them; a man in his mid-1930s carrying a banner and participating in a procession; and a group of older men.

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Bottom up Vertical Europeanisation: Lobbying for and Against Independence in Europe The core narrative Catalan pro-independence activists sought to promote abroad was that their movement was peaceful and democratic. It sought to give Catalans a chance to exercise fundamental rights theoretically granted to all Europeans, including rights to free expression and the democratic ‘right to decide’ their political future.2 According to the main narrative, ‘Spain’—the government, courts and main state-wide political parties (i.e. PP, PSOE and Cs)—prevented this. Moreover, Spain’s response to the Catalan independence movement was repressive and undemocratic, the narrative continued. Imprisoned pro-Catalan independence leaders were considered political prisoners. In contrast, the core narrative of the Spanish government was that the 1-O referendum was illegal and that Catalan independence leaders were behaving unlawfully when promoting it and declaring independence. The issue was a problem of law and order that could be dealt with internally through the Spanish courts, this position held. Dialogue was also possible, but within the framework of the law and the constitution. Moreover, the imprisoned Catalan leaders were not political prisoners, because as then President of the Spanish government, Mariano Rajoy, and others from his ruling Popular Party argued, “in Spain, anyone could defend their ideas, including independence, but independence advocates are also subordinate to the law”.3 The Catalan Government has sought to establish an autonomous international presence by establishing offices abroad since the 1980s. However, offices and the coordinating body El Consell de Diplomàcia Pública de Catalunya (Diplocat) were closed down when Catalan autonomy was temporary suspended in late October 2017.4 Efforts were made to re-establish international offices—and create new ones—once autonomy was re-established.5 Nevertheless, the centre of gravity for the pro-independence international campaign has moved elsewhere. In 2018, ex-Catalan President Puigdemont and various former Catalan minsters 2 See for example, consellrepublica.cat, retrieved 3 January 2020. 3 La Vanguardia, Albiol: ‘No hay presos políticos’, 13 November 2017. 4 La Vanguardia, Cierre definitivo del Diplocat, 17 April 2018. 5 La Vanguardia, Exteriores detalla al juez más de 20 actuaciones ilegales de los ‘embajadores’ de la Generalitat catalana, 9 October 2019.

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set up the Consell per la Republica Catalana (Council of the Catalan Republic). The Consell was to serve as a quasi-government in exile leading the independence process in Catalonia and abroad. According to Puigdemont, the Consell staged the ‘legitimacy’ of the “republic voted by citizens on 1 October and ratified by [the Catalan] parliament on 27 October”.6 Among its tasks was to open an “international and political offensive so Spain could not continue to step on the collective and individual rights” of Catalonia.7 In addition to the creation of new institutions, more spontaneous forms of protest sought to promote Catalan independence abroad. For example, Tsunami Democràtic—described on its webpage as a platform for coordinating peaceful actions of civil disobedience, and by activists as a grassroots mobilization with powerful backers in Catalan society— coordinated non-conventional forms of protest in Catalonia itself.8 These included blocking roads and the airport in Barcelona. Nevertheless, its actions were often directed towards international audiences. This was clear in the strategy and self-presentation of Tsunami Democràtic activists I interviewed in December 2019 in Barcelona. The activists were participating in a demonstration outside the Camp Nou football statium prior to ‘el clásico’, an internationally televised football match between Barcelona and Real Madrid football clubs. Those turning up to the demonstration could collect posters, in English, with the words ‘Spain, sit and talk’. Activists explained that they chose the match as a site of protest, and used English language slogans, because the match’s high profile was likely to call international attention to their cause. A mother and daughter from Barcelona argued that it was necessary to hold such protests because Spain had a lot of power in Europe and did what it could to prevent the Catalan independence movement getting outside support. A middle-aged woman I interviewed argued that there was not much Catalonia could do on its own to get independence. Catalonia was a small country without an army, she said; it could only achieve its goals by non-violent and democratic means.

6 La Vanguardia, Puigdemont cede paso a Sánchez, 8 March 2018. 7 La Vanguardia, Puigdemont cede paso a Sánchez, 8 March 2018, consellrepublica.cat,

retrieved 3 January 2020. 8 www.tsdem.gitlab.io, retrieved 3 January 2020.

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Additionally, political graffiti in Barcelona was sometimes directed towards international audiences, perhaps including the large tourist population visiting the city. Central Barcelona is plastered with yellow ribbons, or painted images of them (see also Hau 2016). The yellow ribbon symbolizes calls to free imprisoned Catalan nationalist leaders. They are painted on roads, crossings, road signs, electricity boxes, light posts and on flags hung from private balconies or displayed on some public buildings. Many of the yellow ribbons, however, had been crossed out or altered with red paint, indicating contestation over the legitimacy of imprisoning Catalan independence leaders. It is impossible not to notice these symbols, due to its sheer repetition in the public sphere. One example of political graffiti in English showed ‘read this’ with arrows pointing to the Twitter hashtag ‘#wakeupEU’. Among other things, it drew attention to the plight of imprisoned Catalan independence leaders, advertised a protest in Strasbourg outside the European Parliament and an image with the symbol of the United Nations and the text ‘Hello World we are Catalonia’. The multilevel EU political system provided a resource permitting proindependence activists to make their claims. For example, in a debate in the EU’s Committee of the Regions (CoR), the Catalan Representative found a platform to describe the Spanish state as a ‘sick democracy’.9 Like other EU institutions, the CoR criticized the use of force by the police on 1 October and representatives from Flanders and Scotland supported a Catalan right to self-determination. Nevertheless, most representatives of other EU regions and cities aligned with the mainstream EU response urging dialogue within Spain and against a unilateral declaration of independence.10 The European Parliament was also a focus of externalization efforts. The main pro-Catalan independence parties and electoral coalitions routinely win seats in the European parliament. This included Junts per Catalunya (Together for Catalonia, JxC) centred on Partit Demòcrata Europeu Català (Catalan European Democratic Party, PDeCAT) and independents, and Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, (Republican Left of Catalonia, ERC). The EP’s party group, the European Free Alliance, proposed ERC’s (imprisoned) leader Oriol Junqueras as its candidate for

9 La Vanguardia, Las regions Europeas se miran en Catalunya, 11 October 2017. 10 Ibid.

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European Commission president following the 2019 EP elections.11 JxC planned to organize EP electoral events in Catalonia, elsewhere in Spain, but also in Ljubljana, Berlin, London and Brussels.12 The EP party group did not consistently support their Catalan nationalist members however. In an EP debate on the Catalan situation after 1-O, the Greens— European Free Alliance adopted a position sympathetic to its group member ERC, censoring Spanish police violence.13 However, leader of the Alliance for Liberals and Democrats in Europe, Guy Verhofstadt, staunchly criticized the 1-O process, in which its group member PDeCAT played a leading role, as ‘manipulative’ and ‘irresponsible’.14 PDeCAT was expelled from the EP party group in October 2018, formally on the grounds of a corruption scandal involving the party’s predecessor, Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya.15 The Assemblea Nacional Catalana (Catalan National Assembly, ANC), a pro-independence NGO, and the Council for the Catalan Republic led by ex-Catalan President Puigdemont sought to initiate a European Citizens Initiative calling for application of Article 7 of the Treaty of the European Union against Spain.16 This Article, which permits sanctions against a member state contravening the values of the EU, has only been initiated against Poland and Hungary, but as yet has not been applied. The Catalan organizations wanted it applied against Spain “for violating the civil and political rights of the Catalan people and by extension of national minorities and their representatives”.17 The European Commission refused to register the proposed initiative, but the CJEU agreed to consider the validity of the Commission’s decision.18 11 La Vanguardia, ERC erige a Junqueras como candidato de las naciones sin Estado, 14 May 2019. 12 La Vanguardia, JxCat se abona al factor Puigdemont para llevar el ‘procés’ a Europa, 10 May 2019. 13 La Vanguardia, El Parlamento Europe reclama diálogo y advierte contra la DUI, 5 October 2017. 14 Ibid. 15 Politico.eu, On anniversary of Catalan independence bid, ALDE expels separatist party, 27 October 2018. 16 La Vanguardia, El TJUE admite el recurso de la ANC a la Comisión Europea, que rechazó sanctionar a España, 5 October 2019. 17 Ibid. 18 Ibid.

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The Spanish government used state resources and access to EU leaders to promote its position. Spanish diplomats were under instructions to present the Spanish government position and the foreign ministry produced various documents with detailed arguments addressing Catalan nationalist claims.19 One document, available in English, was called ‘The Truth about the Catalan Independence Bid’.20 When the EP discussed the situation in Catalonia shortly after 1-O, the Spanish secretary of state for the EU was despatched to hold talks with the Commission and heads of EP party groups.21 Later the then PSOE minister of foreign affairs, Josep Borrell was charged with countering the diplomatic efforts of Catalan nationalists. Borrell, who had experience of Brussels politics, including leadership positions in the EP and as Spanish minister for foreign affairs, had easy access to high-profile figures in the Commission and the EP as well as in the Council of Europe.22 In an indication of his European stature, Borrell has recently been appointed as the EU’s High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy. Borrell was born in Catalonia and reportedly said he considered Catalonia a ‘nation’ rather than a ‘region’.23 Tsunami Democràtic activists I interviewed, however, were very critical of Borrell. A 39-year-old activist from Manresa I interviewed acknowledged that Catalan nationalist leaders like Puigdemont had a difficult task in the EU, specifically mentioning the strategic importance of Borrell’s recent EU appointment.

Top-Down Vertical Europeanization: International Mediation or an Internal Spanish Affair? The Catalan nationalist narrative focusing on denial of democratic rights in Catalonia and Spanish repression underpinned its call for EU mediation. The day after 1-O, and police intervention to stop it, Catalan president Carles Puigdemont declared “the moment requires a mediation that needs to be international to be effective…it is necessary to 19 La Vanguardia, Desmontando el ‘procés’, 14 August 2019. 20 Ibid. 21 La Vanguardia, Y europa cerró la puerta, 8 October 2017. 22 La Vanguardia, Borrell preferiría que los presos estuvieron en libertad condicional,

12 September 2018. 23 Ibid.

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re-establish institutional normality disrupted by the disproportionate decision of the Spanish government, which should end police violence and the restriction of liberties”.24 The desire for international intervention was also officially spelt out in the Catalan parliament’s (soon suspended) UDI.25 The independence declaration “urged the international community and EU authorities to intervene to stop the ongoing violation of civil and political rights, and to monitor and witness [the declaration’s call for a] negotiation processes with the Spanish state”. A number of journalists argued that an important sector of the Catalan nationalist movement also thought the only way to get the Spanish state to negotiate was to provoke a wide-scale insurrection in Catalonia, which would in turn provoke an international intervention promoting dialogue.26 One of the Tsunami Democràtic activists I spoke to, a middle-aged man from Barcelona, also said that after the 1-O referendum and use of force by the police, many had expected that the EU would do something. The Spanish government was adamantly against mediation, on the grounds that the Catalan crisis was a problem between the state and one of its parts, rather than a conflict between states.27 The pro-independence movement’s call for a European role was often grounded on the argument that Catalonia was an integral part of Europe and that the democratic values the EU stood for were being undermined in Catalonia. This was the message of the Òmnium Cultural YouTube video highlighted at the outset. Puigdemont also argued at one point, “the EU could not keep looking the other way”, adding he had “always thought that if this – the violation of fundamental rights – happened in my home, which is Europe, the EU would protect me”.28 Similar views were expressed by activists I interviewed. One young history student from Barcelona argued the EU had to take an interest in the Catalan issue. He 24 La Vanguardia, Puigdemont apela a la mediación internacional sin renunciar la DUI, 3 March 2017. 25 Declaració dels Representants de Catalunya, 27 October 2017. Approved by a majority of 70 pro-Catalan independence party Catalan parliament deputies. 26 e.g. La Vanguardia, Contra la banalización de la violencia, 28 October 2019; La Vanguardia, ‘La declaración “sobre” la independencia, 8 October 2017. 27 La Vanguardia, Lo peor, en el Consejo de Ministros, 11 October 2017; La Comisión rechaza los llamamientos a mediar con Catalunya, 4 October 2017. 28 La Vanguardia, Puigdemont apela a la mediación international sin renunciar la DUI, 3 March 2017.

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admitted the 1 October referendum was formally illegal and a majority in Catalonia might not support independence. There was, however, massive support for the right to vote. He said this was a problem for both Spain and the EU. Catalans were EU citizens. If Europe was serious about rights and unity, he said, it would need to come and do something to help the Catalans. The EU and its member states, and important European allies like the US, were almost unanimous in their support for the position of the Spanish government and its rejection of international mediation. At an EU summit just prior to 1-O, and subsequently, various European leaders publically supported the position of the Spanish government regarding the internal nature of the conflict and the narrative prioritizing respect for the rule of law. Emmanuel Macron declared he had only one interlocutor, which was Spain, and that he was confident that the (then) Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy could defend the interests of the whole of Spain.29 The Italian Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, stated that in the EU “we respect the laws of each country without interfering in internal dynamics and refer to laws in force”.30 Leaders from Estonia, Romania, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta and others made similar statements.31 Later, then British Prime Minister Teresa May told Rajoy that she would never recognize a unilateral Catalan declaration of independence and considered the 1-O referendum without legal foundations.32 Then US Secretary of State, Rex Tillersen, issued a statement supporting the unity of Spain and a solution to the crisis within the framework of the Constitution, adding that the “US valued its association with a strong and united Spain”.33 Some countries, such as Belgium, some EP groups and some NGOs (such as Human Rights Watch) did not reject international negotiations outright.34 29 La Vanguardia, La UE ciera filas con Rajoy a la esperanza de que abra diálogo, 30 September 2017. 30 Ibid. 31 Ibid. 32 La Vanguardia, May comunica a Rajoy que no aceptará la DUI, 18 October 2017. 33 La Vanguardia, EE.UU se suma al apoyo de Europa a ‘una España fuerte y unida,

13 October 2017. 34 La Vanguardia, El primer ministro belga plantea una mediación si el diálogo fracasa, 15 October 2017; La Vanguardia Condena de Human Rights Watch por las cargas del 1-0, 13 October 2017.

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EU institutions followed a similar line as the mainstream of member states. Then European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker declared “We are very committed to the rule of law, the Spanish Constitutional Tribunal has dictated a sentence, the Spanish parliament has taken a decision and this we don’t step away from”.35 The Commission similarly refused to comment on imprisonment of Catalan independence leaders,36 and refused be an intermediary, on the grounds that the Commission “did not form part of this situation”.37 It also restated its long-standing position that if Catalonia declared independence it would have to reapply for EU membership, which would need approval of all existing EU member states, including Spain.38 This position is unpalatable for movements wishing to emphasize economic and security continuity through membership of international organizations like the EU if their plans for independence were realized (Bourne 2014). In contrast to the muted institutional position of the Commission, its Vice-president Frans Timmermans, staunchly defended the rule of law and explicitly criticized the Catalan government for ignoring the law by organizing the referendum.39 Seeming to defend the use of police violence, he also argued that it was the obligation of all states to maintain the rule of law and that at times this required the proportionate use of force.40 Then EU Council President Donald Tusk made a personal appeal to Puigdemont prior to the expected declaration of independence, to ‘respect the Constitution’ and to avoid actions that would make dialogue more difficult. The main party groups in the EP were in agreement that neither proindependence leaders nor the Spanish government were blameless. They considered 1-O referendum as illegitimate and invalid, rejected the use of violence, questioned judicialization as a response to a political problem

35 La Vanguardia, La UE ciera filas con Rajoy a la esperanza de que abra diálogo, 30 September 2017. 36 La Vanguardia, Catalunya, fuera de la agenda del cumbre europea, 18 October 2017. 37 La Vanguardia, La Comisión Europea rechaza los llamamientos a mediar con

Catalunya, 4 October 2017. 38 Ibid. 39 La Vanguardia, El Parlamento Europe reclama diálogo y advierte contra la DUI, 5 October 2017. 40 Ibid.

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and insisted on the need for negotiation.41 Some European party groups were more critical of the Spanish government, however. The United European Left (which included the Basque pro-independence party EH Bildu) criticized the “political use of force” and called on Rajoy to recognize Catalan aspirations to express their views on independence in a legal referendum.42 The Greens-European Free Alliance (including ERC and other minority nationalist parties) censured police intervention in 1-O, arguing “there is no excuse for judicial violence”.43 Nevertheless, there was widespread media coverage and some (mostly muted) condemnation of what was often presented in the international media as heavy-handed police responses on 1-O. Charles Michel, then Belgian prime minister, openly criticized use of force by the police.44 Then EU Council President Donald Tusk urged Rajoy to “find a solution to the crisis without the use of force”.45 In contrast to the Commission’s usual silence on the Catalan question, Commission President Jean-Claude Junker made an institutional declaration censuring “the use of violence as a political instrument” and called for dialogue to solve the crisis “in full respect with the Spanish constitution and the fundamental rights of all citizens consecrated within it”.46 Then EP President Antonio Tajani argued that ‘it is not possible to solve the problem with police…dialogue is necessary’.47 Puigdemont used international responses such as these to bolster calls for Spain to “end repression against the people and government of Catalonia”.48

41 Ibid. 42 Ibid. 43 Ibid. 44 La Vanguardia, ‘El primer ministro belga plantea una mediación si el diálogo fracasa’, 15 October 2017. 45 La Vanguardia, La UE ruega a Puigdemont que respite la Constitutión y evite a DUI, 11 October 2017. 46 La Vanguardia, La Comisión Europea rechaza los llamamientos a mediar con Catalunya, 4 October 2017. 47 La Vanguardia, La UE ciera filas con Rajoy a la esperanza de que abra diálogo, 30 September 2017. 48 La Vanguardia, Dos cartas que hablan a Europa, 17 October 2017.

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Horizontal Europeanization and Strategic ‘Uses of Europe’ in Discourse In the data collected, many speakers compared their actions or cause with that of others in order to add persuasive force to their arguments. Critiques of the Spanish government and parties supporting the suspension of Catalan self-government in October 2017, for example, compared Spain with various European illiberal or quasi-democracies. One Podemos leader argued that “the position of the Spanish government has been defended by parliamentarians from Turkey, Azerbaijan and Serbia, as well as representatives of the PP [Popular Party], PSOE [Spanish Socialist Workers Party] and Cs [Citizens]”.49 At the Tsunami Democrátic demonstration I attended, a handmade banner showed (in Catalan) ‘Spain and Turkey, Genocide Alliance’. Furthermore, two middle-aged female activists I interviewed argued that Europe had no interest in hiding from its responsibility and that Spain was similar to Hungary. The activists argued Spain was trying to find evidence in the independence movement of violence, while the movement was trying to avoid it. Additionally, they argued, the media in Spain was biased and the movement needed journalists from abroad so that the truth would come out. The comparison with Hungary is highly relevant in the European context given that Hungary, along with Poland, have faced EU court proceedings for illiberal measures relating to the judiciary and the media. Both have seen the initiation of Article 7 (Treaty of the EU) proceedings against them for suspension from the EU Council. Similarly, the Spanish prime minister defended suspension of Catalan self-government with the argument that “this measure is not strange or unusual in Europe and that other countries have similar Articles to maintain the constitutional order”.50 He asked rhetorically “What would France and Germany do if one of their regions declared a UDI or refused to comply with the constitutional order? In fact, exactly the same as us”.51 The Supreme Court ruling imprisoning Catalan nationalist leaders for their role in 1-O made similar comparisons, referring to provisions in 49 La Vanguardia, Condena de Human Rights Watch por las cargas del 1-0, 13 October 2017. 50 La Vanguardia, El líder del PP pide a las empresas que no se vayan de Catalunya, 13 November 2017. 51 Ibid.

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the constitutions of Germany, France, Italy and Portuguese constitutions referring to defence of territorial integrity of states.52 As in earlier pro-independence campaigns in Catalonia (Bourne 2014), the case of Scotland was often held as an exemplary process which the Spanish government ought to replicate. For example, at the Tsunami Democràtic demonstration I attended, one activist was wrapped in a large Scottish flag. Another activist, an engineering student from Barcelona, pointed out that the Catalan case was similar to that in Scotland, where people were able to vote for independence [in 2014]. He said people in Scotland had different opinions but with the vote, it was possible to see what the situation was. If Scotland was allowed to vote, he asked, why not Catalonia? He said Spain was afraid of a referendum in Catalonia because Catalan nationalists might win.53 Catalan nationalists also compared themselves to more contemporary examples of social movements clamouring for democratic rights in authoritarian states, such as in Hong Kong.54 Similarly, two middle-aged female activists from Barcelona at the Tsumani Democràtic demonstration compared their movements to those in Hong Kong, Chile and Bolivia. One women said Catalan nationalists felt very close to people protesting in Hong Kong. They, like the Catalan movement, were trying to defend democracy. Success in Hong Kong would be a success for the Catalan movement too, she said. Everyone fighting together to defend to democracy would be pursuing the same cause, she argued.

Political Opportunity Structures Revisited: The Fight for Authoritative International Endorsement of Political Claims In contrast to earlier phases of the Catalan independence crisis, Catalan activists had the opportunity provided by the plural, integrated legal systems in Europe to find authoritative supranational and international support for their claims. The most important case in this regard was

52 La Vanguardia, Altas plenas que agitan la calle, 15 October 2019. 53 See also La Vanguardia, Puigdemont propone una ‘mediación discreta’ de Tusk para

el caso catalán, 25 September 2018. 54 La Vanguardia, Puig carga con dureza contra la UE en un periódico ruso, 28 October 2019.

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a December 2019 ruling by the Court of Justice of the EU on the immunity of MEPs.55 The case concerrned ERC leader, Oriol Junqueras, former Catalan vice-president and one of the nine leaders imprisoned for their part in 1-O. While in prison awaiting sentencing, Junqueras was elected as an MEP. He could not take up his seat because the Spanish Supreme Court did not let him leave prison to complete formalities and attend the EP’s inaugural session in Strasbourg. The EU court ruled that an electoral candidate became an MEP on declaration of the electoral results. Importantly, from that point, the candidate enjoyed parliamentary immunity. Parliamentary immunity protects the independence of MEPs, prohibiting inquiries, detention and legal proceedings against them for duties undertaken as an MEP. If suspected of a crime, however, a member state must ask the EP to lift immunity. The ruling has had a number of important consequences for the Catalan independence movement. It did not lead to the release of Junqueras in order that he could take up his seat in the EP. However, the ruling has already affected a second case pending resolution in the EU Courts. Puigdemont and his health minister Toni Comín—both fugitives from justice in Spain for their role in 1-O—also won EP seats. Following the Junqueras ruling, a case against the EP’s refusal to accept the MEPs was soon dropped and Puigdemont and Comín were accredited to the EP in on 13 January 2020.56 The Spanish Supreme Court has formally requested that the MEPs’ parliamentary immunity be lifted, but the case is, at the time of writing, as yet unresolved. Immunity from prosecution appears to give Puigdemont and Comín the right to travel anywhere in the EU—by some accounts, including Spain—without detention. Tsunami Democràtic activists I interviewed saw this as an important change of course regarding EU support. Three different sets of activists, for example, argued that while EU member states were clearly unsympathetic to Catalan independence, things were changing following EP elections and in light of EU court cases. For its part, the Spanish Supreme Court took advantage of the EU’s European Arrest Warrant system, which permits the fast-track extradition of indicted Catalan nationalist leaders such as Puigdemont and Comín.

55 TJEU, Junqueras Vies (Case- 502/19), Luxemborg, 19 December 2019. 56 TJEU, Case-646/19 Puigdemont i Casamajó and Comín I Olivares/Parlamento,

Luxemborg, 20 December 2019, Order of the General Court, 19 March 2020.

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Arrest Warrants had been issued for Puigdemont or his colleagues in Belgium, Germany and the UK, but has not yet succeeded in bringing the fugitive Catalans to Spain to face trial.57 On some occasions, the Spanish Supreme Court withdrew the warrants, apparently for strategic reasons. On others, Courts in other countries rejected or suspended extradition. A German court accepted extraditing Puigdemont to face charges in Spain for misappropriation of public funds, but rejected doing so for the more important charge of rebellion on the grounds that there was no equivalent to rebellion in German law.58 The ruling provided an opportunity for Puigdemont to further articulate the claim that Catalan nationalists could not get justice in Spain: He reportedly tweeted: “We have defeated the principal lie sustained by the state. The German justice system denies that the referendum of 1 October was rebellion”. Later he reportedly claimed “the decision of the [German] court has great importance for the cause” by identifying “an inexistent crime”, which according to Puigdemont, was only observed in the Spanish justice system.59 Following the EU Court’s Junqueras ruling and accreditation of Puigdemont and Comín as MEPs, the Belgium government suspended consideration of the European Arrest Warrant against them.60 In addition to the EU Court cases and extradition processes, the proindependence movement has also appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) to overturn Spanish rulings concerning the independence process. So far this has not been successful, however. In May 2019, the ECtHR declared inadmissible a case by leading Catalan nationalists against the suspension of Catalan autonomy. The ECtHR considered the measure “necessary in a democratic society”, particularly in the interests of public safety, the prevention of disorder and the protection of rights and freedoms of others.61 It had earlier considered two other cases related to 1-O inadmissible.62 The Spanish foreign minister, Josep 57 El País, Puigdemont anuncia que Bélgica ha suspendido la euroorden en su contra, 2 January 2020. 58 La Vanguardia, Puigdemont seguirá en libertad en Alemania tras otro fracaso de Llarena, 13 July 2018. 59 Ibid. 60 El País, Puigdemont anuncia que Bélgica ha suspendido la euroorden en su contra, 2 January 2020. 61 ECtHR, Forcadell I Lluis and others v Spain, app no. 75147/17. 62 El País, Estrasburgo da un varapalo al ‘procés’, 30 May 2019.

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Borrell, argued that the ECtHR ruling “undermines all of the arguments that the application of Article 155 suspension of the Catalan parliament was a limitation of the right of expression and functioning of the Catalan parliament”.63 Nevertheless, Spanish Supreme Court rulings on issues related to Catalan nationalists and the referendum were frequently made with an eye to the expectation of ECtHR appeals.64 Indeed, it was observed that some 200 of the 500 page Spanish Supreme Court ruling imprisoning Catalan leaders were directed towards shielding the sentence against being overturned by the Spanish Constitutional Court or the ECtHR.65

Conclusion In this chapter, I have applied concepts from the Europeanization literature to analyze the external dimensions of the Catalan independence crisis between October 2017 and January 2020. The variety of actions described, the range of actors mobilizing and targeted, and the personnel and organizational resources dedicated to externalization strategies, confirms the importance of the European arena for contemporary politics of secession. The chapter shows that the EU provides a complex web of opportunities and constraints for both pro-independence movements and their opponents. The EU is an actor in secession processes— albeit a disaggregated one—providing support for some positions over others. It is also an arena in which claim-making and persuasion occurs and in which discourses can be reinforced or reinterpreted. The material presented in the chapter confirms that the EU and its member states remain, overall, more sympathetic to the position of maintaining the territorial integrity of existing states than otherwise. However as the final section shows, the resort to judicialization, or the processing of political claims in the Courts, may have unintended consequences. The evolution of supranational legal bodies to guarantee rights and promote democratic governance has pluralized legal systems. Absolute state control, even over

63 El País, Estrasburgo da un varapalo al ‘procés’, 30 May 2019. 64 La Vanguardia, Artur Mas, el precedente clave, 31 December 2018; La Vanguardia,

Juicio a la vía unilateral, 10 February 2019. 65 La Vanguardia, Altas penas que agitan la calle, 15 October 2019.

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criminal and judicial matters has loosened. For better or worse, empowering the Courts to deal with political conflicts like that in Catalonia has opened up a new front in which the authority of the Spanish state is more porous.

References Bourne, A. K. (2014). Europeanization and secession: The cases of Catalonia and Scotland. Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe, 13(3), 86–112. Caplan, R. (2005). Europe and the recognition of new states in Yugoslavia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Coppieters, B. (2007, November). Kosovo and the principles of just secession. Centre for European Policy Studies, 146. Coppieters, B. (2010). Secessionist conflict in Europe. In D. H. Doyle, Secession as an international phenomenon (pp. 237–258). Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2010. Gamson, W., & Meyer, D. (1996). Framing political opportunity. In D. McAdam, J. McCarthy, & M. Zald (Eds.), Comparative perspectives on social movements (pp. 275–290). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hau, M. F. (2016). Nation, space, and identity in the city: Marking space and making place in Barcelona. Etnofoor, 28(2), 77–98. Hepburn, E. (2010). Using Europe: Territorial party strategies in a multi-level system. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Keating, M., & McGarry, J. (Eds.). (2001). Minority nationalism and the changing international order. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Koopmans, R., & Erbe, J. (2003). Towards a European Public Sphere? Vertical and horizontal dimensions of Europeanised political communication. Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (Discussion Paper SP IV, 2003-403). Koopmans, R., & Statham, P. (2010). Theoretical framework, research design and methods. In R. Koopmans & P. Statham (Eds.), The making of a European Public Sphere (pp. 63–96). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kriesi, H. (2007). Political context and opportunity. In D. Snow, S. Soule & H. Kriesi (Eds.), The Blackwell companion to social movements (pp. 67–90). Malden, MA: Blackwell. Lynch, P. (1996). Minority nationalism and European integration. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. Lynggaard, K. (2011). Domestic change in the face of European integration and globalization: methodological pitfalls and pathways. Comparative European Politics, 9, 18–37.

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Radaelli, C. M. (2003). The Europeanization of public policy. In K. Featherstone & C. Radaelli (Eds.), The politics of Europeanization (pp. 27–56). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Tierney, S. (2013). Legal issues surrounding the Referendum on Independence for Scotland. European Constitutional Law Review, 9, 359–390. Woll, C., & Jacquot, S. (2010). Using Europe: Strategic action in multi-level politics. Comparative European Politics, 8, 110–126.

CHAPTER 9

Someone Else’s Crisis? UK Press Coverage of the Failed 2017 Catalan Declaration of Independence Fernando León-Solís

and Hugh O’Donnell

The Law on the Referendum on Self-determination of Catalonia was passed by the Catalan parliament on 6 September 2017. It stipulated that if a majority of those who took part in the upcoming referendum on 1 October voted in favour, independence would be declared within 48 hours, regardless of the size of the turnout. The opposition groups Ciutadans (Citizens), the Catalan Socialists and the Catalan branch of the conservative Partido Popular (Popular Party) walked out of the parliament with accusations against the governing pro-independence coalition of breaking parliamentary procedure and violating parliamentary rights. Even veteran members of the left-wing Catalunya Sí que es Pot (Catalonia

F. León-Solís (B) University of the West of Scotland, Scotland, UK e-mail: [email protected] H. O’Donnell Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, UK e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2021 Ó. G. Agustín (ed.), Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Sovereignty, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54867-4_9

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Yes We Can) and the all-Spain party Podemos (We Can) were vociferous in their attack on the methods of the would be secessionists. The following day the Spanish Constitutional Tribunal suspended the new Law and public prosecutors in Catalonia filed charges of disobedience against the five members of the Catalan parliament’s presiding body. The main opposition party in the Spanish parliament at the time, the Partido Socialista Obrero Español (Spanish Socialist Workers Party), led by Pedro Sánchez, closed ranks with the conservative Popular Party and its leader, Mariano Rajoy, and called the event “an attack on democracy”; other opposition politicians and media outlets regarded both the parliamentary methods used and the passing of the law as a coup d’état. By the end of September, it was evident that the response of Central Government would be firm: ballot papers and ballot boxes were confiscated, the technology necessary for carrying out the referendum and the tallying of the votes was all but dismantled, and the judicial and police clampdown on the preparations for the referendum and against street protests commenced, with a number of key officials being arrested. This tense political situation reached its climax on the day of the referendum itself, 1 October, and, invoking the referendum law nine days later on 10 October, the First Minister of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, declared in Parliament: “I accept the mandate of the people for Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic” but immediately added: “[I] ask Parliament to suspend the effects of the declaration of independence so that in the coming weeks we can undertake a dialogue”. The wording of the declaration left everyone wondering whether independence had in fact been declared there and then, declared and immediately suspended, or postponed. The central Spanish government demanded that Puigdemont confirm whether he had declared independence or not, thereby giving him the possibility of back tracking and thus avoiding the application of article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, which provides for the suspension of regional governments. Given Puigdemont’s ambiguous response, on 27 October (the same day that the Catalan parliament eventually proclaimed the Catalan republic in a session boycotted by the opposition parties) Central Government invoked article 155 and called a regional election for 21 December. Puigdemont and some members of his cabinet fled to Belgium shortly after in order to avoid the charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement filed against them. Other key political figures and civil activists appeared in court and were kept in custody. From then on, whether they

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were “political exiles” or “runaway politicians” and “political prisoners” or “politicians in prison” became central to the debate. This chapter studies the coverage of the Catalan crisis in the editorial columns of two of the most widely read British broadsheets, The Telegraph and The Guardian/The Observer, between September and December 2017. The Observer, which was acquired by the Guardian Media Group in 1993, occupies the same political space as The Guardian and is for all practical intents and purposes the latter’s Sunday edition under a different name, as a result of which we will consider these two titles as forming the same publication. The two publications chosen for analysis— The Telegraph on the one hand and The Guardian/The Observer on the other—were selected because of their contrasting positions on the left and right of the political divide in British politics respectively, but also because of their overlapping stances on Brexit which, as will be seen, featured highly on both their agendas. The Telegraph devoted four editorials to the Catalan crisis (all of them establishing explicit connections with Brexit , as will be seen), while The Guardian dedicated five and The Observer four: this compact purposive sample, chronologically tagged to the period of most intense media interest in the events in Catalonia, allowed us to foreground the institutional voices of the publications chosen rather than those of any individual journalists.

Narrative Structures and Strategies: Conflict, Personalisation, Internationalisation and Domestication Our initial analysis of the material revealed consistent use of narrative structures as interpretative frames. The recourse to narrative structures as instruments of interpretation is present in all walks of human life. Its universal nature has been studied by for example Barthes (1987), Greimas (1987), Ricoeur (1991), Jameson (1972) and Abbot (2002), among other authors; and its pervasive use in the media has a solid research history—see D’Amato and Lucarelli (2019) or Hussain (2018) for two recent studies. Unsurprisingly, the Catalan crisis was constructed in both publications selected primarily as a clash between two power blocs leading inevitably to political and social disaster, and both used their editorial authority to issue

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a series of undisguised warnings. For instance, in the run-up to the referendum The Telegraph warned on 21 September that Spain’s long-standing post-Franco “settlement now appears to be cracking, with an independence referendum planned by the regional government of Catalonia for October 1” (we return to who the addressee of these warnings—what Iser (1976) calls the “implied read”—might have been later). On the same day The Guardian warned of the risk of “a horrible disaster both for Catalonia and Spain as a whole” (Step back from the brink, 2017), with the tone becoming increasingly bleak after the referendum, including even the possibility of death: “Is the independence of Catalonia a cause worth dying for?”, The Observer asked on 8 October 2017. The Telegraph depicted the deteriorating situation as a “catastrophe” and as a “disaster” (Brexit was the right choice, 2017) and The Observer warned that the application of article 155 and potential incarceration of political leaders would trigger a “descent into violence” (Independence for Catalonia, 2017). In terms of characterisation of the main actors the two publications varied significantly. For The Telegraph the battle was between collective or even to some extent abstract entities—between Madrid and Barcelona or between the central and the Catalan governments, never mentioning politicians by their name. By contrast, one of the most salient features of the editorials of The Guardian and The Observer was the personalisation of the conflict in the two main leaders—Mariano Rajoy and Carles Puigdemont—at the expense of their parties, the network of other supporting groups or the institutions they represented. And yet despite these differing emphases, one of the main features of the stance adopted by all three newspapers was their even-handed approach, the attempt to keep a safe distance between the two opposing camps, the at times painstaking effort not to take sides. This leads to the pertinent question of “internationalisation”, one of the main strategies of the pro-independence camp. Internationalisation should be understood in two ways: on the one hand, as the striving for global exposure of the conflict, which was an obvious success for the separatists; on the other, as the search for an alignment of international opinion with the independentist cause—which, as will be seen, was less apparent. A final but also key trait of the editorial comments analysed here was the national contextualisation of the Catalan and all-Spanish political

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predicament in a process defined as “domestication of the news” which Gurevitch et al. define as follows: This is accomplished, first, by casting faraway events in frameworks that render these events comprehensible, appealing and ‘relevant’ to domestic audiences; and second, by constructing the meaning of these events in ways that are compatible with the culture and the ‘dominant ideology’ of the societies they serve. (1991, p. 206)

This way, through editorialising on the Catalan crisis, Brexit, Scottish nationalism and the current and future role of the UK were discussed—at times by contrast, others by resemblance and on occasions by proxy.

Illegality and Illegitimacy of the Referendum It was not until late September 2017, when the street protests against the judicial and police clampdown on the preparations for the referendum commenced with both Spanish and international media focusing on the police response, that the two publications selected first editorialised on the situation in Catalonia. The position of The Telegraph (consistent with the stance of other pro-Brexit British media outlets) was that while referenda are per se legitimate political tools, the one held by the Catalan government could not be justified on legal grounds (The crisis in Catalonia can be ended, 2017). The Guardian Media Group papers, in keeping with their anti-Brexit position, held the opposite view: “Referendums are the blunt instrument of democracy, means that do not always [deliver] their expected end” (Catalan independence, 2017). Their different stance on this point notwithstanding, the Group’s newspapers’ views on the legality of the Catalan plebiscite were almost identical to those of The Telegraph: “Ignoring the constitutional court means breaking the law”, and the organisers were cautioned on the legitimacy of a referendum that would be held “with ballots now confiscated, and uncertainty over voting lists” (Step back from the brink, 2017). The Observer echoed this stance providing more elaborate background information: in the Catalan regional elections of 2015, the paper explained, “The Yes campaigners sought to turn those elections into a crude plebiscite” (Catalan independence, 2017). In the event, the pro-independence parties during that election obtained an overall majority of seats in the Catalan parliament but not an overall majority of votes, a situation that The Observer mooted

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as “the Trump bonus of winning power without an overall majority of votes” (Catalan independence, 2017). This was the broader parliamentary context in which the 2017 Referendum Law was passed which, according to The Observer, called into question its legitimacy (Catalan independence, 2017). The detailed description of the police clampdown on the day of the Referendum itself did not deter The Guardian from dwelling on the lack of legitimacy, legality and even morality of the vote, nor from casting doubts on the pro-independence leadership and the results: “Catalan officials told voters to print off ballot papers at home and said they could vote wherever they wanted. Whatever they may claim, the results are neither legally nor morally binding” (Catalonia’s referendum, 2017). It added another point that was pivotal to its stance on the matter—the relationship between numbers, political representation and democratic legitimacy: “whatever votes are tallied cannot truly represent Catalonia’s wishes”; and further: “Catalans who wanted to remain in Spain were unlikely to vote” (Catalonia’s referendum, 2017).

The Narrative Portrayal of the Nationalist Camp: Reality Versus Fiction The decision of the pro-independence nationalists to push ahead with the independence referendum despite constant reminders of their failure to gain an overall majority in the 2015 regional elections, and of the lack of legality of the referendum itself, was, according to The Observer, the product of vaulting ambition and excessive-zeal: “failure doesn’t dampen ardour like this” (Catalan independence, 2017). This characterisation of the Yes camp was shared by The Telegraph after the referendum in an editorial where, it was argued, initially rational economic arguments had become overtaken by dangerous irrational passions: The motivation for secession appears more economic than cultural: Catalonia gets less out of the national tax system than it puts in. But passions are nevertheless running high – too high if the violence on the streets of Barcelona yesterday was anything to go by. (Authoritarian EU, 2017)

“Ardour” and “passion” turned the pro-nationalist camp into a zealous, headstrong, irrational, emotional bloc which trampled not only on legality

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but also on truth and reality. Their stance was closely scrutinised against their claims and expressed by means of dichotomies through which the duality “real” versus “fake” was a common thread. Division Versus Unity Contrary to the claims of achieving political representation for the whole of Catalonia allegedly held by the pro-independence coalition, their political divisions were highlighted by The Observer in its first editorial on the issue, with a reference to “reality” and (very importantly, as will be seen later on in relation to “domestication”) in opposition to the political coherence represented by the Scottish National Party: If all these elements were fused into a single political force with the parliamentary domination of, say, the Scottish National party, there would be a persuasive case for holding an independence ballot [in Catalonia], whatever Madrid and Spanish law had to say. But that is not present reality. The agglomeration of very different parties, from bourgeois conservative to leftwing republicans to anti-Europe anti-capitalists (with a touch of anarchy thrown in) commands only a narrow majority in the Barcelona Generalitat. They have little in common but their espousal of this referendum. They are a rickety coalition. (Catalan independence, 2017)

One week after the referendum, The Observer referred to the proindependence camp as “Puigdemont and the ramshackle coalition of nationalists, republicans and leftists that supports him” (The crisis in Catalonia, 2017). These divisions, it was argued, went beyond the political arena and reflected a culturally, linguistically and demographically heterogeneous society: “This region, and would-be country”, The Observer had declared a little earlier, “is profoundly split: by language, by the origins of its population and, if you examine the results map from the last Generalitat elections in 2015, between country and city” (Catalan independence, 2017). The language divide, The Observer further noted, is reflected in the political stance of the population vis-à-vis independence: As Josep Borrell, a Catalan, socialist and former president of the European parliament, explained recently: “Seventy-five per cent of the people whose mother tongue is Catalan support Yes and 75% of the people with other languages as their mother tongue are against independence. (Catalan independence, 2017)

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Just before the unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) in the Catalan parliament and the application of article 155, The Guardian warned that “Catalans are said to be increasingly uneasy that they could be set upon a path to full secession from Spain that many of them do not seek” (Wanted: an honest broker, 2017). And after the UDI, The Guardian again reminded its readers that “[i]ndependence is opposed by many Catalans – historically the majority of them” and that the region “is deeply divided on the issue of secession (almost half of all Catalan legislators walked out of Friday’s vote)” (Spain’s crisis, 2017). The lack of popular support for independence in Catalonia was repeated by The Observer in its 29 October editorial: “to become a reality, independence requires the clear majority in favour within Catalonia that it presently lacks” (Independence for Catalonia, 2017). On other occasions the pro-independence assertions regarding representation were denounced as crude, one-dimensional catchphrases that did not stand to a reality check: “Simplistic slogans and radical stances cannot hide a crucial fact, which is that Catalans are highly divided on the question of independence. Recent polls show only 41% are in favour” (Step back from the brink, 2017). And as The Observer argued in the first editorial devoted to the crisis, contrary claims lacked substantiation (Catalan independence, 2017). The Observer further alerted its readers to the contrast between bogus claims and social media images and the reality of the level of support for independence, the former reduced to the level of “possibly seeming”: “And yet the pictures of chanting crowds we see on televisions from London to Brussels would seem to argue otherwise” (Catalan independence, 2017). On the day of the referendum, in the midst of domestic and international denunciations of police heavy-handedness, The Guardian denounced this political blunder on the part of the Spanish government but reminded its readers that “[e]ven so, support for independence peaked in 2013, at an estimated 49%” (Catalonia’s referendum, 2017). The following week, The Observer declared that “When Carles Puigdemont, the Catalan president, called a post-referendum strike, workers in many Barcelona shops and private sector businesses ignored him”; and it further contrasted truth with falseness when criticising the fact that Puigdemont and his allies “continue to ignore this majority, claiming to have finally made the case for independence when the exact opposite is true” (The crisis in Catalonia, 2017).

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The War of Words: Empty, Bogus, Provocative Claims This denunciation of uncorroborated statements went beyond the issue of number of supporters and was further reinforced by the frequent depiction of the pro-independence proposals as unrealistic. In its 24 September 2017 editorial The Observer, after denouncing the spurious claims, dangerous tactics and illegal actions of the Yes camp, demanded: “No dreams, please”. Their calls for independence were deemed “the drumbeats of separation”—an image that conjures up the concept of a phoney war designed primarily to intimidate. These appeals were also regarded as “wild words”, a lexical choice that evokes ideas not only of recklessness and lack of rationality, but also disorder, which together with the “Civil unrest” incited by sections of the pro-independence camp can “promise only disaster” (Catalan independence, 2017). Along these lines, the “tactics”, “skills” and alleged manoeuvrings of the Yes campaign were warned against: “No one should doubt the Yes campaign’s skill at campaigning, or using the clout of the regional government’s resources, including universities and schools, for PR advantage. But public relations can’t heal a divided region” (Catalan independence, 2017). The reference to public relations located the pro-independence strategies and claims within the realm of marketing and advertising rather than truth and reality. The images of the police crackdown on 1 October 2017, which received international media coverage and was regarded variously as firm, robust or heavy-handed by different sources, did not persuade The Guardian to align its position with that of the pro-independence claims, which were again interpreted in relation to their truthfulness: “if Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont was right to say that the Spanish state had “lost much more than what it had already lost”, his assertion that Catalonia had won is at best half true” (Catalonia’s referendum, 2017). The following week The Observer reiterated its allegations of the deceptive nature of the strategies of the Catalan leader, whose “repeated appeals for outside mediation suggest a man worried his bluff is about to be called” (The crisis in Catalonia, 2017). And at the end of October, when the situation was escalating rapidly, “Puigdemont and his leftwing allies” were labelled “specialists in rash, provocative and inflammatory behavior” (Independence for Catalonia, 2017)—a serious indictment against the First Minister of a major Spanish and European region. In the same editorial The Observer further presented a damaging image of Puigdemont,

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whom it asked to “eschew the gesture politics and vainglorious posturing that have characterised his approach”. Independence, it added, cannot be achieved by “otiose declarations, specious parliamentary manoeuvres, media manipulation and spin, misuse of public funds and the intimidation of ordinary citizens”, an indictment that left Puigdemont being represented not as a “statesman” but as an “agitator”. Sheer will, arrogance, emptiness, fakery, illegality, subterfuge and incitement of fear were not the only accusations aimed at the Yes camp; according to The Observer it was also driven by conflict: “The call of ‘Catalonia for the Catalans’ has an inevitable divisive ring” (Catalan independence, 2017). Similarly, and contrary to the self-depiction of the pro-independence camp as a victim, The Telegraph denounced its divisive, vilifying tactics, or “The demonization by those who seek independence of those who resist”—a tactic that, according to this conservative daily, “bears unwelcome resemblance to the worst aspects of Scottish nationalism” (Authoritarian EU, 2017)—a comparison the importance of which will also be studied below.

The Anti-independence Camp: Errors of Judgement The Cautionary Tone If the focus of the representation of the nationalist camp was on its spurious claims and provocative actions, the characterisation of the anti-independence camp pivoted around its ultra-legalistic, ill-conceived, counterproductive political decisions—that is, as driven by errors of judgement. One of the most notable features in both publications was the cautionary tone and the constant warnings sent to Rajoy, Madrid or Spain of worse evils to come as a consequence of their ill-judged decisions. Thus the first editorial of The Guardian on the issue warned that “Madrid appears deaf to the argument that its heavy-handed attempts to stop the vote will only ultimately strengthen support for secession” (Step back from the brink, 2017). One week before the referendum, and in the context of the arrests of politicians and the threat to suspend regional powers, The Observer warned that “at that PR level, it stokes the cynical claim that, even today, Franco equals Spain and Spain equals Franco. Any hint of oppression lite can be used to advantage” (Catalan independence, 2017). On the day of the referendum and in relation to the police actions The Guardian stated that: “The outcome is almost certain to be that

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some of the Catalans indifferent or opposed to secession—until now, at least, the majority—are pushed into the arms of the cause. Who wants to be ruled by a state like this, many are asking” (Catalonia’s referendum, 2017). One week after the Referendum, the central government’s response was represented like this by The Observer: “the ill-considered police action was the latest in a string of attempts by Rajoy’s weak, minority government to block the push for independence”. The same editorial concluded that “[i]t is plain that the Spanish government has mismanaged recent events. Matters should never have been allowed to reach this point” (The crisis in Catalonia, 2017). According to both The Guardian and The Observer Rajoy’s wrong decisions stemmed from his inability to listen, his political mistakes and mismanagement of the situation. His choices would certainly backfire, he was continuously warned. The Guardian declared that “the violence was viewed around the world via social media, turning international opinion against the government. Creating martyrs for the opposition is not the way to win a political argument” (Catalonia’s referendum, 2017). Several weeks later The Guardian still maintained its focus on Rajoy’s personal mishandling of the situation and its potential consequences on the eve of the application of article 155, when it warned that: “Further false moves by Mr. Rajoy are likely to provoke even moderate Catalans to opposition, as Madrid’s earlier heavy-handedness and the police actions during the unilateral referendum did” (23 October 2017). The majority of Catalans do not support independence, The Guardian reminded its readers a few days later; however, “current events might change that” (Spain’s crisis, 2017). Two days further on, The Observer, using a dramatic metaphor, persisted in its criticism of the futile, backfiring decision taken by Rajoy to apply article 155: “while his actions may calm the situation in the short term—and the tense days to come will determine whether that is the case—Rajoy has set a time bomb ticking that could ultimately explode in his face” (Independence for Catalonia, 2017). Likewise, the last key decision made by the Spanish Government in that autumn of discontent was interpreted as counterproductive: “The fresh regional elections Rajoy has scheduled for 21 December […] will, in effect, become the referendum on Catalan independence that the Madrid government has fought so hard to prevent” (Independence for Catalonia, 2017). In three of its editorials The Telegraph adopted the same standpoint, the difference being that for this conservative daily the blame was never

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personalised in the Spanish leader but in “Madrid”. In terms of errors of judgement, for The Telegraph “Madrid is correct to have judged the referendum unconstitutional. It has erred, however, by pursuing a heavy-handed response” (The crisis in Catalonia can be ended, 2017). Regarding the central government’s political inability to manage the situation, The Telegraph declared that: “Madrid has mishandled the Catalonians” (Brexit was the right choice, 2017). In the same admonitory tone employed by The Guardian and The Observer, all these counterproductive decisions were warned against on the grounds that they might end up justifying the pro-independence movement: “Madrid’s force backfired horribly, and if it thinks that will resolve this disaster then it is likely to be mistaken” (Brexit was the right choice, 2017). The day before, the paper had declared: Madrid also insists that the referendum held on October 1 was invalid, attracted the support of fewer than half of the voters and thus cannot be said to count – that it would make more sense to hold legal elections. This argument might have won more sympathy were it not for Madrid’s overreaction to the plebiscite. Violent scenes of alleged police brutality, reminiscent of the bad old days of Franco, handed the separatists a moral authority they would otherwise not have had. (Spain’s crisis, 2017)

That is, the ethical upper hand potentially gained by the proindependence movement was not based on the validity and authority of their claims per se, but as a result of the ill-conceived, flawed decisions made by the ruling party and its leader, who lost the sympathy that they might have justifiably earned.

The Half-Way House, Meandering Position The discussion so far points to a critical depiction of the opposing camps as on the one hand irrational and unrealistic (the pro-independence faction, the Catalan government, Puigdemont and his allies) and on the other as mistaken and incompetent (the Central Government, the ruling party or Rajoy). In this setup, it is difficult to ascertain whether the broadsheets analysed here aligned themselves with any particular narrative. As will be seen in this section, their position in fact zigzagged, maintaining an even-handed, almost symmetrically balanced portrayal of both camps.

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Refereeing the Blame Game: The Guardian/ Observer The Guardian and The Observer invested significant time and effort in covering the issue of blame in relation to the Catalan crisis. Their default position was that of a sympathetic understanding of the historical, cultural and economic causes of Catalan nationalism and demands for greater autonomy; but also of a recognition of the advances of the Spanish state in terms of territorial devolution (Step back from the brink, 2017). Likewise, The Observer depicted Catalonia as “a region where the actual presence of Madrid governance on the ground in country towns and villages is already vestigial” (Catalan independence, 2017). In this context, The Guardian celebrated the “already impressive levels of self-government”, a settlement under which Catalonia “has thrived […] in many ways over the years” (Step back from the brink, 2017), fostering a “bustling economy” (Catalan independence, 2017). Therefore, in spite of accusations against the Central Government for its heavy-handed police and judicial reaction to the organisation of the referendum, The Observer did not question the credentials of Spain’s democracy and explicitly rejected denunciations of oppression of Catalan nationalism as simplistic: “The independence referendum that the devolved Catalan government intends to hold on 1 October can be portrayed as a cry for freedom from the rule of Madrid by a suppressed nation caged within Spain. That is much, much too simple” (Catalan independence, 2017). Unsurprisingly, the attacks on Rajoy and the Central Government intensified on the day of the Referendum, with signs that The Guardian was converging with the pro-independence narrative. Against Rajoy’s assertion that the police acted with “firmness and serenity”, The Guardian claimed that “[p]olice brutality has ignited the political crisis”, a brutality that it regarded as an “assault” (Catalonia’s referendum, 2017). This strong tone of condemnation notwithstanding, a safe distance was maintained. Vis-à-vis the claims of both sides regarding the number of people injured, The Guardian declared: “The immediate result of the violence was hundreds of casualties by mid-afternoon, according to Catalan authorities, and at least 11 wounded officers, according to the central government” (Catalonia’s referendum, 2017, our italics). The lexico-syntactical repetition reinforces the cautious position adopted. In its attempt to maintain a non-partisan position The Guardian further stated: “[b]etween them, the two sides have produced both a vote

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that is hugely contentious and a result that is meaningless” (Catalonia’s referendum, 2017). The Observer showed the same restraint as The Guardian regarding claims relating to the number of casualties: “While separatist leaders say hundreds were injured, fortunately no one was killed” (The crisis in Catalonia, 2017). The portrayal of the Spanish forces of law and order deserves special attention, these being depicted by the independentists as forces of occupation and oppression. The Observer gave voice to the perspective of those who defended the actions of the much-maligned Guardia Civil (Civil Guard) by reporting that: Residents who have spoken to the Observer complained of intimidation and threats by pro-independence activists. Far from criticising members of the Guardia Civil, a group of women in one Barcelona neighbourhood thanked them for stepping in on referendum day after local police allegedly failed to keep order. (The crisis in Catalonia, 2017)

And along the same lines as its sister daily, The Observer apportioned an equal amount of blame to both factions, with the focus of its indictments on the decision-making and management skills of both leaders: [The] behaviour [of the Catalan leaders], like Rajoy’s, is irresponsible. Like Rajoy’s minority government in the Cortes [Spanish Parliament], their political base is narrow: they have but a tenuous grip on the 135-seat Catalan assembly. Puigdemont, the man at the heart of the independence storm, was the unexpected replacement for [the previous Catalan First Minister Artur] Mas. He lacks his predecessor’s experience and elan. Like Rajoy, he seems desperate to make his mark and fearful of appearing irresolute. (The crisis in Catalonia, 2017)

Just before the UDI, The Guardian once again explicitly refused to assign blame by apportioning it evenly to both leaders—again on the grounds of deficient political wit and ill-intentioned political decisions: There is no mileage in the blame game. Spain’s weekend move towards the imposition of direct rule did not start this process, any more than Catalonia’s declaration of independence did. Both actions were provocative, part of a ratcheting of defiance between two leaders, Mariano Rajoy in Madrid and Carles Puigdemont in Barcelona, who have each made mistakes while

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at the same time appearing keen to keep the dispute from getting out of hand. (23 October 2017)

This toing-and-froing was clear again at the end of October when criticism of the actions taken against the Catalan government came close to the pro-independence narrative, with The Guardian stating that there was no doubt that “Madrid turned a blind eye to legal and civil rights when it dismissed criticism of police brutality in the anti-referendum operations” (Spain’s crisis, 2017). It is worth pointing out, however, that the phrase “turning a blind eye”, that is, looking away rather than at, at least dilutes the Central Government’s agency, a move that should be understood in the context of the equal apportion of blame whereby, according to the same paper, the situation: has accelerated thanks to the recklessness and intransigence of both sides as they have ploughed on, intent on forcing the other to step aside or back down. That may owe less to the real conviction that they could strongarm their opponents than to the pressures they faced from their own side to stand firm. (Spain’s crisis, 2017)

At the end of October, the decision to implement article 155 was regarded as a Central Government “diktat” in The Observer (Independence for Catalonia, 2017), with a comment on the doubts that pro-independence leaders “will quietly give themselves up to a Spanish justice system they understandably distrust”, thus expressing misgivings about the Spanish judiciary, a key tenet of the pro-independence campaign. Despite all this, Rajoy was represented as compelled by the circumstances, part of his responsibility once again removed from him: “Mariano Rajoy”, The Observer had stated earlier, “was reluctant to resort to direct rule from Madrid, but faced by the stubborn and, in his view, illegal defiance of the Catalan leadership, he clearly felt he had no choice” (The crisis in Europe, 2017); and again: “Mariano Rajoy […] says that, in the end, he had no choice but to take the “nuclear option” of sacking Catalonia’s government and placing himself and his ministers in charge” (Independence for Catalonia, 2017). The same can be said about Rajoy’s decision to call regional elections on 21 December 2017, which was read using the same interpretative frame: it was not only inoperable, ill thought-out and counterproductive but they would be held in a context of punishment and of lack

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of freedom, fairness and reliability—thus reproducing, initially through a series of rhetorical questions, the view of the pro-independence camp: How can Rajoy hope to mount a free, fair and credible election if his principal opponents are in jail or on the run? How can there be an open, democratic debate if television and radio stations and newspapers deemed to be biased in favour of independence are brought under state control? Who in Catalonia, or internationally, would credit the results of such a poll? If the Madrid authorities persist in their apparent determination to punish the secessionist leadership, an election that may represent their best chance of ending the crisis will be condemned as a travesty. It would certainly be boycotted by many Catalans. It will be doomed from the start. (Independence for Catalonia, 2017)

It needs to be said that The Observer’s fears of media control on the part of the state were unfounded as article 155 stipulates the suspension of regional government but does not provide for suspension of freedom of speech. This misunderstanding of the law gave further credibility to the pro-independence claim. However, a workable solution was regarded as achievable, precisely because of the democratic credentials of Spain, depicted in the following excerpt as the opposite of the authoritarian, oppressive state of the pro-independence narratives: Catalonia is, by most measures, a prosperous and successful place. Its people do not suffer hunger, preventable diseases or military oppression. They are not murdered, raped or displaced (unlike millions in recently independent South Sudan). Catalans, on the whole, like Spaniards, on the whole, lead a fortunate, peaceful, privileged existence. Barcelona, like London, is a model international city, where divisions of nationality, race, colour and creed increasingly belong to the past. In such propitious circumstances, it is surely not beyond the wit of Catalans and Spaniards to work out a form of amicable association that both can live with. To fight would be self-indulgent foolishness. (Independence for Catalonia, 2017)

After the December Catalan regional elections, in which the proindependence parties again obtained a majority of seats but less than fifty per cent of the vote, The Guardian declared: “There is no mandate for Catalan independence there. But there is no mandate for the status quo either”. In this stalemate The Guardian again called out the provocations of both sides and asked for changes in their stance in equal measure:

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article 155 should be revoked and an amnesty for “jailed and exiled Catalan leaders” should be ensured; but also, separatists “should accept that the 1 October independence vote is null and void” (Catalonia’s election, 2017). This balanced system of concessions would be the only way to reach a “compromise”, a half-way solution to move forward. In its attempt to defend a centre-ground position, the success of the leader of the opposition in the Catalan parliament, Inés Arrimadas—her party, Ciutadans, received the largest number of votes but not enough form a government—was presented as a lesson to be learned (Catalonia’s election, 2017). To that end, she was portrayed as “centrist unionist”, despite her party’s radical (for some, visceral) opposition to Catalan independence. It can be argued that these “inaccuracies” are the price to be paid for the sake of a narrative which advocated equidistance and an underlying distrust of independence. This was never more evident than in the 8 October 2017 editorial of The Observer, in which, despite the attempt to apportion blame evenly, the newspaper, in its final analysis, held the view that in a globalised world movements advocating identity politics are outdated, bold and dramatic rather than driven by any sense of rationality and reality. This applies to Catalan nationalism but also by extension to Scottish nationalism and also English nationalists, now reformed as Brexiters, all of these in the thrall of outmoded fantasy-driven worldviews: When all is said and done, there is something inescapably romantic about an independence struggle. It excites visceral feelings about identity and destiny. It conjures wild images of flags, clenched fists and Braveheart heroics. But reality rarely matches the dream. Economic viability is one critical consideration. Here is another: in a globalised, interconnected world, where national frontiers, especially in Europe, count for less and less, especially among the young, the 19th-century concept of the exclusive nation state is increasingly anachronistic. Amid all the emotion and calculation, a basic question remains unanswered by Catalonia’s separatists, as it does in pre-Brexit England: at a time when old divisions are thankfully breaking down, why create more walls? (The crisis in Catalonia, 2017)

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Shifting the Blame Game: The Telegraph The Telegraph was much less taxed by questions of blame for the Catalan crisis than its left-leaning competitor. Before the referendum, its starting position was that Spain “is now a successful modern democracy” (The crisis in Catalonia can be ended, 2017) and the same caution as in The Guardian and The Observer was echoed in relation to the proindependence reports on referendum day, bracketing the claims of the levels of aggression dispensed by the forces of law and order: “[v]iolent scenes of alleged police brutality” (Spain’s crisis, 2017, our italics). It also blamed both sides in equal parts, with an interesting twist: for it the behaviour of both camps was tainted with Francoism in equal measure, thereby locating them in an unreconstructed and unrecoverable dictatorial past: This crisis can still be ended amiably, but to do so both sides must remember that trampling on the legitimate concerns of fellow citizens, declaring opponents traitors and giving way to the violence of faction against faction in pursuit of political ends – these are not signs of new and just representation, but methods of a dictatorship the country thought it had left behind. (The crisis in Catalonia can be ended, 2017)

The Telegraph did go as far as to accusing Spain of “authoritarianism” (Authoritarian EU, 2017; EU was supposed to end nationalism, 2017; Brexit was the right choice, 2017) and of being “anti-democratic” (Authoritarian EU, 2017); however, on every single occasion, these traits were not presented as particular to Spain, but “found across much of the continent”, a tendency “that still lies at the heart of many European states—and which is reflected in the EU’s obsession with centralisation and its terror of popular democracy” (Authoritarian EU, 2017). This way, the accusations of despotism and tyranny launched against Spain by the pro-independence movement were echoed, but also watered down as a pan-European problem. This “dilution” should be read as a sign of the process of “domestication” of the Catalan issue, whereby Brexit and Scottish Nationalism were discussed by proxy, as will be seen in our concluding remarks.

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Conclusion: The “Domestication” of the Catalan Issue The situation in Catalonia was frequently discussed in the newspapers analysed in connection with the political context of the UK, particularly Brexit. The similarities in origin were highlighted in The Observer: “[y]ou can also, as with Brexit, feel the tumult of economic disaster 10 years ago still making waves” (Catalan independence, 2017). Accusations of irrational desires for clawing back power were launched against both the pro-Brexit and the Catalan pro-independence camps: “There is also a strand of emotion that, like Brexit, sees salvation in taking control’’ (Catalan independence, 2017). And the same accusations of unscrutinised, make-believe claims were launched: “like Brexit, the possibilities after secession have barely been mentioned, let alone examined. One word—Yes—seems enough. Welcome to a new land, flowing with milk and honey” (Catalan independence, 2017). The indictment against referenda themselves (a key point of “Remainers”) was launched, with a warning for the Catalans: “Britain, surveying the inchoate aftermath of Brexit, is learning that the hard way. Catalonia may be about to learn it too” (Catalan independence, 2017). As noted, The Telegraph interpreted the Catalan crisis as, at least partly, a pan-European issue, to the extent that no Spanish (including Catalan) politicians were mentioned by name in its editorials, whereas EU leaders (Tusk, Juncker, Merkel, Macron) did indeed feature personally. We would argue that the situation in Catalonia was not the real focus of attention of The Telegraph, it was rather being vicariously used to reinforce its proBrexit stance, with the aim of debunking some of the main “myths” of the Remain camp: that is, the claim that the EU is more rational, well organised and free. In its 21 October 2017 editorial The Telegraph stated: One of the biggest delusions among militant Remainers is that the EU is so enlightened, so morally superior to Britain that once the prospect of leaving it becomes more concrete, the British people will want to jump back in. Yet everything that has happened in Europe since the referendum has vindicated the vote for Brexit. (Authoritarian EU, 2017)

And what had happened in Europe since the EU referendum? According to The Telegraph, Europe was suffering an “identity crisis” of which “Spain is at the epicenter”. The troubles in Catalonia were interpreted as part of a mixture which can be fairly regarded as highly incongruous:

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Structurally the continent remains in crisis and its politics veers to extremes. The Czech Republic has elected an anti-corruption businessman who is under investigation for financial irregularities. Hungary and Poland are in revolt. Two Italian regions have voted for enlarged autonomy. Austria may well be governed by a coalition that includes nationalists. And Germany’s far-Right won 94 seats in the Bundestag. (Brexit was the right choice, 2017)

What was the Catalan issue telling us of the reality of the European Union, according to The Telegraph? In an editorial entitled “The Catalonia crisis shows Brexit was the right choice” it was claimed that the EU is irrational, chaotic, unruly and unmanageable, therefore, leaving was the right decision (Brexit was the right choice, 2017). Moreover, the Catalonia crisis proved that the EU was a failed project on at least two accounts. First of all, for not having lived up to its own grand expectations: Wasn’t the whole point of the EU to prevent nationalism and authoritarianism? It was founded in the post-war years to create a more unified, democratic Europe, one that would be so rich and stable that extremism would wither away. And yet Catalonia’s parliament has declared independence and Spain is on the brink of civil unrest. (EU was supposed to end nationalism, 2017)

And, secondly, for its inability to deal with the current situation and future crises: The EU looks on, impotent – knowing that Catalonia won’t be the last region to make this leap into the unknown. The nationalist genie is out of the bottle and no amount of coercion, condescension or feigned ignorance will make it go away. Brexit is not Europe’s biggest problem. (Brexit was the right choice, 2017)

The reference to “coercion” aligned the interpretation of The Telegraph with that of the pro-independence narrative and its depiction of Spain as a dictatorial country. However, The Telegraph’s position was more nuanced than that. As the following excerpt shows, the British response to Scottish Nationalism (its handling of the situation) was contrasted to the Spanish allegedly totalitarian mishandling of the Catalan pro-independence movement; however, the accusation was diluted by making it a European, rather than a strictly Spanish trait:

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Catalonia’s declaration of independence caps a violent history of regional nationalism that British politicians of Left and Right have tried and failed to explain in terms relevant to our own country. In fact, the stark contrast between how the UK is handling the Scottish nationalists and how Madrid has mishandled the Catalonians illustrates the wide gulf between Britain’s tradition of small government versus the authoritarianism found across much of the continent. London prefers diplomacy and democracy. (Brexit was the right choice, 2017)

The role of the UK in a fragmenting Europe—in which the Catalan secessionist bid was regarded as one of the focuses of its identity crisis—was also discussed in The Observer. Wistfully echoing Morris’s view that, as far as the British Empire was concerned, “as the flare of the imperial idea faded, so its beauty faded too” (1978, p. 9), the editorialist none the less felt able of offer but a conclusion that both defended the fading grandeur of Britain and its continuing redeeming role within the EU; in the end the UK assumes the mantle of exemplar to follow: “Forgetful of its historical role as European exemplar, arbiter and guarantor, a diminished, inwardlooking, self-obsessed Britain just does not get it. Europe is slipping ever deeper into an existential crisis all of its own. It is us who should be helping them” (The crisis in Europe, 2017). In short, while we do not dispute that in some senses the UK journalists were indeed writing about Catalonia and Spain, it is also our content that their actual focus was always the UK itself. Many of the elements of our analysis confirm us in this view: the narrative strategies used, which made combining Spain/Catalonia and the UK (and occasionally Scotland) a relatively simple matter; the lexical choices such as references to “lessons” requiring to be “learned” and the even more frequent references to “warnings” and “admonitions”; the sustained use of deontic modality—the use of terms such as “should”, “ought to”, “must”—reinforcing moral obligations with which the reader is assumed to agree. This reader is the “implied reader”, whom Iser defines as follows: He embodies all those predispositions necessary for a literary work to exercise its effect—predispositions laid down, not by an empirical outside reality, but by the text itself. Consequently, the implied reader as a concept has his roots firmly planted in the structure of the text. (1976, p. 34)

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In other words, while admonitions and the like may appear on the surface to be addressed at the Spanish and Catalan governments and politicians, their implied (and no doubt in many if not most cases actual) addressee is the reader of the editorials themselves, whose assumed political background and leanings provide the semiotic key to the journalistic message intended.

References Abbot, H. P. (2002). The Cambridge introduction to narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Barthes, R. (1987). Image, music, text. Glasgow: Fontana Press. D’Amato, S., & Lucarelli, S. (2019). Talking migration: Narratives of migration and justice claims in the European migration System of governance. The International Spectator, 54(3), 1–17. Greimas, A. J. (1987). On meaning: Selected writings in semiotic theory. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Gurevitch, M., Levy, M., & Roeh, I. (1991). The global newsroom convergences and diversities in the globalization of television news. In P. Dahlgren & C. Sparks (Eds.), Communication and citizenship: Journalism and the public sphere in the new media age (pp. 195–216). London: Routledge. Hussain, S. M. A. (2018). Media narratives from the margins: A framing analysis of press coverage of conflict-induced violence in Indian state Assam. Media Watch, 9(1), 37–51. Iser, W. (1976). The act of reading: A theory of aesthetic response. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Jameson, F. (1972). The prison-house of language: A critical account of structuralism and Russian formalism. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Morris, J. (1978). Farewell the trumpets: An imperial retreat. London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Ricoeur, P. (1991). Life in quest of narrative. In D. Wood, D. (Ed.), On Paul Ricoeur: Narrative and interpretation (pp. 20–33). London: Routledge.

Media Sources Authoritarian EU is facing deep divisions. (2017, October 21). The Telegraph. Retrieved from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2017/10/21/author itarian-eu-facing-deep-divisions/. The Catalonia crisis shows Brexit was the right choice. (2017, October 28). The Telegraph. Retrieved from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2017/10/ 28/catalonia-crisis-shows-brexit-right-choice/.

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The crisis in Catalonia can be ended, but not by trampling on people’s legitimate concerns. (2017, September 21). The Telegraph. Retrieved from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2017/09/21/crisiscatalonia-can-ended-not-trampling-peoples-legitimate/. The EU was supposed to end nationalism. Catalonia proves it has failed. (2017, October 27). The Telegraph. Retrieved from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/ opinion/2017/10/27/eu-supposed-end-nationalism-catalonia-proves-has-fai led/. The Guardian view on Catalonia: step back from the brink. (2017, September 21). The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/commen tisfree/2017/sep/21/the-guardian-view-on-catalonia-step-back-from-thebrink. The Guardian view on Catalonia’s election: a mandate for compromise. (2017, December 22). The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian. com/commentisfree/2017/dec/22/the-guardian-view-on-catalonias-ele ction-a-mandate-for-compromise. The Guardian view on Catalonia’s referendum: the Spanish state has lost. (2017, October 1). The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/ commentisfree/2017/oct/01/the-guardian-view-on-catalonias-referendumthe-spanish-state-has-lost. The Guardian view on Spain’s crisis: damage to Catalonia. (2019, October 27). The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/commentis free/2017/oct/27/the-guardian-view-on-spains-crisis-damage-to-catalonia. The Guardian view on the Catalan crisis: wanted: an honest broker. (2017, October 23). Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/commentis free/2017/oct/23/the-guardian-view-on-the-catalan-crisis-wanted-an-hon est-broker. The Observer view on Catalan independence. (2017, September 24). The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/ 2017/sep/23/observer-view-catalan-referendum-spain. The Observer view on independence for Catalonia. (2017, October 29). The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/ 2017/oct/29/observer-view-independence-catalonia. The Observer view on the crisis in Catalonia. (2017, October 8). The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/ 2017/oct/07/observer-view-on-crisis-in-catalonia. The Observer view on the crisis in Europe. (2017, October 22). The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/ 21/observer-view-catalonia-crisis-spain-europe-right-wing-elections-britainrole.

CHAPTER 10

The Catalan Issue from a Comparative Constitutional Perspective Sabrina Ragone and Gabriel Moreno González

The Spanish Constitution of 1978 established an indefinite and open territorial model. The regional map was gradually defined through the adoption of the various Statutes of Autonomy—sources of law that can be compared to state constitutions of federal models—as well as through the decisive role played by the judgements of the Constitutional Court (Cruz Villalón 2007). Nevertheless, one of the reasons that led the founding

The introduction and the conclusion can be attributed to both authors; the paragraphs entitled “The legal nature of the instruments adopted by Catalan institutions” (with the exception of the section “Is a referendum on secession compatible with the Spanish constitutional framework?”) and “Veneto, Bavaria, Canada and Scotland… Are they comparable cases?” were written by Sabrina Ragone; the rest of the text by Gabriel Moreno González. S. Ragone (B) University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy e-mail: [email protected] G. M. González University of Extremadura, Cáceres, Spain © The Author(s) 2021 Ó. G. Agustín (ed.), Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Sovereignty, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54867-4_10

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fathers to draw an open model of decentralization, namely the existence of peripheral nationalisms, was never overcome. During the last forty years of constitutional and democratic life in Spain, mainly Basque and Catalan nationalist forces have tried to differentiate themselves from the rest of the Autonomous Communities, expanding their competences and/or claiming identity specificities that would justify a different treatment. Among these, the existence of specific languages has to be underlined, being Catalan the one with more historical and literary roots, although it is intimately intertwined with the common language, Castilian Spanish. All attempts to integrate in the constitutional framework these nationalist claims have had little success, perhaps because of the lack of ambition of the reforms proposed by the State and the majority of the parties (Moreno González 2018, pp. 81–104). The nationalist governments of Catalonia, exploiting their legislative domains, especially in relevant matters like education, have progressively increased their most divisive objectives. The regional President Jordi Pujol was in charge of the Community for over 20 years, and his administration led to the consolidation of a sentiment of differentiation, initially based mainly on the idea of an economic mistreatment of Catalonia by the State. As a matter of fact, this region has been for decades one of the richest in Southern Europe, where companies, capitals and immigration mainly from other areas of Spain have converged. This sentiment was pushed to the limit as a result of the international financial crisis that began in 2008, severely affecting the most dynamic economic regions of the country since 2010. To understand the overall context, one may recall that against budget cuts and neoliberal policies, also followed by the Catalan Government, a part of the civil society responded through a movement, the so-called 15M, which had a special impact on major Spanish cities, including Barcelona. While the effects of the financial crisis started to become noticeable, the new Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia, passed in 2006 and immediately challenged before the Constitutional Court, was judged and partially amended by the Court in a controversial ruling (STC 31/2010). In spite of the reactions this ruling provoked, only a little part of the Statute was struck down (Carrillo 2011, pp. 365–388). However, the ruling was perceived as an attack on Catalan autonomy and therefore used as a sort of ‘distraction strategy’ to move political debates away from the effects of the crisis and the budgetary cuts being implemented by the Catalan Government (Amat 2017). The nationalist drive was promoted by both political parties

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and associations of the civil society. The ruling became the symbol of the mistreatment of Catalonia by national institutions, although a huge part of the Catalan society had not even participated into the referendum to pass the Statute of Autonomy. What the Constitutional Court came to establish was that, although the model of decentralization is constitutionally open, it can never exceed the basic principles and limits established by the Constitution itself. Very complex issues were addressed in the ruling, but the debate was kept in certain academic circles without reaching the public opinion. Within the nationalist escalation, and without any significant political reaction by the central Government, the Catalan Parliament approved, on 23 January 2013, the so-called ‘Symbolic Declaration of Sovereignty’, which supported the holding of a referendum for self-determination. On this basis, the regional President Artur Mas organized a consultation of the Catalan people, which was held in the end as a non-binding vote on 9 November 2014 (so-called 9N) despite being provisionally suspended by the Constitutional Court. The Spanish Constitution requires the authorization of the central Government to call for a referendum or consultation—and this did not occur. This situation led to the criminal conviction, by the High Court of Justice of Catalonia, of Artur Mas and the main political leaders who organized the illegal consultation in 2017 (1/2017, 13 March). Given the lack of effectiveness of the 9N consultation, the nationalist government called for snap elections for September 2015, basically claiming there would be a plebiscitary vote on independence. In this election, by a very tight difference, the nationalist coalition composed by conservatives (CiU) and centre-left (ERC) reached the majority of the seats. The condition posed by ERC was the change of the regional President: Carles Puigdemont was appointed, at that point in time a very marginal political figure. He promoted a new resolution of the Catalan Parliament that called for the completion of the process towards the independence of Catalonia, a process which should be accompanied by the organization of a referendum, in spite of the constitutional prohibition and the prior judgements of the Constitutional Court. To this end, the Parliament approved on 28 August 2017, by a small majority, the so-called ‘Law of Legal and Foundational Transition of the Republic’ (20/2017, 8 September; in Spanish, Ley de transitoriedad jurídica y fundacional de la República Catalana), which constituted a sort of transitional ‘constitution’ aiming at avoiding the power vacuum after the future

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referendum. This was held a few days later, on 1st October (so-called 1O), in the midst of an unprecedented deployment of the Spanish police, who tried to prevent and block the voting, after the suspension by the Constitutional Court, even resorting to violence. Former rulings had suspended both the law and the posterior decree that called for the referendum, which therefore took place outside the corresponding legal framework, without an official census, without an independent electoral justice, amid improvisation and chaos caused by multiple police interventions. The results of the vote, however, were made public, and (as expectable) were openly favourable to independence— but less than half of the Catalan electorate had voted. According to the suspended Transition Law, the Parliament had to declare the independence of Catalonia; something that finally happened on 10 October. Almost half of the deputies, belonging to the anti-independence opposition, did not take part to the vote. Later on, the central Government decided to employ the strongest constitutional instrument regulated in article 155, after the authorization of the Senate (the higher chamber, theoretically devoted to territorial representation). Such article, following the German example, includes a federal coercion clause aimed at preserving the constitutional order against repeated and severe attacks or breaches perpetrated by territorial entities. As a result of this application, all members of the Catalan Government, including President Puigdemont, were ceased, and the Autonomous Community administration was overtaken by the State. New regional elections were called for December 2017. Concerning this conduct and the disobedience to courts’ orders, on 12 February 2019, a criminal proceeding was started against the main independent leaders, before the Spanish Supreme Court, as they were accused, among other crimes, of rebellion and sedition. The ex-President of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont fled to Belgium and is still based in Brussels, because Belgian judicial authorities considered not to give execution to the European Order of Detention and Delivery issued by Spain. On 14 October 2019, the Supreme Court sentenced the main defendants to prison, although the crime of rebellion was ruled out. Several political leaders are currently in jail; and this outcome of the trial has increased the dissatisfaction of the Catalan nationalist population, provoking protests and riots in the main cities of the Autonomous Community.

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In the absence of instruments to accommodate Catalan claims in the Spanish constitutional system, and without attempts to achieve political dialogue, the Government resorted to the automatism of coercion. Catalan nationalist forces themselves have repeatedly violated constitutional rights and prerogatives, in a way that is unprecedented in the European context, even through illegal and criminal activities. The Catalan independentist movement has progressively abandoned the logic of the democratic rule of law, to support its claims against around half of the Catalan population, that, according to repeated surveys, are not in favour of independence nor against the Spanish constitutional system. For instance, the last enquiry of the Catalan Survey Centre (Centre d’Estudis d’Opinió) concludes that a significant portion of the Catalan society is against independence, more than 48% (CEO 2019).1 The result of this process was the reduction of the autonomy that Catalonia had enjoyed since 1978, under the Constitution, that gives it broad powers and rights, including some kinds of cultural rights. A dynamic of confrontation, so typical of nationalisms, is what finally prevailed; a confrontation that has managed to keep the Catalan conservative nationalist party in power for several years, shifting the focus of the debate from economic policies to the issues of identity and independence.

The Legal Nature of the Instruments Adopted by Catalan Institutions One of the most controversial issues concerning the described process is the legal nature of the acts adopted by Catalan institutions in order to finally declare unilateral independence. The problem is essentially that most of these acts have been designed by Catalan nationalist parties to avoid their annulment by the Constitutional Court, so their content is often ambiguous and open to interpretation. In this respect, it is necessary to consider that any resolution or provision adopted by an Autonomous Community may be challenged by the central Government before the Constitutional Court, being therefore automatically suspended for at least five months. The suspension occurs without any sort of ruling on the merits of the case by the Court, which is obliged to ground its decision exclusively when it decides to

1 Available here: http://ceo.gencat.cat/ca/barometre/detall/index.html?id=7188.

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prolong the suspension (according to art. 161.1 of the Spanish Constitution). The abovementioned Resolution 5/X adopted by the Parliament of Catalonia in January 2013 inaugurated a series of resolutions in which the Autonomous Community claimed its right of secession. Instead of using this expression, however, Catalan authorities have resorted to the vaguer and legally undetermined ‘right to decide’. This Resolution is the first to do so, right after declaring that Catalonia is a subject of sovereignty, entitled to decide on its political future and, as a consequence, on an eventual secession from Spain. The central Government challenged it and the Constitutional Court, in judgement STC 42/2014 (25 March) ended up striking it down (Fossas 2014, pp. 273–300). The problem lies with the Court clarifying whether or not this Resolution could produce legal effects. The alternative was whether or not to understand it as a merely political document, therefore not subject to judicial scrutiny. From this perspective, the ruling established that the ‘legal is not exhausted in the binding’, since there are resolutions that, with their political content, can enable the regional government or other Catalan institutions to initiate a process that, in the long run, does create binding effects. Therefore, the Court considered that the Resolution had to be annulled, because the only subject of sovereignty is the Spanish people (according to articles 1 and 2 of the Constitution), and not any of its parts in isolation. Sovereignty is understood here, by the Constitutional Court, as the ability to establish for itself an autonomous fundamental rule. The right to secession was the ultimate ground of the contested Resolution, which encouraged the Parliament and the Generalitat of Catalonia to start a process towards its effective realization. As the final outcome of such a process would lead to unconstitutional legal effects, the Court decided to strike down the Resolution. In spite of this, as we have pointed out, the Catalan Parliament ended up approving a Law of Consultations, also suspended, and the Government issued a decree to call for a consultation on the possibility of independence (the abovementioned 9N vote), which was also suspended and subsequently annulled by the Constitutional Court. Different questions were raised by the laws 19 and 20 passed in 2017 by the regional Parliament, on a referendum of self-determination of Catalonia and the abovementioned Transition Law, respectively, since they abandoned the symbolic-political arena to enter into the territory

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of legally binding provisions. The claim of the norms, if legally effective, consisted in the prior celebration of a unilateral referendum on independence; its result would be the premise to activate the content of the second law, which would cause the suspension de jure of the constitutional order in Catalonia. Both laws never came into force since they were immediately challenged by the central Government before the Constitutional Court, and automatically suspended. Therefore, in theory they could have never produced legal effects, being suspended and not recognized by the constitutional system (Fernández Cañueto 2018, pp. 207–246). Nevertheless, the Government of the Generalitat and the nationalist parties did not comply with the decision of the Court and pursued their plans further. What legal nature could the 1O referendum and the subsequent unilateral Declaration of Independence have? According to the Spanish legal system, in which such acts are embedded, they shall be considered as nonexistent. All acts and conducts of the Catalan administration executing the former acts belong exclusively to the factual and political sphere, as they could not have any proper binding effect being outside or against the law. Of course, the constitutional order has mechanisms to protect itself from such factual situations attempting to modifying it, so that Catalan politicians who acted outside the law were prosecuted and finally convicted, among other crimes, for that of disobedience. Both laws would also be struck down and eliminated from the Spanish legal system through judgements STC 114/2017 and STC 124/2017. All the acts that independentist leaders carried out in the fulfilment of those laws are, therefore, also null and void. Ironically, one of the paradoxes of the overall Catalan situation, the Declaration of Independence solemnly approved by the Parliament was automatically suspended by the Catalan President himself. In other words, the regional President declared independence in order to comply with a law that had been previously suspended by the Constitutional Court, while at the same time suspending it. As a matter of fact, the recent ruling of the Supreme Court that convicted the main promoters of such acts confirms that at no point in time were Catalonia and its institutions close to real and true independence. It was all simply symbolic and not legally binding.

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Is a Referendum on Secession Compatible with the Spanish Constitutional Framework? The result of what was described in the previous sections is that the attempts of the Catalan Government and the nationalist parties to unilaterally achieve independence were against the constitution and the legal order in general. The question is then whether a referendum like the ones asked for by the independentist forces exists within the Spanish constitutional order. Article 92 of the Constitution establishes that every referendum must be authorized by the Government, with the prior approval of the Congress of Deputies (the lower chamber), and must concern matters of special political importance. It is given only consultative value. The article does not impose more limits; as a consequence, if formal requirements of the call are met, could it then be then be possible, in accordance with the text of the Constitution, to hold a referendum just for a part of the electorate about their political future as a community? On this point there is no agreement in scholarship, although several authors consider it possible when the issue at stake only concerns a specific community, as it would be possibly the case with regard to Catalan secession (Ridao 2015, pp. 359–385; Carrasco Durán 2013, pp. 13–41; López Basaguren 2009, pp. 202–240). Others believe that article 92 can only be triggered for the vote of all Spanish citizens (Sánchez Ferriz 2017, pp. 513–540; Álvarez Vélez 2016, pp. 121–148). We consider reasonable that a portion of the electorate votes, and the forms to exercise popular will in a referendum cannot hide the complexity of a decentralized and plural State like the Spanish, in which the Autonomous Communities do not enjoy only administrative decentralization, but they constitute also differentiated political units. Although national sovereignty belongs to the Spanish people, each political unit already has its differentiated electorates. Article 92 does not refer to the concept of sovereign people, like the clauses on constitutional amendments, but to the electoral body, which has a different nature and can be divided. Such a referendum would not have binding legal effects, not only due to the regulation in article 92, but also because, if it were binding, it would imply the adoption of a constitutional amendment outside its procedure. The instrument of referendum in light of its constitutional nature according to article 92 does not involve sovereignty (which would be only called into place in case of a constitutional amendment or

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constituent process), but a political decision by the electorate (or by any of its already constituted parts or units). Indeed, the Preliminary Title of the Constitution, in its articles 1.2 and in 2, determined that national sovereignty resides in the Spanish people and that the Constitution itself is based on national unity. The ideal of a ‘single and indivisible nation’ of the French Revolution and the nationalism of nineteenth century’s States was consistently adopted in the Spanish constitutional text. A binding referendum that modifies the basis of that sovereignty or that threatens national unity would be therefore unconstitutional and illegal. However, a consultative one, intended to verify the opinion of a part of the population about their political future, would be constitutionally possible, as part of the scholarship has argued, including professor Rubio Llorente, then President of the Council of State. The outcome of this potential consultative referendum could be used politically to promote, only through the established constitutional procedures, a constitutional amendment that would try to adjust the current legal framework to the new political landscape. Per se it would not imply any legal automatism or any binding effect, but only political consequences, therefore not justiciable. The constitutional reform that could regulate a binding referendum on independence should follow the aggravated procedure established in article 168, which would require the ratification by the entire Spanish people through a national referendum. However, also this option seems to have been ruled out by the Constitutional Court in a rigid reading of the constitutional text, through an approach that is close to that of German militant democracy. In its judgements STC 42/2014 and STC 259/2015 the Court basically explained that it would not be possible to hold a referendum ex article 92 on such a subject, even when the Government and the Spanish legislature duly approved it. This position has been criticized, especially for its lack of clarity, on such a relevant issue (Boix Palop 2018, pp. 38–39). We do not mean that a consultative referendum is necessary, but just that it would be legally possible within the Spanish legal system. Although nationalist motives aiming at independence could be reprehensible from a political, or even ethical and moral point of view, legally, their expression can have a place in the Spanish system, as an exercise of freedom of expression and political participation. Spanish Governments and the Parliament have repeatedly refused to do so for various reasons and this closure has impeded the holding of a referendum with the due guarantees. Of course, the factual attempts of the Generalitat of Catalonia, regulated

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by laws suspended by the Constitutional Court, were not compatible with the rule of law and the constitutional framework.

Veneto, Bavaria, Canada and Scotland … Are They Comparable Cases? The nationalist conflict in Catalonia is not an isolated event on the international scene, where also in other countries there have been strives for independence; for instance, in Quebec and Scotland and, to a lesser extent, Bavaria and Veneto. Therefore, a comparative examination can be especially relevant and functional here for the understanding of the means and targets of the legislation in this field, namely: that of integrating the conflict and regulating political coexistence among citizens. In light of their differences, we consider appropriate to divide the cases into two blocks. Two belong to countries whose public law is strongly influenced by the Anglo-Saxon mentality, embedded in Common Law systems, against two continental Civil Law systems. Germany and Italy have rigid written constitutions and are consolidated nation-states despite the recentness of their unifications, while Canada and partly the United Kingdom are constitutionally pluri-national. That is why we group them under the name of ‘flexible systems’, which may allow the change of their national unity through referenda. The continental ones are ‘closed systems’, where the country’s unity cannot be challenged (Ragone 2019, pp. 169–183). Veneto and Bavaria Within Two ‘Closed Systems’ Veneto, a region in north-eastern Italy, also in the past showed scepticism concerning the Italian national project. Traditions and customs are the justification for the autonomist or nationalist parties and movements of this region, that have tried at certain times to pursue secession. Together with Lombardy, another region with similar claims, it is considered one of the richest areas in Italy with the greatest industrial potential. The right-wing party called Northern League (now just the League) was the promoter of these initiatives, finally opting for the achievement of higher autonomy. In early 2014, an informal consultation was held through an online platform and the votes in favour of independence prevailed. However, Italian media and institutions did not devote great attention to this first consultation. Nevertheless, the regional Parliament

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passed two laws calling for several referenda: law 16/2014 for a referendum to transform Veneto in a Republic and law 15/2014 for referenda on wider fiscal, financial and legislative autonomy. The Italian Constitutional Court stroke down the former law, using as the main yardstick article 5 of the Constitution, according to which Italy is an indivisible Republic that promotes local autonomy. The Court also recalled article 114, which establishes that Italy is composed by Municipalities, Provinces, Metropolitan Cities and the State, each of them with autonomy and functions as regulated in the Constitution. Also in the Italian case, the norms on constitutional amendments came into play, especially article 138 (on the procedure) and article 139 (on the limit), as the Court stated that, even in a context of constitutional pluralism, the principle of autonomy cannot lead to a fragmentation of the legal system nor justify initiatives aiming at secession. And it does not matter whether the concrete instrument is consultative, as its object would concern a fundamental political decision, violating basic principles of the constitution. Like the Spanish Constitutional Court before (see judgement STC 4/1981), the Court confirmed that regional autonomy does not equate to sovereignty. Furthermore, it added that the unity of the State is one of the elements of the constitution that cannot be changed under any circumstances, not even through a constitutional amendment. The Court also considered unconstitutional several questions of the referendum regulated by law 15/2014, saving just one of them: a consultative one, on the assumption of greater legislative autonomy. As a matter of fact, the Court connected this claim to the constitutional clause of article 116.3, according to which ordinary Regions (Italy presents an asymmetric model, like Spain, with two categories of Regions) are entitled to ask for new and peculiar conditions in specific matters such as education, environment, culture, etc.; if agreed with the central Government, such conditions are then included in a law that requires the absolute majority of both chambers. The previous regional referendum is not required by the Constitution, but the Court held it was not forbidden either. That is why at the end of October 2017 there was a referendum in Veneto (and Lombardy) aiming at the achievement of higher autonomy. Even if the unity of Italy is non-negotiable, in the respect of this principle regions are allowed to pursue further decentralization. The second example clearly belonging to the category of ‘closed systems’ is Germany. In a relatively recent decision (BvR 349/16), issued in 2016, the Federal Constitutional Court dealt with the possible call for

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a referendum on the independence of Bavaria (Ragone 2018, pp. 407– 418). As it happens in other countries, Bavaria is one of the richest areas and the one with the most defined historical and religious identity. The conservative Bavarian Party, today politically little relevant, was in the past the main promoter of independence since the approval of the Fundamental Law of Bonn (German Constitution) in 1949. It pursued its claims also contesting the validity of the German Constitution, as Bavaria did not vote in favour of the Constitution, which did not need the unanimity of the states to enter into force (the case was decided by the Bavarian Constitutional Court in 1991). In the decision adopted in 2016, the Court dismissed an individual appeal aiming at the calling of a referendum on independence, stating that such a consultation would violate the Constitution, as sovereignty belongs to the whole of the German people and cannot be attributed to single parts. In other words, the States (so-called Länder) are not the ‘lords of the Constitution’ and cannot fundamentally change it. Would a constitutional amendment be possible in order to modify this principle? The Federal Constitutional Court affirmed that the unity of the State cannot be subject to any reform, and such claims would be outside the constitutional order. Differently from Spain and similarly to Italy, a limit to constitutional amendments is set by the Court with regard to the territorial identity of the State. Quebec and Scotland Within Two ‘Flexible Systems’ As both Scotland and Quebec had already held referenda concerning their status within the State, they were always present in legal and political debates on Catalonia (Ragone 2014). The first Scottish referendum of 1979 failed, while the one regarding the creation of a regional parliament in the process of the so-called devolution succeeded. More recently, the Scottish National Party made the commitment to support a new referendum one of the main points in their campaign for the 2011 regional elections. They achieved the majority at the regional level and started negotiating with the central State, until they reached an agreement in 2012 on the calling of a ‘single-question’ referendum in 2014 (‘Should Scotland be an independent Country?’), for the 18th of September. According to the agreement, the referendum would ‘have a clear legal base’, ‘be legislated for by the Scottish parliament’, ‘be conducted so as

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to command the confidence of parliaments, government and people’ and ‘deliver a fair test and decisive expression of the views of people in Scotland and a result that everyone will respect’. In order to fulfil the ‘highest standards of fairness, transparency and propriety, informed by consultation and independent expert advice’, the process included a vote by the Privy Council, a law by the regional parliament and posterior royal assent. In comparison with the Catalan situation, one can highlight the political openness of the central Government, which truly made a difference when negotiating on highly sensitive issues, as well as the lack of constitutional regulation of the model of decentralization, which leaves more leeway to political actors. Concerning Canada, the 1998 reference opinion issued by the Supreme Court did set the standards for the potential achievement of independence by Quebec. After that, the Clarity Act was passed by the Canadian Parliament in 2000. Only 3 years before the opinion of the Court, a referendum had been held with little more than 50% votes against the separation from Canada, within the context of a strong independence movement in Quebec. The national Government therefore submitted a question concerning the legality of Quebec’s secession. The Court held that there could be no unilateral secession but that, if a referendum took place with a majority of votes pro secession, the Government would have to negotiate the conditions of the independence process. It is relevant to mention that the Canadian Parliament would have played an important role in the elaboration of the question of the referendum and in the subsequent evaluation of the results. Also in this case, a solution agreed upon by the national and regional executives would be essential, as a unilateral decision was not considered feasible; this condition to call for a potential referendum lacked all over the Catalan independentist process. Additionally, the margin of maneuver that the Supreme Court had in the abovementioned case was much wider that the possibilities allotted to the German and the Italian Court, as they were not responding to an open question but deciding upon specific challenges to regional pieces of legislation.

Conclusion The Catalan independence process presents unique features, in particular due to the presence of unilateral decisions and the unconstitutionality of several acts adopted to implement them.

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Independentist parties have enjoyed the majority within the regional Parliament for several years, and since 2012 they have adopted a series of statutes, resolutions and declarations aiming at calling a referendum on independence—all of them struck down by the Constitutional Court. As it was explained, the power to call for a referendum only belongs to the national Government with the authorization of the Congress of Deputies; additionally, the Spanish Constitution fixes the principle of indivisible unity of the country, that could be affected exclusively through a constitutional amendment. Against those who argue that a consultative referendum on the matter could not be held, we maintain that article 92 of the Constitution would allow it, as long as it were non-binding and were authorized by national institutions. Unlike Italy and Germany, where, according to the corresponding Constitutional Courts, such a referendum could not take place, the Spanish legal system could allow it, if formal requirements were met. Consistently with the path showed by the Canadian Supreme Court, when the consultative referendum showed a clear majority in favour of independence, it would become necessary for the State to enter into negotiations with the Catalan forces in order to arrange a constitutional amendment accommodating such aspirations. Again, all cases prove that unilateralism cannot be accepted as it is not legally viable; and probably not even politically. Nevertheless, the Spanish Constitution does not include national unity among the unamendable principles and regulates total reform and the revision of the basic principles. The political aspiration of achieving independence encounters recognition within the system, but also in this case the Autonomous Communities are not the ‘ladies of the Constitution’, as national sovereignty belongs to the whole of the Spanish people until, democratically and constitutionally, it is decided otherwise.

References Álvarez Vélez, M. (2016). La participación directa de los ciudadanos en la Constitución española y las consultas populares en el ámbito estatutario. Revista de Derecho Político, 96, 121–148. Amat, J. (2017). La conjura de los irresponsables. Barcelona: Anagrama. Boix Palop, A. (2018). La cuestión territorial en España: entre la reforma constitucional posible y la necesaria. In L. Estupiñán Achury, G. Moreno González

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& A. Montiel Márquez, La cuestión territorial a debate: España y Colombia (pp. 25–80). Bogotá: Universidad Libre de Colombia. Carrasco Durán, M. (2013). Referéndum versus consulta. Revista de Estudios Políticos, 160, 13–41. Carrillo, M. (2011). La sentencia del Tribunal Constitucional español sobre el Estatuto de Autonomía de Cataluña. Estudios Constitucionales: Revista Del Centro de Estudios Constitucionales, 9(1), 365–388. CEO, Centro d’Estudis d’Opinió. (2019). Barómetre d’Opinió Política, 2º. Retrieved from http://ceo.gencat.cat/ca/barometre/detall/index.html?id= 7188. Cruz Villalón, P. (2007). La curiosidad del jurista persa y otros estudios sobre la Constitución. Madrid: CEPC. Fernández Cañueto, D. (2018). Las consecuencias de la reforma del art. 135.2 del Reglamento del Parlamento de Cataluña para aprobar la Ley de referéndum y la de transitoriedad jurídica: suspensión y STC 139/2017. Revista Vasca de Administración Pública. Herri-Arduralaritzako Euskal Aldizjaria, 111, 207–246. Fossas, E. (2014). Interpretar la política. Comentario a la STC 42/2014, de 25 de marzo, sobre la Declaración de soberanía y el derecho a decidir del pueblo de Cataluña. Revista española de derecho constitucional, 34(101), 273–300. López Basaguren, A. (2009). Sobre referéndum y comunidades autónomas: la ley vasca de la “consulta” ante el tribunal constitucional (consideraciones con motivo de la STC 103/2008). Revista D’Estudis Autonòmics I Federals, 9, 202–240. Moreno González, G. (2018). España, cuestión de integración constitucional. In E. Achury, G. Moreno González, & A. Montiel Márquez (Eds.), La cuestión territorial a debate: España y Colombia (pp. 81–104). Bogotá: Universidad Libre de Colombia. Ragone, S. (2014). Catalonia’s recent strive for independence: a legal approach. In Z. Kántor (Ed.), Autonomies in Europe: Solutions and challenges (pp. 69– 79). Budapest: L’Harmattan. Ragone, S. (2018). Los Länder no son « señores de la Constitución » : el Tribunal Constitucional Federal Alemán sobre el referéndum separatista bávaro. Teoría Y Realidad Constitucional, 41, 407–418. Ragone, S. (2019). Tribunales constitucionales y secesión: ¿reivindicación (potencialmente) legítima o violación de un principio básico?. Hermenêutica e Teoria do Direito: Revista de Estudos Constitucionais, 169–183. Ridao, J. (2015). La oscilante doctrina del Tribunal Constitucional sobre la definición de las consultas populares por la vía de referéndum: una revisión crítica a través de cuatro sentencias. Estudios de Deusto: Revista de La Universidad de Deusto, 63(1), 359–385.

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Sánchez Ferriz, R. (2017). Reflexiones sobre una eventual reforma constitucional de los institutos de democracia directa y semidirecta. Revista de Derecho Político, 100, 513–540.

PART V

Conclusion

CHAPTER 11

Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Sovereignty

Óscar García Agustín

More than 70,000 pro-independence supporters gathered in Perpignan, France, at the end of February 2020. The main protagonist was Carles Puigdemont, member of the European Parliament and Catalan ‘president in exile’ living in Brussels. In his speech, Puigdemont called on the participants to prepare for the definitive struggle for independence. The urgency of reaching independence was framed in usual antagonistic terms between ‘We’ and ‘They’: ‘We know that we won’t stop and they won’t stop us. We don’t have to wait for better times because they are here’ (Reuters 2020). Although the immediate ‘We’ referred to the audience, it applies in a more general sense to the Catalan people. Puigdemont considers the present as already ‘better times’—as if the rally was already a Republic of the people or a prefiguration of the coming Catalan Republic. This way of talking is not completely new. However, the circumstances of the event were different. The rally was preceded by the idea of starting up a roundtable between the Spanish and Catalan governments. When

Ó. G. Agustín (B) Department of Culture and Learning, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2021 Ó. G. Agustín (ed.), Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Sovereignty, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54867-4_11

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the leader of Republican Left of Catalonia participated through an audio message and defended the roundtable with the Spanish government and the necessity of expanding the social basis supporting independence, the audience reacted by booing and hissing him. Although the proindependence movement claims to be unified in its contention against the Spanish state, this episode illustrates that the Catalan road to independence is not a uniform one but rather characterized by internal discrepancies. The political conjuncture is crucial to understanding at which points in time alliances between the different pro-independence parties have been more solid or when tensions have emerged. But more importantly, the strong mobilizations of the 1-O drew attention to the question of what to do with the Catalan independence. The immediate answer by the Catalan government was the unilateral declaration of independence. Since the instability and uncertainty continued in Catalonia, the same question remains open. The difference is that the unilateral independence is still the answer. The possible dialogue between the Catalan and the Spanish governments could lead to a different scenario, more in line with the reform of the statute. The Spanish government, on the other hand, is not extent of generating division. The openness to dialogue is strongly contested by the right-wing parties which aspire to strengthen the unity of the Spanish state. The way towards a solution remains unclear but the Catalan process to independence has already unveiled a crisis of sovereignty by questioning the legitimacy of the Spanish state to decide over its territory. The crisis of state sovereignty is not related to states giving up national sovereignty to promote international cooperation like in the European Union, but rather the incapacity to govern satisfactorily the levels within the nationstate. In other words, the Spanish state showed a moment of loss of control over its territory which would be recovered, albeit still highly contested, by the application of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. The crisis of sovereignty nowadays (Vallespín 2000) is both internal (ensuring the juridical order within) and external (ensuring the external acknowledgement of that jurisdiction). The tension between the Spanish state and the pro-independence movement has so far evidenced discrepancies, including internal ones, on how to move towards independence or how to maintain Catalonia within the Spanish state. However, the argument of this chapter is that since sovereignty is at stake, the Catalan struggle for independence should be seen in the light of the multiple dimensions involved in the crisis of sovereignty.

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Ruler Sovereignty and Political Sovereignty The idea of Mariano Rajoy being a ‘machine to create independentists’ became almost a commonplace. Pedro Sánchez referred to it, for example, at the beginning of the Catalan pre-campaign in 2015. He championed the end of ‘monologues, grievances and reproaches’, attributed to Rajoy, and argued for the ‘time to dialogue’. However, his words were also quite tough against the then Catalan president Artur Mas, saying that the future of the Catalan government should not be led by Mas. Sánchez’ proposal to promote dialogue was actually another of the commonplaces in the negotiations with Catalonia: ‘Within the Constitution, we can talk about everything. Outside the constitution, we will not talk about anything’ (Vózpopuli 2015). Despite this claim, two things remain clear: The existing constitutional framework was insufficient to offer a negotiated solution, and the political leadership, with Rajoy first and Sánchez later, has not been capable of creating such conditions for dialogue. The distinction between ruler sovereignty and political sovereignty (Prokhovnik 2007) is relevant to explain how the scope of the crisis of sovereignty is different. While ruler sovereignty is about rule-making, political sovereignty, according to Prokhovnik, consists of the negotiation of space for politics within the circumstance of a particular political society. This implies the fixation of the boundary between the political and the nonpolitical. Appealing to the constitutions (ruler sovereignty) as the only way to solve the Catalan issue indeed shows the difficulties for the Spanish government to be in control of political sovereignty and understand what counts as political. The gap between the two types of sovereignty is missed, not only because of the discontent provoked by the statute process but mainly because the political space (meaning a common space to express contestation and negotiation) is blurred. When Quim Torra was sentenced to one and a half years of ineligibility, due to a crime of disobedience, by the Catalan Supreme Court of Justice, he reaffirmed his conviction that the Spanish legal framework is dissociated from the Catalans’ will: ‘You can condemn me, but you will not change the legitimacy of those who chose me. You can condemn me, but you will not change the will of the Catalan people. You can condemn me, but you will not change the fate of this country’ (Liñán 2019). As a consequence, and as stated by Torra, he has only two options: prevarication or disobedience. The problem lies in the

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rejection of the value of the ruler sovereignty as well as the incapacity to create a political space for disagreement and contestation. Although the Catalan pro-independence movement could seem to base its legitimacy on a kind of political sovereignty to redefine the space for politics (constrained by the Spanish legislation), the truth is that the resulting space is characterized by the exclusion of political positions that are not supportive of Catalan independence. Moments of openness like the 1O clearly enhanced that political space but this was not the case of the political leadership aiming to reach independence. Thus, the use of sovereignty made by Torra is about giving legitimacy to the independence (the Catalan people vs. the oppressive Spanish legislation) rather than about enhancing a new space for politics. Any attempt at dialogue is also going to have to deal with such tension between ruler sovereignty and political sovereignty. The Spanish Constitution has not yet proven capable of assuming the claims of the independentists or simply pro-referendum people, because it limits the possibility of creating a space for doing politics in which unionists and independentists can coexist despite disagreement. The refusal to negotiate with the Spanish government hinders the reshaping of any space for dialogue. On the other hand, the Spanish right-wing opts for strengthening a position contrary to plurinationalism and a negotiated solution through referendum.

People’s Sovereignty After the Spanish Supreme Court found the Catalan separatist leaders guilty of sedition and sentenced them to between nine and 13 years in prison, new massive protests took place in Catalonia, organized by Tsunami Democràtic (Democratic Tsunami). Tsunami Democràtic cannot be considered an organization but rather a fluent network which operates on social media and mainly through the messaging app Telegram. The leaders of the organization remain anonymous and their function is to coordinate and call for civil disobedience protests, of which the one in Barcelona airport was the first. The network was ready to act after the sentence and called for permanent mobilizations with the self-declared goal of provoking a crisis in the Spanish state:

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When the sentence is pronounced, you must stop whatever you are doing. The response which is prepared demands an immediate reaction but it will not only be a one-day specific action. The response which has been organized aims to create a situation of generalized crisis in the Spanish state which will be prolonged in time. They will not be able to stop the power of the people. (e-notícies 2019)

Obviously, Tsunami Democràtic is not the only organization to claim that it is connecting with the power of the people. The 1-O opened up the possibility to talk about popular sovereignty, opposing the will of the people to the repression of the Spanish state (Agustín 2020a). The pro-independence parties articulated such a will politically and attributed popular sovereignty to their demand for independence. The Supreme Court’s ruling is likewise interpreted as the dissociation of the ruler sovereignty (the Spanish legislation as final authority) and the people’s sovereignty that reclaims the right to disobedience. It is interesting to notice that the goal of the protests goes beyond rejecting the ruling against the imprisoned pro-independence leaders. The objective is, indeed, to create a situation of crisis in the Spanish state. The protests attempt to question the legitimacy of the Spanish system to legislate in Catalan territory and to decide about the future of their politicians. Together with the rejection of the ruler sovereignty, Tsunami Democràtic denounces the lack of the political sovereignty. The network stated in an interview: ‘We have no fear. The problem is not being fearful or aware of the consequences. The problem is that there is no alternative’ (ACN 2019). Civil disobedience is thus justified due to the impossibility of creating a political scenario to solve the network’s demands: the right to self-determination, freedom for the ‘political prisoners’, and the exercise of fundamental rights. Although Tsunami Democrátic is independent from political parties, the initiative was saluted by the main pro-independence leaders and it became the main form of channeling social discontent against the verdict. The organization is vertical from the top down, visualized like a tree: The leading coordinating group makes the decisions which are transmitted as ramifications until they reach the local coordinators (Tort 2019). The way of organizing has a clear link to the 1-O, but the issue of anonymity gained additional value in the conjuncture in which the network emerged. Since the political leaders were punished judicially, Tsunami Democrátic adopted anonymity as the main feature of their leadership so no one

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would be accused of organizing the protests. The assumption of a topdown anonymous leadership entails, however, some contradictions. Enric Luján points out the paradox of having a democratic movement led by an opaque and vertical ‘technological elite’ that decides the objectives and timing of mobilizations (in Lomas 2019). The anonymous character of the network could be interpreted as a way of giving an equal status to the participants in the protests and the organizers. However, anonymity should not be confused with a non-led horizontal movement, despite the affirmations by the network on its horizontality. The massive support for the calls of Tsunami Democràtic proved again the capacity of the proindependence movement to challenge the authority of the Spanish state and to express their disconformity with the existing juridical and political order. Interestingly, it reproduces some of the difficulties of the political movement. The political and legal constraints generate obstacles to lead the Catalan procés : whilst the pro-independence political leaders are imprisoned or in self-declared exile, Tsunami needs to deploy anonymity as strategy to avoid being condemned by the actions of civil disobedience. Furthermore, the premise demanded of the Spanish state, ‘sit and talk’, faces the problem of a lack of common ground to dialogue when one side is trying to undermine the state sovereignty and its authority and the other side pursues reinforcing it without changing the existing framework.

Shared Sovereignty Due to the polarization of the Catalan conflict around the positions of the Spanish and Catalan governments, other positions or political experiences of relevance have faced problems developing in such a polarized scenario. That is the case of new municipalism and the search for an alternative to the exclusionary debate around Spanish unity or independence. Regarding new municipalism which emerged strongly in Spain after the municipal elections in 2015, Barcelona en comú (Barcelona in common) and Mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau played a leading role in pushing a progressive municipal agenda and claiming the importance of the cities as level of governance. In terms of alternatives to the polarized debate, based on an attempt to expand the municipal practices to the regional and national levels, Catalunya en comú (Catalonia in common) has endeavored to overcome polarization. Catalunya en comú has not reached the relevance that Barcelona en comú has at the municipal level, but being

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allied with Podemos at the national level at a moment in which Podemos is the governmental coalition partner means that their position should be taken into account. The former leader of Calalunya en comú, Xavier Domènech, has contributed to conceptualizing the idea of shared sovereignties. Traditionally, shared sovereignty has been suggested as a possibility to explore an equilibrium between external and internal actors. National actors should recognize the involvement of international actors in some domestic issues. By entering voluntarily into international agreements and making use of such international legal sovereignty, states expect to improve their domestic sovereignty (Krasner 2004). Domènech (2017) does not refer to the linkage between an external and an internal sovereignty, although he shares the idea of the insufficiency of state sovereignty in times of globalization. In opposition to those who claim the foundation of a new nation-state (the pro-independence parties) and those who want to reinforce the existing state (the unionist parties), Domènech acknowledges that sovereignties are multilevel and consequently should be shared. The difference lies in the idea that sharing should take place at the regional and municipal levels as well and not be limited to the national and international ones. Thus, municipalism and self-organization have been the main sources for popular sovereignty to promote a decentralized and federal state. This approach to sovereignty from below is not exclusive to the pro-independence movement and can be identified in the indignados movement too. Contrary to the creation of a new nation-state, the Catalan republic, it is possible to find a solution within the Spanish state, but the framework should be changed. Catalunya en comú, as well as Podemos, draws on the assumption that there is not only one demos in Spain but several demoi. The consequence should be to open up the territorial debate to adapt to a plurinational model. In this regard, Catalonia should be recognized as a nation, implying its right to sovereignty. Nonetheless, the decisive matter is not whether the independence should be reached through a referendum or not but that the Spanish territorial state, and consequently its sovereignty, is in crisis. Catalunya en comú and Podemos do not focus on independence but rather on the right to decide and the claim that social justice and radical democracy, grounded in municipalism, are the basis from which to develop shared sovereignties. The proposal for shared and municipal sovereignties, however, has been limited by the weight of independence in Catalan politics (Agustín

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2020b). The municipal elections in Barcelona in 2019 entailed the victory of Republican Left of Catalonia’s (ERC) candidate Ernest Maragall. The result made it difficult to imagine the continuity of Ada Colau as mayor due to the complexity of shaping parliamentary majorities, since both Republican Left of Catalonia and Barcelona en comú were far from gathering the sufficient number of seats to rule. However, the unconditional support by Manuel Valls, former president of France, facilitated an agreement between Colau and Jaume Collboni from the Catalan Socialist Party. Valls argued that he supported Colau in order to avoid having an independentist mayor in Barcelona whilst accepting that his support provoked strong critiques of Colau from the pro-independence environment. In any case, the limitations to forge an alternative sovereignty were clear, since the dominant discussion was on the implication of having Barcelona ruled by a pro-independence leader or not.

External Sovereignty The pro-independence movement, especially the unilateral declaration of independence, implies the questioning of the internal sovereignty of Spain by refusing the authority of the state and the prevalence of its constitutional power. On the other hand, the pro-independence movement considers that popular sovereignty emerges as a new internal sovereignty for Catalonia, despite the lack of a sovereign state. This way of acting as if internal sovereignty was already achieved is accompanied by the attempt to obtain the recognition of its external sovereignty as if Catalonia was a state capable of determining its foreign policy and of joining the European Union. The expectations of getting support from the EU to mediate with the Spanish government and facilitate a referendum failed. The EU was strict in following the principle of non-intervention vis-àvis the sovereignty of the Spanish state and avoided any critique of the actions carried out by the Spanish government. This does not mean that the Spanish state has not had conflicts with other countries as it actually happened when Germany refused to extradite Carles Puigdemont. In any case, the pro-independence politicians have combined reaffirming internal sovereignty (the right to independence without interference of the Spanish state) with the search for external support for the right to referendum. Puigdemont’s strategy consisted in highlighting that the Catalan issue was not a domestic one which should be resolved by the Spanish state

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but a European one, in need of intervention by the EU since it would not be an interference in the business of the Spanish state. The EU rejected that interpretation and insisted on considering the Catalan issue domestic politics. Puigdemont expressed his disappointment with the EU not in relation to the independence but in keeping quiet about the violation of fundamental rights (García 2018). The categorical response by the European Commission to Puigdemont was that the EU is the union of democracies based on the rule of law. Clearly upset by the comment, Puigdemont threatened the EU by suggesting the possibility of extending the logic of referendum, attributing sovereignty to the Catalan people, to the belonging to the EU: ‘Spaniards and Europeans keep saying that we are going to end up out of the EU, but it should be the Catalan citizens who make that decision […] Do you want to belong to this EU? And on which conditions? Let’s see what the Catalan people say’ (Crónica Global 2017). For fear that this confrontational attitude towards the EU would shut down any type of mediated option, Puigdemont rephrased his position later to claim the pro-EU nature of the Catalan independence project. Recovering the pro-EU position was more consequent with the traditional international strategy of the pro-independence movement. The event that generated a new international crisis and tensions between the Spanish legislative system and the EU was Puigdemont’s decision to become an MEP. Once elected, a ruling from the Court of Justice of the EU allowed him to take his seat and he earned immunity despite the request for lifting it. As a consequence, the arrest and extradition order were suspended. Spain refused to recognize his immunity which means that Spain is the only country in Europe where he can be arrested. His inclusion in the European Parliament has not led to stronger support from EU institutions, but Puigdemont has reframed his strategy by reinforcing the connections between Scotland and Catalonia to prove his pro-European position and disappointment with Brexit and the UK leaving the EU. In a column in the Scottish newspaper The National, Puigdemont does not hide the lack of support by the EU but expresses his conviction that the route towards independence will happen in ‘European style’, based on negotiation and agreement. The aspiration to independence by Scotland and Catalonia would be ‘democratic opportunity’ rather than ‘potential crisis’. The key is, according to Puigdemont, to find political solutions through voting and not dialogue. He concludes: ‘In fact, in modern Europe, sovereignty is a daily referendum’ (Puigdemont 2020). His words show a negotiable and flexible

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understanding of sovereignty, anchored in people’s decisions. Thus, he believes that Catalonia could achieve recognition as a sovereign state in the future. If the pro-independence strategy has shown weaknesses in forging a sovereign, recognized both internally and externally, it must be added that the Spanish international sovereignty has been seriously challenged, as has the external sovereignty, although to a lesser extent, referring particularly to the juridical system.

Sovereignty and State of Emergency The management of the crisis of the coronavirus by the Spanish government was far from consensual and harmonious. On the one hand, the parties on the right held a fierce opposition to the measures of the president, Pedro Sánchez, and refused to support an extension of the state of emergency; on the other hand, the nationalist and separatist parties were skeptical about the accumulation of power around the central government. Sánchez implemented the state of emergency on March 14, 2020 which gave the government additional powers to handle the crisis. The Catalan government showed their frontal reaction against the state of emergency since they considered it an ‘undercover 155’, reflecting the same invading will which would take over regional powers such as healthcare and police (Mossos). After his meeting with Sánchez, the Catalan president Quim Torra defended the right of the Catalan government to make the necessary decisions to stop the spread of the COVID19 pandemic due to the insufficient measures adopted by the Spanish government. Torra framed the relation between both governments as the relation between two states that should be characterized by cooperation. He actually claimed that the Catalan government would not be behind the Spanish government but next to it and denounced the patriotic tone that the Spanish government had acquired, in his opinion. Before the Spanish government ordered nationwide lockdown, Torra had already declared to decree lockdown in Catalonia, including controlling borders with France and neighbouring Spanish regions. However, given that the central government controls ports, airports, and train links, it was clarified that it was, in reality, a ‘solidarity lockdown’, meaning a recommendation for Catalans to stay at home (ACN 2020). The Catalan government thus considered the state of emergency a new attack on the Catalan sovereignty. The parallels with other interferences made by the

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Spanish state were obvious when Torra said that “[t]he Constitution is not a medicament against the virus” (Quitian 2020). The tensions triggered by the coronavirus crisis, offering a new battlefield for the pro-independence parties, affected the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) as well. The statements regarding a hypothetically better working independent Catalan republic were made by both centre-right and centre-left, although the tone of criticism was quite different. Marta Vilalta, deputy secretary general of ERC, stated that the COVID-19 pandemic had ‘once more showed the need to have a (Catalan) state’ in order to be able to act more swiftly (Faus 2020). The disagreement became evident when ERC, the party which supported the parliamentary election of Sánchez, refused to support a fourth extension of the state of emergency. Junts per Catalunya (Together for Catalonia), the party of Torra and Puigdemont, already rejected the previous extension. In his speech in the Parliament, spokesperson of ERC Gabriel Rufián compared the state of emergency with deprivation of rights, and demanded an alternative: ‘There is an alternative to prolonging the state of alarm. There is ultimately an alternative to recentralization, to militarization, and to the regression of civil rights in the management of this crisis’ (Rufián 2020). The alternative, based on decentralization and the role of the regions, would be co-responsibility and dialogue as well as horizontality. However, the government obtained the necessary parliamentary support thanks to the votes of the unionist party Ciudadanos (Citizens), and this increased the mistrust between the social democratic party and ERC. Despite displacing the issue of Catalan independence as one of the major topics of political discussion, the coronavirus illustrates how the tension between the Spanish and Catalan governments is still existing and determines all the political debates around territorial decision-making and the role of the state. The Spanish government did not count on close support from other parties or an extended social and political consensus. There are many readings to that but the crisis of sovereignty is surely one of them, and it will be prevalent in other situations in the future unless it is properly addressed by all the involved actors, with willingness to have a sincere dialogue about it and solve the situation politically.

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Puigdemont, C. (2020, February 2). EU may not back our causes, but it can guide us towards indy. The National. Retrieved from https://www.thenat ional.scot/news/18203187.carles-puigdemont-eu-may-not-back-causes-canguide-us-towards-indy/. Quitian, S. (2020, March 16). Torra rechaza el decreto del Gobierno y pide un “autoconfinamiento” a los catalanes. La Vanguardia. Retrieved from https://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20200315/474157707259/ torra-sanchez-estado-alarma-cataluna.html. Reuters. (2020, February 29). Thousands attend rally in France for exiled Catalan leader. Reuters. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/ us-spain-politics-catalonia/thousands-attend-rally-in-france-for-exiled-catalanleader-idUSKBN20N0TK?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews. Rufián, G. (2020, May 6). Hay alternativa a esta prórroga del estado de alarma. EuropaPress. Retrieved from https://www.europapress.tv/politica/490779/ 1/rufian-hay-alternativa-prorroga-estado-alarma. Tort, À. (2019, October 14). ¿Qué es el Tsunami Democràtic? La Vanguardia. Retrieved from https://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20191014/479727 81729/que-es-tsunami-democratic-sentencia-proces-1o.html. Vallespín, F. (2000). El futuro de la política. Madrid: Taurus. Vózpopuli. (2015, October 2). Pedro Sánchez: “Rajoy es una máquina de hacer independentistas, es tiempo de diálogo.” Vózpopuli. Retrieved from https://www.vozpopuli.com/espana/Pedro_Sanchez-Miquel_Iceta-Cat aluna_0_849215120.html.

Index

A article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, 4, 12, 127, 177, 200, 242 Artur, Mas, 9, 21, 34, 40–43, 68, 87, 154, 161, 163, 164, 195, 225, 243 Asociacion Nacional Catalana (ANC), 12, 14, 33, 42, 48, 50, 52, 58, 67, 132–135, 138, 140, 163, 164, 185 autonomy, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 14, 36–38, 49, 57, 81–83, 85, 118, 119, 121, 133–135, 137, 162, 166, 176, 182, 211, 227, 232, 233 B banal flaggings, 22, 60, 64, 65 Barcelona, 7, 11, 17, 24, 33, 42, 49, 51, 70, 82, 84, 85, 114, 117, 138–140, 142, 144, 153, 159, 160, 164, 181, 183, 184, 187, 192, 202, 204, 206, 212, 214, 224, 244, 246, 248

Basque country, 10, 79, 81, 82, 88–90 Brexit, 5, 25, 97, 201–203, 210, 216–219, 249 C Candidatura d’Unitat Popular (CUP), 12, 41–43, 45, 49, 52, 68, 155, 158, 162–165 Catalan autonomy, 7, 35, 87, 128, 157, 182, 194, 224 Catalan crisis, 21, 22, 25, 78, 84, 97, 117, 176, 187, 201, 203, 211, 216, 217 Catalan government, 5, 7, 9–15, 18–20, 23, 40, 41, 47, 48, 82, 106, 112, 120, 122, 128, 131, 132, 139, 140, 162, 163, 165, 169, 177, 178, 182, 189, 202, 203, 210, 211, 213, 220, 224, 226, 230, 241–243, 246, 250, 251 Catalan history, 6, 106, 107, 113–115, 156

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG, part of Springer Nature 2021 Ó. G. Agustín (ed.), Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Sovereignty, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54867-4

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256

INDEX

Catalan independence movement, 21, 24, 25, 58, 153, 165, 170, 176–178, 181–183, 193 Catalan nationalism, 5, 7, 8, 15, 24, 34, 45, 59, 65, 107, 108, 122, 154, 169, 211, 215 Catalan nationalists, 78, 83, 178, 186, 192, 194, 195 Catalan Parliament, 10–12, 16–18, 25, 38–41, 43, 45, 48, 51, 83, 84, 87, 118, 127, 130, 137, 138, 140, 163, 166, 177, 187, 195, 199, 200, 203, 206, 215, 225, 228 Catalan people, 5, 10, 16, 58, 65, 67, 78, 86, 93, 94, 111, 113, 115, 116, 120, 121, 130, 137, 185, 225, 243, 244, 249 Catalan president, 16, 17, 39, 106, 115, 122, 127, 154, 161, 167, 186, 206, 229, 243, 250 Catalan process, 11, 17, 18, 242 Catalan pro-independence, 11, 12, 14, 33, 48, 51, 87, 106, 107, 110–112, 116, 120, 131, 167, 178, 182, 185, 250 Catalan referendum, 57, 58, 72, 111, 116, 118, 120–122 Catalan Republic, 4, 11, 16, 48, 58, 87, 112, 113, 115, 129, 135, 151, 153, 154, 165, 177, 183, 185, 200, 241, 247, 251 Catalan separatism, 21, 57, 62, 67, 68 Catalonia, 3–12, 14, 16, 18–23, 25, 33, 34, 37–41, 43, 46, 47, 58, 59, 62, 65, 66, 68, 70, 78, 79, 81–91, 93, 97, 98, 106, 108, 110, 111, 114–122, 127, 128, 130, 132, 133, 137–139, 151, 153–158, 161–164, 166–169, 176, 177, 181, 183–190, 192,

196, 199–219, 224–229, 231, 232, 234, 242–244, 246–251 central government, 9, 12, 38, 79, 119, 142, 166, 200, 209–211, 213, 225–229, 233, 235, 250 citizenship, 78, 95, 96, 160 civil disobedience, 23, 135, 137–139, 144, 154, 167, 170, 177, 183, 244–246 civil war, 7, 78, 81, 89–91, 108, 116, 117, 122, 159, 169 collective memory, 20, 23, 106–113, 118–122 conflict, 14, 19, 20, 22–24, 26, 36, 48–51, 88, 89, 92, 97, 106, 108, 114, 116, 122, 128, 136, 137, 139, 144, 157, 159, 162, 178, 187, 188, 201, 202, 208, 232, 246 constitutional law, 25 constitutional order, 18, 24, 70, 106, 116, 118, 155, 191, 226, 229, 230, 234 Convergencia i Unió (CiU), 8, 9, 21, 34, 38, 40, 41, 44, 45, 82, 158, 159, 161, 163–165 COVID-19, 26, 250, 251

D declaration of independence, 13, 16, 20, 42, 87, 108, 120, 154, 165, 166, 178, 188, 189, 200, 212, 219, 229 democracy, 8, 11, 13, 16, 18, 36, 40, 46, 47, 62, 68, 78, 82, 85, 91–97, 108, 112, 118, 120, 122, 134, 143, 156, 157, 169, 176, 192, 203, 211, 216, 219, 231, 247 discourses, 21, 24, 62, 65, 67, 68, 93, 132, 195

INDEX

disobedience, 50, 178, 200, 226, 229, 243

E economic crisis, 9, 11, 22, 35, 59, 77, 85, 88, 155, 156, 159, 163 elections, 3, 4, 8–10, 12–14, 19, 21, 33, 34, 40–45, 48, 49, 51, 78, 82, 83, 86, 87, 120, 121, 128, 144, 151, 153, 163, 164, 177, 185, 193, 200, 203–205, 209, 210, 213–215, 225, 226, 234, 246, 248 Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC), 4, 9, 12, 13, 17, 21, 38, 40–42, 44, 45, 49, 62, 68, 83, 157, 158, 162–164, 184, 190, 193, 225, 242, 248, 251 Europe, 6, 11, 16, 19–22, 24, 35, 39–41, 47, 50, 52, 57, 66, 77, 84, 89, 111, 157, 160, 161, 168, 175–178, 180–183, 185–189, 191, 192, 213, 215, 217–219, 224, 249 Europeanization, 20, 24, 157, 176, 178–180, 182, 186, 195 European Parliament, 184, 205, 241, 249 European Union (EU), 14, 16, 19, 24–26, 47, 62, 81, 157, 165, 166, 168, 169, 176–181, 184–191, 193–195, 204, 208, 216–219, 242, 248, 249

F financial crisis, 9, 21, 35, 39, 46, 66, 84, 161, 224 frames, 20, 23–25, 90, 91, 93, 107, 111, 122, 129, 132, 136, 137, 139, 141, 142, 180, 201, 213

257

Franco, 7, 8, 18, 34, 78, 81, 82, 87, 89, 90, 105, 106, 108, 111, 116, 117, 119, 120, 154, 157, 208, 210

G Generalitat, 7–9, 14, 21, 34, 39, 40, 48, 82, 87, 115, 116, 118–121, 162, 205, 228, 229, 231

H hegemonic instability, 23, 110 hegemony, 6, 21, 23, 24, 82, 105, 107, 110, 111, 118, 122, 158 historical memory, 105, 107, 108, 114–116, 118–122 human rights, 67, 96

I ideas, 16, 19, 21, 22, 24, 38, 47, 57–59, 62–65, 67, 68, 71, 72, 83, 97, 107–109, 121, 152, 157, 162, 166, 176, 182, 207, 219, 224, 241, 243, 247 independence process, 40, 43, 58, 87, 163, 168, 183, 194, 235 independence referendum, 3, 51, 92, 117, 140, 163, 204, 211

J judicialization, 4, 20, 24, 50, 85, 178, 189, 195 Junqueras, Oriol, 13, 42, 48, 50, 184, 185, 193 Junts pel Sí (JxSí), 42, 68, 164 Junts per Catalunya (JxCat), 14, 49, 184, 251

258

INDEX

L left-wing, 4, 40, 63, 78, 83, 156, 162, 199 legal instruments, 25 legitimacy, 10, 15, 18, 22, 58, 60, 84, 94, 98, 116, 119, 121, 159, 162, 183, 184, 203, 204, 242–245 M media, 5, 18, 20, 21, 25, 43, 51, 57, 65, 82, 110, 114, 131, 136, 141, 162, 181, 190, 191, 200, 201, 203, 206–209, 214, 232, 244 member states, 19, 24, 25, 176–179, 185, 188, 189, 193, 195 mobilizations, 59, 62, 64, 67, 68, 70, 87, 128–130, 132–136, 138, 140, 144, 176, 178, 179, 242, 244, 246 N narrative, 5, 9, 10, 18, 22–25, 39, 57, 59, 64, 65, 70, 106–114, 116, 117, 120–122, 141, 142, 144, 151, 153, 156, 170, 182, 188, 201, 210, 211, 213, 214, 218, 219 narrative structures, 201 nation, 6, 7, 11, 13, 15–17, 22, 35, 36, 41, 51, 58, 60–62, 64, 65, 67, 68, 72, 80, 82, 83, 88, 89, 94–97, 105, 106, 108, 109, 158, 162, 168, 176, 186, 211, 231, 247 national identity, 15, 16, 60, 61, 65, 82, 96, 97, 109, 110 nationalism, 10, 11, 15, 16, 20–22, 36, 44, 57–65, 67, 68, 71, 72, 77, 82, 88–94, 107, 108, 110, 113, 145, 151, 157, 215, 216, 218, 219, 224, 227, 231

national sovereignty, 15, 17, 24, 80, 84, 161, 168, 169, 230, 231, 236, 242 national unity, 10, 82, 89, 108, 119, 122, 143, 231, 232, 236 nation states, 15–17, 20–22, 36, 60, 77, 88, 157, 215, 232, 242, 247

O Omnium Cultural, 187

P Podemos, 4, 14, 43, 49, 163, 164, 191, 200, 247 politics of memory, 23, 90, 107, 108, 110, 122 popular sovereignty, 15, 17, 94, 160, 245, 247, 248 populism, 5, 20, 22, 57, 59–65, 67, 68, 71, 72, 151 procés, 21, 33–36, 40, 45–48, 50–52, 58, 185, 186, 194, 195, 246 pro-independence leaders, 20, 50, 142, 189, 204, 213, 245, 248 pro-independence movement, 82, 106, 108, 111–116, 118–122, 195, 210, 216, 218, 242, 244, 246–249 pro-independence parties, 4, 12, 13, 25, 43, 49, 58, 87, 112, 139, 203, 214, 242, 245, 247, 251 Puigdemont, Carles, 12–14, 16–19, 43, 44, 48, 49, 70, 87, 113, 116–122, 127, 128, 135, 143, 152, 154, 155, 165, 166, 177, 182, 183, 186, 187, 189, 190, 193, 194, 200, 202, 205–208, 210, 225, 226, 241, 248, 249 Pujol, Jordi, 8, 44, 65, 82, 224

INDEX

R Rajoy, Mariano, 4, 12–14, 19, 40, 41, 48, 49, 86, 87, 106, 120, 152, 154, 182, 188, 190, 200, 202, 208–214, 243 referendum, 4, 5, 9–14, 17–20, 22, 23, 39, 42–44, 57–59, 62, 66, 68, 72, 78, 80, 82, 84–87, 92–94, 97, 111, 116, 117, 120–122, 128, 130, 131, 133–135, 138, 143, 144, 153, 154, 158, 159, 163, 165, 175, 177, 190, 192, 194, 195, 199, 200, 202–212, 216, 217, 225, 226, 228–231, 233–236, 244, 247–249 1-O referendum, 23, 24, 108, 115, 127, 128, 132, 133, 135–137, 143, 178, 182, 187–189, 194, 200 regional elections, 5, 44, 45, 87, 165, 203, 204, 209, 213, 214, 226, 234 regional government, 3, 14, 21, 34, 38, 47, 48, 79, 157, 158, 160, 161, 200, 202, 207, 214, 228 repression, 6, 18, 23, 58, 91, 93, 118, 120, 128–132, 135, 136, 138, 139, 141–144, 154, 161, 163, 186, 190, 245 resistance, 7, 16, 23, 105–107, 110–117, 119–122, 130, 142, 153, 155, 160 right to decide, 12, 13, 23, 40, 51, 58, 62, 92, 93, 114, 115, 122, 130, 133, 144, 158, 165, 182, 228, 247 right-wing, 4, 5, 40, 58, 60, 70, 167, 242, 244

259

S Sánchez, Pedro, 3, 14, 18, 49, 178, 200, 243 Scotland, 13, 23, 26, 97, 115, 153, 184, 192, 219, 232, 234, 235, 249 secession, 10, 23, 34, 39, 58, 107, 114, 128, 129, 132, 152, 155, 165, 168, 169, 176–179, 195, 204, 206, 208, 209, 217, 228, 230, 232, 233, 235 self-determination, 4, 12, 17, 80, 87, 92–94, 118, 121, 122, 128, 130, 131, 143, 153, 169, 184, 199, 225, 228, 245 self-government, 7, 10, 17, 66, 80, 119, 177, 191, 211 separatism, 15, 16, 21, 57, 62, 90 separatist movement, 5, 16–20, 67 social movements, 11, 23, 63, 64, 68, 129, 132, 136, 140, 141, 144, 170, 179, 192 Spain, 3, 4, 6–14, 18, 21, 25, 34, 35, 37, 39, 40, 43, 44, 46, 47, 52, 58, 59, 62, 64, 66–68, 78–81, 83–86, 88–90, 93, 94, 97, 98, 106, 108, 111, 114–122, 129, 137, 138, 142, 143, 152, 155–158, 160, 161, 167, 178, 180, 182–185, 188–194, 202, 204, 206, 208–214, 216, 219, 224, 226, 228, 234, 246, 247, 249 Spanish Constitution, 8, 36, 38, 78–80, 82, 84, 90, 92–94, 97, 98, 165, 190, 223, 225, 227, 228, 244 Spanish Constitutional Court, 41, 49, 80, 84, 85, 87, 130, 177, 195, 233 Spanish government, 3, 4, 9, 12–14, 16, 18–20, 24, 25, 40, 41,

260

INDEX

47–49, 57, 67, 70, 82, 87, 93, 97, 111, 116, 117, 127, 140, 151, 162, 165, 178, 182, 186–192, 200, 206, 209, 231, 242–244, 248, 250, 251 Spanish nationalism, 4, 9, 10, 50, 82, 85, 88, 90, 91, 108, 156, 158, 169 Spanish state, 5, 15, 16, 18, 24, 26, 36, 37, 39, 44, 46, 47, 58, 59, 62, 66, 67, 72, 80, 87, 89, 95, 97, 106, 107, 110, 111, 113, 116, 117, 122, 130–132, 134, 135, 139, 143, 151, 153, 155–157, 159–161, 165, 167, 169, 175, 178, 184, 187, 196, 207, 211, 242, 244–249, 251 Spanish Supreme Court, 12, 139, 193–195, 226, 244

statute of autonomy, 7, 8, 10, 38, 79, 81, 83, 137, 158, 224, 225

T Tarradellas, Josep, 7, 118–121 Torra, Quim, 14, 16, 17, 19, 105, 115, 140, 167, 243, 250 transformations, 8, 11, 21, 34, 45–47, 51, 52, 129, 132, 144, 159, 163 Tsunami Democràtic, 181, 183, 186, 187, 191–193, 244–246

U unilateral declaration of independence (UDI), 3, 17, 19, 24, 26, 48, 57, 116, 127, 131, 177, 184, 187, 191, 206, 212, 229, 242, 248