Catalonia’s Decisive Week for Independence

On Tuesday, Catalan President Puigdemont “declared Catalonia’s independence,” but soon after suspended its effects in favor of dialogue with Spanish authorities. His decision came after numerous international actors suggested that mediation would only be possible if he halted independence as a sign of good faith.

Nevertheless, numerous members of parliament, who were informed about Puigdemont’s decision only 45 minutes before his intervention, expressed their disagreement and threatened to boycott his speech, as well as threatening to break the pro-independence absolute majority in Parliament. They stressed that they had agreed on a different declaration earlier in the day.

To address this alarming situation, President of Parliament Forcadell decided to suspend the plenary for 1 hour. While the disagreements remained, everyone present in the meeting finally accepted Puigdemont’s changes to the speech in order to maintain unity. Additionally, they agreed to hold a ceremony to sign an unofficial declaration of independence in another building after the plenary in order to give more solemnity to the day.

Tens of thousands of people who gathered around the parliament to celebrate the proclamation of the new Catalonian Republic ended up with mixed feelings. At first, when Puigdemont declared independence, they felt very excited, but this turned to disappointment when he suspended its legal effects without setting a deadline a few seconds later.

Most experts saw Puigdemont’s move as a wise one because it served to show the international community that Catalonia is seeking dialogue until the very end, which favours future international recognition of Catalonia as an independent country.

On Wednesday, Spanish PM Rajoy refused Puigdemont’s latest offer of dialogue and activated Article 155, which can be fully implemented a few days after Puigdemont responds to a mandatory request for information as to whether he has declared independence. He was given until Monday to respond; if it is in the affirmative, this period is extended until Thursday, with the option of altering the decision.

With Article 155, Rajoy can suspend Catalonia’s government, intervene in the education system and the police, and even call for an early election while installing technocrats from the central government to rule Catalonia for at least 3 months. In parallel, pro-independence parties and organizations may also be barred from participating in any eventual general election for at least 4 years.

Major pro-independence organizations are preparing a proportionate response to the implementation of the Article 155 and the possible arrest of Catalonia’s President and vice-president, which includes mass protests, and an indefinite general strike. The main idea would be to collapse the Spanish and European economies and eventually force an international intervention/mediation in Catalonia.

The response may be precipitated by Spain this Monday, because the leaders of the two major pro-independence organizations, Cuixart and Sanchez, have been summoned by the Spanish National Court to testify about “sedition charges” (punishable by up to 15 years in prison + a fine). According to some journalists with contacts in the Spanish government, the judges who are hearing these two cases have already made the decision to jail them in order to smash their respective organizations and thus spread fear across Catalonian society.

Against this possible outcome, Cuixart and Sanchez named their replacements on Saturday. In the meantime, pro-independence organizations and parties such as the ANC, Omnium, ERC, CUP, Democrates and several MP’s from the PDECAT have called on Puigdemont to lift the suspension of Catalonia’s declaration of independence and implement its legal effects as soon as next week. If possible before the Spanish implementation of Article 155.They believe there are no longer grounds for mediation or negotiations as equals with Spain, and that the only way to bring about international mediation/negotiations is by formally declaring independence first.

With this in mind, Puigdemont will have to make the most important decision of his life tomorrow morning. He must decide whether to go all-out to respect the will of the Catalonian people and face a prison sentence of up to 15 years or to surrender, refuse to declare independence, and thus comply with the Spanish government’s will.

Whatever Puigdemont’s decision may be in the coming hours, the worsening of the conflict between Catalonia and Spain appears to be inevitable, given that if he surrenders the independence process, millions of Catalans will then feel betrayed, resulting in the radicalization of many who would rise up against the Spanish government in order to defend the newly promised Catalonian Republic.

Perhaps the only thing that can stop this upcoming clash would be Spain’s acceptance of international mediation. Although, I must admit that I do not have much hope of that happening.

 

Advertisements

1 Million People Attend a Pro-Independence Rally in Barcelona

On Monday, one million pro-independence supporters gathered in Barcelona for the National Day of Catalonia, three weeks before the key independence referendum on October 1st.

The city’s streets were flooded with hundreds of thousands of people several hours before the rally organized by the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural was set to begin. According to the organizers, up to 2000 buses from cities all over Catalonia made the journey to the capital.

The rally began at 5.14 PM with one minute’s silence held in remembrance of the victims of the Barcelona and Cambrils terror attacks. Spirits were high as the atmosphere changed from one of anticipation to eager excitement and optimism with hopes for a positive result in the coming referendum.

Four banners with messages of peace, independence and liberty were passed along by the protesters in a show of unity.

Voting has never been a crime,” President of Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart, addressed the crowd of thousands. “In spite of their fears and threats, we have our own laws based on international legislation. The Spanish courts no longer defend the collective interests of the Catalan people… They want to silence democracy.”

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and representative of the Tunisian Human Rights League Ahmed Galai was also present. A key supporter of Catalan independence, he inspired crowds with his speech stating that “referendum is democracy.” After key speeches made by organizers and pro-independence politicians, crowds began to disperse at around 7 pm.

This year, the annual pro-independence rally was more crucial than ever, since it came in the context of an all-out confrontation between the Spanish and Catalan governments. A few days before the rally was held, the international community said that a low turnout would weaken the legitimacy of the Catalan government‘s disobedience of the Spanish government and Supreme Court in holding the independence referendum set for October 1st.

Nevertheless, the spectacular turn out of 1 million people demanding that the Catalan government hold the referendum, no matter what, appears to have given the necessary legitimacy to the Catalan President to disobey the politicized Spanish Supreme Court and the Spanish government.

After Monday’s mass rally, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont said this morning during an interview that he and his government will not accept a hypothetical suspension of their mandate by the Spanish Supreme Court. He added that from now on, he will only follow the Catalan legislation which stipulates that he can only be suspended by the Catalonian people. He also stressed that not only is holding a referendum on independence not illegal, but a right spelled out in the two 1966 UN Conventions on Human Rights which the Spanish Constitution recognizes as the supreme law of the land.

Last week, Catalonia’s parliament passed two crucial laws: the law of the referendum, which allows the government to hold the unilateral independence referendum in October, and the law of “transitorietat” that will only be applied if most Catalans vote in favor of the independence in the referendum. This law would serve as a new constitution until the new one is written, approved, and voted via referendum by the Catalonian people.

It is expected that the tension between the Spanish and Catalan governments will grow to limits never before seen in democracy during the days prior to the referendum. The Spanish government will try to prevent the referendum from happening by all means, but, if it is held in the end, the most important indicators for the international community to validate the results will be the turnout, the opinion of the international observers, and the transparency of the process.

Trump Tries to Impose His Ideas During the G7 Summit and Germany Says EU Cannot Rely on the US Any Longer

Last week, Trump attended the G7 Summit in Tormina (Italy), his first since becoming president. The meeting, which reunited 7 of the most powerful countries in the world, aimed to make crucial agreements on immigration, terrorism, poverty, and trade.

In the present edition, the organizers announced substantial format changes to adapt it to Trump’s attitudes. They wrote documents in simple English, added pictures, and shortened meeting times to keep Trump from getting bored and losing his focus after a few minutes.

Trump’s economic adviser, Gary Cohn, said Mr. Trump “came here to learn. He came here to get smart. His views are evolving…exactly as they should be.”

Prior to that, most of the leaders had already met Trump. And they were conscious of his limited ability to follow arduous talks. However, they expected that the new format would help him understand the content of meetings. Nevertheless, Trump’s bold, presumptuous, smug, and thoughtless demeanor lead the Summit to be an absolute failure.

Unfortunately, all efforts to give Trump a better understanding of the Summit were in vain. According to numerous attendees, Trump was a good listener, but he was also often distracted, leading him to ignore crucial talks on immigration. Most participants also accused him of trying to impose his agenda without even negotiating with them, causing widespread anger.

Due to Trump’s refusal to negotiate realistic policies with other leaders, the latter pressured him on the climate change pact – but he did not promise anything and said that he will make a decision next week. Later on, he announced his decision via Twitter:

Screenshot from 2017-05-31 09-56-12.png

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the discussion on climate change had been “very unsatisfactory”, adding “we have a situation of six against one.” In the end, the rest of the leaders isolated Trump and reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris accord, the world’s first comprehensive deal aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The participants also said that there had been uncertainty over Mr. Trump’s position on sanctions imposed on Russia in response to its actions in Ukraine. However, White House economic adviser Gary Cohn said at the summit on Friday:

“We’re not lowering our sanctions on Russia. If anything we would look to get tougher on Russia.”

Italy had planned a five-page G7 statement on human mobility, stressing migrants’ rights, their positive contribution to host nations and the threat they faced from traffickers. Instead, Trump undermined it and the final statement highlighted the right of nation states to secure their borders, and set migration targets.

Trump was especially impolite and rude with the Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. As footage reveals, he removed his “headphone” translator and ignored him during his speech on immigration. This was the first time that someone behaved like that since George W. Bush, who was also well-known for being easily distracted during international meetings.

Donald Tusk (EU) said that Trump agreed that Brexit was an incident, not a trend. He added that Trump acknowledged that Brexit will make Americans lose thousands of jobs. This statement was welcomed by most of the leaders. However, most of them also claimed that Trump acted hypocritically by endorsing Brexit during his recent campaign.

During the G7 Summit, Trump used a “nasty” narrative against Germany. He suggested that Germany was benefiting from other European countries. Although he was right on this point, his lack of knowledge about the EU left all leaders perplexed, demonstrating Trump’s mental gymnastics.

The Summit went through a shocking period when it discussed trade. Trump argued that the existing commercial situation between the EU and the US was unfair, and also threatened the EU with taking unilateral actions against its economy. He also suggested that he may soon increase taxes for the German automotive industry operating in the US.

Cohn said the US president “raised issues of unfair trading practices around the world” adding: “We have large trade deficits with most EU countries. The president doesn’t like having large trade deficits.”

Despite the various disagreements, the G7 leaders finally agreed on strengthening their collaboration in the fight against terrorism. With the recent Manchester terrorist attack still on their minds, they agreed on increasing control of the Internet to detect the so-called “lone wolf” (terrorists).

We will combat the misuse of the Internet by terrorists. While ranking as one of the most important technological achievements in the last decades, the Internet has also proven to be a powerful tool for terrorist purposes,” said the joint statement signed by the leaders meeting in Sicily. However, White House National Security Adviser HR McMaster said that Mr. Trump would make his decisions based “on what’s best for the American people.”

The G7 summit ended without much progress and displayed the various difficulties that world’s leaders have to face in dealing with Trump. The low level of Trump’s understanding and his unpredictability will make it hard for them to make crucial agreements with him in the future. It is in this context that most of the G7 leaders declared the summit as an absolute failure.

Angela Merkel said that after the last G7 Summit, Germany and the EU could not rely on the US and the UK any longer. She also advocated for making a stronger independent EU.

A few days after the G7 summit, Trump returned to his routine of writing self-congratulatory tweets. This time he said:

Screenshot from 2017-05-28 17-51-26.png

Screenshot from 2017-05-31 10-16-08.png

Screenshot from 2017-05-31 10-16-33.png

After the G7 Summit, it is clear that Trump’s bellicose narrative against several allies has worsened relations between the US and the international community. Some of them, such as Germany, think that it will be impossible for them to make future agreements with Trump, and are already waiting for the US mid-term elections in 2018. They think that a bad result for Republicans could precipitate an eventual impeachment against Trump which could enable the restoration of the relations between the US and Europe.

 

Can Marine Le Pen Still Win the French Presidential Election?

Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron are competing furiously to become the next French president in the run-off election on May 7. When both candidates won the first round of the election a week and a half ago, most experts contended that Macron would win the run-off vote with ease. However, during the last week, Le Pen has proved herself to be more intelligent than her rival, and it now appears that she has greatly increased her chances of becoming the next French president.

A few days ago, Marine Le Pen launched a national campaign to clean up her xenophobic image in order to convince the French people that she represents them. To that end, she stepped down as a National Front leader to appear more moderate. This action has already attracted thousands of Fillon’s supporters who will now vote for her in the run-off vote on May 7.

Aware that this gesture was not enough, on Wednesday, May 26, Marine Le Pen began to disguise her political ideas by presenting herself as the working class candidate who, if elected, would eventually fight against the European establishment. To this end, Marine Le Pen visited striking workers in Amiens while her rival, Macron, was meeting union bosses some miles away.

During her visit, Le Pen dealt the first blow by being welcomed and cheered by the vast majority of the workers. Her 15 minute visit was enough for her to be portrayed by the media as the workers’ defender. On the other hand, Macron was unwelcomed, booed and portrayed as the establishment candidate when he tried to visit those same workers. When these facts were spread by the media the next day, millions of French citizens began to believe that perhaps Le Pen represents them.

Le Pen’s latest blow came recently when she adopted Mélenchon’s rhetoric in one of her speeches to convince leftist voters to vote for her. She contended that she shares their desire to fight against the European oligarchy. Although it is hard to measure the real impact of Le Pen’s words, Mélenchon’s party, La France insoumise, recently decided to advocate for cast a blank vote or abstain in the runoff on May 7, which benefits Le Pen.

Despite her many small victories little more than a week, Le Pen was involved in a scandal on May 1 when she plagiarized an entire speech by Fillon when she spoke at a Labor Day rally. For an instant, it appeared that this fact would ruin her candidacy. However, her rapid response, suggesting that she did it on purpose to attract Fillon’s voters, has given her even more popularity.

On Wednesday, during the presidential debate, Le Pen was able to bring the debate onto her swampy home field. Although Macron appeared to be more prepared than her to become president, he was not able to avoid going negative against Le Pen. And Le Pen is the best at that.

What many said, that Le Pen would not have any chance of winning the run-off vote, appears to be obsolete. According to several polls conducted before the TV debate on Wednesday, Marine Le Pen will obtain the 41% of the final vote. Considering that a few months ago the media contended that she would not get more than 18%, she still has a real chance of becoming the next French president.

As seen during the last week, it appears that, in the end, Marine Le Pen has been able to disguise herself as the candidate of the working and middle class who will fight against the French establishment. However, the main problem is that Le Pen is simply hiding her real intentions from the public in order to become president. But what would really happen if she did so?

If Le Pen became president, she would soon return to her political roots by trying to install what she has always advocated for: a fascist dictatorship where immigration and whoever who does not support her ideas will be oppressed and repressed on a daily basis. To that end, she will try to implement several measures, like holding a referendum on membership in the European Union or reinstating the death penalty in France (hopefully, she will never use the guillotine to behead prisoners as happens in Saudi Arabia).

For those who still think that Marine Le Pen is like Donald Trump, they are completely wrong. Although it is true that there are some similarities between them, Le Pen has been participating in politics since her youth. In addition, she inherited the National Front (her current political party) from her father. These facts make her more dangerous than Trump and also indicate that she is determined to govern by decree and, if necessary, by violating French and international law.

On May 7, around 47 million French citizens will determine the political future of France and the EU. Many of them are not even aware of the importance of their vote. But hopefully, in the end, all of them will make the right decision in order to avoid past mistakes that once spread fascism across all of Europe. The truth is that Le Pen is a fascist imperialist who wants to implement similar ideas to those governments who adopted fascist ideas during WWII.

If you are a French citizen, you should remember that after the election you will not be able to change the situation with ease. So if you do not want Le Pen to bring chaos to France, you should act before it is too late The destiny of France and the world are now in your hands!

 

Conflict Between Turkey and The Netherlands: The Winners and Losers.

On Saturday, just four days before the Dutch elections and one month before Turkey holds a crucial constitutional referendum (on expanding Turkish presidential powers), a new diplomatic dispute began between the Netherlands and Turkey.

Everything began when the Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced he would visit Rotterdam to call on Turkish expatriates to vote favorably on the referendum. Right after this announcement, the Dutch authorities notified Cavusoglu that he was banned from entering the country, alleging that there was a risk to public order and security.

Despite the ban, Cavusoglu decided to take a plane to the Netherlands. In response, the Dutch government withdrew landing permission for him and his aides, forcing him to land in Germany. Once in Germany, the minister Cavusoglu said:

“This decision is a scandal and unacceptable in every way. It does not abide by diplomatic principles.”

“Listen Netherlands, you’ll jump once, you’ll jump twice, but my people will thwart your game,” he said. “You can cancel our foreign minister’s flight as much as you want, but let’s see how your flights will come to Turkey now.” “They don’t know diplomacy or politics. They are Nazi remnants. They are fascists,” said the Turkish President Erdogan.

After the minister’s incident, the Dutch government released a statement reaffirming its decision and expanding the ban to all Turkish ministers. However, Turkey’s family minister, Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya decided to evade the prohibition and went to Rotterdam from Germany by car. Once in Rotterdam, Fatma Betul attempted to enter the Turkish consulate, but due to her illegal status in the country, the Dutch authorities proceeded to detain her and later deported her to Germany.

“Netherlands is violating all international laws, conventions and human rights by not letting me enter Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam,” said Fatma Betul.

After Fatima’s detention, a crowd of 1000 pro-Erdogan supporters who had gathered near the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam turned violent. Due to such violence, the police demanded them to dissolve the protest, but given their refusal, the police proceeded to disperse the protest. This happened when the protesters reacted even more violently by causing riots and damage to urban surroundings.

After the incident, the Dutch government said it considered the Turkish family minister undesirable and a “persona non grata.”

“We do not want the Dutch ambassador to Ankara to return from leave for some time,” said the goverment.

Geert Wilders, the right-wing candidate in the next Dutch elections, said: “to all Turks in the Netherlands: Go to Turkey and never come back!!”

On Sunday, a Turkish protester took down the Dutch flag flying over the consulate in Istanbul and replaced it with a Turkish flag. Footage of the incident showed a man on the roof shouting “Allahu Akbar” as the flag was replaced.

On Monday, the continued escalation of the conflict aroused suspicions about the real motive of the conflict, and why it had begun precisely when both countries face the most important election in decades.

Everything suggests that Turkish President Erdogan was looking for this confrontation. As previously mentioned, Turkey will soon hold a constitutional referendum, and the government is not sure about its results. In this context, a diplomatic conflict against the Netherlands will help Erdogan to mobilize his supporters and persuade his opponents to support him on the referendum.

In addition, the existing conflict has aroused nationalism among Turkish citizens. As a result, many of those who had concerns about giving Erdogan more power will now support him to keep the country united against foreign threats.

Erdogan is also using the existing nationalist arousal to brainwash Turkish citizens by suggesting that Western citizens are Nazis and anti-Muslims. This maneuver allows him to divert attention from his domestic authoritarian actions and constant violations of human rights.

Despite the fact that Erdogan already has a lot of power to make decisions, he knows that the approval of the constitutional changes is the last step to implement a full authoritarian system in Turkey.

On the other side, the conflict between the Netherlands and Turkey is also benefiting the Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders. The Netherlands will hold general elections tomorrow, and as in Turkey, the escalation of the conflict has also awakened a nationalist feeling among its citizens. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Dutch citizens who did not initially support Wilders finally will.

Dutch citizens did not like to see a thousand Turks flying foreign flags and supporting a dictator in Rotterdam. They did not like to see the provocative behavior of Turk’s representatives ignoring the ban and entering the Netherlands.

Like in all conflicts, there are also losers in this story, and this time, they are the citizens from both countries, who under an enormous pressure, will have to decide their political future, and democracy which could soon be totally eliminated from both countries.

Wilders and Erdogan’s game has already started, and citizens will have to choose between democracy and dictatorship. Their decisions will also determine the future political world and the incitement of new conflicts. The die is cast. 

Organizing to Resist Threats to Our Rights

Ongoing political degradation and the rise of bigoted movements in western countries such as the U.S., France, and the Netherlands represent a real threat to our democracy. Its birthplace can be found in the U.S where President Trump has launched his personal crusade against immigration, women, LGBT, and human rights. 

In addition to that, Marine Le Pen in France and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands could soon both follow Trump’s steps as heads of their respective governments. Both have expressed their intent to target immigration and human rights if they win the next elections. They have aslo called on the international community to unite to create an international coalition to spread their ideas worldwide. Such a coalition could be catastrophic, since it would eliminate the rights that our ancestors achieved through decades of fighting.

As a result of all of this, there is clear evidence that, in the near future, bigotry will continue increasing to levels not seen in decades. It is in this context that we cannot wait any longer to unite and organize to resist these threats. For that reason, I suggest we start working to create a new inclusive organization to lead the resistance in western countries. It would fight back against any threat to our society regardless of political orientation.

In most cases, people tend to associate resistance against xenophobia with the Democrats in the U.S and Social Democrats in Europe. Both are supposed to be left organizations which defend the working and the middle class. However, their ties with the so-called establishment backed by previous administrations invalidate them from fighting xenophobic populism.

The resistance against bigoted movements must be broad and target xenophobic leaders, but also those who are acting indecorously by helping bigots such as Trump to win elections in their countries. For that reason, it is not possible to build an effective resistance, settled with old generations of unpopular Democrats (US) and Social Democrats (EU) leaders.

The alternative must come from those who have never represented any political party, instead, it should come through a new organization, which should represent all those minority groups who have been ignored in western countries for decades. It should come from below. Yet it is crucial that we know what this broad movement is for, as well as what it is against.

Under the existing context, a generation of true right defenders are leaving traditional political parties such as Democrats in the U.S., and Socialist Parties all across Europe. They are engaged in a process which causes divisions in their parties and finally, are forced to leave if they want to keep their convictions up. Unfortunately, after they leave their political parties, these brilliant minds feel betrayed and do not want to join any other project since they all seem very similar to each other.

Further, in just a few months, thousands of citizens from all over western countries have started to become interested in politics since they understand that it really impacts in their lives somehow. They are very energetic and want to protect their rights, but they have never participated in any political organization or movement, and they do not know how to do it.

For that reason, we need to start working to create a new inclusive organization to attract either, the millions of citizens from the working and middle classes who are interested in organizing a resistance, and those disenchanted brilliant minds who already left traditional political parties.

During the creation of this organization, there should be intense debate about who is allowed to take leadership positions. In my opinion, if this organization wants to repair the damage that has been caused by traditional political parties during decades, it should limit the participation of those who have ever had positions in other political parties or who have represented them. However, since this platform needs to be inclusive, I think it should discuss with them so we can learn how to prevent similar mistakes in the future.

As mentioned, there will soon be many challenges to confront, and unless we are ready, we will lose our freedoms. So let’s organize and resist these threats. Your contribution could determine the future of our global democracy and liberties. To that end, I am calling on you to share this as many times as you can with your contacts to begin an important discussion about the creation of such an organization.

If you are interested in this project contact me at: josepgoded@riseup.net

    

Will 2017 Be the Beginning of the End of The European Union?

Over the next few months, a sequence of events will determine the continued existence of the European Union. This year, both France and The Netherlands will hold crucial presidential elections. The rise of Alt-Right political parties in both countries such as the Front National (FN) led by Marine Le Pen in France and The Party for Freedom (PVV) led by Geert Wilders in the Netherlands could trigger the end of the European Union.

The first important test for the European Union will be on Wednesday, March 15, 2017, when the Netherlands will hold its presidential election. The anti-European Alt-Right candidate Geert Wilders has been leading all national election polls for several consecutive weeks. While his party currently holds 15 seats in the Dutch parliament, the latest poll now puts the PVV at 29– 33 seats, placing his party far ahead of the currently ruling Dutch Tories (VVD), who now consistently poll 23-27 seats. Wilders promised to hold a referendum on European Union  membership as the UK did if he wins the Dutch general election of 2017. He thinks that the European Union is obsolete and opposes all immigration policies.

“We want to be in charge of our own country, our own money, our own borders, and our own immigration policy,” “As quickly as possible the Dutch need to get the opportunity to have their say about Dutch membership of the European Union,” Wilders said.

“It is time for a new start, relying on our own strength and sovereignty. Also in the Netherlands,” “If I become prime minister, there will be a referendum in the Netherlands on leaving the European Union as well. Let the Dutch people decide,” Wilders said.

Wilders’ plans to hold a referendum represent a real threat to the European Union, but it would not be the end of the project in any case. However, what most worries European leaders is Wilders’ intentions to violate human rights and international law on a regular basis whether the Netherlands remains part of the EU or not. So far, his statements indicate that he will not step back on his intentions to start his personal crusade against refugees and Muslims. It might open an identity crisis among the European Union members. Wilders has suggested numerous times that the Judeo-Christian culture is superior to other cultures from all over the world.

“Our Judeo-Christian culture is far superior to the Islamic one. I can give you a million reasons. But here is an important one. We have got humour and they don’t. There is no humour in Islam. .. Islam does not allow free speech because free speech shows how evil and wrong Islam is. And Islam does not allow humour because humour shows how foolish and ridiculous it is,” Wilders said.

Like President Trump, Wilders also wants to stop immigration from Islamic countries.

“We want to stop all immigration from Islamic countries. We want to stimulate voluntary re-emigration to Islamic countries. We want to expel all criminals with dual citizenship and deprive them of their Dutch nationality. We want to de-islamize our nation. Dear Friends, there is a lot of work to do. We, the defenders of freedom and security, have an historic duty. Our generation has been entrusted with a huge task: To oppose Islam and keep the flame of liberty burning. I say it without exaggeration: the future of human civilisation depends on us. Now is a time when everyone in the West must do his duty. We are writing history here. So, let us do our duty. Let us stand with a happy heart and a strong spirit. Let us go forth with courage and save freedom,” said Wilders.

pantallazo-2017-02-01-18-52-06pantallazo-2017-02-01-18-52-39

A few months ago, Wilders was found guilty of inciting discrimination against Moroccans.

“The Netherlands have become a sick country.” “I am not a racist and neither are my voters. This sentence proves that you judges are completely out of touch. Support for the Party for Freedom is stronger than ever and keeps growing every day. The Dutch want their country back,” Wilders said.

“Today I was convicted in a political trial which, shortly before the elections, attempts to neutralise the leader of the largest and most popular opposition party. But they will not succeed, not even with this verdict, because I speak on behalf of millions of Dutch,” Wilders said.

The second and most important test for the European Union will be the 2017 French presidential election.The first round will be held on April 23. If no candidate wins a majority, a second round between the top two candidates will be held on May 7.Until a few days ago, François Fillon, the Republicans (LR) candidate was considered the favourite to win the two-round presidential election in April and May. However, his implication in a fake jobs scandal related to payments to his wife from MP funds has all but eliminated his chances of success. Marine Le Pen, the National front (FN) candidate is now, the favourite to win the first round of the election. A victory for her in the second round would represent a real threat to the EU. Le Pen wants to leave the European Union and it could never exist without France (one of the co-founders). She stated:

No, I think we need to renegotiate with the EU because I want to see French sovereignty restored in France, supported by a referendum.”

If I am voted in, I will announce that a referendum will be held in six months time. I will spend those six months going to the European Union and telling them: ‘I want the French people to regain at least their territorial sovereignty because I want to control the borders – they don’t belong to you.’”

“The EU is deeply harmful, it is an anti-democratic monster. I want to prevent it from becoming fatter, from continuing to breathe, from grabbing everything with its paws and from extending its tentacles into all areas of our legislation. In our glorious history, millions have died to ensure that our country remains free. Today, we are simply allowing our right to self-determination to be stolen from us,” Le Pen said.

Even if France remains in the EU, Le Pen would still represent a real threat to the EU. Like President Trump, Le Pen is also willing to violate international law to start her personal crusade against immigration, Muslims and Islam.This would violate all European values and human rights which could accelerate the disappearance of the EU. 

“The progressive Islamisation of our country and the increase in political-religious demands are calling into question the survival of our civilisation,”said Le Pen.

“For those who want to talk a lot about World War II, if it’s about occupation, then we could also talk about it (Muslim prayers in the streets), because that is occupation of territory,” she said at the gathering in Lyon.

“It is an occupation of sections of the territory, of districts in which religious laws apply. It’s an occupation,” Le Pen said.

“There are of course no tanks, there are no soldiers, but it is nevertheless an occupation and it weighs heavily on local residents,” said Marine Le Pen

In conclusion, this year will be full of threats and challenges for global society.The potential disintegration of the European Union represents one of these, but no one knows how it will end. History is full of threats and challenge that are often happily resolved. The elections in The Netherlands and France will be all about choosing between tolerance or intolerance, war or peace, friendship or enemies, future or past…Their citizens will have an enormous advantage since they can see what Trump is doing in the U.S. and based on that they will make an important decision that will change the world for the better or worse. Whether the European Union changes or not, what’s most important is that citizens will have the last word. Whatever your decision will be….Remember to think critically…And stand up for human rights.

By Josep