Roadmaps of JxCat, ERC, and CUP for the Implementation of the Catalan Republic

JxCat: Confrontation and immediate implementation of the Republic

JxCat does not renounce “any democratic and peaceful means” to bring about the Republic and aims to win it “through intelligent and peaceful confrontation with the Spanish state.” It defends “an indispensable commitment to pacifism, non-violence and the active (internal and international) action of all institutions, as well as citizen mobilization and strict obedience to the legality that arises from the Catalan parliament, not the Spanish one.”

JxCat also urges a response to the needs of all citizens, claiming that this should be a process with an inclusive intent and maximum civic participation to expand social support and achieve “majorities that allow safeguarding the popular will, and especially that of their legitimate representatives.”

JxCat believes that “ideal” conditions to implement the Republic could be achieved between this September and May: the commemoration of the October 1st independence referendum, the trial against jailed Catalan leaders and their sentences of up to 30 years in prison could create a perfect momentum for pro-independence parties to proclaim independence and call for its defense. According to sources, this would come by President Torra calling for an early election in November, aimed at pro-independence parties winning more than 50% of the total vote in order to legitimize the implementation of the Republic in the eyes of the international community.

Given that scenario, Presidents Puigdemont and Torra recently created a new political platform called the “Crida Nacional,” a political platform aimed at unifying all pro-independence forces under the same party to win an eventual election. This platform is likely to be constituted as a political party on October 1st. (President Torra can legally call for an early election starting October 27th.)

ERC: Growing social support for independence before implementing the Republic

The leadership of ERC would like to postpone the implementation of the Republic until social support for independence is a clear majority: around 60 to 70%. The bases of the party, however, recently forced the leadership of the party to include the possible immediate implementation of the Republic, if “conditions” are met, in its roadmap.

At the political level, ERC wants to increase “synergies and complicities” with sectors that are in favor of democratic principles and exercise the right to self-determination, despite not being independentists like CeC, and keep a “fluid and profitable dialogue with constitutionalist political parties of Catalanist tradition” like the PSC.

At the social and territorial level, ERC is committed to finding new support from working classes, women, and newcomers, as well as campaigning in Barcelona and the metropolitan areas of the country, which are pro-Spain strongholds. To achieve this, ERC pursues involvement in active processes of social change and democratic renewal that can be driven by non-pro-independence sectors, “to emphasize the desire to build a new, fairer country. A plan that should be based on “civic patriotism, secularism, and inclusiveness,” to prevent any fracture of society. They also underline that the new Republic “will be sensitive to respecting and preserving multiple identities and the diverse feelings of belonging that will be present within their citizenship.”

ERC will support the implementation of the Republic when the conditions are met (probably in autumn). This will come from organizing and coordinating with other social actors, massive actions which could range from “mass demonstrations to an indefinite strike,” without setting limits. They also emphasize the need to keep all acts of disobedience peaceful.

It also proposes that other political parties “train and organize” together, with other pro-independence organizations, so they will be ready to defend the Republic. The goal is to avoid the situation of lack of coordination of last October when the Catalan government ruled out the possibility of defending the Republic.

Finally, ERC recognizes the importance of individual actions from the Catalans to disconnect from the State and the regime of the 78. For example, it is committed to promoting financial entities and companies “with social conscience and that do not depend on the favors of the Spanish government.”

The Primary objective of ERC in carrying out acts of civil disobedience, however, is to force the Spanish State to negotiate a self-determination referendum. That is, “to ensure that the government of Madrid assumes a framework of dialogue and bilateral negotiation in order to make possible a democratic resolution,” which will have to be mediated by international bodies.

CUP: Similar strategy as ERC in social matters, but believes that social changes can only be achieved in an independent Catalonia

The CUP claims to stay alive within the state from the beginning and organize a “non-violent mass civil and institutional disobedience.” It makes clear that disobedience must be the central driver of the new phase of the process, in which it is committed to “mobilization and civil disobedience and massive nonviolent institution disobedience.” It believes in new offensives that create tension and permanent instability to deepen the crisis of the political regime of the 78 inside and outside of Spain.

Not a step back or a break, the anticapitalists try to “keep the situation with Spain alive [… ] through disobedience at all levels, inside and outside the institutions,” with a clear objective : “To reach that place from which we can challenge the State and initiate the application of the agreements, laws and actions necessary to truly establish the new Republic.”

CUP is also committed to “unequivocally and definitively linking the struggle for national liberties, the fight for social rights, and the feminist struggle” and, in the case of the independence movement, strengthen “the central role in the struggle of working classes, popular and class feminists.” In order to achieve this, it urges the creation of community decision spaces shared between independence, republicanism, and social movements.”The participation of the working class and the whole of the popular classes” in the construction of the Republic is another one of its pillars.

In contrast with ERC, the CUP is skeptical about possible agreement frameworks for independence, as it emphasizes that “there is no possibility of negotiating anything with the Spanish state other than surrender” and, in fact, it warns that, if the [Republican] movement is weakened, Spain would deepen its intervention in all areas.” The anticapitalists, however, admit that they must end up in a multilateral negotiation phase, but they say that disobedience is the only way to force international actors to mediate.

 

 

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PM Sánchez Assures the Public That he Wants to Find a Political Solution for the Catalan Crisis, but He Does Not Stop Contradicting Himself

At the press conference after the last meeting of the council of ministers prior to the summer holidays on Friday, Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez affirmed that “his administration won’t open more legal paths to tackle the Catalan crisis, but rather will look for dialogue.” He also called on the main opposition party, the PP, to be loyal to him on this issue, as he was with the Rajoy administration last year.

Despite offering dialogue, Sánchez said that he will not discard the possibility of invoking Article 155 (an article to suspend Catalonia’s autonomy, fire the whole government, implement a direct rule over the Parliament, and call for an early election) if pro-independence forces “violate” the Spanish Constitution “again,” which is a great contradiction given that an offer of dialogue should never be accompanied by threats.

Sánchez also said that this is a “time for change,” but did not specify any project for Catalonia. In this regard, he admitted that the Catalan crisis would not be solved “in a month, six months, or even in a year or two. 

Despite the high social support for an agreed referendum: 80% of the Catalans, Sánchez emphasized that the solution to the Catalan crisis will strictly come by a “vote;” nevertheless, he insisted that this vote will have to respect the current Spanish Constitution. He said that the Spanish government will make a proposal which represents 80% of Catalans, but didn’t specify which one. In the last few weeks, however, numerous representatives of the PSOE have been pointing out that the proposal will consist in a reform of the Catalan Autonomous charter. I hope to convince [the Catalan government] during the medium term,” he said. 

Sánchez also said that it is time of “building consensus.” He pointed out: “Dialogue and consensus are what I have offered to all the autonomous presidents. This is the spirit that has also been present in the celebration of eighteen multilateral meetings in eighteen months,” he said.

“We hope that there will be fruits throughout the semester, until the end of December, and that it will continue. There are instruments that can be used to find consensus. We have the strong will to continue to have dialogue that will improve the territorial cohesion of our country,” said the Spanish PM.

Those are quite ironic words considering that he supported the implementation of Article 155 under the Rajoy administration, which didn’t have even 30% of the support of the people.

Sánchez also said that he does not want to “open any more judicial channels,” although he has defended the implementation of article 155 of the Constitution. He even stressed that he had a “pedagogical” touch. Considering that there are political prisoners facing up to 30 years in prison for crimes that justice from other countries such as Germany believes to be nonexistent, this could be clearly considered an insult to Catalan society.

If, as he apparently affirms, PM Sánchez is really seeking sincere dialogue and a solution for the Catalan crisis, he should immediately release the political prisoners. How can a conflict be solved when most of the political leaders from one of the sides are jailed?

Despite that most Catalans, including many pro-Spain supporters, are calling for their immediate release, PM Sánchez appears to be willing to keep them as hostages. Probably in order to win social support from the Spanish far-right, even if it means that the international community will end up comparing his administration with authoritarian regimes such as the Erdogan’s one in Turkey.

Sánchez’s “dialogue” has been clearly reduced to threats and impositions in a nice tone. Apparently, he has forgotten who made him President: pro-independence parties. Unless his rhetoric changes and accepts the negotiation of a self-determination referendum as well as the release of Catalan political prisoners, pro-independence parties will likely bring him down, as well as take unilateral steps for the implementation of the Catalan Republic this autumn. Thus, Sánchez has two options: to negotiate a self-determination referendum or aggravate the crisis by pushing the Catalan government to unilateralism. Which decision Sánchez will make is still uncertain, but he is running out of time.

President Puigdemont Returns to Belgium

On Saturday, President Carles Puigdemont returned to Belgium from Germany following the lifting of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) – issued by Spain – that forced him to remain on German soil for four months.

Upon his arrival in Brussels, President Puigdemont met with President Torra, Catalan exiles, and ministers at the Catalan Consulate. They discussed the imminent creation of the Council of the Republic in Waterloo, (Belgium), a government in exile aimed at internationalizing the Catalan cause, and the implementation of the Catalan Republic.

In the afternoon, Presidents Puigdemont and Torra together with exiles traveled to Waterloo. There, in the so-called House of the Republic (the headquarters of the future Council of the Republic), they attended an event to support the jailed pro-independence leaders – some of whom have been behind bars in preventive detention for over nine months now – and welcome President Puigdemont.

Hundreds of supporters attended the event, and Puigdemont expressed his gratitude for their presence.

He said, “Today we celebrate a symbolical important day (referring to his return to Brussels)but we are full of contradictory feelings because the Catalan political prisoners are not able to be present here today as result of the injustice they are going through.” He called numerous times for their immediate release, as well as for continuing the fight for the Catalan Republic.

Prior to Puigdemont’s declaration, President Torra encouraged the crowd, telling the Catalans to continue their fight for freedom.

“Against the indecency of the State, we commit ourselves to fight with hope and in a peaceful way,” he said. “Our fight is honorable, do not let anyone put a stain on this fight. We are fighting for democracy, freedom, and human rights.”

Torra also had words for the Catalan political prisoners, “the brave people who have brought us this far. For them, for future generations, and for all of us, our duty is to make the mandate of the October 1st referendum effective. We already politically proclaimed independence last October, now it’s time to implement the Catalan Republic,” he said. 

Among the attendees and participants there were exiles, representatives of Catalan civil society, the pro-independence organizations Catalan National Assembly (ANC,) Òmnium Cultural, La Plataforma per la Llengua as well as representatives from political parties such as ERC and JxCat, members of the Catalan government, the family of the prisoners, and the legal team of the exiles.

The British lawyer of Catalan exiles and prisoners in the United Nations (UN) Ben Emmerson made a strong declaration:

“When in 18 months, Catalonia has its chair in the United Nations as an independent state, I will speak Catalan as well, he said.” Emmerson also affirmed that “the declaration of independence the past October was not a crime.”

“Today is a day when patience is running out and frustration is increasing. Spanish PM Sánchez must come to negotiate [with Puigdemont] before the trial of the prisoners [starts], he said.”

“The Catalan people do not want to go blindly towards independence; the Spanish government must sit down and release the prisoners.

I am only an observer.

I work in the United Nations, and I observe what is happening.

I have no doubt that I am witnessing the birth of a new nation,” he added.

Valtonyc – a Spanish singer who is also in exile to avoid prison after he was sentenced to prison for “terrorism” for the lyrics of one of his songs – said that Spain is a “dictatorship.”

“We cannot speak, we cannot sing, we cannot protest,” he said. “Today, I am the one who is in exile, but tomorrow it could be you, your brother, your son or your friend.”

The event ended with the national anthem of Catalonia and with euphoria from the attendees who got the feeling that the Catalan government may attempt to implement the Catalan Republic by next Autumn/Spring.

 

Puigdemont will Return to Belgium on Saturday to Activate the Council of the Republic

Exiled Catalan President Carles Puigdemont will return to Waterloo (Belgium) next Saturday to activate the Council of the Republic following the withdrawal of his European Arrest Warrant (EAW) by Spanish Supreme Judge Llarena.

The Council of the Republic will be “a government in exile” led by Puigdemont and also formed by the exiles Ponsatí, Serret, Comín, Puig, Gabriel, and Rovira. This government will have the mission to internationalize the Catalan cause, to find “ways” to implement the Catalan Republic, and to promote the constituent process in order to create the drafting of the future Republic.

The Council of the Republic is expected to be free to act in Belgium without the problems imposed by the police and Spanish justice. The Council should represent the country’s diversity, which is why it will also have the representation of local communities and associations.

The design envisaged in principle and that in the coming days will take control of the body is to be composed of two institutions: the Council of the Republic and the Assembly of Representatives. The Council of the Republic will be the government in exile. It will meet every week and will coordinate politically with the Catalan government presided over by President Torra.

With regard to the Assembly of Representatives, this will be equivalent to the parliament in exile, in charge of any other executive powers. The Assembly of Representatives will have the deputies of the independentist parties that now represent the majority of the Catalan parliament but will add representatives from the city councils and more institutions, with the intention of constituting a Catalan national institution with greater representation. Both the Council and the Assembly will generally meet in Brussels, but the possibility of meeting in Catalonia is not ruled out, which may cause new problems with Spanish institutions.

Formally, both institutions will be private, in order to avoid becoming trapped in the legal web that Spain wants to build. Politically, its public performance will be covered by the Catalan government, which will incorporate the decisions taken by the board to the extent that it is legally possible. The council, however, will escape the Spanish repression and will be able to take on tasks that could not be carried out otherwise, as in the case of Catalan delegations abroad. It is clear that the two bodies will continue to be banned by the Spanish government, but they can be activated from the free space in Brussels practically in the same format that they had used so far. In Brussels, the drafting of the Constitution of the Republic will also be piloted from an ample popular discussion movement that receives broad input.

The Spanish Supreme Court Is Expected to Withdraw Puigdemont’s Extradition Order

Spanish Supreme Court Judge Llarena is expected to withdraw the extradition order against exiled Catalan President Puigdemont in the next few days. On Thursday, the German court of Schleswig-Holstein decided to extradite Puigdemont for embezzlement, but not for rebellion, the charge sought by the Spanish Supreme Court.

This decision compromises Judge Llarena’s instruction against the ex-members of the Catalan government who held the referendum. 

Given that the acceptance of Puigdemont’s extradition would mean that he, “ex-leader” of the Catalan government, would be judged neither for rebellion nor for sedition, Judge Llarena has apparently decided to reject his extradition in order to be able to judge the rest of imprisoned Catalan leaders for rebellion without showing a lack of justice in Spain.

The image of President Puigdemont, “ex-leader” of the Catalan government, being judged for the minor crime of misusing public funds, with maximum penalties of up to 6 years in prison, while the rest of Catalan leaders, who played a minor role in the organization of the independence referendum, are judged for rebellion with penalties of up to 30 years in prison,would be controversial and would make evident the lack of justice and the non- existence of separation of powers in Spain.

Llarena already withdrew another extradition request for Puigdemont and three former ministers in Belgium last December. But he re-activated it after a few months, which caused outrage across European governments, which said that the judge was abusing the extradition request system.

Llarena may also take another unlikely path, taking the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). However, he appears not to be willing to take the risk of losing an appeal at a European court since it would show the lack of justice in Spain and would probably force him to release all Catalan political prisoners.

Requesting a preliminary ruling for the CJEU is a legal procedure, which enables courts of member states to question the interpretation or validity of an EU law.

If the Spanish Supreme Court requests the ruling, Puigdemont’s extradition would be frozen until it is resolved, which could take up to 16 months.

On the other hand, if Llarena doesn’t take any action, the extradition would take place in a few weeks, unless Puigdemont’s defense appeals the decision at the court of Schleswig-Holstein or at the German Constitutional Court.

Puigdemont’s lawyer, Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas, said they were planning to appeal at the German Constitutional Court. “It might be a denial of the extradition.”

Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister Borrell Urges Ambassadors to Behave like the Spanish Ambassador to the US Morenés

Josep Borrell said diplomats must intervene like the Spanish ambassador to the US, Morenés, last week when he accused President Torra of being a liar and denied the existence of Catalan political prisoners during the inauguration of the Smithsonian Festival, in Washington.

President Torra and the whole Catalan delegation left the reception and accused the ambassador of delivering an insulting speech against the Catalans. Dozens of attendees immediately reacted to the offending speech by shouting “free the political prisoners” at the ambassador, before following the president out of the event.

Morenés also accused Torra of spreading “propaganda.” “In Spain, there are no political prisoners …. there are some politicians who, despite having been repeatedly warned by their own legal services, decided to bend parliament regulation and violate the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia and the (Spanish) Constitution,” he said. Borrell defended these words saying, “No ambassador should remain passive to President Torra’s attacks on Spain.”

President Torra later said that what happened was “intolerable.” He called on Spanish PM Sánchez to say whether he and the Socialist party shared the ambassador’s opinion on what’s happening in Catalonia. Since then Torra and his administration have called for the immediate resignation of Morenés because this level of insult cannot be tolerated in public institutions.

The Spanish Socialist Party and PM Sánchez defended Morenés speech and attitude on Monday, arguing that he said the truth about what is happening in Catalonia, including the non-existence of political prisoners.

Earlier this week, Borrell took a step further and urged all Spanish ambassadors to keep the same “offensive” attitude against President Torra and other Catalan high-ranking officials who give speeches abroad.

Josep Borrell, a ‘radical’ anti-independentist, who once said that the Catalan pro-independence movement was a disease, has been appointed as new Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs

The Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has nominated Josep Borrell as new Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs. Borrell, who was ex-minister in Spanish socialist governments and ex-President of the European Parliament, is a controversial figure characterized by his relentless offenses against Catalan pro-independence leaders. During a unionist demonstration organized by a far-right organization in Barcelona last December, Borrell said: 

It’s a good idea, this ‘stitching up wounds.’ They have to be stitched up. It’s true: this is a wounded society and it has to be cured. But, before closing the wounds, they have to be disinfected. Because, if they’re not disinfected, things rot. The social body has to be healed, so it has to be scrubbed well with disinfectant.”

Borrell resigned as president of the European University Institute in 2012 following accusations of conflicts of interests. In 1998, Borrell accompanied convicted politicians of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) to prison who were sentenced for organizing and taking part in (GAL), a state terrorism group that acted in the Basque Country during the 80’s and caused 27 deaths.

Pro-independence parties have criticized Borrell’s appointment and accused the new Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez of fueling the conflict in Catalonia. President Puigdemont went further and said in a Tweet that the Socialist party was attempting to divide Catalan society.  

The Catalan government has been calling to open a dialogue with Spain’s PM Pedro Sanchez since he became President last week in order to find a solution for the continuing political conflict between Catalonia and Spain.

Despite the appointment of a radical anti-independentist as Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Catalan administration has insisted on the need to start bilateral talks with Spain as soon as possible. However, behind the scenes, pro-independence leaders recognized that there are few chances of that happening. They believe that Sánchez will follow the same strategy that his predecessor ex-PM Rajoy used during his term in office: the judicialization and criminalization of the pro-independence movement.

Brief Biography

Born in 1947 in Pobla de Segur, Lleida, Borrell began in local politics before joining the PSOE party and eventually rising to ministerial level. He was the minister of Public Works, Transport, and the Environment during the third and fourth terms governments of Spanish PM Felipe González (PSOE). In 2004, he was elected head of the European Chamber where he served from 2004 to 2007. He joined the board of the Spanish multinational corporation Abengoa in 2019 and became chair of its international advisory board a year later.

Borrell has a doctorate in economic science from the Complutense University of Madrid, and he has studied at the French Institute of Petroleum in Paris and Stanford University in the US.