Disobeying Spain: the Catalan Referendum for Independence
Date Written: 03/10/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX21359
On October 1, 2017, all across Catalunya ballot boxes were ripped from people's hands by masked police and a dangerous violence was unleashed, at random, upon some of the 2,262,424 people who stood in long lines to cast their vote. The repression dealt by the Spanish State to prohibit the Catalan Referendum, in every bloodied baton and ever rubber bullet, transformed the day from a question of independence to a question of democracy.
Please take a second to imagine this: you go to your usual polling station and, as usual, you wait in a short line to vote. As you wait, masked men in dark armored suits smash their way in, pushing the elderly, clubbing your neighbor and firing rubber bullets into the crowd. They grab the ballot boxes and march out. They steal your vote; steal your voice.
To anyone who heard the praises of the Spanish State lavished upon the police violence, that they themselves risked or endured-Spain has lost all legitimacy. A trust has been broken and is sowing the seeds of a deception deep enough that I believe many will never trust the words of the Spanish State again. This quantitative shift, may be the most important lasting impact of October 1st. It may be this, in the end, that which pushes Catalunya to independence.
October 1st has taught me something I will never forget: that democracy is an ongoing process, it is alive and must be nourished. And when well cared for, it grows. The messages of support I have received from around the world reminds me that for many people this is still the political norm. That elections are never simple affairs, that state violence upon civilians is not a rarity. Our freedoms must not be taken for granted.