We won’t hold talks with those who wield truncheons

Those who are guilty of the tragic events which took place on 1 October must resign

RESOLVE. It took years of massive, peaceful demonstrations, a referendum with more than two million voters who overcame no end of obstacles, including well-documented incidents of police violence, —with 893 individuals requiring hospital treatment— and the determination of the pro-independence majority to go ahead with their democratic mandate, for finally several well-meaning, sensible, patronising voices to be heard in Spain, calling for dialogue. We are all aware that, were it not for the resolve of those who support independence, this would have never happened. Without the skill of those who organised the referendum and the courage of the voters. But now we see those who were equidistant, those who stayed at home, who wish to remind us that they had said it all along, that negotiation is the only way. It is totally unfair, but unfortunately in this country, that’s the way it is. However, there will be no sincere dialogue unless it is imposed by a third party. A third party that is powerful enough and sufficiently preoccupied about the economic consequences of the conflict. There is all manner of diplomatic activity in progress right now. But it will only find a sympathetic ear in Catalonia. The Spain run by the PP is sticking with it’s a por ellos approach [or ‘Let ‘em have it’ as the supporters of Spain’s security forces were heard to cry on their departure for Catalonia].

OPTIMISM. There is much to discuss. It goes without saying. First of all, reparations. Those who are guilty of the tragic events which took place on 1 October must resign, starting with Enric Millo, the Spanish government’s representative in Catalonia. The police officers and their commanding officers who were responsible for the attacks on defenceless members of the public must be put on trial. Compensation must be paid for damages to polling stations. Hatred-mongers and slanderers must be prosecuted and put on trial. The judicial threats against politicians, civil servants and mayors ought to be dropped immediately. This is before anyone actually sits down to begin to discuss anything. I don’t seriously believe that there can be any form of dialogue, but if the Catalan government wants to try it, I'll support them. Without feeling in the least optimistic, obviously. Because Spain won’t accept bilateral talks. For them Catalonia does not exist, politically. If things go well (really, really well) they’ll expect Puigdemont —if he isn’t sent to jail— to sit down with the presidents of the other 16 autonomous communities to discuss the financing of the regions and a reform of the Senate. And that'll be that.

PARLIAMENT. Puigdemont will appear before Parliament this Tuesday. It would be wise for him to tone it down. For him to make repeated calls for dialogue. For him to leave the door open to trying out new solutions. For him to try to make things easy for the Comuns [1]. For him to show that he’s not in a hurry and that he wants to do things right. That the ultimate goal is a negotiated referendum with all the legal guarantees. In other words, there are many things the president can say. And there are others that he can’t say. That is: he can’t say that there was no referendum on 1 October. He can’t say that the result wasn’t overwhelmingly in favour of independence. He can’t say that the bravery of those who were attacked and humiliated was all for nothing. He can’t say that the votes of the minority are worth more than those of the majority. He can’t say that the ones who really rule Catalonia are Fainé and Oliu [referring to Josep Oliu, Chairman of Banc Sabadell and Isidre Fainé, Chairman of GasNatural Fenosa]. He can’t say that King Felipe’s threats make a democratic government shake in its boots. Because if he says any of these things, he’ll be telling the whole world that democracy is a farce. And if he were to say such a thing, then he wouldn’t be going to talk, but to listen and obey. And the streets, which will always be ours [2], won’t follow him.
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Translator’s notes:

[1] Led by Barcelona mayor Ada Colau, the Comuns support self-determination for Catalonia, but not independence.

[2] “The streets will always be ours” (“Els carrers seran sempre nostres”) is a pro-independence chant that has recently become particularly popular with younger demonstrators in Catalonia.

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