Independent Economics Up for Vote In Catalan Elections, by Matthew Jacobson PhD.
With less than two months before the snap elections forced by the Spanish State an opportunity looms ahead for the Catalan region. When the polls are opened on the 21st of December Catalans can force the Spanish state into a bind that Rajoy and the modern State have created, a bind that has the potential to break and crack open the hypocrisy of the modern state, and present a new Republic worth fighting for. The elections are an important opportunity to forward a regionally based economic alternative to the destructive dominant capitalist State, one that is sustainable, based on equality and inclusion and environmentally sound. To win the elections the Republic must speak to the middle class of Catalunya that is now scared by the threats of the corporate State to collapse its economy by withdrawing its investments and business in the Catalan region . The Republic of Catalunya has to address these issues by presenting a clear and sound economic plan that demonstrates the alternative to the modern Neoliberal State, how it can work and why it is a better way of living and improves the quality of life and security for its residents. Without it the middle class will not be convinced a regional Republic is better than the Neoliberal Spanish State. At the core of the elections in December is the question of what the people of Catalunya will be deciding when they vote. The challenge for the Republic is to create a vision worth fighting for. If so, the people will vote for it.
The independence movement is now challenged to face itself and take a clear stand. If independence is for an increase in the concentration of capital for an elite Republic of Catalunya that merely hopes to compete with the Spanish State to gain more profit for its upper middle class then it will fail. Any business man worth their stocks knows his investments are much better off with the Spanish State and the European Neoliberal system of economics. Those that are making money off the global multinational economy protected by the State of Spain and its international unions such as the EU, World Bank and The European Commission will all vote to keep the Spanish State in control of Catalunya because that will assure that multinational corporations will continue to invest and run the region economically. The only hope for convincing the middle class of Catalunya to not support business as usual is to present a clear alternative, an outline of a workable and sustainable economic and social alternative that in 5-10 years is going to make life in Catalunya better and a model for other regions to follow. The crux of the campaign for a Republic of Catalunya will be the vision in which it promises to dedicate itself to create. The good news is that it is possible and doable. This has to be articulated and justified. If a viable future is presented as the choice on December 21st then the Republic has a chance of convincing the middle class that it is a future worth fighting for.
Carles Puigdemont and the independence movement have sacrificed and fought to confront the Spanish State with their own hypocrisy as a so-called democratic State. In a brilliant move to break the isolation that the Spanish State wanted to create around the issue, from Brussels the question is now being posed to Europe in terms of The Peoples right to vote and express their political opinions in a democratic State without censorship or the threat of repression. They have forced this question into the forefront and made independence secondary, that is the strength and its appeal. It puts the contradiction of the Spanish State up for judgment and now on trial. Yet this will not be enough to win the battle for the middle class of Catalunya because it is not their central concern. They have lived, as we all have, in a façade of democracy since its inception, for good or bad. The middle class in Catalunya is constructed and supported by the lie of a democratic State, it has brought them up to now the modern conveniences of Western living: food, shelter, cell phones and Netflix. What the middle class in Catalunya is experiencing that is troubling them is the reality that the modern neoliberal State is falling apart and over the past thirty years has now been making their lives more unstable, indebt and precarious. What the middle class in Europe and the United States is experiencing is that their children’s lives will be worse then theirs economically; they are facing the collapse of the modern Neoliberal State as it has reached its limits. The elections in part are and should be a debate about whether the Spanish State, which is merely the global economic system of neoliberalism is the future they want, or whether there is hope in a regional alternative, an economic system that can thrive and create a sustainable and socially viable alternative. The central question in December’s election is whether a Republic of Catalunya presents a solid and reasonable economic alternative to the Spanish State. This has to be clear and centered, that the Republic of Catalunya has a plan and direction for the region worth fighting for.
Independence has tapped into the social discontent produced by the collapse of modern Neoliberal capitalism. It speaks to those all over Europe and the United States that are working in increasingly precarious underpaid labor if working at all, those that are buried further and further in economic debt and those that see that increasing inequality and exploitation are killing us all and the planet, those that are being lied to that there is no alternative to the dismal future of exploitative economics. Catalans are used to 25% unemployment rates (40% for their youth) and the increasing inequality that corporate domination of their economy has brought. Yet they are getting sick and tired of a system that appears to only benefit the elite rich corporate class. They see in their own region that there is an elite class that lives in the exclusive regions of Barcelona that are connected to the financial system that has left their families in increasing amount of debt, their children preoccupied with finding even minimal salaried jobs, and their quality of life becoming more and more stressful and uncertain. Independence has brought critical questions to public debate and refused to be silenced nor intimidated by the violence and censorship of the Spanish State. If the middle class of Catalunya is going to take the risk to vote for a Republic on December 21st they will have to be convinced that they are voting for a better future for themselves and their children. They will only be convinced of that if the Republic of Catalunya has a clear vision of how it will create a better economic future, a society worth the Good Fight.