THE SPANISH STATE OCCUPATION OF CATALUNYA
by Matthew Jacobson PhD.
Today we wait here in Catalunya for the statement from the Catalan government as to what position they will take in relation to the Spanish State’s immanent attempt to remove the elected Catalan government and take over control of the police and the Catalan TV station TV3. The students will demonstrate and the atmosphere has tensed again here as the possibilities exist for street confrontations, arrests and a massive presence of national and civil police in the streets. Rather than attempt to create a dialogue since the Catalan referendum vote on October 1st of this year, the Spanish government led by Mariano Rajoy has demanded that Catalunya’s independence movement back down and be taken off the agenda before any dialogue could occur. The fact is that the independence movement in Catalunya is widely supported , it will not back down and a take over by the Spanish state will only make the movement stronger. The reality is clear, the State of Spain will not tolerate the debate, and the reasons are telling.
The Spanish state is part of the modern block of power that exists in Europe and globally in terms of neoliberalism. The neoliberal global project is to create a global economy based on competitive multinational commerce and speculation. As it has grown the nations of Europe are part of the backbone of the global project and use both their political and military police power to enforce it. For neoliberalism to advance, the European States and European Union have to create the conditions for it to thrive, in other words the political system has to serve the global financial system. In terms of Spain, the central Spanish State government can appear liberal and democratic as long as its neoliberal economic system is not challenged. The independence movement in Catalunya has threatened to change the economic balance of the Spanish State, to create more regional control over its economic and political destiny. Any challenge to this economic domination will be crushed and the results are bloody as was seen in the images from Barcelona on October 1st when the Catalans went ahead and exercised their democratic right to vote and express their opinion. The national police were brought in with riot gear to make one clear statement, democracy is tolerable up to the point that it threatens the profits of the corporate system of wealth in Spain and Europe. The European Union will be supportive of the Spanish State because they are one in the same; they represent the interests of those that gain profits from the neoliberal global monopoly of power.
In the next few days we will see the neoliberal state in its ugly reality, that it is the antithesis of democracy and has no tolerance for it. It uses a democratic facade to forward its private interests and the common good is important only when it passifies the middle class. The question will be how will the people of Catalunya respond, calling for new elections will only put off the confrontation that now looms ahead. If the neoliberal state will not tolerate democracy then we as a people have to decide if democracy is worth fighting for. For those of us who live comfortably living in a police state is seductive, for those on the other side of power the choice is clear, you fight or you don’t survive.