The National Secretariat of the Catalan National Assembly, meeting in regular session on November 16, 2013 in Barcelona, and considering the momentous issues that will have to be dealt with in the immediate future, has adopted its position, and makes it public by means of this
The National Assembly Catalan is a popular, unitary, plural and democratic organization, based on grassroots democracy and unity of action, and composed of people who want Catalonia to become an independent state.
On 11 September 2012, the Catalan National Assembly demonstrated the Catalan people’s ability to mobilize. And it did so with a huge demonstration that gathered more than one million and a half people in the streets of Barcelona. On 11 September 2013, we again demonstrated the ability not just to mobilize but to also organize, by spreading two million people across the country in an orderly way, to form a chain over 400 km long.
These massive popular demonstrations, and the enormous impact they achieved in the media around the world, have put the independence of Catalonia in the centre of the political debate and have placed the Catalan issue on the tables of the world’s main foreign ministries.
The result of the 25 November 2012 elections and all solvent public opinion surveys attest to the ample support of the citizens of Catalonia for exercising the right of self-determination. Moreover, the desire for Catalonia to become a new independent state is the Catalan citizen’s majority option.
Neither the failure of the 2005-2006 Statute nor the economic crisis suffice, in themselves, to explain why we have reached this situation. Like many other European countries, we are living through a crisis of traditional political values and of the social model. In our case, this is complemented by Catalonia’s national demand, unresolved by Spain, a state with alarming democratic deficits and a historic inability to reinvent itself as a multinational polity.
In other words, we are living through three crises: economic-social, democratic and national.
Catalan society, without the power mechanisms that define a state, has had to find other ways to progress and to organize itself. Paradoxically, this has given it a unique robustness. This alone explains why, historically and currently, Catalonia has been able to successfully cope with challenges such as the integration of successive waves of immigration, preserving social harmony and cohesion, and defending the underprivileged, through social networks providing support.
The Catalan people have realized that to fight against the triple crisis real tools of state are needed.
The autonomy supposedly guaranteed by the 1978 Spanish Constitution is a bluff. Catalonia is not recognized as a nation, nor is the level of home rule it has achieved respected. The systematic economic throttling of the Catalan government, as well as re-centralization and Spanish nationalism’s deliberate attack against the language and culture of the Catalan-speaking lands, are clear examples that Catalonia will only fit in Spain if we are willing to disappear as a nation and as a people.
The aim of the Catalan National Assembly is the recovery of Catalonia’s political independence through the establishment of a democratic and social State where the rule of law prevails. The National Assembly has channelled the energy of Catalan civil society that is pushing towards a new, promising national horizon that will allows us to build a better country.
We want a Catalan state because, as a people, we have a right to one. But above all, we want it because we regard it as an opportunity to build our own framework of social, economic and political relations, a State at the people’s service, in which the citizens will be at the centre of public policies.
We live in an increasingly interdependent world, but where no state waives its own independence. In this world, the Catalans want to take part with our own voice in building Europe, because we believe in diversity, freedom and in the equality of individuals and peoples. Moreover, Catalonia fulfils all the conditions to be able to become a perfectly viable and prosperous state in economic terms, and legitimately aspires to share the changes that Europe must face to overcome the current common crisis of structures and values, which is deep and disturbing. None of this is possible if we are simply a Spanish region.
Catalonia’s political forces need to put aside their partisan tactics and think about the common good. This is why they need to work with the greatest possible unity to firmly face the final stage of the process to independence. Unity can be expressed, depending on the circumstances, by forming a broad unity government, by means of wide-ranging parliamentary agreements, by means of broad united election lists, or by sharing programmatic positions regarding Catalonia’s political future. In any event and in the last analysis, it is up to the political parties and their sense of responsibility to specify, in the most appropriate way, how to express the unity which we believe citizens currently call for.
We know where we come from and where we are going, but we must also say how we can get there. This is why, at the present stage in the political debate, the Catalan National Assembly considers it is necessary to underline a number of points it feels are inalienable.
We are facing a strictly political debate, with no legal constraints. In democracy, it is only up to the people of Catalonia to decide on its political future. In this regard, holding a referendum on the independence of our country is an essential objective that cannot be subject to delays or watering-down
For all these reasons, the National Secretariat of the Catalan National Assembly make public its
1. A referendum on the political future of Catalonia must of necessity be held in 2014.
2. The referendum must take place as soon as possible, preferably before 31 May 2014, and must be convened as soon as the applicable legal framework has been defined.
3. The request addressed by the Parliament of Catalonia to the Spanish Congress of Deputies to be able to organise the referendum must not be used as an excuse for delaying it. Parliament should fix a deadline to receive a reply. After this date, the Declaration of Sovereignty and the Right to Decide of the People of Catalonia, adopted by Parliament on 23 January this year, should be applied and the referendum convened under Catalan law.
4. The referendum has to be a single, direct and clear question, to which an affirmative or negative answer can be given, and has to specifically ask about the independence of Catalonia. Any other possibility would be a fraud, because the result would not be decisive and might not be recognized by the international community. To this end, the Catalan National Assembly proposes the following question: “Do you want Catalonia to be an independent state?”
5. To address the current phase successfully the greatest unity of action between the Catalan institutions, civil society and political parties is essential. Catalan political forces must act with the utmost sense of responsibility and with unity, for this is what the vast majority of citizens call for, and putting collective interests ahead of party interests. The unity of political action must be visible through permanent and broad parliamentary agreements and, where appropriate, with the formation of a government of national concentration. Unity is the best tool in the face of the constant attempts of the Spanish state apparatus to undermine the process, and to defend our institutions should the Catalan government be dissolved or intervened.
6. The May 25 2014 European elections will be a challenge and an opportunity for Catalonia. Mobilization will be needed to achieve as high a level of participation as possible, because our national determination will be observed and evaluated by European countries as a function of the votes obtained by the candidates supporting the referendum and independence. The Catalan National Assembly thus makes a call for to work from this moment on, to build a list with a broad socio-political base, which can have the support of as many political parties and popular movements as possible.
7. The Catalan National Assembly will closely monitor developments and will call, if need be, for new demonstrations to ensure the democratic right of citizens to be clearly asked about the future of Catalonia and to defend our national institutions.