There has always been, eh. And that’s clear. Because Catalonia has always been a welcoming country,
so those who come from outside always, sometimes, have stood against it. So there has always been lerrouxism.
How is different the true Lerrouxism or from the XIX century and early XX century?
That it was populist and the current now is from Ibex 35. That’s the great difference, but they’re lerrouxists all the same.
I don’t know what else I can say. Those are my ideas, that I…
There’s also one about the Greuges Memorial.
Well, I had a lot of notes about it in the other interview we did, the Greuges memorial, now I’d have to recall.
But let’s see, look. Lately there’s been some information from professor Perez Royo, who is a professor of constitutional law in the Universidad de Sevilla.
With which I mean, between parentheses, that he’s not at all a suspect of Catalanism.
And he’s said, literally, he’s said literally that independentists are right.
Why are they right? Because the consensus of the 1978 constitution was broken
the moment when the constitutional court cut back a statute voted by the people of Catalonia.
What the 78 constitution did, Perez Royo says,
was to look for a consensus between the central government and the autonomies so that there would be a balance
and some wouldn’t rule over the others. If you… Literal words, approximately, of Perez Royo
and then, if that statute was already approved by the parliament of Catalonia
behind came the “Congreso de los Diputados and cut it out,
and when it entered the Senate, that smutty Alfonso Guerra bragged that they had already trimmed it.
Because on top of it, to offend the Catalans he boasted of having taken good care of trimming it.
Great, and if on top the poor Catalans, naïve and, from my point of view, idiots that we were,
vote for this already cut out statute by this undesirable man,
it turns out that once we’ve voted for it threres an even more undesirable Mr. Rajoy who gathers signatures all through Spain against this statute,
takes it to the constitutional [court] and they finish cutting it out. What do they want?
Let’s see, Castilla has never been a dealing people like Catalans.
They’ve always wanted to humiliate the opponent and defeat them.
And that’s what they are trying here. They want us defeated, subdued and humiliated.
And there will be a moment when we will have had enough and…
We are very conscious, we are very conscious, that they are the ones with the military force and the political force.
We are aware of that. But listen, we are the ones with the economic weapons.
Spain nowadays owes a million seven hundred thousand millions.
Right? That’s why Europe is acting they way they are, because the issue we have right now
is that we, it was all planned trusting
in the European democracy, that they would aid us.
And this European democracy has proved to us that it doesn’t exist and has screwed us up.
And why has it screwed us up? Well, because they’re more interested in collecting the debt.
And since, without the Catalans, Spain won’t pay,
because they are broke. Because the only positive autonomies, that collaborate with the sate, are
Catalonia, the foremost. Of course Madrid, which we know that is a fake economy because of some things.
Valencia and Balearic Islands. And all the others, are recipients.
They are receiving communities.
You need to think that the accounts that were given by Rajoy’s government,
who of course aren’t suspected of Catalanism either,
because they were ordered to people from their side and according to experts they were done wrong because they didn’t take into account some parameters.
Even so, even so, these accounts admitted that Catalonia contributed to the European Economic Community with 859 million.
The Basque country didn’t reach 200. Valencia didn’t reach 200. Or maybe the Basque country was a bit over 200 and Valencia 169.
And the Baleares I think 119.
And all the others are born recipients. Up to the point that Andalusia was getting from Europe a bit more than 2.000 million.
A bit more than 2.200 million euros, eh?
But well, we already know that Andalusia has the PER, which makes people work 20 days a year or more, depending on the harvest, and be paid all year.
And that’s really grave, it doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world.
That was made up by the undesirables Alfonso Guerra and Felipe Gonzalez.
And the simpleton Miquel Roca accepted it in exchange of four minor competences. And wrongly carried out, eh?
So, what happens? Well, listen, the Andalusian businesspeople themselves, not said by me,
but by Milian Mestre, who isn’t very suspicious of Catalanism
or leftist either, because he’s from the “Foment del Treball” here in Barcelona
He says that the Andalusian businesspeople are almost desperate, because they sell the harvest of olives, as happened recently in October and November.
They take Andalusian workers and when the olives are on the ground, in the nets,
they say, “I’ve already worked 20 days, I already have my PER, I’m going home.”
And they say, “But man, the olives will go bad.” “Hah, that’s your problem.”
“I’ve already got the PER and I’m going home”. And then, these entrepreneurs have to bring, in a hurry, Moroccan workers
because the Andalusian ones won’t work. Do you think that that can be held up for much longer?
Spain can’t handle that. No country in the world can. And, of course, us Catalans are fed up with that story.
We need to cut back on health, we need to have hospitals full of queues in the ER,
that there’s no money for the dependency law. But these riffraff
gets paid for not working.
I’m already recording. Officially, just so you know, we have started.
How do you remember the 20thof September, when the Guardia Civil arrested…
Yes. Look. I’m a volunteer of the ANC. I’ve been for many years
and the 9-N, in the 9-N referendum, I was receiving international press. As a journalist that I am, even if I’m retired.
Then, of course, we were told to go to the Economy office.
I left home, I live in Sicilia with Gran Vía, at 8, and by half past eight I was in Rambla Catalunya, in front of the Economy office,
and there was already some people.
Later people started to arrive in such numbers that it was full to the brim.
And, let me tell you something. Just as I had been in the protests in the justice court in Catalonia,
in the Lluis Companys promenade, when they tried those from the 9N like Artur Mas or Irene Rigau or Joana Ortega,
there, been work hours, of course, most of the people there were, well, were elderly people.
Because young people are working, and so are students.
But this day in Rambla Catalunya, I can assure you that there were people from all ages.
Full of students. Full of people that you saw were in working age.
And, of course, there were all kinds of people.
From people who seemed junkies and anti-establishment,
to people who looked so dressed up, with their tie, their leather coat, and you’d think the architects or lawyers, but we were all there.
Which, I think, is the most interesting thing in the process.
That people claiming for it is a transversal population.
There are the anti-establishment and the conservatives. The thing is, I want to say having reached this point,
that those of us who were more conservative and pro-Europe, after how Europa has treated the process and us,
we’ve become anti-establishment.
Or, at least, anti-Europe.
I, if we’re allowed to vote, I’ll vote for EFTA.
I’ll never vote for Europe, and like me, there’s many people.
Because they’ve behaved horridly. What can’t be allowed is that the president of the European Community,
Mr…. Has allowed to give him medals in the Univesidad de Salamanca, Mr. Junker, he’s given him, Rajoy, has given him the “Principe de Asturias” and all that nonsense
in exchange of some statements against Catalonia. What’s happening here?
That both Junker and Rajoy are corrupt people, and as the Catalan proverb says, wolves with wolves won’t bite each other.
And Tajani asking that the delegation of the European Economic Community in Barcelona be named in Spanish.
What’s the deal with that people? What are they up to? How much are they paid for these statements?
And Merkel, who can barely form government and is, then, politically weakened,
what happens? She has economic pressures and all she cares about is collecting the Spanish debt. And the Dutch say nothing because they are the ones with most Spanish debt, how’s that?
And why do the French and Italian stay silent? Because they also have revolted regions and are afraid that the same might happen as with Spain and Catalonia.
The proof is that France’s Macron has assured that they will fix the French constitution to give Corsica more autonomy.
Because they are afraid that Corsica might rebel.
Then, let’s see, where are international rights?
Where are human rights? For Europe to consent to all that happened the 1stof October, with the police beating up people and old ladies
that all we were doing was to defend some ballot boxes and a right to vote.
How can you look at it? If history looks at it, if history looks at it, it’s to say, well, Europe is a nobody and not respectable at all.
Can you tell us what are Omnium Cultural and the Assemblea Nacional de Catalunya?
Look. Let’s see. They are different.
Omnium is born the 1961, so we’re talking about last century.
And it’s born in the full of the Francoist censorship. And against Catalan culture. Then, what Omnium has always defended is Catalan culture.
And they have supported, it’s an association that has always supported publishing in Catalan,
they’ve taken care that Catalan language had a greater presence in institutions, culturally, etc. That is,
it’s an association that is born essentially cultural, and to defend Catalan language.
What happens? That with time they have evolved to the needs of Catalan society.
And since the… that the constitutional court cuts out the statute,
and society begins to get organized to achieve independence,
then Omnium takes this social turn because it’s asked by the members and it’s asked by society.
And then they team up with the ANC to organize the great protests from 2012 to here.
The difference with the Assemblea Nacional Catalana. The Assemblea Nacional Catalana isn’t, it’s born when, with the 2010 sentence of the constitutional court.
It’s born, clearly, to work for Catalonia’s independence.
And then, of course, both have ended working side by side to organize the protests
and organize what the Catalan society has needed.
What’s the thing? It needs to be said, reaching this point,
that they are, both of them, clearly peaceful organizations,
with this real and true cultural background and that always, in their organizations, what’s been looked after is pacifism, respecting culture,
and even respecting the cultural norms of cleanliness.
So that now, in this trip to Belgium, I suppose you’ve read about it,
the great surprise of the Belgian police was that they had prepared cleaning carts for after the protest, and they found that they had to return them because there wasn’t even a piece of paper on the ground.
Then, hey, if you really make an objective reading, which is what the Madrid press, that of the cave, doesn’t do.
If you make an objective reading of all that’s going on, the stance of the Spanish government is really abominable.
Can you tell us about the law for Catalonia’s self-determination referendum?
Well, let’s see, it’s a very agreed on law, very worked on by all independentist parties.
And it needs to be said that one of the things that the Catalan governments have done right, both the one presided by Mr. Mas
and the one presided by Carles Puigdemont, is that they’ve always had great political consultancy.
You need to think that Pi-Sunyer, who has been one of the great legal advisors of all Catalan laws, and of the Generalitat.
This man presided the Constitutional court in the beginning, in 78,
when it really was what it should be and not a sold-out court.
Then, one of the things this law said was that they had to carry out the referendum and that, after the referendum,
if the Yes won, Catalonia’s independence had to be declared.
Why did they need to perform this referendum? We need to explain, also go a bit through history.
The past elections, it was already said that they were plebiscite-like.
The ones where the was Artur Mas, the former ones.
It was already said that they were like a plebiscite.
But what happened? That both CUP and the independent parties, despite having an independentist majority in the parliament,
were honest enough to say that the majority of the votes wasn’t independentist,
and that then there needed to take place the referendum. If they hadn’t been honest, in that moment independence could have been already proclaimed.
Because they already had all the votes consolidated in the parliament.
Then, it was said, that they would do it and they made this law.
And then, later, of course the 1stof October, in the referendum,
the votes were mostly independentist despite all the obstacles the government placed.
They said there wouldn’t be ballot boxes, that there would be no ballots.
The police was shaking printing houses and unable to find anything.
Shaking ballot boxes without being able to find any. Because, of course, the people who managed it aren’t stupid.
So, the ballot boxes came straight from China and were kept by the families in small towns.
And the ballots were made in north Catalonia, that is, in Perpignan,
then, well, and they came here in in privately owned cars.
Then, what the state’s government doesn’t have is shame, because they were left utterly amazed.
They were left utterly amazed at the level of organization that there’s here in Catalonia.
Later, with this law, when the Yes won,
of course, they had to declare independence. The thing is that there were some international contacts that didn’t turn out the way they wanted, which is what I was saying
about the sad and pusillanimous Europe.
And upon seeing that there weren’t the expected international supports,
what did they do? It was declared, and it was suspended to begin negotiations.
And what did Castilla do? Or the Spanish state government? Since they’re a country that doesn’t negotiate,
but rather wants to dominate, surrender and subdue, and humiliate,
then what they did was, then, to imprison the politicians.
And, luckily, the president and four more ‘Consellers’ left for Belgium. So, we have an exiled government.
Can you tell us about the llei de transitorietat jurídica i fundacional de la república?
It’s law that, was I was saying, most laws have been very well advised.
And this law was made so that there was no legal vacuum in going, let’s say, from the Spanish law to the republic, that there was no legal vacuum.
Especially, because the PDeCat and the old Convergència have always been parties with a great business acumen.
Furthermore, with many contacts in small and medium sized companies as well as multinational companies.
Then, they had a lot of care so that tehre would be no legal vacuum. And this law was about saying, as long as there is no Catalan constitution,
Spanish laws will govern and, above all, European laws.
And these laws, this is very important, those Catalan laws, from the Catalan parliament
that the constitutional court has annulled are now active, because Catalonia doesn’t respect the constitutional court.
Which we know is a sold-out court, with members that are members of the PP, something unthinkable of in Germany.
And, then, we don’t have… If we’re the neighboring people, we have no reason to respect institutions that go against us.
That is, essentially, the spirit of the transience law.
And, of course, they needed to do the constitutional process that had to last a maximum of a year from the declaration of independence,
and, in this constitutional process, there are a series of regional and local assemblies
out of which had to come the new constitution, of course guaranteed by specialists or whatever.º
And making, approving the Catalan constitution and from here holding again new elections.
Of course, now with a president of the Catalan Republic.
Who are Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez?
Respectively, they are the presidents of Omnium Cultural and the Assemblea Nacional de Catalunya, today, sadly, in prison.
They are some of our political prisoners.
And they are… see… Jordi Cuixart, Jordi Cuixart in Omnium replaced Muriel Casals.
Muriel Casals died in February 2016, run over by a bicycle,
when she was already a representative in the Catalan parliament.
Muriel Casals had been for many years, many years, the president of Omnium Cultural. And Jordi Cuixart replaced her.
And he’s turned out to be someone with great charisma, with a lot of personality
with a gift of gab and a great leadership skill.
Everyone, when they lost Muriel Casals, were afraid of losing a great leader,
and later we’ve found that Jordi Cuixart was a great leader. Things clear and simple, just like they are.
Jordi Sanchez, on his hand, in the Assemblea Nacional de Catalunya replaced
Carme Forcadell the moment she was named president of the Catalan parliament and representative in the Catalan parliament.
Then, she was substituted by Jordi Sanchez and also, let’s see, someone with a great sociologic preparation, because he was…
was working with the “Síndic de Greuges”. So they are two people that have helped make great both the ANC and the Omnium Cultural.
Sadly imprisoned, I think that the Spanish state has imprisoned them, because don’t you think that justice is justice.
I mean, in this country the separation of powers is clearly non-existent.
And judges do what Mr. Rajoy says they have to do.
The same way that the head of state does. That is,
the monarch does too, absolutely, what the state’s government tells him to instead of being an arbitrator
or making consensus, which is his constitutional role.
But here, ever since this Mr. Rajoy is in charge, everyone ignores the constitution.
So that they go to the constitutional court to go against Catalonia, but then, when in the constitutional court there’s a law that goes in favor of Catalonia, the just don’t comply.
Because there are 34 sentences from the constitutional court
that the government of Mr. Rajoy doesn’t obey.
Then, I think that what has happened is that due to the leadership of these people, the Spanish government is afraid of them and that’s why they keep them imprisoned.
How was your experience of voting the 1stof October?
Very pretty. I’ll remember it all my life.
I, as an ANC volunteer,
in the 9thof October referendum, I was registered in Barcelona, right?
But this 1stof October…
The former 9thof November I was registered in Barcelona, so,
as a volunteer I acted in Barcelona, helping receive the international press.
Very well. However, this time I was registered in Reus,
which is were I was born, it’s my town, I have properties there,
and I was registered in Reus. Then, I was called from Reus, because the ANC is very respectful of that:
wherever you are registered, they count on you.
Then, I had already gone to the previous gatherings in the Reus Assembly.
And then, they asked me if I wanted to be a representative.
In the college where I had to go vote. I said yes, and I acted as a representative.
Look, in that moment…
I went to my [Electoral] college at 4 in the night.
Because they told us to go early so that there would be no police, to keep all the ballots, the boxes, and all.
I went there at four in the night because it’s very close to my place.
And at four it was all dark and there was nobody. There was light inside, and since they had already told me that there was people who stayed inside, I went back home.
And at four fifteen I came back. And at four fifteen there was already a shitload of people.
And, of course, the amount of people kept increasing.
At six, we were thousands of people there in that door, right?
And then at si they opened. Those who had stayed to sleep inside, opened up at six.
And then they called those of us who already had our credentials. We went inside.
The others, then, stayed in the door to hold the entry.
And automatically, in that moment, my phone became part of a chat [group], a WhatsApp chat.
Which was an ANC chat for representatives.
Then, I was assigned the role of coordinator of the computer technicians in the table, because there was a central office
and on each table three people, right?
One, in the middle, who took care of the box and took your ID and put the envelope inside the box.
The one on the other side, who wrote your name down on another list, as if, let’s say, they made an inventory of those who voted by hand.
And then, a third one who was the one who had, with his own phone, he entered a website and there they voted through the website.
What happened? First thing one of the tables could access the prepared webside, which they had given me
and I passed on to the tables.
One of the tables was able to enter in no time, and was able to cast the first two or three digital votes.
Automatically, in that website appeared the icon of the Guardia Civil, error, and you could’t enter anymore.
Then, of course, the computer technician told me, I told the chat, and on the chat they told me,
well, that it was normal, to wait a moment and quickly they would give us the copy that we had to access.
Immediately, they gave me the copy, I passed it to the tables.
and the two tables sthat hadn’t entered yet were able to work perfectly with the copy.
What’s the issue? The table that had already entered, when it entered the copy it said no
because it was still validated, it had entered on the other one.
Then, of course, I had to tell them, listen, one of the tables can’t access which is the one that had entered before.
They told me, yes, because it’s a rejection from the own system because it had already accessed elsewhere.
Wait, we’ll dump all the information to the copy and then he will be able to access.
They dumped all the information on the cope and then was able to enter.
I mean, I did this role of coordinator between the central computer office and the tables.
Of course, the experience couldn’t be cooler, right? From a subjective and personal point of view…
and well, I was working all day like a dog, I couldn’t go home or anything.
I, keep in mind that I’m intolerant to gluten and lactose, so I couldn’t grab
the croissants there were there nor the sandwiches there were there.
And my sister brought me a banana and brought me some nuts, so that’s how I spent the day, because I couldn’t go home.
Because, the one time I tried to go,
they were saying something on the chat and I though, I can’t stand them up.
That is, I spent all day there.
Mind you, the great task was also made by the CDRs, eh?
The committees that are now of defense of the republic but were back the to defend the referendum, but they are called the same,
CDR. There there was some wonderful people, from the CDR, who were also representatives and did a great work.
I mean that, let’s see, us from the CUP, we were all one there. We were all one, I mean that no…
I also need to explain why there were representatives from the ANC.
There were representatives from the ANC because there were parties missing.
Because this time that the elections in the 21stof December were called illegally by Mr. Rajoy, if you want we can talk about later,
there were no representatives from the ANC. Because there were from all the parties, and the role of a representative is for the parties.
But, the 1stof October, since there were parties like the PSC and the PP and all these that wouldn’t act,
because they considered, well, that the referendum shouldn’t be done,
well, of course, there was a need to replace these representatives with people from ANC.
What ANC has always done is being at society’s service.
To supply the lacks that have been needed through volunteers.
But never taking a role that doesn’t belong to them. They’re very careful with that.
Can you tell us an anecdote or story that has told you some friend who took part in Barcelona?
Yes. Look, my daughter and my granddaughter spent the day at my granddaughters’ school.
Well, my granddaughter is now 22 and able to vote,
but it was her childhood school, with acted as an electoral college.
Which is… the something of the snail.
Towards Gracia, all the up from Gracia by the Güell park.
Then, they spent the day there.
And always with the fear of, the police is coming, they are just four colleges away.
People were crowded there and were, my daughter’s partner went to get them a sandwich from home
and ate it all three up there and didn’t move from the college.
I mean that, let’s see. And, by the way, at home we’re all independentists, but my son-in-law isn’t.
However, the 1stof October he acted as if he was. Why? Because it wasn’t anymore about defending
independence or not, it was about defending democracy.
And everyone has had very clear.
What was your reaction to Puigdemont’s speech in front of the parliament the 10thof October?
The 10thof October? Well, the 10thof October I went to the Sant Joan promenade, like yesterday.
Yesterday I wen to the Sant Joan promenade as well, to the protest there was to ask for the freedom of the political prisoners.
It’s no feat, because it’s by my place, eh. I live in Sicilia with Gran via, so the Sant Joan promenade
is just by my place. So the 10thof October I went to the Sant Joan promenade. In the lower part of the triumphal arch they had installed
some screens linked to the parliament to…
And it was crowded with people, again all kinds of people, all kinds of people. What we were saying about the transversal nature of the process, right?
And we were expecting, really, that president Puigdemont would declare independence.
It was a huge let-down.
First, because it was delayed a lot of times his appearance. Because, of course, there were lots of pressures.
What I was saying, they were in international conversations, conversations with the government. And the Spanish government, all they ever do is threaten.
Threaten and threaten. Which, by the way, they said, they denied, that
the military were ready to enter, if needed, to come into Catalonia,
and four days ago, the Defense minister, who had already threatened us, threatened us again.
However, you hear statements from democratic military like Martínez Ingles,
who say, and are supported by international law,
that… the Spanish army belongs to the… I’ve forgotten.
To the NATO, right. You’ll cut that off, right?
So, Martinez Ingles and most of the law consultants
say that it is impossible for the Spanish army to invade Catalonia or go against the Catalan people, because the Spanish army belongs to the NATO
and the NATO has a very clear law that forbids NATO armies from going against countries in the NATO.
This wasn’t made specific for Catalonia, but it’s very common that, for example, well,
Germany can’t go against Spain or the United States can’t go against England.
That is, then, one of the basic laws.
And everything that was prepared in the process had in mind the international legislation but also that of the NATO.
And then, it turns out that, at the last moment, that the Spanish government are like ignoring laws and doing whatever suits them,
so, of course, they threatened Catalonia.
And from here, precisely to avoid a bloody war, is why it was declared and then suspended first,
and later was again declared but the president and consellers and others left…
That is, they already divided and knew that some would go to prison and the others…
Because it’s obvious that the Spanish states doesn’t care at all about democracy.
The 27thof October, the declaration of Independence went through the parliament. Can you tell us about it and the reaction of the Spanish government?
Yes. From these declaration on is when they start to imprison politicians that had been part of it.
There’s a first declaration that is suspended the 10thof October, because it is the one that the referendum law requires, which is the one that states that if it was won it needs to take place. That’s the one on the 10thof October.
And it’s suspended in order to open negotiations.
But when they see that Spanish negotiations don’t exist and that they don’t want it,
then, the 27th, it’s formally declared.
They know that, of course, the Spanish government will suspend it and imprison the politicians that have declared it, so that’s when they divide up
so that the ones that speak more languages go to Belgium, in order to act on an international level,
and the others stay here. Except for Romeva.
Romeva speaks many languages but he’s one of the ones who stayed here.
He was imprisoned but later was set free, just like Turull and Rull.
Well, they’re all pending trial. The gravest thing is that Barcenas, who’s already been tried, is free and goes skiing,
that Urdangarin has been tried and is all chill in Switzerland, but these men are ruled preventive prison,
when on top of it it’s been proven that they are not violent
and that there’s no risk of escape.
But, of course, we would insist again in the fake value of Spanish justice,
where there isn’t… The executive and justice powers aren’t apart at all,
but rather the judges are completely politized. Besdies…
What I consider the gravest of this country is that there’s no opposition.
Let’s see, a normalized country would have a government that can do as much harm as you want, but then there’s an opposition against it.
And that’s not the case of Spain. Why?
Don’t you wonder why the PSOE doesn’t oppose the PP? I’ll tell you.
They don’t because they are politicians who don’t do politics.
They’ve divided the judges up just like kids divide up cards. Eeny meeny miny moe.
And then they’ve divided the like-minded judges.
You, these so that they won’t go against you, against the EREs.
The ERE are thousands of million that the ‘Junta de Andalucía’
embezzled from the vocational training, look how bad it is.
A country like Andalucía, that is living from the Per, and the money that comes from Europe,
for the vocational training, it turns out that they are diverted to where it suits them.
Keeping… Maintaining mansions and the ‘Junta’ paying the rent of politicians.
When this money is really needed for the vocational training.
Well, now it turns out that the judge they’ve chosen, because they removed judge Alaya. Do you remember Judge Alaya?
Who was the one in charge of the EREs trials. She was swept away because she was harming
and the judge they have chosen now turns out that he exonerates the ‘Junta de Andalusia’. How do you deal with that?
When this issue costed Chaves his charge, who was president of the ‘Junta de Andalusia’,
and Griñan’s, the one that followed him.
It costs them their charge and now it turns out that the judge is exonerating them? How do you handle that?
There’s something there.
And, of course, they’ve placed a judge friendly to the PP to manage the Gurtel.
Then, that’s why we have no opposition.
Remember that Pedro Sanchez defended
what the members wanted. And that cost him that the PSOE made a platform
that ousted him, eh.
Because in this platform was ‘Susanita’ Díaz, who was in favor of Rajoy and voting everything for him.
Of course, in order to protect the Junta de Andalusia, which she has accomplished. She has accomplished it. Because the judge has exonerated it.
They’ve done it. And now it turns out that Pedro Sanchez, when the members got him back to his place,
now he’s screwed them up.
Because now he’s taking the role of the platform and Susanita Díaz to keep his charge.
That is, we live in a country where the opposition is completely sold out to the government.
Of couse, in exchange of some benefits.
Then, in a country where there’s no opposition, of course in Catalonia is happening what is happening.
During the first week of December, many Catalans fled to Brussels. Can you tell us why?
There was a slogan. There was a very clear slogan, which was ‘Wake Up, Europe’.
It’s what we were saying before, Europe has treated Catalonia very poorly.
You need to think that Catalonia is a country, it’s the born contributor Spanish region.
Catalonia contributes with 859 million.
So, I think that Europe should respect much more the people of Catalonia and hasn’t respected them at all.
On the contrary, they’ve held back and said that the problem between Catalonia and Spain is an internal one.
From here, with all the situation with the political prisoners and all the situation,
they’ve met with the people of Catalonia held this protest
in Brussels where it’s said there went about 90.000 people.
the newspapers said it was 55.000, which is already a lot.
But later there has been a recount that only the people…
There were many people who slept in cars, but also many people who went to hotels.
And they had to book hotels over 100 kilometers from Brussels.
Over 100 kilometers from Brussels, because it was all full.
And, taking that into account, the count is of about 90.000 people.
That’s a lot of people. I didn’t go because my economy
as a retiree didn’t allow it, but not because I lacked wanting.
That is, the slogan was Wake Up, Europe.
Many people we interview say that Spain is not really a democracy because there are still Franco supporters throughout government. We’re trying to better understand this from an American perspective. Most Americans consider the USA to be a democracy. Yet, President George H.W. Bush’s father, President George W. Bush’s grandfather, was guilty of selling arms to Nazi Germany. Why, from your perspective is Spain not a real democracy?
Constitutional law accepts that a democracy is a country where there is, basically, a division of powers.
Legislative branch, the parliament. Executive branch, the government. And justice, of course, is another power, inverted commas, that has to carry out their work
according to the laws made in the parliament.
Then, if you can prove to me that this happens in Spain, I’ll admit that it is a democracy.
But since you can’t prove that to me because at every moment they are proving exactly the opposite,
of what we were talking before, that both the opposition and the government, the executive branch of government,
have traded judges like one trading with cards.
And all the legislation… Think that the Spanish government issued an international arrest warrant against Carles Puigdemont, the president of the Generalitat.
And they had to retire this warrant out of shame. Because it didn’t comply at all with international laws.
And all that they consider here rebellion and sedition, is all they can charge him with.
Because they would love to be able to charge him with theft or embezzlement like themselves.
But it turns out that they can’t catch him with that because it hasn’t happened.
On the opposite, then, the crime of sedition and rebellion implies, implies,
riotous acts and implies violence.
And in the same way that they can’t charge Carles Puigdemont with it, they can’t charge either those that are still in prison.
But they do have them, because they caught them in Spanish law.
So, this shows, this shows the levels of perversion in the Spanish government.
Because it’s not a matter of there not being democracy, which it still is,
it’s that there’s no democracy but in exchange there’s perversity.
Can you tell us about the elections on the 21stof December?
The elections of the 21stof December, from any point of view, are completely illegal.
See. First issue.
If Catalonia was already an autonomous state, because it had been declared before in October,
the government of the neighboring state can’t call for elections.
If we take that point of view, completely illegals.
Let’s take another point of view.
Let’s suppose that Catalonia is still Spanish.
If we assume that, we need to check the constitution and check the Catalan statute, right?
According to the constitution and according to the Catalan statute,
due to what we were saying about professor Perez Rollo about the consensus and separation of autonomic powers and the state government,
the only one that could call for elections in Catalonia, from that point of view,
was the president o fthe Generalitat.
So, however you look at it, the elections were completely illegal.
What did the independentist parties think? They thought at first, like the CUP, that they wouldn’t stand for election.
Because they said it, the CUP said, we won’t stand for election because these are illegal elections.
And I agreed with the CUP. And I’ll tell you something.
The attitude of the CUP had me so convinced that I was about to vote for them the 21stof December.
The thing is that later, thinking about it, I thought, no.
Since these are illegal elections and the independentists are standing for election so the unionists won’t win,
then what we need to do is reestablish the government we had.
And out of that idea I voted for Junts x Catalunya.
But actually, the ones that first persuaded me was the CUP, because they were the first who called these elections illegal.
And from my rationalist point of view, they completely were so.
Considering that we weren’t Spanish and considering that we were.
Whether you take one consideration or the other, on a rational level
they were illegal elections. And history will prove that.
Can you comment on the results of the elections?
The results of these elections have made it clear that the independentists were winning again.
What happened? That’s very original, to go over all that has happened, because you realize that this has taken the state government by surprise.
Because they were fully convinced that the unionists would win.
Why? First, because of their cheating.
Because they created a completely biased election board, who didn’t allow to broadcast on TV3 the trip to Brussels we mentioned before,
but allowed to set up a… a…
in Catalunya square, a… some placards and a, what’s the word? A tombola by Ciutadans, eh?
And it became crystal clear, through all the campaign, that
the election board was biased and in favor of the unionists.
Because of the amount of illegal things that they allowed Ciutadans.
Up to the point, up to the point,
that since the PP has lost and Ciutadans won, then the PP itself denounced the election board and denounced Ciutadans,
because on the cover of ABC the day before the elections there was an interview with ‘Arrimadetes’, right?
Then… Who in Reus we call Barbie Arrimades.
Then, well, great. They fight amongst them, right?
And you need to keep in mind that Indra, the company that the PP or the state government hired to do the official recount,
Indra already, I’ve read, in the States was suspected to having performed an illegal recount.
At least, there’s a report there for that.
And there they trusted they would be able to cheat.
Even so, since there were the representatives and there were the CDR,
in the recount by hand that the CDR had done a few days after the 21D, because this was out just last week,
it shows that the victory of Ciutadans was false.
Even so, it’s the official one.
And despite being the official one, it’s clear that on votes the independentists have won,
even if as a party Ciutadans won.
Then, what sooner or later will come out is the recount of the CDR done by hand and…
done after a time with witnesses that this victory of Ciutadans is also fake.
Speaking of Ciutadans, can you tel us about who they are?
I’m not the ideal person to explain this to you, that’s for sure.
From my point of view, I’ll say that Ciutadans is a Larrouxist party,
that goes against Catalonia. And the difference between the larrouxist party of last century
and this, is that the one from last century was populist and this is from IBEX 35.
But it’s still a party created by someone born in Catalonia that goes against Catalonia, something that can’t be understood. It makes no sense.
I don’t know why this man, Albert Rivera, is so resentful of Catalonia, I can’t understand it.
I can’t wrap my head around someone, well, taught in a school from here…
My mind can’t possibly understand why does he have such resentment.
I can understand that of Arrimadas.
Hers I can, because she’s a woman from Jerez, Andalusian, who’s been here no time at all.
Furthermore, what I can’t understand either is her rational mentality.
Because, listen, if a Catalan went with her to Andalusia
and dismantled the Rocio, dismantled the few nonsense they have for holidays,
and the Andalusian language, and wanted to destroy everything,
I think she would react like we do.
I just can’t understand that she hasn’t been here a day
and wants to rule us and wants to destroy the language and culture.
How can that be understood rationally?
Did the electoral success that Ciutadans had in these elections surprise you?
No, not at all.
It didn’t surprise me because of what I was saying, because we all knew that the state government had chosen Indra to perform the recount.
And we knew of Indra’s career, Indra is a Gurtel company.
Let’s not fool ourselves. Indra is a Gurtel company.
Then, it does exactly what the PP needs.
Furthermore, we knew of its career, that they’ve even had a complaint, as I said, a complaint in the United States
due to an election recount. Then, we knew where they were going.
We knew where they were going. The thing is that it didn’t work out. Imagine, the PP has 3 representatives and with the ones of the PSC, which has failed too, and those of the PP, they don’t amount to anything.
So great, I mean, everyone has what they deserve, right?
Despite the cheating.
What can you tell us about Roger Torrent?
Not much. He’s not a well known person.
He’s someone from Esquerra Republicana, whom I’ve read is a graduate
in political science. I suppose that’s why he was chosen, because of his training.
Because he’s a very young man. And, well, he doesn’t have a long political
career, neither as a representative. Even though it seems that, for many years,
he’s been a congressman for Esquerra Republicana, but he’d gone quite unnoticed.
Taking into account that the independentist parties have maintained the parliament majority, what will happen next?
I’m a hypersensitive person, restless, worried about my country.
And I get sick with this whole situation. I somatize easily and get sick.
Then, I have a small… I small self-defense mechanism.
Which is checking astrology.
Not horoscope astrology, I don’t believe in that.
But in scientific astrology, I do.
And on top of it, since astrology, even if scientific, is interpretative,
and has a certain subjective component,
I’ve obviously not consulted that of any Spaniard nor that of any Catalan.
I’ve gone with Brazilian or Argentinian astrologists.
And what do they say? That this won’t be fixed until the 2020.
And it coincides that there are general elections in Spain.
That there are general elections in Spain.
The 20. The 19 or 18 there are municipal elections,
and then the 20 there are general elections.
Then, we need to arm ourselves with patience, because from here to the 20 anything can happen.
Anything can happen. We need to wait for the elections.
Now, mind you, I’m of the opinion that since the only weapon we Catalans have is economy,
I’m all for a humongous general strike that makes the Spanish risk premium and Rajoy’s government tremble.
That Europe trembles, that Europe trembles because they deserve it, that Europe trembles.
And then, when they are all shaken, let them sit on the table to negotiate.
Let Catalonia take the debt that is due to it. We will continue working, because we are born workers, we are born workers.
We will continue working and after a time, not too much, the 21, our independence will be consolidated.
And I suppose that by the end of the 25-26, we’ll be able get back on our feet because we will have paid back.
Now there are…
Maybe I won’t see it. Maybe I won’t see it.
There’s a few additional questions. The first is what I mentioned before, what can you tell us about the Renaixença?
The Renaixança is cultural movement rather than a political one.
It does have a political base… Okay, let’s start from the beginning.
The Renaixença appears at a time where there are several revolutions in Europe.
There are several revolutions in Europe and they transfer a certain revolutionary energy to Catalonia.
But Catalonia doesn’t have a revolutionary nature,
nor an aggressive nature; but rather, from my point of view, they need a good dose of all this.
And they are too pactist. Then, they transform these revolutionary movements from other countries, they transform them into a cultural movement.
And this is a moment when, besides these revolutions in Europe there are also taking place some very beautiful cultural movements,
such as the Jugendstil in Germany and in France the corresponding, what’s the name, the French modernism.
So, here modernism is born. And it becomes established here because there are some great architects during that time who achieve this movement.
Furthermore, Catalonia is, back then, a very wealthy country.
There are great families with great economic potential.
And they become the great promoters of these cultural movement.
Of course, you already know that it’s the time of Gaudí, it’s the time of Domenech i Montaner,
it’s the time of these great architects that establish the Catalonia of which we now brag.
This is the last one. Can you tell us who Francesc Macià was?
Yes. A president from the Generalitat. I wouldn’t be able to tell you which number, but keep in mind that the Generalitat…
Let’s see, the independence of Catalonia exists from the count Borrell II, in 987.
Who declares his independence from the French kind precisely because they won’t give him military assistance against Almanzor.
And it becomes independent. The Catalan Courts exist since 12 I think 83.
So, they exist. The Generalitat I think is…
Now, the Courts from 1257 and the Generalitat from 1287, something like that. We’re talking about
many centuries. This all exists until 1714,
when Felipe V, the forefather of the one we have now, takes it down.
Then, Francesc Macià is a president of the Generalitat following this line, just like Mas, just like Puigdemont.
What happens with Francesc Macià?
The history of Catalonia, he’s also a president that had to go to exile, that is, it has many parallelisms with current history.
The thing now… Don’t record this.
The thing is that… I now can’t… I’ve a lapse… whether he’s the executed one or not. I think Macià wasn’t.
It was a Christmas day, but…
The one they kill…
is Companys. Macià is exiled, though. Macià is exiled for sure.
The thing is, of course, this…
Both the Renaixença and this I’d rather you didn’t film it, because I haven’t prepared it. You know how it goes, let’s see…
Sometimes… it goes away what…
My name is Laia Otero, at this moment, I’m working in a third sector entity that focuses on studying third sector entities, at the communication’s department.
I’m very passionate about communication, I’ve worked at the communication of companies for quite a long time now, and also, I’m very interested in politics, I’ve always stayed informed, above all because of my experience as a journalist, but also because I’m interested in that.
What’s your position on Catalan independence?
Well, my opinion is that Catalonia’s independence is something that I’m quite excited about nowadays, I think it is very interesting, that it is a political moment that I’m very happy to live through.
And actually, I’d like it to become true, even though I don’t see it clearly right now.
Do you see your generation’s view on independence, and Catalanism, as different from that of your parents’ generation? If so, how?
Well, in my case, well, I think it can be generally said too, but in my case, let’s say I have a more enthusiastic view… I think young people are willing to change, to have a social transformation and then, we can agree more with this whole process.
And in the case of earlier generations, my parent’s, they’re a little bit more reticent because I think that, apart from the fact that it is more or less proved that as people grow older, they get to a certain type of conservationism, well, also, my parents they both depend on pensions, they’re retired right now and then, a political change of this kind what provokes in them is insecurity, if they’ll get their pensions or not.
And then, well, let’s say they’re not quite excited about the idea of a change like this.
Let’s say that I think that, in general, people from earlier generations, older people, they’re more ‘pro-establishment’ so to speak, that newer generations want to break with the Spanish State, in this case.
Do you recall any stories that may have been passed down to you describing life under Franco?
Yes… a lot of them.
My parents were both very active politically, let’s say they were in the Francoist resistance in different political movements.
My mother was active in the PORE [Partido Obrero Revolucionario Español], that was one of the Trotskyist branches of the period.
And my father was also connected to libertarian movements in Barcelona.
And well, they’ve told me about political actions they did above all, about how they used to organize meetings… different kinds of meetings, one of them that I think it’s quite funny is, for example, that they decided a place, everyone was pretending, for example, at a train station and everybody was pretending to be on their own and at a certain moment, someone would pick a whistle, made it sound and then, everyone’d run, throw papers with the slogan, with the manifest of the moment and then, they would dedicate themselves to distribute them, to throw them until there would sound another whistle and then, everyone would disperse and go back to where they were.
They’ve also told me how they’ve run many times in front of the police, in front of ‘the grey ones’, as they were called then, in order to escape from the possible repression for participating in protests because it was forbidden the freedom of assembly, the right to demonstration and then, everytime they did a political action, they were afraid of the police arresting them and sending them to prison.
And so, they’ve told me many stories of this kind.
And then, I’d like to share a story I find specially relevant.
And that is that my father used to have quite a curious appearance in that moment, he had a beard, a pretty long hair, he used to wear glasses.
And once, he was walking in his neighborhood, which was Nou Barris back then, and a police car stopped, they took him, got him into the car without giving him any explanation, he didn’t know where they were going, then they stopped at a pharmacy, showed him to the pharmacist and asked him ‘is it him?’ and the pharmacist said ‘no’, and so they left him there and then they went away.
And he stayed there very surprised and deeply scared.
And it was because they were looking for Txiki, an ETA member of the period and I guess they both looked alike.
I mean, it was actually very lucky that the pharmacist didn’t confuse them and tell them it was him because then, they executed [Txiki] by firearm.
Then, I wouldn’t be here if we wouldn’t have been that lucky.
Many people we’ve interviewed have explained that they are, at once, Catalan, and not Spanish, but simultaneously are against independence from Spain. Will you explain this nuance, as it is an important distinction?
I think the reasons may be twofold.
On one hand, it may be that part of the people that claim that have attained a quite high standard of living, that own businesses… and probably, they are connected to the rest of the state and the fact of being at a state inside the European Union is beneficial for them.
And then, I consider that probably, although they feel Catalan, once again, I talk about what we’ve already discussed about earlier generations, and that is the fear of rupture, the fear of what is going to happen when independence is declared, it is a completely unsure scene.
Then, above all, people that have any kind of dependency [on the state], either in my parent’s case, because of a retirement pension or either because of businesses they own.
I understand that the scene of being an independent country is not something they really want because they believe it would be something negative in order to keep their standards of living.
And well, rupture isn’t something they really want.
And on the other hand, I also understand there are people that may think that the creation of a new state is not the answer, right? That creating more borders means… Many times, what is being sold from the pro-independence discourse is that the creation of a new state would mean improvements for society, right?
For example, laws that have been approved in the Parliament but then have been killed in the Spanish state, as an argument in favor of independence.
Then, I understand there are people that believe that… For example, sometimes I’m in that position myself, I don’t have a solid position, I flow a little bit… so, people that think that if a capitalist neo-liberal state inside the European Union is what is going to be created, just as the Spanish state is, then it doesn’t make sense doing it, right?
Let’s say that if that is to be in a state that is the same, then there’s no need to separate.
Do you have recollections from September 20th, the day that Guardia Civil invaded, arrested government officials, and seized pro-independence propaganda from local print shops…?
Well, I wasn’t in the streets that day but I guess that, like many people, I followed it through the media, in my case through radio, many others through television probably.
And I remember it was a tense moment of not knowing what was going on and of asking ourselves why this kind of repression was happening.
Well, not exactly why… because it was clear that it was because there was the will of holding a referendum and the Spanish state didn’t want to allow that.
But I do remember that tension I felt when hearing all that was happening.
I also remember watching videos of the gathering in front of the CUP’s office, they [policemen] wanted to get in to move propaganda away but they couldn’t make it because they didn’t have an order.
And there were people like me, I also thought about going there but well, I was working and finally, I couldn’t go… let’s say that when I could go, it had faded away, right?
But I remember that gathering, I remember how people were quite angry and thinking about what was that, that it wasn’t a rule of law to arrest people for wanting to vote.
And also, [arresting] someone who was at the economy ministry, right? That let’s say that is quite important to an autonomous community, or in this case, to a state.
What is Spain’s Gag Law, and how does it impact journalism?
The Gag Law is a law that was approved by the Popular Party and that, actually, it is an unfortunate censureship law that more than journalism, although it also affects it, what affectates the most is activists.
It is a law which Green Peace protested a lot about because they do many actions in buildings, for example, they climb them and hang a poster in the top of the building…
This kind of actions are punished by the Gag Law.
Also, there was… with the arrival of smartphones and all that, there is a very big movement of whenever someone sees a police assault, they record the police in order to inform on that assault.
With the Gag Law, what it says is that one can receive a fine for recording a policeman and so, you cannot record it to inform on an assault, then we were left out like orphan without our defensive weapon against the state’s violence.
If we had already few weapons because a policeman’s word is always worth more, then with this law we had even less power let’s say.
And then, all the repression that comes from social network that it doesn’t make any sense, that anything like this hasn’t been seen in any European or western country, that is imposing fines or giving people a prison sentence for posting in Twitter, for example.
Or artists for making an artistic representation like the well-known case of ‘the puppeteers’ that was due to this law that they went to trial, they had been sued for making a play with puppets, let’s say, mocking the police, the church, the king… right?
Let’s say, what political humorists have done all their lives.
Well, these people had very serious consequences for expressing artistically.
There have always been cases of musicians, of rappers that have been arrested for the lyrics they’ve written.
Also publications, ‘El Jueves’, which is a satirical magazine, well-known in Spain, it has had to move its magazine away a couple of times, they had to go to trials.
To me, it is simply a sign of how little democratic the current government of the Popular Party in Spain is, the kind of laws they create in order to restrict the freedom of expression and above all, to limit the freedom of expression to all those that they decide.
Because then, there have been complaints for fascist attacks, let’s say, about desiring the death of people that defended certain left-wing things, and there have been no consequences.
Then, not only it is a law that restricts the freedom of expression in general, but it limits the freedom of expression of certain kind of population.
Why are people wearing yellow ribbons now?
Well, the yellow ribbon is a symbol that asks for the freedom of the political prisoners of Catalonia that have been arrested as a result of the process of independence of Catalonia.
Currently, in prison, there are the ‘Jordis’, [Joan] Puigcercós… no, not the Puigcercós, [Oriol] Junqueras is, the Jordis, and then, there is the economy one… how is he called…?
Well, currently, we have political prisoners as a result of the independence process, and let’s say, we have two people that didn’t belong to any political party for easing the voting on the 1st of October, they are the Jordis, they belong to associations, let’s say, popular associations, ANC and Òmnium have been platforms created by civilians.
Then, political parties have joined it and I think even associations, business, City Halls…
But its basis is popular, then, people are very indignant that these people are in prison… also, they have families, they have children… and the thing is they are imprisoned without bail, they don’t even have a bail to… while waiting for the trial, but they have to stay in prison.
And well, when we walk the streets of Barcelona, in this case, we can see many, many people either with yellow ribbons or either wearing yellow scarves too.
And here we can appreciate the people’s expression of indignation.
Did you participate in any manifestations? If so, can you provide an anecdote that, perhaps, puts the viewer of this film right there with you?
I participated in the manifestation of the 2nd of October, after the repression that people suffered for voting, for going to vote.
And the truth is that it was a very impressive protest.
I’m used to going to manifestations and normally, there’s hardly a soul there.
Then, it was very emotional to me going to such a multitudinous protest.
I remember we went to the Jardinets de Gràcia that are, let’s say, in the upper part of the center of Barcelona and we couldn’t move.
We were waiting and waiting weather the protest advanced but it didn’t move at all.
In the end, we snuck among the people and tried to advance and not to stay there because we wanted to walk for a while, and walk with the protest, right?
But… but it’s not that we started walking because the protest started to move, but we started walking along the lateral in order to get to the areas where people were walking already.
And curious anecdotes… well, for example, a very emotional thing that happened is that there was a boy in the protest with a flag of Spain as a kind of cape, let’s say, and he had a poster addressed directly to the president that said ‘Rajoy, I feel Spanish but I’m against violence’, right?
That day… look, I get goosebumps.
That day, people not only went out on a massive scale to ask for the independence, although a lot of shouts of independence could be heard obviously, but they went out to condemn that totally inappropriate repression that old people suffered, that people that was going to vote peacefully suffered and that there was barely no violence on the 1st of October.
I mean, it is true that some images of some vandalized police cars have been seen but as a general rule, it was people with ballots against nightsticks.
Then, it was a very emotional protest, a very multitudinous protest and I have good memories of it.
What was your voting experience on October 1st?
Well, although I live in Barcelona, I’m still registered in Cerdanyola del Vallés, a city that’s just behind the mountain of Collserola, next to Barcelona.
And so, I went there to vote in the polling place I had been assigned.
And I remember that I voted in the morning, then I went back to my parent’s, I had lunch with them and I started receiving all the outburst of news, of images of what was happening in Barcelona and other villages… also, very small towns of Catalonia in which there had been very serious, violent scenes and it was really overwheming to see them.
I remember being very, very worried and thinking ‘I cannot stay at home while they are doing all this to my fellow citizens’.
Then, after lunch, I went to some polling places of Cerdanyola, I did kind of a route because we still were unsure whether the police would show up or not, because there was no criterion for the Civil Guard to appear in a city or an other.
And then, there were many people at all the polling places protecting the place, that is, a human barrier, forming human chains so the police couldn’t get in.
I remember being at a polling place in Cerdanyola and hearing rumors that the police was coming, and so we all formed a line, we took each other’s arms to avoid that they could get in and take the ballot boxes.
Then, the police didn’t come, finally, it was a quiet day in Cerdanyola, no one came but it is true you could feel that tension.
And so, in the polling places that I went to, it is true that everyone was… well, on one hand, happy, excited with the whole process because a lot of people were involved, but on the other hand, a little bit of fear of the possibility that something similar to the images that everyone had seen somehow could happen.
Can you relate any anecdotes about friends’ experiences voting in Barcelona?
Well, yes, the truth is that all my friends participated in it in one way or another.
I have friends who went to the polling places to sleep.
I remember that a friend went to the polling place that is at Travessera de les Corts at night, and they used kind of a code in case there was a secret police there.
And they said ‘tonight, we’ll play three games’, and they divided it into hours, I don’t remember which ones were exactly, but like from 8 to 12, we’ll play pachisi, and that meant that whoever wanted to play pachisi had to go there and so, people that was staying there from 8 to 12, went that way.
From 12 to 5 we’ll play poker, and so, all those who ‘played poker’ went that other way.
And then, from 6 to whenever it was, well, there was an other game… and they had to bring snacks for all those who had stayed to sleep there and all that.
And then, I have two friends that live in Barcelona, one of them lives near Sant Pau’s Hospital, and it’s very close to a polling place, and he told me that he woke up at 6 or 7 in the morning because of the applauses, shouts of ‘we will vote, we will vote’.
And well, he said that well, considering the bad part of people waking you up on a Sunday, that he was very happy because of that excitement that people was having in that moment.
And then I have an other friend that was at Indústria street, near the Sagrada Familia, and well, that he kept moving from one polling place to the other because they were very near to each other, and that because police vans were getting closer.
And he told me he guesses that seeing the amount of people that were there protecting the places, that also being so near to each other, people kept moving from one to the other.
He thinks that they didn’t charge because of that, because police vans had been getting closer but they didn’t actually get out of the vans at no time, luckily, but he does remember the tension of moving from one polling place to the other, and so.
And also, as an anecdote, that he was there, he spent the night at the polling place, and so he was there first thing in the morning, and that he found out that the ballot boxes had arrived because everyone started clapping, but that despite being there, he didn’t see how the ballot boxes arrived there at all.
And it is curious because this proves to what extent they had everything planned and very well prepared.
Many Catalans flew to Belgium during the first week in December. Why?
Well, they flew to Belgium because one of the most important things that a state that wants to be independent needs is international recognition.
And after the declaration of independence, we got almost no recognition, from any country.
Then, on one hand, it was a show of force and a show… well, a request to Brussels, precisely, because there is the EU’s headquarters, and so it was to ask for that international recognition to the EU states above all, which are states that are near us.
And also a show of supporting the current president of the Generalitat, that is Carles Puigdemont, who went to Brussels due to the judicial hunt he’s suffering in the Spanish state, and so, avoiding being arrested as other politicians have.
Will you talk about the reactions of the European political community since the referendum crisis began?
Well, the truth is that reactions have been very conservative, supporting the Spanish state and its president a lot, Mariano Rajoy.
We got almost no recognition at all.
It is true that some secretaries from some countries, they’ve asked for… well, that it be a debate, it has been debated at the Parliament of Flanders if I am not mistaken, which is also an area that has cultural differences with the country it is in.
I’d also say that it was discussed at the Parliament of Scotland, which is also an area with hopes… some people that live there have the hope of becoming their own state.
Then, let’s say the most positive reactions we received were from those places that can empathize with the Catalan situation.
But the rest of the European states… it is true that some of them condemned the violence that voters suffered on the 1st of October but none of them made a challenging declaration towards the Spanish government, but rather, on the contrary, they have been supporting declarations.
Will you discuss your experience on election day December 21st?
It was a quiet and regular experience, I guess because as these elections were organized by the Spanish state, they didn’t send policemen to repress people and so, there was no problem at all.
Well, a part from that, I followed the counting very interested after the voting.
I found remarkable the level of participation, which went up to 80%, which is a lot.
Normally, there is not that much participation, it was a subject that people were interested in, actually.
And it had been showned, let’s say, through the people that received more votes, parties that didn’t take a stance as En Comú Podem, that decided that its discourse was ‘nor independence, nor 155’, which is the article the Spanish state has applied in Catalonia, the economic intervention of the autonomous community.
Then, they condemned both roads.
And this party, for example, had an important descent regarding votes.
The ones that have won in votes are, on one hand, Ciutadans, a quite right-winger party, more right than what I think people believe, and they clearly bet on the union of Spain, so there was no independence, among many other right politics.
What I found very sad is that laborer neighborhoods, working-class neighborhoods, voted for a party that actually, goes against their own interests.
And then, on the other hand, it is true independence won, but no pro-independence party won the elections because they were divided into three parties: ERC, Junt– Sorry, they’ve changed their name many times and now… PDeCat, yes and CUP.
Then, joining these three political forces, they’ve won, they’ve clearly won the elections
But well, the truth is that I found it quite… I was very surprised and I think that everyone was, that PDeCat got so many votes, ERC was expected to be the first pro-independence force instead of PDeCat
And that quite disappointed me, I have to admit, because PDeCat is clearly more right-winger than ERC, and so, it was evidence that this movement doesn’t look after social matters and people are voting for the right more than for the left
CUP, which is the radical leftist party, for example, it also lost votes
Pro Independence parties maintain a parliamentary majority. What do you think will happen next?
Actually, I don’t know, I can speculate but i have no idea what will happen
I think that whoever says he/she knows what’ll happen, is lying because we’re in an entirely unknown scene, and we cannot predict it
But well, my negative part thinks everything will be the same, that repression will work because also, not long ago, PDeCat’s president, Artur Mas, who was the leader of Convergència Democràtica back then, as they used to be called, he started all this independence process, and he said that the independence movement wasn’t strong enough to impose itself
Then, let’s say this movement is quite discouraging to me, and I think that if I had to say something, I’d say we won’t see independence, not in the short run
Backing up a couple of years, will you explain what 15-M was all about, and what your personal experiences were in the context of that movement?
Well, 15-M was a popular movement that rose up by surprise a little bit, I think it surprised everyone, but it was a very beautiful movement, in my opinion
In this case, it was a really leftist movement that was asking for a social agenda inside the political agenda, that what wanted…
It rose up, above all, for example, from movements like PAH, that is the platform anti-evictions, that what demanded was that it couldn’t be possible that business that owned a lot of properties in Barcelona, or that banks keep people’s houses and they would be evicted because, with the crisis, a lot of people was unemployed, they couldn’t pay the mortgage, they couldn’t pay rent…
And then, what banks did was evicting them through the judicial procedure, obviously, and then, these houses either were empty or either for sale
And also, people that had been evicted from their homes, inherited the debt they had with the bank
Then, this was one of the driving forces of this movement, which was… the motto was ‘there’s no way there are houses without people and people without houses’, the problem is not that there is no room, but it is a problem of real-estate speculation, it is a problem of flat prices are very high, that there’s an economical crisis, that salaries are very low, that there is a lot of people that are unemployed and no one is doing anything to help these people
And then, there were a lot of petitions at a social level, health service improvements, here in Spain, we have public health but there has been a quality deterioration, hospital floors have been closed, waiting lists are increasingly long, then, not enough money is destined to public education from the state, it was also one of the protests of that movement, that it cannot be possible that there were children that were being taught at barracks because they couldn’t use their classrooms because there wasn’t an investment to improve those classrooms
And what people did as a protest was occupying the squares of the cities of all the country, of all Spain in this case
And I vividly remember it because at that time, I was studying at university and well, I remember I went to work in the morning, then I used to go to the university and when I finished it, I went to the assembly that was held at the village’s square, the 15-M’s assembly of Cerdanyola, I still lived in Cerdanyola back then
And then, I went to Plaça Catalunya all the weekends and slept there, in Barcelona, where there were assemblies too, they were divided into commissions to making decisions, and there was a beautiful atmosphere, it was a protest environment but intergenerational also, old people that talked about the fights they’d been through, young people talking about their experiences of not having a job, of having…
Also, one of the complaints was that we’re a generation that is very well prepared, we have university degrees, we have masters, and we don’t have jobs, this was one of the complaints they made
And well, they were beautiful months of political hope, and well, I wouldn’t say it hasn’t led to nothing because I think a lot of people that wasn’t politically active, started being involved due to 15-M
But it is true we didn’t get what we wanted, which was a change of government and a change among the people in politics, of investments of the state, that more would be invested in social subjects and less in… well, the military expense
And let’s say, other subjects where all the money is spent in apart from all the corruption of the party that is in power right now, the Popular Party, that is shameful the amount of cases that have been proved that these people have stolen state’s money for their own benefit
And then tells us, the people that there is no money to invest
Would you talk about its connection to Occupy Wall Street?
I remember that soon after the 15-M’s emergence, in the US the movement of Occupy Wall Street rose up, that also… well, let’s say, the protest method was very similar to the 15-M’s, it was occupying public areas and protest peacefully, because also, it was something that both movements had in common, they were people whose only resistance was their own bodies, therefore, they didn’t practice any kind of violence comparing to the repression they suffered later
Because in both the US and here, there was repression by the police
And I remember I was very excited because I thought ‘I believe this is the first time that we’ve inspired something to the US and not the other way around’, normally, we inherit many things that come from the US, we receive all its culture, all Europe in general
And for once, we initiated a political movement that also spread throughout many countries, among them, the US and I consider that well, it was absolutelly magical to me, right?
And it was set in the political agenda, no matter how many things we did obtain, but we were on all the media, one, 15-M, as such as the other, Occupy Wall Street, everyone was talking about that, and they talked about their petitions, which was also the resistance’s intention
What was the Bologna Process, and what was your involvement in the protest against it?
When I was at university, I think I was… I don’t remember if it was my second or my third year of student in the career, well, there was all the implementation, the subject of the Bologna Process, which was a university syllabus whose purpose was to equalize all the studies at a European level
Let’s say, up to that moment, there wasn’t any European law about education, and this was the first one
And I remember it was… There were many protests, above all in my university, which is the Autonomous University of Barcelona, that also is one of the most well-known universities for its political activism
I remember we blocked off the freeway every week as a kind of protest
We didn’t have lessons for two or three months, I’d say
We occupied all the classrooms, we wouldn’t let people take classes or the ones that were taken were to talk about the Bologna Process
Many assemblies were held, people slept there, there was, well… we cooked there…
And I remember that actually, although there were no classes, there were some months in which I think everyone learn a lot of things, above all, we learnt about politics, democracy, about fighting for our rights
And well, the Bologna Process… I guess if someone hears we were so against it, he or she may not quite understand it, right? Because well… it was a plan that created more reduced groups in class, theoretically, what was written in the Bologna Process was reduced groups of class, less hours of class that implied dedicating more hours of study at home
Credits were understood to be ‘x’ hours at university but it was understood that we needed to do ‘x’ hours at home too, of study and investigation
It appeared to be a university syllabus to encourage the investigation at home, well, the autonomous study, let’s say
And it was also very linked to companies
That is, if companies had a wider professional demand in a certain field, there would be more jobs in that field
But what did this mean? That if companies didn’t ask for professionals of other fields, those careers were either removed or well, they disappeared, actually, some of them have disappeared nowadays
Or well… yes, they basically had no place in the university
Then, our protest was for many reasons
One, a change like that asked for a very big investment from the state in power, in order to fulfill all the principles of the Bologna Process, that investment wasn’t going to be done, and effectively, it hasn’t been done
Two, it implied a rise in the credit’s price, university careers have risen their prices a lot
Actually, I don’t know… I guess I would need to ask my parents, as they were the ones who paid for my career, but I don’t know if I could’ve studied nowadays because of the price
Actually, some news have come out about people that had to drop out school because they couldn’t pay for it, people that could’ve studied before but now they cannot
And then, finally, this commercialization of university
I mean, it’s like saying that we were… Like losing the university values of knowledge, right? All careers of humanities that all they want is philosophy, humanities, that what they want is to increase knowledge, to increase the culture, there’s no room for them in companies, there’s no room for them in capitalism
And then, they were removed, then, that was very serious for us, that capitalism had entered into a institution as the university in such a way, and theoretically, it is to acquire knowledge, and not to… right?
The concept we have nowadays that ‘no, no, university is for being able to work as…’, well, in theory, or what I do think is that it is true you can take advantage of it and that many people study and obviously, this knowledge provides a basis to do specific jobs later
But university is something more, right? And all this… this extra thing that knowledge has, of culture, of critical thinking, they were removing that
And that’s why we protested about, once more, without the results we wanted but well, it was a good experience
You talked about the Gag Law already, but there were some censureship that occured during the lead up to the elections, wasn’t there? I thought I heard talk about not being able to show certain things on public tv… What kind of censorship were imposed during the lead up to the elections?
When the elections were convened, actually, with the implementation of the 155, one of the threats the Popular Party did was that together with the autonomy and economy interventions and the autonomy’s accounts, they were going to intervene in the public media, that is, Tv3 and Catalunya Ràdio
Then, there were many complaints, it is true that in that sense, internationally, there were wake-up calls, they said ‘well, this is one more step…’
And finally, this intervention didn’t happen, at least formally
But it is true that showing the yellow color was forbidden, yellow ribbons, as we said before, were for supporting the political prisoners
The state forbidded that these symbols were shown on public television at all
And also, something happened, that is polemical everytime there are alections, and it is about the percentage of screen time
The state election committee imposes that during an election campaign, parties should appear on the news of public media in proportion to the number of representatives they have
That is, parties that currently have more representatives in the Parliament, had more time, and those that had less representatives, had less screen time
This method has been denounced by journalists of the public media many times
Actually, during the election campaign, they don’t usually sign their pieces of news as a sign of protest
But also, let’s say that in this elections, it was even more exaggerated than it used to be
When there was, in Tv3, the Catalan public television, a tracking of the protest in Brussels, that obviously, well, as a journalist, inside the journalistic criteria, I consider that it is a newsworthy element and it is something that has to be on a public television
If part of the population goes to Brussels to protest, it is something that needs to be showed
So they got a report from the election committee and well, this demand still needs to be solved, but they were absolutelly controlled and let’s say that each thing that was done in Tv3 or Catalunya Radio, then it had a consequence, either with statements or even that, with judicial claims
A part from this, there were more, but let’s say this was the most flagrant one because also, after the protest’s news, they talked about Ciutadans’ electoral campaign, about PP’s electoral campaign, the PSOE’s, that they are the three unionist parties, clearly
But in spite of that, the election committee didn’t think that was enough, Tv3 appealed against the demand saying they had accomplished obeyed these sections they’d been forced to do, let’s say
But still, without being formally controlled, that is, without being controlled by the article 155 as they wanted to do, it is true it has been a pretty chilling control of public media
And a constant critique, above all, that I think it’s quite pitiful for a government that also has created a totally partisan public state television
When there was the PSOE’s government, they tried to make changes… well, they changed that the directors of the public television weren’t chosen by politicians, but that there was an other method to chose them, that politicians wouldn’t interfere in the contents they made
But when the Popular Party won the elections, all this changed and currently, we have a public state television totally humiliating that directly, it ignores the subjects of political present and of general interest that don’t benefit the government
Then, they wanted to do the same with the Catalan television
I won’t deny that sometimes it does have a partisian touch in favor of independence, but it is much more objective than the Spanish television, clearly
Somebody got in big trouble for posting something [about Carrero Blanco], (could you talk about the justice problems that people have had for posting things on that subject?)
About the Gag Law, that attacks against comments on Twitter, there is a very chilling subject that is the repression that has been towards a girl called Cassandra Jiménez [Vera], that tweeted a joke about [Luis] Carrero Blanco saying he was the first Spanish astronaut
To contextualize and so you can understand the cause of the joke and the posterior repression
[Luis] Carrero Blanco had to be [Francisco] Franco’s substitute, the dictator, when he’d die
Franco was very old and actually, I think he’s one of the few dictators of Europe, if not the only one… no, he’s been the only one that has died on bed, that no one kicked out but he died on bed governing Spain
And his substitute, the person that had to come after him was [Luis] Carrero Blanco
Then, in that period, the armed band ETA was very active, that it is an armed band that put bombs and attacked as a kind of protest in order to reach the independence of the Basque Country, but above all, in Franco’s period, they were a violent anti-Francoist resistance, against the dictatorship
Then, they attacked on the 20th of November, of December, sorry
The bomb exploded under the car in which [Luis] Carrero Blanco was and it flew and ended up on a flat roof
Then, let’s say that there’ve always been jokes on this fact, all my life I’ve heard all of the possible jokes about this
Why do people make jokes about it? Apart from the fact that this happened many years ago, it is because we’re talking about someone that what he did and what he was about to do, specially afterwards, was to repress the Spanish state, to deprive the state of democracy and to keep with a dictatorship that was also very violent and that caused more deaths after the Civil War than during the Civil War
I mean, it wasn’t just a simple thing, let’s say
Then, what I’ve said before, right? It is curious how making a joke about this fact is not allowed, which actually, well, nowadays it’s not affecting anyone
They sent that girl to trial, that also it turns out it was a transexual woman, they humiliated her in the trial, directly, they would refer to her as a man, although not only she defined herself as a woman, but also phisically and all, she represented herself as a woman
And actually, there was… it was a very, very unfortunate trial, what this poor girl had to be through because of a joke on Twitter
I mean, I don’t… I don’t understand it at all
And the most unbelievable part is the she’s not the only one, she’s been the most covered by the media because of the kind of trial she had but there’ve been other people that had to go to trial for making jokes about this person, who was a terrible person actually
We interviewed seminal Barcelona drag queen Sergio Satanassa several months ago. He talked about what it was to be gay in the 1980s here: “Y esto de estar en un local, el member por ejemplo, y picar a la puerta, ver solamente un chico, abrir la puerta y meterse 15 o 20 skin-heads con bates de béisbol i empezar a darle a todo el mundo.” Yet, today, we see a city that is very progressive in its approach to sexual identity–arguably, a model for the world. Will you talk about the LGBT movement here, and how tolerance has increased so dramatically?
Yes, I think that the people that live in Barcelona and are a part of this collective we’re quite privileged because it is true that Barcelona is a very open-minded city, a city where, not never, but there hardly are homophobic assaults, we can live quite calmly, let’s say, in our city
I’ve never suffered any assault, personally, my friends… Well, I’ve never suffered any physical abuse but verbally, I have, someone has yelled at me in the street some time
But well, I’ve turned around and told them to shove off and I’m fine, I mean that in that sense, I do feel we’re in a very open-minded city and that there’s no problem in living with all kinds of sexual orientations, now it is necessary to keep moving forward and to lose this closed gender conception that people still have and that little by little, is being accepted
But I do think it is different in villages
I think there are a lot of people that live in Barcelona and come from little villages throughout Catalonia or Spain, and this happens in Madrid too, that let’s say they’ve run away from their villages directly, because it’s not the same being homosexual, bisexual, intergender, transgender, queer, in a village than in a big city
I think there’s still a lot of work to do, although it is true that at a legal level, when the Socialist Party was in power, the first four years of legislature, they did many things right, among them, they legalized the homosexual marriage
And, despite I’m not a big fan of marriage, I think it is one of the tools that allow homosexual, bisexual, transgender people to get into a normalcy… well, I don’t like the term ‘normalcy’, but well, to get to a social acceptance
But yes… bearing in mind that the dictatorship didn’t end much time ago, and that during the dictatorship there was the Vagrancy Act, that you’d go directly to prison if you were homosexual, then there has been a lot of pogress
But I think that there is a lot that needs to be done and that there are areas that don’t socially accept the diversity of gender nor sexual orientations because well, this, in Barcelona or in Madrid too, when I’ve been there visiting, I’ve suffered verbal abuse for holding hands with my couple
Then, I think there’re are things that need to be done still in order to get to a real equality
Because although I’ve never suffered any abuse, the fact of having to come out everytime I meet someone new, it is something that I think about and it shouldn’t be like that because heterosexual people don’t neet to come out continually
There’s a normalcy still, it is considered that the normal thing is to be heterosexual and everything else is weird
No, everything is normal and nothing is, right? And until we don’t get to that point… a lot of work in education is needed still, right?
When people stop asking little girls if they have a boyfriend and little boys if they have a girlfriend, for example, then that will be a step forward
But still nowadays, there are a lot of kids that suffer discrimination at school because of their sexual orientation
Then, in spite of being a progressive state, which I’m proud of, I think the work is not over yet
Do you have an August 17 (terror on La Rambla) story?
Well, the 17th of August I was having lunch at my parent’s in Cerdanyola, luckily, and well, I remember… listening to it on the radio and rushing to turn the tv on
I remember those moments of complete uncertainty, that it was unknown whether there was a terrorist locked in a bar, or if they had gone or not
I remember there was a lot of people that started sending images of the bodies and the blood… I didn’t open any of them, luckily, because I find terrible that someone’d send something like that
I remember a lot of unease, I remember how I started writing all my friends asking ‘Are you ok? Where are you?’
I remember I friend told me she was in a bar and I told her ‘stay there, don’t go out, lock yourself in the bar, they haven’t arrested the terrorists yet, don’t go out…’
I remember that fear that… I’d heard about other terrorist attacks that I’d been following in the news, because I’m a very empathetic person and I could perfectly imagine it, but it is true that when it happened at home, also in such an emblematic place as the Ramblas, everyone, absolutely everyone that lives in Barcelona has been in the Ramblas, everyone
Then, it was very shocking because it is a place you’ve been in a thousand times and then… you cannot keep thinking ‘I could’ve been there perfectly’
I meet with friends a lot of times in the Rambles to go somewhere else later, or it may have been a relative, a friend, quite easily
And then, as news started to come up, when they identified the terrorists, they were kids, very, very young, and also, it appeared they were quite integrated in the town they lived in
The truth is that that impressed me even more, right? Because I felt sorry that such a young person, with a whole life ahead of him, is able to do something like that
I’ve told you I’m very empathic and I can empathize even with them but I found it terrible, terrible