Assemblea Nacional Catalana raises the stakes on unilateralism

Calls on the Catalan Government to align itself with its strategy and come up with a plan to put the Republic into effect

At an extraordinary plenary on Saturday 6 October, the National Secretariat of Assemblea Nacional Catalana (ANC) approved three key strategy papers for the independence movement by resounding majorities, ranging from 71 to 88 per cent.

The first (“Fem la República catalana. Relat del que ens ha passat”) analyses events from the 2010 Constitutional Court ruling annulling the new Statute of Autonomy for Catalonia until October 2017. It identifies the strengths and weaknesses built up. Big strengths identified by the ANC include the majority of society in favour of independence, the absolute majority held by the pro-independence parties in the Catalan Parliament, the peaceful mobilization of citizens, the internationalization of the conflict and the weakness of the Spanish State in terms of governability and its manifest incapacity to offer Catalonia a project worthy of the name within Spain.

On the other hand, the main weaknesses are spotlighted in the second paper, a progress report on the action taken by the Catalan Government (“Balanç de l’acció́ de Govern de la Generalitat de Catalunya”). In this the ANC emphasizes that not only has the Catalan Government ousted under Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution not been restored but also neither the Catalan Parliament nor the Catalan Government is willing to countenance the disobedience necessary in order to secure respect for the sovereignty of the Catalan Parliament and advance towards effective proclamation of the Catalan Republic.

In response to this lack of firm action and of a shared strategy on the part of the Government, the ANC urges the President of the Catalan Government to re-establish the unity for action, to set in motion the Council of the Republic in Waterloo and to announce its structure and functions. The ANC also calls on the Catalan Government to adopt, before 21 December 2018, a single, clearly defined government strategy to establish the Catalan Republic and to share the strategy and coordinate tactics with all political groups and stakeholders committed to effective establishment of the Republic declared on 27 October 2017.

If, after 21 December, the Catalan Government persists with the current disconcerting manifest disparity on the strategic criteria for the future and continues to employ language steeped in formality and completely failing to respond to the central government action perpetuating the current system of autonomous government and legitimizing repression by the Spanish State, the ANC will no longer accompany the Catalan Government but will adopt a critical stance extremely demanding on compliance with the Government’s mandate, including mobilizations to this end.

We call on any in the Catalan Government who lack the courage to pursue a clearly defined process leading to effective proclamation of the Catalan Republic to step aside and make room for others prepared to take more determined action and accept the risks inherent in disobedience.

Strategic plan
On the basis of the identified strengths and weaknesses and the current context, the ANC has drawn up a strategic plan based on scenarios. It thus identifies only three scenarios that could lead us to our effective independence: a referendum agreed with the Spanish State, as a result of a direct bilateral negotiation; referendum agreed with the Spanish State, forced upon it by an international organization; and the unilateral route.

The ANC has wanted to emphasize that extending the social base is not a scenario in itself. Even were we to reach 80%, independence would not be given to us, we would always have to place ourselves in one of the three scenarios mentioned above. Moreover, the ANC holds that favouring de-escalation and hoping to achieve a normalization, in the current context, is procrastinating and demobilizing, and will not be effective in achieving the goal.

As regards the scenario of a referendum agreed with the Spanish State, the ANC considers that all the PSOE Government’s statements, as well as those of the political, social and electoral majority in Spain, indicate that this route is unfortunately impossible. As regards the agreed referendum scenario forced by an international body, it considers it unlikely given the events of October, but it does believe that there are thresholds of violation of rights and of economic instability that, if surpassed, could make this scenario come about. The ANC therefore considers the unilateral scenario as the most likely one and the only one that depends on us and allows us to be proactive, given the inability of the Spanish Government to offer anything at all or to abandon its most repressive side, as well as its weaknesses regarding governability. Nevertheless, our organization would be willing to forego unilaterality if, in the next six months, either of the first two scenarios became tangible and declared realities without any room for ambiguity on the part of the actors involved (Catalan government, Spanish government, a potential mediator).

Given that the unilateral route is being developed successfully, the ANC considers that the following key players should ideally be aligned: Government, Parliament, institutions and mobilized citizenry. Once aligned, the declaration of independence in the Parliament needs to be revalidated and published in the Catalan official journal, the Catalan Republic needs to be solemnly proclaimed to the world and the international recognition of the independence of Catalonia needs to be requested – in constituting itself as a State -, the Spanish flags on the Palau de la Generalitat and the Parliament building will have to be lowered, the decrees for the implementation of the Law of Legal Transition will have to be published, the political prisoners will have to be released and the return of those in exile will have to be arranged.

In order to continue moving forward in developing the unilateral route, the ANC will work on twelve key and priority lines of action. One of the lines is the international arena, where four key actions will be implemented: to report to international organizations the violations of the political and civil rights of Catalan citizens, to establish ties of trust with actors in the international community, to generate and disseminate communication content to explain the situation and the aspirations of the Catalan people, and to encourage the participation and mobilization of Catalan citizens living abroad, in defence of the Catalans’ right of self-determination.

On the institutional front, the ANC asks the Government, the Parliament and the pro-independence parties to display clear and effective leadership that does not issue contradictory messages between what is said and what is really done. Likewise, it asks the Government to get ready for the unilateral route without further delay and to work in those areas that need to be reinforced so as to guarantee the proclamation and the initial functioning of the Republic.

The ANC has sent the message to the whole independence movement that if the three actors – Government, Parliament and civil society – prepare themselves with responsibility and rigour for the scenario of unilateralism, the objective of building the Catalan Republic will be attained, just as the referendum on October 1, 2017 was held despite the most adverse of conditions.