Thursday, 19 October 2017

Experimentation in Catalonia

Catalonia has always been a centre of political experimentation:
Speaking of Spain Blog - Stories about Spain that tell us Something About Ourselves - Speaking of Spain
Catalonia’s Fight for Independence Is Not Just a Spanish Matter - Progressive.org
ROAR Magazine
Living Utopia (The Anarchists & The Spanish Revolution) - YouTube

These continue today:

Eco-villages in Catalonia: the rise of new green models in times of crisis

19 June 2015 

by Valentina Marconi

An increasing number of people are fed up with living in concrete jungles. Many think of the countryside as a solution to problems such as stress, a low-paying job and pollution. Due to the start of the economic crisis, this phenomenon boomed, with people beginning to look for an 'alternative way of life' or, at least, new opportunities. Catalonia and the whole of Spain are no exception to this. Here, moving (back) to the countryside nowadays looks like an attractive option to many, especially to young unemployed graduates. However, sustainable agriculture initiatives and the like are the 'junior division' compared to more complex social, cultural and ecological experiments: the eco-villages. Coming in different shapes and sizes, their members share resources and spaces, grow their own food and cover in a sustainable way the energy demand of the buildings they live in. With different missions and features, many eco-villages can be traced back to one or two decades ago and could teach a lot to newcomers.

Eco-villages in Catalonia: the rise of new green models in times of crisis

A couple of years ago, some very interesting films came out on some of this current 'experimentation':


500,000 euros in catalonia

Stacco Troncoso
4th April 2014

Come Back” is a full-length documentary film detailing the aftermath of Spanish activist Enric Duran’s notorious action against 16 major banks. In case you’re not familiar with his act of “financial civil disobedience”, Duran attained roughly half a million Euros in bank loans and subsequently distributed the funds to support anti-capitalist activist movements. This documentary revisits the years-long preparation for the action itself, and interviews the various groups of activists who consequently benefited from the money. The action also led to the foundation of the revolutionary Catalan Integrated Cooperative, a transition-minded post-capitalist community, which is currently thriving. You can read more about Duran and the CIC in this recent interview with Duran, conducted by Michel Bauwens, John Restakis and Neal Gorenflo.

“In this documentary over twenty people who had so far remained silent explain how they lived the facts of which they had first hand knowledge before they became public, and recall the projects and initiatives in which those resources were allocated.
The documentary has been released today, 6 months after the statement of the last 17 of September which said...

When it comes to the current crisis, there are of course very different perspectives.

The openDemocracy site has some pertinent articles:
Nationalism as a substitute for equality | openDemocracy
Catalonia: an incomplete transition? | openDemocracy

The Financial Times points to the 'radicalisation' of debate:

The far-left separatists who took Catalonia to the brink
Power in the region’s pro-independence movement is shifting back to the radicals

Anna Gabriel, spokesperson of Popular Unity Candidacy, says there is ‘no alternative’ to a declaration of Catalan independence © Reuters

OCTOBER 5, 2017

by Tobias Buck in Barcelona

Anna Gabriel lives in a flatshare in a modest building tucked away in the bohemian Barcelona neighbourhood of Grácia. The first thing you see as you enter is a poster of Hugo Chávez, the late anti-capitalist leader of Venezuela, and a table stacked with political leaflets. The living room is small and spartan, devoid of books and personal objects.

The humble surroundings are a world away from the sumptuous medieval palaces that house the Catalan president and his ministers. But there are many, not least inside the Spanish government, who believe that the rhythm and pace of Catalonia’s escalating conflict with Madrid are dictated not by the official Catalan leadership but by Ms Gabriel and her far-left separatist party.

The Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) holds just 10 of 135 seats in Catalan’s regional parliament, but without them President Carles Puigdemont has no majority to continue his separatist course.

The far-left separatists who took Catalonia to the brink

The Russians have always had an interest in inflaming the situation:
The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 | History Today
How Stalin destroyed revolution in Spain
Spain Betrayed: The Soviet Union in the Spanish Civil War

And still they do today:

Russia’s informational interference in Catalan crisis - 112 International
Russian reports on Catalonia to destabilise Europe - neweurope
Referendum in Catalonia: Russian meddling machine sets sights on Catalonia | In English | EL PAÍS
Spanish-Russian relations: How Russian news networks are using Catalonia to destabilize Europe | In English | EL PAÍS

To finish, a piece from the Transition Network:

Disobeying Spain


Kevin Buckland is a Barcelona-based artivist, storyteller, facilitator and organizer who engages art as a tool for enabling change. Here he gives us his account of October 1st: The Catalan Referendum for Independence.

Voting can often be a fairly mundane task, a ritual we do as some sort of promise to ourselves and others that we care in the shaping of our society. It is a peculiar sensation based upon a collective understanding that the sum is great than its parts; that while our vote may not matter, voting itself matters. It is a commitment to a process, rather than a politic.

Yesterday, all across Catalunya ballot boxes were ripped from people’s hands by masked police and a dangerous violence was unleashed, at random, upon some of the 2,262,424 people who stood in long lines to cast their vote. The repression dealt by the Spanish State to prohibit the Catalan Referendum, in every bloodied baton and every rubber bullet, transformed the day from a question of independence to a question of democracy. People were voting for the right to vote.

I was one of the tens of thousands who, while we cannot vote, did what I could to make sure that others could. I did not mind what they were voting for, showing up was enough bravery to win my support.

Disobeying Spain - Transition Network

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