We are Rebels: Catalonia

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Catalonia has a distinct culture of its own, most evidently of Mediterranean tradition, and it is different from most other Spanish regions in several aspects, not only by its language. Catalonia is one of the most cosmopolitan places in Spain, thanks to its long tradition of international commerce. The Catalonians are fiercely proud of their identity and language, as they are Spain's richest and most highly industrialized region. With a distinct history stretching back to the early Middle Ages, many Catalans think of themselves as a separate nation from the rest of Spain. This feeling is fed by memories of the Franco dictatorship, which attempted to suppress Catalan identity. "the Catalan topic" has a special importance, especially in relation to new demands for autonomy.

TIME CODE: 00:00_05:00

Voice at the demontration:“We vote 'yes' to the dignity, 'yes' to independence. And we are happy to vote and proud to be a people who want to talk and want to be heard.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Kilian Sebrià, Anchorman, Catalunya Radio (speaking on air):“The governement takes on the responsibility for the '9N' vote until the end.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Female radio speaker, speaking on air: “The polls' organization is scheduled for Sunday and it will be the sesponsibility of the volunteeres.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Kilian Sebrià, speaking on air: “On Sunday everything will be in the hands of volunteers. Good evening everybody, we are ready! We are aprroaching the controversial day of the referendum.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Josep Pitarque, Activist: “In 2012 here in the district of Santa Coloma de Gramenet we were 6 people, in the last meeting we were 40.

Please, the information for Sunday.. Information on the Sunday vote.

When I was younger we wanted to make the revolution. Today the concept of revolution that we have is that of a personal revolution. This revolution made by people if it extends and sways other people then it can really be a social revolution.”

Narration: Being part of a State without wanting to be. Comply with laws without approving them. Speaking another language, feeling colonized regardleess not being on the UN official list of the colonies. Catalonia, one of Spain's autonomous communities, has challenge the central government in Madrid demanding independence and organizing a referendum. For the Spanish state it is a inaffectual and illegal action, a waste of money, a fars. For the the Catalans, November 9th is an historic date, a revolution: they call it the week of 9N.

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Lluìs Roura Aulinas, Historian: “It is a common feature that concerns the permanent resistance: active and passive resistance, uprising, riot, revolt, revolution.”

TIME CODE: 05:00_10:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Josep Pitarque, Activist: “These are the information to go to vote on Sunday. Come to vote on Sunday, even if you have a different opinion. Information on the Sunday vote. Catalonia had a strong autonomous status which covered language, Catalan is spoken and taught at school, then health, autonomous police, roads, lines. And a lot of people were happy with this level of autonomy reached. But at some point the governement of Madrid has started a policy of homogenization in the Spanish state. Our autonomy has decreased gradually and it has reached a point that many people, myself included, see the independence as the only solution. We want to be independent in order to speak with the Spanish state face to face.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Kilian Sebrià, Anchorman, Catalunya Radio: “The history is very broad because it's been 300 years since we lost our rights during the war of succession in1714. But everything comes to the zenith in 2010 when the Constitutional Court revoked a decision of the Catalan people causing the first manifestation of a million people. It was a statute that would have avoided getting to this point since it estabilished with Spain some general principles of freedom, taxation and bilateralism. Many people agreed and separatists at that time were few. But from that event there was a feeling of ending. The mind of the people did “click”, it has disconnected.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Guifré Peguera Comas, Independentist: “As a child, in my house there was a tradition to attend the event on September 11th, in those years it was in the minoritu there were 10k people. There was no social support as now, there were no flags on the streets and on the balconies. I remember I bought an independentist T-shirt and I wanted to wear it even on the street. But my mother forbade me saying: “this is for September 11th next year”.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Catalunya Radio On Air: “Tomorrow we will know whether or not the Supreme Court will cancel the participator process. The regional government has spoken?

Yes, it spoke, complaining to the Supreme Court that it is a fundamental right of freedom of expression and participation. Legal sources say that the claim of the governement has a little chance. Anyway the regional governement can ask the International Court for an immediate pronouncement.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Kilian Sebrià, Anchorman, Catalunya Radio: “Here is the convinction that something is happening. Many people are calling for a change and this means something. The Catalan governement and parties went to Madrid to demand a referendum as in any country in the world. A referendum with a political consequences. The Spanish governement and parliament denied this. Then through an Act the Catalan Parliament has tried to make a consultation with no legal value but with political value. The President of the Catalan government has convened this consultation setting a day and a question. Also the possibility of a consultation, even if it was not a referendum was invalidated by the Constitutional Court after an appeal by the Spanish government. It is not really invalidated, it is frozen. Are the proceedings illegal? It is not known because it is frozen. So that means you can't do it because it is frozen.”

TIME CODE: 10:00_15:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Lluìs Roura Aulinas, Historian: “The central government doesn't realize the seriousness of the situation perhaps because everything happens in a festive mood but that deceives. It is very festive, and very deep too. People take to the streets because they want to say it's enough. We have the feeling of acting bordering on legality, as we acted at the end of the Franco dictatorship. The same feeling of insecurity that all one has tried to do is penalized and sentenced by the legal powerclearly subservient to political power. The differentation of powers disappears and this lead to the total disillusionment with democracy. Because this is a way of acting undemocratically. Also the feeling of anger and revenge can exolode at any time.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Kilian Sebrià, Anchorman, Catalunya Radio (speaking on air): “Today we speak with the volunteers on the phone. Volunteers wil call thousands of people to convince them to participate in the vote on Sunday. They have already begun... How may calls are there?”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Female Speaker Catalunya Radio (speaking on air): “309k”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Kilian Sebrià - Anchorman, Catalunya Radio (speaking on air): “309k calls...”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Female Speaker Catalunya Radio (speaking on air): “309k phone calls like this!”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Volunteer 1: “Hello, my name is Francés, I'm a volunteer. I'm calling to inform that on Sunday there will be a vote...”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Volunteer 2: “We are volunteers for the consultation of '9N'. We want to inform you that on Sunday you can vote...”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Joana Verdana, Catalan National Assembly (ANC): “The Catalan Assembly is a civil society organization made up of volunteers. We are about 50k of whom about 1k are actively working. It is an association rooted in the territories in every district of Catalonia there is a group of the Assembly. It's at the local level that we can appreciate the magic. We are not tied to any political party, we don't represent the voice of either the right or the left. We represent the coice of the Catalans who have only one goal: the independence of Catalonia.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Lluìs Roura Aulinas, Historian:“We can speak of Catalan nationalism; however, the word Catalanism better defines the type of nationalism, in quotes, in Catalonia. A nationalism based on the importance of culture and the Catalan language, the essential character of the Catalan language and the consciousness that is always at risk.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Antonio Baňos, Economist: “The King of Spain can remain in Madrid because we have already proclaimed two republics in our history. There is a reason almost civic, of the political right. Catalonia is a nation that has lost its political soveregnty as a result of a military invasion. There came an army and all the political and legal institutions, civil laws, public law and language were eliminated by military action. It was an act of imposition, I don't know whether colonial, but certainly violent. The lost of sovereignty, conquered militarly by Spain, was never returned. We are not a colony but unintentionally part of the state. We will work for a Catalan Republic ensuring the right to social cooperation and social justice.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Lluìs Roura Aulinas, Historian: “In the second half of the 17th Century in catalonia there starts an economic expansion that comes to the industrial revolution. The monarchy began to fear Catalonia and to feel its economic strength as very dangerous and capable of threatening the administrative reality of the monarchy.”

TIME CODE: 15:00_20:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Antonio Baňos, Economist:“Saying that there are economic problems between Madrid and Barcelona means that there are different models. What works for the economy of Madrid e.i. Large concession for big public works through the presence of a strong state, is ruling for SMEs present in Catalonia. And a model that would help small and medium sized Catalan companies not protect the power of Madrid. It's a strange country, because Catalonia has the majority of the population and the increased income, but it has no political power. Catalonia has a GDP like Portugal, a pre capita income such as Denmark, 16% of the population, 19% of GDP, 21% of taxes pais and 25% of exports. The problem is that the economic policy of the Kingdom of Spain is structurally unfair because there are big elites who only use resources instead of sharing them. So long as there is a Spain of this type, there will always be prejudicial to be part of Spain for Catalonia.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Jordi Nogue Hernandéz, Independentist: “It was a day of protesting, September 11th.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Guifré Peguera Comas, Independentist: “We were about 300 people.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Jordi Nogue Hernandéz, Independentist: “Four or five of us separated from the group, we already decided to do a political action.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Guifré Peguera Comas, Independentist: “We hung a giant picture of the Spanish monarch, Juan Carlos I.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Jordi Nogue Hernandéz,Independentist: “We lifted the photo that was 3 feet by 3 feet and we burned it. Nothing more happened.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Guifré Peguera Comas, Independentist: “Nothing more happened. Usually we burn photos to express our rejection of the Spanish State. But in the protest there were ploainchothes police.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Jordi Nogue Hernandéz, Independentist: “There were infiltrators who took photos of the burning.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Guifré Peguera Comas, Independentist: “They sent them to the public prosecutor, that at the National Court. We were accused of insulting the Crown, for which there is a penalty of six months imprisonment or a fine of more than 11k euros each.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Jordi Nogue Hernandéz, Independentist: “We assested the situation and the repercussions and we decides to approach the trial with a political campaign because it was a political act.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Guifré Peguera Comas, Independentist: “We knew it was a political judgment so we faced it whit a political mode. We can speach perfect Spanish but we asked for an interpreter. We want to depose in Catalan.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Jordi Nogue Hernandéz, Independentist: “The judge offered us a deal. “We camcel the fine of 1,8k euros, you only pay 1k euros each and you can leave without being judged”. We just looked at each other and said “No,we want to stand trial”.

They said: “If you choose the judgment you could pay 1,8k euros each.” But we told them that we don't care: “No, we want to stand trial.””

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Guifré Peguera Comas, Independentist: “Our lawyer said it has been an act of freedom of expression and an act against the institution of the monarchy and its oppression against our people.”

TIME CODE: 20:00_25:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Jordi Nogue Hernandéz, Independentist: ““Did you attend the demonstration?” Yes. “You were with Guifre Peguera?” Yes. “Did you burn the photo of the King?” I said no. Because it was not me, but a guy who had not been identified. But I sais that I would have no problem saying it was me and I would do it without hesitation because there are my political views. They were a bit surprised, they didn't expect this answer. We have to pay 900 euros each and if we don0t pay, we go to jail for a month.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Guifré Peguera Comas, Independentist: “A fine of 1,8k euros, plus legal fees, plus the anti-repressive campaign, plus expenses for the lawyer. We are collecting money by selling flags, t-shirts, pins. We play a double game: we collect money by doing propaganda agaist the Spanish state.”

Voice at the demonstration: “On Sunday we will show that Catalonia is an independent country. Long live democracy! Long live free Catalonia!”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Kilian Sebrià, Anchorman, Catalunya Radio (speaking on air): “It's one day to go until the referendum. Right now, at 7.15 PM the Catalan governent says it will go ahead, Madris doesn't yield, the Constitutional Court is silent, and the police is preparing. Thank you all. Good night.”

Narration: Months of political and legal wrangling, weeks of mobilization, intimations, protests bordred on illegality.

On November 9th Catalonia ignores the vetoes of the Madrid government and voted for independence.

The result has no legal status: less a referendum, rather an indicative poll. Certainly a political act, a step towards self-determination, an act of rebellion.

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Antonio Baňos, Economist: “In each country the mobilization against job insecurity and the crisis has different forms. In Catalonia it has taken the form of separatism because it is an old claim, because it is reasonable and because the Spanish state is particularly hostile. So it's the same indignation tha exists from Losboa to Nicosia but here it is expressed through this political movement.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Lluìs Roura Aulinas, Historian: “I have never been a nationalist rather I am a separatist because of how the power of the Spanish state is structured. It is showing that is not able to give answers.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Kilian Sebrià, Anchorman, Catalunya Radio: “After the '9N' there will be elections, and after that there are two ways: one that says to call Madris asking “so what?” And the other way is not to call Madrid, and act. Though it is very difficult, but it's still possible.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Josep Pitarque, Activist: “Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

What is independence for Josep Pitarque? I believethat we will get it, but do not know how it will be.

Yes. No.”

   

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