For events after October 2013, see http://miquelstrubell.blogspot.com/2016/10/events-since-october-2013.html
Miquel Strubell MA MSc, of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, presented this paper at the seminar on "Self-determination processes in the EU: The case of Catalonia" held at the University College London on October 25 2013. It was jointly organized by Diplocat, Catalonia's Public Diplomacy Council, and the University's European Institute. In his paper, Strubell looks into the reasons for the recent growth of the pro-independence grassroots movement, which he traces back over ten years.
1. I have been invited to talk to you about events in Catalonia since 2006, in what we call “el procés”, the process towards independence.
2. As you can see from the title of my contribution, and unlike the portrayal of the process in much of the Madrid press (partly followed by the international press, at least until recently), I regard it as originating right at the grassroots level. I’ll try and explain my position, though I am fully aware that much of what has been happening would raise the eyebrows of even the most credulous of this distinguished audience. My brother Tony had the same experience at the LSE in 2006, during his lecture “From Pillage to Reparation: The Struggle for the Salamanca Papers”.
3. First though, two claims. We wouldn’t be sitting here today discussing this topic were it not for the Catalan National Assembly that, in my view, has spearheaded and channelled earlier initiatives into a full-blooded, large-scale movement and has transformed the political scene.
4. Nor would we be here today were it not for Europe. But for Spain's membership of the EU, what has happened in Catalonia in the past four years might well have been nipped in the bud by police and political action. We have been spoonfed with a long and varied list of threats by media, politicians, army officers and fascist groups. Several of these threats foresee the visible leaders of recent events behind bars (at best).
3. First though, two claims. We wouldn’t be sitting here today discussing this topic were it not for the Catalan National Assembly that, in my view, has spearheaded and channelled earlier initiatives into a full-blooded, large-scale movement and has transformed the political scene.
4. Nor would we be here today were it not for Europe. But for Spain's membership of the EU, what has happened in Catalonia in the past four years might well have been nipped in the bud by police and political action. We have been spoonfed with a long and varied list of threats by media, politicians, army officers and fascist groups. Several of these threats foresee the visible leaders of recent events behind bars (at best).
5. It is hard to know where to start, and this problem is, I imagine, shared by all speakers this morning. Unless the background information is shared by all of us, much of what we’ll say may be misconstrued, misunderstood or simply fall on deaf ears.
6. It would be neat to be able to begin by saying “It all started on...” But I’m afraid that’s quite out of the question. What we have come here to talk about in no way resembles the sudden woosh! of an unexpected firework. It’s more like a pressure cooker which after heating for some time has started whistling noisily.
7. Having said that, who can doubt that many thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of Catalans, long since passed away, would be so excited today, seeing that their people are closer to achieving independence than in their lifetime. This has been the secret dream of many, many Catalans, for a very long time.
8. For a very long time, too, most Catalans thought that one day a federal Spain would once and for all give Catalonia a framework in which its inhabitants could feel comfortable and respected. Unfortunately, federal movements need allies throughout a polity and, outside Catalonia, they were always few and far between.
9. A growing sense of grievance and frustration, the feeling being that the effort to modernize Spain, from Catalonia, and to make for a better fit of Catalonia in Spain, had failed on a number of scores, led to a 2003 election campaign in which nearly all the players, except for the Spanish conservatives, the People’s Party, opted for a new or thoroughly reformed Statute of Autonomy to replace the 1979 Statute. Bear in mind that the PP’s share of votes is always lower in Catalonia than in the rest of Spain, partly because of its perception as a Spanish nationalist, and even for some an anti-Catalan, party).
10. Indeed, the grievances had grown particularly during the 1996-2004 period, in which the Spanish government was in the hands of the People’s Party. They revived and built upon deeply rooted negative stereotypes about Catalans.
11. The (Socialist) leader of the Spanish opposition, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, had promised in a 2003 rally that he would “support” the draft Statute that the Catalan Parliament would agree upon. Had he dreamt that he would win the general election a few months later, he might have refrained from that commitment, for he has had to live it down – and ignore - ever since.
12. A large parliamentary majority (basically all but the People’s Party) got to work on this after the 2003 regional election. The new text was to be a Bill that had then to be thrashed out in the Spanish parliament, before going to the Catalan people.
13. Over a period of ten months, a text was drafted in the Catalan Parliament, and the outcome got the vote of 89% of the House on September 30 2005 (only the People’s Party voted against): it was felt to be an historic moment, and brought many to tears. Even journalists found it impossible not to applaud!
14. It was seen as proposing for Catalonia, wthin a liberal interpretation of the Constitution, a close to federal relationship with Spain.
15. The very next day all the right-wing Madrid press came out shrieking in indignation, righteous or otherwise.
16. In January 2006 there was a prelude to what has been happening since the September 11 2012 demonstration I’ll talk about in a minute, and its earthshaking political consequences. The serious threats started. Lt. Gen. José Mena Aguado, head of the army ground forces, openly suggested that the military might take action in Catalonia if the region gained too much autonomy. Following a public outcry he was sacked, but he was not the only casualty: a colonel was reprimanded for criticising Mena.
17. The People’s Party started a campaign throughout Spain, in February 2006, to gather millions of signatures opposing the Statute, which had yet to be debated in the central Parliament. Whatever the outcome it was clear the party would do its best to knock the teeth out of the Statute’s mouth if it could. In my view, making an impact on public opinion was crucial, among other things, to influence the (living) members of the Constitutional court.
18. It is here that I feel we can start to talk about the grassroots movement towards self-determination being born. Its most visible forms are five large demonstrations for self-determination and then independence, between 2006 and 2013, plus hundreds of unofficial local polls on independence, between 2009 and 2011.
19. (1). A newly-founded grassroots Plataforma pel Dret de Decidir (PDD), not strictly a pro-independence movement at its inception, organised two large demonstrations. On February 18 2006, in Barcelona, with the last-minute support of just one political party, this platform of 700 civil organisations and NGOs, very few of which at the time held explicit pro-independence positions, gathered 125,000 people, according to local police, behind the banner “Som una Nació: Tenim el Dret de Decidir” (We are a nation: we have the right to decide).
20. Please note that this demonstration (in 2006), and the following one (in 2007), took place before the financial and economic crisis began. This is often ignored in some of the media, that insist on portraying the whole independence movement as a money issue.
21. In the event, in the Spanish Parliament the text was lathed (the humiliating expression, “cepillado”, was used by the chair of the Constitutional Committee, Alfonso Guerra), and the Republican Left of Catalonia asked the populace to vote against the ensuing text when it came to be put to the people in a plebiscite on June 18 2006 (thus causing their expulsion from the government coalition on May 11). The low turnout, 49% of the electorate, is easy to explain.
22. Not content with even the watered-down text, the People’s Party (the Nationalist conservatives) and the Ombudsman (a Socialist) challenged the Statute of Autonomy before the Constitutional Court on literally 187 and 112 counts respectively: not bad for a text with 223 articles!
23. Never since the return of democracy 38 years earlier had a Statute of Autonomy been challenged before the Constitutional Court.
24. Take note that the legal representative of the (then Socialist) Spanish government, “Abogacía del Estado ante el Tribunal Constitucional”, called for the appeal to be rejected on all counts.
25. (2) On December 1 2007, the PDD organised a second large demonstration to protest against the increasing problems and delays in infrastructures due to under-funding by central government (railways, toll roads, major highways, ports…), with the support of trades unions and, again, a single political party (in the governing coalition at the time). The banner and the declaration proclaimed “Som una Nació i Diem Prou: tenim el dret de decidir sobre les nostres infrastructures” (“We are a Nation and say ‘Enough’! We have the right to decide on our infrastructures”).
26. Not long beforehand, in February 2007, journalist Enric Juliana had coined an expression which became very popular: he referred to an archetypal “Català emprenyat”, “the annoyed Catalan”.
27. As tension grew between Catalonia and Spain’s governments, partly because of the growing awareness that the funding system was a very bad deal for Catalonia (with official data speaking of an untenable 8% of Catalonia’s GDP being drained out of the region every year), Catalonia’s President José Montilla warned the Spanish prime minister (also a Socialist) about the growing “desafección” of Catalans with Spain.
28. For months before the long-awaited Constitutional Court ruling, and even though the Spanish Parliament had chopped out of the proposed Statute all mention of Catalonia’s nationhood or national status, Spanish legal specialists (such as prof. Jorge de Esteban) had been calling for even the sole remaining, mild, factual reference to the concept in the Preamble to be deemed unconstitutional.
29. On November 26 2009 all twelve daily papers in Catalonia published a joint declaration to plea for the Constitutional Court to respect Catalonia’s “dignity” by accepting what it had already voted in a plebiscite three years earlier. It was duly and acridly criticised in the Madrid media.
30. The widely expected ruling of the Constitutional Court on the Statute of Autonomy came at the end of June 2010, after months of drafts being leaked to the press (several of its members were forced to extend their mandate, a vacancy left by another who had died in office was not covered, and yet another member was excluded because he had written one report for the Catalan government). In effect, it restored to central government a number of very significant powers (as feared in many quarters) and even annulled text that had been in law since 1998 without ever being challenged in court. The ruling dashed hopes of a comfortable fit of Catalonia within Spain.
31. The PDD and a plethora of smaller pro-independence organisations that that had emerged in nearly all cases during this period, regarded the ruling as the end to the autonomous Constitution.
32. It was not long before Catalan legal specialists published their views on what many saw as a politically driven ruling based on extraordinarily brief and flimsy reasoning, which in several key issues broke with the court’s own jurisprudence.
33. For months, Òmnium Cultural had been preparing, with the support of most parties and trades unions, and close to 1,600 civic and NGO organisations, what was, in the event, to be one of the largest demonstrations in Catalonia’s history. 600 coaches brought people in from all corners of Catalonia. Held on July 8th 2010, just ten days after the Constitutional Court decision, it was a protest demonstration, a display of (verbal, but civic) anger. It was a declaration of the will to break ties. Though relatively few of the flags people flew were separatist flags, the massive chanting for “in, inde, independència” was a clear taste of things to come. The banner said "Som una nació. Nosaltres decidim" (“We are a nation. We decide”). The local police force estimated 1,100,000 attended the demonstration, which marched right through the centre of Barcelona.
34. Catalan Socialists got assurances from central government that several issues would be resolved by sectoral legislation... which was never seen or heard of again.
35. In the lead-up to the November 2010 elections, on 12 April, and several months before the Constitutional Court ruling, a group of historic leaders, published a Manifesto calling for a coalition of pro-independence parties to stand together. The coalition did not emerge.
36. The Convergència i Unió coalition that was swept back to power in November 2010 after having been through the experience of being in opposition for seven years (2003-2010) did so on a fairly vague “right to decide” ticket. A “national transition” was promised, though what the end result of such a transition might be was not clearly voiced. It gained 267,000 votes (a 6·9% swing) and 14 seats, arguably on the strength of the will of many to oust the leftist coalition.
337. In the following year, the General election was held: there was a strong advance of CiU, the collapse of PSC, advance of PP.
338. In the last ten years a great number of grassroots separatist organisations have emerged. Some like Sobirania i Progrés and Sobirania i Justícia are close to political parties (the Republican Left and the Christian Democrat party “Unió Democràtica de Catalunya” respectively). Other organisations include “Ara o Mai” (Now or Never), “Gent de la Terra” (People of the Land) and Som Deu Milions” (There are 10 million of us).
39. “10 mil a Brussel·les” (10,000 in Brussels) was started by a university professor who summoned “Catalanistes” to demonstrate in Brussels, on 11 March 2009, to show the world that the Catalans want to become independent. Another demonstration was held in front of the UN buildings in Geneva, on May 8 2010.
40. It is worth pointing out that these international demonstrations were preceded by events organised by “La Crida” (founded in 1981) in Strasbourg October 11 1982), Geneva (June 10 1984), Paris (October 14 1985), Strasbourg (October 11 1987) and Albertville (February 1992).
41. Some organsations, like the Fundació Catalunya Estat and the Centre Català de Negocis, have centred their efforts on the economic front, arguing that the decapitalisation of the Catalan economy, due to an net annual fiscal outflow spoliation amounting to over 8% of Catalonia’s GDP (a figure far higher than the 4% upper limit supposedly fixed in the German Federal Republic, according to Catalan government circles, though hotly denied by others and finally discarded as a valid comparison), was rapidly empoverishing the country, and left the Government without any leeway, or resources, to try and lead the country out of the depression.
42. Another economic organisation, FERRMED, though in no way related to the independence movement, battled incessantly for a European-gauge railway line to link up the ports of Eastern Spain, including Valencia, Tarragona and Barcelona, to the rest of Europe, an outstanding geostrategic opportunity. However, the central government has its own, harebrained ideas, such as boring a tunnel through the broadest part of the Pyrenees, midway between the would-be break-away territories of the Basques and the Catalans, and ending up in the middle of a French mountain meadow.
43. Yet another group, this time founded in 1998 (with the written support of 521,000 Catalans), is the Plataforma proSeleccions Catalanes, which works alongside sports federations in their efforts to become members (or in the case of the Rugby federation, to recover its former status, abolished by Vichy France and Fascist Spain) of their international federations. 21 such federations have achieved their aim. Others have been blocked, even notoriously, by the efforts of Spanish diplomacy.
44. Alongside these groups several think-tanks have emerged, like Col·lectiu Emma (aimed at the foreign press, particularly in the early years when news and opinion tended to be clearly written in Madrid offices), Col·lectiu Wilson (political scientists and economists mostly based in the USA), and Col·lectiu Praga (over 50 lawyers specialised in constitutional and international law). 
45. I shall now devote special attention to a phenomenon that began in September 2009, in the small town of Arenys de Munt: in a rapidly growing number of towns grassroots “referenda” were held on independence. The question was always the same: «Està d'acord que Catalunya esdevingui un Estat de dret, independent, democràtic i social, integrat a la Unió Europea?» (“Do you agree with Catalonia becoming a legally constituted, independent, democratic and social State, belonging to the European Union?)”. The first was held despite threatening growls from the courts, and just a few yards from a Falangista rally (members of the Spanish Fascist Party), which was deliberately authorised by the Spanish authorities in the hope that it would disrupt the voting. In the event they arrived in a single coach, closely escorted by the Catalan police to prevent provocations and incidents.
46. Over a period of 19 months, 554 local referenda were held throughout the country in successive waves. Many, and especially the elderly, though fully aware that the vote had nothing but symbolic significance, were nevertheless emotionally overwhelmed by the experience of being able to express their opinion, for the very first time, as regards the freedom of their country. The organisers were scrupulously neutral in terms of the actual vote: they stimulated participation, but didn’t ask people to vote “Yes”. As a chaperone to several groups of international observers, I can attest to this personally.
47. This mobilization allowed a leading sociologist, Salvador Cardús, writing at the start of 2010, to claim that 2009 had witnessed an
“empirically demonstrable, profound recovery of national self-confidence, expressed in the blossoming of mobilization which marks a deep change in the political culture of the country and which augurs huge transformations which will begin to deliver their fruits this very year… the country with a national consciousness has woken up, it feels that it’s had enough and that it’s time to go into action.”
48. The last local referendum was held in Barcelona, in April 2011, where parties had been divided on whether or not to allow it to be held on municipal premises. Its organisers’ dream was [managed] to achieve a considerably greater turn-out than an earlier referendum organised and lavishly funded by the City Council on an urban planning issue. Turn-out in the independence referendum was in the event substantially higher, much to the glee of the organisers. Across the country, nearly a million people voted in these local referenda (nearly all of them in favour of independence) despite the fact that their legal and direct political validity was zero: they were purely symbolic in value.
49. A fortuitous meeting between two people at the very first of these local referenda, in Arenys de Munt, at which both agreed that the separatist organisations would make a much greater social impact if only they came together, led, after dozens of planning meetings, to a National Conference in Barcelona in April 2011, nearly 18 months later, to launch the “Assemblea Nacional Catalana” to emulate – without the presence of political parties, for this time round they had their own legal channels in which to act – the Assemblea de Catalunya, a pro-self-determination platform which was active in the 1970s, with representatives of most of the budding parties, as a clandestine organisation opposing the Franco regime. The Assemblea brought together for the first time people who had been active for years in left-wing independence parties (some of whom had been arrested and tortured during the police razzia in the run-up to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics), and people from all walks of life, many of whom have never been members of a political party.
50. The formal establishment of the “Assemblea Nacional Catalana” (or ANC) came a year later, in March 2012, and the organisation has rapidly grown in membership, with an extremely dense collection of territorial assemblies – 469 right now - in the main, direct successors to the organising committees of the local referenda.
51. The main aim of the Assembly is to achieve and consolidate a social majority in favour of independence; it nevertheless acknowledges that it is the Parliament and the Government that will have to lead the country to freedom. It underlines in its road map that its activity has to be concentrated in the hinterland of Barcelona, whose population grew strongly as a result of in-migration mainly from southern Spain, mostly in the period 1950-1974. It is in this area (and a much smaller one in the industrial belt of Tarragona) that extrapolations from the latest election suggest that a “No” vote might win.
52. The Assembly, from the very start, hoped that many members of the teams that had organised the hundreds of local referenda on independence, between September 2009 and April 2011, would be the kernel for the territorial structure of the Assembly. And so it is. To give you an idea, there are 37 local assemblies in towns just beginning with “A”: Abrera, Agramunt, Aguilar de Segarra, Agullana, Aiguafreda i Sant Martí de Centelles, Aitona, Albanyà, Albinyana, Alcanar, Alcarràs, Alcoletge, Alcover, Aldea, Alella, Alforja, Almoster, Alt Empordà, Alt Urgell, Alta Ribagorça, Altafulla, Amer, Ametlla del Vallès, Amposta, Anglès, Anglesola, Arbeca,Arboç, Arbúcies, Arenys de Mar, Arenys de Munt, Argelaguer, Argentona, Artés, Artesa de Lleida, Ascó, Avià, Avinyó and Avinyonet del Penedès. Barcelona has assemblies in each district. All these local assemblies organise events (typically, lectures, round tables and film shows) and try to reach out to segments of the population that have not yet become involved. This is laid down in a road map of which successive versions have been voted at each general assembly.
53. Each ANC member can also belong to, or even start up, a “sectoral” assembly, of which there are 54 right now. From vets to firemen, from freemasons to taxi drivers, from teachers to economists, each of these assemblies disseminates good reasons for independence, and works on its view of what a free Catalonia should look like.
54. Over a smiliar period, two-thirds of the country’s local authorities have joined the “Associació de Municipis per a la Independència” (AMI). This has unleashed the ire of the Spanish government’s representative in Catalonia, the “Delegación del Gobierno”, which seems to spend most of its time taking local authorities to court for hanging or not hanging flags from their town halls, for paying the AMI fees, for paying their taxes into the Catalan agency, or for arranging (and gaining considerable profits for charitables bodies in the process) trains to take people to demonstrations...
55. Let us return to September 2012. Colonel Francisco Alamán-Castro said that Catalonia would achieve independence over his dead body and that of many other soldiers (similar accusations of treason and sedition and calls for military intervention have continued regularly, a recent one being on October 4th). This helped to further heat up the atmosphere in the days leading up to Catalonia’s National Day, September 11 2012 (on which the fall of Barcelona to the Bourbon troops in 1714 is commemorated).
56. As I said, but for the demonstration that day, we would not be gathered here right now. The Assemblea’s first large-scale project, to try and turn the annual demonstration in central Barcelona into a massive one for independence, was a colossal success. Throughout the summer there were local marches, blazing the pro-independence flag designed early in the 20th century, and on the day, Barcelona local police recorded that never before had they had to arrange parking spaces for over a thousand coaches. The whole movement hit the media headlines round the world. The media spoke of a turnout as high as 1·5 million people. It was positive, festive, enthusiastic… Still in a state of shock I wrote shortly afterwards that “We have a dream”.
57. It caught Spain’s institutions quite off their guard, including the secret service (CNI). It was like a sudden slap in the face. Only the foreign minister Garcia-Margallo reacted quickly, warning Catalans that an independent Catalonia would “never” be allowed into the European Union (because Spain would veto it). The other ministers seemed overwhelmed by the enormous international impact of the huge demonstration. There was no way they could deny the message being conveyed by the people of Catalonia.
58. The European Commission was wrong-footed. Commissioners Joaquín Almunia, then Viviane Reding, then Barroso made statements in one direction, then were forced (presumably as a result of Spanish diplomatic protestations) to retract or contradict themselves. More recently Amadeu Altafaj, head of gabinet of the Commission’s vicepresident for Economic Affairs Olli Reh, and Johannes Hahn (http://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20131008/54388587546/catalunya-independiente-ue-resolver-relajada.html), Commissioner for Regional Affairs, have both put some common sense into the debate with a reminder: the formal position of the European Commission is that until it is asked for a formal position, by a member state, in the face of a specific, well-defined case (and in the absence of precedents or of Treaty provisions), it has no formal position.
59. The King of Spain jumped into the fray on September 18th, with a letter in which he called (somewhat aggressively, according to some) for unity and against division. 
"In these circumstances, the worst thing we can do is to divide forces, encourage dissension, chase chimeras, or deepen wounds. These are not good times to peer into the essences or to discuss whether those who threaten our model of coexistence are greyhounds or hounds."
60. Just a few days later the King lost his temper with a Catalan politician, in public.
61. A European Parliament vice-president, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, said on the right-wing Nationalist TV station based in Madrid, Intereconomía, that the Spanish government could call in a Civil Guard brigadier to put a stop to Catalonia’s plan to hold a referendum (this idea has again been taken up, according to a report in a digital paper on Monday). Shortly afterwards four Catalan MEPs signed a joint letter to Commissioner Viviane Reding asking the Commission to ensure that democratic rights are respected. In reprisal, MEP Maria Badia was forced to resign as secretary of Spain’s Socialist party group in the EP a few days later, before Reding’s reply. 
62. The September 11 2012 demonstration came very shortly before President Mas was due to pay a visit to prime minister Rajoy (who had been swept into power on November 11 2011 with a comfortable outright majority) on September 20th, to formally convey to him the Catalan Parliament’s request for a new tax distribution deal like the one enjoyed by the Basques and Navarrese since Franco’s time. Mas was snubbed, and made a widely reported, defiant speech in the Catalan government’s office in Madrid (“Blanquerna”, which was to be assaulted by Fascists barely 12 months later). Shortly afterwards he announced that he had taken careful note of the will of the people in the demonstration, and would work towards independence, catching his party – and his coalition partner – off balance. He also said that once the process was complete he would not stand for re-election.
63. In the general politics debate towards the end of the month in the Catalan Parliament, Resolution 742/IX was adopted on September 27, with broad parliamentary support, recalling (among many other things) the Catalan people’s right to decide their own future and calling for Catalan legislation to allow a referendum (or a consultation) to be held.
64. Mas called a snap election for November 25 2012. The election campaign centred round the issue of independence, though it was not plebiscitary in that there was no joint coalition of those favouring independence; and his coalition’s manifesto was less clear than were the speeches of its leaders. During the campaign, in which he promised to organise a referendum on independence and proclaimed his objective of Catalonia becoming a new State in Europe, he was damaged by four factors: (a) his coalition campaign posters portrayed him as a kind of Moses leading Catalonia through the wilderness – an image of a “caudillo” that many Catalans reject, whoever’s face is in it - ; (b) his coalition partner, Josep Antoni Duran-Lleida, openly expressed his dissatisfaction with the objective; (c) the historically high turnout; and (d) a trumped-up “police” report smearing Pujol, Mas and Convergència on charges of tax evasion, that no one has since admitted having written, was published in a viscerally anti-independence Madrid daily, “El Mundo” and was widely distributed (voting day picture, “Photo of the Day”, Yahoo, on November 25th 2012) . It was alleged in a Madrid weekly that the Spanish secret service was involved behind the scenes. In February 2013 an alleged reinforcement of the CNI’s operations in Barcelona was widely reported.
65. In the lead-up to the election, Spanish ministers began to descend upon Catalonia with dramatic messages. Only one reveals their underlying fear: Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz Gallardón said on October 8 2012 that Spain “couldn’t survive in the Eurozone without Catalonia” ("no podría sobrevivir en el euro sin Cataluña").
66. The result was closely monitored by the international press, and was interporeted in two different ways. The Madrid press underlined that Mas had lost 90,000 votes, and 12 (from 62 to 50) seats and viewed that the wind had gone out of his sails. El Mundo’s director boasted that they (I repeat, a Madrid daily) felt as though they had won the election. The Spanish press failed to point out both that his coalition was for the first time committed to achieving independence, and that the leaders of the opposition - for the first time since the death of Franco - were the historical pro-independence Republican Left party, whose results improved greatly. In fact they gained far more new votes than Convergència lost, and advanced 11 seats in the process. The overall outcome, however, was that for the first time since the 1930s there was a clear parliamentary majority in favour of independence. The Socialists’ results reflected their declining credibility and influence in Catalan society, while radical unionists considerably increased their weight.
67. With regard to the November 25 2012 election, Toni Rodon analysed carefully the positions on a two-dimensional scale of each of the main parties. He showed that the Socialists were perceived to have moved to a more unionist position, while Esquerra and, above all, Convergència i Unió, had moved to more separatist positions. Overall, and bearing in mind the results, the electorate clearly moved to a position closer to separatism, while the Madrid press insist on talking about Mas’ separatist “deriva” or “drift”. According to Rodon’s analyses, Convergència lost support mainly from its more leftist voters.
68. In fact, the seats lost by Mas’ coalition were due more to the greatly increased turnout in the elections – a record, not surprisingly given the issue at stake - than to his loss of votes.
69. This parliamentary agreement, a veritable road map, between the two main pro-sovereignty parties was signed by the two leaders, Artur Mas and Oriol Junqueras, on 19 December 2012 and popularly known as the Pact for Freedom, and was hailed as a big step forward, ensuring a governability pact for the whole legislature. As the second largest parliamentary group, Esquerra effectively guaranteed that they would support the government as long as it adhered to the road map, the main commitment being that a referendum would be held in 2014 (though it could be postponed if both agreed to do so, under special circumstances).
70. Having seen that Mas’ plan, despite his poor result, was to surge ahead with parliamentary support, Spanish government ministers, People’s Party politicians (such as EP VP Vidal-Quadras, again, in an interview in June 2013, who said the police would withdraw the ballot boxes if necessary) and army officers (some in the reserve) began to let fly with threats of all kinds in the face of this “Pact for Freedom”. I said earlier I would return briefly to anti-Catalan activities. Throughout the period a number of Spanish media, mostly based in Madrid, have incessantly fuelled a hate campaign. I use this expression judiciously. A well-known broadcaster on a Catholic church-owned radio station was fined €60,000 in March 2007 for having equated the Republican Left party, which is totally committed to peaceful political action, with the Basque terrorist organisation ETA. The Supreme Court quashed the verdict in February 2010.
71. On April 30 of this year Tele-Madrid, the regional public TV channel in the hands of the People’s Party, broadcast a short report directly linking the (mis)use of language by Stalin and Hitler to further nationalism with that of present-day Catalan and Basque leaders. Despite the uproar in Catalonia and the Basque country, the report can still be seen on the Internet. In fact there has been a growing bombardment, significantly from Spanish right-wing circles, in which Catalan leaders are accused of being “Nazis”. Over 20 Catalan organisations have just come together to counterattack in the courts.
72. Aznar’s supposedly neoliberal government had amended the Penal Code in 2003 so as to be able to imprison any regional leader organising a referendum without central government authorisation, looking at that time in the direction of the Basque country. Zapatero’s Socialist government repealed it in 2005 (and in fact in 2011 the Aznar amendment was ruled not to have followed the right procedure, by the Constitutional Court). But Mas could still be charged with prevarication, with disqualification, with disobedience, and according to some, high treason and sedition.
73. On January 23 2013, the Catalan Parliament proclaimed (85 votes in favor, 41 against and 2 abstentions) that Catalonia is a sovereign entity, marking “the beginning of a process by which the citizens of Catalonia will be able to choose their political future as a people”. Years before, on 12 December 1989, the Parliament had declared that accepting the existing institutional framework did not mean that the Catalan people renounced its right to self-determination. Nine years later, in 1998 the Catalan Parliament had again ratified the Catalan people’s right to freely, peacefully and democratically determine its future as a people.
74. The Spanish government’s initial reaction was to pooh-pooh it; some saw this as a typical expression of contempt for all things Catalan. But they soon rethought their position, and at the request of the Spanish government, the Privy Council (Consejo de Estado) hastily issued an Opinion on February 28 2013, which said that in its view the Declaration was contrary to Articles 1, 2.1 and 168 of the Constitution.
75. With this Opinion, the Spanish Cabinet decided on the following day to take the Declaration to the Constitutional Court. Never before had a Parliamentary Declaration been the object of such an appeal.
76. The Constitutional Court, surely flattered at such an unusual invitation, decided to study the case, and temporarily suspended the Declaration (whatever that might mean) in May 2013.
77. I’m sure you’ll all agree that when there’s a problem, people should get round a table and talk together. A call for dialogue between the two governments with a view to the referendum, “en aras a posibilitar la celebración de una consulta a los ciudadanos y ciudadanas de Catalunya para decidir su futuro”, was made by a Catalan group in the Spanish Parliament, on February 26 2013. For the first time since their parliamentary group had been abolished, 13 Catalan Socialist MPs broke the whip and supported the motion. Nevertheless the motion got nowhere: though 35 out of Catalonia’s 47 MPs (74%) voted for it, it was rejected by 274 out of 303 of the other MPs: 90%.
78. On March 13th 2013 the Catalan Parliament adopted an almost identical motion with 104 votes (out of 135 votes: 77% of MPs). No comment.
79. A highpowered “Advisory Council for the National Transition” (Consell Assessor per a la Transició Nacional) foreseen in the agreement between the two main Catalan nationalist parties, first met on April 11 2013, and was given the task of drafting 15-20 reports before the end of the year. The first, on the referendum itself, was delivered on July 25th. It lays down five ways of holding the referendum, or poll, within the legal framework of the Spanish Constitution, confounding an affirmation commonly brandished by opponents, who claim that the Constitution makes a referendum impossible.
80. The next significant step forward was the setting up of the National Pact for the Right to Decide foreseen in the January Declaration. It has to advise the authorities on the steps required to hold the referendum and on the structures needed for a new State. Its members were proposed by the main institutions and organisations in the country. It first met on June 26 2013 in the Parliament of Catalonia, with over 35 bodies represented. A unitary Manifesto was presented on September 16 2013, with the support of over 800 organisations.
81. Returning to the grassroots level, people began to massively chant for independence at Barcelona’s football stadium at minute 17, 14” (often in the second half as well), remembering the year 1714.
82. Cultural events such as the annual proclamation by Òmnium Cultural, of the “Premi d’Honor de les Lletres Catalanes” to a top writer, began to include spontaneous, grassroots chants for independence from their very staid, conservative middle-class audience.
83. And before the summer recess, Òmnium Cultural filled the Barcelona football ground (as had La Crida in the 1980s) with a five-hour long concert well into the night. It was a complete sell-out, and a memorable event.
84. Also just before the summer recess, Mas sent Rajoy a letter, as foreseen in the road map, asking him to negotiate the holding of the referendum. Rajoy’s reply, shortly before the Catalan Way (a coincidence?) was certainly not positive, beyond offering “dialogue” (big deal!). It makes no reference whatsoever to the referendum, the reason for Mas’ letter.
85.On September 11 2013 the Catalan National Assembly once again hit the headlines right across the world. Following many dozens of local “rehearsals” during the summer, we organised a 250-mile-long human chain, the Via Catalana, from one end of Catalonia to the other. 1500 coaches were hired, far more than the historic demonstration of the year before. They had to be hired from as far as Toulouse in France. The high point was at 17.14, as some of you might have imagined, when everyone held hands to the sounds of church bells and until photographers had taken pictures of the whole chain (the “gigaphoto”). There were no gaps in it, despite the hopes of some Madrid media who even hired planes (which in one case flew with Unionist propaganda trailing behind it, and later claimed it was exercising its “freedom of expression”!). At least 600,000 took part by holding hands, but the cities it went through were overwhelmed, particularly Barcelona. Some reports speak of as many as 1,600,000 people, and observers were impressed by the impeccable organisation, which included 30,000 volunteers (Assembly membership, in barely two years, has grown to over 18,700). Despite claims to the contrary, I think it is fair to say that the impact in the international media was considerable.
86. The Presidents of Lithuania and Latvia were interviewed by a Catalan news agency, shortly after the “Catalan Way” human chain and, probably chuffed by the Baltic precedent (the Assemblea invited protagonists from the three countries, to a press conference in Barcelona a week before the Catalan Way), made comments which, though going little further than stating peoples’ right to self-determination, thoroughly exasperated the Spanish government.
87. The Spanish nationalist press has recently shifted its focus from Mas, the hare-brained madman, to the mass of the Catalan population, by arguing that it has been “indoctrinated” by Catalan nationalism. This has expanded especially since the relative failure of what was to be the “silent majority”s vast demonstration in the centre of Barcelona on October 12 2013 in favour of the unity of Spain, but which in the event barely filled the plaça de Catalunya.
88. The Madrid press (and many politicians) have fallen into a number of errors:
· They think this is all a personal whim (“una deriva”, a “drift”) of Sr. Mas, out of the blue.
· They thought that the September 11 2012 demonstration was a momentary collective flush that would blow over.
· They think that this is just about money.
· They think they can scare Catalans out of their foolish ways, by liberally sowing threats of military intervention, boycotts, EU expulsion, financial throttling, pensions, in a word, “mano dura”, a heavy hand.
· They think a “silent majority” in Catalonia will come to their rescue in the end.
89.Since the human chain, the Spanish Socialist party has entered the fray in no uncertain fashion, hammering the Catalan Socialist party for defending Catalonia’s right to decide - though at the risk of further internal division, for they would probably recommend a “No” vote - (former Speaker Bono), and stating that Catalonia’s independence is impossible (former prime minister Felipe González), that Catalonia isn’t going to be independent, it can’t be (former deputy prime minister Alfonso Guerra), that the Senate can abolish Catalonia’s home rule (former Minister Belloch). Sr. Zapatero is the latest to jump on this bandwagon, saying that “What can’t be won’t happen, and that’s secession”. To be fair he’s the first, to my knowledge, who has reached out for a settlement, by calling for a thorough reform of the Constitution (something the PP will not dream of allowing), an idea taken up by current PSOE leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba.
90. But they are all caught in a quandary: should they be campaigning against a referendum being held, or for a “No” vote? Can they afford to do the latter without implicitly accepting the former?
91.In the meantime, there have been personal casualties in this process. Martín Rodríguez Sol, the central government’s Chief Public Prosecutor for Catalonia, said in an interview that it was legitimate for Catalonia to wish to ask its citizens on its political future (but that the existing legal framework allowing a referendum on independence so, he suggested, alternative questions should be sought that “respect legality”. For this he lost his job.
92.A second casualty was Professor Clara Ponsatí, who held the “Prince of Asturias” Chair at Georgetown University (USA), and, on the strength of her participation in an Al Jazheera TV programme supporting Catalonia’s independence, was informed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs that her contract would not be renewed. Georgetown University officials apparently disbelieved this obvious right to the freedom of expression, but Minister Garcia-Margalló eventually admitted the reason. The Chair is not funded by his ministry, but by Endesa, one of the ain electricity companies in Spain.
93. A third casualty was Noureddine Ziani, a Moroccan businessman resident in Catalonia, whose position favourable to Catalonia’s independence, and to encouraging the integration of his fellow countrymen, led to his expulsion from Spain, couched in the alleged role in preaching salafism he was accused of by the Spanish secret service.
94. In parallel two other, less visible processes are worth mentioning. One is the plethora of books and videos about independence. Some are novels (supposedly written 30 years from now), others are political treatises (such as books focussing the process as one of recovery of Catalonia’s lost sovereignty), still others explain in great detail the economic advantages of independence or the likely scale of a commercial boycott that some Spaniards seem to favour (including the foreign minister, to the tune of 20% of Catalonia’s GDP!).
95. Another front is the series of surveys that include one or two questions on the independence issue. A typical question is “What would you like Catalonia’s relationship with Spain to be?”. Over the years only a small proportion favour recentralisation while those satisfied with the current set-up have declined, in favour of federal or outright independence options. Up until recently the “federal” solution (whatever that may mean; in essence, a greater degree of home rule) was chosen by significantly more people than the independence option. But the latter has more or less steadily increased and is now clearly the preferred solution.
96. The other question used to be “If a referendum on the independence of Catalonia were to be held, how would you vote?”, or in some cases an even more biased formulation, “Would you vote “yes” in a referendum on the independence of Catalonia?”. The “No” option tended to win, though not by a very big difference.
97. I ran my own survey in Catalonia, with 1100 subjects, in 2008. It was a sociolinguistic study, but I included five items on home rule, including the question “If a referendum on the independence of Catalonia were to be held, what would you do?”. This broke the forced Yes/No set up, and allowed subjects to legitimately say they would abstain.
98. The positive result made front-page headlines in at least one newspaper: Avui.
99. When the three party leftist coalition was ousted at the polls in 2010, the official “Centre d’Estudis d’Opinió” took on board my question on a hypothetical referendum, so we have a series showing how public opinion has developed in the past two years...
100. Moreover, the reasons given for announcing a “Yes” vote were quite varied: economic, social, cultural… and also identity-linked. The importance of identity was similar in the “No” vote, but there were few other reasons, except for fear or the feeling that independence would never be allowed anyway. The following year, 2009, my university got a grant to undertake two much larger political opinion surveys, one in Catalonia and the other in the rest of Spain. The first repeated the referendum question, and showed a considerable rise in the pro-independence option, amounting for the first time to an outright majority of electors and far, far ahead of “No” votes. The Constitutional Court ruling was still to come!
101. Allow me to conclude. The grassroots movement is now working hard in a climate in which a steady 75%-80% of the adult population of Catalonia are in favour of the referendum being held, and 50%-55% say they will or would vote Yes. The Catalan National Assembly, Òmnium and other organisations are working to spread the word, trying both to dispel doubts - where this is possible -, and to counter the Unionist No campaign (a double No, to the referendum itself, and in terms of the requedted vote) where it disseminates as undisputable facts a list of issues that, unless there is a coup d’état, will probably have to be thrashed out in negotiations with Spain and with international organisations, particularly the European Union.
102. A brief reference needs to be made to the two attempts to make visible popular support for the unity of Spain, and to use the dual Catalan-Spanish identity that many hold to strengthen such support. On October 12 2012 and 2013 (Spain’s National Day), rallies were held in the Plaça de Catalunya, though barely filling the square to judge by photographs; only 60 coaches were hired. Spain’s secret service, the CNI, is alleged to have given them support this year.
103. The ANC right now has five projects underway, basically to cover two different scenarios.
Scenario A: This includes two projects to create the necessary conditions to be able to achieve a majority vote in exercising the right to decide:
Un Sol Poble (“A Single People”): 10,000 events across the country, especially in metropolitan areas, with the help of other organisations, to increase the social majority in favour of a “yes” vote. This will aim to counter the high level of political scaremongering going on right now: pensions, international boycott...
El País que volem (“The Country We Want”): A popular Conference for Our Own State, in which the country we want will be debated, and the reasons for achieving independence will be consolidated. Debates such as the future status of languages in an independent Catalonia have already generated many dozens of articles, mainly in the press.
Scenario B: This includes projects which would reinforce the legitimacy of a unilateral declaration of independence if the Spanish government blocks every one of the ways of holding a referendum or a poll on independence.
Signa un Vot per la Independència (“Sign a vote for Independence): Forms will be gathered of citizens exercising the right of petition.
De la Desobediència a la Sobirania (“From Desobedience to Sovereignty”): Activities involving civil disobedience and for building the structures of the new State.
Scenarios A+B: A project which is needed in either of the two scenarios:
Catalunya al Món (“Catalonia in the World”): To make more visible across the world Catalonia’s struggle to exercise her right to decide, gaining complicities wherever possible (in a probably futile attempt to counter Spain’s powerful diplomatic machinery which, ironically, Catalans help to pay for). No Catalans are so ingenuous as to think that Europe will move a finger to support our cause: we look back sorrowfully to the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht and to the 1936 “nonintervention” pact.
104. The longstanding dream of extending Castilian culture to the rest of Spain, which has made dramatic inroads in many areas (notably in Valencia, Navarre and Galicia), is alive and kicking. And its kicks want to shatter Catalonia’s well-established languages-in-school model with a new education act, reduce Catalonia’s legislative powers, centralise telecommunications powers, cripple Catalonia’s economy (which used to head the regional per capita ranking and is now fifth), spew abuse at us from Madrid-based TV channels, radio stations and newspapers whose conduct would be unacceptable in other western democracies, as well as having already effectively pulverised Catalonia’s traditional savings banks, cinema industry, stock exchange, advertising industry... and the list goes on. Right now political jostling is almost a daily spectacle. There are 25 legal conflicts between the two governments queuing up at the doors of the Constitutional Court. There are protocol battles – two this very week – as to who chairs meetings in Barcelona, and who has the right to address international meetings here (with attempts to break longstanding traditions in this regard).
105. So the Catalans are at a momentous crossroads in their, in our, history. And from the grassroots, the struggle, which has been increasing in scale and intensity since at least 2006, is essentially a democratic struggle. A struggle quite simply to be able to decide our own collective future: we want to vote. It is a struggle to survive as a people. Not above, but not below, the other peoples that inhabit this rapidly shrinking planet.
 Toni Strubell (2006). From pillage to reparation: the struggle for the Salamanca papers. 19 pp. London School of Economics, 8 November. http://www.gencat.cat/cooperacioexterior/cce/pdf/discurs_LSE.pdf
 I use the word unashamedly, though fully aware of the pejorative meaning attached to the term. “The term ‘nationalist’ was first deployed pejoratively in Communist rhetoric at the June 1948 meeting of the Cominform to condemn the Yugoslav ‘deviation’” [Judt, John (2005). Post War: A History of Europe since 1945, London: Vintage Books (2010 edition), p. 176].
At Alfred Einstein’s suggestion, following a visit to Barcelona in 1923, Catalan Nationalists opted to call themselves “Catalanistes”, for the same reason, according to Josep Termes (2009), (Nou) Resum d'Història del Catalanisme. Barcelona: Base, p. 142. See also Ucelay Da Cal, Enrique (2002). The Shadow of a Doubt: Fascist and Communist Alternatives in Catalan Separatism, 1919-1939. WP No. 198. Institut de Ciències Polítiques i Socials (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), Barcelona, 2002, p. 12. http://www.icps.cat/archivos/WorkingPapers/WP_I_198.pdf
 Zapatero promete apoyar la reforma del Estatut que apruebe el Parlament. El País, 14 November 2003. http://elpais.com/diario/2003/11/14/catalunya/1068775645_850215.html
 Manifestació 18 febrer 2006: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=playerdetailpage&v=02jE2J7EFEA (1’ 50”)
 Abogacía del Estado ante el Tribunal Constitucional (2006). Súplica. 2 November 2006. 301 pp. http://blogs.iec.cat/scej/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2011/05/2663AdvocatEstat2-11-06.pdf
 Juliana, Enric (2007). “Ay, ‘català emprenyat’!”, La Vanguardia, 7 February, p. 14. http://www.caffereggio.net/2007/02/07/aay-catala-emprenyat-enric-juliana-la-vanguardia/
 “Emprenyat” would be better translated as “pissed off”!
 “Montilla advierte que habrá más "desafección" catalana con España según vaya la financiación y el Estatut”. La Vanguardia, 12 March 2009. http://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20090312/53659136951/montilla-advierte-que-habra-mas-desafeccion-catalana-con-espana-segun-vaya-la-financiacion-y-el-es.html
 de Esteban, Jorge (2010). “Una sola Nación: España” (Just one Nation: Spain), El Mundo, 11 January 2010. http://www.elmundo.es/opinion/tribuna-libre/2010/01/21806695.html
 'La dignitat de Catalunya', editorial conjunt de dotze diaris catalans. Parlament de Catalunya. http://www.parlament.cat/web/actualitat/noticies?p_format=D&p_id=24804046
 Tribunal Constitucional. Pleno. Sentencia 31/2010, de 28 de junio de 2010. Recurso de inconstitucionalidad 8045-2006. 491 pages. Substantial part of the Decision, 135 pages: pp. 261-395. (p. 261: ”II. Fundamentos jurídicos”, p. 394: “Fallo”). http://boe.es/boe/dias/2010/07/16/pdfs/BOE-A-2010-11409.pdf
 e.g. a special issue of the Revista Catalana de Dret Públic (Catalan Journal of Public Law).
 Manifestació ‘sense precedents’. Diari de Girona, 11 September 2012. http://www.diaridegirona.cat/tema-dia/2012/09/11/manifestacio-precedents/580880.html
 e.g. “Zapatero y Montilla acuerdan sortear la sentencia del 'Estatut', pero no dicen cómo”, La Verdad, 22 July 2010. http://www.laverdad.es/murcia/v/20100722/espana/zapatero-montilla-acuerdan-sortear-20100722.html ; “Montilla exige a Zapatero una reparación moral a Catalunya” La Vanguardia, 22 July 2010. http://hemeroteca.lavanguardia.com/preview/2010/07/22/pagina-10/82539344/pdf.html
 Heribert Barrera, Agustí Bassols, Joan Blanc, Moisès Broggi i Oriol Domènech. “Manifest a favor d'una conferència nacional del sobiranisme”, Avui, 15 May 2010. http://paper.avui.cat/article/politica/191098/manifest/favor/duna/conferencia/nacional/sobiranisme.html
 Estrasburg 1982, Brussel·les 2009, El Punt Avui, 16 March 2009. http://www.elpuntavui.cat/noticia/article/-/17-politica/14879-estrasburg-1982-brusselmles-2009.html
 Source: Ministerio de Economía y Hacienda (2008). Las Balanzas Fiscales de las CC.AA. Españolas con las Administraciones Públicas Centrales. 2005. Madrid: Instituto de Estudios Fiscales. Secretaría de Estado de Hacienda y Presupuestos. 26 pp. http://www.meh.es/Documentacion/Publico/GabineteMinistro/Varios/BalanzasFiscalesCCAA.pdf
 e.g. Vilajoana:"No és raonable que quan Mas reclama a l'Estat el que pertoca a Catalunya per llei i demani el que se li deu, se'ns acusi d'endur-nos la caixa". 23 February 2011. http://www.convergencia.cat/fitxa_noticies.php?news_ID=25591
 e.g. El Model Fiscal Alemany: comparativa amb el model fiscal español. Cercle Català de Negocis, November 2011. 34 pp. http://www.ccncat.cat/sites/default/files/modelfiscal.pdf; “La Mentira Deliberada del 4% Alemán”, by Joaquim Coll. 16 March 2012. http://quiron.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/la-mentira-deliberada-del-4-aleman-por-joaquim-coll/. See Urteil des Zweiten Senats vom 11. November 1999 (2 BvF 2/98; 2 BvF 3/98; 2 BvF 1/99; and 2 BvF 2/99). http://www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/entscheidungen/fs19991111_2bvf000298.html. A clear explanation of Germany’s tax distribution system is to be found in Klaus-Jürgen Nagel (2013). “Solidaritat territorial a Alemanya: quan el sud paga el nord (i l’est)”, Eines 18: 69-77.
 P. CERDÀ “Ferrmed defiende que el eje por el Mediterráneo es más rentable que la ruta pirenaica”, Levante-EMV.com, 19 May 2010. http://www.levante-emv.com/comunitat-valenciana/2010/05/19/ferrmed-defiende-eje-mediterraneo-rentable-ruta-pirenaica/706733.html
 Plataforma pro Seleccions Catalanes. http://www.seleccions.cat/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=16&Itemid=55&lang=ca
 Desitjos acomplerts, Salvador Cardús, AVUI, p. 3 de gener del 2010. http://paper.avui.cat/article/dialeg/181406/desitjos/acomplerts.html
I què ens ha deixat el 2009? Doncs una profunda recuperació empíricament demostrable d'autoconfiança nacional, expressada en una rebrotada de mobilització que assenyala un canvi de fons en la cultura política del país i que augura grans transformacions que començaran a donar fruit aquest mateix 2010. Dir que el país s'ha aixecat en estat de guerra, seria una fanfarronada ridícula. No és això. Des del meu punt de vista, ja és molt que el país amb consciència nacional s'hagi desvetllat, que hagi considerat que ja n'hi havia prou i que s'hagi decidit a passar a l'acció.
 "PSC i PP s'alien ara per rebutjar cedir espais a la consulta a Barcelona". Vilaweb, 3 February 2010. http://www.vilaweb.cat/noticia/3685502/psc-pp-salien-rebutjar-cedir-espais-consulta-barcelona.html
 "Manifestació ‘sense precedents’". Diari de Girona, 11 September 2012. http://www.diaridegirona.cat/tema-dia/2012/09/11/manifestacio-precedents/580880.html
 13 November 2013. http://miquelstrubell.blogspot.com/2012/11/we-have-dream.html
 Un general diu que el CNI no ha prestat atenció a l'independentisme. El Periódico. 14 october 2012. http://www.elperiodico.cat/ca/noticias/politica/general-diu-que-cni-prestat-atencio-lindependentisme-2225171
 Almunia veu "precipitat" dir que Catalunya quedaria fora de la UE si s'independitza. Ara, 12 September 2012. http://www.ara.cat/especials/onzesetembre2012/Almunia-precipitat-Catalunya-UE-sindependitza0772722843.html
Almunia: "No es honesto decir de forma tajante que Catalunya quedaría fuera de la UE si fuera independiente". La Vanguardia, 23 October 2012. http://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20121023/54353829727/almunia-honesto-decir-forma-tajante-catalunya-quedaria-fuera-ue-si-fuera-independiente.html
Almunia rectifica i ara diu que Catalunya quedaria fora de la UE si s'independitzés. 324.cat 05/11/2012. http://www.324.cat/noticia/1960172/politica/Almunia-rectifica-i-ara-diu-que-Catalunya-quedaria-fora-de-la-UE-si-sindependitzes
 "Ninguna ley dice que Cataluña deba salir de la UE si se independiza". Diario de Sevilla, 30 September 2012. http://www.diariodesevilla.es/article/espana/1364398/ninguna/ley/dice/cataluna/deba/salir/la/ue/si/se/independiza.html
"Exclusive: European Commission changes Vice President’s Catalonia remarks after pressure from Madrid". Martin Kelly. 18 October 2012. http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-news/6071-exclusive-european-commission-changes-vice-presidents-catalonia-remarks-after-pressure-from-madrid
 "En estas circunstancias, lo peor que podemos hacer es dividir fuerzas, alentar disensiones, perseguir quimeras, ahondar heridas. No son estos tiempos buenos para escudriñar en las esencias ni para debatir si son galgos o podencos quienes amenazan nuestro modelo de convivencia." http://www.casareal.es/CA/FamiliaReal/rey/Paginas/reycartasdetalle.aspx?data=51
 El Rey abroncó a un dirigente de CiU en La Zarzuela por la deriva soberanista. El Confidencial, 8 October 2012. http://www.elconfidencial.com/espana/2012/10/08/el-rey-abronco-a-un-dirigente-de-ciu-en-la-zarzuela-por-la-deriva-soberanista-106897
 “Vidal-Quadras pide intervenir Catalunya con la Guardia Civil”. 28/09/2012. La Vanguardia. http://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20120928/54352005936/vidal-quadras-intervenir-catalunya-guardia-civil.html.
He returned to the attack with a similar threat in June 2013: “Vidal-Quadras avisa que la policia confiscaria les urnes en cas d'una consulta "criminal". 17/06/2013. Ara. http://www.ara.cat/politica/Vidal-Quadras-policia-confiscaria-consulta-criminal_0_939506201.html
 La última baza del Gobierno ante una ‘rebelión final’ de Cataluña: quitará las competencias de seguridad y educación. El Confidencial Digital. 21/10/2013. http://www.elconfidencialdigital.com/politica/Gobierno-Cataluna-competencias-seguridad-educacion02147785206.html
 Carta dels eurodiputats: http://www.vilaweb.cat/media/attach/vwedts/docs/CartaReding.doc
“Reding es desentén de la queixa contra Vidal-Quadras”. El Periódico, 6 November 2012. http://www.elperiodico.cat/ca/noticias/politica/reding-desenten-queixa-contra-vidal-quadras-2243563
 Parlament de Catalunya, Resolució 742/IX. Secció III. Procés per a esdevenir un nou estat d’Europa. 27 de setembre de 2012. http://www.parlament.cat/activitat/bopc/09b390.pdf
 “Diez millones contra la independencia”, by . Interviú, 05/04/2013. http://www.interviu.es/reportajes/articulos/diez-millones-contra-la-independencia
 “Diagonal 666, l'adreça del CNI a Catalunya”. Vilaweb, 12 February 2013. http://www.vilaweb.cat/noticia/4086125/20130219/diagonal-666-cni-catalunya.html
 “Gallardón: 'España no podría sobrevivir en el euro sin Cataluña'”. El Mundo, October 8 2010. http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2012/10/08/barcelona/1349707396.html
 “Les ‘dimensions’ de la política catalana”. Toni Rodon. 6 March 2013. http://blogspersonals.ara.cat/elpatidescobert/2013/03/06/les-dimensions-de-la-politica-catalana/
 “La fuga de vots de CiU” (II). Toni Rodon. El Pati Descobert (blog). http://blogspersonals.ara.cat/elpatidescobert/2013/06/17/la-fuga-de-vots-de-ciu-ii/
 e.g. “Vidal-Quadras avisa que la policia confiscaria les urnes en cas d'una consulta ‘criminal’” Ara, 17 June 2013. http://www.ara.cat/politica/Vidal-Quadras-policia-confiscaria-consulta-criminal_0_939506201.html. This was widely reported as a “Press Association” interview. In correspondsence with the Association I received a reply denying the eixstence of the interview).
 TeleMadrid, La imposición y la perversión del lenguaje. 30 April 2013. (Video). http://www.telemadrid.es/programas/zoom-telemadrid/la-imposicion-y-perversion-del-lenguaje
 El Mundo, 28 September 2012. http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2012/09/27/espana/1348774116.html
 Parlament de Catalunya. Resolució 5/X del Parlament de Catalunya, per la qual s’aprova la Declaració de sobirania i del dret a decidir del poble de Catalunya. Tram. 250-00059/10 i 250-00060/10. 23 January 2013. http://www.parlament.cat/actualitat/R5Xsobirania.pdf
Declaration on the Sovereignty and right to decide of the people of Catalonia (EN): http://www.vilaweb.cat/noticia/4076896/20130124/declaration-of-sovereignty-and-of-the-right-to-decide-of-the-catalan-nation.html
 Consejo de Estado (2013). Dictamen: Procedencia de la impugnación de disposiciones sin fuerza de ley y resoluciones de las Comunidades Autónomas prevista en el artículo 161.2 de la Constitución en relación con la Resolución 5/X del Parlamento de Cataluña de 23 de enero de 2013 por la que se aprueba la "Declaración de soberanía y del derecho a decidir del pueblo de Cataluña". 28 de febrero de 2013. http://www.boe.es/buscar/doc.php?id=CE-D-2013-147
 Departament de Governació i Relacions Institucionals. Press communiqué. “El Tribunal Constitucional suspèn la Declaració de sobirania del Parlament de Catalunya.” May 9 2013. http://www20.gencat.cat/portal/site/governacio/menuitem.0bdfe017f64124de8e629e30b0c0e1a0/?vgnextoid=f0a1de7e55637310VgnVCM2000009b0c1e0aRCRD&vgnextchannel=f0a1de7e55637310VgnVCM2000009b0c1e0aRCRD&vgnextfmt=detall&contentid=8f1cc5bec988e310VgnVCM1000008d0c1e0aRCRD
 Vilaweb. El Consell per a la Transició Nacional tindrà l'informe sobre la consulta abans de l'estiu”. April 11 2013. http://www.vilaweb.cat/noticia/4104326/20130411/consell-transicio-nacional-tindra-linforme-consulta-abans-lestiu.html
 Generalitat de Catalunya. Consell Assessor per a la Transició Nacional. La Consulta sobre el Futur Polític de Catalunya. July 25 2013. 220 pp. http://premsa.gencat.cat/presfsvp/docs/2013/07/25/21/43/63684651-2219-42c3-bc5c-c1d8ce06fe65.pdf
 Including 173 local authorities, 9 district councils and the Barcelona “Diputació”, or county council. See http://www.municipisindependencia.cat/mapes/pacte-pel-dret-a-decidir/ and http://www.dretadecidir.cat/
 Carta d'Artur Mas a Mariano Rajoy. Vilaweb, 27 July 2013. http://www.vilaweb.cat/noticia/4136207/20130727/carta-dartur-mas-mariano-rajoy.html
 “Mil autobusos rumb els 778 trams de la Via”. September 11 2013. http://www.laxarxa.com/noticia/mil-cinc-cents-autobusos-rumb-els-778-trams-de-la-via.
 See 'Una avioneta de Intereconomía sobrevuela la 'Vía catalana' con el lema "España: juntos, más fuertes". Ecoteuve, 11 September 2013. http://ecoteuve.eleconomista.es/informativos/noticias/5131768/09/13/Intereconomia-alquila-dos-helicopteros-para-buscar-huecos-en-la-Via-catalana.html. The organisers were even accused by an ultranationalist digital newspaper of using cows to complete gaps! “La cadena humana por la independencia recurrió a las vacas lecheras para completar algunos tramos del 11-S”. Alerta Digital, 11 September 2013. http://www.alertadigital.com/2013/09/11/el-esperpento-catalanista-la-cadena-humana-por-la-independencia-conto-con-figurantes-de-carton-en-algunos-tramos/; and cardboard figures! “AD ofrece imágenes de los figurantes de cartón utilizados para llenar huecos en la ‘cadena humana’ catalana del día 11”. Alerta Digital, 14 September 2013. http://www.alertadigital.com/2013/09/14/ad-ofrece-imagenes-de-los-figurantes-de-carton-utilizados-para-llenar-huecos-en-la-cadena-humana-del-dia-11/
 La Via Catalana, a la premsa internacional. Un recull actualitzat del ressò de la cadena humana de l'Onze de Setembre als mitjans de tot el món. Vilaweb, 11 September 2013.http://www.vilaweb.cat/noticia/4143079/20130911/via-catalana-premsa-internacional.pdf
 See Pol Sureda’s article on Joan Fuster’s paper (1979) Franco i l’espanyolisme, (2005 edition EAN: 9788472561779) in which he recalls that “In 1935, at a rally held, in San Sebastian no less, that is, in the colonies, José Calvo Sotelo, the charismatic leader of the rightwing National Catholic Monarchists, said that he preferred Spain to be “antes roja que rota” (red rather than broken): http://webs.racocatala.cat/eltalp/fuster3.htm#nota3 (my translation). See footnote 10. Significantly, David Castillo recalled the famous saying on October 5 2013: “Antes roja que rota”, El Punt Avui, http://www.elpuntavui.cat/noticia/article/7-vista/8-articles/681567-antes-roja-que-rota.html?cca=1&tmpl=component&print=1&page=
 “Bono cree que Cataluña está "a las puertas de la independencia" y que el PSC tiene "gran parte de culpa"”. Europa Press. 13 September 2013. http://www.europapress.es/nacional/noticia-bono-cree-cataluna-puertas-independencia-psc-tiene-gran-parte-culpa-20130913140623.html
 “El sentiment nacionalista a Catalunya està imposat pel govern” (“Nationalists sentiment in Catalonia is imposed by the government”). Catalunya Ràdio, 13 June 2013, http://www.catradio.cat/noticia/23221/Alfonso-Guerra; “Cataluña no va a ser independiente, no puede serlo” (“Catalonia isn’t going to be independent, it can’t be”), 29 September 2013, http://noticias.terra.es/espana/alfonso-guerra-cataluna-no-va-a-ser-independiente-no-puede-serlo,7172ac5411b51410VgnCLD2000000dc6eb0aRCRD.html
 El exministro Belloch pide la suspensión de la autonomía de Catalunya”, La Vanguardia, 1 October 2013, http://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20131001/54388244725/exministro-belloch-suspension-autonomia-catalunya.html
 “Lo que no puede ser no va a suceder, que es una secesión". Zapatero descarta la secesión de Cataluña. Europa Press. Europa Press. 20 October 2013. http://www.europapress.es/nacional/noticia-zapatero-descarta-secesion-cataluna-20131020225215.html
 “Rubalcaba proposa votar la reforma de la Constitució en comptes de la consulta”, by S. González and O. March Barcelona, Ara, 25/10/2013. http://www.ara.cat/politica/NAVARRO-RUBALCABA-MAS-REUNIO_0_1016298588.html
 “Torres-Dulce cesará al fiscal de Catalunya por avalar una consulta soberanista”, El Público, 4 March 2013. http://www.publico.es/451615/torres-dulce-cesara-al-fiscal-de-catalunya-por-avalar-una-consulta-soberanista
 “Margallo proclama que no permitirá apoyos a la secesión desde las cátedras”, La Vanguardia, 8 May 2013. http://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20130508/54373911350/margallo-proclama-no-permitira-apoyos-secesion-catedras.html
 “Ziani ya ha sido detenido en Barcelona y expulsado a Marruecos”. La Vanguardia, 16 May 2013. http://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20130516/54373586487/ziani-ya-ha-sido-detenido-barcelona-expulsado-marruecos.html
 Toni Rodon, Suport a la independència: continua pujant”, EL Pati Descobert blog, 20 June 2013. http://blogspersonals.ara.cat/elpatidescobert/2013/06/20/suport-a-la-independencia-continua-pujant/
 “La mitad de los catalanes votaría a favor de la independencia”. La Vanguardia, 26 February 2010. http://www.lavanguardia.es/politica/noticias/20100226/53896180810/la-mitad-de-los-catalanes-votaria-a-favor-de-la-independencia-uoc-madrid-universidad-complutense-uni.html
 “Rajoy ha encargado al CNI un plan para ‘defender’ la unidad de España y Cataluña”. El Confidencial Digital, 22/10/2013. http://www.elconfidencialdigital.com/seguridad/Rajoy-encargado-CNI-Espana-Cataluna_0_2148385169.html
 e.g. “La Cataluña independiente no podría pagar las pensiones”. La Razón, 20 October 2013. http://www.larazon.es/detalle_normal/noticias/4038644/espana/la-cataluna-independiente-no-podria-pagar-las-pensiones
e.g. “Cualquier secesión de una parte de algunos de los estados miembros lo sitúa fuera de la Unión”. “Ruiz-Gallardón: «Artur Mas jamás verá la independencia de Cataluña»”. La Razón, 20 October 2013. http://www.larazon.es/detalle_normal/noticias/4038509/espana/ruiz-gallardon-artur-mas-jamas-vera-la-independencia-de-cataluna
 e.g. Montse Sendra, Les llengües a la Catalunya independent: cronologia interactiva 1 (del 22-01-2012 al 06-06-2013), http://www.dipity.com/montsesendra/Cronologia-darticles-Llengua-i-independencia/; Les llengües a la Catalunya independent: cronologia interactiva 2 (del 06-06-2013 a l'actualitat), http://www.dipity.com/montsesendra/Les-llengues-a-la-Catalunya-independent-cronologia-interactiva-2/