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Sunday, February 03, 2013

Regional Government of Catalonia approves "Declaration of Sovereignty"

by Clifford F. Thies

We last reported on Catalonia in December.

Now we hear (Catalan News Agency) that the parliament of the regional government of Catalonia was voted to approve a referendum on a declaration of sovereignty.

The motion was carried 85 "si" to 41 "no," with 2 voting to "abstain," and 5 not voting. Apparently, there are some legislators in Catalonia who, when it comes time to vote on the most important issue of the day, do the Obama thing and vote "present."

Support came from the Catalan National Coalition (CiU) (center-right), the Catalan Independence Party (ERC) (left-wing), the Green-Communist Coalition (left-wing), and the Independence Party (also left-wing). Opposition came from the Popular Party (center-right) and Socialist Party (center-left).

The CiU has the largest bloc of votes in the regional parliament, but less than a majority. Through last year, it was governing with the support of the Popular Party on economic issues, and with the support of the left-wing parties on sovereignty issues. This year, CiU and ERC have entered into a coalition agreement.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of the Popular Party describes the referendum as mere rhetoric.

The Statement (the complete but unofficial translation can be found at the link) asserts, "The people of Catalonia have, for reasons of democratic legitimacy, the status of a sovereign political and legal entity." This position, which is not the radical libertarian principle of individual sovereignty, is in keeping with the emerging international law concerning sovereignty. The emerging international law indicates that a definable people in a definable place has a right to sovereignty.

For example, the people of Kosovo, or those of East Timor, being distinct from the people of the larger nation in which they find themselves, and constituting a large enough percentage of a place that can be defined and can be politically viable, have a right to be sovereign.

As to whether such a place should be a separate nation or - the way they do it in Russia - an autonomous republic within a larger nation, is something to be negotiated. Reflecting an embrace of this principle, Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom expressed a willingness to go along with a reasonable further devolution of power with Scotland upon the victory of the Scottish National Party in the most recent election in that place.

But certain assholes are dismissive of expressions of frustration by people from the far-flug regions of their empire. We Libertarians believe that all human relations should be based on love and mutual advantage, and that the only legitimate use of force is in self-defense. And, while we firmly believe in the teachings and personal examples of Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King regarding non-violence, nevertheless, we join with Thomas Jefferson and the Founders of this country:

"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

Knowing what would be involved in a war of independence or a civil war, we commit ourselves to the peaceful route, and we wish our friends in Catalonia and the other regions of Spain and through all of Spain, that they will peaceful make any adjustments in their relations with each other.

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