Gandhi and Catalonia

Selected By : Bertrand de Foucauld

At first they ignore you, then laugh at you, then attack you, then you win. How much this phrase of Gandhi, which the Indians celebrate today, with great pomp, the anniversary of the birth, takes all its value in the Catalan secessionist movement.


Yesterday morning, again, we wondered what the reaction of the Spanish central government [Date:2017-10-02] would be and whether it would fall into the classic trap of police violence. Answer: charges against the crowd, 844 people injured, two seriously [1], polling stations - often schools - sacked by the Spanish authorities, European neighbors uneasy before a dilemma which, is already done, could become theirs for many of them.


Of course, the head of the central government, Mariano Rajoy, elected in the framework of a parliamentary monarchy, plays his role of protector of the Spanish nation, using its tools which are the Spanish justice and public force, both established in the framework of a constitution that was not only accepted by the majority of Spaniards but also by the European Union. Government policemen, faced with an insurrectionary situation, have received orders to re-establish the rule of law.


 Despite these confrontations between the crowd and the police, 73% of the polling stations remained open and the election was able to take place. Two ways of seeing this result: Carles Puigdemont, President of the Generalitat de Catalunya, affirms that the power of the people [2] prevailed over the physical repression of the central government; or Madrid gave orders that the secessionist movement, declared illegal by the justice of the country, should be repressed but \"with moderation\".


 Often politicians or economists assert that the management of a state is not the same as that of a household. This assertion can be called into question. Indeed, the basic rules remain identical: one remains together only by a common will, reciprocal, to create together a project. In a household, in the event of a crisis, either the couple will try to unite again, finding means to cross the critical period, either one will want to leave. But the other can not retain it by force: the use of brutality would provoke a reinforcement of rejection! The same set of relations takes place for a political institution.


 Equally, financial management must be based on the fact that, within a few months for a family or a few years for a State, expenditure can not exceed income, especially when these the operation of the institution and not the industrial investments.


 Let us take the example of the first economic power in the European Union, Germany, which generates several tens of billions of euros each year in surplus and realizes surplus budgets, despite the Reunification and the increase of wages and social assistance. The majority of Germans could be tempted to leave the European Union: the last legislative election on September 24, which confirmed a fourth term for Angela Merkel, proved the contrary, despite the fact that the nationalist movement took and that it would be a mistake to neglect the latter.


 Even if this means financing social spending in favor of other countries, particularly those in the southern zone, the industrious and wealthy Germany - which does not prevent some employees from benefiting from very modest incomes [3 ] - remains in the EU In return, it simply has access to the world\'s largest market (23.9% of global GDP in 2014 [4]). Even if the Europe of the 28 is a very bureaucratic institution, slow to manage and often far from ordinary European citizens, the Germans also benefit from a structure which now more than 70 years of peace and prosperity and whose hymn is not a martial song but an ode to peace, composed by Ludwig von Beethoven, excuse the bit!


 Catalonia is part of a double, irrepressible process. On the one hand, the most prosperous region of Spain enjoys a geographical position favorable to maritime and land trade, looking towards the continental scale to which it wishes to be directly linked. On the other hand, it reaffirms, like several European territorial entities in recent years, its attachment to its local dimension: the Catalan language vis-a-vis the English of European tourists and the Castilian of the central government, a Barcelona urbanism influenced by multiple cultural currents, but having developed its original character, and finally a technological know-how resulting from its industrial and intellectual past.


Let us hope that this continental / global and local movement takes place in peace, in the spirit of Bapu Gandhi, the father of a subcontinent that is certainly different from ours but whose distant roots we share, and perhaps too, identical values.


Bertrand de Foucauld

Photo : Tulika Bhaskar (Ritara Apps) and BdF


[1] According to the Catalan health services.


[2] The \"yes\" to independence gained 90% of the votes according to the Catalan authorities.


[3] In 2017, the minimum hourly wage in Germany was 8.84 euros, compared with 9.76 in France. The German figures take into account their recent upgrading.


[4] Sources: INSEE, seen on October 2, 2017. [Available on:]

Location : Barcelone, Espagne Date : 2017-10-02 21:39:16