After a declaration of independence that followed a successful independence referendum, the Spanish government imposed direct rule on Catalan, sent in the national police, and forced many of Catalan’s leaders into exile abroad. Speaking from Brussels, Carles Puigdemont, the deposed president of Catalan, insisted on his legitimacy and said, “‘To the people of Catalonia, I ask them to be ready for a very long path. We are facing a state that only understands the reason of force.'” With these flood of developments, it is clear that the occupied state of Catalan has a long road ahead of it before they can fully realize their hope of independence. And while the Spanish regime is unlikely to bring the Catalan back into the Iberian fold willingly, especially if they continue in their belief that Catalonia is only one more bloodied and beaten grandma away from assimilation, autonomy is likely a long way off. So, what went wrong? Certainly, according to the principle of the right of self-determination, Catalonia has a just claim to independence. Why didn’t it work, and how does this contrast to Texas’ own struggle for independence?
First of all, the Catalan government had certain constitutional inhibitions to independence. The right of the people to withdraw their consent notwithstanding, the language of the Spanish constitution was an obstacle that needed more finesse than just ignoring it. In the case of Texas, there is no COTUS prohibition to leaving the Union, sending that power back to the states via the tenth amendment. Additionally, in the Texas Constitution, it says leaving the Union for impairing our right to “local self-government” is also our right. So, by both the Union and State constitutions, we’re already on better ground than Catalan.
Second, the Catalan were largely un-armed. As covered in yesterday’s article, an unarmed populace is often at the mercy of an armed government. If the United States were to try to void a legal and peaceful referendum on Texas independence, they couldn’t just march in jack-boots. Texas is country that cherishes and exercises its right to bear arms; that status already demands respect, and makes it unlikely the U.S. would attempt an occupation. Also, with as many Texans that already fill the U.S. military ranks, it is unlikely that such commands would be followed.
Third, Catalan lacked support. Catalan’s plan for independence seemed to be to secede from Spain and join the European Union, effectively swapping the higher authority they had for a much larger one. That’s a problem if the EU and its member states vocally don’t support you and the EU openly states that you won’t be welcome. This was true in Catalan’s case. The goal of Texas independence is independence, itself! We don’t want to join with Mexico or some hypothetical federation of previous American states, and quite frankly, we don’t need to. From our national infrastructure, to our abundant natural resources, to possessing an economy to ranks 9th or 10th globally, we would have no need or use for another union. Additionally, I think you would find a variety of major world powers would be ready to recognize and trade with an independent Texas, unlike Catalan.
The situation with Catalan is frustrating. You would think that a European state would have the sophistication to understand that you can’t just force a people to accept your dominance in the 21st century. However, this is always the danger the more you allow state to acquire power and grow. However, the Catalonian people understood that they faced greater independence-difficulties than Texas and yet chose to give freedom a chance. That commands respect.
I sincerely hope there is a brighter tomorrow for an independent Catalan. In the meantime, Texas needs to look to its own federal monster and depart it before it engulfs us.