Funny thing about certain kinds of printed fabrics: when they appear, rational thought is replaced by patriotic platitudes and other mob dynamics. Something similar happens with certain kinds of printed paper, which the mind tends to mistake for something of value. Such behavior is itself “imprinted” on our brains in a Pavlovian fashion: see flag, bark; see C-spot, drool.
So after the massive independence rally on September 11th, in which Catalans got flag-waving mad yet again, the national political discourse immediately dived into the old trenches and began the bombing campaign with all kinds of verbal ordnance, from less-than-subtle hints to downright calls for a military intervention. Down in the bomb shelters of Barcelona, the Catalan politico class is grimly weathering the onslaught and planning their next move, which is no more and no less than the Holy Grail of Catalan nationalism: the keys to the tax collection coffer, aka “el concierto económico”. Sure, there’s national identity and language and culture, but all that’s for the flag-wavers; what the politicos are fighting over is who collects from the herd and who pays who. To Catalan president Mas, the flag wavers are the chips that he’s just heaped on the bargaining table… gee, wonder who he learned that move from?
Now president Ratjoy, “he who bringeth bliss to rodents”, must see the bet or risk getting played. Currently the scheme runs like this: the central government in Madrid collects taxes on all Spanish citizens and divvies it up among the regions at it sees fit. For rural regions, this works just fine because they receive more than they put in to level out regional economic differences; while for industrial regions like Catalonia it is a relative burden that has been borne without much complaint as long as the economy was booming and the credit was flowing.
Ever since the crisis began, however, the tithe collected from the Catalan livestock is being used to pay the international bankster crime syndicate, and in return we are given “austerity”. Make no mistake: this is the real driving force behind the 9-11 manifestation; the desire not so much for an independent state but for an end to the plunder by any means necessary. Folks here are pissed off not because they’re Catalan but because they’re sick and tired of getting ripped off by the bankster peen puppets in Madrid.
Many Spaniards think that Catalans are stingy and insolidary for demanding independence; many Catalans feel some Spaniards think that famous song “money for nothin’ and checks for free” is about them. In the end both are just getting played by wily ol’ Brer State, which exerts full spectrum dominance over both sides of the issue by trapping the discourse in the confines of the old territorial paradigm, in which the notion of independence is drowned in a mire of irrelevant banalities which make it seem downright absurd. Will the nation of Catalonia have its own army? Will it have borders with Aragón and Valencia? Will its passports be accepted abroad? Who will the Barça play against? Who will protect Barcelona from Mussolini’s aviation? And so on and so forth ad nauseum infinitum.
In the end, the only possible outcome of this constrained logic is either submission or rebellion, both of which are fine by Brer State. The former is the default state, but in case of the latter, well, that’s what Spain has an army for, right? Oh, you thought the army was to protect the Peninsula from… from… Moroccan hashishins? Portuguese bandits? Sir Francis Drake? Think again… the last time the Spanish army was deployed was from 1936 to 1939 in the treasonous military coup against the 2nd Republic, which was defended not by professional soldiers but volunteer militias made up of young men armed with little more than ideals and basic bootcamp, who managed to keep Franco’s troops at bay for three years in what he thought would be a three month campaign, at the expense of absolute carnage with sixteen-year olds being sent to the front as cannon fodder when the war was already lost.
It is time to move beyond the old discourse and to stop deluding ourselves about what we have and what we need. To paraphrase Albert Einstein, the freedom of Catalonia is a problem that cannot be solved at the same level of consciousness it was created. Indeed, Catalans will not be any freer under a Catalan state than under the Spanish state, because the problem is the state, not the language it speaks. As long as we stand under the old paradigm of citizens and leeches, we are condemned to be used as pawns in power struggles which do not concern or benefit us. Thus I reject a Catalan state as vehemently as I reject the Spanish state; in my book the lesser of two weevils is still a maggot no matter how you bite it.
As a human being who loves this piece of land more than many “patriots”, I humbly propose an option completely outside the box: the proclamation of a Republic of like-minded humans who are no longer fooled by the empty promises of the old paradigm and are willing to exist without it. Said Republic will not be called Catalonia because it isn’t the Catalan state but a new community that is not bound to old Pavlovian territorial responses, and I do believe Barcelona-born musician Dani Carbonell aka Macaco has already coined the perfect name in his song “La República de la Tramuntana” or the Republic of the Northern Wind. It is said that the Tramuntana that blows stiff from the peaks of the Pyrenees forges the dry and cured Catalan character; it is also said the Tramuntana can drive man and beast crazy as it gusts over the land in all its might. It is a force of nature; free, mighty and unstoppable which blows upon all men without distinction.
Ah, so much young idealism… if only I were still young and idealistic. But I’m just a wizened old tree overlooking the sea from my crag in the rocks. Beyond the crash of the surf and the cry of the gulls, the sound I most yearn for is the whisper of the wind among my branches, rustling my leaves with the promise of freedom sweeping across the land. The wind is sown, now let us harvest the storm.
Per tots els que vulguin ser benvinguts, els presento la república de la Tramuntana…