We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, December 22, 2017

Catalan independence forces win majority

Click here to access article by Jack Hazeldine from CounterFire (Britain). 

I'm mainly posting this article as an illustration of leftist journalism that very much annoys me. So much of left journalism functions like a cheerleader to lead a more left crowd in cheering for progressive measures, movements, or entire countries, but sadly often at the expense of reporting the truth regardless of its nature. Hazeldine does get around to reporting the rightward political movement of recent elections in Catalonia, but the headline and the opening paragraphs paint quite another picture. If we are to become truly informed about the ongoing ruling capitalist class war against workers, we desperately need, and require, the truth about events. Here is his first paragraph:
Catalan independence forces have won a 5-seat majority and 47.5% of the vote in Parliament on a 82% turnout and against the full political force of the Spanish state which as tried every tactic they could to delegitimise and destabilise them. Unionist parties garnered 43.5% of the vote.
Only when we read further on down do we become aware that the "Unionist" parties are against Catalonia independence. I guess we should have known by the name alone that this was so, but proper names, such as this capitalized one (it should not have been capitalized because there is no "Unionist" party), can mean anything. So, then, should we conclude that 47.5% versus 43.5% is a smashing victory as suggested by the headline and early paragraphs? Apparently not, because after reading several paragraphs down, we learn that the leftist parties suffered defeats, and there was a decided shift toward the right and centrist parties among the pro-independence voters. 

This reminds me of the elections held during the last days I lived in San Francisco when proponents of a new baseball stadium wanted to build it on a site closer to the downtown area. They kept holding such referendums for voters to decide until they finally got the vote they wanted. Then they went ahead to build the stadium. It looks like the Spanish government is using the same strategy and introducing measures to pressure the voters of Catalonia until they get a vote they want. Hazeldine alludes to pressures, but he doesn't elaborate.
A combination of political pessimism and the pressures of repression brought about a quite inward-looking and closed campaign generally....
A better report is, sad to say, from the NY Times. In this report we learn of the difficulties that separatist leaders confronted in the campaign: one was in prison and the other in exile.

The best report I have read this morning comes from a British Marxist website called In Defense of Marxism in a report entitled "Catalan elections: Rajoy's strategy defeated".