Catalonia: independence from Spain, independence from capitalism

16 September 2013 by Esther Vivas

Hundreds of thousands turned out last September 11 to demand independence for Catalonia. Some decided to surround the Caixa, form a human chain around the largest bank in Catalonia and third largest in Spain, to demand not only independence from Spain, but from capitalism.

Some say that independence comes first, and then we’ll see. That this will end unemployment, poverty, hunger. As if independence were a divine manna. However, this is a fallacious argument. Just ask people in Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Cyprus and the Spanish state itself. Being independent means we get out from, well, the grip of the Troika Troika Troika: IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank, which together impose austerity measures through the conditions tied to loans to countries in difficulty.

. The European financial power does not give freedom to the people. There can be no real independence under the burden of debt , the blackmail of the risk premium Risk premium When loans are granted, the creditors take account of the economic situation of the debtor country in fixing the interest rate. If there seems to be a risk that the debtor country may not be able to honour its repayments then that will lead to an increase in the rates it will be charged. Thus the creditors receive more interest, which is supposed to compensate for the risk taken in granting the loan. This means that the cost to the borrower country is much higher, accentuating the financial pressure it has to bear. For example, in 2002, Argentina was faced with risk premiums of more than 4,000 points, meaning that for a hypothetical market interest rate of 5%, Argentina would have to borrow at a rate of 45%. This cuts it off de facto from access to credit, forcing it even deeper into crisis. For Brazil in August 2002, the risk premium was at 2,500 points. and the “markets”.

Others claim that “Madrid robs us ” and that if we say “Farewell to Spain”, problem solved. Nothing is further from reality….Where are we going with a country in the hands of just 400 families forever? Moving towards independence, involves asking : independence for what and for whom.

The open debate in Catalonia today is an opportunity to… rethink the foundations of our model of society. Be independent , yes, but to open a constituent process that allows us to decide together which country we want …… banks are the most responsible for the crisis and La Caixa is the largest bank in Catalonia. To save financial institutions, we have sunk into absolute misery. We will never be free nor independent, if we are subject to their policies.

It is also common knowledge that La Caixa does not want a referendum [on independence] “Social peace” is the ultimate guarantor of its profits and the Spanish State its biggest source of business…. Its loyalties have been shown with the royal family… ensuring a golden retirement to the Infanta Cristina in Switzerland, as head of the International Department of the La Caixa Fundación, and increasing her salary to 320,000 euros per year…

Which country will we have if its largest bank evicts families and rips us off through preferred shares ? … What will our independence amount to if we are in the hands of thieves?

*This is an extract from an article published by Esther Vivas in Spanish in, 12/11/2013. Translated by

Esther Vivas

est née en 1975 à Sabadell (Etat espagnol). Elle est auteure de plusieurs livres et de publications sur les mouvements sociaux, la consommation responsable et le développement durable. Elle a publié en français En campagne contre la dette (Syllepse, 2008) et est coauteure des livres en espagnol Planeta indignado. Ocupando el futuro (2012), Resistencias globales. De Seattle a la crisis de Wall Street (2009) est coordinatrice des livres Supermarchés, non merci et Où va le commerce équitable ?, entre autres.
Elle a activement participé au mouvement anti-globalisation et anti-guerre à Barcelone, de même qu’elle a contribué à plusieurs éditions du Forum Social Mondial, du Forum Social Européen et du Forum Social Catalan. Elle travaille actuellement sur des questions comme la souveraineté alimentaire et le commerce équitable.
Elle est membre de la rédaction de la revue Viento Sur et elle collabore fréquemment avec des médias conventionnels tels que Público et avec des médias alternatifs comme El Viejo Topo, The Ecologist, Ecología Política, Diagonal, La Directa, entre autres.
Elle est également membre du Centre d’Études sur les Mouvements Sociaux (CEMS) à l’Université Pompeu Fabra.
@esthervivas | |

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