Can Europe Make It?

Call to the democratic Left on the events in Catalonia

Join us in raising a collective voice from the left, against the abuse of democracy both by the Catalan government and the Spanish government. Español

A group
4 October 2017

Parrot Pascal/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images. All rights reserved.The appalling scenes of police violence that took place on 1 October in Catalonia along with the most baffling disrespect for democratic procedures and democratic substance that preceded them a month ago in the Catalan Parliament urges us to raise a collective voice.

This voice belongs to the democratic, non-aligned left, a left whose expression we have been longing for. While this voice unequivocally and strongly condemns the authoritarian violence endorsed by the central government, it sternly and democratically resists nationalistic discourse. We refuse to accept this binary as the choice we must face. Pluralism and debate cannot be eliminated in the name of democracy for the following reasons:

1) Europe has gone through enough nationalistic wars and has, we hope, learned enough from the oppression it has variously exerted inside and outside the continent, to be able to resist the appeals of the nationalistic siren calls of the XXI century. Masking the rejection of income redistribution and the neglect of social injustice, as well as the erasure of the diverse origins and languages on Catalan territory, with ethno-nationalist colours will not do.

2) The Catalan independence movement is, mostly, a middle-class movement whose leaders, across all the spectrum of the right-wing led alliance, are far from being oppressed. Their voice is not subaltern and has been loudly heard while neglecting, obliterating and silencing all kinds of dissent including from the left. We should not let their cries prevent other voices.

3) The self-cancellation of democracy – announcing the possibility of a unilateral declaration of independence without a majority, as was done today by the leader of the Catalan nationalistic movement – is not only a matter of legality but of downright illegitimacy. No matter how strong a movement is, no matter how loud, as long as it is a minority, it is not a majority. The mocking of democratic procedures is not a game that comes at a small price; it will not do.

We write this because we stand with all those defending civil and political rights, and with subaltern grassroots movements opposed to the advances of neo-liberalism in all its forms. We do not condemn civil disobedience when all democratic possibilities have been exhausted. Nor do we oppose referendums provided that conditions of legitimacy are respected. But we are not prepared to accept this referendum as part of a democratic struggle against oppression.

Join us in raising a collective voice from the left, against the abuse of democracy both by the Catalan government and the Spanish government.


Nathalie Karagiannis, Peter Wagner, Marie Angueira Cebria, Johann Arnason, Luc Boltanski, Victor Bretòn, Caroline Brew, Selene Camargo Correa, Rebeca Carpi Martín, Gerard Delanty, Jean de Munck, Juan Carlos Gavara de Cara, Lola Diaz, Juan Diez Medrano, Juan Espadas, Arnaud Esquerre, Luisa Fernandez, Marc Fleurbaey, Dan Hausman, Johan Heilbron, Oliver Hochadel, Axel Honneth, Azra Ibrahimovic, Andreas Kalyvas, Yannis Karagiannis, Maxim Khomyakov, Dimitris Leontzakos, Sergio Lledó, Antonis Liakos, Manuel Lisandro Castillo, Eduardo Manzano, Elia Marzal Yetano, Lourdes Mèndez, Wolfgang Merkel, Rommy Morales Olivares, U.B. Morgan, Susana Narotzky, Sergio Nogues, Claus Offe,, William Outhwaite, Montserrat Pareja Eastaway, Carlos Pérez González, Ana Pérez Pérez, Rosa Pérez Pérez, Rosa María Pérez Pérez, Angelo Pichierri, Carlos Prieto, José Maria Mateo Rello, Elisa Reis, Stein Ringen, Ana Maria Rodríguez López, Arturo Rodriguez Morató, Εduardo Romanos, Samuel Sadian, Will Shank, Eugenia Siapera, Bo Stråth, Francesco Strazzari, Doris Tarchopulos Sierra, Leonor Valencia, Carlos Valera, Daniela Vicherat Mattar, Daniel Wikler, Myrsini Zorba

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