Catalunya’s unusual elections

llibertat presosCatalunya is heading towards a new election, after the Spanish government took over its institutions, deposing the president and government, and dissolving the parliament. The constitutional provision used (the now infamous art. 155) literally only authorizes the central government to force the autonomous community to comply with its legal obligations, by giving binding instructions to the community’s authorities – which is a bit different from arbitrarily ceasing those authorities and taking over the local government. Not to mention the fact that after the Oct 1 referendum, the Catalan authorities had refrained from taking any formal action whatsoever that could be deemed illegal. The symbolic declaration of independence voted by the Catalan parliament on Oct 27 (a political declaration of intentions mostly confined to a preface that was not actually voted) came just as a last statement of protest when the Spanish government was finalizing the take over.

Before that, on Oct 16, Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, leaders of the pro-independence civic associations (ANC and Omnium) that organized many massive and totally peaceful demonstrations, were arrested and held without bail under criminal charges of sedition. Then, on Nov 2, eight members of the Catalan government were also jailed without bail under criminal charges including rebellion and sedition, while an international warrant for the same charges was issued for president Puigdemont and four more government members who escaped arrest by moving to Belgium. The Catalan parliament’s president was also charged and spent a night in jail before being released on bail. Continue→

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Sinai

Why should I seek?  I am the same as He.  His essence speaks through me.  I have been looking for myself!

[Rumi (1207-1273), from Dīvān-e Kabīr]

More than 300 people were killed in a terrorist attack on a Sufi mosque in the Egyptian Sinai peninsula last week. We are obviously affected when tragedies happen close to our homes, but we tend to forget too quickly the magnitude of the violence that hits people in more distant countries. Most of the victims of terrorism lived in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, … We are used to associate Islam to the perpetrators of the attacks, and we tend to forget that a majority of the victims are Muslims. Which tells us that terror and mass murder are really means by which some try to impose their absolute power on people, independently of the ideological or religious cover. Same as with fascism, Nazism and other totalitarianisms.

For the people who died, a poem from the great Sufi Muslim poet, Rumi:   Continue→

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Human Flow

HUMAN FLOW – a documentary by Ai Weiwei     (2017)

Highly recommended

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Catalunya (2)

fascismOctober 1, 2017.

Peaceful Catalan voters brutally attacked, and shot with rubber bullets, by Spanish police: 844 wounded.

More than half of the people showed up. Many were forcefully prevented from casting their vote or having it counted. Still, about 2.3 million votes were registered (43% of the eligible voters).

90% voted yes to independence.

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Catalunya

estelades(English at the end)

Los estados históricamente han representado estructuras de poder y dominio impuesto con la fuerza. Solo en épocas recientes, y solo en algunas partes del mundo, se han ido democratizando; pero casi siempre manteniendo ese aspecto de que el poder actúa de arriba hacia abajo, de que aunque podamos elegir democráticamente los que nos gobernarán, el Estado (y la razón de Estado) tiene prioridad sobre las personas, los individuos. Hasta los movimientos que quieren devolver el poder al “pueblo” comparten esa idea de que las personas están subordinadas a las entidades políticas colectivas. Mi visión (libertaria, y pragmática) es opuesta. Las instituciones políticas solo tienen legitimidad si: i) respetan y protegen las libertades y derechos de las personas; ii) sirven de manera eficiente a los intereses de sus ciudadanos en la provisión de bienes públicos y en las decisiones necesariamente colectivas (las que por su naturaleza no son divisibles en decisiones individuales independientes). ¿Quién puede decidir si se cumplen esas condiciones, o si procede hacer cambios? Los ciudadanos mismos, aunque el primer punto es en efecto una restricción a lo que se pueda decidir: ninguna violación de las libertades y derechos fundamentales es legítima, por cuanto mayoritario sea el apoyo a esas medidas. En el segundo punto, el análisis económico y social puede ayudar, pero al final son los ciudadanos que democráticamente tienen que decidir. Continua→

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Ramblas

ramblasWe were getting ready to drive back to the city on Thursday when we heard the news. It could have been even more deadly with two or three car bombs, as it was planned. A few hours later, my family and myself could have been walking in the path of death. But that’s nothing new. We are all targets for those who hate life and freedom. And not just in Europe or the West… even more so in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Africa, etc. Last night we walked down the Ramblas, alight with hundreds of candles, with flowers, drawings and cards. People stopped in silence, some chanted a peaceful song, someone exchanged hugs, then went on walking. Love is stronger than death. As they go down, the killers will take some of us with them, but the rest of us will keep walking. There is no turning back the clock of history if our wish for life and liberty is stronger than their wish for power and death. Better to die enjoying life as a free person than to die as a slave to an idea or an authority. We’ll just keep walking down the Ramblas of all the cities of the world and fighting for everybody to be free. As the people of Barcelona cried: “No tinc por!” – I am not afraid!

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SÌ alla riforma costituzionale

SÌ

Il referendum del 4 dicembre in Italia deciderà se entra o no in vigore la riforma della costituzione approvata dal parlamento dopo due anni di lavori (e sei votazioni). Non c’è quorum, se vince il sì passa la riforma, se vince il no rimane tutto come adesso.

Il punto più importante della riforma riguarda il Senato. In Italia (caso unico al mondo credo tra i sistemi di governo parlamentari, cioè dove il governo viene votato dal parlamento, non dai cittadini) vige il bicameralismo perfetto: le due camere che compongono il parlamento (la Camera dei deputati e il Senato) hanno gli stessi poteri e funzioni. Chi aspira a governare deve avere la fiducia (quindi la maggioranza) sia alla Camera che al Senato; e tutte le leggi devono essere approvate con lo stesso testo sia alla Camera che al Senato.

La riforma elimina il bicameralismo perfetto: il nuovo Senato (ridotto da 315 a 100 membri) sarà un organo di rappresentanza delle regioni (e comuni); si occuperà solo di una piccola parte delle leggi (la maggior parte sarà di competenza della Camera, che avrà almeno l’ultima parola); e il governo solo dipenderà dalla maggioranza della Camera.

Quali sono i vantaggi della riforma? Elimina duplicazioni di funzioni, riduce i tempi di approvazione delle leggi (nonché le poltrone e i costi). Ma il punto più importante è questo: con l’attuale sistema è diventato praticamente impossibile avere uno schieramento politico omogeneo che vinca una maggioranza sia alla Camera che al Senato. Continua→

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