This article was translated by John R. Bopp

Over the years, on many occasions, we’ve spoken about the Right to Self-Determination in general, and about the movements of a very important part of Catalan society to make their will heard in a referendum that would then be respected.  We’ve done so, on almost every occasion, with reports from international media that were discussing the topic.

Today, we’re doing so for a different reason.  We’re talking about Catalonia because we’d like to add our names to, and make our own, the Manifesto presented today by the Gure Esku Dago (It’s in Our Hands) platform.  The Manifesto was written regarding the sentences handed down on the President of the Catalan Parliament, several advisers in her government, and the heads of citizen movements for their participation in the procès; sentences involving years of prison and of political disqualification.

This Manifesto is asking for a political solution to a political problem.  It’s the same that millions of citizens in Catalonia, the Basque Country, Spain, and the whole world are asking for.  At the same time, it denounces the “signs of criminalization of the right to demonstrate, the right to freedom of speech, the right to protest, the right to vote, the right to self-determination, and the right to decide.  It is completely unacceptable.  In a democracy, neither democratic and peaceful movements nor political dissidence can be criminalized.  In a democracy, voting cannot be a crime; only part of the solution”.

Today, thinking of Catalonia, we also want to broadcast the statement made by Catalan coach Pep Guardiola who, using his highly visible media position, has sent a message that has been heard round the world.

We’d also like to recall the video we used to illustrate the reflection we wrote after the violence the forces of order used against the Catalans who went out to vote on October 1, 2017.

Manifesto by Gure Esku Dago on the “unfair” sentences against the procès

“Freedom.  For a political solution”

Firstly, we manifest our fundamental disagreement with the sentence handed down by the Spanish Supreme Court against the Catalan social and political leaders.  We believe, sincerely, that this is a grave injustice.  And moreover, we are convinced that this sentence will bring with it grave consequences regarding fundamental rights and democratic freedoms.

We will remind all that the judicial process has not been just, but rather full of arbitrariness, based on unfounded accusations, and, with the maintenance of pre-trial custody, the fundamental rights of the jailed defendants have been violated, as denounced by a work group on Arbitrary Detentions from the UN, whose resolutions asking for them to be freed have not been listened to.

Given this injustice, we demand the freedom of all those people who have been jailed in these proceedings: Jordi Cuixart, Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Sànchez, Carme Forcadell, Jordi Turull, Raül Romeva, Dolors Bassa, Josep Rull, and Joaquim Forn, we want you freed.  We would like to express our solidarity with those who are suffering the grave consequences of this unjust sentence, and their families.

In this sentence, we observe, worried, signs of the criminalization of the right to demonstrate, the right to freedom of speech, the right to protest, the right to vote, the right to self-determination, and the right to decide.  This is completely unacceptable.  In a democracy, neither democratic and peaceful movements nor political dissidence can be criminalized.  In a democracy, voting cannot be a crime; only part of the solution.

It is time to abandon the judicial derogations and repressive injunctions.  It is time, via dialog, to undertake a political negotiation to control and resolve the Catalan question.  It is time to go for a democratic solution that bears in mind the idea of making it possible for the citizens of Catalonia to make a free and democratic decision regarding their future.  This matter is urgent.

Solidarity, the defense of democratic freedoms and civil and political rights, the rejection of repressive means, and an attitude in favor of a political solution that is based on the will of the citizens when expressed democratically, make up, as we understand it, a basis that the vast majority of our society shares; a basis that we must defend and strengthen, now more than ever.

The severity of the situation questions all of us who believe in democracy, justice, and freedoms, regardless of our ideological opinions.  Therefore, we believe that the citizens must rise up and take a stand against the injustice, and therefore, we support the citizens’ march called by Gure Esku, under the slogan “Erreferenduma ez da delitua | Askatasuna (The Referendum is not a Crime | Freedom)” that will be held on October 19 in San Sebastian.

Gure Esku Dago, Oct. 17, 2019