Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Capable and Courageous Woman

She has a degree in philosophy and a master’s in Catalan Philology.  Her professional life has been in education; she’s written textbooks, books on language and literature, and a dictionary.  Involved in cultural organizations, in 2012 she was elected president of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), a grassroots organization that had, at that time, 5,000 members and was working for the right of Catalans to vote on a referendum on Catalan independence. 

That year, the ANC organized a demonstration in favor of independence that took place in Barcelona on 11 September, Catalunya’s national day, and 1.5 million people took part.  On 11 September 2013 the ANC organized the Via Catalana cap a la Independencia, a human chain that stretched 480 kilometers (300 miles) from the French border in the north to the Valencian border in the south.   Thirty thousand volunteers worked so that the 1.6 million people who came could demonstrate in an organized and orderly manner.  On September 11, 2014, the ANC organized a demonstration in the form of a V (for victory) on two major boulevards of Barcelona and 1.8 million people came.  On 11 September 2015 the ANC organized the Via Lliure, a demonstration that stretched along the 5.2 kilometers of the Avinguda Meridiana in Barcelona and where 2 million people held up colored cardboard cards, each color representing a value such as freedom or dignity.

Carme Forcadell stepped down from her position as president of the ANC and a few months later was drafted to run on the coalition ticket Junts pel Si (Together for Yes) at the last Catalan parliamentary elections that took place on 27 September 2015.  Junts pel Si won 62 seats and Forcadell, being number two on the ticket, became a member of the Catalan parliament.

On 26 October, Carme Forcadell was elected president of the Catalan Parliament.  In the short time since then, the Junts pel Si coalition and the CUP, the other pro-independence party that won 10 seats, giving pro-independence parties the majority of seats in parliament, drafted a proposal that would begin the breakaway from Spain, to be discussed at the first meeting this coming Monday, 9 November.  The office of president of the Generalitat (the Catalan government) will also be voted that day.  Several opposing parties immediately took the matter to the Spanish Constitutional Court, but the court, in an unusually wise move, ruled that it could not impede a discussion in parliament.

When the matter is discussed and approved on Monday, it will be interesting to see what happens next.  It is clear that the Constitutional Court will take a negative action.  And it is possible that the Spanish government will accuse Forcadell of criminal activity for her responsibility in bringing the proposal before the parliament.  But one of the items in the breakaway proposal says that the Spanish courts are not creditable and no longer have jurisdiction over Catalunya.

The United States fought a war in order to achieve its independence.  Catalunya is trying to achieve the same thing but without any violence.