Catalonia Is A Weapon
"We do not only participate in insurrections led by anarchists but also in all the other insurrections that have the characteristics of the people in revolt, even if for some reason it is our future enemies, the Stalinists, that are leading them....
The revolutionary struggle is like a stormy sea against which to struggle would be vain folly, it is necessary to adapt ourselves to the direction of the waves, to swim sometimes strongly and sometimes lightly, to grasp the impetus of life which the sea hides within it to reach the desired goal." - Alfredo M. Bonanno, "Why Insurrection"
The hour is 12:00am on a warm and windless Florida night, as I pace the room and chew on toothpicks. 4,636 miles away in Catalonia an uneasy calm hangs in the balance. Catalonia, rather than declare independence, has asked Spain to give it to her. Spain, ever prideful, calls this "blackmail" and "will not allow it." The fight is far from over and now we wait, a spaceship with an unknown trajectory hurtling towards a future as yet undecided; swirling tendrils of quantum possibility slowly solidifying into manifested reality even as I type these words. Is nobody else kept up by standing hairs as the spirits whisper of chaos and madness?
No, perhaps it's just me... perhaps the only way to truly understand the potential of Catalonia is with a Wizard's eye.
History Doesn't Repeat Itself But It Does Tend to Rhyme
The Occultist views time very differently from your average meat-popsicle, and tends to drift to an alien, perhaps even cosmic, view on the nearby effects of distant actions. Take the time I'd lit a candle to soothe red-hot tensions between my wife and her mother, swaying and chanting as I felt "something" literally crawl down the air and hit the fire like an atom bomb.
"Dear GOD!" I shouted, falling over and shaking with sweat, unsure how but knowing on a cellular level the spell had already worked. The candle was barely lit, I had planned two more rounds of prayers, but none of that seemed to matter; out there in the distance of the future, a place right next-door if it wasn't for my three-dimensional limitations, I could feel the success leak back to me.
A few moments later things begin to crack. Viscous words, slammed doors. Had I been wrong? After an hour of war they sit down and talk, the earlier screams forcing long ignored issues to the surface. Discussion, agreement, peace. The spell had worked far beyond my expectations.
I knew it would, I just didn't know the how. I keep my eye on the big picture and let reality design the details. Catalonia yearning for a boss in Barcelona is a finger pointing at the bigger picture.
A common mistake observers have made is believing Catalonia has been seeking independence only recently, that autonomy is nothing more than a shiny new prize for the drooling bourgeois in Barcelona. While there is no doubt independence offers lucrative financial opportunities, Catalonia has been hungry for self-rule since 1640, when the region first revolted against Spain and placed itself under the protection of Louis XIII of France. Since then Catalonia has long desired to be under its own command and militantly rebelled. This historic trend will continue regardless of how the events in Spain play out.
Let us be clear however: this is by no means a leftist or Anarchist revolution. While anarchist unions took a leading role in the General Strike on Oct 3rd and the Catalan parliament seems intent on passing progressive laws, this is far from a radical movement. Catalonia desires a republic, a dog-and-pony show where the local wealthy can fully call the shots without an honest-to-god King butting in. If anything this is a move to a more comfortable status quo: people will be free from the police of Madrid so long as they swear to obey the ones in Barcelona.
Even if Catalan elections were swept by the ghost of Marx no elected power could challenge the Masters of the Eurozone. Have we forgotten the horrible horsewhipping that was Syriza?
"In a nationwide referendum just last Sunday, nearly 62 per cent of voters rejected an austerity deal that had been offered by the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.
There were scenes of wild jubilation across the country...
Fast forward just a few days, however, and Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister, did the unthinkable... They will now have to accept a package that is even harsher than the one that was rejected in the referendum, to the tune of about €4 billion...
'I feel like a slave. They do what they want, and we can't participate.'"
Nothing Says "Democracy" Quite Like Riot Cops
So the "freedom" of Catalonia is out. What then? Is there anything here Anarchists can support or decry?
The massive police response to the vote for independence should be duly noted and filtered into propaganda without delay: Spanish cops beat more than 900 prospective voters for daring to voice an opinion. Does this not prove that the edicts of the government are more important to the dogs in uniform than the will of the people? Is there anything quite as vile as declaring an opinion "illegal" while invoking "the Law" to dropkick women and children?
When I see cops beating workers I don't need to wonder which side I'm on; like an armadillo and a six-lane highway any cop and I are keenly opposed to one another. The entire policing institution is the most brutal expression of state-enforced dehumanization. Everything about it reeks of slavery. Again this is what States do regardless of size or shape; if the Catalan Republic decides its interests are at stake there is no question they'd do the same. The borders of nationhood are merely a fence for the human cattlewho exist at the whim of capital and the politicians that represent them.
What of the EU, the enlightened and rational government that everyone insists must not be dissolved? Have they stopped the violence? Do they support the "popular will" or vision of the actual human beings the Spanish state claims to represent? If there were any lingering questions to how thoroughly un-democratic the EU actually is, just remember they are siding with a monarch who fails to see the irony in calling the independence vote "a mockery of democracy."
Not to mention that the same "union" that can't imagine instituting the death penalty never batted an eye when Pablo Casado, the head of Spain's ruling party said "We hope that tomorrow nothing will be declared, because perhaps the one who declares it will end up like the one who declared it 83 years ago."
Confused? Let me make it clear: Casado was referring to Lluis Companys, who proclaimed a short-lived Catalan state in 1934. He was arrested, kept in solitary confinement, tortured, and beaten while senior figures of the Spanish State routinely visited his cell to insult and mock him. Six years later, refusing a blindfold and bravely facing his executioners, he was mowed down by a firing squad.
But what does that matter? After all the Lisbon treaty makes it clear that the EU will respect the "right" of members to carry out “essential state functions” which include “ensuring the territorial integrity of the state."
"The EU is just a centralized version of the same violent mafia that have been running all the various nation-states of Europe for hundreds of years,"writes The Acorn. "It is not condemning the Spanish state because all the states that it represents reserve the right to behave in exactly the same, violent, way, wherever their authority is challenged."
Craig Murray, a former UK ambassador who was staunchly in favor of the EU, echoes the same sentiments:
“The EU reacted as if no such abuse had ever happened at all, and the world had not seen it. The institution has in fact been overrun by the right wing cronyism of the neo-liberal political class, and no longer serves the principles for which it ostensibly stands. It is become simply an instrument of elite power against the people."
Hmm, that last bit came through a bit unclear. You mean to tell me the economic project of a bunch of wealthy Europeans has become "an instrument of elite power against the people?" SWEET GODS MAN, ALERT THE PRESS! What a strange and unnerving twist in human history! Gahhh, if only we had known! If only there had been grotesque and horrible lessons that had cost millions of lives that we could point to, things so dark and terrible that people might question the VERY IDEA that small groups of people could have all the right answers; oh we lost and foolish children of the future, if only we'd KNOWN, if only we'd been WARNED that no matter how kind the master HE WILL ALWAYS OWN YOU!
No... must be all the alcohol making me cynical. Surely the next time around we'll elect the incorruptible in a universe marked by entropy. Surely!
Independence Is the Infection And We Are The Disease
Catalonia's potential independence is not revolutionary in and of itself. What it does have is revolutionary implications.
The independence of Catalonia, if it gets it, will have psychographical ramifications. Spain is the dusty and riddled corpse of Empire, a place who once claimed to rule the world, and has existed in its current cartographic form since the completion of the Reconquista in 1492. While Spain has lost everything, every colony, every claim to its imperial past it still has those borders, is still the country Hernán Cortés killed for. Statehood for Catalonia will be the final nail in the coffin; in one fell swoop that Spain will cease to exist. This is the literal unmaking of the world, and sages would be wise to note the omenry in the falling of Spain as they did Austro-Hungary almost 100 years ago.
From this new reality every other separatist will be emboldened. If the Catalans have the right why not the Basques, or for that matter the Black Belt in the Southern US? Are the current borders of Spain no less imaginary than those of France, England, or the US? Are they not held up to be just as sacred as the King of Spain himself? Lawyers will argue precedents, politicians will cite examples, and ne'er-do-wells everywhere will begin to ask "if they can do it, why can't we?" This is a mental door that once opened won't be easily shut, and the governments of the world know it.
So what will the Spanish state do? There is a religious myth that's been handed down to people that power tends to dissolve rather than crystallize, that left to its own devices Those Who Rule will eventually acquiesce to popular opinion. This of course is a lie. The governments of the world understand, on a reptilian level, that signs of weakness lead to greater hunger and bravery in the enemy. The smell of blood naturally excites the senses. Why ask for an eight-hour day when you can get four? $10 an hour when you can get $12? No need to negotiate if it looks like you're going to win.
To stave this off the Spanish state will have no other option but to increase hostilities against Catalonia, to beat and maim the people until they break. Each violent outburst will only fuel outrage, causing protesters to be emboldened, causing more violence and again, and again, and again, until finally somebody gets killed.
And when they do Europe will be very, very happy they bar the citizenry from owning firearms. But that alone won't save them.
If the EU continues to ignore the problem they will look bad. If they side with Spain they will reveal their authoritarian leanings. If they side with Catalonia every nation in the EU will view it as an outrage and betrayal. This is why Anarchists must stand with Catalonia.
The "right" to Statehood and legitimacy of an independence vote are nothing to us. We instead must stand with Catalonia because it is a weapon against all we seek to destroy, a complicated and intricate bomb dropped at the vampiric tomb of European imperialism; it is a trap, filled with shit-covered rusty hooks, that will bleed and damage the organs and skin of the European Capitalist project no matter where it grasps it; it is an occult altar where enough chaos and strife might summon alternative systems to wage war against the mighty.
This isn't some theoretical bullshit. The obscene police presence in Catalonia means comrades are free elsewhere to do as they wish. One would be wise to seize the opportunity. Every act of brutality committed by the Spanish state is another opportunity to fan the flames of vengeance and inspire the exploited to rise in righteous fury.
Catalan independence is not revolutionary, but like an alien creature bursting from its host's chest it can be the womb for something far more dangerous.
The crisis is Catalonia is but one in a long list of potential pitfalls faced by global Capitalism, and almost always precipitate change. Lacking the organization for revolutionaries to create such dangerous events for the world powers we must latch on to them wherever they arise;if we cannot boil the water we should always stir the pot. Spontaneous or cyclical, every rebellion should be seized and pushed further into full-blown insurrection capable of destroying the State and Capital.
Uncertainty favors the Anarchist, instability is our friend. Call out to the gods of your choice and seek ye the eye of the hurricane.
Yesterday Rojava, today Catalan, tomorrow where ever the dice may land, The Creator of Plots will forever unleash a Pandora's box of powers to upset the established order. Some of them, surprise surprise, won't be Anarchist in nature. Rather than arguing over how we feel about that far better to begin conspiring about what we can get away with....
Dr. Bones is a Hoodoo-slingin’ Florida native and Egoist-Communist spitting pure vitriol and sorcerous wisdom at a world gone mad. He lives with his loving wife, a herd of cats, and a house full of spirits.
His poltergasmic politics and gonzo journalism can be found at Gods & Radicals and The Conjure House. He can be reached by email, twitter, or facebook. Want to do him a favor? Help keep him alive for as little as $4.99 a month.