posts » This is not a democracy!

This is not a democracy!

A year ago, 1-O happened. Yesterday evening, I went to see a film about the events of that day (I actually watched the version with French subtitiles), the 1st of October 2017, in Barcelona, organised by the Paris branch of the Comité de Défense de la République Catalane. It was very interesting, but to make it clear from the outset: I do not support them.

In fact, the evening made me reflect a bit on referenda - particularly, given the fact that the consequences of the UK Brexit referendum are currently playing out, with just a few weeks until the 18th October deadline for discussions with the (rest of the) European Union.

My most immediate thought was: a referendum is not democratic: rather, it represents the failure of democracy. If opinion is so polarised that it can only be encapsulated in a single "yes-no" question, the people have already lost - and, more worryingly, the power elites have won. How do we let the world get into such a state? There has been a long standing breakdown in communication, in participation, in debate, and in political engagement. People have let themselves be lead down a garden path, dictated to by media they do not control, and brainwashed... The results are clear - in Catalonia, and in the United Kingdom. There is no benefit to anyone from this "democratic" process. There is no choice: we have all fallen victim to the old maxim of divide-and-conquer.

Indeed, the film yesterday was merely propoganda: propoganda for the side of the independentistas; propoganda against the (currently existing) state: propoganda for a new state, the state of Catalonia. But propoganda never-the-less. It was riot-porn, reminiscent of the best products of the anti-globalisation protests and more. There was no analysis, it was simply reportage. There are far better explanations of the events last year out there, and more interesting views. Like those published by Nerve Magazine or Crimethinc - both of which I recommend reading (the two sites reproduce interviews with activists on the ground last year).

So what instead? Well, the first thing is discussion: one of the great things about the Catalan movement last year is the mobilisation of people, the forming of neighbourhood collectives that stand up to power. That doesn't seem to be happening in the UK though, nor in many other places. And, indeed, there has long been a tradition of community organising in some of the more southern European countries - Spain, Italy, even in France... Traditions that have been decimated in Anglophone (English-speaking) countries: could this be attributed to the rise of the internet, the "popularity" of mass forms of hypnosis such as the various social media giants currently in existence? Roll on the resistance: we need you.