dijous, 7 d’octubre de 2010

Letter to President Obama about Catalonia

Harvard professor Obama can now apply his theories of democracy on Catalonia.
The Catalan independence star, here on July 10, is taken from the Cuban flag, whose independence leader was the Catalan José Martí.


Anthropology professor Susan M. DiGiacomo has written to former Constitutional Law professor Obama about the scandalous disrespect for democracy by Spanish nationalists and their corrupt Supreme Court denying fundamental constitutional rights to Catalans (Search Carter Calls for Catalan Independence).

I write to you not only in your capacity as President of the United States, but also as a former professor of Constitutional Law. In The Audacity of Hope, you propose we understand democracy “not as a house to be built, but as a conversation to be had. The American Constitution organizes the way by which we argue about our future. Implicit in its structure, in the very idea of ordered liberty, was a rejection of absolute truth, the infallibility of any idea or ideology, any tyrannical consistency that might lock future generations into a single unalterable course.“ In Catalonia what is happening is precisely this attempt to end conversation by arguing that the house is already built, constitutionally, and that no further debate is even legimate. A completely politicized court uses the Constitution as a weapon to crush the legitimate national aspirations of a people and to set absolute limits. Its statute of autonomy was approved no fewer than three times: by the Catalan parliament, by the Spanish Congress, and by the Catalan people in a referendum. What is happening here, then, is an assault on democracy. In the United States, when the will of the people is not reflected in the Constitution, the Constitution has been amended. What the Spanish court has done is to consider the Spanish Constitution untouchable, engraved in stone, and their reading of it is so restrictive that the democratically expressed will of the Catalan people has no place in it. Catalonia is an ancient European nation with an equally ancient tradition of representative government, predating the English Magna Carta. In the Middle Ages Catalonia was an independent polity. Catalonia did not lose its institutions of self-government until 1714, by force of arms when an absolutist monarchy came to power. With the death of General Franco, Catalonia began to recover once more its political institutions abrogated by the victorious fascists. On July 10, more than a million Catalans filled the streets of Barcelona to reject the court’s decision. Increasing numbers of Catalans see no other path to national survival except through full sovereignty within the framework of the European Union. There is nothing in international law that prevents a people from unilaterally declaring independence. Former president Jimmy Carter in Barcelona described the court’s decision as an error, and offered to send observers in the event of a referendum on Catalan independence. I ask only that you establish contacts with the Catalan government that will emerge from this fall’s election. Catalonia badly needs international interlocutors and international visibility.

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