Catalonia: The moment we’ve been waiting centuries for


By Vicent Partal

The massive demonstration on September 11th has had direct and concrete results three months and one week later. The agreement signed between CiU and ERC means that the cry of the people on the streets that day in Barcelona has now been transformed into ACTION, with a capital A.

And thanks to the agreement, the citizens of the Principality of Catalonia will vote on independence in 2014, if nothing goes awry. It is, therefore, a historic accord that was difficult to construct and that will probably also be difficult to hold together. But I insist that above all other considerations, it is a historic accord: this agreement marks the end of the autonomous government and the immediate beginning of the possibility of becoming an independent Republic. Which is nothing to sneeze at.

It is also a historic accord because it underscores the fact that independence is the country’s objective, and not the objective of one group or another. Clearly, CiU and President Mas are the ones who have committed themselves most. But it is very important that they have come to an agreement with the leader of the largest opposition party, Esquerra Republicana [Republican Left], despite obvious differences between the two. ERC has exercised historically remarkable discipline and responsibility that must be applauded and recognized for its enormous significance.

The citizens that voted on November 25th demanded that the independence process be spearheaded by multiple parties. CiU and ERC have been asked to bend themselves to the popular will and they have succeeded. Not only that, they have left the door open for other parties who accept the right to self-determination and for the community at large whose actions were instrumental in making this historic vote in 2014 possible. The creation of a Catalan Council for National Transition is a brilliant move; this group will surely be a key element for consolidating the civic unity that will help us become, we hope, a republic.

We are about to live two incredible years. We don’t know, and we probably can’t even imagine, the difficulties that we’ll have to avoid. Of all types. Internal problems and external aggressions. Disagreements that will inevitably crop up here and there. Doubts about whether this person or that person is going to sabotage or undermine the process. Doubts about how far we can go and what we are able to swallow in the midst of a brutal financial crisis that has already been so damaging to the community. It won’t be easy, that much is clear, and it will require a lot of generosity from all sides. But let me say that I am brimming with enthusiasm and I am convinced that this time, we will finally be on the winning side of history.

I have written it before, and I’ll repeat it here this evening with much joy: it’s up to us to win, or lose, if we do it wrong, but they can no longer defeat us. This is, therefore, the moment that we’ve been waiting centuries for.

This article first appeared on and appears here with permission.