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    (Original post by yudothis)
    So what?

    The whole point is that they don't want to be a part of Spain, i.e. Spanish law can go **** itself.

    And with regards to international law, well I find it silly if someone thinks "international" law says area x of country y cannot leave y. Sure, countries can refuse to accept the existence of Catalonia as a country, but that won't stop them being independent of Spain, as well as being silly. The "West" loves democracy doesn't it, so if the region wants to do something and does it democratically, suddenly that has no meaning?
    Not really. You see, the point of law is that it is an exercise of force. Politics exists within the lawful structures that the state creates. Catalan nationalists might have little regard for the law - but that puts them outside of normal politics in a liberal, democratic state.

    Nor are illegal secessionist referendums democratic in any meaningful sense. A democracy does not and cannot exist outside of the structure of accepted rules and laws: without that, it is meaningless. In this case, the law quite clearly ascribes these constitutional issues to a Spanish demos. This, if anything, was a poor parody of democracy, guest-starring some truncheon-happy fools from the Spanish national police forces.

    (Original post by anarchism101)
    This could all have been avoided if Rajoy and Co. had been willing to accept some form of independence referendum - and it's worth pointing out that Catalan public opinion is pretty even split, it would be far from a certainty that the separatists would win a fair referendum.
    Maybe, but the Spanish Government is entirely within its rights to say no to that. I can certainly see their logic: once secessionism starts to be accepted, it becomes a chip with which to blackmail a central government. Allow a political entity absolute autonomy in choosing its own powers, and soon any other authority disappears.
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    (Original post by Notorious_B.I.G.)
    The US War for Independence is a bad example, somewhat. According to John Adams, only around a third of Colonialists positively supported American independence. It was an undemocratic exercise. The problem with the Catalan referendum, its being outside the law, is that it lacks legitimacy. Not everyone participated and we don't know that the ballots were securely managed. It is important to keep everything legal and in line with the Spanish constitution because that is the only way the Catalans will secure a democratic legitimate independence, without tumult.
    Like the Scotland one, Parliament agreed which Spanish government did not. EU according to (Express) says if they declare Catalonia independent they'll be out of EU & reapply

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    (Original post by L i b)
    Not really. You see, the point of law is that it is an exercise of force. Politics exists within the lawful structures that the state creates. Catalan nationalists might have little regard for the law - but that puts them outside of normal politics in a liberal, democratic state.

    Nor are illegal secessionist referendums democratic in any meaningful sense. A democracy does not and cannot exist outside of the structure of accepted rules and laws: without that, it is meaningless. In this case, the law quite clearly ascribes these constitutional issues to a Spanish demos. This, if anything, was a poor parody of democracy, guest-starring some truncheon-happy fools from the Spanish national police forces.
    Laws change all the time. This particular one is rather fascists: "you cannot leave us".
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    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
    I spotted some CNT flags in the crowds in the news today. If only anarcho-syndicalism were a strong social force again as apposed to just being a fringe of flag wavers. *sigh*
    To be fair, they still have more clout in Spain, and Catalonia in particular, than anarchist unions have just about anywhere else in the world. CNT and CGT are still actual players in Spanish labour disputes in a way the Wobblies struggle to be any more.
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    (Original post by yudothis)
    Laws change all the time.
    Yes, through legal means. This is what is called the "rule of law" and is generally considered to be essential in a civilised society. It protects individuals, who are not governed by rules decided on by a whim - or rules that are simply applied differently on the basis of some individual's prejudices.

    This particular one is rather fascists: "you cannot leave us".
    I'm not really sure what this has to do with fascism, other than that fascism was a form of government. What you seem to object to in this case is a state exercising authority: all states do that within the structure of the rules that are created. Spain is of course a liberal democracy.

    In terms of the rule itself, Spanish law does not allow for unilateral secession of its subdivisions. Neither do many countries (indeed, I can only think of a small number of examples where that is possible) - and only within pre-established conditions. The United States of course and many countries besides have fought large-scale civil conflicts on this principle.

    As I've said, I can completely understand why most countries do not provide their own break-up: a state that allows such a free-for-all will not long endure and in all reality, power will be entirely concentrated in whichever unit it grants these rights to. The state itself would become completely impotent.
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    (Original post by yudothis)
    So what?

    The whole point is that they don't want to be a part of Spain, i.e. Spanish law can go **** itself.
    Basically right, yes.

    I feel like if 'it's illegal!' were a sound response to an independence movement we'd have a lot more foreign territories right now.
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    (Original post by TimmonaPortella)
    Basically right, yes.

    I feel like if 'it's illegal!' were a sound response to an independence movement we'd have a lot more foreign territories right now.
    Yet we have that response to Cornish, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish, North East England, London movements.

    The "it's illegal" only becomes inoperative when we subjectively decide that the movement has merit and is in the right.
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    (Original post by Notorious_B.I.G.)
    Yet we have that response to Cornish, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish, North East England, London movements.

    The "it's illegal" only becomes inoperative when we subjectively decide that the movement has merit and is in the right.
    The 'it's illegal' response is confused from the beginning. It involves appealing to the particulars of a law in an argument which is essentially about whether that particular source of law should be recognised. This argument is circular. Where the authority of a particular set of rules is disputed, all there is is politics.

    I know you're in some way involved in law because I've seen you on the careers forum, but I don't know where you're up to exactly. Have you read Hart?
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    (Original post by TimmonaPortella)
    The 'it's illegal' response is confused from the beginning. It involves appealing to the particulars of a law in an argument which is essentially about whether that particular source of law should be recognised. This argument is circular. Where the authority of a particular set of rules is disputed, all there is is politics.

    I know you're in some way involved in law because I've seen you on the careers forum, but I don't know where you're up to exactly. Have you read Hart?
    If Scotland's Parliament acted outside its powers, I am sure you'd opt for the Supreme Court to deal with the issue rather than letting it be decided by political debate. We are ultimately predisposed to orthodoxy, until we are not. The status quo is presumed until it is rebutted, and we only rebut it when we sympathise with the revolution. Winston Smith is a hero; Jihadi John is not.

    Apologies, yes, I have read Hart. Do you think he shines light on the Catalan situation?
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    (Original post by Notorious_B.I.G.)
    If Scotland's Parliament acted outside its powers, I am sure you'd opt for the Supreme Court to deal with the issue rather than letting it be decided by political debate. We are ultimately predisposed to orthodoxy, until we are not. The status quo is presumed until it is rebutted, and we only rebut it when we sympathise with the revolution. Winston Smith is a hero; Jihadi John is not.

    Apologies, yes, I have read Hart. Do you think he shines light on the Catalan situation?
    No, I think he shines light on the conceptual question involved here, which as put variously in this thread comes down to whether the Spanish law settles the matter of whether Spanish law ought to be followed.

    Of course if Scotland's Parliament acted outside of its powers I would have the UK Supreme Court rule upon it, and that would settle the matter within the UK legal system. If, however, Scotland sought to repudiate the UK legal system, clearly the UK Supreme Court's ruling would not settle the matter. It would derive its power from, and operate within, a system of laws which is being denied in the first place.

    If your argument is that Catalonia ought to follow Spanish law, for whatever reason you think that is the case, that is a different matter. You are then making a non-circular argument, independent of the content of Spanish law, in favour of Catalonia recognising and being a part of that legal system.

    To state straightforwardly, however, as I've seen done many times now, that the Catalan referendum and Catalonian independence is 'illegal', as though that is determinative of the issue, imho reveals a very simplistic analysis of the situation. If your argument against Catalan independence is simply 'it's illegal under Spanish law', OP's response of 'so what?' is pretty hard to meet.
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    (Original post by L i b)
    Yes, through legal means. This is what is called the "rule of law" and is generally considered to be essential in a civilised society. It protects individuals, who are not governed by rules decided on by a whim - or rules that are simply applied differently on the basis of some individual's prejudices.



    I'm not really sure what this has to do with fascism, other than that fascism was a form of government. What you seem to object to in this case is a state exercising authority: all states do that within the structure of the rules that are created. Spain is of course a liberal democracy.

    In terms of the rule itself, Spanish law does not allow for unilateral secession of its subdivisions. Neither do many countries (indeed, I can only think of a small number of examples where that is possible) - and only within pre-established conditions. The United States of course and many countries besides have fought large-scale civil conflicts on this principle.

    As I've said, I can completely understand why most countries do not provide their own break-up: a state that allows such a free-for-all will not long endure and in all reality, power will be entirely concentrated in whichever unit it grants these rights to. The state itself would become completely impotent.
    Everything the poster disagrees with = fascism, which is highly convenient. He doesn't value logic at all.
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    (Original post by Notorious_B.I.G.)
    Yet we have that response to Cornish, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish, North East England, London movements.

    The "it's illegal" only becomes inoperative when we subjectively decide that the movement has merit and is in the right.
    Or when they fight for independence...
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    (Original post by TimmonaPortella)
    No, I think he shines light on the conceptual question involved here, which as put variously in this thread comes down to whether the Spanish law settles the matter of whether Spanish law ought to be followed.

    Of course if Scotland's Parliament acted outside of its powers I would have the UK Supreme Court rule upon it, and that would settle the matter within the UK legal system. If, however, Scotland sought to repudiate the UK legal system, clearly the UK Supreme Court's ruling would not settle the matter. It would derive its power from, and operate within, a system of laws which is being denied in the first place.

    If your argument is that Catalonia ought to follow Spanish law, for whatever reason you think that is the case, that is a different matter. You are then making a non-circular argument, independent of the content of Spanish law, in favour of Catalonia recognising and being a part of that legal system.

    To state straightforwardly, however, as I've seen done many times now, that the Catalan referendum and Catalonian independence is 'illegal', as though that is determinative of the issue, imho reveals a very simplistic analysis of the situation. If your argument against Catalan independence is simply 'it's illegal under Spanish law', OP's response of 'so what?' is pretty hard to meet.
    There is a very clear distinction between views on Spanish unity and Catalan nationalism on one hand, and breaking the law of Spain on the other. You mention Scotland - the Scottish nationalists, to their credit, have used legal means to advance their position - even though, in general, I think their politics are utterly backward.

    The wider point however is this: if someone breaks the law, they go to jail. Someone thinking that the law shouldn't apply to them does not mean it doesn't. All of these things are equally true whether you are the Premier of Catalonia or a knocking-shop proprietor in downtown Madrid.
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    (Original post by L i b)
    There is a very clear distinction between views on Spanish unity and Catalan nationalism on one hand, and breaking the law of Spain on the other. You mention Scotland - the Scottish nationalists, to their credit, have used legal means to advance their position - even though, in general, I think their politics are utterly backward.

    The wider point however is this: if someone breaks the law, they go to jail. Someone thinking that the law shouldn't apply to them does not mean it doesn't. All of these things are equally true whether you are the Premier of Catalonia or a knocking-shop proprietor in downtown Madrid.
    I can imagine what would happen if, say, the people of Bradford decided to hold a unilateral referendum in which the majority voted to become an independent Islamic State with Sharia Law.
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    (Original post by uberteknik)
    I can imagine what would happen if, say, the people of Bradford decided to hold a unilateral referendum in which the majority voted to become an independent Islamic State with Sharia Law.
    Well, exactly. This sort of sloppy thinking is a charter for all sorts of potential evils.

    Let's remember those displays of force by national governments against regional ones, upholding boring things like nationally applicable laws. Like when Governor George Wallace had to be shifted from a university door in Alabama where he was blocking Supreme Court mandated racial integration by John F Kennedy sending the National Guard to shift him. He was elected with 96% of the vote (albeit after a great deal of improper activity to disenfranchise minority voters).

    But the problem isn't really about the policies being pursued: it's that when the rule of law breaks down, rule becomes arbitrary and any grand conceptions of liberty go out the window.
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    (Original post by L i b)
    The wider point however is this: if someone breaks the law, they go to jail. Someone thinking that the law shouldn't apply to them does not mean it doesn't. All of these things are equally true whether you are the Premier of Catalonia or a knocking-shop proprietor in downtown Madrid.
    If it can be enforced -- which is precisely the point. Where an individual thinks the law doesn't apply to him it can straightforwardly be enforced against him. Where a region rejects and attempts to break away from a legal system this is less straightforward, and involves politics and diplomacy. Obviously Bradford, as in the poster's facile example above, does not have the political and/or diplomatic power as a region to break away from the UK. The question whether Catalonia can manage it, with its pre-existing autonomy and in-place regional representatives and systems of government and enforcement, is a much more realistic one.

    In such a case to rely on the content of the original state's law as an argument that the region should not break away, if this is not accompanied by a further supporting argument as to why the region should follow the original state's law, is patently ridiculous. It is the authority and legitimacy of that legal system that is questioned in the first place. In other words, OP has it exactly right. If you were to make the argument to a Catalan nationalist that they should stop what they are doing because they are in breach of Spanish law they would rightly look at you with bemusement, because you would clearly not have understood the entire point of what they are doing.
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    Sometimes the law and democracy are in conflict. If the large majority of people in a region want to have a vote on a serious issue, and elect a government in a recognised parliament who want to hold that vote then that is clearly the democratic will. If the law says that they can't (because they're worried about the result) then that is undemocratic basically by definition.

    Saying "but it's the law" isn't a get-out clause. Pro-democracy campaigners act against the law all the time, in countries where democratic rights are not respected.

    This is a complicated case and it's absolutely a fair to support the Spanish law, but democratic it is not.
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    (Original post by Rinsed)
    Sometimes the law and democracy are in conflict. If the large majority of people in a region want to have a vote on a serious issue, and elect a government in a recognised parliament who want to hold that vote then that is clearly the democratic will.
    Nope. Without law, democracy is meaningless: it can only exist within a framework of established rules. In Catalonia, these rules are quite clear: the relevant demos for exercise of such constitutional functions is the Spanish one.

    Democracy without a grasp of this would be nothing short of chaos. Instead, it requires that minorities accept the decision of the majority. In terms of centrally controlled powers, it is clear that even a majority of Catalans is still a minority of Spaniards.

    If the law says that they can't (because they're worried about the result) then that is undemocratic basically by definition.
    This will be the the Spanish constitution, approved by 95% of people in Catalonia in the referendum in 1978 (higher, incidentally, than the nation-wide result).

    Saying "but it's the law" isn't a get-out clause. Pro-democracy campaigners act against the law all the time, in countries where democratic rights are not respected.
    There is a difference between working outside of the law in an authoritarian, undemocratic state and breaking the law in a liberal democracy where all people have a fair and equal involvement in the democratic life of the state.
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    On one hand, I think the Catalonians should be allowed a legitimate referendum if they want one, but on the otherhand, at the same time, I cannot think of a good reason why each individual should not be allowed to declare their house an independent nation.
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    This is why I support what Russia did in Crimmea. If a country wants independence. Or to split off they should get it.
 
 
 
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