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    (Original post by ChickenMadness)
    This is why I support what Russia did in Crimmea. If a country wants independence. Or to split off they should get it.
    Ridiculous to apply a universal right of secession to anyone who wants it. States will no longer have any authority at all over the areas that they have powers.

    (Original post by Onde)
    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.
    Potentially the problems that an entirely anarchic society would cause?
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    (Original post by L i b)
    Ridiculous to apply a universal right of secession to anyone who wants it. States will no longer have any authority at all over the areas that they have powers.



    Potentially the problems that an entirely anarchic society would cause?
    Power to the people. Not the state. State officials are servants of the people. Not the other way around.
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    (Original post by L i b)
    Ridiculous to apply a universal right of secession to anyone who wants it. States will no longer have any authority at all over the areas that they have powers.



    Potentially the problems that an entirely anarchic society would cause?
    It is ridiculously simplistic to consider this purely as a binary question of 'right'. A moment's thought reveals it to be a more involved question of power, politics, and diplomacy.
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    (Original post by L i b)
    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.

    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).

    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.
    That Catalans can vote in Spanish elections is neither here nor there, if Spanish police can storm through Catalan streets, seizing ballot boxes, breaking up peaceful protests and bashing old ladies on the head. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...

    Certainly a stable democracy requires laws. But those laws require popular consent, and what happens when that is lost, as it surely has been in Catalonia? Legal niceties be damned, you cannot just foist laws on an unwilling population. If popular consent cannot be regained then how can Spain continue to function as a unified democracy?
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    (Original post by Onde)
    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.
    Anarchy is such a swell idea. But alas, it would lead to anarchy.

    It's hard to define a clear boundary for when a region and population deserve recognition as a legitimate demos, but surely Catalonia is well over the line.
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    (Original post by ChickenMadness)
    Power to the people. Not the state. State officials are servants of the people. Not the other way around.
    So oddly, in a campaign for people power, you're essentially writing off the existence of tiered and local government? As the Americans recognised in the 18th century, not concentrating power in one absolute entity is a more effective guarantee of liberty.

    "The People" however, has a distinct meaning. In a democracy, the people - the demos if you like - have to be defined and delineated for it to function. Moreover, their activity has to exist in the context of understood rules and laws to be meaningful.

    That the state exists in concept as an expression of the popular will of the people is pretty irrelevant to the question of secession. In a democracy, within whatever boundaries and whatever tiers, that popular sovereignty exercises itself. However the state remains charged with upholding that sovereignty, that popular will.

    (Original post by TimmonaPortella)
    It is ridiculously simplistic to consider this purely as a binary question of 'right'. A moment's thought reveals it to be a more involved question of power, politics, and diplomacy.
    It's not in any way a moral judgement - that's an entirely practical contention I made: that for states to exist, there has to be the authority to keep them unified and to be able to enforce democratic decisions.
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    (Original post by Rinsed)
    That Catalans can vote in Spanish elections is neither here nor there, if Spanish police can storm through Catalan streets, seizing ballot boxes, breaking up peaceful protests and bashing old ladies on the head. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...
    It's not "neither here nor there", it's a complete involvement in the democratic life of the nation-state. The police, of course, had a right - in fact, a duty - to enforce a court order on the illegal referendum: that is quite proper.

    I do accept that it seems some police officers behaved irresponsibly, but we know already that several of the high-profile photographs used over the past few days as evidence of police brutality were not as they seemed: being from entirely different protests, or even from completely different countries.

    In any case, the police being truncheon-happy with demonstrators gives a proper right to have that investigated. It does not mean the rule of law collapses entirely.

    Certainly a stable democracy requires laws. But those laws require popular consent, and what happens when that is lost, as it surely has been in Catalonia?
    There is a difference between popular consent and universal agreement. I could point out that 95% of the Catalan population approved of this particular rule, but that's not the core of my point. Instead it is this: that a minority will always disagree with any decision and democratic assent is given on the basis of clear and understood rules within a system of laws.

    That some people, or even a group of people, within that structure disagree is not only not a problem - it's pretty much to be expected. We don't, for example, expect the electoral map of the UK to go entirely blue or entirely red depending on who gets into government.

    Legal niceties be damned, you cannot just foist laws on an unwilling population.
    On a sub-state level, we do this all the time. A law that is supported in the rural Midlands may be very much opposed in London, or radically supported in Northern Ireland but opposed in Edinburgh. Can you seriously justify saying that we shouldn't extent, say, laws on same-sex marriage to the Hebrides simply because the people there may oppose it?

    This does of course create another question - whether we should be legislating extensively over individuals. Personally, I think it is for the state to make decisions that increase the autonomy of the individual as much as possible rather than detracting from it.
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    (Original post by L i b)
    Potentially the problems that an entirely anarchic society would cause?
    (Original post by Rinsed)
    Anarchy is such a swell idea. But alas, it would lead to anarchy.

    It's hard to define a clear boundary for when a region and population deserve recognition as a legitimate demos, but surely Catalonia is well over the line.
    I agree that an :archaic: anarchic society would be bad on the whole, but my point is that it is not easy for me to determine to what extent individuals should have the right to self-determination, which I may well consider the primary right.
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    (Original post by Onde)
    I agree that an archaic society would be bad on the whole, but my point is that it is not easy for me to determine to what extent individuals should have the right to self-determination, which I may well consider the primary right.
    Individuals self-determine within a democratic state where all have equal involvement in its function. They are no less or more sovereign than any other in a democratic state.

    Individual liberty is of course a completely different question from secession and the creation of different governments. Indeed, my case is that allowing a fairly universal right to secession would be just as likely - in fact, more so - to endanger people's liberty.
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    People get so off point on this issue.

    1. There’s the issue of if it is legal.

    2. There’s the issue of how it should be settled.

    3. There’s the issue of the response.

    1 it’s not legal.

    2. This is to be debated

    3. The response was outrageous. If they want to class the vote as illegal and therefore invalid you let the vote go ahead, Ignore it’s result as it’s not legal or authorised and if they feel so compelled they bring charges against the organisers.

    Only point two is complicated and point 3 is disgusting and no one should support the government over it.
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    (Original post by L i b)
    It's not in any way a moral judgement - that's an entirely practical contention I made: that for states to exist, there has to be the authority to keep them unified and to be able to enforce democratic decisions.
    There may have to be, but at times there isn't. In practical terms, I mean, not in the formal terms of a rejected wider state legal system. At this point what legal system operates in the region in question depends on what is accepted there, and this will involve what exactly the wider state authorities can do to enforce its legal system in the region.

    One issue I have with your position is your concept of 'democratic' decisions. You've already brought up the point of what the relevant demos is, but you seem to consider the question settled by the Spanish constitution -- the Spanish legal system being, as I keep repeating, what is called into question in the first place. Clearly what is accepted as the demos among regional or national populations can shift, and so I think it is unduly rigid to consider that Catalonia has forever committed itself to operating as part of a Spanish demos simply by voting for it at one time. Ultimately the concept of a demos is not a legal concept, but a political and cultural one. This being the case, if the Catalan population were to shift to accepting only the Catalan people as the relevant demos, the argument that Catalonia could only 'democratically' attain independence by way of a vote in the wider Spanish democracy would lack force. This would be an empty, formalistic use of the term 'democracy'.
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    (Original post by L i b)
    It's not "neither here nor there", it's a complete involvement in the democratic life of the nation-state. The police, of course, had a right - in fact, a duty - to enforce a court order on the illegal referendum: that is quite proper.

    I do accept that it seems some police officers behaved irresponsibly, but we know already that several of the high-profile photographs used over the past few days as evidence of police brutality were not as they seemed: being from entirely different protests, or even from completely different countries.

    In any case, the police being truncheon-happy with demonstrators gives a proper right to have that investigated. It does not mean the rule of law collapses entirely.
    So... they were only following orders?

    I also doubt organising a referendum would have led to a wholesale collapse in law and order, but I guess who knows?

    There is a difference between popular consent and universal agreement. I could point out that 95% of the Catalan population approved of this particular rule, but that's not the core of my point. Instead it is this: that a minority will always disagree with any decision and democratic assent is given on the basis of clear and understood rules within a system of laws.

    That some people, or even a group of people, within that structure disagree is not only not a problem - it's pretty much to be expected. We don't, for example, expect the electoral map of the UK to go entirely blue or entirely red depending on who gets into government.
    I don't think one generation can sign away the rights of the next. This is why no parliament can bind its successors. But as you say, that's not your main point.

    The Catalans are an ancient, distinct people with a strong regional identity, a powerful regional government, and completely legitimate political ambitions. I think it is absolutely ludicrous to suggest their right to self-determination must be subject to the will of the rest of the Spanish regions, simply because they are currently in union. We both know that would never happen, and I don't think Catalan separatists are obliged to just accept that reality.

    On a sub-state level, we do this all the time. A law that is supported in the rural Midlands may be very much opposed in London, or radically supported in Northern Ireland but opposed in Edinburgh. Can you seriously justify saying that we shouldn't extent, say, laws on same-sex marriage to the Hebrides simply because the people there may oppose it?
    Firstly, there is a very big difference between opposition to a specific law and the demise in popular consent for the body which creates it. As far as I know, if people in the rural Midlands are of a particularly strong opinion on something they believe the best way to effect it is through participation in parliamentary democracy. Which is dandy, but I can think of several cases where peoples have reached a somewhat different conclusion about the institution of parliament, such as the American colonies or Ireland.

    Should the Irish (who were after all participants in British democracy) have just accepted the majority opinion across the whole of Britain?

    Secondly, you're trying to reduce the issue to an absurdity, but we do have a regional government in Northern Ireland (well... sort of) which does exactly that! And I absolutely support the right of regional governments to do things I disagree with.
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    (Original post by Carbon Dioxide)
    So what you're trying to say is that regions should just be able to walk out of the nations they are currently a part of, even if it infringes the constitution? Under this logic, should "freemen-on-the-land"/"sovereign citizens" be deemed to be independent nation-states if a majority votes for it? Your logic leaves much to be desired.
    So if the constitution gives a dictator absolute power, the people should not revolt?
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    (Original post by Rinsed)
    So... they were only following orders?

    I also doubt organising a referendum would have led to a wholesale collapse in law and order, but I guess who knows?
    They were implementing an order of the courts. That is what police are duty-bound to do - and I have no problem with them having attempted to prevent the Catalan Government from engaging in what appears pretty clearly to be a direct violation of a court order.

    There is a distinction between "law and order" in the sense of public order and the rule of law. The latter is about government that is not arbitrary, that follows its own rules and acts in a proper fashion. Putting aside the content of laws, how they are democratically decided and so on, that rule of law is the basic, fundamental underlying requirement of a state to function in any credible way.

    The Catalans are an ancient, distinct people with a strong regional identity, a powerful regional government, and completely legitimate political ambitions. I think it is absolutely ludicrous to suggest their right to self-determination must be subject to the will of the rest of the Spanish regions, simply because they are currently in union. We both know that would never happen, and I don't think Catalan separatists are obliged to just accept that reality.
    You're inventing something as a "right" to suit your argument there. The question of rights has been clearly decided by the courts and the Catalan Government had no right to do what it did. The people of Catalonia certainly do self-determine, as with their compatriots, within a democratic Spain where everyone has an equal democratic voice.

    The law does not require acceptance by everyone - the nature of it is that it uses force to ensure compliance - but we should not be remotely surprised when that force is then seen in practice. As far as "legitimate" goes, I don't think any behaviour by the Catalan Government has been remotely legitimate in recent days. More than that, though, I think it's been quite dangerous.

    Firstly, there is a very big difference between opposition to a specific law and the demise in popular consent for the body which creates it. As far as I know, if people in the rural Midlands are of a particularly strong opinion on something they believe the best way to effect it is through participation in parliamentary democracy. Which is dandy, but I can think of several cases where peoples have reached a somewhat different conclusion about the institution of parliament, such as the American colonies or Ireland.

    Should the Irish (who were after all participants in British democracy) have just accepted the majority opinion across the whole of Britain?
    Of course, the American colonies were never part of the UK and their case was expressly about what I'm supporting: people self-determining by an equal say in how they are governed. People in Catalonia have that in regards to the Spanish state institutions, the people of the 13 colonies certainly did not have that in relation to the British administration.

    In terms of Ireland, are you actually contending that the IRA waging war against the British state was a positive thing? Over 2,000 people died as a result of that ridiculous skirmish. Irish Home Rule - and eventually a free state - was endorsed by the UK Parliament, but it was not on the basis of what the extremists wanted.

    Indeed, the Irish Parliamentary Party, who didn't have links with militants with guns, set the basis for Irish Home Rule and made their case for change within Parliament. Their decline and the subsequent conflict with the British state and, thereafter, in the Irish civil war, did not improve the lot of the average Irishman.

    Secondly, you're trying to reduce the issue to an absurdity, but we do have a regional government in Northern Ireland (well... sort of) which does exactly that! And I absolutely support the right of regional governments to do things I disagree with.
    Indeed, and Catalonia has a devolved government too. I don't really see the point you're making here. The Northern Ireland Assembly cannot, however, legislate in areas reserved to the UK Parliament.
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    (Original post by Little Toy Gun)
    So if the constitution gives a dictator absolute power, the people should not revolt?
    No, because as we've already discussed on this thread, there is a difference between self-determining people participating equally in the democratic life of a liberal democracy, and people who are subject to rule by either an undemocratic government or in a colonial relationship where they do not self-determine.

    None of these things apply in the case of Catalonia: Spain is a democracy, which Catalan people participate in equally.
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    (Original post by TimmonaPortella)
    There may have to be, but at times there isn't. In practical terms, I mean, not in the formal terms of a rejected wider state legal system. At this point what legal system operates in the region in question depends on what is accepted there, and this will involve what exactly the wider state authorities can do to enforce its legal system in the region.
    In practical terms, if a state cannot govern its territory then that is a problem. Spain is certainly not in that position, nor can I foresee them ever getting into that position.

    One issue I have with your position is your concept of 'democratic' decisions. You've already brought up the point of what the relevant demos is, but you seem to consider the question settled by the Spanish constitution -- the Spanish legal system being, as I keep repeating, what is called into question in the first place.
    And as I have said, that is the body of rules within which the Spanish democratic system operates. Outside of that, there is no "democracy".

    Clearly what is accepted as the demos among regional or national populations can shift, and so I think it is unduly rigid to consider that Catalonia has forever committed itself to operating as part of a Spanish demos simply by voting for it at one time.
    Again, in a democracy the majority does not look for the assent of the minority, it demands its compliance through law. That is the nature of what a democratic state is: as much as we perhaps like to consider democracy as some inherently peaceful hippy free-for-all, it is a decision-making process that bestows legitimacy on a state. It says nothing about how a state should approach those who disagree with those decisions: and indeed the same issue of maintaining the sovereign rights of the state are as keenly felt in a democracy as in a mediaeval kingdom.

    States don't function where their authority is undermined. All democracy really adds to that discussion is in perhaps giving a greater legitimacy to suppressing unlawful dissent against it. Those Catalan nationalists who have rejected the law are not simply rebelling against a king or a tyrant, they are rebelling against the people of Spain and their shared institutions.
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    (Original post by L i b)
    They were implementing an order of the courts. That is what police are duty-bound to do - and I have no problem with them having attempted to prevent the Catalan Government from engaging in what appears pretty clearly to be a direct violation of a court order.

    There is a distinction between "law and order" in the sense of public order and the rule of law. The latter is about government that is not arbitrary, that follows its own rules and acts in a proper fashion. Putting aside the content of laws, how they are democratically decided and so on, that rule of law is the basic, fundamental underlying requirement of a state to function in any credible way.
    Well, the basic question is whether Spain can remain a credible state. I don't think "it must be so, because this law says so" is a particularly strong answer. Rule of law is a necessary condition for a stable state, but it is not sufficient.

    Your basic argument seems to be that rule of law is a good thing, so we must do anything to preserve the current legal system. It's too rigid and doesn't reflect the flexibilities of political reality.

    You're inventing something as a "right" to suit your argument there. The question of rights has been clearly decided by the courts and the Catalan Government had no right to do what it did. The people of Catalonia certainly do self-determine, as with their compatriots, within a democratic Spain where everyone has an equal democratic voice.

    The law does not require acceptance by everyone - the nature of it is that it uses force to ensure compliance - but we should not be remotely surprised when that force is then seen in practice. As far as "legitimate" goes, I don't think any behaviour by the Catalan Government has been remotely legitimate in recent days. More than that, though, I think it's been quite dangerous.
    You seem to think the concept of rights begins with the legal system. It is perfectly reasonable to talk of rights and legitimacy on a more philosophical basis. And yes, while rights and democracy need courts to ensure them, it does not follow that every court decision is democratic or liberal.

    I would say the legitimacy of the institutions of government comes ultimately from the people, I'm not sure where you would say they do? And if the Catalan people support an independent government (and that's not a settled question) then that is democratic legitimacy.

    Of course, the American colonies were never part of the UK and their case was expressly about what I'm supporting: people self-determining by an equal say in how they are governed. People in Catalonia have that in regards to the Spanish state institutions, the people of the 13 colonies certainly did not have that in relation to the British administration.

    In terms of Ireland, are you actually contending that the IRA waging war against the British state was a positive thing? Over 2,000 people died as a result of that ridiculous skirmish. Irish Home Rule - and eventually a free state - was endorsed by the UK Parliament, but it was not on the basis of what the extremists wanted.

    Indeed, the Irish Parliamentary Party, who didn't have links with militants with guns, set the basis for Irish Home Rule and made their case for change within Parliament. Their decline and the subsequent conflict with the British state and, thereafter, in the Irish civil war, did not improve the lot of the average Irishman.

    Indeed, and Catalonia has a devolved government too. I don't really see the point you're making here. The Northern Ireland Assembly cannot, however, legislate in areas reserved to the UK Parliament.
    Ireland was a badly mishandled situation by parliament over decades. But it is not necessary to approve of the IRA to note that, at the end, Sinn Fein won a landslide majority of Irish seats and the only way Britian could prevent Irish independence was through civil war. Britain could have kept on trying to maintain its territorial integrity through force of arms and remained well within the law, but I think it's better we didn't.

    I don't wish to completely idealise democracy, but I think you obsess about legal frameworks too much. At heart democracy is a way of resolving political conflicts without bloodshed. If the only way you can keep a region part of your state is by resorting to force, your democracy has failed.
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    (Original post by L i b)
    No, because as we've already discussed on this thread, there is a difference between self-determining people participating equally in the democratic life of a liberal democracy, and people who are subject to rule by either an undemocratic government or in a colonial relationship where they do not self-determine.

    None of these things apply in the case of Catalonia: Spain is a democracy, which Catalan people participate in equally.
    So the Scottish independence referendum should've been a UK-wide referendum so the 5 million Scots can always be outvoted?
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    (Original post by Little Toy Gun)
    So the Scottish independence referendum should've been a UK-wide referendum so the 5 million Scots can always be outvoted?
    If you've have a look through some of my other posts on this thread, you'll notice I've mentioned this: the Scottish referendum was approved by the elected representatives of all parts of the United Kingdom. The section 30 order went through the UK Parliament.
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    (Original post by L i b)
    If you've have a look through some of my other posts on this thread, you'll notice I've mentioned this: the Scottish referendum was approved by the elected representatives of all parts of the United Kingdom. The section 30 order went through the UK Parliament.
    Clearly didn't change the fact that you're saying it's entirely fair for the rest of the country to outvote a region on the matter of self-determination.

    Based on your logic, China can invade all of oriental Asia today, then use its own constitution to stage a "nation-wide" referendum and have everyone else outvoted.

    It's very rare that the colonial master will give up control, especially when there's a big difference in population. You're essentially closing off the path of a peaceful path to independence.
 
 
 
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