The number of people taking part in demonstrations matter. Social mobilisation is a crucial means to an end.
It seems to be all the rage at the moment to compare Barcelona to Glasgow. So I thought I’d continue that trend, and add my thoughts about social mobilisation in Catalonia and Scotland. To do this I’ve looked at a two events held in Barcelona last month. By looking at these events I will hopefully demonstrate my concern for the forthcoming second independence referendum in Scotland. I will set that thought out here: our events will have little impact if the current trend of low numbers continues.
First up is a Monday morning demonstration that was held outside the Higher Court of Justice in Barcelona. Artur Mas, the ex President of Catalonia was on trial for supporting a symbolic vote on Independence for Catalonia. Yes, you read that correctly, on trail for organising a referendum. You can probably start to see some potentially scary similarities. Here’s the details from Señor Mas:
“More than 50,000 people from around the country, many having got up very early, have come out on a Monday morning. The people always teach us a lesson: unity and social mobilisation.”
Yup, there really was 50,000 outside the court on a Monday morning. This wasn’t any kind of anomaly. Catalans demonstrate regularly and often bring tens of thousands on to the streets.
A week or so later an estimated 160,000 took to the streets on a Saturday evening to demonstrate against Spain’s intransigence with refugees.
Catalan politicians know that social mobilisation is important and so do Catalans:
“Puigdemont (current Catalan President) calls for social mobilisation before the referendum”
I wonder if Scottish politicians and the YES movement have realised that numbers really matter. And if so what they plan to do about it?