Follow Catalonia’s lead. Take the universal, undeniable right of self determination to London’s streets.
Typically people will read this and say, “but Scotland isn’t like Catalonia, we don’t and can’t march with the numbers they can” Well, I have had enough of that, it’s not about numbers it is about desire. With a desire to make a truly global impact with our campaigning events we can make a difference.
Once again the “Catalan question” received global coverage and once again the vehicle for that explosion of coverage was a huge rally. Above is a news report from Aljazeera. Here’s the coverage on the BBC, Reuters and The Washington Post and the list of international reports is pretty much endless.
This marks an unusual spike in coverage for the Catalan right to self determination. Every 11th September the world is reminded of the call from Catalonia during the La Diada celebrations. It was’t only the date that made this rally different it was the location: not the Catalan capital but the Spanish capital.
Around 120,000 demonstrators peacefully took over the Madrid streets on a warm Saturday evening. Just normal people, plus representatives from political parties and civic organisations from all over Spain joined the rally to highlight the desire of Catalonia to be able to democratically vote for self determination.
The demonstration had extra impact this year as the twelve pro Catalan independence leaders, currently on trial for the ridiculously archaic charges of “rebellion and sedition”, are being held only a few kilometres from the start of the rally.
Madrid proves a new canvas for the red and yellow picture
The Catalan right to self determination is not a regional issue, it is a national and an international one and taking such a huge demonstration to the Spanish capital has powered the issue further into the international and national consciousness.
Catalonia is being denied the opportunity to hold a legal referendum on its future and a similar position is likely to arise in Scotland. The Catalans are ploughing a furrow that we could easily follow. If, if, we had the desire and the leadership to do it.
I have no doubt that many civic organisations across the UK support Scottish independence, or at least the right for a sovereign parliament to call such a vote. And I believe that London holds 10,000s of people who would support Scotland’s cause. We could take London by storm. But firstly we have to work out who would rally the “we”
I’ve written about the hope that the Scottish Independence Convention can replicate the success of the Catalan National Assembly by coordinating the YES movement, but like many, I remain in serious doubt that this organisation has the capacity, the leadership or the desire to truly make any kind of impact. Their fund raiser seems to have stalled on around £100,000 and they have one post on their website THIS YEAR.
And I am still in quiet shock from reading this back in November:
“30K will get the organisation started and branded – complete with public engagement research (so we know that undecided voters will be open to what they see when they look at our messages and branding)”
And the movement continues to have unanswered questions about this organisation.
So if that is the “who” would coordinate the movement, let’s look at the what.
George Kerevan suggested an alternative approach to having our voice heard in London, blocking the London underground. I posted yesterday what happens when organisations have the wrong person making campaigning decisions, and hopefully this idea will be stuck on a red light forever.
I would suggest a much more successful PR campaign would be to aim for a similar event to yesterday’s march in Madrid.
It really shouldn’t be beyond our movement to organise an event like this. But we just don’t seem to understand the value it can bring. Incidentally, it could be done for the cost of the SIC set up and branding.
The Catalans not only understand how to use events to supercharge their demands but they crucially have an infrastructure to support the event.
Scotland is clearly lacking the understanding and the infrastructure to organise a truly impactful event. I hope we are not also lacking the desire.