NY Times.com, bOn Sunday, in defiance of an order from the Spanish Constitutional Court, a farcical referendum on Catalan separatism will take place. It is not clear who is holding it, as there are neither official voters’ rolls nor auditors, only a semiofficial cabal of volunteers. All this in the name of “democracy” and the right to decide, but without respect for the rule of law or the true will of the people, and without acknowledging the gravity of the consequences that the secession of Catalonia would occasion. This supposed referendum — now rebranded a “nonbinding consultation” — and the cynical victim posture that has accompanied it represent yet another stratagem on the part of the Catalan government and its allies to drum up support for the separatist cause, complete with such slogans as “Spain doesn’t love us,” “Spain is robbing us” and, now, “Spain will not let us vote.”
In their attempt to undermine the workings of the constitutional government, Catalan separatists have displayed a remarkable indifference to historical truth. Catalonia was never an independent state. It was never subjected to conquest. And it is not the victim of an authoritarian regime. As a part of the crown of Aragon and later in its own right, Catalonia contributed decisively to making Spain what it has been for over three centuries: an impressive attempt to reconcile unity and diversity — a pioneering effort to integrate different cultures, languages and traditions into a single viable political community.