Hi internet, how is it going? this is a video directed to those that are pro-independence or those that are against the arrest and prosecution of the jailed politicians but that, at the same time, watch the images of confrontation in the streets and fires and harsh clashes with worry, with fear, and don’t quite understand this change in the social upheaval, and they don’t like it. Basically, I’ll take five or six things that are often mentioned about this type of confrontation and about stronger social protests and I’ll try to respond to them, ok? Let’s get started. “Protests are violent” The first idea is the key one, that these are violent protests. If we say that these street protests are violent, we have to take the concept of “violence” and stretch it like a chewing-gum. For example, if getting a bin on fire is violent, how are we describing taking an eye off a 22-year old that will spend the rest of their life with just one eye? Seriously, think about it for a second. Imagine what it means to go protest one day and have the police fire at you completely ignoring the law have them fire at you and taking your eye off. For ever. If the day after that happens, people, politicians, the media, don’t recognise that as the most serious, most violent, thing that has happened; we get to unravel a bit what is hiding behind the use of the word “violence”. Behind the word “violence”, there’s isn’t really a worry that the confrontation might become very aggressive. If you use the word “violence” to refer to the protestants confronting the police, keep they back, throwing bins or other objects to the floor and burning them if this is violence, then we have to find another term, way harsher and bloodier way more inhuman to refer to what it means take an eye off a person that is protesting because other people have been put in jail. Or because another person has been run over. (“Stop, asshole!”) That, for example, in our name people get kicked off of their homes it is crystal clear violence. “This produced a police charge that hurt a man” “Neighbours showed their unrest due to the extended deployment of ???” That, in our name, people get fired at when trying to swim across the sea to get to Spain, that is violence. That people have to spend the next decade in prison because they have organised a pacific protest (“They have to go, they aren’t doing anything here”) or because they have appealed to their right to vote, that is violence. If we also use this term to refer to the harsher confrontations in the streets from the protesters we are disparaging the term or we are doing something else, which I think is what’s happening we are using the more manipulated form of the concept of violence which only refers to those who are pointing out an injustice or those who confront the current norms. What is happening since this week with the “democratic tsunami” is harsh, is confrontational and uncomfortable in lots of cases. Let’s use the word violence for those things that really are violent, and let’s not buy into the false tale that has now lasted for years and years of the violence, that doesn’t exist, of the Catalan pro-independent movement just as it’s been done in other cases, for example in the anarchist movement or so many others. In fact, if we talk about violence in Catalonia, what we have to do is to stop talking about the current protests and start to solve the incredible quantity of acts of aggression that go unpunished of the extreme right that goes happily around our country. And this is indeed violence, unpunished, in the streets. “This is the image they want” Another idea that comes out a lot these days is that this is the image they want, that this gives a bad reputation to these kinds of street confrontations. Actually, if you think about it, it’s very easy to see that this is a lie. It you think about any of the social upheavals that have gone out to the streets and have fought the police for example, recently, in Hong Kong or in Bolivia, or if tomorrow there were confrontations with the police in the US or in Brazil due to social injustice. Think for a moment what thoughts these images produce in you when you see them on TV or in the media. It isn’t “oh, the people in this village are all crazy” “they have lost their senses, and what’s needed is a harsh response from the government” No! You don’t think that. You think: “why the hell are people getting themselves in this situation?” “What’s happened that is so unfair and so grave that it makes them go to the streets” “What makes them go put their body and even perhaps their life in jeopardy?” This also seems to be the point of view of international media. When there’s a harsh conflict in the streets, the first thing that the media does is to try to understand what’s behind that conflict. So then they make these kind of articles or videos that try to explain the root cause. In fact, to appear angry when there’s an injustice is the easiest way to explain that something that isn’t right is happening, something that isn’t normal or assumable. The harshness in the streets shows that there is an unjust situation that can’t be maintained in that way. In Catalonia, there is a judicial and police system that has been used as a weapon to limit our capacity to decide, to express ourselves and to live free. That, in the face of this illegitimate use of the power of the state, we’d answer with strength, is normal. And not only is it normal, but it is also the most effective way of having the rest of the world understand that there is an urgent problem, that this isn’t a menial thing and that this isn’t something to do in our spare time but that we have a problem that we want to solve. We have the right, as Catalans, of being angry. This is also something that I think we have to work on psychologically, as a country. Catalans have the right to be angry! We don’t always have to be the nerds that get good grades and are always smiling. In fact something curious that Catalans do is that we show solidarity with many other fights that are harsh and confrontational in the streets but when it is about our interests we are so influenced by the message of the Spanish media and politicians that we feel self-conscious of showing our ideas in a normal way and harshness, and anger. And it is normal that we are angry and there’s no need to hide it. I think that the process (of self-determination) stems from the mistaken idea that more social conflict in the streets means less social acceptance. But I believe that this is close to the opposite: an angry response is way more efficient in light of an unjust situation that a simple, so to speak, happy response. “The world is looking at us” One of the main problems of the “the world is looking at us” is that, we started with the idea that, is we did things very well, got very good grades and smiled a lot the world would see that our cause was noble and just and everyone would stop everything they were doing to help us. But this is not how this works. We have to remind the world that we exist, that our demands are urgent and that they are happening now. And the only way to do that is confronting the injustice. If the world sees that, despite the repression, the hate and the violence that we receive our reaction is to negotiate, to offer deals and to turn the other cheek, the world won’t react for us, the rest of the world won’t give us what we don’t demand. Making our demands more urgent, harsher, and more intense those things that we want could make the world look at us a bit more. The rest of the world will look at us and wonder what the hell is going on. Let’s accept that we can offer this vision to the world and let’s vindicate our rights in the way that we accept other societies vindicate theirs. “Confrontation is never useful” Another idea that one hears a lot these days is that aggressive protests aren’t useful, and in relation to that I’d like to remind you of that concept called “Overton window” that I talked about in another video, which is this one “It’s a concept in politcal science that says everything outside the window is radical, ridiculous or unthinkable and the theory goes that, if you want to move the window, if you want to change what people think of as acceptable, you shouldn’t start here, you should start here at the extreme, because forcing people to consider an unthinkable idea, even if they reject it, makes all less radical ideas seem more acceptable by comparison.” That is, a constant street confrontation brave and direct, achieves to make public opinion understand in a reasonable and close up way the interests of this collective that is protesting. When this collective widens their discourse and makes it more volatile and invisible, the only thing they manage is that society doesn’t quite understand the urgency nor the need for those things that are demanded, and society ends up getting interested in other matters. Therefore, the fact that we are hardening the reaction to the real harshness of the State makes public opinion able to understand in a more clear and concise way what the root injustice is about that makes people go out in the streets. This has historically happened lots of times. That is, all social upheavals that have resulted in an improvement in social rights have had a harsh period while vindicating the injustice. Another of the benefits of this kind of harsher confrontation is that you are “passing the ball” to the roof of the government at the time, that has to give you a response, or at least has to respond to society at large. This generates a public debate that is, at first, uncomfortable and voluntary but that eventually crystallises in debates about the root cause that has generated this conflict and this problem. If you protest in a way that is only symbolic, that doesn’t bother anyone and which doesn’t affect the normal day-to-day life it is most likely that people won’t pay you any attention or listen to what you have to say. In the beginning you’ll generate a certain amount of tension and interest but in the end you’ll end up being like a fly, like an advert, like something in the background and in the historical context something that’s easy to ridicule and easy to pay little attention to. I don’t mean to say that the independent movement has to become something like that. I think that this movement has the virtue of being diverse, it is reflected in lots of forms of protest, a lot of them original, others more traditional. The ideal would be to agglutinate all these parts of society and to avoid judging one another but rather to all manage to push to generate a situation that’s intense enough and active enough to makes it impossible not to listen to us “We must avoid another 155” “This violence will lead to another 155” “and will take away what little self-determination we have.” This is not true, I mean, the article 155 will be applied with or without the street confrontations just like people get put in jail with or without violence, uprising or rebellion, or sedition. They don’t care what we do. It’s all the same it we all get naked tomorrow and go out dancing the conga or if we stay at home. They will always say that we are violent, that we are crazy and that we need to disappear “We are a peaceful people” The conclusion of the video is to try not to criminalise and not to prejudge forms of protest that we are not used to but to try to see where they come from and their usefulness. And let’s understand that we live under the influence of a discourse in the media and politics and that the earlier people get that certain discourses and certain terms are used to destroy a movement, the earlier these terms and discourses will lose their effect and the earlier we’ll be able to think in a free way, in a more critical way about what we do, about how we want to move forward and about what our goals are. There’s this other background idea that we are a peaceful people and so we have to act accordingly. My answer to that is that indeed, we are a peaceful people and therefore let’s vindicate peace for this country and not a drill of peace. We want not to be detained at 5 am taking down the house door, we want not to be put in jail for decades, not to have eyes taken off for protesting, we want to be allowed to vote in a free and modern way about our future. All this means we are a peaceful people. And vindicate for these things to happen in an angry and harsh way makes us more peaceful and not less. Peace is not a drill that everything is going well, but rather to fight to that everything really goes well. If you liked this video and you think it might be useful share it with people that are a bit worried or restless these days and see you in the next one and also in the streets. Buch resignation now.