Upcoming elections in Catalonia spell more trouble for the Spanish central government in particular and the Eurozone in general, regardless of whether or not Catalonian independence will actually happen soon:
Spain’s economic powerhouse Catalonia took its first step toward independence – and threatened to proceed unilaterally if necessary – in a serious challenge to Madrid’s already besieged central government, which is struggling with social turmoil and economic uncertainty.
Catalonia’s conservative regional leader Artur Mas moved up local elections to Nov. 25 in an effort to secure the political mandate he needs to press the central government to authorize a referendum on independence. But he said that Catalonia could proceed with a referendum even if Madrid didn’t authorize one.
“If we can go ahead with a referendum because the government authorizes it, it’s better. If not, we should do it anyway,” Mr. Mas told the regional parliament Wednesday. “This is about Catalonia being able to exercise its right to self-determination.”
While Eurocrats are trying to patch up the unfixable, postponing the inevitable to a later more painful point in time, the Eurozone has long lost the moral support that would be needed to maintain it much longer. The events in Catalonia is just another example for a universal and widely held sentiment across the board.
As I have said many times before, there will come a time when Europe’s bankrupt governments will be forced to default on their debts and exit the Euro and do precisely that which they have been avoiding and I have been repeating year after year now:
An absolute and unconditional abandonment of any more bailout talks is highly necessary. Member states need to consolidate their finances, cut spending, trim down their obtrusive bureaucracies and cut their unsustainable tax burdens.
For many of them, after they’ve now unfortunately been digging themselves a deeper hole, default remains inevitable, and in Greece’s case it has already occurred.
Now the most popular tweet in Spain is #hagamoscomoislandia or “Do As Iceland Did”, and as Mish points out:
A Twitter search for “#hagamoscomoislandia” turns up a hit with titles in English but comments in Spanish.
Google Translation says the page is already in English. However, I cut some of the comments and translated them. Here are the results.
Not one euro for banks, prosecute the perpetrators of the crisis and a constitution written by the citizens!
Education + health budget in 2012: 5,397 million euros. Rescue Bankia: 7,000 million euros
Greece, under the control of the Troika, in bankruptcy. Iceland, after a revolution, Out of Crisis.
7,000 million euros for Bankia? To begin, No. # # HagamosComoIslandia RescatemosPersonas
Trial of bankers and politicians, reappropriation of wealth plundered, new constitution and social justice
Default is the free market‘s solution to extreme insolvency. Do as Iceland did.
The Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has announced on Wednesday that the plan to combat tax evasion on Friday approved the Cabinet prohibit the payment in cash transactions of over € 2,500 and which at least involved a businessman professional.
During the control session the Government in the House of the Congress of Deputies and in response to a question about the tax amnesty made by the general coordinator of IU, Cayo Lara, the Prime Minister has revealed that those who violate the ban will face fines of 25% of the payment made in cash.
The Government had already advanced the plan to combat fraud limitations include the use of cash for certain operations, although he had not yet specified which would place the threshold (yes at the time there was talk that it could be 1,000 euros for self-employed).
I highly doubt that this is in line with one of the supposedly fundamental pillars of the European Union, namely the unrestricted mobility of capital. Spain might as well exit right now and get it over with.
As everyone with half a brain knows and as we have been arguing here for a long time now: Government intervention leads to problems that will be combated with more government intervention until a complete breakdown of trade, credit, and the monetary system becomes inevitable.
We are witnessing the inevitable and accelerating downhill ride that is being aggravated and prolonged by one failed government intervention after another.
Spanish police fired rubber bullets and swung truncheons to disperse anti-crisis protesters in a Barcelona square Friday as cleaning crews cleared their tent camp.
Catalan police in anti-riot gear moved in after about 50 protesters sat down on the street to block a convoy of cleaning trucks leaving the Plaza de Cataluna square with remnants of the encampment.
Police, some with plastic shields, were shown on television dragging protesters along the street and swiping with truncheons at activists, who had been chanting: “They shall not pass.”
An AFP reporter at the scene saw rubber bullets fired.
The protest blockade was broken up within minutes but about 100 protesters regrouped in the square. They were surrounded by two police cordons blocking hundreds more people from entering from nearby roads.
Here is a clip:
According to Wikipedia the main goals of the Spanish protests are to “Upgrade democracy, reduce influence of economic powers in politics”.
Since I’m not exactly sure what that means and since the exact goal of these protests doesn’t seem very clear or obvious it is hard for me to sympathize with these people.
If they are protesting the recent liberalization of the labor market and the recognition of an employer’s right to hire and fire employees as he deems necessary, and if all they are asking for is cosmetic changes in their current flavor of the taxation extortion racket (=democracy), if in fact they are maybe even asking for the government to fund health care and education even more extensively than it has already been doing with such blood money, then I have little to so sympathy for these protesters.
After all, abolitionists didn’t take to the streets to demand that “slavery be upgraded” either!
The goal to “reduce influence of economic powers in politics” means nothing so long as you allow for the existence of a state. A state by necessity always and everywhere lends itself to special interest meddling on the part of the rich and powerful a.k.a politics, it is a completely boring and predictable side effect of statism.
Nor do I have any sympathy with the police, however I would at least submit that those people have little to no choice than to obey their masters and to go where they are ordered to go and beat up whom they are ordered to beat up.
The protesters meanwhile could have made the demonstrations about spreading truth and knowledge about voluntaryism and against the concept of the state in general.
I may be missing something, but I see no such indications anywhere.
In which case … I don’t mind if they all together smash and kick each others’ heads in, at least it’ll turn off all those who really care to make true and meaningful change happen at some point from joining such movements.
(To be clear: I may very well be missing the true objectives of these protests, the above is only based upon the few pieces of information I was able to gather)
On a related note, some thoughts on civil disobedience …
Tens of thousands of demonstrators across Spain continued sit-ins and other protests against the established political parties on Saturday. They did so in defiance of a ban against such protests and ahead of regional and municipal elections on Sunday.
About 28,000 people, most of them young, spent Friday night in Puerta del Sol, a main square in downtown Madrid, the police said. They stayed even as the protest ban went into effect at midnight under rules that bring an official end to campaigning before the election in 13 of Spain’s 17 regions and in more than 8,000 municipalities.
Fueling the demonstrators’ anger is the perceived failure by politicians to alleviate the hardships imposed on a struggling population. The unemployment rate in Spain is 21 percent.
Beyond economic complaints, the protesters’ demands include improving the judiciary, ending political corruption and overhauling Spain’s electoral structure, notably by ending the system in which candidates are selected internally by the parties before an election rather than chosen directly by voters.
Live feed from Spain:
Young Spaniards are fed up with a regime that has wrecked the country’s economy and gets more and more corrupt by the day. This is always and everywhere the inevitable price of statism. Asking for a different flavor of it will change nothing fundamentally in the long run. Voluntaryism will …
It looks to me like the teenage leftists of the European Union require a direction and a purpose.
The market economy is the only thing on your side, young spaniards, it’s the only thing that provides you any measure of freedom and self-realisation. It’s also the only economy you have, and thus the only source of actual material wealth. By interfering with it you’re only going to produce less wealth, less jobs and more suffering. Yes, government is a massive problem which must be dealt with, but ‘democracy’ is not the solution. The solution is liberty: have the government withdraw interference from markets, eliminate ‘social services’ (every Euro spent by the government is another stolen from the productive market, meaning less real wealth and less sustainable jobs.. and how is it a ‘service’ if you’re forced to pay for it?), eliminate anti-market corporatism (limited corporate liability, patent law, bailouts, anti-trade taxation, fiat currency monopoly, all anti-competitive laws) and by doing so eliminate the corporatist problem while retaining the economic liberty to have a thriving economy. Because just demanding more socialism will only produce more economic problems, and you’ll never make any forward progress.
I’m not advocating a conservative position, in general conservatives tend to talk about economic freedom but in practise are just a bunch of cowardly prohibitionists, corporate whores and opponents of personal liberty. What I’m saying is that democracy and socialism are no better than fascist corporatism, you’re still going to be left with the same problems of massive corruption, very little economic progress and a ruling elite who don’t give a damn about you and your rights. The further you push to the left, the worse your problems will become. You won’t achieve anything positive for yourself or for Spain using coercive violence.
Please take a moment to consider the anti-coercive anarchist philosophy of Voluntaryism as an alternative to the further perpetuation of personal and economic oppression:
Revolutions are pointless things, they always return you to the same point you started at. Even the American revolution ended in tyranny and taxes. Lets try and aspire to something better than just another turn of the wheel…
Italy had its credit-rating outlook lowered to negative from stable by Standard & Poor’s, which cited the nation’s slowing economic growth and “diminished” prospects for a reduction of government debt, according to an S&P statement sent late yesterday. S&P affirmed Italy’s A+ long-term rating, the fifth-highest, and its top-ranked A-1+ short-term rating.
‘Bottlenecks and Rigidities’
In Italy, “diminished growth prospects stem from what we consider to be a lack of political commitment to deregulating the labor market and introducing reforms to boost productivity,” S&P said. “We believe measures to reduce the bottlenecks and rigidities in Italy’s economy are especially important in light of Italy’s limited monetary flexibility.”
The negative outlook implies a one-in-three chance that Italy’s ratings could be lowered within the next 24 months.
Italy is headed for a recession, that’ll make the required adjustments all the more tough on its citizens. In a currency union without fiscal union such measures will only happen in the 11th hour.
The fact that a bailout of some Euro states by others is discussed, just shows how torn this European Union really is, how severe its imbalances are. With discrepancies like these, it is completely unfeasible to maintain a currency union. The Euro will keep taking its beating for it.
European member states needs to come to their senses. An absolute and unconditional abandonment of any more bailout talks is highly necessary. Member states need to consolidate their finances, cut spending, trim down their obtrusive bureaucracies and cut their unsustainable tax burdens. Germany, France, and Italy should be leading the way in these efforts. The European Commission needs to put an end to its disastrous policy of subsidizing agriculture.
Individual responsibility per member state rather than complete collectivism should be aspired. Unfortunately Europe has not been very keen on individual responsibility. In Germany, France, and Italy, all one can hear is rants about “neoliberalism”, “anarchism”, “capitalism on steroids” which supposedly are to blame for the financial crisis.
The sentiment in the US is not at all different. As the US economy continues its decline, Europe is unwittingly joining the bandwaggon.
What do you think is going to happen once these plans, too, prove completely unsustainable and everyone acts surprised and rushes back to the table?
Every single time debates were raging about whether or not they should be bailed out by other member states the exposed banks’ and the governments’ propaganda minions out there would tell us that this particular bailout would solve the structural problems at hand, and every time people on the other side would say that they won’t and that we’ll be having the same debate a few years from then. Then the inevitable happens and everything these pro bailout minions were wrong on suddenly doesn’t matter anymore and we’re repeating the same debate.
Every media push in support of bailout measures is thus nothing but a temporary and concentrated effort to push a particular program across the finish line, and all tools and weapons in the propaganda arsenal are considered fair to make it happen. What happens afterwards is completely irrelevant to these people.
The cycle of screwing the future via government budget deficits always requires that future generations suffer for excesses of the past, be it via increased taxation or via a default on false promises made.
That future you’ve been hearing people talk about for decades is no longer future, it is here and now.
Truth is the enemy of statism, always and everywhere.