Where to now?

Most of you will have followed the ‘outcome’ of the Catalonian elections. I write ‘outcome’ as it is far from clear what the outcome will be. How does one get an outcome through imposed elections when half the people respect the centre that imposed those elections and the other half resent the same centre? How does one get an outcome when two positions are defended from a typical male approach of immovable strength? Rhetoric without listening… re-telling history that does not address injustice, but keeps a wound open and increases the depth of the wound.

The result of the vote seems to clearly indicate one thing – the 7 million people are divided and the division is very deep. When we have prayed – and we have prayed into these issues for the past years – we have been calling for a Spain that recognises diversity. One land mass but a family of nations / cultures. For diversity to rise voices have to be heard and voices have to be listened to. What though is ‘the’ Catalan voice? Almost 2 million of those in Catalonia are not from that ‘Communidad’ but adopted Catalonia mostly for economic reasons. Does their voice carry any weight? The historical perspective – is there / was there ever a Catalan nation (defined by language)? The Catalonian region was a semi-autonomous region of Aragon…

Perhaps the inconclusive result was the best result we could have hoped for. Central government had a bad night with their returns being a clear ‘no-vote’. The independent parties had a good but not overwhelming night. Back to where we were.

Our conviction is something much deeper is going on. There is something seeking to break through from the hidden place, away from the public eye. Change is from grassroots. That is certainly in line with the ‘Christmas’ message of one born to save a nation from exile. The economy of Barcelona (the capital) will be impacted greatly and sadly those on the margins are almost always those who feel the effect deeply at a survival level, but behind the neo-liberal prosperity is a city that has a long history of pulling together. In June 2017, Barcelona en Comu held the world’s first ‘Fearless Cities’ International Municipalist conference, gathering 700 urban activists from over 40 nations. The invitation to Fearless Cities began with a ringing declaration:

In a world in which fear and insecurity are being twisted into hate, and inequalities, xenophobia and authoritarianism are on the rise, towns and cities are standing up to defend human rights, democracy and the common good.

We (Gayle and I) are committed to continue to pray for Catalonia, but wider for Spain. We were recently at the Supreme Court in Madrid. We are committed to see corrupt judiciary being exposed and for the constitution being changed. The judiciary are political appointments and as noted in The Guardian

Certainly the alacrity with which the justice system has responded to the Catalan crisis is in marked contrast to the glacial pace with which it is handling the hundreds of corruption cases involving members of the ruling Popular party.

In all places there is a Babylon that rises up. That Babylon will dominate, refuse to shift, and any beast that represents it that has a mortal wound will simply live again to dehumanise the many while rewarding those who comply. There is also a gift from heaven that can come. Tomorrow marks the day when God appeared in a surprising way. That event is unrepeatable, Jesus is unique. Signs point to the event, but the event also releases signs. Those signs are surprising, but are marked by those who occupy the high place losing their seat, and of the hungry being fed. Mountains brought down and valleys brought up.

So Spain, Europe. Bumpy ride – wide swings and shocks in 2018… but signs for those with eyes to see.


One thought on “Where to now?

  1. Not surprised to see cities taking the lead in so many ways – social justice, addressing climate change, enhancing resilience. In a sense they have no choice with so many issues that directly impact the quality of life for their citizens. And of course there is the root of it. . . citizens were originally the inhabitants of cities not countries. The nation-state evolved out of powerful cities that provided a quality of life for their citizens. The city-state is the origin of citizenship, allegiance was to the city where one was born and resided.

    As natural and human made disasters threaten nation states it is natural for cities to take the lead. While different cities and regions need to work together to ensure large systems function (like multi-regional transit) the pressures upon us may well shift us back to a closer relationship with our cities and their surrounding countryside. Resilience depends upon community bonds and will always rely upon the local. The local also means a relationship with the land (including urban spaces) – and that is where real resilience begins. Seems to me the regions of Spain, after years of economic and political shocks are really just trying to work out what it means to be local, love the land, have community that cares for local space, and how such relates to larger polities. Which is really a question for us all no matter where we live.

    Buon Natale

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