In 1792 Thomas Paine published a pamphlet to answer the accusation of sedition that the British monarch had attributed to him on the publication of his famous books, one of which, ‘Common Sense’, was the essential text of the early years of the United States’ struggle for independence.
Paine’s answer to the King of England has gone into the history books of mankind and is one of the most beautiful texts in defence of political freedom. The North American patriarch and revolutionary said, ‘If exposing the fraud and the imposition of the monarchy, promoting peace, civilisation and trade and breaking the chains of political superstition is being seditious, you can write that I am on my grave. If raising the people whose rights have been degraded to the place they belong is seditious, I am guilty.’
More than three hundred years later, the Catalan National Assembly has the honour of being accused of being seditious by a court that does not want us to show our people and the world the frauds and imposition of the monarchy, that intends to stop us breaking the chains of political superstition, that is fearful of the possibility that we might be capable of raising this degraded people to the place where it belongs in the concert of nations.
The Spanish Audience is an indignant court of exception, one of the most repugnant signs of how the Francoist beast took to the trenches of the state institutions by simply changing the name, and in this case not even changing the building, as it changed from being the Francoist TOP to the National Audience without moving a single chair or table.
Against the exemplary Catalan independentist movement, the state has not been able to do anything up to now, because it did not know where to catch us. But the desperation on seeing the clock turning unceasingly, most certainly fired by the lack of government to do it, obliged them yesterday to cross a line which in democratic countries is always observed with caution: they formally accuse us of thinking and wanting something. More still, they accuse us of promoting democracy as a method for resolving the conflict. And it is effectively so.
The Catalan National Assembly today is the most powerful organisation in the country in the number of people, in its capacity to move them, in its organisation and social impact. There is nothing that can be compared to it. We are hundreds of thousands of people who pay our fees, who take part in its activities, who join the events it organises, who send on communiques and tweets. It is a transparent organisation, born from the base and free, and it goes without saying that it is a peaceful, civic movement that has always shown its commitment to democracy.
Pursuing it as the Spanish judicature might wish is nonsense: the ANC is a substantial and important part of the people of Catalonia. It is not the people, nor does it aspire to be so. But, as cannot be denied seeing every 11 September, it is the representation of a very large part of the people. And if in Madrid some people think that by pursuing the organisation they will silence the country, they haven’t understood anything, which is something we already knew, but above all what they do not understand is democracy nor where power comes from or how it works, as simple as that, something which Thomas Paine explained so successfully.
(PS: As you know, I am a regular attender of the seditious acts of the ANC. I invite you to come to one today, and if you want to accompany us, this evening Eduard Voltas and I are taking part in a colloquium of the Assembly in Barcelona, in Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, in the auditorium of the Col·legi Major Sant Jordi, passatge de Ricard Zamora 4-8.)