'Ara és l'hora' ('Now is the time') is the motto of the joint campaign conducted by civil society organizations to rally a very broad majority of the population to vote 'yes' on independence for Catalonia. With just a hundred days or so to go before the consultation on 9 November, Catalan society is on the final straight on its way to decide the future of its new state. The most striking thing about this process is that a very broad majority of the Catalan population wants this consultation - more than 80% are in favour! This fact gives food for thought.
The foremost function of the democratic system is to allow the people to make their political choices. And when the choices are fundamental, it is particularly important that they be taken in a democratic manner. In this context, the choice between an independent or non-independent state is so fundamental that the right to self-determination is recognised as an individual right of citizens and a collective right of peoples and is one of the basic principles of human rights. On the other hand, although the majority of the Catalan population defend the right to self-determination, not all of them are necessarily independentists. To the credit of the non-independentists, they wish to respect the right to self-determination of the whole of the Catalan population and consider a consultation a key component of co-existence and social cohesion. And to the credit of the independentists, despite all the obstacles which have always been placed in their path, they have argued that the way to attain their objectives must be pacific, inclusive and democratic, as this is also a key component of co-existence and social cohesion. On these solid foundations, we can say that both sides will accept the result of the vote, whichever way it falls. And even more remarkably, besides this unity behind defending the consultation as a component of social cohesion, the Catalans also express a wide range of political opinions when they come to vote in parliamentary elections: at the moment seven parties of all ideologies are represented in the Catalan Parliament (in fact eight, considering that CiU is a coalition of two parties). In short, united in defending democratic values, social cohesion and diversity of opinion.
Another very important feature of this process is that the first group who want all this to happen are the people of Catalonia. Political parties are accompanying this movement, but it is led by the people. Remember that 11 September is the day when we Catalans claim our national rights. This year, once again, the Catalan people will demonstrate their hegemony over the process by taking to the streets, as they did in previous years on the same day. These demonstrations are called by the civil society organizations in Catalonia, of which the ANC is one. And, of course, political parties which wish to participate will be welcome. Almost certainly, on 11 September millions of demonstrators will take to the streets and chant, loud and clear, 'ARA ÉS L'HORA'.
In my opinion, in the face of this mass expression of democracy and unity, there is very little that those placing obstacles in the way of the democratic legitimacy of voting can do. Yes, now is the time to vote.