Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Never Forget: The Owners of This People Ranch are In Charge


Guardian |  By now images of police violence against peaceful voters, old and young, were zipping across social media. Old people pulled to the ground; fleeing women hit with batons; a man jumped on down half a flight of stairs by a fully armoured riot cop . These pictures were horrifying Europe, but the thousands of people milling in the school courtyard did not look frightened or surprised.

After the referendum on Scottish independence in 2014, and the Greek vote to reject austerity in June 2015, people who resist the economic and social order in Europe know that state-backed scare tactics are part of the deal.

Though brutal, the Guardia Civil actions on Sunday were calculated: in the selection of riot squads from outside areas, where casual hatred of Catalans is rife; in the targeting of old people and women; and in the pinpoint nature of the interventions, which people on the barricades thought were concentrated on middle-class areas.

There were thousands of riot cops on hand, on ships in the harbour. If Madrid had wanted to, it could have confiscated every ballot box within minutes and, for good measure, jammed the smartphone app the Catalan authorities were using to tally the results against the electoral roll. But prime minister Mariano Rajoy wanted to send a subtler message: let the most fervent separatists have their vote and get their heads broken, while scaring the rest of the population into non-participation, including any waverers.