By: John White
The scenes of Spanish riot police marching through the streets of Barcelona and other Catalonian towns and cities, attacking civilians with batons and rubber bullets outside polling stations for the crime of attempting to cast a democratic vote on their future, of ballot boxes being seized and elected politicians being arrested — all at the behest of the government of an EU member state — you might think are incongruous and incompatible with the EU’s self-declared status as a pillar of democratic values in the 21st century, a status enshrined in Article 2 of its very own constitution, the Lisbon Treaty, which reads:
“The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.”
However Brussels’ position of pristine indifference in the face of the grotesque and disgraceful scenes that unfolded in Catalonia should be no surprise, given the anti-democratic character of its institutions.
It should also not go un-noted that just as the EU has essentially washed its hands of the crisis in Catalonia, taking the position that it is an internal matter for the Spanish government and authorities, so the so-called democratic powers in the 1930s stood by as democracy in Spain was extinguished back then, holding to the supine position of “non-intervention.”