The unfolding of the independence referendum battle in Catalonia is an historic event because it will have long lasting consequences for both sides.
It also has a European and global importance, for it raises some fundamental questions about the right o to sovereignty of a people and who gets to decide what happens.
Whether one likes it or not, the post war political set up, both globally and within individual nation states is unravelling, and in this climate, the calls to resolve historically unsettled unsettled questions become more pronounced.
This is relevant to Australia too. As a society we need to deal with the right of sovereignty being demanded by the original peoples of this land and we have issues relating to the remaining legacy of colonialism and and the enormous role being played by big foreign money and its influence on the Australian economy, institutions and politics.
Catalonia is also raising into clear relief and in practical terms, the real content of democracy. It the case of the Spanish state, Catalonia is revealing that clearly has its limit. The question is whether this is also true for other states and if so, does this need to be change and how?
For these reasons, The Pen is providing ongoing coverage of these events.
Right now, on the eve of the Catalan referendum and the stand off between the Spanish state and the Catalans, huge numbers hit the Streets in Barcelona and in other and the region. Students have occupied Barcelona University and farmers have entered in mass to defend the polling stations. Firefighters have vowed to defend voters.
Local communities have organised defence committees to protect the ballots that the Government in Madrid has vowed to confiscate.
At least 7000, paramilitaries have been sent in and many of them are at the moment on board ships sitting in the Barcelona waterfront.
Meanwhile the European Union has refused to intervene, citing that Madrid has a technical right to act and that it is an internal matter for Spain. What is ignored in that the Spanish Constitution and ruling party are the legacy of the brutal Franco dictatorship that trampled all contrary opinion. One of the three pillars of the Spanish consitution is to deny self-determination.
The World Federation of Trade Unions has voted to support the right of Catalans to decide their own future.
Farmers are being welcomed into Barcelona and regional centres
Video from ACN
Huge numbers of Catalans are taking to the streets
Video from al Jazeera