HOMEMASS MEDIAXavier in the NewsXavier Sala-i-Martín: ‘If they don’t let us vote, they will be backing the fastest path to independence’
17 May 2017
Xavier Sala-i-Martín: ‘If they don’t let us vote, they will be backing the fastest path to independence’
Mass media - News Sala i Martín

Tags: Catalunya | Independencia

Xavier Sala i Martín (Cabrera de Mar, 1962) makes no electoral calculations and relies on the interests of no party, so he can talk unbiasedly and speak his mind. He remembers that the 27-S plebiscite was won and that the Spanish government must bear in mind that, if it prevents the referendum by force, the present independentist majority will immediately declare independence, without waiting any longer. Apart from explaining why, in this interview he talks about the effect Trump might have on independence, what Jefferson teaches us in the US Independence Declaration and how he believes the Catalan constitution should be.

Is the strongest argument for legitimising independence the democratic principle
—The right to vote. ‘If those people do not want to belong to Spain, they have to have the right to leave.’ Here in the United States they haven’t come up against this yet, but I have no doubt that the federal government would allow any state proposing an independence vote to hold one. Now it is very easy to say that it wouldn’t allow it because no proposal has been made, but it is true that democratic feeling is very strongly rooted here. Historically, the only way to define borders was with wars or sex between kings. Now it makes no sense for Serbia and Croatia to be accepted as new countries as a result of a war and not to accept a country created from the ballot boxes; those swimming against the tide of the people, like Rajoy, who only accept independences if they are achieved with violence.

But beyond the principles, there are the interests
—If we vote to decide who has to take decisions in a democratic country, why can’t we vote to take a very important decision like independence? Why are frontiers a taboo subject? It doesn’t make sense and there are many places where it is not understood. The Spanish approach is an antiquity which will clearly disappear. In a few years it will seem amazing that anyone could have opposed a vote to take a decision. Now it seems like madness that women cannot vote; in the United States, women started to vote in 1918, now it doesn’t seem true. This happened just a hundred years ago, and racial segregation lasted until the sixties. Luther King and company are from the fifties. The law on non-discrimination was approved in the sixties. Now you look back and you think it was incredible, it’s hard to believe. So I try to look at our situation with eyes from the future and I think exactly the same thing will happen.


- Link to the whole interview