Catalonia votes for independence

Spain’s north-eastern region of Catalonia finally cast their vote despite all of the resistance from the Spain’s authorities. The non-binding vote went ahead after Spain’s constitutional court ruled out a formal referendum. Almost 2 million people out of the population of 7.5 million could vote and the preliminary result is an overwhelming 80% in favor of vote of independence for Catalonia.

Catalan leader Artur Mas hailed the non-binding poll “a great success” that should pave the way for a formal referendum. Spanish Justice Minister Rafael Catala dismissed the poll as “fruitless and useless”, however. “The government considers this to be a day of political propaganda organized by pro-independence forces and devoid of any kind of democratic validity,” he said in a statement.

Judging from the recent events the region will not be allowed to gain independence in any democratic sort of way. Unfortunately, it is completely unclear whether Catalan are prepared to stand up and fight for their rights with weapon in hand. With the non-equivocal resistance from Spain that may eventually remain the only way though, just like the fight of the Eastern Ukraine for independence showed. It may be hard to imagine a bloody military battle in Spain but a year ago it was impossible to imagine a bloody battle in Ukraine either.

One thing that Spanish government made very clear is that they are not letting the region go. That stands to reason, no country is keen on breaking itself up, so why should they? If Catalonia wishes independence, they will have to fight for it. The economics of politics is such that it must become more expensive for Spain to keep them than to let them go. Is there a peaceful and non-destructive way to do that?

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“Democracy” at work – Scotland’s independence referendum

The people of Scotland voted in a referendum to end Britain’s rule on 18 September 2014… The official result of the referendum is negative, saying that the majority of people voted to stay under the British rule. The event demonstrated clearly that the so-called democracy is just a never-ending farce that has nothing to do with people’s will or interests.

The referendum had a very large turnout – according to official data 85% of people came out to vote. What does that tell us? It tells us that the question of Scotland’s independence was taken to heart and people became politically active. We know that the population usually becomes politically active when they wish to influence the government to make changes and they recognize an opportunity. The population remains largely passive when it finds the status quo agreeable or sees no chance of influencing the situation. The large turnout indicates the rather strong desire of change in the masses although the official result states the opposite.

Note that the preliminary polls, widely publicized by sources like BBC, Bloomberg and others, indicated that the referendum results will be negative with 52 % of population against the independence of Scotland. Under this premise, why would a large part of population suddenly become active? If they wanted to keep the status quo, all they had to do was to stay at home in front of the TV. There is only one explanation: the population became active precisely because they wanted to demonstrate their disagreement with the preliminary results. They all went out and voted because they wanted change and they noted that the change is close, they only need a couple percent to sway the balance. That is the kind of incentive that activates the electorate and causes large turnout: a desire for change and the impression that a single vote may decide the future of the country.

My guess is that the CNN accidentally published partially correct numbers when they announced the preliminary results where the Yes vote achieved 58%. That would be perfectly logical under the circumstances: the preliminary polls show 52% against (that’s what they put on the first line) and the final result was closer to the 58% in favor due to the high turnout of the population activated by the circumstances. I think, Scotland voted positively on their independence but… -->

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Steven Seagal plays at a concert in Crimea

Hollywood actor and musician Steven Seagal played at a weekend concert in the Crimean peninsula, appearing on a stage adorned with the flag of Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR).

Seagal and his blues band played on Saturday at a bikers’ show held in the city of Sevastopol, home to Russia’s Black Sea fleet. The star proudly showed his support to the people of Crimea and Donetsk People’s Republic fighting for their independence from the nationalistic regime of Ukraine. Fans waved Russian and DNR flags as Seagal performed.

Seagal said he had travelled to Crimea because music unites people, Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency reported. In a March interview with a Russian newspaper, Seagal was quoted as saying that President Vladimir Putin’s desire to protect Russians in Crimea was completely reasonable.

Crimea’s largely Russian-speaking residents voted in March to become part of Russia in an all-out referendum. As the result of the referendum the peninsula became a part of Russian territory, causing much joy and celebration between the local population.

Seagal said he considers Putin, with whom he has promoted martial arts in Russia, “a friend and I’d like to consider him a brother”. In the March newspaper interview Seagal said he did not rule out eventually seeking Russian citizenship in addition to his US citizenship.… -->

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Cultural difference: independence and autonomy

Flying falcon

I get hit sometimes by sudden realizations of monumental nature. Or so they seem to me at the time. Here is another one that hit me right after breakfast the day before. It is good food for thought:

There appears to be a big difference in how independent and autonomous people of different cultures perceive themselves and others.

Consequence: your idea of independent thought and action is likely different from the person that you are talking to unless you grew together in one village and even then.

I was thinking about how talking to Germans and Americans is different, how differently they react to similar questions. I am seeing a seriously different attitude towards independence and autonomy of thought. People feel themselves entitled to completely different ways and they also expect the corresponding familiar behavior from others that often does not match on the other side, resulting in unmet expectations and disappointment.

The Americans appear to be bent on autonomy, they believe they are on their own, they are in a sort of a fight of “me against all” or something similar. I am exaggerating, of course, but I do so to make my point. They feel entitled to complete independence of thought and taking decisions. Americans will happily tramp on your fingers when it suits their personal interests. They will use any opportunity to get ahead personally and will not like to be held back into the group.

An American manager does not assume automatic allegiance from his subordinates, especially from across levels. Neither would he rely on the colleagues and management until he is sure where their interests align. Americans are nearly direct in finding out the details of their situation. The end result is, of course, that you cannot assume the good will and allegiance on the part of an American colleague unless you can find out that your interests align. And if you happen to have opposite interests… there is no compromise, usually, so it would do you good to prepare for the battle.

The Germans seem to be on the other side of the scale. They do not seem to be interested in autonomy. Apparently they think it is a virtue to proclaim their allegiance and uphold their loyalty to whatever group they happen to be in, even to the detriment of their own interests. Again, I am exaggerating to make a point. Germans will actually forgo chances to get ahead in the world … -->

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