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8 points about the crisis in Catalonia

The crisis in Catalonia was provoked by Catalonia’s nationalists, not by the Spanish government, and if handled firmly is neither big nor dangerous

Alexander Mercouris

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As the Catalonia crisis slides towards its climax, a number of misconceptions about it need urgently to be set aside.

(1) The illegality of the independence referendum does matter

Firstly, the crisis was triggered by the decision of Carles Puidgemont and of the Catalan regional government to call an independence referendum which was unconstitutional and therefore illegal.

I am troubled by the willingness of many people to disregard the illegality of the Catalan referendum and to support – apparently without giving much thought to the consequences – what was an exercise in straightforward law breaking.

This has gone along with all sorts of claims that Spain’s constitution can somehow be disregarded in this instance because constitutions supposedly derive their legitimacy from popular consent, which in Catalonia’s case the Spanish constitution is supposedly lacking.

These are wild and dangerous arguments.  Of all political systems democracy is the one which depends most on rigorous observation of the constitution and the law.  When these are disregarded and unconstitutional and illegal actions are taken and become the norm it is democracy itself which breaks down.

That is precisely what happened for example in Ukraine, where the whole root of the present crisis is the Maidan movement’s persistent refusal to respect the outcome of democratic and constitutional elections which it loses, and its willingness – as in its overthrow in February 2014 of President Yanukovych – to use unconstitutional and illegal methods to further its objectives.

The result in Ukraine was to bring the whole constitutional and legal order of Ukraine by 2014 crashing down with an unconstitutional government illegally installed by violent methods triggering secessionist moves by those who felt rightly that their constitutional and democratic rights and protections had been illegally taken from them.

That is absolutely not the situation in Catalonia today, and the parallels some people I suspect are making – if only in their own minds – between the post 2014 independence movements in Crimea and Donbass and the one in Catalonia today are false ones and should be rejected.

The fact that some people in Catalonia are unhappy with the present situation cannot be taken to mean that the constitution of the whole of Spain – of which Catalonia is only a part – no longer has consent or legitimacy and can simply be disregarded and set aside.  That is to privilege the obsessions of a small minority of Spain’s people over those of the great majority, something which would not only make constitutional government in Spain or indeed anywhere else where that principle was applied impossible, but which is in fact the reverse of what democracy is supposed to be.

I would add that the fact that in other more established democracies – such as the United States – the constitution and the law are being repeatedly violated by those in authority is certainly not something which ought to be cited as a precedent for Catalonia to follow.  On the contrary it is a cause for concern about the future of democracy in the United States.

(2) Violence in Catalonia was caused by the staging of an illegal referendum

The single fact which possibly more than any other has caused an outpouring of support for the Catalan independence movement is the appearance of riot police in Catalonia attempting to stop the illegal referendum from taking place.  This has triggered a predictable – and intended – storm of criticism of the Spanish authorities for supposedly responding violently to the Catalan people’s peaceful exercise of their supposed right to vote in the referendum.

This ignores the fact that the reason there was violence in Catalonia was because an act of illegality took place there.  To be clear wherever illegal gatherings happen (Navalny’s protests in Russia and the Maidan movement’s illegal occupation of Kiev’s Maidan Square are cases in point) there is always an inherent potential for violence, and the staging in Catalonia of an illegal referendum is no exception.

One should be very slow in situations like the one in Catalonia before criticising the Spanish authorities and the Spanish police for taking action to uphold the law.

Whilst what riot police do can always be made to look ugly, given that what took place in Catalonia was illegal I do not think that the actions of the Spanish authorities or of the Spanish police were disproportionate or unduly violent.  Reports of serious injuries are very few, and of reports of deaths thankfully there are none.

As was the case during the Slovene crisis of 1991, in Ukraine during the Maidan riots of 2013/2014, during the Libyan and Syrian protests of 2011, and during Navalny’s various protests in Moscow and elsewhere since then, I have no doubt that part of the intention behind the illegal staging of the referendum in Catalonia was precisely to provoke a reaction by the authorities and the police which could be presented to the outside world as a case of the authorities ‘violently cracking down on peaceful protests’.

I am always surprised by how easily manipulated people are by this tactic.

(3) The Spanish authorities almost certainly had no alternative but to react as they did

Here I must make some qualifications, since I accept that it is possible that the Spanish authorities may have had other more peaceful options than the ones they used in dealing with this crisis.  I do not know enough about the internal situation in Spain to know for sure one way or the other.  However I doubt that the overwhelming majority of those who pronounce confidently on this issue from the other side know much about the internal political situation in Spain either.

Again I feel that far too many people have been in a rush to make assumptions about possible alternative peaceful options for the Spanish government to have used to deal with this crisis, which because of the actual situation today in Spain may not in fact exist.

For example I question whether the fact that the Spanish authorities responded passively to an earlier referendum is as important as some people think.  It is surely possible – even likely – that the political situation in Spain and Catalonia is now such that what it was possible to ignore before is impossible to ignore now.  Giving a proper answer to this question requires a deep knowledge of Spanish domestic politics which I do not have, but which I doubt that most of the people who pronounce on this matter have either.

Ultimately a state which is not prepared to take action to defend the constitutional and legal order upon which it is based has no future.

It was the persistent refusal or inability of Mikhail Gorbachev’s government to act decisively to reassert its authority (derived from the Soviet constitution) in places like the Baltic States, Moldova and the Transcaucasus which in the end undermined its authority across the whole USSR, causing the USSR itself to collapse.

By contrast it was the Chinese government’s determined reassertion of its authority during the Tiananmen protests of 1989 which secured its survival, and China’s stability thereafter.

Ultimately if the Spanish government were to ignore persistent blatant illegality in Catalonia its authority would collapse there, with the likely result that it would in time collapse across the whole of the rest of Spain as well.  Quite possibly that was the point which the Spanish government felt had been reached when this latest illegal referendum was called.

If so then the Spanish government’s decision to send police to Catalonia to reassert its authority and that of the constitution and of the law in the face of what was a concerted illegal challenge to its authority was almost certainly – in terms of its own and the Spanish state’s survival – politically speaking the right one and indeed the only one.

(4) There are no grounds to say that the Spanish courts behaved in a biased way in striking down sections of an autonomy agreement reached between a previous Spanish government and Catalonia

Again it concerns me that so many people have uncritically accepted this claim of Francoist bias on the part of the Spanish judiciary, self-serving on the part of Catalonia’s nationalists though it is.

Ultimately there is no better judge of Spain’s constitution and law than Spain’s own courts.  Possibly some of the judges in those courts are old fashioned people of right wing and conservative views.  However General Franco – Spain’s former fascist dictator – has now been dead for 42 years.  It beggars belief that after 42 years of constitutional democracy (a period longer than Franco’s rule) the entire Spanish legal and judicial system should continue to be permeated with his thinking.

I have seen no sustained legal criticism of the Spanish court decisions which are being objected to, and I see no reason therefore to think that those decisions were either biased or wrong.

The fact that the Catalan authorities secured for themselves in negotiations with an earlier Spanish government more than they may have been legally entitled to under Spain’s constitution does not mean that they are justified now in acting illegally simply because decisions in the courts have gone against them.

No one has a right to act illegally because they lose a case in court – the idea is actually absurd – and elected authorities such as the ones in Catalonia especially should not do so.

(5) the Catalan authorities did not need to act illegally to secure independence or greater autonomy for Catalonia

Again it concerns me how readily the obviously self-serving claim that a resort to illegality is somehow justified because of the supposed impossibility of otherwise extracting concessions from the Spanish state is being accepted.

Spain is not a monolith and Catalonia is one of its biggest provinces and is also its richest province.  That means that a Catalan government committed to the objective of greater autonomy or even independence for Catalonia has any number of legal options it could turn to in order to achieve its objective.

There are for example political forces in the rest of Spain – such as for example Podemos – with which it might be able to ally itself with in order to secure a new Spanish government with which it could negotiate greater autonomy or even independence.   It could also press for changes to Spain’s constitution – which can be amended in a legal and constitutional way, like any other constitution can – to achieve those objectives.

It could incidentally also have chosen to stage the recent vote not as a binding independence referendum but as a non-binding opinion poll in order to show how strong feeling in support of independence within Catalonia is.

Instead the present Catalan government wilfully chose the path of illegality thereby – almost certainly intentionally – triggering the present crisis.

The fact that it chose to act in this way instead of choosing one of the legal and constitutional (though incremental) options available to it makes me in fact question the whole foundation myth of this whole crisis: that there is a strong majority in Catalonia which supports independence from Spain.

Generally speaking a resort to illegality by a nationalist movement only takes place within a democratic and constitutional framework when the nationalist movement itself doubts that it has the support it says it does.  The intention is to use illegality to provoke a reaction from the authorities in order to polarise opinion and harden support behind the nationalist movement.

That for example was what lay behind the resort to illegality in Ukraine in 2004 and 2014, and it seems to me that that is what we are seeing being attempted in Catalonia now.

(6) Negotiations may not offer a solution

The claim that negotiations are the route out of the crisis is something which is always said in crises of this sort, and it perhaps the most dangerous myth of all.

The proper solution of the crisis in Catalonia is not negotiations.  It is a return to legality.

When President Yanukovych of Ukraine in 2014 sought to negotiate with the leaders of the Maidan movement who were acting illegally he did not secure a peaceful or proper solution to the crisis in Ukraine.  He secured instead his own downfall and that of the whole constitutional order of Ukraine.

In this case if the Catalan government persists in its claim that the illegal referendum has given Catalonia a ‘right’ to secede from Spain then negotiations between it and the Spanish government become unwise and even dangerous, since they can appear to be legitimising that objective and the way the Catalan government is going about achieving it.  In that case the ‘negotiations’ simply become a mechanism to achieve Catalan independence from Spain.  Anyone who observed Puidgemont’s speech to the Catalan parliament can see that that is exactly the agenda he is following.

Again it puzzles me that some people are unable to see behind this – wholly transparent – agenda, and construe a purported ‘offer’ from Puidgemont for talks – be it noted on his terms – as a ‘last chance for Spain’ when it is in reality the precise opposite.

The Spanish government’s challenge to Puidgemont – to clarify whether he has declared independence or not – by contrast makes total sense, as does the Spanish government’s eight day ultimatum to the Catalan government to scrap its independence declaration or face the consequences.

(7) This is not a major crisis in Spain and for the European Union

Though here I cannot be sure I suspect that the claim that this is a big or serious crisis is the biggest myth of all.

The Spanish government has threatened the Catalan government with the imposition of direct rule from Madrid unless it backs down and cancels its independence declaration.  It has also made it fairly clear that it is considering legal proceedings against the Catalan officials – including Puidgemont – who were responsible for the referendum and for the independence declaration.

This is being universally reported as taking Spain into ‘uncharted waters’, supposedly causing a huge crisis in Catalonia and Spain and ultimately for the EU.

I am not sure why.  No doubt the imposition of direct rule by Madrid would meet with opposition in Catalonia.  However short of a resort to outright violence I have no doubt the resources of the Spanish state would enable it to prevail quickly in the event of a stand-off.  Catalan society is divided on the independence question – with much of Catalonia’s working class said to be opposed – so it is difficult to see how opposition could be sustained for very long.

Needless to say if there is a resort to violence the resources of the Spanish state will quickly contain it.  A Spanish state that was able to defeat the challenge of Basque terrorism can certainly counter any threat of violence coming from within Catalonia.  I would add that in the event that they were to resort to violence – which I think is very unlikely – the Catalan nationalists would quickly lose support within Catalonia itself.

Here it is essential to make a point made previously by Haneul Na’avi.  The Catalan independence movement is in no sense a revolutionary movement.  It is not calling for a revolutionary transformation of Catalan or Spanish society.  Mostly it is a conservative middle class movement anxious to shore up the economic and cultural privileges of Catalonia’s conservative middle class.  That all but excludes any real possibility of it posing any true sustained challenge either to the Spanish state or to the EU or to the neoliberal global order, always provided that the Spanish government keeps its head and preserves its domestic support.

As for the European Union, the Catalan nationalists have pledged their loyalty to it.  Apparently they hope this will win them sympathy and support from the European Union, just as it did for Slovenia in 1991.

In that they are likely to be disappointed.  Though there may be some officials within the EU bureaucracy in Brussels who are sympathetic to Catalonia’s cause, the most powerful EU states – Germany, France and Italy, all of which face potential challenges from independence movements of their own – are all but certain to side with Spain, their fellow EU state, against them.

The basic lesson of the last 25 years is that no secessionist movement strongly opposed by the government of the state it is looking to secede from can win independence unless it has strong support from powerful outside powers.  As of this moment the Catalan independence movement has no such support – or none that matters – and unless that changes  – and there is no reason to think it will – that dooms its independence bid to certain failure.

Much will depend on how the Spanish government handles the situation over the next few weeks.  Provided it keeps its nerve and avoids being provoked into either excessive overreaction or unnecessary concessions, the strong odds seem to me to be that it will prevail, and that following a few days or even weeks of protests its imposition of direct rule on Catalonia will be seen to be successful.

In that case after a short time I would expect opinion in Catalonia – already divided on the independence question – to start to swing back towards the government, and the crisis in Catalonia to subside.

(8) Russia does not support Catalan independence 

It is actually ridiculous to waste time on this point and I only do so because a few people in Spain and the US who have lost all touch with reality appear to believe it.

The Russian government’s position is that the crisis in Catalonia is a strictly Spanish internal matter.  However in private I have no doubt the Russian government’s sympathies are not with the Catalans but with Spain.

Though the two countries are hardly close, relations between Russia and Spain are cordial, with Spain being one of those countries which in 2014 expressed doubts about the wisdom of the EU imposing sanctions on Russia.

Beyond that however is the overriding concern for Russia that the break up of Spain would increase regional instability – something the Russians deeply mistrust – without conferring on Russia any obvious advantages.  To be clear, quite how a pro-EU, right wing, Atlanticist independent Catalonia – which is what Puidgemont says he wants – would benefit Russia completely escapes me.

I am sure that no one in authority in Moscow wants to see that, and the Russian government’s repeated public pronouncements that it wants to see the crisis in Catalonia resolved peacefully within the framework of Spain constitution and its law should be accepted as its true position.

Summary

Internal crises in various states like the one in Spain and Catalonia blow up from time to time.  In my opinion when they do they pose little danger to world peace or to the international system unless they directly impact on the national security interests of the Great Powers.

In Catalonia’s case neither the US nor Russia – the two Great Powers which in this region matter – have any interest in an independent Catalonia, whilst the two other Great Powers – China and India – are certain to oppose it, and the dominant regional power – Germany – is certain to oppose it also.

That almost certainly means that provided the authorities in Madrid keep their nerve they should be able to contain this crisis with little difficulty. Whilst the challenge of Catalan nationalism will doubtless continue for a time to pose problems for the Spanish state, there is no reason to think it cannot surmount them.

As for Mariano Rajoy – Spain’s much maligned Prime Minister – the high probability is that he will emerge from this crisis with his popularity and authority enhanced amongst Spain’s people, so that he will win a victory in the election which he is likely to call soon.  In saying this I should make clear that (1) for entirely different reasons unrelated to the Catalan crisis I neither like nor support Rajoy; and (2) that it is important to stress that for Rajoy it is ultimately the support he gets in Spain from its people and from the leading Western powers which matters, and not what the international liberal commentariat says about him.

It is essential when discussing a crisis like this to keep a clear head.  Crises of this sort only start to become dangerous when the myths conjured up by those who intentionally trigger them start to become accepted as facts.  That is what happened disastrously in 1991 in Yugoslavia and in 2014 in Ukraine.

There is no reason to do this in Catalonia’s case and thankfully the indifference of the Great Powers to this crisis makes it unlikely it will happen.

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Foolish French President Macron tests Trump’s patience (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 149.

Alex Christoforou

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US President Donald Trump was ridiculed for his nationalist agenda by the very unpopular, globalist French President Emmanuel Macron, in a very public display of disrespect towards the United States and its president.

Macron, in front of world leaders brought together to commemorate the end of World War I, thought it wise to chastise Trump for his ‘America first’ policy, stating that nationalism was “tearing the world apart.”

Trump did find Macron’s smart ass tone to his liking, tweeting out his feeling the minute he landed stateside by reminding his European peers who pays the bills to keep the peace on the continent.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris reflect on Macron’s diplomatic gaffe, which Trump is unlikely to forget anytime soon.

Macron showed his boyish diplomatic skills, for which a man like Trump will make sure a heavy price is paid. The French President will certainly be at the receiving end of a very public and embarrassing dressing down at the hands of Donald Trump.

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Via Zerohedge

What was supposed to be a solemn visit to honor the 16 million soldiers who died during World War I alongside a coterie of world leaders in Paris was overshadowed by a mini-scandal surrounding President Trump’s missing an Armistice ceremony at an American military cemetery for purely cosmetic reasons (Trump reportedly didn’t want to get his hair wet during the ceremony which was held in pouring rain, though the White House maintained that he missed the beginning of the ceremony for security purposes).

Given the media’s focus on Trump’s purported vanity at the expense of nearly every other detail from Trump’s visit, it’s hardly surprising that the president has returned to the US rather agitated, and decided to lash out at his European partners in a series of tweets Monday morning.

While he said that his meetings with fellow world leaders were productive, Trump noted that it’s “never easy” to raise the issue that the US foots most of the bill for military protections in Europe thanks to its outsize shouldering of the cost burden of funding NATO.

Adding insult to injury, the US is paying “hundreds of billions of dollars” for the privilege of “losing hundreds of billions of dollars” with these countries on trade. Trump demanded that, going forward, the US must be treated fairly on military spending and trade.

It is time, Trump said, for these countries to either pony up, or find a way to start protecting themselves.

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Midterm Elections: A Disaster Denied, and What is Coming

The Democrats intend to mount a non-stopping offensive against the President.

The Duran

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Authored by Jeremiah Johnson (nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces ) via SHTFplan.com:


Before the 2016 Presidential Election, and both before and after the inauguration, I wrote specifically about how important the midterm election would be, and the results if the President should lose even one House of Congress.  That happened: the Republicans just lost the House of Representatives. Now that the Democrats control it, not one piece of legislation will pass that is on the President’s agenda. In the supreme act of denial, the Republican party claims the “Blue Wave” was not successful; even the President declared a “victory” with the midterms.

Nothing could be further from the truth, on either count.

The Democrats intend to mount a non-stopping offensive against the President. First, they are going to demand that Mueller go on the attack again. They are already demanding the President’s tax returns. On Thursday, 11-8-18, thousands of people marched in Times Square in New York City in protest of Jeff Sessions’ departure from the White House…although Sessions was the one who tendered a letter of resignation. The mob of protesters carried mass-produced “No one is above the law” placards and signs.

Not one of those Marxists carried those signs when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton resigned after Benghazi, where a U.S. Consular Outpost of the United States was destroyed, and the U.S. Ambassador and four of his staff murdered.

“Happy Veterans’ Day” is coming up, with the cliché eternal: “Thank you for your service.”

Nobody really cares about it, except the vets. Those who have to work receive time and a half for their pay, and Hallmark makes about another $50 million or so on the cards and gifts…about $10 million of that for the Government to “re-ingest” with the taxes….another day on the endless cycle:

The cycle of spending of disposable income, an indispensable part of the economy and all of the governmental employees on paid federal holiday, solemnly dispensed of at the expense of (to paraphrase Metallica) the government’s “disposable heroes.”

Where were the protests in the streets after Benghazi? Everybody was hidden, because at the time we were under Obama. When Donald Trump was elected President, a “hiatus” was granted from the nonstop march toward socialism/communism that reached a zenith as never before. Now that hiatus is shrinking, as the Communists and Marxists begin new offensives under their playbook “Rules for Radicals,” offensives targeting every area of the society.

Their plan should be obvious: to keep the President “backpedaling” and the economy faltering, in order to set the stage for the 2020 election. All of this I have written about before, and it came to pass with the Midterm elections. If they keep the President on the defense and keep pushing the “social issues,” it will render his administration ineffective…not delivering the change back toward the right that the voters wanted to see in 2016.

The Wall Street Journal published a piece on November 9 entitled Democrats plan to pursue most aggressive gun-control legislation in decades.” They have been receiving plenty of help on this one, with the Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, and the recent murders by a former Marine last week. Here they come again! All of the legislators…with armed protectors paid for by you, mind you…clamoring for the guns. Here’s a piece of it for you:

Democrats say they will pass the most aggressive gun-control legislation in decades when they become the House majority in January, plans they renewed this week in the aftermath of a mass killing in a California bar. Their efforts will be spurred by an incoming class of pro-gun-control lawmakers who scored big in Tuesday’s midterm elections, although any measure would likely meet stiff resistance in the GOP-controlled Senate. Democrats ousted at least 15 House Republicans with “A” National Rifle Association ratings, while the candidates elected to replace them all scored an “F” NRA rating. “This new majority is not going to be afraid of our shadow,” said Mike Thompson, a California Democrat who is chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. “We know that we’ve been elected to do a job, and we’re going to do it.”

Now of course the argument to this rationale will be that the Senate is needed before a law passes. Yes, we all watched “Schoolhouse Rock” and learned about the three-party system of checks and balances. The problem?  Nothing was accomplished when the Republicans held both houses of Congress, and the Reds and Blues counter one another, and more:

The Democrats’ strategy is not to pass any laws: it is to stir up public controversy, win support of the “Zero” generation, and either force actions through the “tyranny of the majority,” or make it so horrible an arena that it detracts from or prevents any positive efforts and actions from the administration…setting the stage for the 2020 election.

Ocasio-Cortez just entered the House of Representatives at the “sage/sagacious” age of 29, and she is a self-described “democratic socialist” who favors single-payer healthcare, gun control, abolishing border controls, and declared that she would support the impeachment of the President. She was also part of Bernie Sanders’ campaign movement in 2016.

Lenin espoused some “gems” that should be considered. Here is one that falls in line with the “newly discovered wonderful possibility of socialism” the Zero-generation and twenty-somethings have fallen in love with hook, line, and sinker:

“The goal of socialism is communism.”

New York just placed a “democratic socialist” in the White House…a declared socialist, among all of the hidden Marxists camouflaged under the “progressive” or “democratic” monikers.

Gun control, coming at us once again, and once more, a quote from Lenin for you:

“Disarmament is the ideal of socialism. There will be no wars in socialist society; consequently, disarmament will be achieved. But whoever expects that socialism will be achieved without a social revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat is not a socialist. Dictatorship is state power based directly on violence. And in the twentieth century – as in the age of civilization generally – violence means neither a fist nor a club, but troops. To put “disarmament” in the program is tantamount to making the general declaration: “We are opposed to the use of arms.” There is as little Marxism in this as there would be if we were to say: “We are opposed to violence!” – Lenin, “The Disarmament Slogan,” from October of 1916

The next two years should be interesting, to say the least. Keep in mind: the President is not throwing in the towel, however, he has one more year to turn the tide…before he has to campaign. There is still another way, though: I mentioned it in the last article that I wrote. Bush Jr. used this technique successfully when he was trailing Kerry in the polls. Margaret Thatcher used this technique when she was about to be shown the door, and turned it around, remaining in office.

The “technique” is a war, whether a “quickie” (such as the Falklands War…Malvinas, if you prefer), or a protracted one (Iraq “II” where victory was declared within months of started, and it was achieved…with the decades and a half of Military Industrial Complex contracts…and the transition of the United States into a Surveillance and Police State).

The technique is a war, and if you keep abreast of what is going on, you will see that Russia and China are gearing up for a war, the nations are “decoupling” themselves incrementally from the dying fiat-backed Petrodollar, and North Korea is once again raising itself as a nuclear threat (on its own, or encouraged by one or more nations). A war could either suspend elections, or propel the incumbent into a victory based on the populace’s perception of what they need. Remember this last quote from Lenin, and let it sink in good:

“A standing army and police are the chief instruments of state power.” – Lenin, State and Revolution, 1917

The ultimate truth: the elections are akin to the Stock Market, the Dow-Jones Industrial Average. It doesn’t matter how many shares are bought or sold, as long as there are fluctuations and flux. The winners are the brokers, who pocket their commissions on every trade…a sell or a buy. The same exists here. The blue donkeys versus the red elephants. The “tribalism” of men, and their needs of a social order…a cohesive social grouping that reflects what they believe in…is exploited to its maximum advantage. All the while, the paradigm shifts almost imperceptibly, until before you know it….twenty years have elapsed, and you are not looking at the same country anymore.

The “art” is to make the people think they will be getting what they want…dupe them into believing it is something good, when it’s not. It took the blood of heroes to form and defend this nation.  The downfall is precipitated by traitors from within…bleeding the nation white by circumventing existing laws and replacing them with the greatest injustice and threat to personal liberty of all. What is that greatest threat? A foreign enemy? A spontaneous collapse of everything?

No. The greatest threat is the acceptance of the people of the illusion of “social justice,” that really translates into something for nothing by taking from those who have earned, and giving it to those who live within the entitlement cesspool of their own sloth. Such a mentality pervades our society today. In order to save the United States, we have to return to our fundamental values and become an ass-kicking, straight-shooting people who fear God and care for their families, neighbors, and nation once more. If we do this, we may emerge from the coming night as a nation once more. Ready your NVGs, and steel your hearts for the challenge before it arrives…now…at the twilight’s last gleaming.

May Veterans’ Day bring remembrance to your mind, may your heart find peace, and may any who serve in your family be safe and sound.


Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne).  Mr. Johnson is also a Gunsmith, a Certified Master Herbalist, a Montana Master Food Preserver, and a graduate of the U.S. Army’s SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape).  He lives in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with his wife and three cats. You can follow Jeremiah’s regular writings at SHTFplan.com or contact him here.

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Russia’s Next Weapon: A Church

The Russian military plans to build a military church to bolster the spiritual values of its armed forces.

The Duran

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Authored by Michael Peck via The National Interest:


Meet Vladimir Putin’s newest weapon: a church.

The Russian military plans to build a military church to bolster the spiritual values of its armed forces. Construction will soon begin of the Main Church of the Armed Forces, to be erected in Patriot Park outside Moscow, according to Colonel General Andrei Kartapolov, deputy defense minister and chief of the armed forces’ Main Military-Political Directorate, a new organization responsible for political education of the troops.

The “new church will be one more example of the people’s unity around the idea of patriotism, love, and devotion to our Motherland,” Kartapolov told Russian journalists.

To say the church, dubbed by some as the “Khaki Temple,” will have a martial air would be an understatement.

“The walls of the military church are really made in the color of the standard Russian missile system and armored vehicle,” according to the Russian newspaper The Independent [Google English translation here ] “…From the inside, the walls are decorated with paintings with battle scenes from military history and texts from the Holy Scriptures. The projected height is 95 meters [104 feet] and is designed for 6,000 people.”

“Kartapolov is convinced that the modern Russian serviceman cannot be shaped without shaping lofty spirituality in him,” Russian media said. “Speaking about ideology, the deputy head of the military department pointed out that this will be based on knowledge of the history of our Motherland and people and on historical and cultural traditions.”

“Even though the Russian constitution states that ‘no ideology may be established as state or obligatory,’ the Kremlin continues to search for a unifying set of beliefs,” notes the U.S. Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office.

Religion has long played a role in Russian military life, first through the Russian Orthodox Church in Tsarist times, and then—in a secular way—through Communism in Soviet times. “In late imperial Russia, when they began to build garrisons, every regiment sought to build a regimental church, but not a synagogue or mosque,” Roger Reese, an historian at Texas A&M University who has written books on the Tsarist and Soviet armed forces, told the National Interest. “In Putin’s Russia, the Orthodox Church seeks every opportunity to represent itself as the national religion and tie itself to the state as it had under the tsars, so this act represents continuity broken temporarily by the Soviet years. Of course the Soviet regime did not build churches for the army, but it did build the ‘House of the Red Army,’ shaped like a star, in Moscow dedicated to the use of the Red Army and its soldiers.

In some respects it was analogous to a USO [United Service Organization that supports American soldiers] building. So Putin’s dedicating one particular building to the use of the Russian Army soldiers for purposes of morale—and morals—is in line with that.”

While the thought of a military church will be distasteful to some, Russia is hardly unique in linking the military and religion.

Many armies, the United States and Israel included, maintain chaplains who wear uniform and hold military rank. Chapels are common on military bases, and soldiers are given time for – and sometimes pressured to – attend religious services. While a Russian military church is likely to favor a specific denomination – Russian Orthodoxy – even that isn’t unique: non-Christian members of the U.S. military have complained of religious discrimination , especially by Christian fundamentalists.

What’s interesting is how little things change. Be it the Tsar’s conscripts, or the Red Army’s draftees or the volunteers who comprise much of modern Russia’s military, some spiritual reinforcement is deemed necessary to get soldiers to fight.

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