“The Republic that we want”- Survey

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The Republic that we want”- Survey

Introduction

After 40 years under a dictatorship, Spain shyly started walking towards democracy. Looking at what we used to have, we achieved a lot; looking at all the way that remains ahead, we astonishingly realized that we were already starting to acquiesce in the minimums and almost had resigden to the “demo” (a sort of  simulation of democracy…) but now we are going for the “cracia”, for the power of the people.

No crown, no heir, democracy means people”.

The Republic

Republic comes from the latin term “res” thing, that is public, which belongs to the “populus” or people,  it means that the people holds the power, and they  temporary  delageate it on their representants. This is an essential difference betwen monarchical governments where the attribution of sovereign is lifelong and often, hereditary.

One essential characteristic of a  republican government  is the constitutionally stablished ,power divission into three different ones according to their specific functions: an administrative body, represented by the  Executive Power, a “law making one”, called Legislative Power and another one whose mission is applying those laws in the specific cases where their aprreciation is needed, the Judicial Power.

Other characteristics of the Republic, are:

  • All citizens are equal before the law .
  • The governors must be responsible before the people who chose them, for their acts of governance.
  • The need  that every act of governance is public (transparency); which means that those must not be secret, but expounded to the citizens so that these can be controlled.  

The essential pillars of the Republic

The three essential pillars of te Republic according to Aristotle are:

  • The power divission and its reciprocal control.
  • The political active participation  by the citizens. These means, thetransparency of every State act, the instruction on basic aspects of  politic culture  and the exigence of liabilities to the governers.
  • The representation of every social class inside the government institutions with equal attributions and prevalence of none.  (Access  to those judgeships must be restricted, and they will necessarely be collegiated according to the affected field, the magistrate must belong to the class he/she representates and be chosen exclusively through their vote).

It must be considered that for Aristote, the supreme aims of any form of government should be:

  • Freedom = Equality (“we only are free among equals)”
  • The  realization of justice and common good.
  • The full realization of human cognitive skills development (for which he judges necesary the fulfilment of the two prior points, following Socrates‘ essential concept [GOOD=TRUTH. According to which  good is equal to  truth and bad to ignorance ]
  • Out of this, we can deduce that if we are only free among equals there must not be a governing class, but every class must govern equally

Republic and Democracy

The term democracy comes from the ancient greek (dḗmos, which translates as “people”) and κράτος (krátos, which translates as “power”).

This way, republic is the governance of the law; while democracy means the governance of the people.

Thus, democracy admits gradation, meaning that there can be forms of government that are closer to the idea of Equality = Freedom; since laws are made for citizens and by citizens.  

Democracy’s basic definition: in order that a government can be considered minimally  democratic, it needs to have at least: male and female universal suffrage; free, competitive, recurring and correct ellections; more than one party; and more than one source of information.

In the sphere of the democracies that are above that minimum treshold, it is necessary to annalize how far they have gone or can go in the process of the finest fulfillment of the two main objectives of the ideal democracy: freedom and equality

A quality democracy is the one that develops satisfactorily the procedures designed to favor freedom and political and social equality, and whose public policies meet the demands of the citizens.”

Democratic Development: Political participation mechanisms

It’s not just about voting every 4 yearswe have to demand, we have to get involved, we have to supervise,  we have to compel that responsabilities are assumed, we have to be awake, we have to listen, debate, get informed, we have to “fight” for democracy!

These are some ways of direct participation, they are mechanisms of opinion and public ellection.

  • Popular initiative: The right given to the citizenship to present draft legislation proposals before the correspondant public institution.
  • Referendum: A direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to eiter accept or reject a particular proposal or to revoke or not a norm already in force.
  • Popular consultation: The mechanism trough which the President, the Governor, the Major or other governing personality can ask a question about a general domain, about an issue of national or regional relevance, etc. to the citizens so that they can formally state their opinion.
  • Open cabildo: The public meeting of the district or municipal councils or local administrative boards where inhabitants can directly participate in order to debate matters of public interest for the comunity.
  • Impeachment : The political right by which citizens can remove a Governor or a Major from office.

         The survey will be published after the summer or once a significant sample is           obtained.  At the end of the survey, you must press the “finish survey” button to remain registered responses.  See abreviated list of related terms after the survey (Look below for more information)

Link to survey: http://cort.as/9gSv 

THE REPUBLIC THAT WE WANT-  Survey:

Abreviated list of related terms (links available):

I CHOSE: I, REPUBLIC

                      WE DON’T WANT TO BE SUBJECTS, WE WANT TO BE  CITIZENS:                      WE CHOSE REPUBLIC.

BYE MONARCHY: WE CHOSE  REPUBLIC.

WE WORK TOGETHER FOR THE SPANISH FEDERAL REPUBLIC!

Thank you very much for your participation!

Email: destinorepublicano@gmail.com

Twitter: @destinorepublic  

#Larepublicaquequeremos

CÁDIZ CONSTITUTION, 1812-2012: THOUGHTS ABOUT A BICENTENARY

CÁDIZ CONSTITUTION, 1812-2012: THOUGHTS ABOUT A BICENTENARY

Constitucion_1812_primera_pagina

Cadiz Constitution of 1812, cover page and page Nº 1.

Faustino Martínez Martínez

Law and Institutions History Dept.

Law School. Universidad Complutense, Madrid

 

We can unequivocally asset that there are two irreconciliable visions that entrap every historian: the one of the past time which they try to study; and the one of the present time from which the investigation is carried.  We can then say, that there is one Cádiz Constitution of 1812, dated at that point in time; and many other interpretable Cádiz Constitutions, which have been read and outlined through 19th, 20th and now 21st century.  There is a Cádiz Constitution that deputies and public personalities who support it tell us about it in their texts; and there are other Cádiz Constitutions which spring from this first one, that result in individual, partial and partisan lectures of it and become contemporary versions of the original which rarely match the spirit and the soul of the one they refer to. We must finish with the protagonist rolesome historians have given to their interpretations and constructions have taken the leading role, later used as basis for different speeches that always aim to justify the present through the past. This means, anticipateing modern constitutional solutions to preconstitutional times, projecting contemporary creations to past times; seeking to obtain bigger dossis of legitimacy using time as a means. Our mission is not to participate in Cádiz’s legacy, it is not to interfere in its creation and development, neither is it to reproduce the most relevant debates or controversies supporting one or the other;neither then is it to conect that past with our present, but to observe it, analyze it and understand it and place in its own moment in time; since there is where it has to be and from where it needs to be looked at in order to deeply understand it in its purity. Cádiz belongs to the past, it is no longer here and it is not for us, it does not exist other than as an aniversary. It must be understood according to its own constitutional culture and not according to the constitutional culture that will later appear. We must remember it the way it happened inasmuch testimonies allow it.  We must go back to that past if we want to understand what happened then between 1810 and 1812.

Simply opening any exemplary of the Cádiz Constitution we can tell that we are in front of a Political Constitution of Spanish Monarchy. Just the title gives us enough hints about the direction the investigation will take. Political Constitution meant, back then, that it is not the only way to present a constitutional text at that given time. The adjective (political) goes a bit further; it defines the essence of that noun (Constitution) that it accompanies indisociably. There is a so called political Constitution, associated to the freedom called the same way, thus we can draw that there are other types of Constitution different to this one (militar, fiscal, ecclesiastical,etc.). These ones would be, in teory, excluded of the dynamics that the text from Cádiz wants to represent. Its goal is not political and, in the same context, neiter is it to assure the political freedom, which is in the first instance the goal of the so called political Constitution. That is its main purpose. To guarantee political freedom and to strenght it through constitutional ways. Later civil freedom of the individuals who form the Nation will come too, but firstly, political context is needed in an ultimate way. Political context with its power and authority, with its governmental moderation, its public happines as te goal of every action, its citizens obligations before their rights, with obedience, attatchment and submission.  All these creates the main basis, the national-monarchic sceme in order to get political freedom back and to ensure it for the future, after years of oblivion and shame. Deep down, the Nation, more than the individual, is waiting for the rehabilitation of all those domination relationships that come together with the liberty that the birth of the Constitution implies. And Nation has just appeared showing itself. Freedom is defining it again in a solid way and using little adjustments. This so called freedom, understood in hispanic terms, i.e. in catholic terms, means unconditional acceptance and observance of every mandate issued by the sovereign authority properly trained and potentially legitimate, inside the ethic channels (religious, i.e. catholic) that work as foundation of the whole public structure. They mean the articulation of a complex net of power, rights and obligations that respond to some particular exigences, to a very specific vision of that freedom, closer to teological ideas of preconstitutional times than to the open and extenden individual spaces that freedom means today in its contemporary meaning, definetely a constitutional one. Sections 13 and 14 of the Constitution will be clear about this and throw light upon what wants to be rebuilt: Nation’s happines, welfare of its individuals and moderate Monarchy, as the political culmination of the whole thing and as a guarantee of the efectiveness of that freedom. From the Nation, including the individuals, unlit getting to the solidified form of power. This adjective, for that matter, does not longer calify the noun, but it has a deeper role: it introduces public references of obligation, obeisance and submission through which future constitutional life will go. It all, according to the right path that constitutional life had came through before or the one it should have. Avoiding abstractions, the pursued goal is not etheral freedom, without conditions and pure, but one which is the accumulation of many specific freedoms. Some of them in different forms, articulated arround the main idea of political freedom which is the only one able of leading the Nation, and within it, the individuals that conform it. A freedom made to assure the foundation of the National Monarchy which presided the whole constitutional design before ensuring spaces of immunity for each and every single citizen.  Political freedom is the source of the remainig freedoms, but it is not individual but national (at least in the first instance) and it is not natural but historical.  A type of freedom, at the service of power, not of the individual, citizen or subject. Catholic freedom focuses on the acceptance of what legitimately stablished authority says, instead of focusing on liberty on its own. It is the ability to obey or disobey, to do what is right, in accordance with free will, but always in the frame of prior institutional channels which end up predeterminating it in an extreme wayprecio, pp. 37 ss.olaiedad.  en su momento por J.  pokl. The Constitution -and to assure it suffices to read sections 4, 67, 8 and 9, with its extention to section 366 – is seen in terms of obligations instead of rights, in terms of obedience instead of immunity or exepmtion, in terms -we must insist- of ancient freedom instead of modern freedom. The particual idea of equality, shaped by codes which were just old recopilations a bit more stilysh, more perfect and more complete; as well as an unique power which was completely absent, along with corporations and forums of all kinds which were not erradicated from the social and political scenario, neither did that help to strengthen the liberal charm of the text of 1812.

But it is too, a Constitution that protects a kind of political freedom adressed to a specific subject, and here is where we find another relevant component: Spanish Monarchy (not te Nation, which appears in consequence, comprehended within the first one, where the king is the head of the State). This implies that it is a Monarchy of the Nation which, consecuentely, has to be called monarchical Nation without any doubt. This places us facing a complex institutional and territorial scenario, which is at the same time, more than a perpetual form of government, built up in History, which is unavailable for most of the people, and is deeply entrenched in the political spirit of those men and women and those territories. Monarchy is more than that, more than the traditional weaving of public and private people, corporations, provinces and territories arround the monarch: it is the definition itself of the hispanic political essence. It is its soul as it has been for years now. The Constitution is the Monarchy’s Constitution, because looking at Spanish history, Monarchy is and the sole possible and fasiable constitutional way. We can conclude that the Constitution is Monarhy itself and it cannot be any other way without breaking the historical path and pervert the spirit of the political comunity. If another political form was adopted, Spain would dissappear as it is now. The existance of a different thing would start. A new historical subject would be borned, not Spanish anymore, it would be different, and as such, unpredictable, out of control, out of the paths that History has defined to define the borders of the political power with certain dossis of regularity, measure and order. This is the foundamental part of the Constitution, without which the text could never be understood as a whole. What is done in Cádiz is a kind of Constitution that is adressed to a specific subject (the Monarchy). But, what Constitution does actually spring during those years? What is the debate about? What are they exactly fighting for, if there is womething they actually fight for? We need to look to Cádiz’s immediate past to understand what is taking place.

The essential key stands in the perspective through which the complex material created from 1810 to 1812 has to be examined. That world of the past which evaporated to the eyes of many contemporary and dissapeared for coevals in an obvious and unforgiveable way. Those who decided to agree a sort of an organized and gradual dissolution from the past, an exhausted continuity or about to be, and this way decided to create or imagine a new universe, for which they put together many pieces, used many materials, instruments and elements taken out of tat same past which was about to dissapear. They started to built a new cosmos out of the waste, left overs and reminiscences that were left of the old regime, the only one they knew well. The result can hardly be called “this” or “that”.  Cádiz is an exotic place that is presented as a remote location, far away, unknown: it appears as a being without time, difficult to frame in an specific era, the one that finished or the one that started to open. The world in Cádiz turned arround that duality of temporal scenarios that approach together, that touch each other and distort themselves, and somehow, they get mixed up. Past and present hold hands because the constitutional horizont was built without defining any censorship with the most immediate or most recent past. Not only there wasn’t any break (and the nonexistance of any clause in the text of 1812 that erased the past is an evidence) but the text stablishes a fruitful dialoge with it, inviting the past to participate on the constitutional experience that back in 1810 started to grow in a new shape, with a new strength, method and system. The whole legislative work done in Cádiz mut be regarded through this prism: past and present overlaped, mixed, melted together, resulting in an open and natural relationship betwen past and present. Betwen today and yesterday, betwen 1812 and gothic, medieval or modern times; or even the immediately preceding royal and ministerial despotism times: Law from the past was still Law from the present. The basis were the same. That was the ususal. Yesterday was still today. That is how the legal order of Common Law worked; i.e., a traditional, teological, jurisprudential, open, plural, cumulative and sedimentary regulation. A cliche itself and full of them.

If there is not past neither present from a legal point of view, if the ancient Law is present no matter the time when it was formulated, if pieces of this puzzle are not taken away but mixed together and these does not birng up new general norms or universal guidelines; if nothing is rejected from that legal scenario, since everything is part of the same old prescriptive and cumulative order, of a traditional and sedimentary kind (comming from a theological approach); an uncertain and abstract order subjected to the probabilities that jurists, judges or kings determine; if this whole aforementioned scenario is the general picture of the Spain  of the Old Regime we cannot, neither should we, under no circumstances, look at the process that started in 1810 from the optics of what came afterwards: the positivist, legal and state perspective. A pure legal paragidm and its consequences are not useful to approach that opposed reality. An effort has to be made in order to understand what happened before and see how that “before” influenced what was done later. If we keep all these in mind (and above all, the lack of isolation between past and present, but its more or less pacific coexistance; as well as the persistance of the legal order and its recovery through improvement or correction), the vision of the Constitution of 1812 has to change in a clear and notorious way. It is not a new Constitution what is presented in Cádiz. It is an old one, historic, traditional, buit out of the habits, with pieces of the past and employing structures and institutions taken from a former reality that samed to be falling appart. A Constitution that had no derogatory clause because it lacked power enough to cancel the historic flow that defined and nourished it. What was done -and so they say those who were there , specially in the wellknow Preliminary Disourse made by Constitutional Comission that drafted the project of the Constitution in 1811- is to asset old laws and institutions, recuperate them, made them stronger and assure the aplication of the monarchical and catholical model that Spain had had since medieval times. Through this process this whole structure is given a new appearance that makes its recognition easier and avoids possible masking or ambiguity at the immeadiate future. The past is not only a source of power and institutions; it is the model of what has to be done in order to avoid the risks that degeneration had caused in modern times That is why the past is useful: because it is the source where everything that must exist is found, and, at the same time, it is the teaching that avoids possible digressions. The various pieces that integrate Cádiz are not an invention of the Courts, nor of their deputies; they are a creation of History, they are pieces that identify with the past, thus God is considered to be their creator. Creator of the Courts as well as of the whole political frame to which his creatures give now a new order. Lets think about the begining of the constitutional text, where, using a usual enacment formule from the Old Regime, it mentions the king Fernando VII, who is so by God’s grace, not by the Constitution’s grace (which comes second). This hierarchy is not pacific nor neutral, it is indeed full of legal and political meaning: the king is the supreme authorityon Earth, but undeniably owes his power to this Almighty God, “Father, Son and Holy Ghost, creator and supreme ruler of society“. By means of History, where the Constitution gets inspiration from, we have come to the Theology which is the founder of the political-legal order, the resulting consitutional order accepted by all men who conform the Nation, and whithin it, the Monarchy. It is a sort of reminiscence of the Old Regime, where a political model that was criticized and obsolete still can conditionate the norms. It still can make old schemes preveal disguised with new words and new concepts, which will quicly get old from a pragmatic and legitimate point of view.  In vane. Those words and those concepts do not innovate at all, instead they resemble the the past. The legal order that they belonged to was not something that could not change or be modified. The Law from the Old Regime was about to evolve too, however, its divine origine (i.e. its absolute perfection) buit mechanisms of self regeneration which always ment the addition, never the subtraction or disappearance of legal elements so that they could be part of the al ready defined order. Everything was already created. Men just had to foutind out about that Law in order to improve God’s creation or just correct the impurities that human activity could have introduced in God’s plan. This way the process that leads to Cádiz is conceived: the old leads to the slightly reformed, improved or corrected kind of old; that seems to be new but cannot be. The past goes through a recomposition process.  Nothing is lost on the way; nothing is ignored; nothing is distroyed or dismissed; nothing changes substantially. Everything remains under different words. On the other hand, its existance is strengthened. And this way a persistance that allows to follow the spirit of the new era is assured. And this is how it is done, this is how society acted. Take back and assure the continuity of what has been restored. The past invades the present in an uncontested way. There is not any horizon of future expectations.

Cádiz and its Constitution have been looked at form the distorting perspective of romanticism of the 19th century as well as from the eyes of liberal historers. These researchers, loyal to this adjective that defined them, wanted to see in Cádiz the logical order of the regime in which they were living, so they did not hesitate to transform the absolute failure of 1812 into a successfull liberal mith. At the same time, they criticized the Old Regime, bluring it untill it was completely unrecognizable. Neither the Constitution was any liberal culmination, nor the Old Regime was the chaos they want us to belive. Cádiz wanted to be seen as the source of the prevailing ideology in Spain during the most part of the 19th century. From this unfair optics, it is not surprising that the most part of the liberal creed later, at the begining of the 19th century, belonged to a primeval ideology looking at the very well defined preferences of their first written declaration in 1812. This distort vision is the sin of misunderstanding the Cádiz taxt and considering it as a liberal and democratic Constitution, when these adjective and noun hardly match those times neither those minds. The Constitution that was adopted the 19th march 1812, later spread and sworned all along the Spanish territories, can hardly be considered as a real constitutional text, neither a revolutionaryly constitutional understood in its most current way; we cannot see that this text was rationally and firmly written; neither founded on nature-based values, abstract values that conform self-evident truths. We cannot say that it was created by a constituent power that worked freely and respected the Nation’s wills, without any duress or conditions, no exigences from the middle class, the religious community, historians or other traditional spheres.  It is not a modern Constitution if by such idea we understand a rational and prescriptive Constitution, made out of te abstract truth, a result of the willingness of the subject who wants to create it and establish with it a new political order, free, global, complete, without bondages. Facing the new born and free Nation and the constitutionalised Reason, architect of the whole system, Cádiz oposes History to God as powerful and exclusive constituent factors, derivated from a strong catholic shield that banned any difussion outside the fronteers and at the same time avoided any external contamination. This is: facing the constituent avant la lettre, History raises above everything, and a Divinity claims its ownership based on the necessity.  And this happens this way because of the role played by the Spanish Enlightment (Jovellanos might be its role model), which was reformist before revolutionary.

The enligtment mentality ment looking at the past as the salvation, as the myth where everything was lovely but over time only had corrupted, so a depuration was needed (polically, historically, etc.). And this process wa never constituent, at most, it was reconstituent or reformist, more or less deep, but never stoped relaying in the essential pillars where the past was settled. On the first place, the regeneration of the Monarchy was seeked, wit all the attributes that defined it; a reappeareance of it but without eraseing it from the legal or political scenario. Monarchy had to be taken back in its purest version, in order to be adjusted to the comming times later so that its continuity was assured over years. Together with the Monarchy came many elements derivated from it and essential to sttle it and assure it in the right way.  We must use the 1812 glasses to look at every detail of what was being defined on that date and that would affect the Spanish Monarchy destiny. There was a common political belief shared by every important men and deputoes on that irregular corpus they were about to define the constitutional wolrd they wanted to bring back.

If we stick to the aforementioned premises, the most relevant new element is the absence of a real constitutional power at the General and the Exceptional Courts (inaugurated in September 1810) as an original and illimitated power with residence in the Nation. Out of this, we can conclude that the Constitution of 1812 cannot be called a modern constitution given the amount of impossibilities we identify within it. Firstly, the impossibility of a Nation in a completely liberal style (the conjunction of free and equal citizens, a fully democratic, equal and free civil society is missing) that has to be reduced to the existance of a Nation in th terms of the Old Regime, dominated by the religious, military and legal elite. This is not a free Nation neither founded on the value of te individual, but integrated by old bodies, with a political scenario that silences people, where current citizens are never present in the decisions that are adopted. Out of this first, comes the second impossibility: the lack of a real national soverignity with the omnipresent shade of the Monarch that underlies in each and every line of the constitutional debates and sections. What leads us to a kind of cooperative, broken and shared soveraignity, not to a soveraignity exert exclusively by the Nation. Finally, out of the two previous points, the impossibility of an absolute freedom of the diputies. The means of representation used to write the script for the future since Cádiz does not reverse anything from the past, but it stands on it and uses it as the support to achieve its objectives. It is a Constitution written with open doors to the past and to everything that the past ment. Only slight changes are made in order to make it effective, valid and unassailable so that it can overcome crisis as severe as the one taking place since March 1808. As fas as possible, the essence of the Monarchy has to preveal and should not be modified. This is what is done since 1810 and what culminates on March 1812. At any point, as it happeden in France with the revolution, did the fathers of the Constitution have the will of breaking with the past, of starting from scratch and send past to the pit of History, of listing all those elements that there would not be in Spain any longer, of explaining that derogatory effect that is visibly lacking.   In the Spanish case, there is not the intention of setting a censorship; on the contrary, we can easily identify in its very different elements (form of government, citizenship, religion, territory policies, etc.) the presence of History tat could not be rejected possible way. A presence that could not be fought without risking to lose the uniqueness of Spain as a Nation and as a Monarchy.  History writes the script of the Constitution and no power can oppose to it. The past defines the present and in that remote world the whole constitutional precept can be identified. It is a mirror and a model. If Spain wanted to become someting at that uncertain moment in 1812, it had to be something from History, never without taking it into account. The contrary would have supposed a political suicide as a community.

Without a constituent power, this is, without a free Nation that decides to stand up to define the soveraignity as the deposit of the public power and lead it this way to its highest essence; without a power able to create the new and destroy the old, we wont ever be able to find any Constitution anywhere. The Constitution, in its current meaning, is missing the author that every Constitution has to have; it misses too the minimum elements needed as the approval criteria regarding its American and French peers. To sum up, we do not want to identify any Cádiz Constitution because Cádiz is not the result of a popular proclamation of constituent power. Unlike what happened the cenuty before with the revolutionary movements that succeeded in America or France, where these gave the people a Nation on the first case; and the most effective and complete form of determination for the political power orgabisation in the second one.  In those other places, there was a constituent power able to break with the past, able to define the fronteer betwen now and yesterday; this process sent back to History all the consequences from the past without the chance of comming back under no circumstances. That constituent power, the American as well as the French, were able to write a categorically new text that settled a moment in history and determined what was liable to happen and what was not; what was useful and new, facing what was old and unnecessary. A text that clearly separated the new constitutional world from the old feudal one, and this last one becamed wiped out, ignored, historic; that is to say, no vaild, thus of no relevance from the legal and politicla point of view. Out of the Constitution understood as such, as Americans and French did, there were only ruins and debris, elements and ideas that should be abandoned and ellimninated. The new era that the new Constitutions inagurated, were, in fact, new times since they oppened new paths to the future and buried the past once and for all.

For the same reasons, Cádiz is not and could never be reputated as the yield of the abstract truth, as a product of rationalism, as executional body of absolute authority, but, on the other hand: it is yield of historical truth, the one that lives for and inside the past, that wants to turn the current men into hiers of his ancestors; that was based on the old Fundamental Laws which settled the limits of the sovereign power almost as absolute and justified every single of its actions; that believed in a past inseparable from the present. Cádiz does not create a truly new Constitution; Cádiz just reorganizes the Fundamental Laws of the Old Regime, recomposes the essential principles on which the Spanish Catholic Monarchy sustained, without giving rise to a radical, drastic and original power. In 1812, a recuperation, a reinstauration of the hispanic past takes place in the shape of a legal-plotical resurection of everything tat had happened back on those days of constitutional hapiness and that had been lost in time.

There is no creation without tradition. The great ancient wise understood it well when they clearly separated the traditio from the imitatio. The new is actually a new form of conjugateing everything that precedes it; the specific way that each age faces, reads, understands and interpretates the common past. Newness is just a new version of the past. The constitutional events that took place in Cádiz seem to support this last statement. F. Tomás y Valiente was wrong when he explained the constitutional moment in Cádiz as the moment when many Fundamental Laws became a sole Constitution, asseting like this the validity of the constitutional process. What actually happened was the transit of many Fundamental Laws into many other Fundamental Laws, better organized and clarified and with important institutional adjustments in order to make them preveal. THe intended modern face barely had strenght enough to govern the fate of that essentilly gothic body, which was who eventually governed the whole political machine, the whole rebuilt system.  There wasn’t and there couldn’t be a modern Constitution; maybe a historical one, that is to say, History to the service of the already constitued power, that experience had already prooved valid, incompatible with the  enlighted ideology that was the basis of the legacy from Cádiz.

Ciudad Universitaria, Madrid, April 2013.

 

“I was not invited to the royal wedding, but I paid out of my pocket”

 

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“Down with the monarchy! Less real weddings and more social spending!”

To amuse the royals citizens will be cutback. 

The large bill for the royal wedding ten years later

Ten years ago, the current Princes of Asturias were wed. The tabloids are doing business telling cheap anecdotes, highlighting the love between the bride and groom, the funny jokes and all those “unforgettable moments” that normally like the people who love tabloids . But additionally also emerge other data, such as economic. How much was the wedding of the year 2004? What did it mean for many people that event? Why when some have fun, others have to suffer?


.Officially there are no accurate data on how much the wedding cost, although at the time the socialist government said the cost was “proportionate and perfectly acceptable. Proportionate and acceptable? For who? Is it acceptable for republican people, for people who lose their benefits or who have cut the subsidy for a particular activity for lack of funds? Obviously it is acceptable to monarchists, or for those establishment parties – shameful PSOE´s behavior, or at least one of his sectors- which underpin the monarchy hoping that the agreement will help the establishment remain. But let´s pay attention to some numbers.


.Of official 20 million Euros, some sources suggest that this amount would double. Only security cost around seven million Euros; the decoration of Almudena Cathedral cost around one million; more or less half a million was spent makeup and hair; and other minor expenses such as the rental of dishes, make the bill exorbitant. As such appears in press, http://www.diariodeleon.es/noticias/sociedad/coste-total-boda-principe-asciende-40-millones-euros_139095.html. Of course, no one knows exactly how much Royal Family paid, and beyond some unspecific data, we could think that they didn´t pay anything.


.All this leads us to reflect on what Monarchy is and why we have to pay. The wedding was just an act to prop up an institution. At that time the Spanish Monarchy was in a sweet moment, but soon the annus horribilis were coming. Was this wedding and the following splurge necessary? I don´t think so. In a country where the number of Republicans is increasing it is not understandable to waste so much money from the public budget- that means, paid by all of us- in a private and personal event, as it is a wedding. As Felix Taberna, IU, said “a wedding has to have a private character, and this (referring to the royal wedding) is taking a folk character, if not grotesque “.

As much as has said that it is a marriage of state, because the groom is the heir to the throne- one thing to be the heir and another thing is to reign … – I do not understand the desire of some political parties for support acts that shore up the monarchy. Of course there were some exceptions as is the case of Izquierda Unida or the Basque Nationalist Party, among others, who did not attend the event. Cándido Méndez, the head of the UGT union can ´t say that he didn´t attended, because he shared place and maybe table with country´s main capitalists. Another nonsense.

images

Less “Real Weddings” and more social spending!

However, not all were fervent supporters during the wedding. Indeed, some social movements staged many protests. This is the case of People’s Movement Against the Royal Wedding, whose slogan is “less royal weddings and more social spending.” So it was not all popular fervor for the monarchy, as press and some institutions wanted to show and to “sell” to society. Many people showed their anger and outrage when realizing that for the princes and other royals have fun, others have to suffer. Is that righteous?

.Obviously not, and an institution that is based on that idea does not deserve the respect of any democratic society.
Moreover, it also causes indignation and anger the opacity of the Royal House and the princes themselves on anything related to the event. In fact, the foreign press has more data than the Spanish one, as was the case with the BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/spanish/misc/newsid_3737000/3737115.stm . We know that Royal family doesn´t like interviews – thus providing silent on issues such as the case Noos – but given the waste that the event caused, and it continues to cause their lifestyle, they could occasionally explain something to the public, that is, they should explain more things to the society. Because Spanish people are not their vassals, but citizens who should have the right to decide if they want to pay more to the Borbones or not.

.
In short, on this tenth anniversary of the royal wedding, there are still many opaque and unclear issues. The waste of money that supposed the event is one of them. A fun splurge for a few who meant the suffering of others who saw there was no money for their issues. A real shame for a modern democracy.

Sara Orellán

@saraorellan

 http://tribunaretorno.blogspot.com.es/

“We will never forgive Felipe of Bourbon “

1280px-Bosque_del_Recuerdo_-_01

“Forest of Absentees”. Garden in tribute to the victims of March 11th 2004, Madrid.

 2004: Tragedy in Spain causing nearly 200 deaths.

Felipe of Bourbon travels to the Caribbean -unofficially- to celebrate his bachelor’s party; he organizes the most expensive wedding in Spanish history, paid by the Spanish people.

Citizenship is reproached to have “a fish’s memory“.

But, what if we go to the newspaper archives?

We can each draw our own conclusions.

What I would like to talk about concerns human values, such as:

Sensitivity, empathy, humility, sacrifice and honesty.

You either have them or not

 

It is 10 years now from that; but for many Spanish citizens, what happened back then represents the beginning of the end of the sympathy that the Royal Family could have aroused before. The worst thing about it: the hiding, the secretiveness, the will of misleading. We found out thanks to the international press, because in Spain, in 2004, national press still (…) protected the Bourbon.

The wedding of Felipe of Bourbon took place the 22nd of May, barely two months after the terrorist attack of March the 11th in Madrid. Like nothing had happened! How is it possible to celebrate a “State Wedding” right when the whole country is in mourning? Why wasn’t that wedding postponed, given the time proximity with that terrible tragedy?

The decision of celebrating the bachelor’s party – “off the record”- and going on with the wedding date, offended deeply the most essential feelings of many Spaniards, my own self among them. We considered it as an unforgivable insensitive act. Because, after the dramatic and traumatic situation that we had experienced, we expected, required and claimed for a bigger effort on the part of the Royal Family. Sacrifice? No, of course not, that word does not exist for the monarchy; sacrifice is for the governed, the subject, for the ones on the bottom, for the rest of insignificant others…

If they would have postponed the wedding a few months, they would have proved us with facts that thing they say “we are happy for your happiness and we cry your pain…” But not, it all remained in a few nice words. From that moment on, many Spaniards very clearly understood that the “Royal Agenda” belongs to the hierarchy of the “divine” and is “beyond the good and the bad …by God’s grace”.

Now, they might tell us that they fulfilled their “institutional role” when they visited a hospital and took a picture with the injured, when they headed the demonstration against the attack and attended to the State funeral with their saddest faces… And we don’t question that they acted their script inside out, but, in that specific moment, Spain expected more from them and they were not up to the occasion. Ten years later, it is not shocking that popularity levels of the monarchy in Spain are at its lowest point. The message many of us got from that was “they do their own thing“.

Looking at all the above, we wonder, for example, if a Spanish citizen or from any other country is planning his/her wedding and, suddenly a close relative dies (father, mother, brother, son, daughter, etc…) in an accident, what would he/she do?, celebrate the bachelor’s/hens party as a secret for the rest of the family?, go on with the wedding, like nothing had happened? Or, rather, postpone the date of the ceremony, even though that involves inconveniences to the guests, the organization, etc…? And of course, nothing about bachelor’s/hens parties…

Ten years after that wedding: What did it we get out of it? Has it contributed to the development of our democracy? Has it helped us to improve as a nation? Absolutely NOT.

Furthermore, and having mentioned the preceding facts, we should start to dismantle some self-serving fallacies:

The Bourbons work for Spain” – FALSE. They rather, “work” for the permanence of the monarchy in Spain, because they live thanks to the Spaniards.

Juan Carlos I brought the democracy to Spain” – FALSE. It was the dictator Francisco Franco who chose Juan Carlos of Bourbon as his successor. Three years after the death of the dictator, in 1978, the elites of the Franco’s regime drafted, behind closed doors, a Constitution that as the “Moses tablets” was presented to the Spaniards to vote it.

In Spain there is a quality democracy“- FALSE. The true democracy will come to Spain the day when a referendum is called and people are asked if they want to go on with the monarchical regime (“heirs of the Spanish Empire”) or, if all together, we built a Federal Spanish Republic, democratic and from the 21st century.

CHRONOLOGY:

Madrid, Thursday the 11th of March 2004 –

SPAIN EXPERIENCES THE BIGGEST TERRORIST ATTACK OF ITS HISTORY.

“The offences of the 11th of March 2004 (also known as 11-M) were a series of terrorist attacks in four commuter trains in Madrid carried out by a terrorist jihadist cell, as revealed by the investigation carried out by the police and the judges.

This was the second biggest terrorist attack perpetrated in Europe until now, with ten almost simultaneous explosions in four different trains at the rush hour in the morning (between 07:36 and 07:40). Later, after an attempt of deactivation, the police made a controlled detonation of the artifacts that had not exploded; the deactivation of the third one allowed the beginning of the investigations in order to identify the possible authors. 192 people passed away, and 1858 were injured”.

Madrid, Friday 12th of March, 2004-

MASSIVE DEMONSTRATION IN MADRID AGAINST THE ATTACKS.

This demonstration, convoked by the government, was probably the most multitudinous of Spanish history together with the one after the attempt of the coup d’état on the 23-F, the demonstration of repulsion against the murder of Miguel Ángel Blanco or the demonstrations against the war on Iraq.

At 19:00, 2.3 million people demonstrated in Madrid (with a population of 4 millions) under a soaking rain, yelling “We were all inside that train!”, “We are not all here, 200 are missing!”, “Spain united will never be defeated!”, “No ETA!”, “No Al-Qaeda!”, “Murderers, murderers!” or “It is not raining, Madrid is crying!”. The demonstration was planned to take place between two centric squares of Madrid, and much more of the estimated space was taken by the crowd. In a poetic way, people said that it was not raining, but that Madrid was crying. The Prince Felipe and the Infantas Elena and Cristina of Bourbon joined the demonstration, being this the very first time in history that a member of the Spanish Royal Family does this. The cardinal Rouco VarelaArchbishop of Madrid also demonstrated for the first time…”

Madrid 25th of March, 2004 –

11M STATE FUNERAL

The tears of the Royal Family”

The Kings and their sons spontaneously walked the central nave of the Almudena Cathedral to comfort the relatives of the victims of the 11-M…”

24th March, 2004 –

FELIPE AND LETIZIA ABORT THEIR BACHELOR’S PARTY AS A SHOW OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE VICTIMS OF 11M.

“The Prince and Letizia Ortiz abort their bachelor’s party as a show of solidarity with the victims of the 11-M and their families…”

The Prince of Asturias and her engaged, Letizia Ortiz, have decided, by mutual agreement and as a show of solidarity with the victims of 11-M and their families, to abort the bachelor’s party. M. Felipe and Miss Letizia had scheduled to celebrate before their marriage on the next 22nd of May in one of the royal sites of the National Patrimony in the surroundings of Madrid…”

08th of April, 2004 –

FELIPE AND LETIZIA WERE INSPECTED AT MIAMI’S AIRPORT

Public servants compelled the Prince and his girlfriend to pass through the airport control” 

The strong security measures imposed by the United States at their airports provoked an unusual diplomatic incident with one of the Washington allies in the Iraq offensive, when the Miami airport authorities compelled the prince Felipe of Spain and Letizia Ortiz to go through the control last Thursday”.

The couple and their four bodyguards came from Bahamas in a charter flight to be taken in Miami, a flight back to Madrid operated by Iberia. When the Prince Felipe and Letizia tried to pick their luggage back, they were commanded by the police to open their suitcases, which were carefully examined by the security services. As The Miami Herald relates, in that moment the debate aroused among the prince’s enclosure and the security bodies of the airport. “We are your allies: you can’t do this!” yelled a member of the Spanish delegation.

Easter Sunday 11th of April, 2004

FROM THE CARIBBEAN TO MAJORCA, THE EASTER HOLIDAY OF FELIPE AND MRS LETIZIA

His Royal Majesty the Prince of Asturias and Miss. Letizia Ortiz arrived yesterday to Palma de Mallorca after spending a few relaxing days in The Caribbean. Accompanied by a group of friends, they first enjoyed a few days at the Sea of Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), to later travel to the idyllic beaches of Nassau, in the Bahamas.

After this advance of the honeymoon with scale and the “affair” of the luggage in Miami, the couple went back to Spain and travelled to Palma de Mallorca. It is the first visit of Miss Letizia to the island as the engaged of Mr. Felipe. There, the couple joined the Kings, who last Wednesday switched their residence to the Palace of Marivent and the Infantas with their respective husbands…”

Saturday 22nd of May, 2004 – Royal Wedding in Spain

The Royal Wedding of the prince Felipe of Bourbon and Letizia Ortiz took place in the Cathedral of Almudena in Madrid on the 22nd of May 2004, before more than 1,200 guests. Representatives of 12 ruling royal houses and 12 non-ruling ones attended to the event.

It was considered State Wedding, the first in Spain since more than 50 years ago, and it was also the first wedding to be celebrated at the Cathedral of Madrid, which had been consecrated on the year 1993…”

06th of September, 2004

FELIPE AND LETIZIA WANT TO CELLEBRATE IN SEPTEMBER THE “BACHELOR’S PARTY” ABORTED BEFORE TE WEDDING”

Felipe of Bourbon and Letizia Ortiz are willing to celebrate this September, after the summer holidays, the bachelor’s party that was suspended on the eve of their wedding, celebrated in May…”

17th of December, 2013 –

THE PRINCE AND PRINCESS DID NOT SUSPEND THEIR PARTY BECAUSE OF THE 11M.

An email contributed yesterday by Diego Torres to the judge Castro demonstrates that Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia did not suspend their bachelor’s party as a sign of mourning. In this message Iñaki Urdangarin (husband of the Infanta Cristina) sends his friend Pedro López Quesada a list of possible guests to the party, with two columns: the one with friends and relatives sure attending and another column with doubtful ones. In the first column we can find the names of Iñaki Urdangarin, his brother-in-law Marichalar and the Gómez Acebo family, cousins of Infanta Cristina and Mr. Felipe…”

More information – Links:

Rocío Rodríguez

 @rociorodriguezx

Notes for a Reform of the Spanish Constitution of 1978

 

 Portada Constitucion 78

Notes for a Reform of the Spanish Constitution of 1978

Andrés Boix 

Prof. Constitutional Law, Valencia University

There are reasons to believe that the moment of making a profound deep change might have arrived, a change that would turn the country upside down. It is a fact, that right now, there are reasons enough for such a change. Only few question the institutional, social and economic collapse in which Spain is immersed nowadays. Neither is it questioned that among its causes there are many that have to do with Law, this means, with the way we decided to organize ourselves. And some of them, surely have to do with the norms that regulate at a very basic level our institutions, this is, our Constitution.

On the other hand, it seems obvious that, changes -mainly when it comes to social dynamics- more or less profound they might be, do not only need to be undertaken. But must also be “noticed”, must be seen and considered as important. Very likely, Spain does not only need to change some rules, not just give a new coat of painting to the surface, and then expect that everything will improve from what has already been acquired. It is not preposterous to believe that something bigger than that is needed. Something that could induce catharsis so that, beyond Law, norms, rules and the incentives that these suppose, a sort of social deal 2.0 is renewed. A deal through which we commit ourselves within an improved and more optimistic public ethics. In order to achieve this, a constitutional rupture contributes emotional and symbolic components that a mere set of touch-ups cannot aspire to provide. This is, for instance, one of the most interesting points of the so called “Catalan process”, all differences considered, which increasingly meets more supporters of the independence. The idea is not starting from scratch but that it seems so. The feeling of having everything left to do and to design, of being able to plan with the will of improvement, that even mistakes, which are somehow inevitable, are seen as belonging to the future, not to the past. The whole idea is, doubtlessly attractive. It all supports too, the arguments in favor of starting a constituent process. Or at least, giving it a try.

Nevertheless, I personally do not believe that we are in the right moment to work for such a rupture. Several reasons, including the most pragmatic ones that refer to a more objective evaluation of the situation, make me personally lean towards the believe that working for a Constitutional Reform (a quality one) would be, right now, more worthwhile. There they go, synthesized, some of these reasons.

1. Are we, right now, capable of getting society agreed upon overcoming the constitutional frame? Sincerely, I don’t think so. And I basically don’t think so because almost every social surfeit is economy-related, and the extensive hopeless circumstances that we now meet are not an exception to the rule. However, nowadays, a big majority of the Spanish population is more frightened about what the future may bring regarding the loss of rights and standards of living or about how to defend what is left from the “European” welfare – understood on the terms of the second half of the 20th century- than they are concerned about fighting in order to achieve new levels in those same domains. This means, it is not that much about society not looking towards the future, but that when they do, they think “Oh Lord, oh Lord…” which reveals a bigger interest on keeping as much as possible from what they already have than on making any profound transformations. In this sense, the economic crisis, as rough as it may be, has not yet reached (neither is it expected or wished that it does) a poverty threshold such, that a major and extensive discomfort is generated, thus the will of radical and total change widely felt. The level of wealth reached in the West on the last decades, especially in Europe and by extension in Spain, allows the existence of social and economic safety networks which are also mechanisms of legal safety regarding the stability of the regime and of the institutions. Sincerely, without this necessary breeding ground, it is very difficult to think of a popular will that may support this rupture in a realistic way.

2. Isn’t there anything worth keeping from the Constitution of 1978? Of course there is. On the contrary, there is a lot to, almost everything. It would have no sense to squander it and, even in a constituent process, there is no reason not to make use of it. There is nothing wrong on visualizing that much of the Constitution of 1978 is fine and has been useful. Furthermore, if we analyze the reasons behind the social unrest, there are actually not that many of them that find their reflection on the Constitution. Even though, some of them do, like all those behind the “No nos representan” shout (very popular shout minted during the Spanish protests of 2011 meaning “They don’t represent us”). This is why; it seems more sensible to make use of experience, to benefit from what we were taught by all these years of constitutional regime and then built preserving the good things we already have. Once mistakes and problems are detected, then we can start working to fix those specific points and avoid, like this, a waste of efforts. Which has also the advantage of being easier from every point of view. It is surely easier to reach an agreement about a few retouches that need to be undertaken in some specific areas, not only technically but politically too, since a constitutional amendment is above all a political matter. It will be much easier to find a basic common ground, needed for such a process, thus be able to tackle those basic points, than ratifying an entire change.

3. Moreover, the Spanish Constitution of 1978 has some quite good things. Among them -due to the moment when it was signed and written, the late seventies- the fact that it gathered an important legal consensus regarding guarantees, distilled all along the 20th century, mostly, after the II World War. Taking into account also the fact that ours was one of the latest Constitutions of that time; we had the chance to copy other’s solutions. As a result, our fundamental rights, for instance, as well as the mechanisms to protect them are solid and civilized. This entire legacy must be esteemed and protected. This is easier to do with a more limited reform. For example, regarding fundamental rights, different changes could be put forward. Those that could contribute to the experience already gathered: for instance, the right to universal healthcare could be introduced, even if the practical consequences of such an implementation would be mostly scarce, at least if we behave with immigrants as we have been doing in Spain recently.[1] Also changes that could improve the precepts technically, those that need written clarification on the text itself: the right to strike and technical details about the privacy of information, which, despite of being more a technical than a political problem, are not very well worked out. Or even changes that could eliminate those rights which make no sense to be considered as fundamental: reference to Honor Courts on Section 26[2], and even the “Petition Right” of Section 29[3], which could leave some place for many other fundamental rights!

4. If the amendment does not revise the contents of Section 168 of the Spanish Constitution (EC) -this is, if none of the first Sections are modified, including the definition of basic living together guidelines, nor the fundamental rights nor the Crown- it can be remarkably easy to undertake if a political consensus is reached. Like the  express  amendment of Section 135 EC has proved[4]. It is an additional advantage, further than its very unfortunate use up to date, which we better not lose sight of in order to promote a major social and political commitment in a certain sense, in a certain direction. Because the fact that the Constitution can be amended easily if there is support to do so, is not a bad thing, but a good thing. Let’s take advantage of the evidenced possibility of doing so.

5. The Spanish Constitution of 1978 knows also obvious deficiencies, and these deserve attention too.  This, by the way, can be much easier to accomplish if we focused on them instead of starting a much bigger and more ambitious process from scratch. Beyond symbolic deficiencies (persistence of the old regime and certain iconic representative elements), we can name hundreds of aspects where a constitutional reform seems urgent. They all have to do with the main original sin of the Constitution of 1978, its autocratic nature, its elaboration “from the top” and with very little trust on popular participation “from the bottom”. The funny thing about them all is that every single one of them could be amended without modifying Section 168 (a reform that would be easy on its procedure, if a prior and wide enough political agreement have been reached):

– Territory issues, in other words, days; a revision that, no matter what, should include  amelioration of the autonomic funding in order to make it more simple, fair and corresponsable).
Citizen participation in the conformation of legislative decisions, more referendums, possibility to abolish or a wider scope of the popular legislative initiative; similar to the propositions which, for instance,   have already been taken to certain autonomic parliaments supported by university teachers;
-Political representation and elective system where profound changes will surely be welcomed.

Deep down, I believe this is mainly all that should be altered from our Constitution. I think it could be more interesting -since experience proofs that specific rights and other measures are rarely imposed in a different way- that the Constitution focused on following the rules of the game and above all that we have those rules analyzed to see if they are good and fair.

6. Likewise, the convenience of certain symbolic amendments could be questioned, seeking that innovative effect, via amendments, which could somehow have the effect of an “injection” of the needed social optimism that a constituent process can generate. For example, reforming Title II (on the Crown) of the constitutional text, demands getting to the worse procedure of reforming Section 168, and changing the configuration of the State. This is, eliminating once and for all an institution such as the Monarchy. Not only toxic but which is also the incarnation of the problems of the regime and the continuity of the text of 1978 under Franco’s dictatorship. The Constitution of 1978 had many good things, also symbolically, and it implied the transition to a democratic State of Right. But also, around this last point, it committed and it still does, an original sin: its vertical strictness and the lack of confidence in the people, inherited from the regime it comes from and from which it did not want to abjure. This original sin, when being essentially fleshed in the Monarchy -and specifically in the dynasty designated by Franco to take his place in the Headquarters of the State- has the advantage, of having an easy symbolic solution with a reformation that would replace it for a Republic. And the purifying effect of a constituent rupture would be obtained with a “simple” amendment.

7. Finally, my reformist option, which makes use of different scenarios also has to do with pragmatism. Pragmatism at two different levels. On one hand, because I believe it is a good thing that certain constitutional consensus reached in 1978 are not questioned (mostly those concerning guarantees) and this is always easier to avoid in a partial reform context than in a constituent process scenario where everything is questioned. That is to say, to be honest, I do not feel very inclined to risk many of the rights and guarantees that our constitutional frame offers at the moment. Doubtlessly such a risk exists when we get into a whole amendment because, obvious as it is, everything can be kept or not, can be rewritten and reinterpreted. Some aspects would generate more debate and would draw more attention. Many others, however, would be unnoticed. Some could stay in a background stage and may be changed for the worst or the better, but reaching a weaker consensus and generating less debate than what it would be required if acting on them individually. Sincerely, I prefer not to take that risk, in order to avoid that some loss may end up being more of a disappointment than a rewarding acquirement. We must not lose sight of the fact that a constitutional amendment can be seen as an improvement for some, but depending on the point of view can also be taken as a deterioration of a previous stage. Well, me myself, I accept that something like this happens in a public debate scenario, where people is focused and where there are possibilities for a major participation and where attention is paid to what is needed. But in a context of massive change, I get scared by the thought of what could be modified by those with the most resources. Modifications without going through the democratic and inclusive “tolls” which would be developed if that same process happened in a more selective way.

However, my opposition against amending the text of our Constitution as a whole is mostly based on the thought that, beyond a certain point, a Constitution is not that important. Indeed, neither should it be. This is why I have not included among my suggestions of amendment, but that I do consider essential, any social or material justice issues, distribution or means for major guarantees. I believe that these rights and conditions are won (or not) on a day to day basis, with legislation and political majorities, wining those  battles instead of a constituent fight. For instance, what happened with a regulation in force like ours, where a Constitution considered quite “progressive” in terms of distribution has not been that much when put into practice…because that is achieved with other mechanisms. And it is not just affecting social and economic rights, despite it might be there where this effect is more visible. It happens in any constitutional-legal field we look at.

Thus, with the Constitution of 1978 many things have been possible, however, many others haven’t. But not because of the Constitution. Let’s keep in mind that, in a month, it has been possible to amend it in order to introduce a public deficit, but barely for anything else. Let’s keep in mind that during these years we have passed about a dozen labor reforms, but not a single strike law. Let’s try to understand that the Spanish jurisdiction is able to judge any dictator around the globe, who has tortured and murdered people (Spanish or not); but, on the other hand, it hasn’t been able to end with the many street and square names that still celebrate the Warlord and his closest ones all around the country. With the Spanish Constitution it has been possible to joyfully vote on subjects of great consensus, like the referendum for the European Union; but however it is still not possible to vote on something much more socially controversial -indeed much more reasonable to vote on, as many Catalan political forces already suggest- which is the territorial debate. Or it has been possible to supply with a government and a parliament to the city of Logroño and its surroundings (300.000 inhabitants) while Andalucía and Cataluña, which both surpass the population of half the European countries, do not yet have an effective fiscal and financial autonomy (not even to collect taxes) to be able to assure the exercise of its competences (major or minor they might be)… With the Constitution of 1978 it has not been possible to stop teaching religion at school, but blasphemy and crimes of spreading derision and opinion are still today punished by our Penal Code. Also thanks to the Constitution of 1978 some reforms have been accomplished regarding citizen safety, as the one passed on 1992, or the coming one, as well as the many deals in the name of Justice while it seems an exception that someone imprisoned by the State and whose innocence gets to front pages, afterwards may not even be compensated by the inconveniences. With the Constitution of 1978 it has been possible to illegalize parties that represented between the fourth and the fifth part of the electorate of the Basque Country, and on the other hand, it has been possible that neighbors can effectively participate in the administration of their municipalities through a transparent and participative control… and we could go on with a longer list of examples of the many paradox and contradictions. They all comprehend many more things but they mainly point to the same direction: the regime of 1978. Its very concrete and determined profiles which, however, are not the result of the Constitution itself but of how we have operated inside it.

But all these, for the good or the bad, did not have to do with the Constitution of 1978. It had to do with the concrete balance of forces and power that, since 1978, there is in Spain and that, through rupture or reform, with constituent process or without it, is what determines what we are as a society, which way will we go and how things will go for us. There is where, beyond adjustments (many of them necessary and welcomed) we should work on the Spanish Constitution. Work on winning those battles, because they are those that define a country of one type or another. This needs to be very present.

Very specially, and very likely, because the coming battles, in the shape of a constitutional reform (or reforms) of minimums, are going to go in that direction. And they are going to counter some of the above-mentioned results, as well as the confrontation dynamics we use (center-periphery, elite-bases, state control-participation…). We must be prepared and stay pragmatic, be more or less conscious of something which is, very likely, coming soon. Because, at least by now, things are the way they are, and it does not seem that we are going to meet a massive citizen rebellion from the base facing those claims and the current way of doing things.

_____________

Notes:

[1]Undocumented immigrants in Spain have not long ago been banned to use public healthcare other than emergencies.

[1]Section 26

Courts of Honour are prohibited within te framework of the Civil Administration and of professional organizations.

[1]Section 29

  1. All Spaniards shall have the right to individual and collective petition, in writing, in the manner and subject to the consequences to be laid down by law.

Members of the Armed Forces or Instututes or bodies subject to military discipline may only exercise this right individually and in accordance with statutory provisions relating to them.

____________

More information links:

 

 

MANIFESTACIÓN REPUBLICANA – Madrid, 7 de Junio 2014

 MANIFESTACIÓN REPUBLICANA – MADRID

Demonstration In Madrid Against Monarchy 

SÁBADO 7 DE JUNIO – 19:00  MADRID CIBELES => SOL

¡TODOS A LA MANIFESTACIÓN EL 7 DE JUNIO EN MADRID! 

cartel-mani-7-junio

¡¡¡REFERENDUM!!!

¡¡¡NO A FELIPE VI!!!

¡¡¡QUEREMOS DECIDIR!!!

¡¡¡BIPARTIDISMO = MÁS DE LO MISMO!!!

¡¡¡NUEVO CICLO POLÍTICO EN ESPAÑA!!!

 ¡NI CORONA, NI HEREDERO, LA DEMOCRACIA SOMOS EL PUEBLO!

Proclamas Republicanas:

 •Lo pide el pueblo, lo quiere la gente, referéndum monarquía y nueva constituyente!/    •Los Borbones confiscados, y sus millones pa´ los parados!/  •Ya llegó la hora, República Española!/  •Jaque mate, jaque mate, jaque mate!/  •Referéndum, referéndum, referéndum!/  •Con Urdangarín, la monarquía llega a su fin!/  •Ni corona ni herederos, la democracia somos el pueblo!/ •Democracia coronada, democracia envenenada!/  •Democracia coronada, democracia secuestrada!/  •Ola, Ola, Ola, República Española!/  •Basta de gorrones, fuera los  Borbones!/  •Bota, bota, bota, monarquía a la picota!/ •El clamor popular, República Federal!•  

¡PÁSALO!

 

Swiss Political System

Landsgemeinde_Glarus_2006Landsgemeinde, or assembly, of the Canton of Glarus, on 7 May 2006, Switzerland.

An introduction by the authors

When in 1848 the Swiss federation was founded, it faced problems similar to those of many young democracies today: The nation state was weak, the economy poor. The societies of the 25 cantons had no common history. They were divided by cleavages of different religions and languages. The Swiss constitution was the compromise between protagonists of a central state and its opponents who had a past of belligerent conflict.

Some 160 years later, Switzerland is prosperous. Cleavages between religions have cooled out. In contrast to many countries in Europe and beyond, multilinguism has not led to discrimination of minorities, and the country is known for its political stability. One could say that this success is the product of political institutions. Switzerland is a paradigmatic case of political integration. Its democracy is different from others: The state has been developed bottom up. Federalism brings the state closer to the people, has kept the central government small and guarantees utmost autonomy for its 25 cantons. Power sharing between the major political parties – instead of majoritarian rule- gives minorities an effective voice and has led to their social integration. Direct democracy in the form of referenda and popular initiatives makes political elites more sensitive for the preferences and needs of the people. The e-book “Swiss Political System” explains how these elements work together, not without mentioning critical aspects and challenges.

Federalism, political power sharing and direct democracy, the main features of the Swiss system, attract increasing interest of academics, politicians and media abroad. Federalism and decentralisation, especially, seem to be an effective institutional device to strengthen regional autonomy and responsibility, at the same time making political institutions more effective. It would be misleading, however, to take Swiss federalism as a “model” for others. First, federalism and decentralisation can serve different objectives, and are perceived in different ways from country to country. Second, institutions are to be embedded in the specific political culture of a country, can therefore play a different role for citizens and their polity. There is not one idea of federalism, but federalisms that each have to grow on the cultural heritage of a specific political society.

Nevertheless, we invite the readers of this e-book to share with us the account on the history and the functioning of the Swiss political institutions. We hope that the living experience of Swiss democracy may be inspiring and encouraging for others. In this sense, Swiss democracy is not a model for export but a subject of dialogue.

Wolf Linder and Andrea Iff

Swiss Political System (e-book):