The Catalan government in Barcelona has called a referendum on independence—defying a ban by the Spanish government in Madrid.
The vote is set to take place on 1 October. It follows a series of mass mobilisations including pro-independence marches of up to two million people.
Around 80 percent of the Catalan population supports holding a referendum.
The Spanish government has refused to grant one. But now the referendum is on, it is not clear if the Spanish state will dare to physically repress it.
Nor is it certain that the right wing party of the Catalan president Carles Puigdemont will hold its nerve.
The Catalan right is in decline, and the pro-independence left is growing.
A vote for independence would increase the chances for radical change by undermining the whole structure of the state.
The referendum is a test for the Spanish left, which has often used a false “internationalism” to defend the unity of the Spanish state.
The left shouldn’t side with the state.