236 influential figures sign manifesto asking Spain to negotiate with Catalonia

Noam Chomsky, Anthony Giddens, Steven Pinker and Richard Wilkinson are among those to back the document

Noam Chomsky in the video promoted by Òmnium Cultural in July 2018
Noam Chomsky in the video promoted by Òmnium Cultural in July 2018 / ACN

Oliver Little | Barcelona

November 14, 2019 11:11 AM

236 influential figures from all over the world have signed a manifesto demanding that Spain negotiate with Catalonia over the current independence crisis. 

The document was written on October 23, nine days after the Supreme court ruling that nine of Catalonia's independence leaders spend 9-13 years behind bars for their role in the 2017 referendum.

The manifesto emphasizes that the Catalan government has ''repeatedly'' asked the Spanish executive to begin negotiations to resolve the conflict, since so far there has been no response. 

Among those to sign the document are philosophers Noam Chomsky, Philip Petit, Josep Ramoneda and Gianni Vattimo, psychologist Steven Pinker, sociologists Anthony Giddens, Ignacio Sánchez-Cuenca and Boaventura de Sousa Santos, epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, politician Jane Mansbridge and ex-mayor of Madrid Manuela Carmena.

The document expressed its concerns that the political situation in Catalonia had ''deteriorated in a worrying way.''

Ever since the verdict to the Catalan Trial was announced, there have been weeks of protests and strikes in Catalonia, which have led to police violence, damage to city infrastructure, over 200 arrests and over 600 injuries. 

The document acknowledged the arrest and injury count, adding that ''the normal functioning of the civil society, and especially the education sector, has been seriously altered.'' They also asked that ''judicializing the political conflict be avoided.''

It implored all parties to ''make an effort to de-escalate the social tension'' and to start ''a round of negotiations in order to explore and agree on some initiatives that help to find a political solution to this conflict.''

Much like the manifesto, many of the protests have urged Spain to ''sit and talk,'' and despite Quim Torra's phone calls to president Sánchez, this is yet to take place. 

However, with a new left-wing government forming between Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias in the wake of the November 10 general election and Esquerrà also opening the door to facilitating the government alliance, Catalonia can still hope for future dialogue.