The Catalan National Assembly (ANC) is a grassroots organisation that unites more than 80,000 people from all parts of Catalan society, including different ideologies, religions and nationalities. We work on a voluntary basis for a common cause: to win Catalonia’s independence in a completely peaceful and democratic way.
The ANC is organised as a large network with a bottom-up approach. This structure allows every member to find his or her own place in the organisation and to actively participate in it. The ANC take care of the plurality in the debate and the unity of action but always prioritizing the needs and idiosyncrasies of each region and community.
ANC goal is to contribute to create the Catalan Republic based on democracy, freedom and social justice principles and values, co-acting with political parties and civil entities.
The ANC is therefore the largest civil society organisation in Catalonia. The model of the ANC is an example of how Catalans take initiative to come together and address current issues in their society. It is not associated with any political party and are entirely financed by membership subscriptions and our own product merchandising. This allows us to remain politically and economically independent.
Foundation of the Catalan National Assembly march 10th, 2012 at Palau Sant Jordi, Barcelona
Members: around 80.000 (38.000 full members and over 40.000 additional associate members)
Presence of the ANC:
- 520 Territorial Assemblies (town, district, or regional), the grassroots groups who led the Catalan independence process in 2009 through regional local consultations on independence throughout the country. started up in 2013 after
- 38 Foreign Assemblies around the world. Foreign Assemblies unite more than 10,000 Catalans, as well as many citizens from other countries. This includes people from Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Poland, USA, Belgium, Chile, Mexico, Australia etc., a continuously growing international network with a common goal: explain the Catalan independence process to the world.
- 52 Professional and social issues Assemblies (i.e. Lawyers’ assembly, Translators’ assembly, LGBT Assembly, Women for Independence assembly etc.). These assemblies co-ordinate and unite people with similar professions and interests, to work as think-tanks. They are a powerful tool in the ANC network.
The ANC governing body:
- General Assembly (celebrated once a year), in which all full members of the ANC can participate
- the National Secretariat (or Board) Made up of 77 elected members organized in Committees. There are National Secretariat meetings once pro month
- the chairs of those Committees, form an Executive Board (Comitè Permanent), that meets weekly and implements the policies approved by the National Secretariat
Workers: in order to support this volunteer organization there are a team of 15 employees working in logistic matters, in the account department, reception and as technical specialists at some Committees.
There has always been a part of the Catalan population that has wished to recover the independence of Catalonia. Its aim is to build an independent state after the defeat of Barcelona in 1714 by the Bourbon fources.
In 2009, the town of Arenys de Munt organised the first non-official vote on Catalan independence. From 2009 to 2011, hundreds more towns and cities followed suit, allowingmore than 800.000 people to express their desire for an official vote on self determination. Those non-official votes were organised by local groups, the origins of the presentregional assemblies.
But how can the fast and widespread mobilisation of the movement in the last few years be explained?
Many sociologists and political scientists came to the conclusion that the majority of Catalan society reached its turning point in 2010, when a ruling of the Spanish Constitutional Court spoiled the chance for a reasonable and legal accommodation for Catalonia within Spain and of a loyalworking relationship, by rejecting key parts of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy, which had been approved by the Catalan and Spanish parliaments, and by the Catalan citizens through a binding referendum vote.
The reaction to the court’s decision on the statute was widespread and completely altered the atmosphere in Catalonia. The first massive demonstration in Barcelona took place on July10, 2010, when morethan a million Catalans gathered in defence of the statute, which quickly evolved into a cry for independence. The Catalan people’s desire for independence was reignited and more citizens than ever before were inspired to participate in a movement for freedom.
The ANC was constituted soon after this turning point, finally establishing itself as an official association in March 2012.
From the 2012 demonstration to the 2014 ballot on independence
The first large-scale action organised by the ANC following its foundation was the ‘March towards Independence’, which began on June 30, 2012, and consisted of hundreds of rallying events spread over several months and the mobilisation of thousands of people every week throughout the country. It reached its peak on September 11th2012, the Catalan National Day when a historic demonstration took place in Barcelona, where 1.500.000 people gathered behind the banner ‘Catalonia, Next State in Europe’.
Two months later, on November 25th, the President of the Generalitat (Catalan government), Artur Mas, called for early elections in order to gain a mandate to hold a referendum. The result of the election* was a pro-‘right-to-decide’ majority in the Catalan Parliament, summing up 200.000 more votes and 10 points higher participation (69% participation) than in the elections of 2010.
*2010 pro-self determination forces: 1.564.758 votes CiU, ERC, SI and RCat; 2012: 1.781.460, CIU, ERC, CUP i ICV
The following year the ANC organised ‘The Catalan Way to Independence’, a human chain that stretched for over 400 km (250 miles) along the Catalan coast, inspired by the Baltic Way of 1989. The participation in this event far exceeded our expectations, with more than 20% of the Catalan population taking part. It became the largest political demonstration in Catalan history. It was a peaceful and festive demonstration that showed the will of the people and the organisational skills of our volunteers. The whole 400 km long human chain was photographed to create a gigaphoto.Human chains were organized in morethan 100 other countries in support of Catalan independence.
In December 2013, a majority of political forces representing two thirds of the members of Catalan Parliament agreed on a question and a date for a referendum in 2014. The vote on independence would be held on November 9th 2014.
“2014 marked the 300th anniversary of 1714, the year in which Catalonia lost its freedom.”
“There is citizen mobilisation, political unity and almost total support from the municipalities.”
On September 11th 2014 and only a few weeks before the November 9th vote, the ANC organised a V-shape demonstration in Barcelona, which brought together 1.8 million people. The V stands for the Catalan Will (Voluntat) to find a Way (Via) to Vote (Votar) on independence in Victory. People filled two streets to form a V shape wearing yellow and red t-shirts and standing in lines. From above it looked like two long Catalan flags. V-shape demonstrations were also organized in many citites around the world by the Foreign Assemblies. Some of them, such as those in New York, London and Brussels, brought together more than 500 people.
On September 19th, the Parliament of Catalonia approved the Law on Consultations with 106 votes in favor (CiU, ERC, PSC, ICV-EUiA and CUP) and 24 against (PPC and C’s). The decree to call the consultation on November 9thwas signed on September 27th.
The consultation would consist of a double question:Do you want Catalonia to become a state? And if so, do you want it to be an independent state? This had three answers: No-No, Yes-No, Yes-Yes.
On September 29th, the Spanish government made two appeals against the law. The Constitutional Court unanimously agreed to hear the case, provisionally suspending the law and the decree for the consultation. This decision was made after only 54 minutes of deliberation, even though the documents for the law and the decree were 36 and 94 pages, respectively.
Catalan society gathered in all its cities and towns to protest against this unfair and undemocratic decision. The situation became one of the legitimacy of a people versus the imposition of a state.
On Saturday, October 4th 2014, more than 800 mayors gathered in the Palace of the Government to deliver municipal decrees in support of the consultation: 920 Catalan cities out of 947 (96%)decided to hold the consultation. They supported a process that was taking place by peaceful and democratic means.
“81% of the 2,34 million citizens who participated in the popular consultation on the 9th of November voted I want Catalonia to be an independent state.”
The response to the vote from the political representatives came slowly but surely: the assembly of political parties and civil society organisations for independence came to an agreement on March 16 to establish a roadmap to independence, based on the following principles:
The Catalan elections – which would be held on September 27th2015 – should serve as a legal instrument in order to formally know the opinion of the Catalan people on the political future of Catalonia.
In the case that pro-independence forces won a parliamentary majority, the independence process would proceed along the following lines:
- Declaration of the initiation of the process of separation from the Spanish State, and constitution of a Catalan Republic and state;
- Start of the constituent process;
- Putting in place the instruments for the national transition and of state structures like a tax agency and social security system;
- Culminating in the democratic confirmation by the Catalan people.
2015, a crucial year before plebiscitary elections
On September 11th2015 the Catalan National Assembly organized “The Gateway to the Catalan Republic”. The goal was to fill one of the main streets in the city of Barcelona, the Avinguda Meridiana.
The event was once more a great success in attendance, organization and communication. For the fourth year in a row upwards of 1.5 million people gathered peacefully to call for an independent state of Catalonia
The stunning images of hundreds of thousands of people forming a giant human mosaic over 5.5 km long, with ten colours representing the ten themes of the future Catalan Republic, were broadcast worldwide. A large arrowhead was carried by athletes through the middle of the crowd, from one end of the demonstration all the way to the gates of the Catalan Parliament, symbolising the desire of Catalan society to start building the Catalan Republic on a democratic basis.
Just a few days earlier, our foreign assemblies organized giant human arrowheads in main cities all around the world to raise international awareness of the Catalan political situation. These arrowheads symbolically pointed to the gateway to the Catalan Republic that would be held in Barcelona a few days later.
As the elections on September 27th approached, negotiations between the civil society organisations and pro-independence political parties had led to a pro-independence unity list called ‘JuntspelSí’ (Together for Yes). This list consisted of myriad of political parties such as the liberals of Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya, the social-democratic republicans of Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya and other smaller parties and, not least, representatives of civil society.
The goal was to highlight the crossparty, inclusive base of the Catalan independence movement, and as such, gain a broad base of support. This unified list presented both representatives of the political world and civil society from diferent political views. It showed the unity of Catalonia to the world.
There was also a second independence unity list, the CUP (Candidatures for Popular Unity) and other pro-independence leftist forces, resulting in CUP-Crida Constituent (CUP-Constituent Call), which offered the farther left-wing electorate a pro-independence alternative.
The plebiscitary elections on September 27, 2015: A pro-independence majority
The turn-out was 74.95% of the electorate, a record high turnout that indisputably confirmed the plebiscitary nature that the Catalan people gave this election, and which further highlights the victory of the pro-independence parties.
Together, explicitly independence political options – “JuntspelSí” and CUP – won 47.74% of the total votes, while 39.17% went to the Unionist parties and 11.45% to the parties that did not endorse a Yes/No position and who have said they prefer resolving the issue through a referendum agreed with the Spanish state. The rest, 1·64%, went to null and blank votes.
While “JuntspelSí” and CUP started negotions to form a government, the ANC together with Omnium and the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMP) promoted their first international diplomatic action. The presidents of the ANC and Omnium Cultural in representation of their own pro-independence civic associations as well as the Association of Pro-Independence Municipalities travelled to Strasbourg on November 6 to denounce “the lack of democratic will of the Spanish State”, and delivered the 1.5 million signatures collected during the celebration of the 9N to the Council of Europe.
On the way to independence
More than three months of failed negotiations between “JuntspelSí” and CUP followed the plebiscitary elections. During this period the ANC once more played a key role reminding them the will of the Catalan people.
In October the former leader of the Catalan Assembly CarmeForcadell was elected as the new President of the Parliament. During her emotional speech, Forcadell said: “As Abraham Lincoln said, ‘Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality. We must not be slaves of the past, but rather creators of the future. This is the legislature of the Catalan Republic. Let’s start now to walk towards the Constitutional process.’”
During the following months, several demonstrationswere organizedby the Catalan Assembly to demand both parties to make an effort and form a government as the first step towards the new Catalan Republic.
On January 9th2016the two pro-independence parties finally reached a last-minute deal and the Catalan Parliament voted in a new regional president. Carles Puigdemont was elected as new president replacing Artur Mas, who stepped aside. The CUP promised, in exchange, to guarantee the stability of the new government, both by committing to vote with the JuntspelSí coalition on all matters having to do with the right to decide and the continuance of the government, and also by agreeing that two of its members will participate in JuntspelSí meetings.
Upon accepting the position, CarlesPuigdemontpromised loyalty to the people of Catalonia –and not to the King of Spain or the Spanish Constitution.His new cabinet, made up of 5 women and 9 men, is made up people who came of age after Franco’s death.
The new government will now have the legitimacy to build the new state structures of the future Catalan state, and to declare independence from Spain by mid-2017. Meanwhile, the Catalan National Assembly will continue monitoring compliance with the agreed road map and will propel the independence process towards its final aim.
Highlights: Among other actions, The ANC has organised the three largest demonstrations ever in Catalan history: on September 11th (La Diada, the Catalonia day)
2012, Barcelona: “Catalonia, new State in Europe”
The first large-scale action organised by the ANC following its foundation: the ‘March towards Independence’, which began on June 30, 2012, and consisted of hundreds of rallying events spread over several months and the mobilisation of thousands of people every week throughout the country.
It reached its peak on September 11th2012, the Catalan National Day when a historic demonstration took place in Barcelona, where 1.500.000 people gathered behind the banner ‘Catalonia, Next State in Europe’
Take a look to ANC Foto Gallery: 2012 activity
#11s2012 Catalunya, nou estat d’Europa – Catalonia, new state of Europe (English subtitles)
2013 across the country: “Via Catalana”
Inspired by the Baltic Way in 1989, the “Catalan Way to independence” (Via catalana) was a human chain with more than 1,6 million people (more than 20% of the Catalan population) stretched for over 400 km (250 miles) along the Catalan coast. . It became the largest political demonstration in Catalan history. It was a peaceful and festive demonstration that showed the will of the people and the organisational skills of our volunteers. The whole 400 km long human chain was photographed to create a gigaphoto. Human chains were organized in more than 50 other countries (Catalan way International demonstrations) in support of Catalan independence , with it started also the organisation of the Foreign Assemblies Council.
Take a look to ANC Foto Gallery: 2013 Demonstration
Via Catalana: “Catalonia should have the right to vote” (with English, Spanish, French, German and Italian subtitles)
Catalan Way. The Via Catalana around the world
2014, Barcelona: “The V-shape demonstration”
Prelude to 9-N symbolic vote, “The V-shape demonstration” brought together 1.8 million people. The V stands for the Catalan Will (Voluntat) to find a Way (Via) to Vote (Votar) on independence in Victory. People filled two streets to form a V shape wearing yellow and red t-shirts and standing in lines. From above it looked like two long Catalan flags. V-shape demonstrations were also organized in many citites around the world by the Foreign Assemblies. Some of them, such as those in New York, London and Brussels, brought together more than 500 people.
Take a look to ANC Foto Gallery: 2014 Demonstration
“bird’s-eye view” of the V-shape demonstration
The V-shape around the world (with English subtitles)
2015, Barcelona: “The Gateway to the Catalan Republic”
On April 12th the Catalan National Assembly’s AGM adopted the Road map for the coming months and the format for the macro demonstration that was to be held on September 11th 2015, “The Gateway to the Catalan Republic”.
“The Gateway to the Catalan Republic” gader 1,5 million people forming a giant human mosaic over 5,5 km long.
Its goal was to fill one of the main streets in the city of Barcelona, the Avinguda Meridiana. People were to visually portray ten 10 themes for the new Catalan Republic, as far as the Catalan Parliament. The issues to be highlighted were democratic regeneration, being open to the world, social justice and welfare, innovation, sustainability, territorial equity, solidarity, equality, education and culture, and diversity.
This massive rally was to be the prelude to the plebiscitary elections on September 27th, called by the Catalan president Artur Mas on August 4th 2015. The new Catalan parliament emerging from these elections was to have the legitimate mandate to build the new state structures of the future Catalan state and to declare the independence of the country. All this, of course, assuming that the independence forces were to amount to a majority in the Catalan Parliament.
Take a look to ANC Foto Gallery: 2015 Demonstration
The Barcelonas’ Via Lliure a la República Catalana (Gateway to Catalan Republic)
Gateway to the world
Catalan Gateway demonstration in International media
… working on next 2016 Catalans’day.
You will WELCOME
Volunteers’ Voices: WHY DO I PARTICIPATE?
- For dignity, because I feel like a second class citizen within Spain, and because I believe Catalonia should become a country with the same rights and obligations as the rest of the nations in Europe. (Manel, Germany)
- Because I have unlimited faith in Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. (Joana, Switzerland)
- For dignity. Because there has been enough of this absurd submission and of so many unjustified, bitterly false prejudices against the Catalan people (Anna, Barcelona)
- Because I want my country to be the only protagonist in choosing its present and its future (Mauro, Valencia)
- Because I want my children to desire living in their country of origin again, without the impositions and injustice that their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents… have endured. So that they can be dignified people living in a fair and dignified democracy for all. (Mireia, Switzerland)
- Because I hope Quebec is inspired by the Catalan people and their path towards independence. (Josie-Anne, Quebec)
- Because I don’t want Catalans in Catalonia to lose their way. I want them to be aware that they are the true protagonists of our history and I want them to feel supported by those of us who are far away. We are unstoppable! (Natàlia, Chile)
- For dignity, for justice, for all those who left us along the way and for a better future for our children, so that they don’t have to leave their country, family and friends in search of a better future they could not find at home. (Ramon, Australia)
- I am an ANC volunteer because I firmly believe in a Europe of Nations and an egalitarian World of Nations…. this is why I work for the independence of the Catalan Nation, which is mine, doing my bit for a better world! (Vicens, Dominican Republic)
- I am a volunteer because I want Catalonia to become a better, more socially just and economically prosperous country. After thirty-six years of supervised democracy within the post-Francoist Spain it is clearer than ever that this will only be possible with independence. (Joan, CAT)
- I am an independentist (although not a nationalist) for scientific reasons: all the data indicate that Catalonia is a national social community and, like any community (national, religious, sports…) it has the natural right to decide how to organize itself (without interfering or being interfered with by other communities), and since the world is nowadays conveniently organised into nation-states, Catalonia is entitled to have its own state. That is if the people of Catalonia so decide. It’s as simple as that. (Miquel, MA, USA)