Read in Catalan

The 1st October 2017 made it clear how unstoppable the will of the public is when we act in a coordinated manner in defence of a shared objective. We wanted to vote and we voted. The Spanish state, with all its capacity for coercion and police violence, could not prevent more than 2,300,000 women and men from voting in some 6,000 ballot boxes spread around nearly 2,000 polling stations open around the whole country.

Many facets of the referendum have been praised, but among them all the ability of a society to peacefully disobey an unjust and unjustified prohibition stands out. The referendum, as we reminded the judges of the Supreme Court, was the greatest act of civil disobedience that Europe has ever seen; "Catalonia's Gandhi moment", says Ramin Jahanbegloo, director of the Mahatma Gandhi Center.

In the face of mass civil disobedience, the Spanish state opted for violence and rejected dialogue and agreement. A violence that has only grown since autumn 2017.

Violence was the police's batons on 1st October and also our provisional detention; it was the charges of rebellion and sedition that have led the majority of the members of the legitimate government of Catalonia and the speaker of her Parliament to prison or exile, and for which they are asking for us to be sentenced to dozens of years; it is the existence of hundreds of people charged as a punishment for the 1st October; it is the desperate attempts to mix terrorism and the independence movement on the threshold of the Supreme Court's verdict; it is the wish to construct new judicial cases with spectacular arrests and self-interested and false leaks to build a criminalizing narrative against the detainees and the sovereignty movement in general.

We encourage you to not give in, to continue demanding what we consider to be fair and, above all, to keep well alive the flame of all our legitimate national and democratic aspirations.

From prison, we share the outrage over these events, we have suffered from them ourselves and are aware of the growing public concern about the dirty tactics the state is using against us. We encourage you, however, to not give in, to continue demanding what we consider to be fair and, above all, to keep well alive the flame of all our legitimate national and democratic aspirations. We do not give in or give up on any of them: we remain determined to believe in the bright and possible future that they want to deny us.

We encourage you, as we had done so often before we were imprisoned on 16th October 2017, to return to the streets when you are called on by our organisations and, above all, to not be carried away by the rage of the moment. The present is hard and it's likely our sentences and the upcoming decisions by the law and the police will make it even more bitter still. But the future will only remain ours if we're able to keep the seed of non-violence alive.

Let's learn the lessons of the 1st and 3rd October 2017 to respond to the challenges to come. Let's show that we will only fight the state's injustice and violence with non-violence. Only in this way will we take apart its false narrative and be able to, once again, defeat its violence and unmask its lies.

We have no problem in denouncing violence as many times as may be necessary and arguing that the only path the sovereignty movement should keep following is that of non-violence. But let us not accept lessons from those who support violence from the state, from those who deny all independence supporters the right to the presumption of innocence and, even less, from those who, unscrupulously and immorally, manipulate images and those who suffered from terrorism almost thirty years ago to make a space for themselves in the election battle.

The only violence that we have seen in Catalonia since 2017 is that which the Spanish state has protected and promoted. Shouting "freedom", demonstrating against political and judicial decisions, demanding self-determination, disobeying unjust laws and arbitrary prohibitions, denouncing police set-ups, defending ballot boxes and voting in referenda are not violence. Let's not let them confuse us.

On 1st October, we learned how powerful the practice of non-violence is. Thanks to it, we brought down the decision of a whole state to prohibit us from voting and, above all, we made useless all the efforts of the branches of the state and its media loudspeakers to link the defence of the right to self-determination and the sovereignty process with violence.

Non-violence is the foundation of our cause, none other than the cause of freedom and democracy. It is not passivity, resignation or inactivity. There is nothing that lays the state's violence more bare than the fact that our attitude is as forceful, massive and imaginative as it is peaceful. Non-violence is the seed of a process which, if we continue on its path together, without resignation or fear, will sooner or later give the desired fruit of freedom.

Thank you for being there and not yielding.


Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez

Lledoners prison, 1st October 2019

715 days in prison