Many Grains of Sand, by Liz Castro

Second paragraph of third chapter:

AMI is a cross-party organisation that grew out of three initiatives: the group of city governments which passed motions declaring themselves “morally excluded” from the Spanish Constitution to express theirc omplete frustration with the Constitutional Court ruling against the Catalan Statute of Autonomy on June 28, 2010, the popular “consultations” that were held in more than 500 municipalities between 2009 and 2011, ad the spirit of the demonstration of July 10, 2010 itself, which represented a broad swath of the population which supports the Catalan right to decide.

A beautifully illustrated book, given to me by the author, listing numerous campaign tactics used by the proponents of independence for Catalonia in the heady years from the 2006 Statute of Autonomy to the botched independence declaration in 2017. A lot of this is genuinely inspiring activism: the people who went to all 50 US state capitals to present their case to the governors; the human towers and works of permanent and less permanent art; the integration with sports.

A lot of this could in fact be copied elsewhere in a society with a reasonable amount of freedom of expression, though there’s not many places with both a strong independence movement and an open society. You can get it here.

The Catalan debate is moving onto another plane now, with the Spanish government attempting to draw a line under 2017 and move on, while being subjected to attempted sabotage by the Right both at home and abroad. My personal suspicion is that a fairly held official referendum on independence in Catalonia would deliver a majority for continued participation in the Spanish state, and would kill serious talk of independence for a generation. (If it had not been for Brexit, this would have been the medium-term outcome in Scotland.) Those who say that it’s against the law and the constitution need to remember that in the end, the law and the constitution are shaped by popular sentiment and not vice versa.

This was the non-fiction book that had lingered longest unread on my shelves. Next in that pile is Atlas of Irish History, by Ruth Dudley Edwards.