Open Declaration on the Crisis in Catalonia: Towards De-Escalation

Open Declaration on the Crisis in Catalonia: Towards De-Escalation

4 October 2017
Petition to
Carme Forcadell and
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This petition had 3,850 supporters

Why this petition matters

Started by Thomas Sturm


Català Castellano

"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion … if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love." (Nelson Mandela)

We, the undersigned, a group of philosophers working at Catalan universities, declare: 

1.      We reject the police violence against non-violent citizens in Catalonia on October 1, 2017. In democracies, such violence is unjustified, even given the Spanish Constitutional Court´s judgment of the illegality of the referendum, since the violence was not necessary to prevent the referendum. We call on all Spanish and Catalan politicians to abstain from violence, unilateral actions, provocations, and manipulation of the public. Free speech and respectful dialogue, guided by proper arguments and facts, must be the means by which to solve political disputes.

2.      As a first and immediate step towards tension reduction, we propose to the Spanish and Catalan governments that a Commission be formed consisting of expert representatives of all major parties, including the opposition parties of both parliaments, with the task of building a consensus for the procedural and substantive norms for conflict reduction and resolution concerning this case.  Furthermore, the Commission should include experts in national and international law, ethics and political philosophy, and conflict resolution. 

3.      Not only Spanish law, but also parts of international law, such as the Helsinki Accord (Art. 1.III), the EU Maastricht treaty (Art. 4.2), the Council of Europe’s Venice Code of Good Practices concerning Referendums, as well as the UN Charta, the UN Civil Pact, and Resolution 2625 of the UN General Assembly might form part of the legal framework to be considered. All relevant norms must be strictly followed by all involved political parties, decision makers, and nongovernmental organisations. Pacta sunt servanda.

4.      Insofar as legal norms do not sufficiently determine the conflict resolution, the solution must draw on ethical norms that are to be discussed freely and accepted by the Commission. 

5.      While it is unlikely – though not impossible – that a consensus on procedural and substantive norms for conflict reduction and resolution will be accepted by all members of the Commission, the majority required for acceptance of the working norms should not be just above 50% either. In momentous decisions in democracies, with a long-term effect on future generations, agreements require clear and significant majorities, as is the practice for accepting and revising constitutions in many countries. 

6.      A negotiated referendum on Catalan independence might be one way out, though not the only one. Referendums have to be carefully prepared, require a fair, well-informed, and unbiased public debate guided by the ideals of a deliberative democracy. In such a debate, alternative options, such as more autonomy for Catalonia or a federal reform of Spain, should be fully present too. The Commission should develop such proposals and then send them to the Spanish and Catalan parliaments for informed discussion. With the consent of all sides, advisors from international organizations could help negotiate an agreement between the parliaments. Parliamentary as well as public votes should again aim at significant and clear majorities. 

7.      The conflict should be addressed in a way that recognizes that Catalonia is not the only case of an independence movement in Europe, and that the demand for more self-determination must be balanced with other important tasks and challenges that the European Union faces. We take seriously the claim of proponents of Catalan independence that they view themselves as Pro-European, unlike other nationalistic movements. We think that a pro-European attitude should include the consideration of relevant interests throughout the European Union.

With these first steps, we aim to help reduce the dangerous escalation of actions and emotions at this critical point. These “chicken games” (Bertrand Russell) can end very badly. If the conflict continues, all sides may bear very serious and regrettable costs. De-escalation from all sides is essential and the reasonable thing to do.


Barcelona, 03/10/2017


Signed first by:

Massimiliano Badino (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Norbert Bilbeny Garcia (Universitat de Barcelona)

Victoria Camps (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Paula Casal (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Maria Ramon Cubells Bartolomé (Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona)

Encarnación Díaz León (Universitat de Barcelona)

José Antonio Diez (Universitat de Barcelona)

Anna Estany Profitós (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Christopher Evans (Fundació Bosch i Gimpera)

Alexander Fidora (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Daniel Gamper (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Manuel García-Carpintero (Universitat de Barcelona)

Victor Gómez Pin (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Iñigo González Ricoy (Universitat de Barcelona)

Carl Hoefer (Universitat de Barcelona)

Teresa Marques (Universitat de Barcelona)

Genoveva Martí (Universitat de Barcelona)

José Luis Martí (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Víctor Méndez Baiges (Universitat de Barcelona)

Núria Sara Miras Boronat (Universitat de Barcelona)

J. J. Moreso (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Serena Olsaretti (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Francesc Pereña Blasi (Universitat de Barcelona)

Josep Lluís Prades (Universitat de Girona)

Àngel Puyol González (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Jesus Hernandez Reyes (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Sven Rosenkranz (Universitat de Barcelona)

Albert Solé (Universitat de Barcelona)

Thomas Sturm (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Joan Vergés Gifra (Universitat de Girona)

Gerard Vilar (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Andrew Williams (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)


AND JOINED BY... (selection):

Jaume Casals (Rector, Pompeu Fabra University)

Peter Singer (Philosophy, Princeton University)

Onora O'Neill (CBE, Philosophy, Cambridge University)

Philip Kitcher (Philosophy, Columbia University, New York)

Patricia Kitcher (Philosophy, Columbia University, New York)

Gerd Gigerenzer (Director, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin)

Lorraine Daston (Director, Max Planck Institute for History of Science, Berlin)

Thomas Pogge (Philosophy and International Affairs, Yale University)

Philip Pettit (Politics and Philosophy, Princeton University)

Barry C. Smith (Director, Institute of Philosophy, University of London)

Adrian Piper (Berlin)

Jennifer Saul (Philosophy, University of Sheffield)

Michela Massimi (Philosophy, University of Edinburgh)

Jens Timmermann (Philosophy, University of St Andrews)

Oliver Pooley (Philosophy, University of Oxford)

Alexander Bird (Philosophy, University of Bristol)

Bjorn Heile (Music, University of Glasgow)

Veronica Rodriguez-Blanco (Law & Philosophy, University of Surrey)

Paula Sweeney (Philosophy, University of Aberdeen)

Stephen French (Philosophy, University of Leeds)

Tom Sorell (Politics and Philosophy, University of Warwick)

Tim Crane (Philosophy, Central European University, Budapest)

Maria Kronfeldner (Philosophy, Central European University, Budapest) 

Eric Schliesser (Political Science, University of Amsterdam)

Catarina Dutilh Novaes  (Philosophy, University of Groningen)

Daniel Cohnitz (Philosophy, Utrecht University)

Paul Ziche (Philosophy, Utrecht University)

Beatriz Noheda (Physics & Nanoscience, University of Groningen)

Iris van Roij (Psychology and Artificial Intelligence, University of Nijmegen)

Peter Pagin (Philosophy, Stockholm University)

Kathrin Glüer-Pagin (Philosophy, Stockholm University)

Antje Gimmler (Philosophy, Aarlborg University)

Martin Kusch  (Philosophy, University of Vienna)

Max Kölbel (Philosophy, University of Vienna)

Hans-Johann Glock (Philosophy, University of Zurich)

Catherine Herfeld (Philosophy, University of Zurich)

Wolfgang Spohn (Philosophy, University of Konstanz)

Dina Emundts (Philosophy, Humboldt University, Berlin)

Michael Pauen (Philosophy, Humboldt University, Berlin)

Marcus Willaschek (Philosophy, University of Frankfurt)

Gregory Wheeler (Philosophy and Computer Science, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management)

Monika Betzler (Philosophy, University of Munich)

Reinhard Brandt (Philosophy, University of Marburg)

Torsten Wilholt (Philosophy, University of Hannover)

Wolfgang Carl (Philosophy, University of Göttingen)

Felix Mülhölzer (Philosophy, University of Göttingen)

Holm Tetens (Philosophy, Free University of Berlin)

Ursula Wolff (Philosophy, University of Mannheim)

Bettina Schöne-Seifert (Ethics of Medicine, University of Münster)

Alberto Voltolini (Philosophy, University of Turin)

Luca Gazzardi (Philosophy, University of Milan)  

Atocha Aliseda (Philosophy, National Autonomous University of Mexico)

Alexandra Hui (History, Mississippi State University)

David Christensen (Philosophy, Brown University)

Lydia Patton (Philosophy, Virginia Tech University)

Niko Kolodny (Philosophy, University of California at Berkeley)

Janet Levin (Philosophy, University of Southern California)

Susanna Schellenberg  (Philosophy, Rutgers University)

Michael Bishop (Philosophy, Florida State University)

Harvey Siegel (Philosophy, University of Miami)

Corey Dyck (Philosophy, Western University, London/ON)

Alan Hájek (Philosophy, Australian National University)

Antonio Diéguez Lucena (Philosophy, Universidad de Malaga)

Héctor Silveira (Philosophy, Universitat de Barcelona)

Josep Ferret (Law & Philosophy, Pompeu Fabra University)

José Martínez Fernández (Philosophy, Universitat de Barcelona)

Sergio Cremaschi (Philosophy, Università del Piemonte Orientale - Alessandria, Novara, Vercelli)

Joan Pagès (Philosophy, Universitat de Girona)

Josefa Toribio (Philosophy, Universitat de Barcelona)

Isabel Balza (Philosophy, Universidad de Jaén)

Vicente Sanfélix Vidarte (Philosophy, Universidad de Valencia)

Josep E. Corbí Fernández de Ibarra (Philosophy, Universidad de Valencia)

Francisco Garrido Peña (Philosophy, Universidad de Jaén)

José M. Portillo Valdés (Philosophy, Universidad del País Vasco)

Vanessa Vidal (Philosophy, Universidad de Valencia)

José Luis Pérez Triviño (Law, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona)

Graciela Fainstein Lamuedra (Instituto de Filosofia del CSIC, Madrid)

Nicolás Sánchez Durá (Philosophy, Universidad de Valencia)

Juan Carlos Velasco Arroyo (Instituto de Filosofia del CSIC, Madrid)

Txetxu Ausín (Instituto de Filosofia del CSIC, Madrid)

Concha Roldán (Instituto de Filosofía del CSIC, Presidenta de la AEEFP)

Roberto R. Aramoyo (Instituto de Filosofía del CSIC, Philosophy, Madrid)

Elvira Alonso Romero (Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera)

Irene Gómez Franco (Instituto de Filosofía del CSIC, Madrid & UNED, Madrid & Universität Potsdam)

Cristina de la Cruz Ayuso (Philosophy, Universidad de Deusto, Bilbao)

David Rodríguez-Arias (Universidad de Granada)

Dan López de Sa (Philosophy, Universitat de Barcelona)

Mauricio Suarez (Philosophy, Universidad Complutense de Madrid)

Giacomo Marramao (Philosophy, Università di Roma III & Direttore del Comitato Scientifico Internazionale della Fondazione Basso, Roma)

Antonio Gómez Ramos (Philosophy,Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

Joaquín Fortanet Fernández (Philosophy, Universidad de Zaragoza)

David Pineda (Philosophy, Universitat de Girona)

Fernando Castro Flórez (Philosophy, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)

Antonio Campillo (Philosophy, Universidad de Murcia)

Maria Bordons Gangas (CSIC, Madrid)

Julián Marrades Millet (Philosophy, Universitat de València)

María José Alcaraz León (Philosophy, Universidad de Murcia)

Concepción Paredes Olay (Philosophy, Universidad de Jaén)

Pablo Domenech (Philosophy, Universidad de Murcia)

José V. Bonet Sánchez (Philosophy, Universidad Católica de Valencia)

Joaquín Valdivielso Navarro (Philosophy, Universitat de les Illes Balears)

Jorge Riechmann (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid).

José Luis López de Lizaga (Philosophy, Universidad de Zaragoza)

Paco Calvo (Philosophy, Universidad de Murcia)

Javier Gil (Philosophy, Universidad de Oviedo)

Isabel Gómez Caridad (Instituto de Filosofia del CSIC, Madrid)

Carlos Thiébaut (Philosophy, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

Camil Constantin Ungureanu (Philosophy, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona)

Bernat Riutort Serra (Philosophy, Universitat de les Illes Balears)

Cristina Santamarina Vaccari (Philosophy, Universidad Complutense de Madrid)

Luis Arenas Llopis (Philosophy, Universidad de Zaragoza)

Catia Faria (Law & Philosophy, Pompeu Frabra University & University of Minho)

Eze Paez (Law & Philosophy, Universitat Pompeu Fabra & Universidade do Minho)

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