The Guardian reports Spain to Impose Direct Rule as Catalonia Leader Refuses to Back Down.

The Spanish government is to suspend Catalonia’s autonomy and impose direct rule after the region’s president refused to abandon the push for independence that has led to Spain’s biggest political crisis for 40 years.The announcement of the unprecedented measure came after the Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, threatened a unilateral declaration of independence if the Spanish government did not agree to talks on the issue.

According to article 155, which has never been used, the Spanish government will need to lodge a formal complaint with Puigdemont, then submit its proposals to the senate for debate and approval. As a result, it will be at least a few days before concrete steps are taken.

Tensions in the already fraught impasse rose further this week after a judge at Spain’s national court denied bail to two prominent Catalan independence leaders who are being investigated for alleged sedition.

Spain Moves to Suspend Autonomy

The BBC reports Spain Moves to Suspend Autonomy.

Spain is to start suspending Catalonia's autonomy from Saturday, as the region's leader threatens to declare independence. The government said ministers would meet to activate Article 155 of the constitution, allowing it to take over running of the region.Catalonia's leader said the region's parliament would vote on independence if Spain continued "repression".Some fear the latest moves could spark further unrest after mass demonstrations before and since the ballot on 1 October.

However, the central government wants to minimise the risk of large-scale demonstrations, our correspondent says. Civil servants and government lawyers have thought long and hard about what measures to adopt and when and how they should be implemented.

Xavier Arbós, a constitutional expert at the University of Barcelona, said the situation was moving into "uncharted territory". He told the BBC: "We simply do not know what measures the Spanish government could enact. We do not know how the powers of the Catalan government could be affected."

It is likely that senior figures in charge of internal security in Catalonia could be dismissed, and control of the region's police force could pass to Madrid. The regional parliament could also be dissolved. One Spanish newspaper has reported that Mr. Puigdemont might nominally remain in his job but Madrid would aim to take control of many of his duties and powers.

What's the Libertarian Position?

I pinged my friend Pater Tenebrarunm at the Acting Man blog with a simple question for which I already knew the answer: What's the Libertarian position? Here's is Pater's reply:

:As libertarians we should always support secession, for a number of reasons:

  1. The smaller the territories governments rule over, the less power they have.
  2. The more territories and governments people can choose from, the less tyrannical government policies will be, as people will find it easier to vote with their feet.
  3. Competition among governments is a good thing for citizens. That is one reason why the EU has become such an evil organization since it expanded its remit from being a trade union to become a political entity trying to centralize power. The idea of secession will eventually lead to the total abolition of government. After all, if a territory can secede, why not a city? Why not a block within a city? And lastly, why should not individuals also be able to secede?
  4. Incidentally, this was an argument Rothbard made in support of secession. He basically said: "We are told anarchy is bad but governments and nation states exist in a state of anarchy vs. each other. Why is that not bad? And if that is not bad, how come getting rid of government altogether is considered bad?"
  5. I have empirical support for this idea as well. Where is economic freedom the greatest, and which countries are therefore the by far most prosperous? Well, how about Hong Kong, Switzerland, Singapore, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Andorra, all of which are tiny political territories. Some of them are almost twice as rich (in output per capita) than the so-called "developed world". What unites them are "laissez-faire" governments, low taxes, almost no licensing requirements, low tariffs or no tariffs at all, and so on. Oh, and none of them "throw their weight around on the world stage" or threaten any of their neighbors militarily.

Mish Position: No One Can Own You

Many of my readers back Spain, citing the rule of law.

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But rule of law once allowed slavery, despite a US Declaration of Independence that stated "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

A rule of law also once held that black votes were worth 3/5ths of a white vote and slave-owners got to cast those votes on behalf of blacks.

Other readers noted the radical socialist positions of some of Catalonia's leaders. So what?

People either have a right to self-determination or not.

In this case, the government of Spain has acted in a manner that tells the people of Catalonia, "Whether you like it or not, we own you. You cannot leave. If you try, we will jail you."

In essence, Spain is enforcing slavery on 90% of the population that decided to leave. If California or Texas voted to leave the United States I would say, go for it.

Military conscription and drafts are additional forms of slavery. Such laws mean the government can own you.

Here's the deal: No one has the right to own you, no matter what the law says!

It's self-evident.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Spain Gives Catalonia a 5-Day Warning: What Really Happened Yesterday? Majority Math Fake News

There's a lot of confusion over yesterday's announcement by Catalan president Carles Puigdemont. Did Puigdemont declare independence or not? Many are confused, especially in Madrid. Prime minister Mariano Rajoy gave Catalonia 5 days to clarify.

Spain Extradition Request Violates Schengen: Belgium Coalition Splinters, Catalonia Support Surfaces

Madrid's extradition request for exiled Catalan leader Charles Puigdemont has hit two major snags. First, it violates Schengen political asylum rules. Second, the Belgium government is in a fragile 4-way coalition, and one of the parties openly supports Puigdemont.

Crystal Ball Territory: Rajoy Ponders Article 155, Taking Over Catalonia

Pro-Spain activists took over streets of Barcelona today. Police estimate the crowd at 350,000 but organizers place the total close to a million.

Rajoy Boxed In With Losing Options: Catalonia Suspends Independence Declaration

The Catalan parliament met Tuesday afternoon. Catalonia president Carles Puigdemont asked parliament to suspend the effects of Catalonia voting “yes” for independence to hold talks with Spain.

New Elections in Catalonia Coming: By Force or Peacefully?

In a letter to prime minister Mariano Rajoy, Catalan president Carles Puigdemont asks Spain to end “repression of the Catalan people”. Puigdemont still did not say whether or not Catalonia declared independence. Meanwhile, a prosecutor seeks to hold Catalan police chief in prison with no bail.

Eight Catalonia Ministers Jailed, Madrid Seeks European Arrest Warrant for Catalan Leader

Spain, a country that supports a two-state solution in Palestine, detained eight Catalan ministers on trumped up charges of sedition. Prosecutors also seek an arrest warrant for ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont.

Catalonia Coup D'etat: Major Test of Tyranny, Expect Tyranny to Win

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy invoked article 155 and will seize control of the Catalan government. Major news media hypocrites that supported violent insurrections in Ukraine, Egypt and other places, will not back a peaceful move towards self-determination in Catalonia.

Catalonia Parliament Votes 70-10 for Independence: Best Wishes to Catalonia, the Nation

Friday morning, the Catalan parliament voted 70-10 to declare independence from Spain. In return, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy demands direct rule. How will Rajoy accomplish that?

Catalonia Vice President Says "No Choice" But Declare Independence

The crisis in Spain has reached the critical phase with neither Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy nor Catalan President Carles Puigdemont willing to back down. Article 155 takes effect on Friday with Spain taking over the Catalan government at that time. A declaration of independence may come first.