Manifestos against, manifestos in favour… A struggle during the first days of the campaign where each manifesto became a powerful weapon to win public opinion, making its way into the jungle of news that paraded before our eyes at a dizzying pace, impossible to follow. It was a struggle of numbers beyond the typical contradictions about the number of attendees in a demonstration.
The war had been going on for months, with a series of manifestos in both directions, such as the manifesto signed by 500 jurists in favour of the right to decide and remembering that voting could fit into the constitution; or the manifesto against the 100 self-defined as “illustrious Catalans“, a definition that we will not comment on. The figures were not much in favour of the CG when, in mid-September 2017, a new manifesto appeared on a well-calculated date.
After two days of campaigning, signatories again self-defined as “left-leaning people” treated the referendum as an “anti-democratic swindle” from the mainstream media (a double face in El País) calling for a boycott of the vote by the population. The sum of signatures reached confusing figures from the same newspaper, since the headline of the news indicated 1000 while the linked manifesto detailed only 367. A collection of signatures emphasized by the press as “a majority of intellectuals and artists” that actually collected any person (professionals, workers, retired …) to arrive at the interpreted sum of the 4 figures with an “almost” in front. The reaction of the citizens did not take long to arrive…
A second manifesto went out in defense of the referendum with 1600 professors and investigators of all origin that in few hours reached 1800. Signatures that were growing disproportionately and dangerously in the eyes of the CG. The answer did not take long to arrive: the manifesto’s website received first-rate computer attacks that prevented the exhibition and the rigorous collection of signatures. The support was silenced, but somewhat late to have prevented it from serving as a forceful response.
It was from then on, and during the following days, that the rain of pronouncements of all kinds increased, while the weather was relentlessly approaching October 1. Jurists, journalists, teachers, neighbours, foreigners … Some in favour, others against. Surely the most unfortunate of all was that which called for the “use of legitimate force with all media without exception“, in a clear allusion to a military intervention. Intervention that many already considered as such when they saw the arrival of thousands of Civil Guard agents from all over the state.
The battle for public opinion can also be waged in this game, card after card, diminishing or reinforcing popular support. A war to win those who watch everything from the screen or paper. A bombardment with all the advantage of the big media directed to the population of the sofa, because the fight in the street had been lost for years.