Not only do pro-independence political organizations risk being outlawed if polls are accurate and the far-right Vox party wins the snap general elections scheduled for next Sunday, but even Catalan language magazines available in public libraries could disappear.
Last Monday, after canceling the subscriptions for the magazines—two of which were children’s comics—for the neighborhood library, Jesus Albiol, the recently appointed councillor for culture for Vox in the town of Burriana, happily declared on Twitter, “Mission accomplished.”
We won’t use funds from our town to support Catalan secession any longer. These periodicals, he concluded in capital letters, “ARE OUT.”
The removal of the Catalan-language publications by Albiol sparked extensive criticism from numerous political parties outside of Burriana for what some perceived as censorship attempts.
The leader of Spain’s largest conservative party, Alberto Nuez Feijoo of the Partido Popular (PP), was even urged to denounce “this fanatic who bans Catalan magazines” by Salvador Illa, the president of the Catalan Socialists.
Vox, however, is planning to banish more than just children’s comics in Catalan from public libraries if the far-right organization succeeds in becoming the junior party in a PP-led government following the poll on July 23.
Vox’s election program suggests banning all pro-independence political groups nationwide, from Catalonia to the Basque Country and Galicia, through a referendum.
The editor of the Catalan-language journal Esguard and political analyst in Catalonia, Germà Capdevila, told Al Jazeera that Vox also wanted to abolish Spain’s autonomous administrations.
But Capdevila asserted that, should Vox truly hold political power at the state level, he did not anticipate drastic measures like party bans to be implemented right once.
“Whenever a party enters into power, they moderate their speech. That’s what happened with Giorgia Meloni on the far right in Italy, and it will be even more the case if Vox is the junior partner in a right-wing coalition, as it will be with Vox.
The thought that Vox might be a part of a government is being seen with increasing anxiety by the pro-independence parties and their supporters in Catalonia.