The Catalan National Assembly: a civil society organization to achieve the independence of Catalonia

The Catalan National Assembly (ANC) is a grassroots organisation that brings together around 93.000 people from all parts of Catalan society (local, national and international), including different ideologies, religions and nationalities. We work on a voluntary basis for a common cause: to achieve Catalan independence in a completely peaceful and democratic manner.

The ANC aims at decisively contributing to the foundation of a Catalan Republic based on the principles and values of democracy, freedom and social justice.

The civil society organisation is organised as a large network with a bottom-up approach. This structure allows every member to find his or her own place in the organisation and actively participate in it. The ANC is the most influential civil society organisation in Catalonia in its sphere. The organisation is economically and politically independent. It is entirely financed by membership subscriptions and private donations and is not associated with any political party. No incumbent politicians are allowed to take up positions within the ANC.

Since its inception in 2012, the ANC has consistently organised 1-million-strong demonstrations for independence every year, plus several smaller rallies to support democracy and elected officials on trial for their political ideas. It has also played a significant role as a political facilitator: by combining pressure on and support for political parties and the Catalan government, civil society has achieved a majority for a referendum in Parliament.

The ANC has been a target of repression by the Spanish authorities on several  occasions. Former ANC President and later  Catalan Parliament Speaker Carme Forcadell was imprisoned in relation to the organization of the October 1st, 2017 independence referendum, in her case for allowing a debate in Parliament. Another former ANC President, Jordi Sánchez, was imprisoned for calling  peaceful protests on September 20th 2017.

Moreover, during the organization of the referendum, ANC members were harassed by Spanish paramilitary Guardia Civil, and promotional materials were commandeered and taken away. Furthermore, its website was attacked and contents were taken down. Ever since, the Spanish authorities have prosecuted and fined the ANC with egregious penalties  for campaigns encouraging networking and promotion of Catalan businesses.