What Now?

In PR we preach listening to your publics, but what if your publics want something that will rupture the organization permanently? This is the conundrum facing Spain in light of the Catalonian vote for independence. The public wants to break away from the country much as southern states did during the American Civil War. Do you let them go or do you insist as Lincoln did on the sanctity of the union? Spain’s prime minister has called the vote unconstitutional and his police force worked to disrupt the vote creating a PR crisis for Madrid. He has also called for all-party talks to find a path forward. There is little chance Spain will give Catalonia independence. There is a good possibility it will give Catalonia greater autonomy. Such a solution might also apply to another part of the world where a people are looking to break free of a current government — the Kurds in Iraq. Punishment won’t change the minds of either group.