The director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute (Stanford University), Clayborne Carson, has said he is “pleased when any movement chooses to use the kind of nonviolent tactics and strategies that King advocated.” Talking about the Catalan movement, he said it is “admirable that a cause uses the idea of nonviolent resistance to injustice” and that he feels “disturbed’ whenever protesters are suppressed or punished by police”.

He also denied some Spanish media reports recently stating that he believes the black American activist would have opposed the independence of Catalonia. “This distorts what I actually said in response to a Spanish reporter’s questions about whether proponents of Catalan independence were justified in using King’s name to support their struggle” he said.

“I don’t speak for King or wish to guess his views about current issues that he never addressed during his lifetime,” added Carson. Yet he admitted having showed “skepticism” on the idea of comparing “the oppression of Catalans to that of black Americans.” Moreover when asked about possible damages to the rest of Spain in the event of “prosperous” Catalonia’s independence, he “conceded that this might be the case.”

In any case Carson emphasized that this movement is not his area of expertise. “I have never talked to any Catalan leaders although I would welcome a chance to do so” he added.

Foreign ministers’ clash

The Spanish foreign minister Josep Borrell shared the article from a Spanish media outlet which Carson has denied. On Saturday his Catalan counterpart Ernest Maragall reacted calling on Borrell for “respect to other ideas, people and institutions.” Maragall accused Borrell of having “enthusiasm or obsession against the Catalan president Quim Torra and his government.”