In just over a week, many Catalan towns will hold ‘consultaions’ about Catalan independence. These consultations (consultes) take the form of a mock referendum. They’re not legally binding in any way, and voting in them is so open that even I can join in! The thing about these consultations is that they do make it feel (however superficially) like Catalonia is starting to seriously consider its status as part of Spain. The organisers and political groups involved are certainly keen to make it look like that, at any rate.
On this blog, I’ve been careful to avoid a categorical endorsement of Catalan independence for many reasons. So I decided to ask some open questions to anyone interested in answering them. And you don’t have to be in favour of Catalan independence to take part: if you think you’ve got a point to make, make it. I plan to do something similar directed at opponents of independence over the next few days. Feel free to answer whichever of the questions you like.
- Why should Catalonia be independent?
- What exactly do you think will be gained if Catalonia becomes independent?
- What model do you see an independent Catalonia adopting? Some sort of republic? How would it be organised?
- Do you think that the current crisis is a good time to decide something like this? Why?
- What damage do you think this would do to Spain? Do you worry about that?
- Is an independent Catalonia an economically viable state?
- What should the process be in the result of a vote in favour of independence?
- What should be the status of Spanish citizens in Catalonia? Would dual citizenship be allowed?
- What about immigrants? Would they become citizens? What would the immigration policy be?
- Would you expect all the political parties in Catalonia to break ties with their Spanish equivalents?
- What would happen if the EU had trouble accepting Catalonia as a member?
- What would happen to Catalan government agencies aimed at trade and business? Would they be absorbed by embassies?
- Who would be the head of state? Would you deny Juan Carlos’s claim to sovereignty?
- Would the Catalan constitution guarantee the right to receive state services in Castilian Spanish?
- How would you deal with people potentially wanting to leave for Spain proper?
- What flag would you have? Senyera or Estelada?
- What would happen to utilities like the phone/data system?
- What sort of rights would be included in the constitution anyway?
- How would you deal with other parts of the ‘Catalan Countries’? Would you seek their absorption?
- How important would the status of FC Barcelona be? Do you think the Spanish league would still have them?
- Would you bother with armed forces? If so, how?
- What would happen if there was a Spanish boycott of independent Catalonia?
- What would happen if there was a Spanish military response?
- Can a constituent part of an EU and NATO member even declare independence?
- Would you demand that companies trading in Catalonia establish separate entities in Catalonia? How?
And that’s enough for now. I know that I’ve asked a lot of questions. But these are just some of the questions that will be asked should Catalonia approach a genuine referendum.
So, what do you say?
182 thoughts on “Some Questions for a Catalan Independentist”
Remindme to borrow you a novel on this topic “Crònica de la independència” that creates an environment of recapitulation of facts after 30 years of the Catalan independence.
Personally, I’d like to answer 1 by 1 all your questions, but I’d prefer doing it while we sip good Cyder in a Cerdanyola bar 😉
Telephon numbers: There are plenty of international codes available, 3 digits. That wouldn’t be a problem. Our telephones could be +383 93 580… (and even remove again the preffix)
Model: Kingdom? What the f**k! Republic, there is no need of maintaining more of those. Of course I would deny the sovereignty, but it’s going to be complicated, like in Scotland.
Dual citizenship or “make your choice” for the already being born.
Flag: Even a new one, it’s the less important thing.
Armed forces: NO and neutral country like Switzerland.
Absorption of catalan countries welcome (hence a new flag would be necessary)
Football??? Fuck me! Change the question, it stopped being serious at that point.
Benefits: Real nation, culture recognition, official language (the only one), self regulation of the whole money. There are many studies that prove that not only catalonia would be economically viable but would go better than now.
Seems like there’s less interest around this topic in the last couple months and more interest on picking on illegal immigrants and muslims.
My only requirement for a flag is that i look good stomping on and burning it.
1. Why we should not? For me, the natural thing to be is be independent, therefore I need reasons to not be indendepent, not reasons to be independent.
2. We will become less focused on Spain and more open to other countries.
3. A Republic.
5. No, I don’t worry about doing damage to Spain. We must be polite and friendly, and help if we can, but that’s all about it.
6. Yes, it will.
7. First, we talk to the Spanish government explaining that we are going independent. Once they don’t agree to a peaceful secession, then we declare independence unilaterally and start a constituent assembly.
8. Yes, because Spain does not grant the right to renounce citizenship, therefore most people would continue to be Spanish nationals.
9. Probably, yes. I think at first everybody would be allowed to apply for Catalan citizenship. Once the country has been established, then there would have to be controls on immigration.
10. In the long run, yes.
11. Then we will not join the EU.
12. I don’t know or care.
13. I don’t see a need for a head of state.
14. If the people say so.
15. Let them go.
16. I don’t care.
17. I suppose we need an international code or something.
18. The rights that are usually included in a constitution.
19. I think we should support their right to self-determination, although Catalonia must not interfere.
20. The Catalan Federation must start a programme aimed at producing high-quality players. This will flood the market and allow low-budget teams such as Reus and Sabadell to have several Messi-standard players in their squads, then the Catalan league will become strong enough.
21. A full-fledged army would be too expensive and ineffectual. I think we should strive for a small professional land army supported by a large militia of reservists, and such an army should not be allowed to leave the country under any circumstances by law.
22. Our economy would end up stronger.
23. Do not offer resistance. This does not mean we should collaborate with them.
24. I don’t know.
25. No, I would not.
Wow, good questions, and so many of them! One missing, though: what about minorities? Litmus test of democracy in the EU.
To the person who referred to Gabancho:
To all those who have any illusions about Catalan independence:
Try to get it recognised, then we speak.
(Me: at present, you won’t. By far. And I kinda know.) No more hints.
Different issue: all those who say that Catalonia in English should be “Catalunya” (or anything else than “Catalonia”) will not change English language but only give testimony of how poor their intellect and culture.
And that I say knowing they’ll always speak of “Osca”, never of “Huesca”….
I agree with you in that Catalonia can have it’s proper name in English, the same way as in Catalan there is a name for England (Anglaterra). I even find it nice to know that our country has got a name in a foreign language, as this means that the place is important enough to have been noticed by the people of this other culture. Catalonia when speaking in English, Catalunya when speaking in Catalan.
Catalonia – English
Catalogne – French
Katalonien – German
However, I find it extremely rude of your part to judge this so quickly and to call a whole nation hypocrites!!
Taking your own example, you would also be an hypocrite for calling the city Huesca (in Spanish) instead of Uesca (in Aragonese, the local language of Uesca), and like this, all the Spanish people would be hypocrites!!
Sorry, you had a slightly good point but you shot yourself on the foot with your own example and specially with your bad insulting manners. Leavi it out next time!
If we spend all our time arguing about names what hope do we have? WHAT HOPE?
Funnily enough the Generalitat has made it illegal (Decret 78/1991) to refer to any Catalan place names in any language other than Catalan for maps, guides, etc published in Catalunya.
So Tom, you can expect a visit from the language police any day now 🙂
thebadrash.com is written in Catalonia but published in the United States.
For what it’s worth, I imagine they’re trying to deal with idiots who think this makes sense: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Quirico_de_Tarrasa
Mossa, first I have to admit to my ignorance: I did not know that it is “Uesca” in Aragonese.
However, my point stands and you have been so nice as to accept it, too.
You could be even nicer and accept that I did not insult anybody, much less “a whole nation”. I clearly referred exclusively to “all those who say”, in allusion to a poll on this site on the matter. And all those who do so, whoever they are, are being hypocritical if they demand for themselves what they do not deliver to others.
Which makes them hypocrites. Well.. ok… if I have to distinguish between a person and their actions… then I have to withdraw to the position of calling the action a hypocritical one.
But I thought that my words had to be understood in their context. You obviously like to take words out of context and twist their meaning.
Catalan nationalist, aren’t you? It shows. It shows also in your pride that “the place is important enough to have been noticed by the people of this other culture.”, when it is simply normal and usually quite neutral in meaning when place names are adapted to other languages in various ways, according to different linguistic and historical standards.
lost, what can I say…. Fuck the Generalitat? If I said so, I’d mean it not as any legal or political evaluation. It’s just my personal feeling, based not only on this matter, but on many others.
So I’m happy to just be personally me today.
And a last comment: when you get that your comment is “hidden due to low comment rating” on a site made by a foreigner, and in this case commented on by another foreigner, and you see that local folks try to browbeat you into submission, you reaction can only be to be more aware of the local bias, and more aware of your own position as a transmission belt between Catalonia and your home country.
In brief: it’s just another way of making me see how great the distance between Catalonia and Europe. How little nationalists you actually fit with us. How meager your chances of becoming European.
The comments rating system is poorly implemented. I’ll fix it on Sunday. I value all the comments left here.
After 8 years here, and with my entire life invested in this country, one wonders how long people like you will continue to call me ‘foreign’.
Bon cap de setmana,
Ok, I accept that you didn’t insult a whole nation… I can see your point, only the people who want Catalonia to be called “Catalunya” even in English are potential hypocrites… But that would only be the case if you assume these people say “Londres” when they speak of London. It is possible that these people are consistent in their views (however bizarre I find them) that all toponyms should be always called in the local language.
Although there may be some catalans who think this way, this sort of people also exist everywhere else in the whole, this issue does not really just conecrn Catalonia. For example, I am fed up of hearing British expats who have been living in Benidorm for the last 10 years, can’t speak a word of Spanish but make a point of talking like this: “I live in Espana, it’s great there, I love having vino tinto every evening by the sea side”.
On a different matter, I fully disagree with your last point. Places only get to have a name in a foreign language if this place has traditionally been significant enough for the other culture. Catalonia has got a name in many other European languages because of hystorical reasons, it is not an automatic process that happens to all the places. Here an example to prove my point:
Cornwall has been hystorically important enough to the Catalans (probably because it is by the seaside), that is why we have a Catalan name for this region: “Cornualla”. However, Warwickshire does not have a Catalan version of the name (even though it is extremelly difficult for us to remember its correct spelling or even try to pronounce it).
Concerning your assumption of my political views, I do not know if “Catalan nationalism” is the right way of describing it but yes, I am Catalan and yes, I see it as my own nation and I would love it to become a free country, as I see it as our own right. I don’t know if I am right in noticing a slight shudder on your part when you say “Catalan nationalist”. If so, I really wonder why. I know you’re not the only one out there with this opinion, but given that you are a foreigner (as you just said it), I am curious to know what it is to you. Nowadays that “Freedom for Tibet” is so “cool” everywhere in the world and that “Freedom for Catalonia” seems to be such a “sacrilege”, I often wonder if it is the same people who have these 2 opposite views about these 2 nations. If so, I would be delighted to hear the differences between Catalonia and Tibet, is there something that Tibet has and Catalonia lacks, that gives the right to independence to Tibet but not to Catalonia?
Comparing Tibet to Catalunya only exemplifies how utterly deluded Catalan separatists are. You live in a democracy with a devolved parliament. You’re not oppressed or persecuted or barred from leaving your country. Don’t make these absurd comparisons, they insult truly oppressed people around the world.
Ask yourself, why does a person who identifies themselves as Catalan, care what British expats do on the Sunshine Coast, or whether they speak Spanish or not? Is because you are both Catalan and Spanish? Why feel indignation unless you feel somehow connected to Spain, to being Spanish? The two things can co-exist you know.
Tom, my remark was not meant as a criticism towards your comment system.
My calling you a foreigner was no evaluation of how you identify yourself. I live much longer in Catalonia than you, and I think it to be simple fact that we are both foreigners. We are, if we want to accept this, also Catalan and Spanish. We have multiple identities, and I do not think that they should necessarily be in conflict with each others. Above all, everybody has to define themselves.
I was referring to how a certain point of view makes you partake in a certain attitude. But I have to admit that I inferred things that are not necessarily true, i.e. nationalist bias in the evaluation of the comments. I interpreted. Now I stand corrected.
Who is not a foreigner, then?
Mossa, let me jump the points which are not so essential and come to the core of your last comment. The part in which you actually ask questions, which are relevant.
It’s all about the difference between dictatorship and democracy. China=dictatorship. Spain=democracy.
For many, many years I have observed that in Catalonia this line got blurred. Now, having known both dictatorships and democracies intimately, I candidly advise you to chose your points of reference more carefully.
In this case, according to you, we lost the right to independence the day Franco died? I find it a very strange way of reasoning your point…
On the other hand, democrary can be a bit of a subjective concept. How is it a democracy if the people of a certain area cannot legaly decide about their own future? To me, the right of self decision should be part of democracy, without it a democracy is incomplete…
No, it means that those who care for Tibet do so because Tibet is a country that was invaded by a dictatorial regime and to this day its citizens are being oppressed, as are those of China. It is a movement against oppression, which certainly existed also for the Spanish case as long as Spain was a dictatorship. Or South Africa…
Did I have to explain this in so much detail?
It’ not entirely clear that democracy by definition includes the right to secede. If you define democracy as majority rule, then secession is anti-democratic since it allows a minority to leave if it doesn’t like the outcome of a decision.
Democracy as such cannot be used for this purpose. Or else it could also be used against unilateral secession, when you make all citizens of the state vote, not only of the part that wants to secede.
There is an international right of self-determination, but it is entirely unclear where and when it applies. Plus there are no mechanisms to enforce it.
Secession is a political process (either violent or peaceful) that involves all sides, including an international element, which at the latest comes into the game at the point of recognising (or not) the independence of the new country.
Being this process political, it offers no rules. It does, however, offer precedents.
Bottomline is: the case of Catalonia (which is not the same as would be, for instance, a “Catalan case”) cannot be a clear-cut one. Only the colonies were, and that only to some extend.
But Catalonia could vote today and get it over with.
This is daftest thing I’ve heard in ages.
To make a union all parts must agree to become part of the union. Whenever one part ceases to agree, it must be left go. This is how things work in a free society, on all levels. If you want to break up with your girlfriend, you don’t need a majority to do that. It is something you do unilaterally. Everybody understands that this is a basic principle in human relationships.
Only criminal organisations such as the mafia, the catholic church and other imperialistic entities do not let people leave freely the organisation.
I find it interesting how one can compare human relationships and those of political entities. Obviously, the Estatut was written by people of a similar legal authority.
(Btw., Tom, I did not get it about “San Quirico”. Ah, and happy 4th of July!)
By the way, comment replies are now working. I have to fix the CSS at some point, though that won’t happen today.
Yeah my whole theme is fucked, seeing as I’m trying to reply to comments but they show up in-line.
@Candide: I was replying to the chap from Sant Cugat.
But to you, Candide, who is a foreigner? Happy July 4th to you too!
We’re all foreigners. Oddly though, we mostly don’t feel that way.
Without wanting to labour the point, you identified me as specifically a foreigner. If we’re all foreigners, then that label would be immaterial. It would be like saying “a blog post written by a human”.
So actually, I think your original intention was to identify me as somehow different. The natural inference is that because of my foreignness, I’m less qualified to have a say on this topic.
But you see, I’m here for good. I pay my taxes here. My wife is Catalan. I work for a Catalan company. I love the language, the culture and the food and wine. I don’t think that independence (for or against) is the most important issue necessarily facing Catalonia. But it’s one that seems naturally to accompany many political debates here. And more so now than when I arrived 8 years ago.
What I’m trying to say is that I’m not an ‘ethnic’ Catalan. I never will be. But beyond the fascistic freaks at PxC, I don’t feel that Catalan nationalism has much of an ethnic/race element to it. Therefore, I feel welcomed. Therefore, I consider this my home. Therefore, it matters not one jot where I was born.
Heavens, you did get me all upside down. I so feared, that’s why my joking tone and the smiley.
The criticism in my comment that originated this little sideshow debate was going into an entirely different direction, it had little empirical footing, and I have basically withdrwan it when I said that “I stand corrected”.
We’re both living here, and we do that in a similar way. Let’s drop the point before it becomes really awkward.
OK, no worries then 🙂
Love the way you approach the “foreigner in Catalunya” factor, I also feel welcome here. With four kids going to school here, I swear I feel more Catalan than Lluis Llac sometimes…
Catalans don’t care where you come from, as long as you show a minimal respect for their culture and cultural difference from Spain.
Visca Catalunya lliure!
[email protected] Barcelona
Sorry Candide, I am not a foreigner, and I am in the thread too 🙂
Regarding the “San Quirico” thing:
All towns, villages and single piece of land in Catalonia had it’s translation in Franco’s days, because the bastard wanted to suppress Catalan and any cultural reference to it at any price (as it never existed). He started inventing names so everything seemed a “big, one, free” (WTF) nation.
All the streets were renamed too, but nowadays almost everything went back to normality, so the “San Quirico” name is not correct (in Spanish) and it’s not recognized. There are still some old military maps that use translations, but there are a few.
Since I am not a foreigner (as well Tom, who speaks a perfect Catalan and has more culture on this country than myself 😉 ) I had the luck/disgrace to live in a house where my grandparents could explain in first hand how they were imprisoned, tortured, because they were simply from a “different” culture. Neither of my grandparents were political related, nor interested on it, but torture was a fact. Now, more than 30 years after, all this hate still continues, I don’t see any reason to continue sharing anything with this country if they cannot understand we express, think, laugh, work and love in a different way.
I am sorry for what your grandparents went through (some members of my family had similar “adventures”). I am also sorry that you cannot see the difference between now and then.
Well, calling a war or comparing it as an “adventure” says a lot. Shame is that thousands of people died.
I only said that 30 years after dictatorship, the hate towards Catalan culture still continues. Did I ever mention that there is no difference with present time at all?
Could you explain to me where this Catalan hate comes from? Take Libertad Digital, La Cope or Intereconomía to name a few, where ALL news are catalan-hate focused.
A) Great to see how you censored my choice of words.
B) Yes, Spain is totally a dictatorship in 2010.
C) No, I cannot explain the loonies except if I took a sociological approach, and given the issue that would be quite a tedious one.
I nevertheless advise you either to ignore them or at least realise that they are not representing neither Spain nor the constitutional setup or any social and political structure, which is are the important things for you, politically speaking. And legally.
… and I am sorry that you cannot see that Catalonia is an oppressed country (with or without dictatorship).
I am also sorry that the Catalan culture and language are constantly under attack by the centralist governement who still maintains Franco’s idea of Spain being ONE sole country (with only one type of people and one common culture and language). In Franco’s Spain as in modern Spain, there is no room for diversity and therefore Catalans aren’t and will never be welcomed in Spain. The Spanish governement tries to create something that cannot exist (a uniform Spain) rather than welcoming the rich cultural diversity that it has.
In the days of globalisation, there is also a strong global feeling that all cultures and languages should be preserved… unfortunatelly, Spain is still a country with “backward” ideas which would have been more common in the times of the great empires… Spain sees Catalonia as a colony, it just wants to use it to drain the wealth out of it and on the process change the culture of the natives, as it is deemed an inferior culture.
Candide, if you think this is all legitimate, I have nothing else to say to you. We will never agree and there is no point trying to state the obvious to you. If you have lived in the country for as long as you say and you have been so blind not to see this for yourself, I can only guess that you must have arrived with preconcepted ideas and you have never opened your eyes nor listened to the locals. In other words, you have never wished to revalue your ideas.
I have also lived abroad for quite a few years, and lived under different types of governements (federalist, centralist, and somewhere in between – Switzerland, France and the UK). I also have arrived to each of these countries with pre-made ideas, but I have learned that one is always at least a little bit wrong due to stereotypes and such thing, so revaluating your opinion of a country after you have lived there for a while is essential in order to have a more accuarte view of it.
You seemed to have skipped this step and instead you have closed yourself to any new information, only wanting to process one type of information. Me telling you all the reasons why I think Catalonia should be independent will not make the smallest difference on you, as you will just go on self-defend mode.
My advice: sit back and listen to the people, try and process the information well and be opened to changing your mind. You shouldn’t be scared of doing so, as if you are right you won’t change your mind anyway! But it is worth trying it, just in case you then realise the others were right and you never listened!
Let me run through your points as I read them:
Spain is not a country of only one people, even under Franco it was not. Today, in any case, the different peoples of Spain have their self-rule according to the state’s contitution. The diversity is visible from the inside as well as from the outside. That is the reality.
That is the obvious.
That is the law and day to day life.
If you want a “fairer” treatment in matters of money, turn to your representatives. You have them on many levels, the municipalities, the Generalitat, the Catalan members of congress and of the senate. You have MEANS to defend your interests. That is the point.
As to myself, I arrived here having studied Catalan already. Nations without a state were something that interested me, and they still do. I come from such a nation, and I wished this nation had all the protection, representation and recognition the Catalans enjoy. I have never taken any shit from anybody who showed disrespect for those nations, or, as in the present case, said things like “Catalan is not a language, but a dialect of Spanish”.
I also come from a background that values the rule of law.
As a matter of fact, I did revalue my point of view after coming here: there is no oasis for me anymore. If you want to make a point, any point, be sure not to lie, use fallacies or tweak and twist the law, or history, or demographics to make them fit your ideology. For me, there is a clear line between fighting for your needs and fighting for your interests. And then there is also fooling the rest of the world into believing you are the victims who deserve special attention. Being Catalan does not mean being the “good girl”.
It simply means being Catalan.
So when I take Catalans as entirely normal people, they can be criticised like anybody else. And to criticise, now, after so many years, means that I have the perception that something is going awry. I am listening, that is exactly why I vent my criticism. I do it in my private life, I do it here, and I run a blog where I do that in detail. I may not be right at every step, then prove me wrong.
You tell me to listen, but maybe you have just listenend to me, and you might have realised that someone with my background would be most likely to show sympathy for “the Catalan cause”.
But this cause, as it is being presented now, is becoming more and more repulsive to me. Somewhere along the line you’ve lost me.
I understand your “advice” as nice and caring in its intention, but I guess that you now know I’m already some levels beyond.
OK, let’s take a break on this one now. I don’t think we’re making much progress, but I’m grateful for everyone’s comments, particularly from the commenters who are new here.
I’ll leave comments switched off on this post for a day or so, and will hopefully be back soon with my questions for an anti-independentist.
Have a lovely evening!
Comments back on.
At the risk of opening up another heated discussion, I noticed your last few sentences and it made me curious as to what you meant.
What is it about the “Catalan Cause” that has become repulsive to you?
Troll deleted. Please familiarise yourself with my comments policy. Fake email addresses are not allowed.
Alex; lies, manipulations, fallacies are all hard to digest. The whole affair about the CC was full of those.
I do see the PP right in the middle of this. Yet if you want to understand me right, let me bring to you that I am getting turned off even more by those who pose as victims of violence and as defenders of high ideals, but end up violating those very ideals.
Oh, thank you so very much to the person who immediately evaluated the above comment of mine.
You did not want to partake in the debate? I emphasise with you.
..from -1 bacl to a round 0. 😀
Yes, there are manipulators and liars on both sides. There always are and always will be. There are people that take advantage of situations for their own benefit and use lies and manipulation as a means to their ends. I realize this happens in Catalunya as much as any other place.
Despite these people, this does not disuade me from my belief that Catalunya would be better off as an independent nation. You see the radicals, maybe you attract them due to your blog, as many Catalan independence blogs attract the radical Spanish nationalists and their abuse. These people let their anger get between them and their brain.
But there are intelligent, rational people on both sides as well, and I don’t see why Catalan independence cannot be achieved with these people on the helm.
I don’t see catalan independence as a radical idea, and there is where I think our perceptions diverge. This is probably due to life experience as much as what we think is rational thought.
What is inherently wrong with Catalan independence in your view?
Our perceptions diverge much earlier. I do not think that the degree of degradation of the public discourse is of the kind you can find in many other places, instead I see similarities to the period before the breakup of Yugoslavia. I see the radicals because they are there. Not in my blog, but in the press, every day.
Mascarell, Strubell, Requejo, Cardús…. that’s radicalism turned mainstream nowadays.
Our perceptions do not diverge where you thought. I have nothing against an independent Catalan state. I never in my life cared for borders, up to the point that I am used to cross them illegally, if needed. A Catalan state (taking away the issue of “Greater Catalonia”) would be as normal as any other European country. It is what might happen to get there that worries me.
I do not count on intelligent or rational people, because I do not see them in any leading position. I see legends being constructed to replace reality and partisan politics that build on those legends in alarming disregard of the fact that such a situation can get out of the control our dumb, irrational and above all selfish leaders still excert succesfully.
I’ve come to the conclusion that things are still under control, but since then I keep wondering for how long.
Hello Tom, this is my first time on your blog and I’d like to take you up on your 25 questions:
1. Catalonia should be independent for many reasons and this question alone is enough to write a thesis paper on, so I’ll try to keep it short while covering all the main points. Firstly I think that Catalonia should be independent for historical coherency. The kind of coherency that starts with a solid foundation. (The removal of the land on the north-eastern strip of the Iberian peninsula from Arab and Berber control united the first Catalans / 1st body of civil law in Europe / The Valencian Bible was the first printed Bible in Catalan language, between 1477 and 1478, the third one in a modern language (first ones printed were in Latin (1456), German (1466) and Italian (1471) / Ausiàs March broke away from occitanisms leading to a complete cultural independence & an incredible literary history and tradition that most countries with sovereign states would love to have / 1st philosopher to break away from Latin and write in a vernacular language (R. Lully) / A language, culture and national symbols that are 1000 years old / to quote historian Pierre Vilar ‘perhaps, between 1250 and 1350, the Catalan Principality is the one country in Europe about which it would be less inaccurate, less risky, to describe in apparently anachronistic terms as a nation-state). To conserve this language and culture in the era of globalization representation is of utmost importance and if you don’t have a State you are extremely unlikely to get any. It should be independent because of it’s responsibility to other parts of the country, who need to renew with their past in order to take on the challenges they will be faced with in the future and that historical legacy and heritage needs to be preserved (especially for Northern Catalonia a.k.a el Rosselló). Catalonia should strive for independence for a chance to after so many years finally tell our story, from our own point of view and to do justice to all of those who consequentially lost their lives defending these very things. If Catalans do not attempt to honor and do justice to these people by reacquainting itself with it’s past, it’s institutions and it’s way of relating with the world and, furthermore; does not defend or even claim to have an unobstructed right to this perspective and a natural right to unobstructed expression and choice, then everything that came before and the hardships and deaths of those who faithfully carried out their roles of historical coherence will have been in vain, and that would be a human tragedy in my opinion. Most importantly, though, Catalonia should be independent if its citizens choose so because each distinct community of people forming a nation has a right to self-determination, it’s a UN resolution at that.
2. A chance to come to terms and investigate everything that Spain refuses to revisit. A Catalan voice on the international scene. The national anthem and flag at the Olympics and World Cup. Products labeled as coming from Catalonia (which would clear up some misconception suchthe origins of paella, allioli and “crême brulée” amongst other things). Official recognition of Catalan and the Senyera in the EU and the UN. Management of all of it’s assets. There is so much to gain, these are just the first things that came to mind.
3. I see independent Catalonia organizing itself much like it did the last time it was independent by establishing close relationships with other Mediterranean countries and in establishing permanent delegations in the fields of diplomacy trade and culture in those willing and allowing it. I would hope that most of the decision making would be done at a the level of the “comarques” and most importantly the president/king/ruler of Catalonia would have to be
approved by parliament before he could take the throne.
4. I think that it’s an excellent time to decide something like this. It’s during times like these that sovereign states have historically been created, when Spain lost it’s remaining overseas colonies, it was going through tough economic times, when the Soviet Empire crashed because of financial troubles a substantial amount of new States emerged out of this. It is important to note that the process known as globalization has sped things up significantly and the more Catalonia waits to get in on the “International Scene”, the more things will be decided on (that could potentially affect it substantially) without it’s consent. Also, anti-Catalan (or Neo-Falangist) sentiment has been documented as increasing in monolingual Spain and could culminate in a bad way, especially in the western and southern peripheries (Sunset Strip and Valencian Country). The people who live in these regions will need a voice from the “International Scene” a.k.a member of the EU & U.N to protect them and watch over their well-being and safety, if such a scenario were to materialize. Now is the time.
5. I don’t know if this will do any damage to Spain. Their economy will surely take a hit and it could be a very humbling experience for it’s citizens. They will need to come to terms with what things by redefining their conception of what Spain is. One hopes it will help the country mature and evolve, but the opposite could very well happen, although I wish -for their citizens’ sake- that the former takes place. However I wouldn’t say that I “worry” about that, it doesn’t worry me at all.
6. Yes it is, it’s geostrategic situation is fundamental because it links Europe with the north of Africa. I’d also like to quote economist Ramon Tremosa Balcells who states that “Economists and business leaders predict that Asia will become the main industrial platform of the world and Europe will become the main purchasing market of the world. Such forecasts seem to be on track given that in 2008 the ports of Barcelona and Valencia surpassed the container traffic (measured in TEUs) of the French port of Marseille and the Italian port of Genoa, and this for the first time ever.
Only Catalonia has modern important industrial bases near to the port areas in the Mediterranean sea (this is not the case for Marseille, Genoa or Algeciras)”. And this is only one facet of Catalonia’s economy. The change will result beneficial in almost all, if not every, sector.
7. First there would need to be a unilateral declaration of independence from the Catalan parliament and then a vote would take place. Were it to be in favor of independence, then the process would begin. Negotiations with Spain need to be undergone with help from the international community since its constitution does not permit secession. A watchful international eye will be absolutely necessary to make sure things don’t get out of hand between both parties and Catalonia’s aim in such a process should be to make a list of things it wants to get out of the negotiations and a list of what it’s willing to concede. Ideally, Catalonia will want to come out of the proceedings having accomplished everything on the first list, not conceding anything more than what’s on the second list and establishing an agreement with Spain as good neighbors willing to collaborate in joint ventures.
8. The Status of Spanish citizens in Catalonia will the that of any EU citizen. I think dual citizenship would be advantageous and it should be allowed and granted if solicited.
9. Personally, I’d like to see an immigration policy similar to Sweden where work contracts are given based on the employers’ demand for labor and sensitivity is given to requests for asylum by those claiming refugee status. For those already here, I’m not really sure what would be a fair decision. You wouldn’t want to give Catalan citizenship to anyone who doesn’t want to “be” Catalan, although some born Catalans don’t want to “be” Catalan. So why deny citizenship to an immigrant who has found more than just a job in Catalonia and does want to “be” Catalan? Surely it would be just to give them all permanent resident permits -provided they are not in Catalonia illegally- and initially maybe a citizenship test could be involved. Catalan speakers would definitely have grounds for requesting citizenship.
11. Time will tell, but if the correct preparations are in place this is unlikely to be a problem. As a Catalan who has lived abroad a lot, I can honestly say that most countries shouldn’t find any obstacle in creating alliances with Catalonia before the process is put in motion and when abroad I’ve always done all I could to explain our case, our history and our future aspirations. It is my personal experience that the only people that are ever in extreme disagreement are those who already had their minds made up before I even said a word.
12. Not necessarily.
13. I say do it Roman style and have no head of State but if at some point the circumstances are such that the country is under attack then a member of the Senate or a Councilor could be appointed as such until the threat is dealt with. I would deny Juanca’s claims to sovereignty.
15. I would kindly point them in the right direction and say “bon viatge!” or “passi-ho bé!” depending on my mood.
16. La Senyera
17. Hopefully they would remain public and not be privatized.
18. I would include everything previously established in Catalan civil law and just update it as necessary. I would assume it would be similar to the rights allotted in most modern constitutions but without the anti-terrorism measures passed in most western countries. It would be wise to consider which responsibilities or obligations should go along with those rights as well. However, I have my opinion and many other Catalans have theirs. Reaching a consensus through reasoning is probably the best way to end up with something that suits the best interests of every citizen. (Something resembling the proceedings in Plato’s Republic perhaps)
19. This is one that is closely related to the first question. Catalonia should seek to reunite all parts of the ‘Catalan Countries’. This is one of the reasons why the ‘Principality’ -although, autonomous community is probably a better choice of words- because only it has the ability to do so. Barcelona, being the capital of Catalonia, (From Òpol to Guardamar and El Carxe to Maó) is always looked to for inspiration. Our country divided is weaker than it is united, France and Spain knew this. They’ve observed and studied us well enough to know which measures to implement in order to keep us divided. However the rest of Europe, and especially it’s most prestigious encyclopedias, know that the ‘Catalan Countries’ are a cultural, linguistic, geographical and economic reality. Catalans need to keep this in mind. To reestablish the political dynamic, an appealing political project is needed. To inspire and awake the peripheral parts of the country the ‘Principality’ needs to keep on doing exactly what it’s doing and stay true to it’s historic principles of 3 kingdoms (obviously they would no longer be kingdoms) united in a federation. Albeit, absorption is probably not the best word to use.
20. FC Barcelona would play in the Catalan football league. In this situation, the club would unlikely be as well financed as when it played in the LFP. This doesn’t mean the club would not be as good. It would have to re-invent itself and be smarter about their signings, but there are still plenty of positives. The club has one of the best academies in the world and after all it’s “more than just a (football) club”, which should help it maintain most of it’s fan-base. If the club were to loose supporters it would likely be in Spain and any of the people mentioned in question 15. The separate league does have it’s importance: It would be very enticing for the Valencia CF, Vila-real CF and Majorca CF to play in a league were they would face FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol. The fact is that the Barça – Valencia derby is quite a big deal for their supporters. Sure, around the rest of the globe, it doesn’t have half the profile of a Barça – Madrid, but that’s alright since what’s important is political freedom, not entertaining people.
21. It depends on what understood as ‘armed forces’. I think that having a coastguard is a good idea for independent Catalonia. So I suppose my answer should be yes; if it’s for an armed defense of our sovereign mark, and no; if it’s to exceed those boundaries and infringe on another nation’s defined boundaries.
22. They would not buy Catalan products and we would be wise to open up new markets. What’s there to worry about? If they boycott cava it’s not a problem because cava is delicious and besides Italy and France there are not too many other sparkling white wine producers out there, so I don’t think it will be difficult to find other buyers. If they boycott our natural resources, once again it’s no problem because there seems to be a scarcity of those in the world right now and I don’t think we’ll have too much difficulty selling those either.
23. Spain’s army is integrated in the EU and UN so an armed intervention to stop a democratic secession is unthinkable. It is only if Catalans were to decide not to stay on as an EU member that this kind of scenario could occur and in that case it would be a EU military response, which doesn’t really make any sense seeing how most of the other members (maybe the only 2 exceptions would be France and Spain) should -according to their principles and EU statutes- find this anti-democratic and oppose it.
24. Yes, there is no legal impediment anywhere.
Fantastic. You saved me a lot of trouble as your answers are pretty much what I would have put, so it only remains for me to say: I second all of the foregoing.
People shouldn’t have a right to expect services in Spanish and Catalan then? I find this troubling.
Gosh, I missed answer to #14 and I approved of that! I take it back, I second most of the foregoing and strongly disagree with the answer 14, and 19 too. How could someone so generally sensible be so exclusivist?
It’s the kind of ethnic-cultural exclusion that gives Catalanism such a bad name, and would make it completely unacceptable to most of us here and everyone abroad.
Until the definition of “Catalan” includes speakers of other languages, it will simply be impossible to make independence happen.
@Nin – What are you afraid of? Do you think Spanish speakers are bad people because they don’t speak Catalan? Are Arabic or English or Chinese speakers bad too? Should we all go home and leave your homeland to the pure race?
@Murph and anyone else who wants to hop on the ‘slander train’,
First let’s put things into context. Question 14 asks the following: ‘Would the Catalan constitution guarantee the right to receive state services in Castilian Spanish?’ I answered no. Why? Well, first let’s take a look at the world around us. Does the French constitution guarantee the right to receive state services in any other language than French? What about the Dutch constitution? Maybe the Italian constitution guarantees the right to receive State services in another language other than Italian and surely the German constitution must guarantee State services in Turkish, after all they wouldn’t want to be accused of being ethnical exclusivists, not after what happened in the last century. Even in Switzerland, linguistic rights are only guaranteed in each linguistic territory. What a disgrace! Won’t someone please think of the poor Italo-Swiss linving in francophone Switzerland! So why does Catalonia always have to be the exception? Frankly, I’m sick and tired of always coming off like some sort of victim. Because if anyting gives Catalanism a bad name it’s the cry-baby reputation that overshadows it and therfore I’ll give you an exemple of an exception to this rule: Canada. Yes, Canada has 2 official languages even though many Canadians are exclusively anglophones, others exclusively francophones and then there’s the much smaller number of Canadians -with passports and all- who are unable to speak neither English nor French but are able to minimally understand one or the other. This was the solution -a compromise if you will- to a conflictive situation between two linguistic communities in a territory of which neither of them could claim to be indigenous. Both communities arrived at more or less the same time and they split land up in accordance to the military and political power of each community. This situation has no point of comparison with Catalonia. Catalan is the language born out of the failure of the last intent at global homogenisation, imperialism and uniformity. Catalan has been spoken in Catalonia for over a thousand years. It’s pure delusion to claim the same for French or Spanish. However, of the 3 Catalan is the only language facing the peril of extinction -in its own linguistic boundaries, since the language was never imposed on anyone.
I’m going to try and not get side-tracked from Murphs last reply, so let me take on the matter of Catalanism’s bad name. Speaking of people abroad let’s see what professor Alan Yates -who taught Catalan for over thirty years at the University of Sheffield- has to say about Catalonia. This is how he chose to describe the Catalan reality in the 2004 edition of Teach Yourself Catalan: “Of a population of almost 11 million people some 6 million have Catalan as their mother tongue, while a further 3 million can understand and potentially use the language. The geographical distribution and the statistics are relevant to the status of Catalan as one of the most prominent of Europe’s ‘minority’ languages, and also to the condition of the Catalan-speaking community as a ‘stateless nation’. These are not political abstractions. The more you are able to enjoy communicating directly with Catalan-speakers the more you will become aware of the fet diferencial – the ‘differential factor’ founded in a commitment to their own language – and how large this looms in their sense of identity and collective outlook.”
I fail to see how a ‘bad name’ could result from this. And it certainly doesn’t seem unacceptable since professor Yates was willing and able to accept and include this reality in a publication that forms part a series that is the leader in self-learning books. You defend that until this sense of collective outlook is modified, political independence is impossible and I must put forward that if one were to offer political independence for the Catalan nation on the condition that the aforementioned sense of identity must be abandoned, then I would outright refuse said offer without hesitating for a second. Lack of pragmatism? Maybe. But what sense does a Catalan State have if it is not to guarantee the survival of Catalan language, culture and ultimately identity? No community on earth is naturally bilingual. When two languages co-exist in a determined geographical region, the stronger one ALWAYS ends up replacing the weaker one. This is a proven reality that any linguist would have no touble demonstrating. That, Murph, is what I am afraid of. I’m afraid of being the last Catalan-speaker on earth. That is a burden that I would not wish on anyone. If there is no Catalan language, then there is no Catalan identitiy and in that case, what sense would there be in a Catalan State?! I don’t think anyone is ‘bad’ for the language they speak, certainly not their mother tongue. Catalans have been on the receiving end of that train of thought for far too long. Those who have been exiled because of it have had to adapt to the constitutions of other States and accepted them with the utmost normality. Why should the rules change all of a sudden? Am I the only one who has to face accusations of being a racist or do you just automatically label every Catalan that way? I’m sorry if you disagree with me, but I think that in Catalanism only requires the acceptance of Catalans*.
*Jordi Pujol’s 1958 definition of a ‘Catalan’: “Who is a Catalan? A Catalan is any man who lives and works in Catalonia and through his own work, his own effort, helps to build Catalonia. In other words, makes Catalonia his home, that is to say, in one way or another, has been incorporated, admitted, integrated and is not hostile to it. Except for those with anticatalan prejudice, immigrants are in principle Catalan.”
You might want to study the legal status of minority languages in, say, Germany and find out why Turkish is not official while Danish is.
You might also want to study the history of Catalonia, which is when you will find out that Alghero is a clear example of the imposition of the Catalan language. It is not the only one, although others are debatable.
Thirdly, you might want to have a look at the field of linguistics, which is when you will find out that multilingualism and diglossia are rather the rule than the exception.
Last but not least, you might want to take notice that while all cultures are our common heritage and therefore deserve protection, this protection is of less importance than the cultural rights of the individual, especially once these rights have been sufficiently recognised (as in, say, the Estatut). A step back from those rights is legally and politically impossible.
You’ll simply will have to make do with the present situation, it will not change much in the foreseeable future. This is what Catalans during many decades have aspired for, and rightfully so. But neither the law, nor history or linguistics are on your side if you want to ignore the rights of others.
Only engineering is. Social engineering.
Your fears are groundless. The Catalan language is not going to die out. My experience in watching my own son and many nieces and nephews speaking it mean you couldn’t possibly be the last. In fact there won’t be a last speaker of Catalan.
Bilingualism and diglossia are the norm in most parts of the world. That’s the way it’s going to be here too, forever. While my son is a native Catalan speaker I’m extremely concerned that he learns good Spanish too, and English for that matter. Your own English is excellent, Nin, do you wish the spoken/written Spanish level of Catalans to be less than that?
My fears, that the Catalan independence movement could become completely sidetracked by linguistic-ethnic exclusivism are however much more grounded. Any independent Catalan constitution which specified a single national language would be a) rejected at referendum if put to the Catalan people and b) rejected as unconstitutional within the EU constitution.
So your insistence on monolingualism, like Huguet’s in the Guardian article, just makes Catalan independence unacceptable to those on the outside world who should become our supporters.
At no point did I call you a racist. The word I used was “exclusivist” because you wish to exclude from civil society those who don’t speak your language.
My question still stands: are English speakers or Arab speakers unwelcome too, or is it only Spanish-speakers who should be made to feel second-class?
Hell, who cares if his fears are groundless. Better languages have died out. That’s the way of the flesh.
If Nin wants care and respect, then he has to give, too.
The word “racist” does apply, for “ethnicity” has more ample connotations than those Nin supposes. If not a racist, Nin is an ethnicist (?), or a culturalist (???), which makes Murph’s referring to a “pure race”, if not scientific, correct nevertheless in terms of common language. You don’t shoot sparrows with a cannon, but you’re fine to get them with any Bliemeister.
@Candide – let us know when you’ve published your world ranking of languages, dead and living.
You know that much about me to see it was a figure of speech.
I don’t know much about you at all, actually. As far as I’m concerned, you were trolling. Anyway, next question will be up soon.
Fair enough. To avoid any misunderstanding, I withdraw the criticised comment and I argue briefly as follows:
Dear Nin, your fears are wildly exaggerated. I do know that they are real fears of yours, but do consider that Catalan is highly respected, officially protected and very much alive. Even if it should disappear, that would be such a slow process that hardly anyone would identify themselves as its last speakers. If ever, it would happen because its speakers sh¡ft to another mother tongue, and given the above described situation of Catalan, they would freely do so.
Humanity would lose part of our cultural heritage, which is bad enough. My impatience with your way of arguing is based on the feeling that it ultimately prefers collective rights over individual ones. I’m sorry I am impatient and rough sometimes, I am so because in Catalonia we are presented all too many times with this kind of argumentation, that leads to loss of freedom instead of a better form of it.
Wow, I didn’t expect so many responses in such little time. Alright then, I’ll try to address every issue, but if any of you feel I’ve overlooked anything, please let me know.
@ Candide’s first post: Social engineering has existed just as long as States have and possibly even longer. Weren’t the miserable living conditions un Andalusia a result of social engineering? What about the requisitioning or appropriation of Catalan industry by Falangists, isn’t that social engineering? To put it more bluntly, are the mass graves in València and Montjuïc not the worst kind of social engineering? The present situation is a direct result of past social engineering and this is true the world over. Regarding the Danes and the Germans, Danish legislation forbids property ownership of costal land by foreign nationals. This measure was taken to prevent Germans from buying all of it up, what some at the time the law was voted considered a potential “German invasion”. Social engineering is indeed alive and well, even today, even in Scandinavia.
I strongly disagree with your choice of words regarding l’Alguer. This is not a case of imposition but rather of colonisation. Catalans were brought to l’Alguer from Tarragona and its surrrounding region. This occurd because many of the Sards who inhabited the village were either slaughtered or had retreated to the safety of the mountains. Catalans massacred many Sards but what they never did, there or anywhere else for that matter, was impose their language on others. Everywhere where Catalan is spoken today is a clear case of population substitution -a tactic used in colonisation, a strand of social engineering.
@ Candide’s second post: I don’t understand why I have to give anything in order to be respected. I’ve always understood respect as something reciprocal. Please let me know if my translation of the terme has led to any misinterpretation.
@ Candides third post: I don’t beleive that my fears are wildly exaggerated. Where I’m from catalan was the only language spoken on the streets, in the household, in the schoolyard, etc. Now catalan is hardly spoken there, the change needed only one generation and, if things don’t change for the better soon, I will most certainly be the last Catalan-speaker of my village. Once again, I don’t want your pity and this certainly can’t be considered as representative of the whole catalan reality, nevertheless this is a good example of how quickly things can change. Your descriptions of the process of linguistic substitution is most accurate. Indeed it all starts with a shift from the mother tongue to another one. This usually happens when its speakers begin to perceive their mother tongue as useless, or when speaking it becomes some kind of burden o chore. Catalan is spoken less and less everyday, the statistics prove it. My responsibility as a Catalan is to remedy this situation because -as I beleive I’ve argued before- if there is no Catalan language then there is no Catalan nation (i.e: Catalan individuals) and if there are no Catalans, then what is the logic behind a Catalan State? This is extremely dificult for me to explain because, despite my reasonably good English, I am Catalan and it seems to me that the rest of you are not. CALM DOWN AND TAKE A DEEP BREATH! What I mean is that I am culturally Catalan whereas the rest of you are of course administratively Catalan. We are all Catalans: we all have the same rights, etc. The difference is that I was raised with Catalonia as my reference. If we all lived in the U.S.A, for example, I would speak Catalan at home, I would teach my children history from a Catalan point of view and I would still do everything in my power to defend every Catalan’s right to speak Catalan in Catalonia. Humanity might well lose part of its cultural heritage, but I risk loosing my identity, and without it I am nothing. I hope you are able to grasp the concept now. Now before we return from our fantasy situation, I feel the need to ask who would defend “the cultural rights of the individual”, and by that I mean my cultural rights as a Catalan living in the U.S.A? No one would, because the U.S constituiton is concerned about the cultural rights of U.S citizens and U.S citizens alone. Of course my human rights would be guaranteed but that’s not the same thing.
@ Murph: I think most of what I said referring to the exaggeration of my fears is also releveant to your post. The library is closing now and I don’t have Internet at home so you’ll have to make to with what I’ve said so far for today. I will get back to you tomorrow.
I’m the father of two Catalans, born in BCN and Catalan-speaking, does that count for anything?
Nin, it was very moving to read your last comment. You put deep feelings into it.
My reply will pale to it, it will be quite short and you will not find it satisfying.
I recognise now that I understood your initial point about the (non) imposition of Catalan wrong. But the point brings us nowhere, anyway.
I also want to drop debating Danish property law.
I accept the definition of the Catalan nation via its language. This seems to be largely accepted, Catalans have the right to define themselves. Other nations define themselves by different standards.
The important part is that one day you might have a state in which Catalan is not the only language, Catalans (by language) will not be the only people living in it, yet they will be Catalans by law, which is no minor status.
To cut things short a bit, let’s suppose this state is the present day Autonomous Community of Catalonia. You’d then have to respect a legal continuum rooted in present day Catalan law, which establishes, backed up by referendum, that Catalan, Spanish and Aranese are official languages. The rights of the speakers of those languages, once acquired, cannot be taken away. The recognition of Spanish as official language is here to stay.
As a matter of fact, the legal continuum is something Catalonia will have to rely on if it wants to get independence recognised within its present borders, or any then-international borders that are based on internal ones now. Catalonia-then will want to be the legal continuation of Catalonia-now.
You can certainly make a constitution that does not recognise other languages other than Catalan, however I’m afraid you’ll not be a member of the EU then.
Not to speak of the political effect it has when, by the stroke of a pen, once acquired rights are suddenly void.
Whether or not the cohabitation of several languages will lead to the disappearance of Catalan (and Aranese, for the same reasons you give -should Aran become independent?-) is entirely secondary, politically and legally speaking.
I don’t think it will. I don’t think Catalan will disappear even if we continue with the present situation. If there are population movements inside of Catalonia that displace not the language, but its speakers, well, that’s an entirely different issue and something you will not be able to counter under any circumstances (ok, you can always beg your wife to bear you more children).
You might very well be the last Catalan speaker in your village, but you will always be able to educate your children in Catalan (speaking) schools, because that is your right, and the speakers of other languages will at the very least always have the right to keep their native tongue, even if it’s not officially recognised.
So you might live among Germans or Danes one day. Or will you now advocate for a change in property law, too, to avoid that fiction? I don’t think that a Catalan state will receive a free pass from the EU in that sense, like the Danes did.
So yes, I take your fears seriously because I notice that you speak from the bottom of your heart. But other than point out that the worst will not happen I cannot sooth you. Sometimes shit happens.
@ Murph: I won’t be able to keep up if the rate of your inquiries is so constant -keep in mind that, on the side, I’ve got a riveting debate with Candide about Danish property law going on. I’m going to have to cut to the chase and if, by doing so, you feel my comments could be taken either one way or another, please ask me to clear things up like you just did in your last post. Regarding your two Catalan kids. I don’t know them personally but if I were to meet them and they spoke Catalan to me, then why would I have any reason to suspect that they aren’t Catalan? The only thing that would start setting off alarms in my head -and in my heart- would be if in perfect Catalan they were to say something like “Catalan is useless, shamefull and only good for going to a farmer’s market, luckily we’re Spanish, what a glorious honour!”. If that were to happen, then I would have serious doubts about my prior judgement. Catalan identity is based on language but that’s not the only factor to take into account. Here’s an article that I hope you’ll understand. It points out the civil aspect of Catalan nationalism which doesn’t nullify its cultural base, but does offer other ways to affirm ones “catalanity”: http://www.media.cat/2011/04/07/ja-soc-catala/
With regards to your question that still stands, everyone is welcome in Catalonia, but if they plan on settling down here they need to understand the current context which is clearly a confrontational situation: Either you’re Catalan, or you’re Spanish/French (or just visiting). One cannot be both. Not accodring to the way I (we, because I’m not alone in this interpretation) understand catalanism. Can one be Spanish or Arab or Japonese in an independent Catalan State? Of course, but in that case, one must recognise that one lives abroad and that as a result one is entitled to every single human right, but not to impose one’s way of living on the country one has chosen -because ultimately it is a choice even if sometimes other factors make it seem as if it weren’t- to live in. Now let me give you a concrete example on how I see the Catalan constitution with regards to the linguistic guarantees of the individual. I see it much like Andorra, the only difference would be that if the Val d’Aran (and regarding question 19, same goes for la Fenolleda) were to chose to form part of this state, then Occitan would have to be considered an official language as well. So there you go, not much different from Andorra in those legislative aspects. Is that something unacceptable to most people?
Candide, I also will need to start shortening my replies although I would hate to return to the level of misunderstanding that has existed between me and several other readers of this blog. so for now, short and sweet but if need be I’ll write a dissertation.
I’m vary pleased to see that you’ve accept the definition of the Catalan nation via its language. This is an important step towards our mutual understanding and respect.
There is already a State in which Catalan is not the only language in fact there are three of them. First there is Andorra where Catalan is the only official language. Then there is Spain where Catalan is not the only official languange and in fact is only co-official within most of it’s linguistic territory -let’s not forget that the Sunset Strip (La Franja de Ponent) has no co-official status for Catalan. As you so eloquently pointed out before, there is the tiny Sardinian village of l’Alguer which has very minimal recognition within Italy and last but certainly not least, we have Northern Catalonia where Catalan is spoken but completely neglected and rejected by France. In every single one of these territories Catalans are not the only people living there.
When you suggest that present day A.C of Catalonia, if it were to be independent, would have to have the same linguistic legislation as it does now, you fail to see one of the main focuses of Catalan “independentists”. The main objective, the main motivation in fact, is to free ourselves from the unjust current legislation. Why is it unjust one might ask? Because the way things are, people have the right to know, and speak if they choose to do so, Catalan. But everyone has the “duty” to know Spanish. You, just landed in L’Hospitalet from, let’s say, Australia, so as not to distort things too much. Which language do you “chose” to learn. Spanish, you’re practically obligated to do so. Catalan (after all you have the right to learn it)? Both? Spanish and a little French so that you can go to Bordeaux on vacation?
“Future Catalonia” does NOT want to be a legal continuation of “Catalonia now”.
How does the constitution I’ve described so far not recognise other languages besides Catalan? It most certainly does, it recognises them as foreign languages that can be spoken freely, but are not official as far as Catalan State-services are concerned. The EU keeps an eye out for every single language of it’s member States. This is precisely what Catalans are after!
By the way, the EU legislation has been looked at by Catalans and the result is that when 2 new States are born out of one EU member State, both new States have the right to decide whether or not they join the EU.
“You might very well be the last Catalan speaker in your village, but you will always be able to educate your children in Catalan (speaking) schools, because that is your right, and the speakers of other languages will at the very least always have the right to keep their native tongue, even if it’s not officially recognised.”
This is not true in my case. Now let’s play “guess from which part of Catalonia I’m from”.
You’re right, sometimes shit happens. Shit is happening right now so that shit in the future won’t be as shitty as the current shit Catalans have to deal with. That’s all: nothing more, nothing less. There will be no witch-hunts, no deportations or any other unthinkable atrocities that I can’t even begin to imagine. Independence -and Catalanism for that matter- is only about the will of an identifiable group of people from various background who want better living conditions, to be able to decide their collective future and do be able to live in Catalan.
Warning: Library closed until Tuesday.
Enjoy the weekend and “bona Pasqua” to all.
Yes, it’s unacceptable. To me and to most people living in Catalonia.
If you held a referendum on a Catalan Constitution with Catalan as the only official language, it would fail. Challenges from groups like Ciutadans would be made to the EU Court of Human Rights, which would probably rule against the suppression of Castilian, based on the historical continuity Candide refers to above.
The Republic would be stalled as the constituent assembly went back to the drawing board, and a major crisis would ensue, perhaps even threatening the survival of the Republic or its incorporation into the EU at the very least.
If you held a referendum with Castilian-Catalan co-official languages, it would pass without problem, at least on this issue.
I understand your identification of culture with language, but as your article exemplifies with the Ecuadorian kid, myself as a speaker of English who speaks Catalan only about 30% of the time, and authors who write in both languages like Quim Monzó, etc, you can quite clearly identify as Catalan without it being your principal language.
I’m from an Irish background, and my parents experienced the same thing as you describe, that is the Irish-Gaelic language fell out of use in their villages when they were young and they grew up speaking English. But they never thought they were less Irish because they didn’t speak Gaelic. Neither do I, even though I’m a stage further than them and speak with an English accent
And the good news is that 60 years later, there’s a Gaelic revival in these areas and the young people speak it again. What I’m trying to say is that cultural identity need not be so closely identified with language, and that even very minority languages can survive.
You don’t have to respond to this, I understand the need to take a break and I also believe we’ve exhausted all the arguments for now. I’m not trying to have the last word, just offering the chance for a pause for a few days.
How about we take up the debate next week, after the Easter weekend?
Nin, I hope you have had a good Easter weekend.
You seem to be at loss regarding law. If Catalonia goes independent, there will be one new state in Europe, not two. Spain will simply continue to exists. Spain is not a (con)federation.
Catalonia will only be recognised based on the principle of uti possidetis, which means that present internal borders become international ones and are recognised on that basis. And that will lead to the legal continuum I have described above, with all pertinent consequences.
Now you can claim that Spanish law is unfair, but you’ll have to come up with a little more beef for an international audience’s benevolence you will have to covet dearly in the future. This Spanish law has been accepted by Catalans (last time referendum on Estatut, and also, implicitly, in all the criticism of the Spanish Constitutional Court), and that’s the legal precedent everybody will see. I get goosebumps if you want adequate rights for the Franja and at the same time see Andorra as an example for a future Catalan state’s language policy, being Andorra one of only four states that has not signed the Framework Convention on National Minorities. (And it’s not an EU member, mind.)
Another one is France, rightfully criticised by Catalans, Basques and all the other minorities in France for its Jacobin stance towards minorities. Come on! Once you’re independent, you want to be like those who you now feel mistreated by!
And you are not really telling Murph that you can determine who is Catalan and who is not? Or are you?
If I accepted your definition of Catalanity I accepted it as a self-definition. You are not at liberty to speak for others, and, yes, it is possible to be both Catalan and Spanish (and also Chinese, for the fun of it). It only takes one person to describe him- or herself as such, and so he or she is.
Murph, I don’t share the same perspective as you regarding a Catalan Constitution with Catalan as the only official language. I think things could go either one way or another, but I can’t assume that it would automatically fail. The same goes for an automatic approval of a Castilian-Catalan co-official language Constitution. I know many young Catalans -who are old enough to vote- who would vote against such an initiative. Are we a minority? Probably. But then again one never knows.
Look, Tom posted questions for a Catalan Independentist. I fit the description and decided to have a go at them. Some people disagree with a few of my answers. Ok, fine. I’ve already explained why I answered the way I did, so I don’t really know what else is left to say. I think that in not relating Catalan identity with Catalan language you fail to understand one of the fundamental elements of the former. Catalonia is not Ireland, and I say this with the utmost respect for Ireland. Yes, language is not the only deciding factor but, like the Ecuadorian kid, one has to do something to demonstrate ones WILL to form part of the Catalan nation, even seventh generation Catalans born in Barcelona must do this. Catalanism maintains that citizenship isn’t inherited, it’s acquired. If this is unacceptable, then I don’t know what to say other than Catalan identity has its days numbered and we might as well get ready for what’s left of Catalan regionalism/provincialism -this is exactly what PSC and PP (of ‘Cataluña’) defend and prefer.
Do you honestly beleive there would even be an independentist movement without those who defend that the language is the defining trait of the nation? I’m not trying to get all high and mighty on anyone because I’ve done little in comparison to others in regards to working towards independence, so this is not my claim to glory. But let’s tell it how it is: without the ties to the language, we wouldn’t even be talking about possible independence right now, it would be unimaginable.
Catalanism only exists because the Catalan institutions were abolished. Had this not happened there would simply be Catalonia. Or am I mistakened? Are there Hungarianists, Finlandists or Portuguesists out there? No there aren’t, because every single one of these nations has a State that correctly represents its collective vision of the nation and accordingly that State holds the nations language as official. Catalonia has not had the same kind of luck as the aforementioned nations, but does that mean that it has to renounce its collective vision because the current reality doesn’t embrace or fully reflect it?
Catalanism is not a religious or racial doctrine that allows for the same political ideologies that are present in most Western States yet this is not acceptable. A constitutional representation of this is not acceptable? Why does Castilian have to be the co-official language? The ‘foreign’ EU member with the most amount of nationals in Catalonia is Italy. Why shouldn’t Italian also be an official language? As previously stated, I wouldn’t want Arab or English speakers, or Chinese speakers for the matter, to feel unwelcome in Catalonia. So maybe all of those languages should be official as well, shouldn’t they be?
When you say that “you can quite clearly identify as Catalan without it being your principal language” I completely agree, but then why does Castilian need to be co-official in Catalonia? Monzó writes in both languages because until now La Vanguardia only offered a Castilian version of its paper, but I refuse to beleive that Monzó does not share the previously proposed definition of “Catalan identity”, not after his speech at the Frankfurt Literary Convention.
Well, I don’t know if you think there’s anything left to talk about. I’d be glad to keep this up Murph, as I’m greatfull for the things you’ve expressed and I’ve honestly enjoyed the “conversation” we’ve shared these last few weeks.
@ Candide, I’ll get back to you tomorrow. Sorry, I ran out of time today.
Oh, Quim Monzó!
The Frankfurt Book Fair totally backfired, in all political aspects.
On the particular note, Monzó was asked about Catalan nationalism, and he could not stand it. As a reaction to those pesky German reporter’s questions he wrote in his daily column in La Vanguardia (yes, the Catalan newspaper that has hard times to dissociate itself from its Francoist past all the while defending Catalanism -is that some sort of multiple personality disorder or just a form of basic ideological coherence?) a great “how dare they!” reply. How dare those Germans speak to me thus, when Hogan’s Heroes only made it onto German TV screens some 30 years after having been produced in the US. Isn’t this a sign that the German’s haven’t come clean with their Nazi past?
Hogan’s Heroes as a sign of the times. That’s Zizek with a very mad twist. But Monzó is serious.
Worst is, Monzó doesn’t watch German TV regularly enough to have come up with that point all on his own. I’m sure he was readily advised by Catalan nationalists of German descent like T.D. Stegmann, who make a fortune out of being the “enchufadísimos” of the Generalitat. That’s the very level of debate here in Catalonia. Inbreeding, as usual.
Certainly, nobody in Germany reads Monzó’s column, and Catalans are at lucky, because if anybody abroad really got a whiff of what Monzó has to say on politics, they’d not ask him questions anymore but just laugh their asses off.
And you, Nin, dare to bring Monzó and the 2007 FBF up in a serious debate? I put to you the crucial question: do you want to go Monzó’s way of endogamy and childish dust-kicking or do you want to be respected and recognised by the rest of the world?
Whenever over the past ten years or so I have thought to reveal in the international press the hilarious nonsense Monzó and others are spilling here day after day I have come across just another article which proved to me that other reporters are already doing their job very well. No need for me to chime in.
So whenever you, Nin, see Catalan authors show surprise and disgust at how little they are understood in other parts of Spain -they do that a lot lately and even say that old friendships are lost over the matter- don’t think that in the rest of the world it will be any different. Monzó has already got his fair share of reality. And all he can do is ridicule himself even further.
Try to be better than Monzó, much better, if you care for what they think of you.
Candide, I also hope you had a good Easter weekend.
First of all, Murph used Monzó as an example, not me. All I did was argue that the example was not fully accurate because I beleive -if you want to find out the truth you’ll have to ask Monzó himself- that he -Monzó, not Murph- considers Catalan as a defining of the nation. It has this simbolic value because it unites us, regardless of origins, and removes the “immigrant” label thus eliminating any distinction between native and newcomer. Catalan gives acces to this country’s cultural tradition and it also guarantees “Newcatalans” a place in Catalan history. Their cultural contributions will be remembered and fused forever in the nations essence -such is the case of the Moorsish, Occitan and Jewish contributions to the catalan substratum and of Rumba Catalana or of Aigua de València which people claim was invented by Basques living in the city. I think Monzó would agree with this view of things -based on his speech at the 2007 FBF- and I don’t see how this is incompatible with his writing in Castilian for a newspaper that until just recently was only printed in said language.
I have re-read my posts and every single time I have deemed them to express what I have just written in the previous paragraph. I never claimed that the FBF was a political triomph nor was I aware that I was engaged in a “serious debate”. In fact, I have very little time for any serious debate apart from my post-secondary studies and although Holy Week allowed me a little time to further answer a question that was directly addressed to me, I see now that it will be imposible to keep this up.
“And you, Nin, dare to bring Monzó and the 2007 FBF up in a serious debate?”
You might as well ask Murph the same question, after all “he started it” (is that childish enough for you?). I was invited to answer 24 questions. I did. I was asked one more and I answered that one too. I know exactly why Catalans -why limit ourselves to just speaking about the authors- are not understood in Spain (What is nowadays any Monolingual Autonomous Community) and in an attempt to help others understand why I provided a link in a previous post to a transcription of -are you ready for it Candide? I’m sure you’ll question the credentials of this author as well- Matthew Tree’s address at the London School of Economics. (Did anyone bother to read it?) Here it is again:
So yeah, I dare to say everything I’ve said so far just like I’ve dared to say it everywhere I’ve travelled. That’s why this whole “crucifixion” (is Easter over yet?) of Catalanism surprises me. Because everywhere I’ve travelled or lived, the people I’ve met have had no trouble understanding and accepting Catalonia/Catalanism/Catalan Identity such as I’ve described it in this blog. Even in France people have agreed with this idea which includes Perpinyà as part of Catalonia. Needless to say that there have also been many people that have voiced their disgust at such a suggestion, but I don’t get all bent out of shape about it, I just see them for what they are: neo-colonialists.
I can’t guarantee that I’ll be “better” than Monzó, because all I know how to be is myself. What I do know, however, is that what people think of me varies depending on how well they know me. I think the same is true for Catalonia. Anyway, the questions have been answered, diferent views have been presented and now it’s time for some new participation on this blog.
Nin, you’re a lovely guy, but you say things that in consequence are untenable because in that consequence of your words people lose their rights.
How can you be baffled at what you perceive as “crucifixion”? I admit that I am sometimes a little surprised about the harshness of my criticism, for I know many other nice people like you. But same as Mr Tree runs day after democratic day into another anecdote of Catalan bashing, I run day after day into another situation when today’s Catalanism is putting my wellbeing at risk; the difference being that I have no market to sell any of my writings about it on, or the market I could have is the one I will not accept.
You’re all jolly nice fella’s, but what you say has political connotations you simply are not aware of. And whatever agreeable experiences you might have explaining your world to ignorant outsiders (a good thing: Tree makes an extra living out of that) here you have the view of an informed insider. Free of charge, hopefully not for nothing.
Very good analisis!
I agree on all accounts, with exception in point 19) to the need to reunite with other Catalan speaking areas.
Catalunya has already a hard enough time becoming independant without including other geopolitical realities into their “lluita”…
If I want a divorce from my wife, I don’t start pleading divorce for other guys in the same situation. It just makes things more difficult.
Anyway if Valencia wants to become independant from Spain after Catalunya manages to free itself, let them go through the process themselves. They will get my support morally of course, but each man for himself against the Spanish “beast”.
By the way, the Valencians are very smart as usual, they let Catalunya do all the work, then they’ll put in their petition and become independant without any cost or effort… no t’amoynis qu'”Els xics son molt llestos!” hehe…potser mes mes qu’els Catalans!
Much more important is the eventual outcome of La Vall d’Aran. I would allow it independance from Catalunya so it may, in turn, protect l’Aranes, its own language and culture from Catalan, Spanish and French. Remember a true democracy protects its weakest members. It would be a feather in their cap if by becoming independant, the Catalans safeguard els Aranesos… Noble gestures accompany really great people.
cheers! Visca Catalunya! (i la Vall d’Aran!)
[email protected] Barcelona
I suppose the same goes for L’Hospitalet.
L’Hospitalet has allways been part of Catalunya. Just because a hoard of Castillians create a ghetto there doesn’t mean they have a right to claim a Spanish speaking state within a future free Cataluya. Try as they may. Younger generations of nois i noies d’Hospitalet are more sympathetic to the Catalan cause than their monolinguitic parents.
New generations may even brandish Victor Valdes as a role model…
Once you are bilingual, there’s no turning back to monolingualism.
Nobody likes to confess their ignorance but everybody’s free to vote whoever they choose. If I were a sixty year-old Andalú living all my adult life en l’Ho’pi, even though I maybe proud to admit my children’s and grandchildran’s bilingualism, I’d still vote PP and secretely hope Franco raises his ugly head again. That’s democracy Candide. Few Catalans can argue against that.
I celebrate anyone who votes PP (or PSOE, which is almost the same thing linguistically) in Catalunya, it’s their right. They’ll probably be hated for it, but that’s their problem.
As far as the Danes go, I celebrate their right to oust German propriators. Historically, Germans have been an enormous pain in the backside for the Danes. So much so, that the Danish language suffered even more than Catalan in the hands of the Spanish.
In time, of course, younger Danes will start apologizing the Germans and let them buy summer houses again. But memories are still far too saw at the moment.
You’re hilarious, man. Kinda sweet to have you in the debate.
You’re not too bad yourself! Je m’imagine que tu es une belle française avec un si joli nom.. ai-je raison?
Merci. Mais je ne suis pas Cunégonde. Importe pas, les bisous sont bien reçus.
Il n’y a pas de quoi ma chère!
Enchanté d’être en si bonne compagnie…
J’espère pouvoir continuer à la hauteur de si distingués discours.
Hélàs nous avons une tâche herculienne de David contre Goliath devant nous, néanmoins votre présence la fait plus légère.
A bientôt belle amie!
Yep, you’re definitely good company.
I meant to respond to this a long time ago, but forgot and was reminded by your recent post of questions for an opponent of Catalan independence. I’m not really qualified to answer the questions … I’m an American who currently lives in NY but formerly lived in Majorca and has lots of ties to the Barcelona area. I just enjoyed the challenge to articulate a pro-independence position and answer the questions.
1. Why should Catalonia be independent?
Catalonia should be independent because it would benefit both Spain and Catalonia in the long run. The current situation in Spain is a vicious cycle that all parties manipulate to the detriment of the political process. Catalonian independence would take some steam out of that – certainly parties will always find things to distract people with, and it certainly wouldn’t end the use of the Catalan question as a political tool in Spain, but I can’t help but think it would be an improvement.
Whether or not it’s appropriate to use marriage and divorce as a metaphor, I think it works. I feel like Spain and Catalonia cannot reconcile their differences. I don’t believe that Spain (Castillian-speaking Spain, that is) can accept an idea of Spain that puts all its constituent nations on par, without the primacy of Castillian. There certainly are states in the world who have a broad enough self-definition to include multiple definitions and affiliations, but time and again Spain has been unable to make a change in that direction. Catalans can only exist in Spain as perpetual outsiders, or submerge their own culture to that of the Spanish whole. The Estado de las autonomías was a well-intentioned experiment, and without a doubt an improvement upon its predecessor, but it’s silly to think that Galician, Basque and Catalan autonomy means anything when Castile is divided up into four autonomous regions each with the equivalent legal footing as the aforementioned. Like I said, well-intentioned, but ultimately without the necessary result of changing Spanish identity in a way that acknowledges the particular national realities of its constituent parts. And moreover, “autonomy” is a pretty big word to describe the legal situation of the autonomous regions. Spanish centralists balk at any sort of devolution of powers, but being from the United States I can say assuredly that every American state enjoys far more autonomy than the Spanish “Autonomous” Regions – for better or worse, but just to say that Spain could go considerably farther with the idea of autonomy than it does.
On a personal level, I’m a fan of Catalan culture and I’m a fan of Spanish culture. It makes me sad to say that I don’t think it can work any longer. It’s not a radical position, and it isn’t with malice toward Madrid – I just think everyone would be happier.
2. What exactly do you think will be gained if Catalonia becomes independent?
In part, answered above. Spain will get a state that isn’t burdened by the “Catalan quesiton” and can reflect its own concept of a state better. Catalonia will gain the blessings and burdens of being able to decide its future for itself.
3. What model do you seen an independent Catalonia adopting? Some sort of republic? How would it be organised?
I feel like the struggle for independence is so bound up with republicanism that it would be unlikely to see another form of government. I would hope that it also grants a considerable amount of local government control – either on the level of comarca or vegueria. It would be a shame for Catalonia to forget the lessons it has learned about unitary government once it becomes a independent state.
4. Do you think that the current crisis is a good time to decide something like this? Why?
I don’t think it’s particularly worse than any other time. Perhaps already dealing with economic stress would make people more willing to handle any economic stress that results from independence? I don’t know if that’s true. People in the developed world seem fairly unwilling to deal with a lot of the hardships of everyday life of a few generations ago, and I think some cultural and individual toughness would be required in this situation. I think it’d be worth it. This is a bad answer, but I can’t do any better at the moment.
5. What damage do you think this would do to Spain? Do you worry about that?
I think any damage would be short-term. It would force Spain to develop other regions more without relying on the perennial subsidies generated by Catalan taxes. Catalonia would be forced to deal with itself without being able to blame the Spanish state for its problems. Perhaps I’m too idealistic about how much politics would change post-independence, but I think it would move in the right direction.
6. Is an independent Catalonia an economically viable state?
I think so. I don’t possess the appropriate level of training in economics nor have I studied the particulars of Catalonia’s economy enough to make a truly informed statement, but everything I have heard about the issue makes me think it would be viable. And, without indulging too far in ethnic stereotypic, we’re talking about the Catalan people. Catalans will make it viable.
7. What should the process be in the result of a vote in the result of a vote in favour of independence?
A Catalan government should declare independence, and begin living that reality. Ideally, that would come from the Generalitat. If it didn’t, that would be considerably more complicated, and I am not sure I have a satisfactory answer for this.
8. What should be the status of Spanish citizens in Catalonia? Would dual citizenship be allowed?
Dual citizenship should be allowed. Of course, many people in Catalonia (those of Catalan ethnic background too) will have many ties to Spain, and an independent Catalan state shouldn’t force people to choose between one and the other. I think having a sort of amnesty period to enroll as a citizen of Catalonia would be a good thing, in which all residents of Catalonia can become citizens of the new state on equal footing, without putting up too many hurdles. This would go a long way toward fostering Catalan identity and a loyalty to the new state among immigrants. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more than few Spaniards in Catalonia who refused to recognize the new situation and didn’t participate in that process. It would be wise to deal with them as litghtly and as little as possible, and creating some sort of residency law for them after the expiration of this amnesty period (preferably with a way for them to opt into the Catalan state at any point). While I’m sure this group would feel persecuted regardless, there’s no need to give that fire any fuel – and if the new state is successful, ultimately the hold-outs would go the way of all flesh.
9. What about immigrants? Would they become citizens? What would the immigration policy be?
As stated above, immigrants (especially those without papers) should be given an opportunity to opt into the Catalan state. This would be a strategically important move. I can foresee some security issues arising as a result, but the benefits would outweigh that. As it is, the immigrant population in Catalonia isn’t exactly on one side or the other in this debate, with a tendency to take the Spanish State’s side. If there weren’t a serious effort to win them over, they could potentially form a large anti-independence bloc along with Spaniards in Catalonia. Giving them citizenship would counteract that, and I think that even those immigrants with linguistic ties to Spain would be compelled to opt in.
10. Would you expect all political parties in Catalonia to break ties with their Spanish equivalents?
Short answer, yes. It seems perfectly reasonable to insist that any political party within a state be organizationally and financially distinct from any foreign body. That isn’t censorship. It doesn’t keep them from advocating reunification (just like current Spanish law doesn’t keep ERC from advocating independence). Of course, treason is treason, and I can imagine that there would be a lot of people in Catalonia walking that line in the early days of independence.
11. What would happen if the EU had trouble accepting Catalonia as a member?
I honestly don’t think that’s very likely. For one, Barcelona is no small player culturally and economically. It’s not London either, but the ties it has to other European centers would ultimately drown out Madrid’s objections – I believe. And seriously, just think how sad European youth will be if they couldn’t drink away their erasmus in the Barri Gòtic! Surely that would finally spark interest in EU policy on the part of its youth!
If there still were trouble for Catalonia, I don’t think it would be impossible to live outside the EU. Catalonia would be poised to work its trans-Mediterranean connections – especially with its newly naturalized population of North African descent. Or something else. I truly have faith in the potential of Catalans to create a sustainable independence, even if the going were rough at first.
12. What would happen to Catalan government agencies aimed at trade and business? Would they be absorbed by embassies?
That would be a good use for them! A new nation needs an embassy, and has to start somewhere.
13. Who would be the head of state? Would you deny Juan Carlos’ claim to sovereignty?
I myself would deny Juan Carlos’ claim to sovereignty. I also currently do deny his claim to sovereignty. Call me a stuffy American, but I am anti-monarchy, even in the watered-down form it currently takes. Juan Carlos should be able to claim his new Catalan nationality just like anyone else, but that’s all I would give him.
Now, in the real world, I understand that things can be more complex than that. If through democratic expression the people of Catalonia decided to grant some recognition to Juan Carlos as Count of Barcelona, I would understand that. I would vote against that, but I can live with some amount of monarchy even if it is silly. I find such an outcome unlikely, though.
Who would be head of state if it weren’t Juan Carlos? That’s for the people to decide. I imagine that a parliamentary system like the current Generalitat would be the most likely government scheme, and that a President of the Generalitat would be the head of state. Independence would be an opportunity for creativity, though. Who knows?
14. Would the Catalan constitution guarantee the right to receive state services in Castillian Spanish?
This is a thorny question. I would be inclined to say yes, to some degree at least. I think there has to be some demonstration of good faith even toward those residents who don’t want to recognize the new state. This doesn’t have to be in the arena of education, of course, and I wouldn’t want it to be. Ultimately, incorporating non-Catalan speakers into the Catalan linguistic community will depend on “selling” the language and the new state, to put it crudely.
I can also foresee that independence could come as the result of some treaty with Madrid (or that some treaty would ultimately be worked out) that would guarantee some rights for Castillian-speakers in return for recognition from Madrid. I don’t think that would be a bad thing.
15. How could you deal with people potentially wanting to leave for Spain proper?
I think that they should be allowed to leave without prejudice, and should be given some sort of legal recognition if they would like to return to an independent Catalonia. I feel like, if done correctly, this would be a minimal issue. I think that even if a significant population left for Spain proper that wouldn’t necessarily have a negative impact on the new state. And, it would create more opportunity for new immigrants whose loyalty to the new state could be more easily gained.
16. What flag would you have? Senyera or Estelada?
I personally don’t feel strongly about this, but I suppose I would choose the Estelada. For no good reason. So long as its not obscene or tacky I don’t care what the flag is.
17. What would happen to utilities like the phone/data system?
I don’t possess the technical expertise to assess this, but I imagine that someone does, and that this isn’t the first time an issue like this will have arisen.
18. What sort of rights would be included in the constitution anyway?
Well, the ones that the people want to include, to put it simply. It should also conform to minimum EU guarantees. I have confidence in the Catalan people to make those decisions for themselves.
19. How would you deal with other parts of the ‘Catalan Countries’? Would you seek their absorption?
I would personally be very happy if all the Catalan Countries joined Catalonia itself as an independent state, but recognize the difficult of this and the need for any annexation to be the result of democratic feeling. Andorra will almost certainly continue to be Andorra. Alghero is probably too insignificant to spend time thinking about. It is hard for me to see Valencia or ‘Catalunya Nord’ joining an independent Catalan state willingly. I honestly have no idea how it would effect the ‘Franja d’Aragó’. That leaves the Balearic Islands, which is really the only other Catalan Land I could see joining Catalonia in independence. Independence is much less likely there than on the mainland, but I think if Catalonia were to become independent first, it would significantly influence feelings in the Balearic Islands.
20. How important would the status of FC Barcelona be? Do you think the Spanish league would still have them?
I don’t know how these things work well enough to discuss paritculars, but I would like FC Barcelona to continue to exist as part of a Catalan League, and continue to be the great symbol of Catalonia that it is.
21. Would you bother with armed forces? If so, how?
Yes. I have met a few people who have been of the opinion that armed forces shouldn’t exist, but I am not enough of an idealist to share that view for any practical purpose. So long as we’re advocating a Catalan state, I’m pretty sure we’re advocating a system that necessitates a Catalan armed forces. The specifics of that are less important to me.
What would happen if there was a Spanish boycott of independent Catalonia?
Very likely. Catalans would have to find new markets, simply put. I feel like this wouldn’t be as big a challenge as one might think. Catalonia already has international ties, and would develop those more. And it should do so anyways, boycott or no boycott, because reducing its ties to Spain is a good thing as an independent state.
23. What would happen if there was a Spanish military response?
I would hope that it didn’t happen, but I definitely think it could. I don’t think Bono was joking about it when he said he’d want to send the army in to restore order. Hell, I’d be surprised if you couldn’t find a solid bloc of people in Castile who wouldn’t mind sending the Spanish army into Barcelona tomorrow.
24. Can a constituent part of an EU and NATO member even declare independence?
This is a tough one. I don’t know about the legality of it with respect to particularities of EU law or the NATO treaty. It sounds like the EU would like to stay out of it, and probably would be forced to accept it as a fait accompli in the case of independence. NATO probably would act similarly. They certainly can’t say that Catalans don’t have a right to secede, given the Kosovo situation – I’m not sure that would stop them, but I think it’s unlikely they would intervene.
25. Would you demand that companies trading in Catalonia establish separate entities in Catalonia? How?
No. I think Catalonia should accept the help and trade of those it can get and not place too many barriers on outside companies coming in. Their business practices in Catalonia should be regulated and subject to Catalan law, of course.
Also excellent. Second that too.
Very clear thinking! Well done!
I also agree that in point 19) Catalan independance shouldn’t be burdened by other, albeit parallel, issues.
Each man to himself when he gets divorce. Having got it, he may then give a helping hand to anyone wishing to do the same.
Yes Bono & Co. are quite hideous in their intent to scare the Catalans into subordination. I’ve got 4 kids in school here, but I can’t help wanting independance whatever these anachronic dinosaurs say…By the way, it’s about time someone took that attitude to a UN or European court. I would love to see Bono trying to wriggle his way out of this one!
cheers!! visca nois, encara som a temps, tenim dret a la dignitat!
[email protected] Barcelona
In response to Candide
July 5th, 2010 – 15:45
“If you want a “fairer” treatment in matters of money, turn to your representatives. You have them on many levels, the municipalities, the Generalitat, the Catalan members of congress and of the senate. You have MEANS to defend your interests. That is the point.”
That’s not true. We have no means to defend ourselves. The courts are not independent, and the Constitutional Court is the least independent of all the courts. If they can turn out a referendum voted by the catalan people, it means that catalan people power, legally speaking, is zero.
Sorry for my english, in case I have made some mistake.
I have just read an interesting outlet called a “newspaper” that informed me about elections coming up tomorrow in Catalonia. It seems like you are right, the people in Catalonia do not make the laws.
But they sure as hell elect the legislator. What’s fine for any other democratic country should be fine for Spain, ainit so?
Candide, you are being quite slow for Oriol makes a perfectly valid and factual point.
The people of Catalonia and their elected representatives voted for a watered-down Estatut and still its core articles and ethos were vetoed by the unelected Constitutional Court whose members are appointed by the two Spanish parties, PSOE and PP. That’s why the biggest demonstration in our lifetimes was held in Barcelona in July 2010: to reject the Constitutional Court partisan ruling against the settled will of the Catalan people, via referendum.
Thus, the Catalan legislative is powerless against a Spanish state that treats Catalans as second-class “subjects” and refuses point blank to sit down and discuss anything of material value.
Tomorrow’s elections are likely to be won by a party that supports a whole new fiscal settlement, something that would gain the majority support of the Catalan Parliament. Will this be accepted by the Spanish state?
The answer, we know that already, is a rotund no.
It is that simple. Maybe you should read newspapers too instead of being a patronising know-it-all.
Just a few steps back towards reality, again.
Eight of the twelve members of the CC are elected. By the Spanish Congress and the Senate (representing the Autonomous Communities). Four judges each chamber, with a 3/5 majority of each chamber for every candidate. Two more are proposed by the Spanish government and the last two by the CGPJ. All are then “appointed”, yes, by the King.
The “Spanish state” has discussed the Estatut at length and on various levels with the Catalan authorities and policymakers. But, like in any normal country, nobody is above the constitution.
And, if I may add, the Spanish Constitutional Court is also the one of Catalonia, with Catalan citizens having voted for the constitution.
It is interesting that having got the facts wrong you dare to predict the future.
If correcting propaganda is coming over as patronising, so be it.
No matter how you dress it up, the fact is that the CC judges are elected not by the public, (which is what elected means in a democratic context) but appointed by the PP and the PSOE. You are wrong when you say they represent the CCAA. They do not.
Of all the CC judges, how many are elected by the PSOE or PP? All but one I think. Even the appointments by the CGPJ are agreed between the two parties.
All judges are appointed by a tacit pact between PP and PSOE and their appointments are ratified by the King. Also, the CGPJ has an unofficial right of veto: anyone trying to change the status quo and the incumbent dogma of a unified, centralist Spain is blocked. Thus, the judges appointed to this Court are part of a self-perpetuating circle of high legal figures whose ideas are all virtually the same. The representation of the full political spectrum is not allowed in this judicial body because its sole objective is to prevent Constitutional change. The Estatut ruling provides ample evidence of that.
“The “Spanish state” has discussed the Estatut at length and on various levels with the Catalan authorities and policymakers. But, like in any normal country, nobody is above the constitution.”
No, there was no discussion. After the mini-Estatut was approved in referendum, the PP and their elected representatives in other CCAA appealed to the Court for an annulment. At no stage in this process there has been any negotiations between the Catalan Government and the Spanish Government; the latter, cowered by the nationalist histrionics of the Spanish media, deferred the matter to the Court after ratification by the Spanish Parliament. What is a fact is that the Court, for purely political reasons and their obsession with the sacrosanct unity of Spain, which suited the Spanish nationalistic tendencies of the PP and most of the PSOE overturned a decision approved by:
– The Catalan Parliament.
– The Catalan people in referendum.
– The Spanish parliament.
In any normal country, (a working definition of normal would be interesting), Parliament is sovereign and constitutional law is adapted to the settled will of Parliament. Not in Spain though. In my view, that is not how a democracy should work. (The clue is in the name).
If you believe that unelected judges are above the will of elected representatives and the will of people expressed in a referendum, then you have a very odd concept of how a modern, progressive democracy should work.
“And, if I may add, the Spanish Constitutional Court is also the one of Catalonia, with Catalan citizens having voted for the constitution.”
Well, Catalan citizens also voted for the Estatut more recently than they voted for the 1978 Constitution and the Estatut has been decimated.
Why a vote that was taken over 30 years ago under unprecedented pressure from the Army and the old regime in extraordinary circumstances should be more valid than a vote taken a couple of years ago?
Oriol is correct: politically speaking, Catalan people have no power under the 1978 settlement.
If nothing else, you cannot dispute your own argument –unless you suffer from schizophrenia, or some personality disorder, about which one ought to keep an open mind given your disparate ramblings…
Seriously now, what I mean is that you cannot argue at the same time that:
a) Catalan people have the power to elect their legislative arm, and then say,
b) they have to be subjected to the 1978 Constitution no matter what.
For it is the 1978 Constitution that prevents and curtails Catalonia’s political freedoms. Either Catalonia has political power to decide its own future or it has the 1978 Constitution. It can’t be both.
You have chosen the 1978 Constitution above the democratic will of the Catalan people. I think people should be sovereign to decide their own constitutional future.
That you defend so stridently the subordination of Catalonia’s political status regardless of the settled will of its people reveals all we need to know about your positioning in this issue.
Finally, you are not correcting anything but regurgitating the failed arguments of your buried blog. I have told you many times: we can see your ilk a mile away. You are not the first, and won’t be the last. Behind the façade of pretend ambiguity and “unbiased” commentary, your rhetoric, your argumentative narrative mirrors, word by word, that of the Spanish constitutionalists (not “nationalist” of course!) represented by the PP and Ciudadanos.
Again, back to reality:
The people are indeed sovereign, but it’s all the people of one country, not part of them.
The law is not above the will of the people, they can change it. It just takes doing so the legal way.
You are in no position to declare a democratic vote invalid. Nobody is except the people.
This is how it works. If you don’t like it, spare us the adhoms at least.
This is now surreal:
“You are in no position to declare a democratic vote invalid. Nobody is except the people.”
First, where in my post did I declare any vote invalid?
What about the vote for the Estatut? Is it valid or invalid?
No matter how you twist it, Oriol’s assertion is correct, as confirmed and supported by yourself: the political power of Catalan people is zero.
“Why a vote that was taken over 30 years ago under unprecedented pressure from the Army and the old regime in extraordinary circumstances should be more valid than a vote taken a couple of years ago?”
Just stepping short of calling the constitutional referendum a farce, no real democratic exercise… etc etc. etc. And not understanding the legal differences between the two referenda.
Both referenda are valid. Yet they have different legal status and one is subordinated to the other. As is the Estatut to the Constitution.
Candide, the point, surely, is that the PP are using the constitutional court for political purposes. They have appealed against measures in l’Estatut which they approved of for other CAs.
You can bang on about democracy all you like, but as I understand it, the constitution passes control of the autonomous regions to their respective governments via their statutes of autonomy. Not the Catalan Estatut of 1979, which hadn’t even been written yet.
I’m obviously no expert on constitutional law, but it strikes me as pretty rum that the PP (a) uses the constitutional court to attack things it has supported in other CAs, simply because anti-Catalan politics provides it with votes, and (b) that the constitutional court can reject what are, relatively, minor changes to a statute of autonomy already approved by legal referendum and in Madrid’s congress.
If you don’t think there’s something wrong with that, which you don’t seem to, then it seems you’re employing a very limited, indeed as limited as possible, reading of the word ‘democracy’.
I am not sure if I understand all what you are asking me. So I’ll answer and trust you will ask again if I have left anything unclear.
I certainly do not approve of the PP’s partisan maneouvers that are using the constitution as cannon fodder, or cannon balls rather.
The constitution does indeed pass power to Catalonia, foreseeing that any estatut would be put in place, even though it did not exist when the constitution was issued. Autonomies were still to be formed.
I do see the CC entirely fit to rule against any referendum and any vote in any parliament. What else if not that would be its mandate? Any law, by wichever means it came into existence, is subjected to the constitution; except those that, by ways foreseen in the constitution, amend it. This is methinks the core of the problem: legal advisory to the Generalitat was thirdworldian, and in consecuence improper legal means were chosen to achieve the declared aims.
Saying this I might employ a narrow interpretation of the constitution, but I do not think that I do the same with democracy itself. On the contrary, I maintain that the rule of law is a conditio sine qua non for the existence of democracy.
After reading back the comments I think I can do a little more to clarify:
I have never confirmed Oriol’s position of Catalans being without political or legislative power. It is only true, and fair, that their powers/sovereignty be limited by the fundamental law of the state they are part of. For the rest, Catalans, like any other citizen not only in Spain, can take advantage of, and have the right to do so (by the constitution), many levels of political representation (representative democracy being what we live in) to make their voices heard and their will respected. And again, before anybody says the ugly word, never against the constitution, except in the ways foreseen by it (which, again, is no “except”). Illegality does not mean democracy, but its contrary.
There seems to be an unholy mixup of two different definitions of “being Catalan”. I myself am not referring to the cultural definition, I think I have made that very clear, and if not I state again, that I am referring to all the citizens living in Catalonia. I must do so, because I am speaking of every citizens legal rights and obligations. I am speaking law here, not culture. And law, unlike culture, makes no difference.
It seemed to me that others were talking law too, as they were referring to a supposed situation of legal inequality of Catalans vs the rest of Spanish citizens.
I beg that we do not continue mixing apples and pears.
Democracy is a political form of government in which governing power is derived from the people, either by direct referendum or by means of elected representatives of the people. These principles are reflected in all citizens being equal before the law and having equal access to power. For example, in a representative democracy, every vote has equal weight, no restrictions can apply to anyone wanting to become a representative, and the freedom of its citizens is secured by legitimized rights and liberties which are generally protected by a constitution.
The freedom of all catalans as well as their legitimized rights and liberties are subordinated to the constitution, not protected by it. Why? I don’t know, maybe because it’s a spanish constitution and not a catalan constitution. Obviously not all citizens are equal before the law in Spain and that was precisely Oriol’s point.
Your façade ain’t working too well bro, or as we say back home: Se’t veu el llautó.
You almost had me with your state philosophy. But I knew something else was ahead.
There is a certain hierarchy between laws, some are above others . That was my point, nothing else. If you see see this constitution as not protecting the “legitimized” rights of Catalans, it’s your problem in every sense of the word.
On a more general note (if possible), I’d like to express how much I enjoy seeing people stamping their feet and kicking the dust angrily when confronted with the simple and fair reality that a part of the citizens cannot make or brake laws that affect all of the citizens.
Everything becomes so much clearer then they do that.
Yep, I’ll finally agree with you on something it seems, it is indeed my problem. Well, mine and that of every other catalan -and not spaniard living in catalonia which is something completely different. And like every problem, this one has a solution.
Oh, you’re speaking for millions of others! Now I know where the one negative vote for my last comment came from.
Go away, I have nothing more to say to a racist (“not spaniard living in catalonia”). If you haven’t noticed, this blog keeps up the “This machine kills fascists” pic.
And I like it.
I tolerate no solution that echoes any final one.
Sweet! I figured you’d go there. Think it through, how does being catalan or spanish have anything to with race? How would you define the catalan race? Better yet, how would you define the spanish race?
Wow, your machine kills facists huh? And who determines what makes a facist? Once you’ve got the facist labeled as such, do you just pull the trigger and let the machine do the rest? That kind of sounds like something a certain dictator did in Catalonia not long ago, except that he didn’t label people, he labeled them “reds” and there you go, game over. Oh sure, people were “tried” before they were executed. Nevermind that the judges were from one camp and one camp only -the dictator’s- one dosen’t really need to be impartial as long as one’s willing to recognize one’s place in the global political hierarchy.
Everyone craves indetifying with a group, it’s an unavoidable hardwired instinct. Wanting to eradicate other groups, by means of military invasion first and a set of well thought out legal imbalances latter is pretty demented. It’s pretty sad when part of one group’s defining characteristics is it’s desire to see another group eliminated.
When faced with unjust legal constraints, it is irrefutably just to transgress them.
(before you get all worked up, you should know that the library is closing and therefor I won’t be able to respond to your next post for a while, maybe days)
Nin, this is not Candide’s blog. It’s mine.
“This machine kills fascists” is a sticker that Woody Guthrie attached to his guitar when he was performing songs in honour of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Read back on your comment and you’ll understand how silly you sound.
I’ve got no idea who you are but you’ve certainly been edging towards a sort of ethnic nationalism that I find deeply unpleasant. Cut it out, or just fuck off.
Ok Tom, no problem, it’s your blog. I’m not the one who called anyone a racist without any grounds for doing so other than simply discrediting what is nothing more than a perfectly valid opinion.
First of all, I never wrote anything that should make anyone think that I consider this an ethnic conflict. The suggestion that I am speaking for “millions of other”, a “racist” or that I am in any way anything other than radically oposed to mass murder based on ethinc ground (i.e: a final solution) was made -I can only assume with the intention to put words in my mouth- by someone else. My reply was an attempt to illustrate that it was precisely Basques and Catalans who suffered such a fate -It’s still dificult to calculate how many Catalans died in Auschwitz, however historians have written on the matter and the select few who escaped such a fate have told their story in print.
Are there not English, German, French and Italian -just to name a few of the many possibilities- nationals living in Catalonia? Then why can’t there be any Spanish nationals living in Catalonia? Furthermore, anyone who got all up in arms about my comment obviously failed to ask themselves: what makes a Catalan a Catalan? It’s not, this is not only an opinion books have been written on this as well, an ethnic or racial doctrine and has everything to do with one’s perspective, opinion, feelings and use of the catalan language. And since all of these things are subject to change -usually through personal evolution- then really there’s nothing racist or xenophobic in my statement. This is one of the main problems we face. Everyone assumes that “Catalan” describes a certain kind of “Spanish”. This is a fallocy and is completely false! Catalans have never wanted to be anything other than Catalans, to live in Catalan according to Catalan civil law. The proof is in the fact that we had to be conquered by (combined French-Spanish) military force -In 1714- in order to abolish our institutions. The difference, though, between the aforementioned nationals and a Spaniard is that the former don’t define themselves nationally by radically hating anything catalan. If anyone needs this concept cleared up, here’s some reading if you’ve got free-time: http://www.matthewtree.cat/index.php?seccio=llibre&bibliografia_id=36&idioma=1
Tom, I never said that all catalans agreed with me, but I won’t deny that opression under Spain is every catalan’s problem. That problem does have a solution. Talking about it, providing access to various essays and historical documents, debate. This was what I was insinuating although I didn’t expose it because I wanted to keep it a secret. I see now, that it serves my interests better if I just put it out there to “clear my name” so to speak. If you still have problems with what I have to say than I’ll gladly abandon this blog. There’s no point in reading this blog if I can’t speak my mind.
Let me know what you decide, either way I’ve got plenty of catalans to convince that anything other than a sovereign state is cultural -what I would call national- suicide and I prefer to do so face to face.
Trying not to interfere too much into your communication with Tom, having been mentioned indirectly in your comment, I would like to point out, yet another time, that indeed I did answer the question who is Catalan.
We were discussing legal matters, and on that ground I have defined, and continue to do so, every Spanish citizen living in Catalonia as Catalan, and to some extend we may add residents who do not have the Spanish citizenship.
And one historical note: Catalonia has usually tended to be part of Spain, especially in the case you mention (1714). In that case the dispute was about who had to become king of Spain, not who or what should be part of the kingdom.
dead on mate!
I think we have a clear case of Godwin’s law. There is nothing in Nin’s comment which can be construed as racist or xenophobic. But since Oriol’s premise that the political power of Catalan people is completely subordinated to the Spanish state, and therefore null, is irrefutable, and supported by Candide’s own assertion, he goes for the cheap shot of Godwin’s law.
Our Catalan vigilante argumentative prowess is getting weaker by the week.
Are we saying that every resident in Catalonia with a Spanish passport is also Catalan?
My dad would be most offended. He’s been in Barcelona for over 40 years but he does not consider himself Catalan. He or any of his brothers (5).
Why Catalan identity is adopted merely by residency? In that case why restrict it only to Spanish citizens?
And if residency means nationality or cultural identity, in that case am I also Scottish or British? Do I become English when I spend weeks in London for work?
Or is it only in Catalonia that residency equals nationality or identity?
It is an absurd proposition, however we look at it, trying to force people being things they may not want to be. The old saying is that Catalan is anybody that works and lives in Catalonia, and wants to belong to it, via associations, respect and support for its cultural heritage, etc. Not every resident in Catalonia falls into this category and we should respect that.
What Nin is saying is that a Spanish person living in Catalonia who feels no national attachment to the idea of Catalonia, other that it being a subordinate region of Spain, does not have a problem with the Constitutional status quo. This is patently obvious. It is a fact.
My understanding is that the solution he hints at is pursuing a determined pro-independence agenda, without any compromise and without trying to compromise with those whose interests are opposed. In particular, we need to get the older generations to stop feeling sorry for just being Catalan. This guilt complex is what has been holding Catalonia back. Lenin called it the “Slave’s mindset”. (“la moral d’esclau”).
And this is plainly the reason Laporta is so hated (like Colom, Carod or Carretero before him) is because he represents a new generation who no longer will accept being second class citizens to keep Spain happy. Pujol was at one point “Español del Año” because he was submissive and resigned with the situation, tinkering at the edges. Anybody that has challenged the status quo has been criminalised and pilloried by the press in the past.
Now is Laporta’s turn.
Plus ça change…
If the present political and legal situation is not fair to Catalonia (which was the argument presented), then we talk about the rights of all citizens, and all citizens being equal, not some being more equal than others.
Or, in other words, being more Catalan, which is where Nin was going and where you’re following him.
Rab: if anyone proved Godwin’s law, it was Nin (see a couple of comments back).
His argument simply states that “all Catalans” agree with him; and implies that “Spaniards living in Catalonia” don’t. Thus we must accept that all Catalans are pro-independence, and that anyone who isn’t pro-independence is just a “Spaniard living in Catalonia”. Therefore, Catalans must support independence in order to self-describe as ‘Catalan’; and any Catalan who fails to do so is no longer Catalan.
This is what I described as “edging towards ethnic nationalism”: and I’ll say it again, I don’t like it.
Yes unfortunately, one can feel that the Catalan Cause is up against a colossal “Beast” called conformism. But even Pujol went and said he was independentist a few weeks ago, so help is on the way. Laporta, however brave and noble he be, needs a lot of support just to inch one step further.
I would like to see a little “back-door politics” at this stage. Based on facts of course, this could really make a difference and promote Laporta & Co.
First of all Bono has tried to intimidate Catalunya into insubordination saying publically “meteremos orden en Catalunya” or words to that effect. Horrifying! Unacceptable! This must be penalised somewhere, be it in Strassburg, Brussels, the Hague or New York.
Secondly the same goes with the TC sentence towards l’Estatut. We simply cannot obey this sentence without taking it to court somewhere. If you can’t find justice in your own country, find it somewhere else.
For my children’s future, please let’s take at least a legal stand!
[email protected] Barcelona
1. Catalonia is a nation. It’s become clear that it can’t fully develop as a nation within Spain any more: not culturally, not politically, not economically. Spain doesn’t want to recognize Catalonia’s nationhood, doesn’t want to recognize the pluri-national nature of the Spanish state. Creating a federation or even a confederation is impossible: Madrid would never allow it. Therefore, there are only two long term options: either we remain under Spain, without the possibility to decide our future and oppressed by the majority rule within the Spanish state (everything we propose can be overruled by the rest of Spain, because they’re larger), or we declare an independent Catalan state. This is the only way out. Independence is more realistic than a Spanish federation of equal states.
2. Catalans would be able to decide their own future. We would have much better financial resources (now, a third of our tax revenues go to Madrid and never return): therefore, we would be much richer. It would also be a more just society, because we tend to have much more progressive views than Spain. We would have full control on crucial policies, like immigration, economy, finances, and justice. I’m sure independence would bring more welfare, and also a better political environment. We would cease to fight with Spain and complain over the lack of autonomy: the frustrations that we have now as a non-independent nation would disappear.
3. A democratic parliamentary republic.
4. There’s no “bad” timing for such a decision: the crisis is no excuse to postpone independence. The crisis is further aggravated by the fact that we have a huge fiscal deficit because of Spain. There’s also no “good” timing: if we wait for the “right moment”, it will never come. We have to start the process when we feel there’s a political will to do it.
5. This will definitely damage Spain in many ways: they will lose much of their economic, and consequently also political and diplomatic power. It will create a fiscal crisis, because they will have to re-distribute the tax weighs. It will have a huge impact on other autonomous communities that seek independence, especially the Basque Country, but on the long run also Galicia, the Valencian Country and the Balearic islands. Furthermore, it will create a political crisis within Spain: probably a rise of the right-wing, increased nationalism, frustration. Do I worry? I like Spain, and I wish them all well. Plus, they will be our most important neighbor, and an independent Catalonia should have tight and good relations with Spain. But they will have to deal with this. England suffered the consequence of the loss of the British empire (and, before that, of Ireland), France suffered because of the loss of Algeria, Serbia is suffering the loss of Montenegro and Kosovo, Russia suffered the dissolution of the Soviet Empire. Not to speak that Germany had huge consequences (both financial and political) because of the re-unification. Borders change, especially in Europe. And at the end, the countries have to deal with it. Most of them get over it quite quickly. I hope Spain will, too (but I’m sure it won’t be able to keep the Basques if the Catalans go).
6. Absolutely. It would be one of the most prosperous states in Europe. No doubt about it. This was a question for most of the 15 European countries that have declared independence in the last 2 decades: all of them managed to do quite well, although they are much worse off than Catalonia. Even Slovakia, which everyone thought it would turn into an economic disaster, turned out to be one of the economically most successful former Communist states.
7. First step: declaration by the Catalan parliament that it recognizes the results and it will act accordingly (that is, declare an independent Catalan state) in, say, 6 months from the results. In the meantime, the Catalan institutions should actively prepare for the takeover, and start a negotiation with the Spanish authorities: not about the independence itself, but on the many specific open issues. In the same time, the issue should be internationalized. If it turns out that no agreement is possible, then after 6 months, the parliament should pass an unilateral declaration of independence. This was the path followed by Slovenia.
8. This is precisely one of the issues to be negotiated with Spain. I have personally nothing against dual citizenship. Of course, I think Catalan citizenship should be automatically granted to all people living here at the time of the declaration of independence. If some of them want to keep the Spanish citizenship, as well, I see no problem. But I would like to avoid the situation in which the majority of Catalans would also have Spanish citizenship (and honestly, I think Spain would also like to avoid this).
9. I think immigrants should be granted citizenship: at least those living here for a longer period of time (say, 3 or 5 years: I’m personally more inclined to an even lower number). As for the immigration policy: this is something to be decided by the Catalan parliament in the normal political process.
10. No. I see no problem if they want to keep the ties: they will in any way be partners in the same European parties (PP and Unió in European People’s Party, PSOE and PSC in the Party of European Socialists, etc.) What I would expect, of course, is that no Catalan political party has its political center outside Spain. They would have to become independent (here, I mean especially the PPC); I also think there should be a limitation on the amount of financial aid they accept from abroad (that is, also from Spain).
11. Independence is not an easy step: that’s why we need brave people. There might be some problems regarding this: opposition might come mostly from countries that have similar independentist movements (especially Belgium, maybe also the UK). But on the whole, I’m sure Catalonia will be able to find enough allies to support its positions. First of all France, which would be happy to see the diminished power of Spain; then Germany and the Scandinavian countries, and especially eastern European countries which had the same experience. And don’t forget that the EU accepted the German unification: that is, the acceptance of a completely foreign country into the EU because of self-determination. Why shouldn’t they accept a politically stable, prosperous and peaceful country which has been part of the EU for decades? Even if there’s some kind of initial boycott, it won’t last for long.
12. Most probably.
13. I see three options. Either the form of state is decided already on the referendum (that is, the question would be: “Do you want an independent Catalan republic?”): in that case, there’s no doubt that an elected president would replace Juanca. Option B is that first, we declare independence, and we then have a second referendum on the form of government (monarchy vs. republic); or, alternatively, we have a constitutional assembly that writes a new Catalan constitution and then submits it to the referendum. In both cases, there’s no doubt that we would have a republic: this is the will of the vast majority of the society, and of the political elite, as well. Option C is that we negotiate it with Spain: in this case, we might be forced to keep Juanca as the head of state, as a symbolic gesture towards Spain. Most people would hate this, but I don’t think it’s a tragedy. We could always wait for some years until we consolidate our independence and then dethrone him by a popular referendum (similarly to what happened in Ireland, or what is bound to happen in Australia).
14. I think it should. At least in the municipalities where there’s a significant number (say, 20%) of people demand it. In any case, I think there should be a law protecting the rights of Castillian in Catalonia. The exact modalities should be decided after an open and wide public discussion.
15. Freedom of movement is granted to everybody. But frankly, I don’t think there will be many of them. Even in the cases of countries with strong ethnic strives, most people decide to stay. See the Baltic countries or Ukraine: the vast majority of ethnic Russians stayed in those countries, even though they usually don’t speak the native language. The vast majority of Serbs stayed in Slovenia and Macedonia, and so did Czechs in Slovakia or Slovaks in Czechia. I’m sure very few people would decide to leave and independent Catalonia. Why would they, anyway?
16. Senyera. The estelada is the flag of Catalan independentism, so it would become obsolete in an independent Catalonia. Plus, an alternative flag should be left for a possible unified Catalan Countries.
17. They would change. Where’s the problem? In the last 20 years, 14 new countries emerged in Europe only! So there’s plenty of experience in dealing with such issues.
18. This is a matter for constitutional debate. All those rights granted by the current Catalan Statute, the Spanish constitution (including, why not, the right to use the Castillian language), and international treaties.
19. I would leave the door opened in the Catalan constitution for the incorporation of the Valencian Countries, the Balears and Andorra (but not North Catalonia and L’Alguer: this would be irredentism!) in the case if their citizens decide for such a union.
20. Why not? We should also seek to establish an Iberial league, which would also include Portugal. Maybe in the first years after independence, the Spanish league would expel Catalan clubs as a retaliation. But at the end, common sense interests always prevail. I see no long term obstacles for a joint Spanish-Catalan-Basque league (extended, why not, also to Portugal).
21. I would rather not. Maybe just a small task force to deal with possible terrorist threats, and a strengthened civil protection for natural disasters.
22. I don’t believe this is likely to happen. It’s very difficult to enforce a unilateral economic boycott in the current laws of international trade: this is very unlikely to happen, as it would be as damaging to Spain as it is to Catalonia. As for a political/diplomatic boycott: this might be a short-term tactics by Spain, but I don’t believe it would last for long. The real economic interests are much stronger.
23. I also don’t believe this is likely. We’re not in 1970 any more. The Spanish public opinion would be the first to revolt against it.
24. We can set a precedent.
25. There’s no need for that: I guess most of them would eventually do that; but if they want to trade with Catalonia from Madrid, why not? But eventually, they will see by themselves that it’s best for business if they set heir branches here, as well.
Even though independence is a moot point after these elections, we can be proud to have reanimated this threat.
But if it was to see again those very weak and totally misleading comparisons of Catalonia with, say, Slovenia, then it wasn’t worth the effort. These analogies have proven to be false long ago, and to recap that suffice it just to point out, for the n-th time, that Spain has nothing in common with ex-Yugoslavia or Serbia.
Who are you to decide which comparisons are valid and which ones are not? And where do you get that the issue of self-determination is no longer on the table when CiU based their campaign on the right to decide and the fiscal powers? And when one party with 4 month’s existence has achieved 4 seats against a mainstream media blackout? Unlike Cs, who had all the help from El País and El Mundo back in 2006 and only managed 3 seats and they have got stuck already.
The independence issue will dominate the political debate in Catalonia until Catalonia becomes an independent state because there are far too many people unhappy with the status quo and the Spanish state shows no willingness to negotiate, discuss or accept any change to the current framework.
Today, in the Scottish Parliament, a new Bill was passed granting Scotland more powers. In Spain, an unlected cadre of high priests judges decides what laws approved by Parliament are to be allowed and which ones are not. A very strange way to manage a so-called modern parliamentary democracy.
For as long as Spain refuses to accept Catalonia’s demands (via Parliament and referendum) using the holy unity of Spain and its 1978 Constitution as an excuse, Spain is following exactly the same path as Yugoslavia, if not in practical terms yet, certainly in the ethics and morality of the whole issue.
If not, why keep Article 8 of the Constitution? You know, the one being used to threaten military intervention? It sounds very Serbian to me. Or the prohibition to use Catalan in the Spanish parliament, etc, etc.
In the end you know what happened in Slovenia?
All the newspapers and burgeous that were against independence changed their minds very quickly.
The local equivalents of La Vanguardia and El Periodico changed sides from one week to the next unashamedly and the rest is history.
If the tide ever turns in Catalonia (“quan es giri la truita”) we will be shocked at how many turncoats will appear from the most unlikely places.
I have determined a not valid comparision, based on the facts. And I bloody well know what happened in Slovenia. I was there. I do also read Slovene (which makes me wonder which two newspapers you are referring to, and if you’d like to back your assertion with any quote).
Watch out who you’re trying to lecture.
You have not “determined” anything other than your own limitations and prejudice.
And certainly you do not “determine” what are “valid” facts.
You are seriously deluded if you think that rhetorical flourishes and threatening language will win you this argument.
The day independence was unilaterally declared by the Slovenian parliament, in breach of Yugoslavian law (shock, horror!), newspaper Delo published a front page with the message more or less of: “Separation is the road to ruin”, on 25 June 1991.
The following day, the same newspaper published a front page with the Slovenian flag and the caption: “Finally freedom”, on 26 June 1991.
That, dear Candide, is a fact.
Admittedly Delo was a bit of a Jekyll & Hyde newspaper. The joke I have been told was that the workers and management were in charge in alternate days.
But what it is undeniable, what is public knowledge across all journalists in Europe, is the change in the mainstream newspapers’ positioning between 1985 and 1990. What in 1985 was anathema, (ie. separation from Yugoslavia), and only the preserve of a handful of literary and cultural magazines, in a few years became the mainstream dominant discourse. Even Dnevnik and Mladinna ended up supporting independence in the end. And it all happened very quickly, and in breach of the Constitutional law at the time as well.
I wonder, what side did you take at the time Candide?
Was it the unbreakable rule of the (Yugoslavian) law or the right of self-determination of the Slovenian people?
If it is true you were there at the time, I have to wonder how on earth you can justify your current positioning without thinking of the carnage that the concepts of “national unity” and “constitution” have produced when enforced against the will of the people they purport to protect.
In national disputes, and there is ample praxis on this subject in the last 30 years, sovereignty is exercised by self-declaration in opposition to externally or super-imposed legal structures that the self-declared sovereign entity has rejected.
That is what happens in real life. The fact that something is legal does not mean it is just, ethical or moral. Laws have been broken since laws were introduced and that’s how civilizations make progress. The alternative is dogmatic inquisition.
The fact of the matter is, whether you like it or not, that if one day Catalan people decide to break away from Spain and make decisive steps to achieve the goal of full sovereignty, resulting in a UDI by the Catalan parliament and/or referendum, then Spain has two options:
a) send the tanks to enforce the 1978 Constitution, as per Article 8, against the will of the Catalan people;
b) accept the democratic will of the Catalan people.
I won’t even bother to ask again.
Rab, you are comparing democracy and dictatorship. You might want to take notice that Yugoslavia was not a free country, with free people and free media. In Slovenia, not to go into too many other details, the majority of the people wanted democracy, and this was their primary aim.
After negotiating with Yugoslavia the democratisation of the whole federation, and failing to get the desired result, independence seemed the only realistic way to achieve democracy.
Being dictatorship and democracy two diametrally opposed forms of government, which means that living in one or the other fundamentally determines your actions, I see no way of likening Slovenia to Catalonia, or Spain to Yugoslavia.
I think you are doing a disservice to your political ideals if you insist on that point, but what vexes me most is that blurring the otherwise clear line between democracy and dictatorship is in effect an insult to all those who during many years have sacrificed much for political freedom and the rule of law.
As to the articles you mention, Delo’s online archive goes only back to 2004, and my memory isn’t the best either. I have no doubt that those two articles might have appeared as you say, maybe even for the reason you give (there is much truth in that anecdote, it describes a typical situation not only limited to Delo). Or for any other reason. Yet I was asking for something else. I wanted to know on what basis you could compare the censored press of a one-party system with two newspapers of what by law we can call the free press.
To me it makes no sense to compare Delo to El Periódico and Dnevnik to La Vanguardia, or whatever comparison you wanted to draw exactly.
Certainly the whole society changed! And with it the newspapers and magazines, how else could it be. Some were helpful, like Mladina, others resisted change until the last day. Nova Revija was on the forefront of critical thought, and it was also a defender of Slovenian national interests.
Not to forget the phenomenon that many in the press kept their loyalty to the Slovenian Communists (which in turn reinvented themselves several times, but always trying to cling on to power, politically and economically speaking), even though they were now for democracy. Also this speaks for how different the situation was there and then from the one here and now.
Very good thinking!
I would like to sue the TC for their biased sentence of l’Estatut.
I would like to sue Jose Bono for trying to intimidate Catalunya into subordination by saying officially “meteremos orden en catalunya”.
We must use international courts more as we will never find justice in Spain.
[email protected] Barcelona
I’d LOVE to see that happening! Really. Very much.
Have you signed this petition yet?
Salut i feina!
Thank you, Nin. You’ve made my day.
The ACN video is as badly filmed and edited as usual, I think it’s a fair guess that the heap of papers these two yokels left in Strasbourg is equally badly written and nothing will come of it but, once again, “the internationalisation of the Catalan cause”.
Guys, it’s time to change your underwear. And mind also that too much wanking damges your CNS.
I’m looking forward to the sequels: once it’s clear that Strasbourg is a dead end, Catalonia will want to declare independence from Europe.
200 years later the case will arrive at the courts of the United Federation of Planets. Neatly written in Klingon, because Catalans will have declared symbolical independence from Planet Earth.
By then the Catalan flag will still have yellow and red stripes, but it’ll be slip-shaped and popularly know as the taiti guaiti.
If they go, they should make sure they take their fair share of the national debt. Catalan companies were instrumental in the property boom and bust that has left Spain’s economy bankrupt, La Caixa and La Caixa de Catalunya were particularly egregious offenders.
Oh, really? Did you read that on Marca?
Of course we’ll take a share of the national debt. Just the idea of getting rid of all the crashing bores who threaten to leave Catalonia if it becomes independent, as if this would dissuade anyone, makes whatever price we have to pay seem like a joke.
Spoken like a real statesman and taking care of even the most minor details. Bravo.
Primo, have you got any answers to the articles about Laputa yet? Or have you just decided that there’s no need to discuss anything that hasn’t appeared on tv3 news?
I don’t know nothing about Laputa except that it’s somewhere in Russia. Look, I was merely laughing at the fact that you were quoting Marca & Intereconomia –one a laughable sporting newspaper, the other a bizarre, far-right ultra-nationalistic media group– in what I thought was a serious political debate. Of course, since a certain Candide made appearence the debate turned into anything but serious, so maybe I should’ve known better.
Hi primo. Nice wig, dude.
It is only to be expected.
Candide is only too happy to quote from the media from which he derives his rhetoric and primary argumentative logic. His whole discourse can be sourced to a bizarre combination of LD, Intereconomia and PP/Cs. He appears to have a pathological dislike of most things Catalan (unless they are subordinated to Spain of course) therefore it is quite normal he sources his news from ultra-nationalistic, proto-fascist outlets like Intereconomia, or the former sports newspaper known as Marca, from the same stable as El Mundo, that reliable and unbiased news source for Spanish politics.
El Primo, it is very easy: all Catalans have to do be happy and content with their lot is to accept without hesitation or deviation that the unity of Spain is sacrosanct and that the 1978 Constitution is the best thing since sliced bread, and it is untouchable and perfect in every possible way imaginable, and that it is only right that Catalonia is a mere subordinate administrative entity within Spain and that’s they way it is and that’s the way it should be for the rest of time, and who gives a monkey about what Catalan people vote or want for their own future anyway, and if they dare challenge the way things have been set out to be then tanks will be deployed if necessary because that’s what needs to be done with people who break the law, and the Constitution allows for it anyhow so it must be right.
Those were not my quotes. in fact, I usually quote Catalan media.
Reality knocks again. But stay unphased.
Since the yearly fiscal plundering Catalan residents are subjected to would allow to rescue Ireland every two years, the last thing to worry about is the bloody money methinks.
But never mind guys, you carry on.
Enough bickering already.
What can one answer to someone who demands a serious political debate and openly laughs at other people’s arguments, all in the same sentence.
Serious political debate implies the use of serious news sources and to rise beyond the vindictive criminalisation of an individual whose only crime is to be a determined activist for Catalan independence, and to have been the most successful president of FC Barcelona.
But that’s the modus operandi of Spanish nationalists and their supporters: criminalise and destroy anyone who has the balls of attempting to be a catalyst for change. The list is long: Garakoitxea, Ardanza, Ibarretxe, Colom, Carod, Carretero and now Laporta. He is not the first and certainly won’t be the last.
Serious political debate my backside.
Serious debate means taking the other seriously and disprove his arguments, then you can also laugh. It does not help to always call the other a Spanish nationlist. You know better, and you’re only talking coram publico to see if some dirt sticks.
Rab, if you believe that a property lawyer in noughties Spain is in any way honest or indeed a fit person to be in charge of a corner shop, I wonder if you’ve ever even been to Catalonia
My problem with Laputa is that he is a member of a right-wing, greedy, conservative class that is out for itself alone. The fact he is part of the Catalan section of it not the Andalusian or Basque one is by the by. The man is an inmobiliario, I’d hate him whatever language he spoke or whatever his political views were.
To paraphrase Bakunin, the world will never be free until the last of his sort is strung up with the entrails of the last priest.
Boy, have I told you that I have started using “Laputa”, too? I hope I have your permission.
First, I have never stated what you attribute to me, so I don’t know where you get your first statement from.
My dad was in the building business all his life, so I am fully aware of the what’s going on.
Your problem with Laporta (that’s his actual name by the way) is that he is a determined activist for independence and not someone, like say Duran i Lleida, who has an inferiority complex. What do you think of the PP officials, and many in the PSOE that have got rich by buying and selling property? Why don’t you heave such bile against them?
And seriously why the hell is a single guy the recipient of so much hatred when the real blame lies at the hands of successive PSOE and PP governments that have failed to improve the economic model in Spain? Not only have they failed to do anything, but your friends in the PP have been busy building the biggest property bubble of Europe in Valencia and Murcia? And the PSOE has been doing likewise in Andalucia.
These and the banks are the real culprits of the property fiasco and the consequent banking collapse not someone like, of all people, Joan Laporta.
But we already know the answer: they are not flippin’ Catalan separatists. Laporta is, hence everything goes. Not the first time, not the last.
Your hero Rivera for example is another lawyer, working for La Caixa until he entered politics. Who is worse a lawyer in his own practice or a lawyer working for the biggest bank in Catalonia?
In the context you are referring to (property speculation), Laporta is an absolute nobody.: a simple lawyer.
Then, we have the small matter that Laporta and his partner key business area is commercial law, (derecho mercantil), but hey, who cares about that when facile wordplay is so amusing?
I’m 12 years old and what is this?
Tigers and that.
1.- Why no? If the Catalan citizens, in democracy and freedom wish to form a state, with that right can deny such thing?
2.- The Catalan citizens will be free to decide by them same and take his own decisions and resources. Inside Spain, can not neither so at least decide the limit of speed and our roads.
3.-I’d rather a republic, because my values are republican. But this will have to decide it all and each one of the citizens.
4.- The freedom or the submission do not depend of crisis, although it is true that in crisis remains to the discovered the fiscal robbery that Spain subjects to the Catalans. 12% of his gross inner product in return only of insults and contempts by part of the majority of Spaniards and of his government.
5.- A lot of damage.Catalonia (without explaining the territories where speaks Catalan) is 22% of the gross inner Spanish product, has of 20% of the total population and is the number one in investigation, sportive clubs, literary production, artistic, cinematographic, economic, banking and with an excellent situation geo-economic, with the biggest port inthe Mediterrane and with a big International airport in the south of Europe.
6.-It will be the 4th in the UE. Acctually the gross inner product is like Sweeden or Denmark, and before the robbery of spain (22.000.000.000.-€ per year) we are behind Greece.
7.-Yes. And according to the court of the city Den Haag(Holland), with 51% in favour suffices.
8.- They would be citizen foreigners to the equal that a Spanish citizen in Italy.
9.- A foreign immigrant, in the moment that Catalonia turns into a sovereign state, becomes citizen of this state.
10.- Of course, it is the normal. Out of the typical by ideological vicinity. I explain me, a lot of sovereign states have belonged to others, like this the Irish parties have bows with the British? The Spaniards with the French?The Norwegians with the Swedish? The Indians with the British? The Algerian with the French? The yankees with the British?
11.- This is impossible, since the Catalan citizens already are an Europeans citizens. If Catalonia could not form part of the EU, Spain neither, since the result of the separation of Catalonia, Spain would be another different state that signed the agreements of the EU
For example, if Flandes could not form part of the EU, Valonia neither, since Belgium without Flandes no longer would be Belgium.
12.- I’m sorry, I do not understand well the question.
13.- As I have said before, I prefer a Republic, but if the majority of Catalans want to have king, will have to decide the one who could be.
14.- The languages do not have right, have right the citizens. In an independent Catalonia the Spanish is a foreign language, with the same rights that the German in Portugal.
15.- They are free to go where they wanna go.
16.- The estelada is the independentist flag. Once we are a sovereign state, this flag will leave to have sense. The Official would owe to be the senyera.
17.- Simple negotiation with Spain.
18.- The human rights and valid civilians in any democratic society.
19.- With good relations. Each society has to decide by them same.
20.- The Spanish league would not leave to the best club of the world, since the one who would lose would be Spain. Other European expect with an open arms a club with tens of winning sportive sections(football, basket, handball, hockey, etc…)
Besides, in sports, Catalonia is much more that the FC Barcelona. Catalonia wins it almost everything there where competes.
21.- Catalonia would have armed forces, as any state of the world. Catalonia is not neither the vaticano neither Costa Rica not to have.
22.- The Catalan companies sell 60% of his production to the world, no to Spain. Whereas Spain sells 30% of his production to Catalonia. Spain would lose sure.
23.- Spain would leave to be in the NATO, in the European union and surely out of the United Nations. Besides the international investors would take out the bottoms of the stock exchange, this would fall and would be the economic ruin of Spain.
Besides it would be an democratic involution for the Spanish citizens, that while the Catalans exert the right to the vote and to the self-determination, the Spaniards take out the tanks and the guns. All the planet would know that the fascism keeps well alive in Spain.
24.- Of course. Why not? The EU will leave went to Scotland, Catalonia or Flandes? NO!!
25.-No, but the same way like France, GB, or Germany.
Comments on this post remain open. However, I have removed the more recent off-topic replies (including mine) as I don’t think they were helping anyone.
Visca Cataluya lliure amics! Visca la dignitat d’una nació atrapada en una altre!
Com fer-ho? portar el TC i Jose Bono als tribunals internacionals, per començar.
[email protected] Barcelona
I’d like to have a crack at your 25 points Tom, and chuck in the 26th for luck – that is, your question on France made in the later post.
1. Why should Catalonia be independent?
Because it’s a recognisable cultural and historical group of people who in other circumstances would be called a nation. If they can demonstrate the will do so through a free and fair referendum, the principles of self-determination should allow it to become so.
2. What exactly do you think will be gained if Catalonia becomes independent?
Fiscal fairness and self-reliance, as well as the international recognition that goes with independence, leading to increased international investment (someday, when the climate is right). Moreover, a side benefit for the Spanish state would be the catalyst to reform and amend its ridiculously unadapted and incompletely democratic constitution. Win-win.
3. What model do you see an independent Catalonia adopting? Some sort of republic? How would it be organised?
Naturally a republic. The exact constitution would depend on a constituent assembly democratically elected, as recently in Iceland. Details TBA.
4.Do you think that the current crisis is a good time to decide something like this? Why?
When the fiscal imbalance is so much to Catalonia’s detriment, the sooner the better. But realistically, the independentist pressure going on right now could only come to fruition in 5 years at the very erarliest, when the situation may well be better.
5. What damage do you think this would do to Spain? Do you worry about that?
Quite the reverse, I believe Spain would gain the impetus to reform itself and finally become a fully-functioning democracy. It would be like Letizia having a boy child, forcing them to go through an amendment process.
6. Is an independent Catalonia an economically viable state?
If Denmark, Norway, and Luxemburg (to give a few examples) are viable, why shouldn’t Catalonia be the same? They would have to take care with banking regulations and fiscal discipline to avoid a Greece/Ireland trap, though.
7. What should the process be in the result of a vote in favour of independence?
Preferably a negotiated separation; failing that a unilateral declaration of independence.
8. What should be the status of Spanish citizens in Catalonia? Would dual citizenship be allowed?
Something like in the relationship between Ireland and the UK, nationality-wise. I’m a dual of both the UK and Eire, for example, and it never did me any harm. Bilateral recognition of full civil rights in both places. EU regulations make this point moot for the most part.
9. What about immigrants? Would they become citizens? What would the immigration policy be?
The same as any other comparable state. Those who are resident at the moment of independence should automatically have the right to become Catalan nationals, if they so wish.
10. Would you expect all the political parties in Catalonia to break ties with their Spanish equivalents?
Yes, but they could obviously be closely federated.
11. What would happen if the EU had trouble accepting Catalonia as a member?
Keep insisting until they accepted, which they would soon enough. In the meantime insist unilaterally that we were de facto EU members, keep using the Euro like in Andorra. I honestly don’t think they want a hole in the EU on the Mediterranean shore.
12. What would happen to Catalan government agencies aimed at trade and business? Would they be absorbed by embassies?
Yes, just like trade delegations at any other country’s embassy.
13. Who would be the head of state? Would you deny Juan Carlos’s claim to sovereignty?
A President, duly elected either as figurehead or executive, depending on the constitution of the emergent republic. I don’t think many people would want the King to remain as HoS, but it’s an option just as in the British Commonwealth.
14. Would the Catalan constitution guarantee the right to receive state services in Castilian Spanish?
Yes, vitally important to maintain equal rights for Spanish-speakers. I would vote against any emergent constitution that insisted on a single official language, and I believe most of the public would also.
15. How would you deal with people potentially wanting to leave for Spain proper?
Ask them to come back on holiday next summer, they’d be very welcome. Free movement within the EU, remember?
16. What flag would you have? Senyera or Estelada?
I don’t care about flags. Whatever.
17. What would happen to utilities like the phone/data system?
They’d stay more or less as they are. A new country code for phones, a small technical isssue.
18. What sort of rights would be included in the constitution anyway?
All the rights guaranteed by the EU constitution as a minimum. The usual.
19. How would you deal with other parts of the ‘Catalan Countries’? Would you seek their absorption?
This is a very long-term issue. No moves for absorption would be appropriate or feasible for generations, if ever. Few French citizens in Rousillon would vote to join Catalonia, for example.
20. How important would the status of FC Barcelona be? Do you think the Spanish league would still have them?
Barça would be just as important as ever. Don’t see why the Spanish League couldn’t go on as before. After all it’s just a game for big soft kids.
21. Would you bother with armed forces? If so, how?
I personally see armed forces for small nations as a waste of €€€, but some moderate sized force like that of Ireland might be desired. Don’t see much military value in it though. Nor in the Spanish armed forces for that matter.
22. What would happen if there was a Spanish boycott of independent Catalonia?
It would be as badly organised as anything else in Spain and fall away to nothing in weeks. Symbolic only.
23. What would happen if there was a Spanish military response?
I personally would set fire to their tanks with molotov cocktails and train my kids to be resistance fighters. Seriously, it wouldn’t really happen, they couldn’t even face up to Morocco in 1974.
24. Can a constituent part of an EU and NATO member even declare independence?
What is there either in NATO or the EU constitution to stop it?
25. Would you demand that companies trading in Catalonia establish separate entities in Catalonia? How?
I’m not expert in company law, but I imagine there wouldn’t be any real need to do so. EU companies can trade without hindrance anywhere.
26. Do you really think France would stand for what it might see as the first of several new states springing up on its borders?
As with Spain, France may not like it. But arguments about self-determination in the wake of a putative solid referendum result would erode any institutional resistance.
In answering these, I was often thinking of counter-questions:
Why shouldn’t Catalonia be independent?
What’s in the UN, EU or any other transnational organ’s constitution to stop it?
And so on. But that’s for another time, perhaps. And Tom, it’s your blog, you call the shots. Good questions, thought provoking and relevant (except for football, monarchs and flags).
Sanest thing I have read from the side I don’t agree with in months.
I appreciate your comment, I learned my realism the hard way from being in constant contact with fanatics and dreamers. More debate on the newer post, BTW. I’m looking forward to your comments…
Good clear thinking.
In the aftermath of 10/4 dret a decidir en Barcelona, I feel a certain tiredness and conformism in the independance process.
Will someone please take the TC sentence on l’Estatut and Jose Bono to international courts?
No biased 12 member anachronistic tribunal has the right to misguide 8 million souls to an undignified fate. Nor may we allow ourselves to be intimidated militarily or otherwise into subordination.
My childrens’ dignity is at stake here. I will never give up until Catalunya is independant. My Viking blood does not allow subordination to anyone.
Visca Catalunya lliure amics! Cada vegada som mes a prop. Al final guanyarem!
[email protected] Barcelona
BTW, and excuse me for “spamming”. If any of you would like to debate any or all of these issues in English, please come along to the conference and concert at the Cupola of the new Les Arenes centre (Plaça Espanya) next Friday 8th at 7.30pm where the 10-A people will be having some discussions with international observers. Then there’s a free rumba gig.
Can’t guarantee free nibbles or booze, but I’ll do my best. Would love to chat to both supporters and opponents of independence, though…
Kenneth Rogoff one of the most important economists of the world, member of the FMI said today in an interview with a Spanish magazine that a free Catalonia would be one of the richest states of the world. Today, after the 22.000 million of euros that Spain steals us every year, Catalonia is at the same level than Morocco.
That is the main reason by which Spain can not allow that Catalonia be free.
“España, sin embargo, es un país con numerosas fortalezas y no se puede comparar con otros países. Tiene multinacionales que son excelentes, tiene regiones como Cataluña que, aislada, sería uno de los países más ricos del mundo… Pero, desde luego, sin crecimiento todos los planes de reestructuración de la deuda no serán sostenibles.”
I’d love to know what he said in the space covered by the “…” and which was considered uninteresting to print by the editors of Capital.
So what he actually says is that Catalonia, not “an independent Catalonia” but the one that exists today, if taken “alone” would make a very rich country. In other words: it is one of the richest regions of one of the richest countries. Really new news.
He does not talk about Morocco.
Thanks for the effort, Alan. It’s really great to have you in this debate.
Candide, you don’t understand well the Spanish language, since the quoted economist of world-wide nickname says: “Catalonia alone, would be one of the richest countries of the world”.
Obviously Kenneth Rogoff does not speak about Morocco, do it I. But it’s obvious that the income per capita of the Catalans is upper to the German or to the Danish (rich countries) and after Spain steal us (22.000 million euros per year,an upper figure to the Plan Obama) the income per capita of the catalans equalises to the Morocco.
That are the data that the Spanish economi Ministry resists to publish breaking his own law.
You can can read it in the Financial Times for exemple.
Samo, for the sake of your own dignity, I would resist the temptation to criticise others about their linguistic competence. With all due respect, your English is just not good enough to talk about translation issues.
Here’s my translation of the pertinent quote:
“Spain [… ] is a country with enormous strengths and cannot be compared to other countries. It has excellent multinationals, it has regions like Catalonia, which, considered apart, would be one of the richest countries in the world…”
“Considered apart” is IMO the best translation for the term “aislada”. It would be interesting to see what Prof Krogoff said in English during the original interview, but we’ll never know.
Alan, the three dots had me wonder too. But then I looked at how he uses them in other contexts in the same article, and they seem entirely superfluous each time, or at best the journalist’s indication that an enumeration of various elements could go on.
It does not seem to be the usual (…) indicating that something (minor) was left out of the quote, which anyway is not as frequently done in Spain as it is in, say, the US.
@Alan – maybe it’s worth asking the Prof yourself? He might go into a little more detail.
On the other hand, maybe I should.
I’ve already written an e-mail to him inviting him to be the guest of the 10-A organisation over the weekend. Here’s hoping…
Ok, this is now Alan’s Miraculous Response Time 😀
Oh, things are moving fast in the last few days, sure enough, and the 10A outfit is a very agile organisation in the PR sense, doesn’t take 10 minutes to get approval for an initiative like that.
Only remains now to see if any of the correspondents show up for the big weekend, or if they’ll do the usual and file some distorted report based on EFE bulletins and ABC editorials.
Just an advice, Alan. If you do anything like this
all your efforts will have been in vain.
Mr Strubell is right in protesting that the independentist cause was distorted by Julian Glover.
To his credit, Glover did the footwork and actually came here, which is unusual. But he didn’t do much homework.
First he went to Figueres and looked at trains and people jogging, but didn’t bother to ask any questions like a real journalist should. Then he notes that “[the autonomic system] does not allow Catalans to keep their tax revenues” but fails to note the enormous €22bn sum involved here.
Then, having acknowledged that mainstream politicians have become independence-minded (presumably he means Presidents Pujol and Mas but doesn’t mention them) he goes to talk to the ERC, who are about as irrelevant as anything in Catalonia nowadays.
Then a chat with Pilar, much more reasonable though disillusioned, and finally a love-in with the charming Albert Rivera. This “intelligent and impressive” figure immediately likens our case to the worst kind of genocide in Kosovo. For a little pluralism he talks to the Green lady, who doesn’t care anyway, and then his dialogue with Strubell, which Strubell notes was not recorded.
Where’s the ruling party CiU or the main opposition group PSC in all this? Why didn’t he try to get an interview with Mas, who speaks quite good English?
In the weekend when everyone was talking about Artur Mas voting in 10A, why doesn’t he mention that?
If Mr Glover takes up the invitation to be a guest of 10-A this weekend (which looks unlikely as now he’s “been there, done that”) I’ll make it my personal task to give him a bit more background than he presently enjoys.
All in vain? Not really, though the general tenor of the article was negative, it wasn’t too negative, and I note that the piece has 326 comments so far on the Guardian website. Even distorted coverage is better than no coverage at all. Though he characterises the independence movement as ungrateful for all our nice motorways and airports, and dreadfully curmudgeonly in the person fringe-loonie Huguet, he does note that it’s all peaceful and democratic and not terrorist like “those Basques”. So that’s something, at least we’re not all bloody and violent and everything. We can build on that.
Eeeexactly. It was not a negative peace about Catalonia, it had no “Madrid bias”. It was flawed (which piece isn’t, especially in the eye of the close observer of the situation on the ground?) but you can build on that.
Your criticism is reasonable, however much I’d debate some points. Strubell’s (“I’ll discuss with everybody who dares to face me”) is not, and such figures should be kept far away from the international press.
Oups, “peace”… Thank you, Sigmund.
Thanks Allan. I forgot to quote it.
I’d take this with a grain of salt, as he obviously hasn’t studied the issue in depth. However, it’s a handy quote that you can use against the scaremongers who claim an independent Catalonia wouldn’t be viable economically.
An only slightly more professional quote of Rogoff via Capital comes from that little shite which is the CNA:
“Aislada” gets translated back into English with three (3!) words: “as an independent nation”, and makes the headline. Given the article’s fair level of English (as usual: no budget for professional translation?) one can clearly see that the CNA, the English language version of Catalonia’s “national wire service” ACN, is out there to lie. It is not a iota better than some guy on the web. It’s actually worse, because Samo didn’t exactly lie.
The difference being that nobody pays Samo a cent, he should get angry. While he makes up his mind, I’m angry that my money, via public funding, is sunk into that bitchy mean caricature of journalism that is the CNA/ACN.
Just another reason against Catalonia’s independence: they suck.
Bummers, that was actually 4! words.
Too true Samo!
Spain cannot allow us freedom. They depend on us like a drunk brute depends on his battered wife to go to the liquor store.
One day though, she doesn’t come back…
[email protected] Barcelona
This is the second time that I apologise by my bad English.
No one should have to apologise for their language skills here. Nor should anyone feel the need to correct anyone else’s language skills: it’s hardly the point of the post or the blog. And that goes for everyone.
Wow, interesting answers @Alan Murphy, thoughtful and thought-provoking, with a really good dose of realism (even thought obviously this is a situation that isn’t real). It’s my opinion that those who wish that Catalunya should be independent will need to be humble in order to further and progress the cause, and these answers to appear to be respectful of the situation.
Further to my earlier comment, I’ve been thinking about @Alan’s responses, and I think that the majority of them are well reasoned and offer a good answer. Perhaps at some stage I will get chance to write down a few of my thoughts on where our opinions differ, but for now, I would like to highlight a couple of areas where there is a big difference is what we each believe.
Firstly, I think it un-wise to disregard the importance of national symbols, especially the flag. My background is in design, especially branding, and although it may sound silly, symbols like the flag are both extremely important within a country and for outsiders looking in.
You only have to look at any march or rally in support of Catalunya or the Catalan language, the Senyera is everywhere, it’s something that people can use to show their support, and belong to the group.
In terms of the effect outside the country, if Catalunya becomes independent, it will be extremely important to announce itself to the world. Catalunya has a unique opportunity to present it’s face to the wider world for the first time, so how if presents itself is important.
I actually looked at this for my major project at university, and whilst it was a fair few years ago, I think the basic points are still the same. For an example of this, I would actually use the Spanish ‘brand’ as it is one of the most successful national branding campaigns ever undertaken. Ironically, Spain’s use of a Miro-inspired logo to promote itself abroad completely changed world-wide opinion from that of a lazy, siesta-taking back-water, to that of a modern, cool and forward looking country ready to take it’s place in the world.
Catalunya already has a very strong image within it’s regional boundaries, but it will certainly need to take that forward and build on it in order to successfully introduce itself into the minds of people around the world.
Your point about the symbolic power of flags and symbols is well made, and I have to agree with you. Seems the Senyera would be an obvious and uncontroversial choice for an independent Catalonia, and in that sense is a no-brainer.
It’s just a personal thing, I don’t like flags at all, being Anglo-Irish I’ve seen my share of conflict and violence over issues that are purely symbolic like denominations of supposedly Christian churches which preach hate for each other, and flags and crowns which really don’t make a bit of difference in real life but stir up a massive amount of animosity.
I cheered for Spain in the World Cup as I suppose most of us did, but I didn’t fly their flag. I’ll campaign for Catalan independence, but I won’t fly that flag either, instead I carry a banner calling for social and civil justice. I won’t fly an Irish tricolour to create the enmity of my British neighbours and I won’t fly a Union Jack so that my family will come to resent me. And I won’t burn anyone’s flag either.
There’s a case in the courts right now of a twenty-something guy from Geerona who grabbed a Spanish flag from a Ceuta supporter in a soccer match and symbolically wiped his arse with it. Stupid and obnoxious behaviour, and maybe he could be charged with assault for his violent act. But no, he’s charged with “ultraje a la bandera Española” and faces 9 months’ prison and a €3000 fine. The childishness of the football hooligan is more than matched by the infantile response of the prosecutor in this case and other similar ones.
I just love those guys who wear their flag everywhere on their bodies. When they’re making bermuda shorts out of it -which I have seen- they’re effectively a case for said prosecutor.
I’m looking forward to more comments my friends!
Only a fool would conform when we are closer than ever to freedom.
After almost 300 years of subordination, I can feel some of us will never give in.
Economically we are being sapped of all will (8,8% of Catalan GDP is absorbed fiscally by Spain, 9,1% according to the Generalitat) – enough to weaken even the strongest economy. This alone is a clearcase fiscal crime. Unsustainable by all accounts. These are facts that must be held in the balance of an international and unbiased court.
I insist that the the TC sentence of l’Estatut be nullified by international courts.
I insist that any intimidation of Catalans into subordination such as that made by Jose Bono’s insinuation “meteremos orden en Catalunya” be also sanctioned by international courts.
Please don’t give up my friends!
Unlike with our domestic marvel called ACN, this piece is actually filmed and edited quite well. The reporter is a little stiff and clumsy at first, but gets warmer and eases up afterwards.
I admire Aznar, his English is so pure I actually understood every word and didn’t have to look at the subs once. That must be the result of giving lessons in renowned US universities.
Solé, Pujol et al. are just lying their way through the interview, I expected nothing else. I would have expected the hack to put their words into context.
Matthew Tree’s Catalan is near perfect. It had sweet undertones of Lluís Llach and Llamon Llull. My favourite piece of this docu, especially because of Tree’s wisdom (did you know that there are trees that can get more than 5.000 years old): people were “moved in” to Germany, in order to break up its society and make it a mere annex to Spanish rule of conquest.
Pujol’s Spanish was a little off-track for the regular viewer, very small-townish, I did have to rely on the subs here.
F.J. Losantos couldn’t be missed. For me personally, this guy has long ceased to be a journalist, and the treatment he receives here made it clear to me that this BBC journalist agrees.
So it’s always good to go back to the leather-clad English skinhead to find the informational balance the journalist is constantly unable to provide himself.
The only fault I see in this great and well-balanced documentary (that’s what they call it, right?) is the interview with Curri Valenzuela. This woman is so obviously a nuthead that anything anybody opposes to her views (e.g. the leather-clad type) *must* sound like sound reasoning.
Which makes the “documentary” die as such at this very moment. The journalistic obligation is to present all sides in conflict and to do this by letting these sides be represented by a well reasoned opinion, if there is such. In this case, we know there is, and I am not talking about the nationalist nutters from either side. There is even a third or possible fourth side that is going entirely unrepresented.
The “journalist” of this “documentary” has taken side, one nutty side out of the two he could come up with, pitting them against each other in an insane contest of insanity. Thanks for presenting the alternatives, thanks for giving the audience a choice. I’ve learned a lot. Now go home.
At 12:35 this piece-a… is finished for me.
The only thing to add is that the leather-guy (precisely at 12:35) is pointing out that Catalan people are surrounded by Spanish language because the so-very-patriotic-newspapers-of-greater-Catalonia haven’t been able to switch to Catalan for 30 odd years. But they’ll always be happy to call on the legislator to fill in their voids.
After this, no need to listen to the rest. I did not, my time is too precious and I have arrived at an age where I have been bullshitted before and don’t need to repeat the experience.
Haven’t had time to check more than a few minutes of this doc (not BBC, Candide, independently made), but on a related note, there is a BBC report on bullfighting’s end in Catalonia:
Will try to get back and respond to Candide’s comment below later.
Yeah, dude. I know. And Tree doesn’t speak about immigration to Germany, either, but to Catalonia. Nor does Aznar speak English (double sense intended). Now you got my drift.
Hey, it’s nice you’re back! Let’s have a brawl again. 🙂
For the sake of our friendship I have watched the rest of this oeuvre. Several of the Catalanists presented commit the hyperbole of comparing the treatment of the Jews 80 years ago to that of Catalans today by ..well, the Spanish, we understand (Losantos turns the argument around 180 degrees, very inspiringly). Tree is one of the perpetrators of such nonsense, and also compares the press of pre-war Yugoslavia to that of Spain (minus Catalonia, but yes!). Wittgenstein demands him to shut up, but Tree rather goes with the old Spanish saying “En quien nada sabe, pocas dudas cabe”. He’s gone totally local, what a pity.
So much obvious bullshit deserves only to be called bullshit. I guess that the English teacher from Mataró doesn’t expect to sell his *bullshit* to any German TV. But I’m afraid he is being naive if he expects other countries’ channels to be dumber.
Interesting is also that one of the interviewees (M. Tree, who else) is listed as the translator (and who translates “reactiva” with “reactionary” at 33:44). Reminds me of another quality product called ¿Bye Bye Spain?, in which several of the interviewees were also advisers to the production. Waaaanky.
With all this, co-director Grau Serra (who claims in his CV (www.grauserra.com) to have interviewed “various presidents of government” for this piece) the same year made another documentary called “La caza del último Nazi”; and apparently learned nothing from it.
The worst for me personally is that Matthew Tree makes me feel like an idiot every time I watch him. I’d be perfectly able to write and speak the same bullshit to please some of the local folks here and make a killing. But I don’t and have problems to make ends meet.
Oh, I just woke up and realised I forgot to send the list of Spanish presidents from Catalonia, with pure Catalan names: Serafí Maria de Soto i Ab-Ach, Joan Prim i Prats, Estanislau Figueras i de Moragas, Francesc Pi i Maragall, Antoni Maura i Montaner.
I send this list because at 33:27 Carod-Rovira says “A Catalan president of Spain would be unthinkable”. What does he base this assertion on? History is obviously not with him, yet I admit that the above names are all from many years ago (the mid-1800s to 1921). So would a Catalan candidate have less chances today when democracy in Spain has been around for longer than ever before?
Is it then unthinkable that *today* there could be a president of Spain from Catalonia? Antoni Duran i Lleida is the General Secretary of CiU, the coalition that presently rules in Catalonia. Opinion polls have named him (I understand repeatedly, apart from recently) Spain’s most respected politician. Does that make him less likely to become president of the Spanish government?
Carod-Rovira has hit rock bottom so many times, so what’s another time. That’s not the point.
The point is that the gullible English teacher from Mataró who wishes to be a journalist (one light-year is about 6 trillion miles) takes Carod-Rovira’s claim with not the slightest sign of doubt. I bet he doesn’t even know the facts above. He doesn’t have to, he has his mind made up from the start and follows a pre-designed line all through this “documentary”. That is what you do not call journalism, you call it propaganda. It is the antithesis of journalism. Nothing else. In brief: It cannot be worse.
“Spain’s secret conflict” is, after “¿Bye bye Spain?” just another piece of shite some people get all wet over, which is why I am entirely free to call them Cataloonies.
Listen you Cataloonies, you can only be happy about any journalistic work when it’s not that, but a blatant lie. Your ethics have gone into the cellar and got buried there long ago, rotting ten feet deep under a rock. You have gone blind and deaf, so you only react to the sweet stench of adulation. Your life is worth nothing if you do not praise yourself every day.
This “documentary” is duly making the round among you, being recommended in your blogoshpere as a must-see, touted as “the best video I’ve seen so far on the conflict between Catalonia and Spain” (cataloniadirect.info). And the truth is that those things you like are just despicable to anybody else. You think that you are oh-so European, but you are mistaken. You are delusional in your thinking that Catalonia should be a member of the European Union: just come knocking on our door with all your lies and propaganda, then you’ll see.
I pretty well know that you are idealists, and that at the beginning your ideals were good and sincere. You just have to be told off two-three times and come to your senses. This is very hard to take, I’m sorry.
But anybody who can see this propaganda piece as anything even close to journalism has gone way beyond normal reasoning and needs a wake-up call.
Blame the messenger. Spank me as you like (always makes me feel good and itchy), but do think a little, will ya.
It’s over. Ok, it never is: there are certainly some solid female characters in politics like Llicenciada Ortega or Monsterrat Tura, but no Fat Lady as such (except for Hereu, but that’s another story). So it’s over as much as can be and all that’s left is prolonged agonising.
Independentism in Catalonia is reduced to some fringe parties which on a sunny day sum up the 20% we know from the so-called referendum, plus the great white hope CiU, which is where dreams of independence have turned from wet to agonising (and not even for any form of priapism).
CiU, which has now definitely reached the maximum of citizen votes (next turn, downwards), has to rely on PP (I know how that sounds, they should have stuck with AP) on all administrative levels: city halls, Catalan parliament and, last but not least, from next year on in Madrid. This far we have come since Mas in 2006 went to the notorious notary.
Why oh why doesn’t the PSC understand that they should go (even more) nationalist, break away from PSOE and aid in building The Nation! This is the clamour of many an article in La Vanguardia, the nationalist elite’s totally independent mouthpiece.
Because next morning PSOE would open shop in Catalonia and reduce the PSC to the level ERC has deservedly plummeted to. Or maybe even to the insignificance CiuDADAnos has gained (finally! thank to the gods. SI was a much faster mover and you can’t even call it Laputa anymore). The guys (and Monsterrats) at PSC are evil, but not dumb. Not *that* dumb.
So independence is left in the hands of CiU, CiU in the hands of PP, and the issue is dead.
Mas is actually so in lack of any inspiration (really new news) that he’d even be able to declare independence tomorrow. Luckily for him there is no German Wehrmacht to bring him back home and, alas, no Germans at all to be called to the front of administrative mischief. Mas will have to make do with his “Germans of Spain” (i.e. Catalans). And again: it ends here.
So there will be a lot of angry dust-kicking, head-hitting against the wall, heart-breaking appeals to human rights and all that jazz, and when we’ve had our laugh (agaaaaiwwwn…) the usual dirty moves against the usual suspects of domestic enemies. A lot of agonising before that good ol’ “seny” kicks in. Catalan common sense. It does exist, however funny precisely this sounds right now.
It’s. Over. Only harm can be done from now on.
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What are peoples thought about Northern Catalonia, and the possibiliy of France annexing Catalonia as a whole rather than allow this region to be integrated into a larger Catalonia?
I don’t see an independent state corresponding to the autonomous community of Catalonia willingly forming part of France and I don’t see France annexing Catalonia against the will of its citizens while the international community just watches. France would have loved to have acheived such a goal. Napoleon had made serious motions in this matter.
Neither do I see France allowing Northern Catalonia to reunite with the central part of the nation in the same State. Actually, what France won’t allow is exactly what Spain claims to not allow. France, if anything, is even more territorialy indivisible than Spain, or so they claim. My personal experience has led me to beleive that France won’t leave Northern Catalonia without a fight. Even though it represents very little for them, it’s a matter of French principal: You don’t let colonies get away scot-free. Let’s face it, weather French decision makers know it or not, Occitania is still directly influenced by Catalonia. Both initial Catalan independence and Northern Catalan reunification, would lead to serious repercussions in what is actually southern France.
In the beginning, independence might not be an option for Occitans, but a federal o plurinational state model would be, and France would be forced to revisit it’s national definition and as a result, its institutional nature. Northern Catalonia isn’t any more conscious of its identity than Occitania, but within its confines there is a stronger desire for more things Catalan, for a stronger presence of Catalan Identity. What’s different is that a significant part of residents in Northern Catalonia are on their way to assuming a preeminent Catalan indentity. In the region known as “La Cerdanya”, reunition is a natural necessity. France has already begun to decline and most of the Northern Catalans have already begun to look to Barcelona instead of Paris, for everything from entertainment to employment.
The cration of a Catalan State, its constitution, will be like setting off a time-bomb in Northern Catalonia. Where I’m from, defining oneself or the place where one lives as both Catalan and French isn’t contradictory per se. Once Catalan identity enters the arena of officially recognized nations, and does so with only the central part, Northern Catalans will have to ask themselves a very serious question: Are we Catalans or are we French? And, unlike Valencians who have the option of stalling for time by using a synonym, this question will require an immediate answer, or at least an immediate debate. Much will depend on how in the meantime we are able to generate a feeling of catalan pride and integrate foreigners. Independent Catalonia will also be decisive. If Catalonia can prove that it is a wealthy country, it will attract more Northern Catalan interest. If it proves to be a more democratic or offer more freedom, this will also help. If its citizens get involved in the debate we will have and offer hands-on experience about a secession or “before and after” accounts of daily life, then France might indeed begin to panic. Things are different this time around. In the 1930s, the vast majority of Catalan citizens -both Northern and Southern- spoke Catalan and both groups considered themselves compatriots. Nowadays, one cannot say the same about both groups, but this is also a perfect opportunity for nation-building. Besides, it would be foolish the ignore that the unity and interaction between both groups is a historical reality that dates back to the days of Iberian tribes.
Recently I wrote a blog entry that has some nice bits of info on the Northern Catalonia issue. http://cataloniawatch.blogspot.com.es/2012/11/where-will-it-end-reply-to-guardian.html
@Nin – You might find this BBC piece published today of interest
I agree that the Catalan govt would never ask seriously to become part of France. But I’ve been thinking recently that it could be a good ironic slogan –
“If we can’t be an independent state within the EU, can we please form part of France or the UK instead?”