Tag Archives: Catalan separatism

Resolution for change

Happy May Day!

A few months ago, I resolved to take more of an active role in politics in Catalonia. I’m not planning to run for mayor or anything like that, but as a disenfranchised non-citizen my options are basically limited to joining and supporting political organisations. In a way, I had been heading in this direction for the 10 years I’ve lived here. I decided to join a political party for the first time since my arrival in 2002.

For me, a political party ought to be a broad church, but a united one. After experiences with arguably over-ideological groups in the UK, I needed to find an organisation which reflects a plurality of opinions with an agreed general direction. The federated nature of many parties here does seem to offer that sort of broadness (but let us not forget that many parties, including Labour, are federations).

What, then, is my political ideology? What are its main components and how important are they to me, relative to each other?

There should be little doubt from the posts on this blog that I’m a supporter of left wing politics. Marx continues to offer the best analysis of capital and socialism the best answer. Egalitarianism, a defence of workers’ rights, opposition to exploitation and colonialism: these are concepts that for me are tied-up inevitably with socialism. And at a time when capitalism is in such serious crisis, when political parties across Europe are eagerly tearing up the social contract we have enjoyed for decades, we have to be even more strident in our defence of rights and benefits that were hard-won and remain well-deserved.

Catalan independence: a tricky subject. I’ve been careful on this blog not to express a clear position on whether or not I support the concept of independence for Catalonia. I should think it’s clear that I’ve leaned in that direction but I’ve never been explicit about my opinion because I’ve genuinely never been sure of it. My ideological position here is that a majority of people in a geographical area who want to claim the right to self-determination should be allowed to do so. If this were the case in Catalonia, I would support a push for independence. I don’t believe that’s the case currently, but I do think that as time goes by, general ‘soft’ support for independence is increasing. I also think that independence from Spain would be almost impossible to achieve. But that’s a point for another day.

When we look at the challenges that face us in the coming years, many of them come down to poor custodianship of our planet. We need to embrace green policies wherever we can, and support alternative energies, public transport over personal vehicles, sustainable development and agriculture. I feel strongly that this beautiful planet can be protected, without the vast de-population supported by apocalyptic doomsday freaks. Better management of resources, for the good of all, can be achieved.

A few months ago, I joined a political party which I think represents my views. Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds (ICV-EUiA ‘Initiative for Catalonia Greens – United and Alternative Left’) is of the left, defends equality for all, supports the right to self-determination and promotes green policies. This blog will continue as it has always been: not much to read, but it’s always independent. That won’t change. But I’ve made a resolution for change and call on my friends to do the same.

Happy May Day!

thebadrash.com and branching out

Hello there! Long time, no see!

Over the years, this blog has evolved. At first I shared links (that’s what blogs used to be for), talked about books and music, and explored some of my innocent ideas about politics. Some time after March 2004, I felt inexorably drawn into the debate on Catalan language policy and the Catalan national question in general. And we’ve had some fun debates here. Who could forget the heady days of the Spain Herald folding, and Iberian Notes closing down? Or the excellent response I got to my ‘Some questions…’ posts?

The problem was that whenever I wrote about other topics – books, music, links, food, travel, etc – I’d get hardly any response at all. Which is pretty frustrating because of all the topics I ever write about, Catalan independence is… well, it’s not the one that interests me the most.

Over the last few months, I’ve been toying with different solutions to this problem. I decided that I’d either rebrand this blog and try to branch out into other topics of discussion, or I’d keep thebadrash.com for Catalan politics and related topics and start another blog for stuff that everyone else in the world is interested in. I’ve gone for the latter option.

tombcn.com is my new ‘homepage’. It’ll be about just about any topic I can think of, except Catalan and Spanish politics. It needs some maquillage pas cher design and lots more content but it’s fresh and new and exciting*. Look, it already has a short post about Martiniquan jazz!

Meanwhile, I do intend to update this place from time to time. Però, poc.

See you at the other place. Until then, adéu siau!

____

*OK that’s pushing it a bit.

Some Questions for a Catalan Independentist

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.

Some questions:

  1. Why should Catalonia be independent?
  2. What exactly do you think will be gained if Catalonia becomes independent?
  3. What model do you see an independent Catalonia adopting? Some sort of republic? How would it be organised?
  4. Do you think that the current crisis is a good time to decide something like this? Why?
  5. What damage do you think this would do to Spain? Do you worry about that?
  6. Is an independent Catalonia an economically viable state?
  7. What should the process be in the result of a vote in favour of independence?
  8. What should be the status of Spanish citizens in Catalonia? Would dual citizenship be allowed?
  9. What about immigrants? Would they become citizens? What would the immigration policy be?
  10. Would you expect all the political parties in Catalonia to break ties with their Spanish equivalents?
  11. What would happen if the EU had trouble accepting Catalonia as a member?
  12. What would happen to Catalan government agencies aimed at trade and business? Would they be absorbed by embassies?
  13. Who would be the head of state? Would you deny Juan Carlos’s claim to sovereignty?
  14. Would the Catalan constitution guarantee the right to receive state services in Castilian Spanish?
  15. How would you deal with people potentially wanting to leave for Spain proper?
  16. What flag would you have? Senyera or Estelada?
  17. What would happen to utilities like the phone/data system?
  18. What sort of rights would be included in the constitution anyway?
  19. How would you deal with other parts of the ‘Catalan Countries’? Would you seek their absorption?
  20. How important would the status of FC Barcelona be? Do you think the Spanish league would still have them?
  21. Would you bother with armed forces? If so, how?
  22. What would happen if there was a Spanish boycott of independent Catalonia?
  23. What would happen if there was a Spanish military response?
  24. Can a constituent part of an EU and NATO member even declare independence?
  25. 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?