Tag Archives: Languages of Europe

The PP’s campaign against the Catalan language

Aragon, País Valencià, Illes Balears… these are three Spanish autonomous communities with a historical link to the Catalan language. They are also three Spanish autonomous communities where the PP is in power. And what is the result of this combination of factors? Evidence of a distributed, strategic plan to de-Catalanise these regions.

(Image borrowed fromhttp://independentcatalonia.blogspot.com/2008/12/reason-14-more-spaniards-that-are.html without permission)

Example: I met several people in their mid 20s-early 30s in Alicante province recently. This is an area where the street names are all still in Valencian-Catalan. Not one of the young people I met spoke a work of this language (not that we discussed this much). Why? Because they had attended local state schools (the PSOE also bears some responsibility here). The PP in Valencia also led the charge for redefining Valencian as a different language to Catalan, something which the Valencian Academy clearly rejects.

Example: The attempts to relabel Catalan and its dialects as part of Aragonés Oriental (Eastern Aragonese) with the support of the PP in Aragon. This despite the fact that Eastern Aragonese is a different language.

Example: Repeated attempts to change place names and street names in Valenican towns, against the wishes of the people who live there.

Example: In the Balearic islands, the PP has started to rename cities. Palma has changed to Palma de Mallorca (Spanish version) and Maó has changed to Maó-Mahon (mixed version). Simultaneously, Catalan has been downgraded from being a compulsory subject in Balearic schools and will no longer be a requirement for civil servants.

Example: Education minister Wert has proposed a new education plan for Catalonia which would take the level of education in Catalan back to how it was in 1978. Making it an optional subject, not needed to complete high school, and abolishing ‘immersion’ represent a complete redrawing of the Catalan education system. The PP, knowing that Catalan students do perfectly well in Spanish, has opted to put children at a disadvantage – not being able to speak Catalan – purely for the purposes of creating a cultural divide in Catalonia.

When we talk about attacks on culture and the threat of ethnic division in Catalonia and Spain, much is made of Catalan nationalism and the dangerous game it plays. I’ve never bought this theory because the Catalan separatist parties are now much less ethnically-centred than they were 15 or 20 years ago.

However, the PP is a retrograde party. It cannot deal with the problems it has created in the present and so it turns to policies from the past to fix things. They talk of banning strikes, banning protests… simultaneously, they make people redundant and then cut unemployment benefits, and everywhere they have power, they are now attempting to de-Catalanise Spain. With all the evidence (and what I’ve presented here is actually just a fraction of what’s going on), it seems difficult to deny that the PP is following a concrete, organised campaign in territories where it has power and at a national level.

Frankly, this strikes me as another good argument for independence.

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.