What next for Catalonia? More questions for the independence movement

If not precisely inevitable, Catalan independence now seems much more likely than it did a couple of years back when I first framed my questions for supporters and opponents of Catalan separatism.

Many of those questions remain valid. But my main focus has shifted. This reduced list should read as a demand from those leading and supporting the independence movement that they for once and for all clarify various matters that I believe worry many people currently. Because if Catalonia really will be the ‘Next State in Europe’, these matters need to be clarified now, not later.

1 – What social model will an independent Catalonia have?
While the right are currently in power, and have governed for the majority of Catalonia’s post-Franco years, there is a significant section of Catalan society that supports parties of the left. We’re deeply unhappy about the cuts that Artur Mas has made to public health, education, social assistance and public sector pay during the financial crisis. Mas has blamed these cuts on Spain’s mishandling of the national economy. Very well: if that is true, he must now guarantee to restore, improve and protect public sending and investment in the event of independence.

2 – Will you now, and forever, forgo all claims on the territories in Spain and France sometimes referred to as the Catalan Countries?
I shouldn’t need to explain the importance of this question. The only chance of success as a state depends on France’s and Spain’s recognition. That won’t happen unless you formally reject territorial claims on Rosselló, Valencia, the Franja and the Balearics.

3 – What status for non-Spanish residents in Catalonia?
OK, this is a personal one, but it affects lots of people and many businesses. Will you now guarantee our status as permanent residents? What chances for citizenship will we have?

6 thoughts on “What next for Catalonia? More questions for the independence movement

  1. Great questions, Tom, I think you’re now up to 29 in total. One more for a round number…

    1) As in any democracy should depend on the manifesto set out in the forthcoming elections. It’s to be hoped that CiU sets out a robust defence of the welfare state and state education, backed up by credible numbers of how they can achieve it.

    2) Like the language issue, is a litmus test for realism. If you believe in an officially monolingual Catalonia and a claim for the Catalan Lands, you’re on another planet. No friends will step forward from the outside. If you accept bilingualism and accept that independent Catalonia will be limited to only the existing Principality/Autonomous Community, then you’re working towards a state that can be accepted by the EU, UN and other foreign entities. I hope Mas doesn’t try to ignore this issue, and confronts it directly with a clear statement that his Estat Propi is the same as the existing community of Catalonia.

    3) Is very important for you, me and all other expats. I don’t think they’re very interested in us. Don’t expect any answer to that until many years later.

  2. 1- The social model of Catalonia will be that that the Catalans democratically decide to be, most like a normal, European-style capitalist model. I don’t think this has much relevance now.

    2- Believe it or not there were never such claims. Many Catalans feel sympathetic towards the Valencians and the Balearics for historic reasons, but that’s about it. I don’t think anyone in the pro-independece ranks advocates the annexation of these territories.

    3- No idea about that one.

    1. I’m sorry Ernest but you have been misinformed about the second point, in fact like most of us. There are many influential groups today which make such claims.

      I attended the inaugural session of ANC. The Catalan Lands claim is a central part of the ANC’s Text Fundacional: http://assemblea.cat/?q=ca/node/31.

      “Catalunya és una nació (cal entendre, conjuntament amb els altres països catalans), i que no renuncia a l’exercici del dret d’autodeterminació…
      des del Principat de Catalunya s’ha de prendre la iniciativa i s’ha d’actuar solidàriament per donar suport als moviments que sorgeixin, amb les mateixes finalitats, als altres països amb els quals Catalunya comparteix, des de fa vuit segles, la mateixa nacionalitat, expressada especialment en la comunitat de llengua, de cultura, de dret, de tradicions i en una estructura social i econòmica semblant.”

      The first unofficial referendum on independence in Arnys del Munt in 2009 had the following question: “Està d’acord que Catalunya esdevingui un Estat de dret, independent, democràtic i social, integrat a la Unió Europea?”

      The 10-A Referendum in Barcelona in April 2011 (in which I worked as a volunteer) expressed the following question: “Està d’acord que la nació catalana esdevingui un estat de dret independent, democràtic i social, integrat a la Unió Europea?”

      When asked by Gara what she had in mind by the phrase “nació catalana”, ANC organiser Ana Arqué replied: “El de Països Catalans: Principat, Valencia, la Franja, Balears, Catalunya Nord y Alguer.”

      http://www.gara.net/paperezkoa/20110413/259899/es/La/... [edited for URL length – Tom]

      When I (ignorant of the background) translated the “nació catalana” into “Catalonia” for the English-language material used by Barcelona Decideix/10A, Ms Arqué did not correct me or clarify what was meant.

      How many of those of us who voted “Yes” in the 10-A considered that by doing so we were – according to the organisers – claiming Valencia, Balearics, parts of France and an enclave in Italy?

      I receive documents every day from ANC. A policy document now in circulation prepared by Fundació Catalunya Estat includes two maps of the proposed independent Catalan state: it is identical to the Catalan lands. I can send it to you if you wish to look at it.

      The JERC poster campaign presently covering my neighbourhood features the Catalan Lands map as its independent state. You can see the same on this JERC video:

      The ANC in northern Catalonia uses the slogan “Esborrem la frontera” as a signal that French borders are not to be respected in the claim for independence and their poster clearly shows the Catalan Lands map


      The editor of a certain very influential Catalan independence website recently told me in a personal communication that he refused to debate this issue because he is Valencian and he won’t be left out of Catalan independence as a second-class citizen. Naturally I can’t give more details.

      There has to be more open debate on this issue, so that all of us can be clear about what self-determination means in this context. It’s no good assuming that we are all simply talking about Catalonia when key players are actually talking about


      1. Murphy, after reviewing the documents that you have provided, I have to admit that you’re right and I were wrong. I’ve been a supporter of independence since always, and the notion of Catalan Countries is something that comes up from time to time. I’m not particularly fond of it, but I always understood it as something like the Francophonie or the British Commonwealth, that is, a collection of independent entities that share some common bonds. Unfortunately, some Catalan nationalists go further, like apparently the ANC, who includes them in the same nation as the Catalans, whatever this means. According to an ANC meeting minute from 2010, there was a debate regarding this issue, with some requesting the use of the term Catalonia instead of Catalan Lands, and others requesting the use of Catalan Lands or Catalan nation instead of Catalonia. Looks like the idiots won. In conclusion, I agree that the independece movement should make clear that this is about the independence of Catalonia, and not about the independence of some other lands.

        1. Ernest, your honesty and integrity are very clear. You are certainly not to be blamed for not understanding that they are trying to hijack legitimate independence arguments with this issue. Very few indeed understand that, me included when I collaborated with 10-A. I agree with you totally, and I appreciate your looking into the issue so deeply. We can both agree that the only way to achieve Catalan independence, sovereignty, or what you will, is to make rational claims which can be backed up by a democratic mandate and which conform to international law. Here’s to that.

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