Is Catalonia going to be Europe’s newest state? Nearly 1.5 million Catalans took the streets of Barcelona last week calling for independence from Spain. Catalonia is recognised as a “nation” within Spain, but the country’s financial crisis has exacerbated the region’s independence movement. Catalans say their nation gives more taxes to the Spanish government than it receives and that austerity cuts have unfairly squeezed their economy…
#25N elections – The results of the Regional Catalan snap elections of 25th of November were a bit of a surprise to many people. Arthur Mas, the man who perhaps saw himself at the helm of the ship, leading his people to a promised land, a Moses like figure, didnt get the massive support he had hoped for his centre right party CIU (50 seats), instead we have seen a rise of the more radical left wing independence groups such as the Republicans ERC (21) the eco socialists ICV-EUiA (13) and the radical anticapitalists CUP (3). This is definately a reflection of the growing anger in Catalunya at the very severe cuts that Mas has launched onto the people here.
Reports from world media after the #25N elections (see Vilaweb for full global list) : English Speaking: BBC | The Guardian | The Telegraph | Financial Times | Wall Street Journal | The Scotsman | Aljazeera | Russia Today | CNN | Houston Chronicle | The Globe and Mail Other: History of Catalonia (wikipedia) Help Catalonia | Catalan news agency | Vote listing via ARA | Donostia es la hostia*
Reports from world media before the #25N elections (via Vilaweb, night before the 25N Vote): English Speaking: The New York Times: Catalan Vote Could Be a First Step Toward Self-Rule | The Guardian: Catalonia independence timetable: ‘Once it has started it cannot stop’ | The Wall Street Journal: Catalonian Calls for Independence Increase | Reuters: Immigrants and youth drive Catalan independence movement | The Times: Should it stay or go? Catalonia faces its moment of decision | The Scotsman: Catalonian vote will decide future of Spain | The Australian: Catalan leader seeks ‘freedom’ in election | Aavaz: Catalonia: Adios to Spain? | Wales Online: Independence? Europeans may soon be witnessing the birth of a new state …
Special Guardian series: Barça-loners: A Catalan history of Spain – interactive | If Catalonia wins independence, where will it end? | Catalonia is voting on its future in Spain – and Madrid is worried | The case for Catalonia’s independence | If Catalonia wins independence, where will it end? | Immigration complicates Catalonia’s separatist picture | Catalonia independence timetable: ‘Once it has started it cannot stop’ | Catalonia tales: ‘Spain is like a father forbidding his son from leaving home’ | Catalonia tales: ‘Independence began as something small in my heart’ | Catalonia tales: ‘would the average Catalan citizen really be better off?’ | Lessons that Catalonia can learn from Scotland | Catalonia independence for business lights is best economic option all round | The economics of Catalan independence don’t add up | Catalonia tales: ‘I can’t see anything but a hypocritical interest in independence’ | British expats unconvinced by Catalonian independence | Catalonia independence: the views of foreigners who live there | Immigration complicates Catalonia’s separatist picture | More than a club: FC Barcelona and Catalonia’s road to independence – video | #CataloniaTales (on Twitter)
** A bit more on the Catalan elections
CIU didnt do well, but separatists now hold nearly 2/3 of the Catalan Parliament.
It turns out Mas wasnt really the Moses figure he thought he was..
In fact some people really hate him. Here is a bit of SUBVERTING found via Catalonia is not CiU (image here) Where the words La Voluntat del poble (the wish of the people) has been changed to La Voluntat dels Rics (the wish of the rich)
To much media outside Spain, Mas and his party are really seen as the force pushing for independence, but within Catalunya it is very different. A campaign was started by the eco socialists, using the familiar black and yellow, to point this out. In the lead up to the elections there were stickers, t shirts, posters of the following, written in English for the benefit of those outside of Spain: Catalonia is not CiU!
Even at the famous football ground of Barca, the banner was unfurled… Catalonia is not CiU!
This comes from another banner in English that appears on walls in Barcelona and also as a banner in camp nou… CATALONIA IS NOT SPAIN
The first “Classico” after Catalunyas national day, la diada, resulted in a mssive show of support for independence: Barcelona versus Real Madrid: Catalan flag to fly at El Clasico + More than a game: Austerity gives El Clasico new twist
And those against Mas and CIU, what do they want? Well here is a poster from JERC, the youth republican group, showing all the t shirts of various grassroots campaigns hanging out in the washing; Stop the cuts (black), SOS protect public education (yellow), No high speed train (Blue), Independence and socialism (Black with the red star), feminism (purple), Independence for the Catalan lands (Red), Catalan soccer top (mixed with the 4 red bars on yellow)
** Where and what is Catalunya?
Basically Catalunya came into existence in the 9th century, its situated in the North Eastern region of Spain and it has its back to the mountains of the Pyranees. They have their own language, Catalan, which is closer more to French than Spanish in structure, that depite periods of it being outlawed, they still speak. They had one of the earliest parliaments in the world, set up its own laws and rights, became a major empire around the med and joined into the Spanish union in the 15th century, was forced to too much demands from central government, went to war and lost on September 11th 1714, lost their rights and since then is trying to get back levels of autonomy it had a long time ago…
** Vids to explain the Catalan situation
Will Catalonia say adios to Spain?
(Same vid with Catalan subtitles here)
Will Catalonia say adios to Spain and become independent? Watch Paul Mason’s full Newsnight report. Related article from BBC: Catalan leaders seek independence vote, legal or not
“Independence for Catalonia? Over my dead body… and those of many soldiers.” That was how Francisco Alaman reacted to the 1.5 million strong demonstration in Barcelona last month, with many calling for independence for the region.
It’s a view. Quite strongly held not just on the right in Spain but on the centre left. However Alaman is a serving soldier: a colonel. And it wasn’t the only incendiary thing he said.
In the week tens of thousands of protesters surrounded parliament, he told the website Alerta Digital:
“The current situation is very similar to 1936, but without blood. Unfortunately, the data indicate that the situation will only get worse in the coming months and years.”
Will austerity drive Catalonia to independence?
Related article from Al Jazeera:
Will Catalonia become Europe’s newest state? We examine the increasingly popular Catalan separatist movement.
Is Catalonia going to be Europe’s newest state? Nearly 1.5 million Catalans took the streets of Barcelona last week calling for independence from Spain. Catalonia is recognised as a “nation” within Spain, but the country’s financial crisis has exacerbated the region’s independence movement. Catalans say their nation gives more taxes to the Spanish government than it receives and that austerity cuts have unfairly squeezed their economy.
Goodbye, Spain ?
This documentary directed by Dolors Genovès and broadcasted by Televisió de Catalunya compares the reality of Greenland, Scotland and Quebec with Catalonia, and reflects about the following questions: Is independence/secession democratic? Would these new states be economically viable? How would EU react?
More information : http://www.tv3.cat/adeuespanya
I am a Catalan – Pau Casals @ United Nations, 1971
“I am a Catalan” is a short speech given by violoncello master and humanist Pablo Casals in front of the General Assembly of the United Nations on the 24 October 1971. Casals was in front of the assembly to present the “Hymn of the United Nations” composed by himself and to receive the U.N. Peace Medal in recognition of his stance for peace, justice and freedom. As accepting the medal he pronounced the speech, remembering Peace and Truce of God meetings:But let me say one thing. I am a Catalan. Today a province of Spain. But what has been Catalonia? Catalonia has been the greatest nation in the world. I will tell you why. Catalonia has had the first parliament, much before England. Catalonia had the beginning of the United Nations. All the authorities of Catalonia in the 11th century met in a city of France, at that time Catalonia, to speak about peace. At the 11th century! Peace in the world and against, against, against war, the inhumanity of war. This was Catalonia. I am so so happy, so moved to be here, with you.
FC Barcelona: More than a club in Catalonia’s road to independence
Original found on THE GUARDIAN here:
As Catalonia votes in an election that could lead to a referendum on independence from Spain, Sid Lowe looks at one of the region’s great cultural sporting icons, FC Barcelona, and its role in Catalan identity. Key figures in the club’s history, including Johan Cruyff, Joan Laporta and current vice-president Carles Vilarrubí explore Barça’s motto ‘more than a club’ and its role in today’s political landscape
Huge clamour at Camp Nou for Catalonian independence.
The large majority of the almost 100,000 supporters who this Sunday filled Camp Nou to watch the ‘Clasico’ between Barcelona FC and Real Madrid in the seventh La Liga encounter, shouted for Catalonian independence 17 minutes and 14 seconds into the first half during a match with several politically significant actions such as, the large ‘Senyera’ Catalan flag on the terraces that greeted both teams.
Catalonia elections 2012: Madrid residents discuss independence
GUARDIAN vid: As Catalonia prepares to vote in an election that could determine not just its future, but the shape of Spain, people in Madrid discuss the implications of an independent Catalonia. They talk about whether or not it should be allowed, and why so many Catalans favour independence.
Tsipras (Greek party SYRIZA) supports the nomination of ICV-EUiA in the Catalan elections For a European leftist Front
The public support and SYRIZA Alexis Tsipras to candidacy ICV-EUiA occurs before an expected increase in the number of Members of this radical left coalition, at the same time announced front of a collapse of the Socialist Party, and the emergence of a candidate leftist independence, the CUP. Elements that converge after the elections to be given a step towards the creation of a broader agreement and plural on the left, to create something new that has been come to call a ” Catalan Syriza “. (more infos: Alexis en Barcelona: Tsipras Addresses Independence-Seeking Catalans in Spanish (video))
Sinn Féin (Irish republican party) support vid to Esquerra
** A bit more…
How Barcelona voted for CIU, as pointed out by the above subver, most votes coming from the most affluent parts of the city (original here)
Obviously, not everyone is happy with these stirrings of independence. Here is a demo by fascists in madrid yesterday, angry that catalans want to leave “their country“, the flag in the background states CATALUÑA ES ESPAÑA” (CATALUNYA IS SPAIN). (From Daily Mail article: Facism alive and well in Spain: Little girl with ribbon in her hair gives Franco salute as Catalonians split vote on quitting country)
** Catalonia, next independent state in Europe???
For a more detailed exploration of all the issues, I´ll direct you to catalan news agency: Catalonia’s independence from Spain?
On 11th September 2012, 1.5 million people – according to the local police – and 600,000 individuals – according to the Spanish Government – participated in the largest demonstration ever organised in Barcelona. Since that massive demonstration asking for Catalonia’s independence from Spain, this topic has become the main discussion issue on the Catalan and Spanish political debates. It has also reached the international community and European institutions.
Why are so many Catalans calling for independence from Spain? The reasons are manifold and relate to cultural, historical, political and economic aspects. The support for Catalonia’s independence has significantly increased in the last few years, fuelled by the economic crisis but also by the Spanish nationalism with its attacks against the Catalan language and its attempts to recentralise Spain. In fact, there has been a change within Catalan nationalism: many Catalans are deeply disappointed with Spain, they are tired of justifying Catalonia’s national status and language, and they have now abandoned all hope that the rest of Spain will try to understand their claims and find a comfortable place for Catalonia within a plurinational Spanish state, from a political, cultural and economic perspective.
In fact, in general terms, Catalan nationalism has been seeking agreements with the Spanish nationalists for the last 150 years, trying to find a comfortable place for the Catalan nation within the Spanish state. Independence supporters existed, but most of the time they were a minority within Catalan nationalism. Now, according to the latest poll conducted by the Catalan Statistics Institute (CEO), from last October, 57% of Catalan citizens would vote for the independence in a hypothetical referendum. It is the highest figure ever.
The 4 main reasons behind the current drive for Catalonia’s independence
There are four main reasons: little respect for Catalan language and culture; Spain’s lack of recognition of its plurinational nature; the attempts to recentralise Spain and trim Catalonia’s self-government; and, Catalonia’s excessive fiscal contribution to pay for investments and services delivered in the rest of Spain…