Sep 30 2013

The independence of Catalonia: jumping on a bandwagon

By Jose Javier Olivas

Children Catalan wayOn 11 September 2013 hundreds of thousands of people formed a human chain to demand the secession of Catalonia from Spain. This well organised and largely peaceful display of patriotic fervour coincided with celebration of Catalonia’s national day, Diada, and aimed to return the attention of the international media to the issue of Catalan independence. “Mission accomplished” claimed the organisers and sponsors of the event, including the Catalan regional government Generalitat. They describe Catalonia’s independence process as an accelerating train that will not stop until it reaches the inevitable final stop of independence.  Nationalist political leaders and commentators have already warned (the rest of) Spain to clear the path and not to interfere or a crash of trains is to take place. The latest opinion polls and mass mobilisations suggest that many Catalans have taken their estelada flag and jumped onto the train with the hope of leaving Spain and the economic crisis behind. However the final destination may not match the idyllic depiction passengers were given before the trip. Worse even, there are great (and increasing) risks of derailment of the train to independence.

Misunderstandings about Catalonia

Catalan independence is gathering a noticeable amount of support among activists and political movements abroad. Many of them have a simplified and idealised vision of the situation in Catalonia and see this cause as another liberation movement in the line of the anti-colonial struggles in Africa or Asia during the 20th century. But are Catalans voiceless, oppressed and/or exploited by Spain? Would Catalan independence contribute to a more egalitarian world? The answer is no.

Catalonia is one of the richest autonomous communities and the biggest economy in Spain. It displays better levels of public services, education, industrial development and occupation than the majority of Spanish autonomous communities. It also has arguably the most vibrant cultural life in Spain. The tax revenues collected in Catalonia are crucial for the redistributive function of the Spanish government. The GDP per capita in Catalonia is 18% higher than that of Spain and 70% higher than that of Extremadura, the poorest region in the country. One of the most popular arguments in the nationalist rhetoric is ‘Spain steals from us’ (Espanya ens roba’). All Catalan nationalist parties including the left-wing ERC and ICV have claimed that there is excessive solidarity within Spain and that a much larger share of the taxes collected in Catalonia should stay in Catalonia.Finger spain This anti-redistribution argument is the most compelling among those used by Catalan nationalists and most Spaniards would be in favour of renegotiating the autonomous communities fiscal and redistribution model. However this argument does not justify the claim for outright independence and seems to resonate more with the stance of the Padanian Lega Nord and Flemish Vlaamse Beweging than with the anti-colonialist ideal many foreign sympathisers of the Catalan nationalist cause have in mind.

Nationalist leaders claim that an independent Catalonia would be like the Sweden, Netherlands or Massachusetts of the south of Europe. Although Catalonia is a rich region, it is very far from these benchmark cases. According to an EU study, Catalonia has the worst regional government in Spain in terms of corruption, effectiveness and accountability, with a level comparable only to some regions in Greece, Italy and former Eastern Bloc countries.  The area is suffering the consequences of economic crisis and scandals of political corruption as the rest of Spain. Its regional government is the most indebted in the country in absolute terms and the third most indebted relative to its GDP. The Catalan government has seen its credit rating slashed by all credit agencies and is unable to finance itself in the markets. In addition to this, an independent Catalonia would automatically exit the EU and would have to renegotiate membership with the threat of a Spanish veto. Indeed, several business associations are warning against independence and hundreds of companies are relocating to Madrid.  Due to these problems and uncertainties it is extremely difficult to have an optimistic view about the scenario of an independent Catalonia. In fact, this process of secession seems a typical case of ‘gambling for resurrection’ where the Generalitat takes a highly questionable and risky path with the hope to divert people’s attention away from internal problems such as corruption scandals, unpopular austerity cuts and loss of electoral support.

Freedom is also popularly claimed as a reason for independence. An LSE Catalan academic recently claimed that ‘Catalans are trapped within Spain’. Catalans are as ‘trapped’ within Spain as the inhabitants of Valencia, Galicia or Madrid. Catalan participation in Spanish media, academia, corporate boards and diplomacy is well over the country average. For years Catalans (16% of the Spanish population) counted for up to 40% of the Spanish representatives in the EU. In an independent Catalonia its citizens would be equally ‘trapped’ in a smaller country and would not enjoy different rights or individual liberties. Catalonia has currently a degree of self-government among the highest obtained by any region in Europe. An independent Catalonia would be a more centralised state than today’s Spain. Its capital Barcelona would host about half of its total population and there would not be any city to rival or counterbalance its influence. Nepotism and corruption would be unlikely to decrease.

A cause to honour history and difference?

King of Aragon Armorial ecuestre del Toison de Oro, 1433-1435One of the weakest arguments wielded by nationalists is the historical one. According to some of them Catalonia needs to recover its lost independence.  The current territory of Catalonia has been always part of other larger political units in the Peninsula. Initially inhabited by Iberian tribes, it consecutively became part of the Roman Hispania, the Visigothic kingdom and the Muslim Al-Andalus. The Frankish Empire conquered parts of the current territory of Catalonia from the Muslims and in 801 established the Barcelona County which was incorporated into the Hispanic March. By the end of 10th century Barcelona County became hereditary and autonomous. In 1137 it was integrated through dynastic union to the Crown of Aragon. The County of Barcelona remained loyal to the King of Aragon until the Spanish Crown was created with the union of the Crowns of Castile and Aragon in 1469. Except during the period of the ‘Reaper’s War’ (1640-1659) when supported by France it became de facto independent, Catalonia has always been part of Spain. It was also one of the regions in Spain that most benefitted from its colonies. Coincidentally, the first Catalan nationalist parties, predecessors to those claiming for independence today, were created immediately after Spain lost its latest colonies, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Philippines in 1898.

The Catalonian population and economy are extremely intertwined with the other Spanish autonomous communities, and there are no ethnic or religious differences. Although Catalonia has its own language (as do several other Spanish regions), most Catalans have Spanish as their first language (56% vs 35% for Catalan). Nobody would deny that Catalans possess some distinct traits, but so do the inhabitants of most other Spanish regions. Spain is a multicultural country with a multitude of local, regional and national overlapping identities. It is impossible to objectively claim that Catalans are more dissimilar from Aragoneses or Madridians than Andalusians or Canarians. Even if this degree of difference could be measured it could hardly be rewarded with more rights or privileges. The fight for independence is not a fight in defence of plurality and diversity but a fight for a smaller and more homogeneous society.

The way forward

Despite the abovementioned misconceptions and problems, Catalans have the right to pursue the political goal of independence. In democratic systems with commonly agreed rules any major change in the status quo requires an important amount of negotiation and persuasion. Spain is no exception to this. The Spanish Constitution, voted in 1978 by 91% of Catalans, prevents any process of secession in Spain. However, the Constitution can be modified. Thus, if pro-independence Catalans want to change the current (constitutional) status quo they need to convince the rest of Catalonia and Spain that this is a viable option. This means showing that those who are not particularly in favour of independence will gain or at least will not be worse off if that option is agreed.

Unfortunately Catalan nationalists are not particularly taken with this approach. Rather than convincing the rest of Spain of the need and benefits of a change in the status quo, they are planning to impose a unilateral solution: an internal consultation and unilateral declaration. With this solution the rest of the country would not have the capacity to express their views on an issue that strongly affects their future. Nationalists are increasingly using popular sentiment to legitimise their (extra-legal) process of independence. The extravagant utilisation of flags, uniforms, propaganda (including the indoctrination of children), censorship and popular displays of nationalist fervour may have been good to enhance visibility and quickly gain support but they have also created alienation and frustration among those that do not share the nationalist ideology or embrace multidimensional identities. The fast polarisation of a society and the imposition of a (government-sponsored) monolithic political vision have been rarely conducive to any democratic outcome. The demonization and mockery of the rest of Spain is rendering the democratic processes of dialogue and persuasion more difficult. While claiming that Spaniards do not understand Catalonia, Catalan nationalists have shown little understanding of other Spaniards’ feelings and attitudes.

Spain with CataloniaInternational allies, including the EU and USA, do not consider a unilateral secession that would bridge legality within a democratic state acceptable. They request Catalan nationalists to negotiate with the rest of Spaniards within the framework of Spanish laws. According to the Generalitat, 47% of Catalans would prefer an independent state. However, since the first statistical records, anti-secession feelings have always been predominant in Catalonia and the rest of Spain. Even if supporters of independence become a majority in Catalonia in the future, secession would remain highly questionable. Democracy is not simply the rule of the majority (in this case simply a majority of a subset). Laws and in particular constitutions exist in democracies precisely to avoid giving in to temporary moods of majorities and preserve the right of minorities. In democracies, secession referendums are extremely rare and in the few cases that they were organised, such as in Quebec or Scotland, they always counted with the acquiescence of the national or federal parliaments that represent the totality of the citizens of the state.

In sum, although Catalan nationalists have the will to split from Spain they do not have the (legal or military) means to do so unilaterally.  They have managed to disguise as a debate about democratic principles what is in reality a debate about territorial units. Dividing Spain into two smaller states would not produce any economic, social or cultural benefits for the large majority of Catalans and other Spaniards. Nor would it reinforce democratic practices such as redistribution, solidarity, transparency or freedom. The independence train should decelerate for the safety of its passengers and those that chose not to take this train. The safety instructions in case of collision or derailment should be also distributed quickly.

_________________

Note: This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of the Euro Crisis in the Press blog, nor of the London School of Economics.

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101 Responses to The independence of Catalonia: jumping on a bandwagon

  1. Pingback: Language rights in Catalonia | Euro Crisis in the Press

  2. Joan says:

    The history of the independent state of Catalonia is the same history of the independent state of the so-called Crown of Aragon (which means the crown of the royal family of the surname “Aragó” or Aragó-Barcelona), which is the Crown of Catalonia and Aragon. Catalonia and its institutions, its language and its culture was the base and the leader of this confederate state.

  3. Pingback: Is a referendum the right tool for the Catalan problem? | Euro Crisis in the Press

  4. Q says:

    As a foreigner who has lived in Catalonia for 15 years I am frustrated with just how polarized the debate is. Actually, if there were something like a debate I would be delighted. It seems to as if people chose their sides and then put forth their arguments rather than engage in carefully considered discussion with the objective of figuring out what will be the best options. Because so much rather demagogical rhetoric is spewed forth, as a relative neutral in all of this I just end up shaking my head sadly.

  5. Pingback: Catalan Separatism, a European Problem | Euro Crisis in the Press

  6. Pingback: Effects on Sweden: The independence of Catalonia jumping on a bandwagon Euro | Euro Economy

  7. Ralph Freeman says:

    There are two sides to every problem and this seems no exception. I am a UK citizen who has lived in Catalunya for 4 yrs who speaks Castellano. Catalan is the first language here with Castellano being spoken often only because a sizeable proportion of the population including people like me don’t speak Catalan or in the case of thousands of others, usually Spanish, have not bothered to learn the language. In this area the Catalans are very respectful. Castellano and Catalan are learned equally in school with Catalan students often having a higher standard of Castellano than so-called Spanish students.

    There are different reasons given for the present rise of Catalan nationalism but in my opinion there are two factors which stand out. 1. The majority of people living in Catalunya do not feel Spanish and never will as they have a different culture and language. 2. Their culture and language are constantly under attack from the Spanish media, anti Catalan parties (normally the Spanish government ) and people who have no idea what they are talking about ( lets call them mis-informed) as the only thing they know about Catalunya is what the read in pro Spanish newspapers, never having been in catalunya in their lives.

    Lets not forget however there is a portion of the population who do not see themselves as solely catalan and others who do not see themselves as catalan at all. However the recent pro Spanish- Catalan unity demo organised last month by the PP, C’s and others couldn’t gather enough support to fill Placa de Catalunya in Barcelona and therefore we have to question the size of this so-called silent majority being promoted by the aforementioned parties. This contrasts with by the visible numbers ( estimated at 1.6 million) involved in the pro-catalan human chain event.

    The erosion of Catalan culture is evidenced recently by, for example the banning of Catalan TV being transmitted into Valencia a catalan speaking area and only a few days ago the subsequent forced closure of the Valencian Catalan speaking TV station RTVV. What would be the reaction if the main Spanish speaking channel TVE1 was banned in Catalunya one has to wonder?

    In the Bealeric islands again another catalan speaking area the Government announced a few months ago the reduction in the teaching of catalan in schools. Again what would be the reaction if the Catalans reduced the teaching of Spanish ?

    In some areas they are trying to make it acceptable to be a civil servant without speaking catalan in a catalan speaking area?

    There are many ways to impose your will on people and the Spanish Government seem to have decided that the erosion/destruction of catalan society and culture is the way. Little do they realise that with every oppressive act another 10,000 Catalans become pro independence. The Catalans far from being the aggressors seem from a nuetral point of view , to be reacting to what they say has been going on for centuries……..Oppression!

    As for the accusations that Catalunya is more corrupt than other areas I find this laughable when wieghed against the arrests in southern spain of corrupt mayors and politicians and even the current scandals within the PP being the current government!

    Its also difficult to understand pro Spanish posts which promote the catalans as corrupt thieves and rebels yet don’t want them to leave Spain!

    It seems the Catalans have made up their mind and they are leaving and who can blame them, thieves if they stay and traitors if the leave. Spain and the Spanish need to take a reality check, you cannot be democrats and dictators, the world has moved on. Give them a vote, let them decide and get over it. Assad has tried the tanks on the streets thing and that doesn’t work!

    • jefemano says:

      myy friend, whst a waste of four years, with respect you haven’t learnt a tning of the Real feeling in Catalonia. obviously you just took the easy option. and allowed that a group of separatist pucked your brain with their fantassies and aspirations and you faleed for it. ask yourself haw can a region of a country without any powers to import or expoert. or even select or approved the foreign investors in catalan soil without the expressed approval of the spanish goberment. who for more thsn 500 years had been subsudicing the catalan industry and economy at the expense of the rest of the region of spain. the so called unique catalan culture like most all others large cities in europe are the results of a mixed of customs brought in by the millions of emigrants that were attracted to the region thanks to the preferencial subsidies and investments by the central goverment. again for over 5 centuries. over 80% of the population of Catalonia are originatelly from the rest of spain. who convientlly now forget that their prosperity are main due the tax payers of the rest of spain.

    • jefemano says:

      your arguments are a futil as to consider London becoming independent from the rest of uk. Barcelona is 90% of Catalonia, and to consider Barcelona not being nothing other than Spain is absolutelly unthinkable.

    • Gussy says:

      Spanish and catalanish learned equally in school????
      That’s NOT true. In catalonia there is a law on the school is FORBIDEN learning in spanish, you can learn only in spanish a few hours at month, al the rest of the time you can not select any way… only catalanish. The name of this law is “Inmersió llingüística” (linguistic immersion) and means that everybody on the public schools has only one lenguaje option to learn: Catalanish.

      • Jefemano says:

        If what you are stating on your previous post, is THE REALITY IN Catalonia and the truth, that is worse than what Hitler Nazi Germany before the WWII. why does the European Union tolerate this behaviors and dictatorial attitude by a Regional administration of the Spain. UNBELIEABABLE

    • Seán Aloysius Ó Cearbhaill says:

      Ralph Freeman: First of all allow me to put you into the picture, I am an Irish citzen who has lived in Spain, Madrid, for 17 years. Obviously, I speak Castellano or Spanish here. There is no anti – catalan sentiment here, if anything there is indifference or a pluralistic notion that while having a distinct language and culture, Catalans are people from another region who participate in a wider Spanish market, country, infra – structure, melting pot or whatever. I have Catalan friend and professional colleagues who are mariied and integrated here. There is not anti – catalan sentiment at all, in fact, the issue has never even been mentioned. Valencia is a different case study, linguists recognise that Valenciano is a branch of Catalan. Valencianos have always voted overwhelmingly Partido Popular, even despite the high levels of corruption which exists. Valenciano language TV was scrapped by a regional government with a strong mandate. I don´t believe in independence but more in interdependence. Artur Mas is tergiversising and Oriol Junqueras proved to be very much a regional politician when he made an unconvincing argument in Brussels a couple of months ago, his argument was simplistic, badly researched, emotional and his only resolve was to suggest civil disobedience and a national strike, in Catalonia. The business community shrieked in horror at such a threat. We really have to engage with realities here and stop drawing paralells with Syria, the six counties in the north of Ireland ( Ulster ) and the Palestine. Catalans were divided in post civil war society, they suffered no less than anyone during the Franco dictatorship. in fact, it is no secret that Franco invested heavily in the industrialised regions of Catalonia and the Basque country. One million people creating a human chain on ” La Diada”, was a media choreographed performance. Where were the other 5 million Catalans ? In bed, at the beach, working or studying. Artur Mas is becoming more and more demagogic, messianic and to be frank, desperate. He will pay and is paying the price as Oriol Junqueras and ERC are benefiting from this political adventure. Duran i Lleida, coalition partner with CiU is struggling for his own political survival. A hypothetical independent Catalonia would impoverish Catalans s they would be “Kossovo – ied “, ouside the EU, the Euro Zone and devoid of many multi – nationals who recently in ” La Declaración de Barcelona “, stated that inward investment would dwindle away. Catalanismo is a vanity of miinimal difference.

    • ANTON says:

      Mr. Ralf Freeman,
      Odbiusly you are hired for someone to spread missleading and lies….I wonder if you are not trying to seem a foreigner, your speech smels propagand…I am Spanish an your polarized point of view is really sad, you back nationalist based on linguistic argument, this approach is as poor as my english and I invite you to read something about how scientist attending to field data figure out how identity and etnics are related.
      Hope you suffer what you wish..thats all thank you for reading and give t chance to express.

  8. Gillem Ros says:

    This is not very smart on Jose Javier Olivas to use the website of the London School of Economics to exercise his Spanish nationalistic fancies, to express his fanatic desires, and the usual semi-fascistic lies, which even deny evident facts, like the fact that in the last 25 years, less than 2% of the free highways built by the Spanish government have been built in Catalonia (just one example among many). Jose Javier Olivas should write these fanatic articles in his own personal blog, and not utilize the website of the London School of Economics. Not too smart on his part. And not too smart on the London School of Economics side to allow him to do so, with no control whatsoever.

    • Jose Javier Olivas says:

      Readers can judge who is the fanatic and intransigent. I would appreciate if in addition to the personal insults you would at least try to address something I have written in the article. Could you elaborate on what you deem to be a lie?

      • Jefemano says:

        If what GR has stated on his previous post above, and this is the REALITY IN Catalonia and the truth fact , that is worse than what Hitler Nazi Germany before the WWII. I wonder why does the European Union tolerate this distortion of the truth and dictatorial attitude by a Regional administration of the Spain. Threatening the very fabric of harmony and peace not only in Spain but also in Europe. UNBELIEABABLE.
        You should be ashamed of your self for taking advantage of this unique platform offered by the London School of Economics to express a one sided and very distorted view of a conflict which was created purely in your imagination and fantasy world, and taking advance of what all Spanish tax payers for more than 5 Centuries (including General Franco who was their best supporter and benefactor during his dictatorship) had strategically invested in Catalonia for the greater good of all Spanish people. PLEASE STOP TELLING LIES AND DISTORT THE TRUTH !! in order to justify the unjustifiable and an ILEGAL attempt to grab independence by illegal means and excluding the people who made actual Catalonia possible in the 1st instance, with their hard earned cash and blood and hard labour

      • Jefemano says:

        Guerra Civil Española de 1701-1714 .. también llamada Guerra de Sucesión Española ..entre los partidarios de los aspirantes a suceder al rey Carlos II en la Corona de España , al morir sin descendencia ……
        los borbonicos, que apoyaban a Felipe de Anjoy .. y los austracistas que apoyaban al Archiduque Carlos ………..Rafael Casanova( heroe de la Diada catalana ) : « por el Rey , por la Patria y por la libertad de España » …….
        _____
        Conseller en Cap , de Barcelona Rafael de Casanovas :
        ‘ No serenos esclavos con los demás españoles engañados , y todos en esclavitud del dominio francés ; pero se confía con todo , que como verdaderos hijos de la patria y amantes de la libertad acudirán
        todos a los lugares señalados a fin de derramar gloriosamente su sangre y vida por su rey , por su honor , por la patria y por la libertad de toda España ‘ …

        _________
        el General Antonio Villarroel , jefe militar de la defensa de Barcelona :
        ‘ Señores , hijos y hermanas : hoy es el día en que se han de acordar del valor y gloriosas acciones en todos los tiempos ha ejecutado nuestra nación , por nosotros y por la nación española peleamos ‘ ….

        __________
        Una descendiente de Rafael Casanova( héroe de la DIADA ) : “Él era un patriota español” Pilar Casanova muestra la manipulación por parte de los separatistas al recordar el ferviente patriotismo de su familia a lo largo de la historia …….. http://www.libertaddigital.com/espana/2013-09-10/una-descendiente-directa-de-rafael-casanova-el-era-un-patriota-espanol-1276499030/
        Reply

    • Jefemano says:

      Guerra Civil Española de 1701-1714 .. también llamada Guerra de Sucesión Española ..entre los partidarios de los aspirantes a suceder al rey Carlos II en la Corona de España , al morir sin descendencia ……
      los borbonicos, que apoyaban a Felipe de Anjoy .. y los austracistas que apoyaban al Archiduque Carlos ………..Rafael Casanova( heroe de la Diada catalana ) : « por el Rey , por la Patria y por la libertad de España » …….
      _____
      Conseller en Cap , de Barcelona Rafael de Casanovas :
      ‘ No serenos esclavos con los demás españoles engañados , y todos en esclavitud del dominio francés ; pero se confía con todo , que como verdaderos hijos de la patria y amantes de la libertad acudirán
      todos a los lugares señalados a fin de derramar gloriosamente su sangre y vida por su rey , por su honor , por la patria y por la libertad de toda España ‘ …

      _________
      el General Antonio Villarroel , jefe militar de la defensa de Barcelona :
      ‘ Señores , hijos y hermanas : hoy es el día en que se han de acordar del valor y gloriosas acciones en todos los tiempos ha ejecutado nuestra nación , por nosotros y por la nación española peleamos ‘ ….

      __________
      Una descendiente de Rafael Casanova( héroe de la DIADA ) : “Él era un patriota español” Pilar Casanova muestra la manipulación por parte de los separatistas al recordar el ferviente patriotismo de su familia a lo largo de la historia …….. http://www.libertaddigital.com/espana/2013-09-10/una-descendiente-directa-de-rafael-casanova-el-era-un-patriota-espanol-1276499030/

    • Seán Aloysius Ó Cearbhaill says:

      Gillem Ros: Highways …… a weak argument. Nicolas Maduro calls everyone who has a different point of view a “Fascist”.

  9. Pingback: A bandwagon with a purpose: the independence of Catalonia | Euro Crisis in the Press

  10. Tim says:

    I work with some of the worlds leading speakers in the world of politics, business and finance, hence a strong belief in the freedom of speech. My comment about the article lacking balance or rigour was one not deserved of being moderated. To reiterate the point (if this is deleted again i will persist and actually quite laughably be stronger in conviction). The two basic points were I think the fact companies are relocating to Madrid should have been caveated by the ridiculous tax breaks and incentives Madrid are currently offering businesses based in Spain. Such penalties given to Catalonia e.g. Blockading long haul flights from Barcelona are equivalent to sanctions to countries guilty of war crimes. The list of such politics can go on and on and then to talk about corruption in Catalonia is quite amusing to say the least. I am a UK citizen, have never lived in Catalonia but their struggle is one that I feel deserves much more coverage (and not censorship)!

    • Jose Javier Olivas says:

      Dear Tim I think you are commiting a serious mistake. Your comment was posted. It is just that you wrote it in a different blog that reposted this same article (LSE Europepp you can find the link as a pingbach in this chain). There you can find your comment about the lack of rigour. But please next time you make accusations of this kind be more “rigorous” and make sure of what you are denouncing is true.

    • Jefemano says:

      Tim, with respect you are just as guilty as this article suggest of jumping on a bandwagon of the Catalonia independence with your passionate defence and support, you admit that you have never been anywhere near this region and yet you make statements which to the unfamiliar audience suggest credibility particularly with your opening statement, making the same mistake that all other so called experts in Catalan affairs and Catalan sympathisers makes when expressing their opinion on the subject matter. and yet, you have chosen to ignore the fundamental key of the Catalan issue, no bothering to research and trying to learn the true facts from the other side of this conflict as recorded on original historical documents, journals and dairies of the period and easily available on request. I am also an UK citizen and has been for several years, even though I am native from near the southern shores of the old country, but in my case, I have 1st hand experience of the Catalan issue as I have lived in Bcn for several years. Needless to say, I am truly disappointed and most unimpressed with your earlier contribution precisely for jumping on the bandwagon.

    • Ingratitude and selfishness is the name of the game says:

      Guilty of war crimes ? are you sure you are not a Spokesperson for the Generalitat?? and yet by your own admission you had never visited the Region of Catalonia?? did you know the vast majority of the so called separatist were not born in Catalonia or their origins are from the Rest of Spain or Foreigners?? did you know most of their claims for their a separate state is based on a History reinvented and altered with little or no resemblance to facts in orders to justify their pathetic claims, like their claims of the so called invasion and massacre by the Spanish troops in 1714, which in effect was the restoration of Law & Order to a group of Mutineers and Rebels mainly Spaniards from the rest of Spain by initiated and lead by a group of Leading Barcelonese elitist (initially expecting assistance from the English crown in exchange for Spanish offshore territories) who challenged the succession of the new Bourbon King. The so called massacre never took place because the allies French Troops to protects the civilians surrounded and isolated the Rebels in the City for 20 months until they surrendered. In those day all over Europe high treason as punished by death and in this case the head of the Rebellion paid the price for their adventure which was not supported by the majority of Catalan or Spanish population, now this defeat and high treason by a group of traitors is celebrated by the autonomous Regional Government as an invasion and oppression by the Spanish Armies in 1713. This is an example (amongst many) of the tactics these guys are using to give justification to their otherwise futile claims for independence by altering the History and downright laying about it. This version of the history of Spain and many other similar reinventions)are very much part of their wide Education Curriculum from primary school to further education, their education authorities when challenged they simple alleged that this is their own interpretation of history and the way they wish their citizen and the World to know the new Catalonia. !! the truth facts are of no consequence because it does not server their intended purpose. Faced with cynical statements like these, I rest my case.

    • Michel says:

      Tim:Blockading long haul flights from Barcelona are equivalent to sanctions to countries guilty of war crimes

      -In what kind of imaginary world are you living,Tim? Who is blockading any flights? Explain it , please. In airports of Spain air compains decide their own decisions.

      What do you mean with “countries guilty of war crimes?” War crimes a re individual crimes, moreover, no country is guilty of any crime because countries are not personal subjects. Unless you assume the nationalist doctrine that nations are like human beings, with rights, responsabilities, etc.
      If Madrid offers better tax conditions is because, paying much more than Catalonia to common budget, the have better policies and they have not deficit.It is a matter of not spending every year 200 millions in Embassies, money to newspapers to make propaganda and grants to nationalist asscociations

      • Altabas says:

        For your information:
        The Spanish state has signed a lot of treaties with other states that forbids any flight coming from that state to land in any Spanish airport unless it’s Barajas.

        check this:
        http://sociedad.e-noticies.es/europa-vota-contra-los-privilegios-de-barajas-61300.html

        • Jose Javier Olivas says:

          The statement above is false. There is no treaty forbidding flights from anywhere in the world to Catalonia. As a matter of fact El Prat airport in Barcelona received this summer as many passengers than Barajas in Madrid. What the article in the link says is that the nationalist party in government in Catalonia denounced preferential agreements for Barajas which for Iberia was the main hub for transcontinental flights. Any company can fly to El Prat if they wish so and pay the fees.
          This kind of exaggerated claims that aims to make the international opinion think that Catalonia is oppressed by the rest of Spain are in fact counterproductive for the pro-independence cause. Not many domestic and international actors would consider highly negotiating eith those whose main political tool is blatant propaganda.

          • jefemano says:

            Like allradical and nationlist groups your claims, accusations and justification are based on lies, half truths and desinformations grossly exagerated, you focus on the source of information that publishes the most negative aspect of the subjet matter in order to justify you prejudices with chdcking the validity or accuracy of the source of info. for example the website published by the Generalitat, is well know to contains the version of event and history which suit and helps the cause. the truth or historical accuracy is the main victim here, wikipedia is another sample because their pages are the results of unvalidated opinions by inviduals who can freely access these pages.

          • Gillem Ros says:

            I have accounted at least 30 international treaties entered into by Spain which forbid international flights to or from Barcelona and forces them all to land in and take off from Madrid. Jose Javier, you are a radical Spanish nationalist and your article is full of lies. You should right these fanatic articles in your own blog about your nationalistic fancies, and stop using the website of the London School of Economics.

          • Eurocrisis in the Press says:

            Dear Gillem,

            thank you for your comment and for reading our blog. The purpose of the blog is to host a variety of opinions and generate debate. We have hosted a very reasonable response to Jose Javier’s blog post (http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/eurocrisispress/2013/10/18/a-bandwagon-with-a-purpose-the-independence-of-catalonia/ ), your accusation of fanaticism therefore, seems unfair and extreme. Furthermore, the views of each of the posts represent the views of the author, not those of the blog or the LSE.

          • Jefemano says:

            Before you point ypour finger at Madrid, Please try Heathrow, CDG, Linate, Rome, Skipol, Brussels, New york, Etc etc.. all of which are similar in nature and status, My friend you are the lier and Necio-Nalista Kakalan here. I suggest if you don’t like what is written here, GO ELSEWHERE

          • Jefemano says:

            My Friend try to learn history’s true facts.

          • Jefemano says:

            Cataluña fue un reino, la Casa de Barcelona se anexionó Aragón en 1137, y el «rey de Cataluña» Jaime I el Conquistador creó los «Países Catalanes». Son algunas de las perlas que salpican el particular relato de la historia que difunde la Generalitat de forma oficial a través de su portal de internet, tanto con textos como con diversos vídeos.
            En su afán por hacer valer un pretendido carácter histórico de «nación» y de «estado» catalán, la web de la Generalitat se explaya en un relato en el que vapulea la realidad y llega a afirmar que adquirió la soberanía del Reino de Aragón en 1137. Una suerte de supuesta «anexión» -en los rótulos de uno de sus vídeos utiliza expresamente este término- que choca con la verdad histórica y con lo que reflejan los archivos regios de la Edad Media, en los que nunca aparece Cataluña como reino, sino únicamente como Condado de Barcelona. to be continued….

        • Michel says:

          Decía Antich hace 20 años en su crónica: “Para cumplir sus objetivos, los ponentes no ocultan la necesidad de controlar a los educadores para que cumplan lo estipulado en la doctrina nacionalista. Se aboga, así, por “vigilar la composición de los tribunales de oposición” para todo el profesorado.

          Asimismo, se alienta a “reorganizar el cuerpo de inspectores de forma que vigilen la correcta cumplimentación de la normativa sobre la catalanización de la enseñanza”. También se considera necesario “incidir en las asociaciones de padres”.

          La voluntad de dirigismo queda de nuevo patente en el apartado relativo a los medios de comunicación: hay que “introducir gente nacionalista (…) en todos los puestos claves de los medios de comunicación”. También se postula “incidir en la formación inicial y permanente de los periodistas y de los técnicos de comunicación para garantizar una preparación con conciencia nacional catalana”.

          El documento promueve la creación de organizaciones patronales, económicas y sindicales catalanas, y la conveniencia de diseñar “una estrategia para optar a los cargos directivos de las instituciones” financieras.

          De igual forma, se propugna “incidir sobre la administración de justicia y orden público con criterios nacionales”, y revisar los mecanismos de acceso y promoción del funcionariado.” Como se ve, estavba todo programado, a través del control de la “sociedad civil”. La “espontaneidad” es programada y dirigida por un “pinyol” desde la Generalitat, que nunca quiso encajar en España, sino simplemente acumular fuerzas para dar el golpe en buenas condiciones.Hace 20 años ni se soñaba con el pulso al Estado, ahora sí porque hay un control total de una Administración que domina el 80% del gasto .

          • Michel says:

            The false news of Tim are logical in terms of nationalist propaganda: it jas been always like that in Europe. Give away lies or half-lies. Aeroports in Spain are freely used by airlines.Only cataln government is obsessed with “national building”: remember when they bought the airline Spanair, to make a “national ” company: it went to bankruptcy. Obviously none bans any flight , but the phrase “crimes of war” impacts in people, and teh idea of a dark harsh colonialist Spain may spread.

    • Jose Javier Olivas says:

      The link to the blog where you posted your comment and the comment itself (so you can retract from your unfounded accusations):

      http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2013/10/12/the-independence-of-catalonia-jumping-on-a-bandwagon/

      Tim says:

      October 16, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      You mention companies relocating to Madrid I think the tax breaks that are offered for such a relocation should be highlighted. In a similar vein to prohibiting long haul flights out of the international hub that is Barcelona. I am a Londoner who has nothing to do with study or politics but as a supposed academic interested in the subject area I would suggest there should be a bit more rigour and balance in your arguments!!!

  11. David says:

    The fact is that the independence of Catalonia would be the biggest business seen in centuries… for the rest of Spain.

    Many Catalonian companies make lots of money simply by importing and distributing in Spain thousands of products made in other countries and getting their comission. Needless to say, these (now exclusive) distributions would be taken by spanish companies and that money would stay at home, in case of secession.

    Catalonians claim too that Spain has boycoted them many times. However it is just the opposite: they buy as less as they can (both products and services) from Spain and then cry aloud and call Fascist to those Spaniards who do the same and prefer to buy products and services from their own regions. With the independence, many Spanish companies would recover their natural market, with products of the same (if not higher) quality. Catalonian products are still quite overestimated.

    And do you imagine if France said that the VAT and other taxes paid by British consumers buying French products in UK should be returned to France?. And what if UK refused and then French people said ‘UK steals from US’? That is the situation between Spain and Catalonia.

    There are probably many more supporters of the independence outside Catalonia than inside, unfortunately.

  12. ampar says:

    Independentists said they are against armies, but now they want to create their own.

  13. ampar says:

    In the Bask country we have the same problem. More than half a million basks had to leave their native land because of the radical independentists , their kidnaps and their bombs.
    Is this the democracy you promise?

    Independentists spend hundreds of millions in fake campaigns, and they say they don’t have money for people. This is ridiculous.

  14. pep says:

    Catalonia was bombarded, as all other big cities were.
    The Spanish Civil War wasn’t a war between regions but between different social classes.
    Many catalonians were as fascists as well as other fascists in Spain.
    So, please, don’t try to inculcate your segregationist and fake ideology.
    independentists in Cataluña are like the Italian Camorra, nobody dares to say anything against them.

    • jefemano says:

      Wise words, spot on my friend. these guys are try to capitalise on the lack of knowledge of most European to sale their independence however based history which has been heavily manipulated and changed, half-trues, down right lies to justify the unjustifiable, If one removes their outer layer and exterior propaganda and front image, its obvious that their claims are without any legitimacy, valid historical reason, cultural or least of all Freedom and oppression which is what they normally claims. Historical Documents keep in the Royal Archives revealed that the population of Catalonia in 1640 was a just 1.7% of the total national total, their main activities Agriculture and fishing, and some maritime activities between Naples, Geneva, Sicily, Corcega etc. Contrary the independist claims, Catalonia has never been an Independent country, Catalonia as a County Integral part of the Kingdom of Aragon was included on the territories that Fernando II King of Aragon merged with Castile as a result of marrying Isabella I Queen of Castile. which created the Modern Spain as we know it these days. Bearing in mind that Catalonia has always been a Region of the Modern Spain since then, and never had powers to of an independent state, to It can be said without any doubt that Catalonia is what it is today, thanks to the fact it Integral Part of Spain and has been since the 15th Century, and all infrastructures and industry has been possible because the taxpayers from all Spain had invested tactically and with preference to ensure Catalonia becomes one of the most Industrial and commercial Region of Spain. Most of the population currently living in Catalonia are 1st or second generation of emigrants from the rest of Spain.

    • jefemano says:

      The Vasque Country ….

  15. Pingback: The independence of Catalonia: jumping on a bandwagon | EUROPP

  16. Michael says:

    The Catalan question has been the big taboo for centuries.
    Barcelona has been bombarded several times in the last centuries from the spanish army, every time they considered the catalans were going too far. A catalan president (Companys) was imprisoned in the ’30’s after proclaming the catalan state. Franco ordered shooting him short after winning the civil war.
    Many catalans voted for the current constitution in ’78, because they thought it was possible to live together with castillians, in a “federal” way, and because they had to choose between an old regim that lasted for 40 years (after the death of Franco) and a new democracy. The current constitution would not be validated nowadays for more than 80% of catalans.
    The army (with major power in Spain at that time) dictated the article of the Constitution where it says that the army is in care of the unity of the country. They sent a soldier to those who were writing the draft of the law, and ordened to keep the article without changing a comma. This fact is widely known and none of the actors involved has ever denied it.
    Look for an issue (in newspapers archives) that is a constant source of trouble in Spain, for the last decades, and you won’t find nothing that equals the catalan questions, not even ETA in the Basque Country.
    Why is now this issue so in the media? Simply, because many people don’t think there is a way of understanding with Spain anymore, and they have lost their fear to express it. And they want to fight for what they think.

    • Jose Javier Olivas says:

      Let’s clarify. Barcelona has only been bombed during the course of civil wars. During the latest one Barcelona was bombed by Francoist Armies but the intensity of this bombing was nothing compared with that suffered by Madrid from the same army. The 1714 bombing by the Borbonic camp was in the context of a dynastic sucession war and it was preceded by a bombing from the Habsburg camp. So nothing to do with a fight between Catalonia and the rest of Spain. Please do not try to mislead readers by suggesting an ongoing war for centuries. There were hundred of thousands of Catalans in the Francoist camp. Also Catalan inboth sides durimg the Carlist wars or the sucession war in the eighteenth century.

      • Michael says:

        In 1842, Espartero, regent of the Kingdom of Spain, bombarded Barcelona, and said his famous sentence (“Barcelona has to be bombarded at least every 50 years”). Maybe you are suggesting the catalans wants this for his capital city, but I would be a unique case in the world. This is history, a history of lack of understanding between two nationalities that still goes on.

        • Michel says:

          You do not have a clue about History. Espartero was a liberal that wanted to open Spain to european trade. Catalan indstry were protected agaisnt foreign goods by strong taxes. Stendhal said : “spanish have to buy a meter of bad catalan cloth paying 4 coins while english cloths, better, costs only 1.”
          Espartero wanted internacionalization of econoimy, (“libracambismo”) while catalan oligarchs and workers feared unemployement. This was economic and social, nothing to do with nationalism. At that time, the farewells to spanish troops to America (plenty of ctalan volunteers) were waved in huge demonstrations of patriotism. You have complete mistaken view.

          • Michael says:

            Ok, you go to Catalonia now and you will see “the huge demonstrations of -your spanish- patriotism”. Like they say in Spain, “no man is more blind than the man who refuses to see”.
            That’s why in Catalonia, the two big parties (PP and PSOE), are quite smaller parties, with no option to rule.

          • Jose Javier Olivas says:

            Michael, I don’t intend to change your mind about “the Catalan question” but I think that not all arguments are valid in a discussion of such importance. We should not mix feelings and facts. I think it is perfectly legitimate to fight for the independence of Catalonia, but that goal does not justify all means. Caricaturizing and misrepresenting the rest of Spain and history is not a legitimate approach. It would be better to simply state that you just don’t want to share a country with Castilians, Andalusians, Basques, Valencians, Asturians, etc. (because you feel it like this) and then try to convince the rest of Spanish people that the secession would not be so bad for them. Finally, I am really surprised that having lived in Spain all your life you show so little understanding about the people that live outside Catalonia. Maybe it would be a good idea to start knowing a bit more about them so you can appeal to their understanding too.

        • Jose Javier Olivas says:

          1- The bombing of Espartero took place against a popular rebellion that had nothing to do with nationalist claims. In this rebellion some Carlist and republican supporters revolted against the government because Espartero wanted to eliminate the tariffs to textile imports from Britain. That was deem to hurt the textile industry in Barcelona because until this time they had a captive market (Spain and the Colonies)
          2-You say “the two nationalities”. Which are those “two”? The worst mistake that nationalist commit is (in addition to overstating their homogeneity and difference from the rest) to assume that “the others” constitute an homogeneous group. In do not believe in nationalities but if you want to talk about it and you claim that Catalans are a distinct nationality you cannot deny the fact that other groups in Spain such as Andalusian, Asturians, Galicians, Leonese or Basques can consider themselves also specific. Spain is not divided between Catalans and Castillians. There are many overlapping identities.

          • Michael says:

            One thing are regional areas and something different are distinct groups with a more or less sense of identity. In Spain, the latter are Castilian, Catalan, Basque and Galician.
            In what part of the world demonstrate 1’5 million people (2012, and also 2013, the catalan way) asking for their right to secede from Spain -or not-? What has the UK government done with a similar issue in Scotland? Let the people speak. Do you agree with that? If the catalans are so comfortable in Spain, don’t worry, they will stay.

          • Michel says:

            Dear Michael, your words are always mistaken from the roots.
            In Madrid tehre were a huge demonstration against abortio.
            -Organizers said they were 2 million, EL PAIS measuring surface said it was less than 500.000. Whatever amount of people, must laws change as they wish?

            – In the catalan , organizers say 1.5 millions , 2… , whatever, but the surface shows that as usual, organizer´s numbers are just a balloon. Whatever amount of people, must laws change as they wish?
            Democracy is that even 1 million is less that 47 millions. Ah, this 1 million does not want to admit it and have their ownreasons over the law of majority? the other 45 do not admit it . Who wins?…if the minority does not want to admit majority, then, it is whatever but democracy. As the canadian Law of Clarity says: “no npart of CAnada has the right to separate from the Republic, either under national or international laws.” But a negotiaton can be started if a lot of people complain..”.but under the law of force, not of democracy.

          • Michael says:

            Ok, I see you share my sight about negotiation. That’s how it should be in XXI century.
            The voters, in a referendum, should be catalans, as scottish in Scotland, or quebecois in Quebec; not all the people in Spain. Catalans has nothing to say if Basque people decide to stay or leave Spain, for instance. And they’re glad to be it so.
            I’m from Spain but I’m not catalan, and don’t live in Catalonia. You missed all the guesses about me; that’s only a sign that you’re full of prejudices.

        • Jose Javier Olivas says:

          On what basis do you decide that Basque, Galician, Catalan and Castillian are the only national identities in Spain. Is this kind of divine commandment? What book or law states that? What about people in Andalucía, Canary Islands, Aragon, Asturias. Valencia, etc? Obviously you never lived in Spain. For instance I am not Castilian and you cannot impose on people like me to feel Castilian (the same that you cannot impose on independentist Catalans to feel Spanish or Castilian). Yours is the perfect example of a myopic nationalist comment. You can not impose homogeneity on your own people but it is even more of a fool’s errand to try to impose homogeneity on the others. Spain is a multi-cultural country which complexity you don’t seem to grasp. I would recommend you to go, visit and talk to the people.

          • Michael says:

            Ok, it’s obvious we are never going to agree about the catalan question. I’m sure there will be big changes in the near future, and you think this is a big soufflé, and nothing is going to happen. We’ll see.
            By the way, I have lived all my life in Spain, so I have first hand experience on what I’m talking about. I don’t know where you live, but you don’t seem to have a close relation to catalan people.

        • Jose Javier Olivas says:

          To say that an Andalusian (or people from other regions in Spain) is a Castilian because she speaks Castilian is the same than saying that a Scottish is English because she speaks English. There is no document or law depicting Andalusian as Castilians, neither Andalusians feel Castilians. Please be careful about your statements about people you do not know or understand.

    • Michel says:

      MICHAEL. A catalan president (Companys) was imprisoned in the ’30′s after proclaming the catalan state. Franco ordered shooting him short after winning the civil war.
      — The president Companys was President thanks to the Laws of the Republic. He insurrected antidemocratically against the laws, and was shot as any other insurrects in Europe were at that time shot… all the Constitutions saw capital punishment for “Coup d’Etat”.Companys illegal violent action was not supported by anyone in CAtalonia. 70% of people were anarchists and socialists and ignore nationalism.
      Many catalans voted for the current constitution in ’78, because they thought it was possible to live together with castillians,
      – How do you know it?Or because they just thought that they were Spanish. Did you asked tehm? These dialectic of castilians and catalans is just the retoric of the present catalan government. Is the rethoric of nationalism, always old and new in Europe.All governments hold rethorics of “us ” and “they”, as prior to First World War, were young people killed each other because of the hates of old people in governments. Rethoric is not facts.
      .Michael,,,The current constitution would not be validated nowadays for more than 80% of catalans.

      – The Constitution of USA were nort validated probably by the Confederates. And the Constitution of France is probably not validated by not even 40% of people of Bretagne. So what? Have we to vote constitutional referenda every 20 years just because an oligarchy of regional government wants?

      MICHAEL.The army (with major power in Spain at that time) dictated the article of the Constitution where it says that the army is in care of the unity of the country. They sent a soldier to those who were writing the draft of the law, and ordened to keep the article without changing a comma. This fact is widely known and none of the actors involved has ever denied it.

      – It would be very useful that you quote our sources and the names of that people involved.It is widely known only for you.Besides, that article is exactly the same as its equivalent in German or French Constitution. No country admits secession of a part of their territory, whatever you like or not. No international law allows breaking a state just for the will of a minor part of population. The article 5 of Maastricht Treaty speaks about UE helping member States to keep their territorial integrity.

      Michael..Look for an issue (in newspapers archives) that is a constant source of trouble in
      Why is now this issue so in the media? Simply, because many people don’t think there is a way of understanding with Spain anymore, and they have lost their fear to express it. And they want to fight for what they think.

      –People in Spain had never any fear to express that. During 35 years nationalists have been undermining Spain in catalonia without any bothering. The Catalan Government spends every year 200 millions of euros in attacking Spain, support independence, insult Spain, silence any voice other that nationalist, and back independentist groups, and does it freely. For example, last year, while many chirurgy units are closing ( and they have the nerve of accusing Spain) they gave 1.200.000 euros to the NATIONAL CATALAN SELECTION OF DARTS, just to back independence. I do not see any fear here, only the will of a political oligarchy to get power. Maybe indeepndentist are 30, 40 or 50% of catalans, but for sure independentists aree 98% in the high posts of catalan government, the posts with official car and big salaries.

      • jefemano says:

        You are once again being economical with the truth .. what you are saying above is only you own wish list and your own version of events to justify the unjustifiable aimed to this audience, and your own crusade based on lies, half-truths and downright deception. Readers reserve better, or at very least the truth.

    • jefemano says:

      With respect you are being very economical with the truth. Since Aragon merged with Castile, Catalonia has always been either a County or Region of Spain, and according to Original authenticated archives from the Period, there were only three times since the 15th Century that Catalonia were in arms conflict, in 1713 during the succession war, resulting from a group renegades revels, from Barcelona and other parts of Spain loyal to the Austrian royal family trying to boycott the rightful by blood linage the Bourbon king from being crowned and to that effect these Group made an alliance with England in exchange for Corsica and Menorca, Because the French supported the new Bourbon King, there was a localised confrontation in Barcelona city (not the whole of Catalonia) which was surrounded by the French armies, for 20 months which eventually forced the revels to surrender their arms. The other instance of Conflict in the Catalonian Region was during the Invasion of Napoleon and the last During the Spanish Civil War which resulted from General Franco military Coup-de-tat, which in a way ( some historian say) was triggered by the President of the Region of Catalonia declaring their independence from state unilaterally, because they were given assurances by the communist party in Russian to send Troops to repel any attempt by the Spanish State from trying to recover Catalonia.. the rest is history…..

    • jefemano says:

      My Friend, please get your fact right, Scotland’s claim for a popular consultation to return to their independence is totally different from the claims by Catalan for their own consultation for an independent state. In the 1st instance Scotland was originality a sovereign Country with its on government, court, parliament etc. , which agreed to join forces with England under the famous Treaty of the Union of 1714, which Carta Magna included Exit clauses for both sides. And therefore Scotland don not need to seek or Need approval from the Prime Minister or Her Majesty to organised their Referendum for return to be an independence state as they were once prior to 1714. So to compare or suggest such claim is simply twisting the facts and a great insult and disrespect to the History of both Countries (Scotland and Spain) and honour the truth. Most people are well educated and do not fall for fantasies half cooked tales in order to justify the unjustifiable

  17. Juan L. says:

    I agree with the article. I would also say corruption is a big problem in Catalonia. A problem that is hidden by the nationalism and the parties in power like CiU from decades ago until right now. The nationalistic party in power CiU have had for many years the control of Education, Mas Media and Culture. To spread out nationalism through those medias and to give Education in Primary and Secondary schools for children and teens to transmit hate against Spain. This way of teaching in public Education it is not exactly a good model to build the base of the democratic new country they want to create. Also corruption it is a very high pattern related to the way CiU and the Pujol´s family in power for years established a network of companies abroad to clean black money in tax havens to open bank accounts in countries like Jersey, Guersey , Lichtenstein, Switzerland, etc according to some press releases the total amount of money the Pujol´s can have stolen collecting illegal commissions can be around 12.000 bill. euros. This is a trial that the Catalan Court doesn´t want to investigate because Justice is already under the control of the Catalan government.

  18. juanjoz says:

    Interesting article , it is unfortunate that the information given in it , not explained in the media of Spain and politicians here, just use demagoguery and lies to get their projects forward . As well explained , Catalonia is one of the richest regions in Spain , this is because for centuries has enjoyed political advantages , economic and social with the rest … I would even say more , many parts of Spain we have cheap labor and cheap raw material producers to satisfy the ambitions of political and economic elites of Catalonia Basque Country Madrid. Extremadura is 70 % lower than the GDP of Catalonia by extraneous causes … but because for centuries we have been denied education , culture , infrastructure, etc. to progress … is unfair , that certain regions of Spain , have harvested the resources of the rest , using us as colonies and now want to leave without saying goodbye and thank you . It’s a shame as the manipulation of reality and mentality of many young people in Catalonia and beyond . We are governed by bad politicians … and the worst is that people vote. Nationalists believe that ” defend your idea ” when you actually defend the ideas of politicians and entrepreneurs that lead them exploiting for centuries.. they think “free”, when they are not …. and nothing is done to this, nobody gets on TV or in the press explaining things … we have to read articles from foreign sites …

    • Pablo says:

      Although I agree with you in most of your comment, I don’t understand the part about leaving without saying goodbye. I’m convinced that the fastest way to rethink and rebuild Spain is to permit the referendum in Catalonia. Extremadura, Andalucia, Murcia and other regions of the country must think themselves as a political subject and this affirmation has nothing to do with the participation of Catalonia in the state project, but with the decentralization of the Castilian-modeled Spain. As I see it, after 40 years of public investment and high levels of education, time has come to demand a political and economical centrality for the south of Spain. These regions already have the capabilities to develope theirselves and cancel the historical dependencies with the north.

  19. Jose Javier Olivas says:

    Another recent argument on the emotional element and limited rational debate in the Catalan independence case by Prof Moreno: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2013/10/01/the-catalan-independence-movement-has-been-more-emotionally-driven-than-its-scottish-equivalent/#more-20314

  20. Joe says:

    Most of the legal representatives agree: There are 5 possible legal ways to allow Catalans to vote in a referendum without changing the Constitution. It is a political issue, not a legal one. As simple as allowing Catalans to vote. It is called : democracy.

    On the other hand, the Spanish Constitution was changed in a weekend to bail the banks, even with more reason to allow citizens to vote. Democracy.

    80% of the Catalan Parliament and its citizens want a referendum for independence, so allow democracy and let them vote. The Spanish Government and Spanish nationalists are becoming increasingly ridiculous worldwide not allowing democracy in the XXI century.

    By the way, is it necessary to keep all the spam by Luisa? It makes it really hard to follow normal comments.

    • José says:

      I would love to know where did you found the data of the 80% of catalonians wanting the referendum (did a Google search and didn’t find any reliable source on that bit of data)

      Even if the constitution is modified that wouldn’t give Catalonia better chances of surviving off the EU, part of the problem in the province is that there isn’t any document stating in detail how would CIU and ERC would lead Catalonia to balance the economy once it is out of Spain and the EU. As you can read the article even when the political parties behind the independence movement want you to believe they are like the Sweden their economy isn’t and there are really serious problems when we talk about corruption (CIU has at least 6 open cases in the courts all having to do with corruption)

      There are many people now complaining in Catalonia that CIU is using the independence movement to cover their corruption scandals and the people in the province who know aren’t happy about it at all since their culture, languange and historic legacy is being used as a blanket to cover CIU’s corruption scandals.

      Democracy can’t and shouldn’t be shifted to the sides by demagoguery either, while there are a lot of people claiming they want the independence you have to realize that there are claims of people saying local media isn’t giving any voice to those who are catalonians but are against the referendum and independence movement, which is worrisome, why would only those who want the independence should be the ones to bear the right express themselves and deny that same right to the ones who are against the idea?

      I think this article summarizes in a great way the problems of Catalonia today.

  21. spanish resident says:

    I guess the idea of independence of Catalonia is as valid as any other political goals, but there is a logical path to walk to reach legally and peacefully this objective. First, the Catalan political parties should clearly announce in their platform wether they support Independence or not. For the moment, it seems that CiU could split in two factions in case they decided to chose officially the independence path. But if every party announce clearly its position on the matter, and a clear majority of Catalan citizens cast their votes to the parties promoting the Independence, then a negotiation could start between the Catalan representatives and the Spanish government, in order to find a pacific and steady way towards an independent Catalonia. But we are very far from this today.

  22. Tom Clarke says:

    Sorry – part of my comment has disappeared. The bit meant to be in blockquote is:

    Firstly, I don’t think that your use of history does anything to help your argument here.

    In purely logical terms, proposing that a thing cannot exist because at one point in the past it didn’t exist, is fallacious and highly problematic. By that rationale, no state could ever exist because all of them have come into existence at some point in the past.

    That said, pretending to ignore the logical flaw in your argument, I believe that it can also be refuted with facts. As has been explained, the Crown of Aragon was essentially a confederation of four crowns. While the name and the official capital were, due to the precedence of a kingdom over a principality, invested in Aragon, the main system of governance and trade was always operated from Barcelona. The dominant language was Catalan. The ruling dynasty was the House of Barcelona. It was the Catalans who then spread and extended their military and cultural power over a large part of the Mediterranean.

    A centre of power, then. A cultural, economic and military power capable of influencing the lands around it, defining widely accepted laws for the operation of trade and shipping, and colonising surrounding territories. While the concept of the ‘state’ isn’t exactly applicable – it is a development that comes later than the time we’re looking at – I can’t see any reason why we shouldn’t call historical Catalonia as much a ‘state’ as any other country in Europe at the time.

    • Michel says:

      Practically, you do not write a single right thing:
      1. (quote) the Crown of Aragon was essentially a confederation of four crowns.
      That is false. There were a single Crown: the crown and Royal House of Aragon. When the count of Bercelona married the queen of Aragon, he lost all his rights and the coming dinasty was the House of Aragon. The word “confederation” is modern, and the documents never show up the expresion “Crown or conferderation of Aragón -Cataluña”, only Aragon. The reality is stubborn.
      (quote) The ruling dynasty was the House of Barcelona…

      The ambasadors were ambassadors of Aragon and International treaties were held in the name of the King of Aragon. Cataluña did not exist as political subject. In fact , the County of Urgell, which now is in Cataluña, was conquered by the King of Aragon as late as in the XV century for his crown, not for any “Cataluña”.
      The languages of the court were aragonese, latin, castilian and catalan, not only catalan.
      By the way , the Count of Barcelona was not any King or Count of Cataluña because that title did not exist and never would exist, not even the name.The name is from the XII century, while the name Spain is phoenician, from the century III bC, 1.500 years before.
      3. (quote)..A centre of power, then….
      The fact that Barcelona was a port made it obviously concentrate all naval commerce, but there is much evidence in History about towns with high commercial and financial life that are not the capital of the State nor the political head.
      Not a single writer of that time saw Catalonia as “state as any other”. The states were kingdoms and Cataluña did not made any single action out of the Kingdom of Aragon.

      • Tom Clarke says:

        Way to respond, Michel. I like the half quotes. I’ts an easy way to make your point look like it stands up. The Crown of Aragon comprised the Kingdoms of Aragon (which included the County of Barcelona), Mallorca, Valencia and Sicily. Four crowns in a confederation. Come on, this is basic stuff.

        I said: “While the name and the official capital were, due to the precedence of a kingdom over a principality, invested in Aragon, the main system of governance and trade was always operated from Barcelona. The dominant language was Catalan. The ruling dynasty was the House of Barcelona.” You seem to disagree only with the language, pretending that Castilian was used when it basically wasn’t.

        You say “Not a single writer of that time saw Catalonia as “state as any other”. The states were kingdoms and Cataluña did not made any single action out of the Kingdom of Aragon.” and I say that the concept of state doesn’t apply to this era but that it is a perfectly rational analysis from nowadays that would see the County of Barcelona/later Principality of Catalonia as the prime territory of that kingdom and indeed the driver of commerce, warfare and cultural expansion.

        Oh and the age of names: that’s a tricky one. ‘Britain’ is an ancient name which refers to a geographical entity (an island). ‘England’, a component country of the state that exists on Britain now, is a much more recent term referring to one part of the island inhabited by Angles (and Saxons). You can apply the same model to ‘Hispania’ and ‘Catalonia’.

        But as I started off saying, none of this is really relevant. All states are created. That there has been a principality of Catalonia at some point in history, and that for hundreds of years efforts have been made to gain independence, you see that the argument against independence that bases itself on historical grounds is fallacious. And anyway, I feel, refuted.

        • Amy says:

          I understand historical data can be a point of departure to debate over the possibility of the Catalonian Independence. But it does not really have to do with whether Catalonia as an independent state is legitimate or not since what matters in a democratic society is people’s will. In this sense, if people want to decide their political future by voting, it has to be respected. If there is any political mechanism which hinders this popular demand, the meaning of democracy in that society has to be reconsidered.

          • jefemano says:

            Indeed, but always in according to de Democratic principles, respecting the law and according to the Constitution of 78 which was approved by the Catalan people by more than 91% of their voters then. since when 2M independist is mayority over 45M people who wish to keep unbroken the territorial integrity of Spain??

        • Michel says:

          T.CLARKE, Michel. I like the half quotes. I’ts an easy way to make your point look like it stands up. The Crown of Aragon comprised the Kingdoms of Aragon (which included the County of Barcelona), Mallorca, Valencia and Sicily. Four crowns in a confederation. Come on, this is basic stuff.
          —–Unfortuately, you are totally mistaken. “Confederation” is a modern term that refers to free states that make an agreement. The kingdoms that you mention were created “ex novo”, when such lands were conquered to muslims. They did not exist before such territories were brought into the dominions of the King of Aragon, which created them as mere administratiuve divisions under its own will, will of conqueridor.Such dominions had not kings able to agree any confederation (because they were were kicked out by Aragon). So, they were as Confederated as you can call “fluorescent bulb” to a wax candle.
          T.CLARKE,Oh and the age of names: that’s a tricky one. ‘Britain’ is an ancient name which refers to a geographical entity (an island). ‘England’, a component country of the state that exists on Britain now, is a much more recent term referring to one part of the island inhabited by Angles (and Saxons). You can apply the same model to ‘Hispania’ and ‘Catalonia’.
          —–The “small” difference is that while “Britain” was not a kingdom except if you consider such a kingdom the legendary kingdom of the no less legendary King Arthur, Hispania was a visigothic kingdom, till year 711.tCataluña is exactly what you call a geographical entity and so was considered along Europe. The count of Urgell was independent from the count of Barcelona , and they had not any conscience of belonging to any political union ( till the county of Urgell was conquered and joined the Crown of Aragon). Cataluña is not even like Wales,was never a kingdom, has not ambassadors nor other Army that the feudal county armies , nor signed any Treaty ever. For international right , was like the Costwolds or East Sussex.
          T. CLARKE.But as I started off saying, none of this is really relevant. All states are created. That there has been a principality of Catalonia at some point in history, and that for hundreds of years efforts have been made to gain independence, you see that the argument against independence that bases itself on historical grounds is fallacious. And anyway, I feel, refuted.

          —- Not at all, you are completely mistaken or misleaded. The principality of Cataluña was created by the crown of Aragon and had never a Prince nor was political subject of anything. Show me any document, please.Nationalist lie as they used to do always in Europe.. For example, when Bernat Desclot wrote in middle age: “I serve to my Lord the King of Aragon…and even fishes wear on them the four bars of ARAGON”. Nationalist write in textbooks:“I serve to my Lord the King …and even fishes wear on them the four bars of CATALUNYA.” Pure lie. Besides…Never “for hundreds of years efforts have been made to gain independence”. None complained when Castilla and Aragon were united, none complained in 1714 when stronger political union was achieved. (Show me documents, please)In fact, during the XVIII and Xix cs , catalans were strong supporters of Spain , as they showed in Independence War against NApoleon. It is not wierd that they, if were so fiercely independent, did not take profit of NApoleon´s invasion? Instead of that , tehy fought for the King and for Spain.. the President of the Cortes of CAdiz was a catalan, Ramon de Dou i Bassols, who , together with other 16 catalan MP´s, supported the liberal idea of Spanish nation.
          You obviously do not have a clue about it. During XIX century catalan oligarchy monopolised trade with colonies, supported slave trade, and sent and get into, armies against cuban independentist, being farewells of troops in Barcelona huge explosions of patriotism. All is in Google… lack of knowledge, nowadays ,is intellectually guilty.

    • jefemano says:

      Mr Clarke, with respect you should review your source of info for your earlier contribution, your statement that there were 4 Crowns, and that Barcelona was the Centre of power ?? where did you get that from?? Did your investigation indicated those facts before 1490 or later ? In any case if you research any of the Historical Records in Spain, ( Not the Generalitat website) you will discovers that the statement you made above are not just erroneous but to say the least laughable.

  23. Tom Clarke says:

    “Lluïsa” has made it feel pointless to respond on this page, which is unfortunate because the author has repeated so many half truths and distortions, I really feel like this article ought to be refuted in as full a way as possible.

    That said, I would like to respond to the historical section of this essay, because it’s typical of a version of Spanish/Catalan history which, while appearing to follow the facts, intentionally obscures the truth. If you’ll forgive me, I’ll repeat a comment I have made elsewhere:

    A Catalan republic was first proclaimed in 1640 (as you mentioned), albeit for an almost comically brief period. But irregardless of the lack of recognition of this ‘republic’, it’s fair to say that Catalonia has historically attempted to exercise self-rule, independent from Spain.

    This article, while not factually incorrect, is profoundly dishonest in which facts it has chosen to recall and which it prefers to ignore.

  24. JAUME says:

    LLuisa is paid by the spanish goverment to troll… Congrats Lluisa i hope they pay you good.

    • Lluïsa says:

      FRASE del DIA . . . . ‘ El nacionalismo no es el despertar de las naciones hacia su conciencia propia : inventa naciones donde no las hay ‘( Ernest Gellner )

  25. Lluïsa says:

    Si España es divisible .. por esa regla de tres tambien tiene que ser divisible el territorio de la comunidad autonoma de Cataluña … es asi de simple ..

    _____________
    Y digo yo .. tambien podremos hacer tantas veces como queramos .. ahora y despues de la supuesta independencia ..
    referéndum en Cataluña ..
    para ver los pueblos/comarcas/municipios/provincias/etc .. que NO quieran pertenecer a la actual CCAA de Cataluña
    y quieran la independencia ….
    podrian empezar por ejemplo por el .. El Valle de Arán que quiere independizarse de la CCAA de Cataluña ……..
    http://www.alertadigital.com/2012/09/13/el-valle-de-aran-quiere-independizarse-de-cataluna/

    ___________
    ..referéndum ….. El Valle de Arán quiere independizarse de la CCAA de Cataluña , la independentista Pilar Rahola no quiere
    ………… (( V I D E O )) ………….
    http://youtu.be/i_rZJrbX1iU

    • Lluïsa says:

      Imagino que como el PP gobierna en Badalona y Castelldefels ..
      mientras gobiernen podran hacer referéndum para pedir poder separarse de la CCAA de Cataluña .. con los lemas ..
      ¡ Cataluña ens roba ! .. ¡ som un país ! .. ¡ Vixca Badalona y Castelldefels l’lliures del jou català ! .. etc ..

      Igual lo mas justo y equitativo seria trocear la comunidad autónoma de Cataluña , es decir dividirla en dos mitades ..
      una mitad para los independentistas y la otra mitad para los no independentistas …

      • Lluïsa says:

        Pau Gasol : ‘ Yo soy español y la mayoria de los catalanes también ‘ ….

        • FRASE del DIA says:

          ‘ El nacionalismo es siempre fuente de crispación , de confrontación y de violencia ,
          y eso no excluye al nacionalismo que juega a la democracia al mismo tiempo que a la exclusión .
          Es, sigue siendo , el gran desafío ‘( Mario Vargas Llosa – Premio Nobel de Literatura 2010 )

  26. VIDEO says:

    La imposición y perversión del lenguaje ….. Stalin .. Hitler .. ETA .. CIU & ERC ……

  27. AUDIO says:

    El reportaje de Rubén : MANIPULACION histórica ….
    Rubén nos habla de un documental sobre 1714 que ha ENCARGADO el Gobierno catalán( CIU & ERC ) ….

    http://esradio.libertaddigital.com/fonoteca/2013-09-14/el-reportaje-de-ruben-manipulacion-historica-63734.html

  28. Lluïsa says:

    Javier Barraycoa( escritor catalán ) ,
    desmonta en «Historias ocultadas del nacionalismo catalán» los mitos recurrentes del nacionalismo catalán y recopila
    las historias silenciadas que los independentistas prefieren ocultar . . . . .

    http://www.abc.es/20110918/espana/abci-catalanismo-quiere-olvidar-201109180341.html

  29. Lluïsa says:

    LA DIADA( Guerra Civil Española de 1701-1714 ) ….. Rafael Casanova , instó a derramar la sangre por
    « el Rey , por la Patria y por la libertad de España » …

    http://www.abc.es/20090911/nacional-politica/derramar-sangre-espana-20090911.html

  30. Lluïsa says:

    Cataluña en la Guerra Civil Española de 1701-1714 .. también llamada Guerra de Sucesión Española .. entre de Felipe V y Carlos III ….

    http://www.libertaddigital.com/opinion/pedro-fernandez-barbadillo/cataluna-en-la-guerra-de-felipe-v-a-carlos-iii-69261/

  31. Lluïsa says:

    La verdadera historia del 11 de septiembre de 1714 ….

    Los catalanes se levantaron en armas en nombre de España ….
    No hubo enfrentamiento entre regiones ….
    Ningún ejército español tomó Barcelona ….
    Los vencedores no destruyeron la identidad nacional de nadie ….
    Nadie persiguió la lengua catalana ….
    No hubo una reacción nacional catalana porque no hubo agresión españolista ..
    1714 supuso el despegue económico de Cataluña ….
    No hubo mártires en 1714 ………….

    http://nacionalismo.blogs.com/byebyespain/2005/09/la_verdadera_hi.html

  32. Lluïsa says:

    VAMOS A CONTAR DIADAS( Guerra Civil Española de 1701-1714 ). Desde su nacimiento como movimiento político, el nacionalismo catalán ha utilizado la manipulación
    del hecho histórico en una coartada al servicio de la
    construcción nacional.
    Ha hecho de la mentira histórica y del engaño a los ciudadanos los cimientos de su programa político . . .

    http://www.vamosacontardiadas.com/

  33. Lluïsa says:

    Guerra Civil Española de 1701-1714 .. también llamada Guerra de Sucesión Española ..
    entre los partidarios de los aspirantes a suceder al rey Carlos II en la Corona de España , al morir sin descendencia ……
    los borbonicos, que apoyaban a Felipe de Anjoy .. y los austracistas que apoyaban al Archiduque Carlos ………..
    Rafael Casanova( heroe de la Diada catalana ) : « por el Rey , por la Patria y por la libertad de España » …….

    ______
    Conseller en Cap , de Barcelona Rafael de Casanovas :
    ‘ No serenos esclavos con los demás españoles engañados , y todos en esclavitud del dominio francés ; pero se confía con todo , que como verdaderos hijos de la patria y amantes de la libertad acudirán
    todos a los lugares señalados a fin de derramar gloriosamente su sangre y vida por su rey , por su honor , por la patria y por la libertad de toda España ‘ …

    _________
    el General Antonio Villarroel , jefe militar de la defensa de Barcelona :
    ‘ Señores , hijos y hermanas : hoy es el día en que se han de acordar del valor y gloriosas acciones en todos los tiempos ha ejecutado nuestra nación , por nosotros y por la nación española peleamos ‘ ….

    __________
    Una descendiente de Rafael Casanova( héroe de la DIADA ) : “Él era un patriota español”
    Pilar Casanova muestra la manipulación por parte de los separatistas al recordar el ferviente patriotismo de su familia a lo largo de la historia ……..
    http://www.libertaddigital.com/espana/2013-09-10/una-descendiente-directa-de-rafael-casanova-el-era-un-patriota-espanol-1276499030/

  34. Lluïsa says:

    El territorio Catalan solo eran unos condados con sus condesitos que se unieron al Reino de Aragon para que les protegiera de los franceses ..
    y Aragon les convirtio en Principado( region que depende de la metropolis medieval ) ..

    En la Corona de Aragon eran reinos los territorios de Aragon , Valencia y Mallorca ..
    pero el territorio de Cataluña solo fue un Principado( region que depende de la metropolis medieval ) ..

    Solo tenemos que mirar los Decretos de Nueva Planta de Felipe V , para ver el Reino de Aragón , el Reino de Valencia, el Reino de Mallorca ..
    y .. el Principado de Cataluña .. todos ellos integrantes de la Corona de Aragón ..

    http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decretos_de_Nueva_Planta

  35. VIDEO says:

    La actual CCAA de Cataluña .. JAMAS .. ha sido un pais/nacion por el simple hecho que ..
    JAMAS .. han tenido una bandera propia … la bandera de Cataluña llamada la señera es en realidad ..
    el Estandarte de los Reyes de Aragon ..

    Si Cataluña quiere volver a su pasado lo que ocurria es que Aragon volvera a tener playa ..

    http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Se%C3%B1era

  36. VIDEO says:

    César Vidal Manzanares .. historiador .. escritor y periodista ..
    habla 8 idiomas y traduce 16 idiomas , entre ellos el latín , el ruso y el hebreo……

    César Vidal Manzanares : El dialecto catalán es una mezcla de provenzal arcaico y lengua valenciana clásica ……

    http://youtu.be/iqZR6vIOWFc

  37. Lluïsa says:

    A la hora de explicar los parecidos entre el idioma
    Valenciano y el Catalán se ha de tener bien presente que el Reino de
    Valencia fue el primer reino de la península en desarrollar y tener (en
    los siglos XIV-XV), un “Siglo de Oro” literario (en idioma Valenciano y
    anterior al Castellano ) .
    El esplendor, prestigio e influencia de la
    literatura Valenciana de estos siglos sobre las otras lenguas
    peninsulares fue considerable, y más aún sobre la lengua Catalana, que
    adoptó e hizo suyas formas del idioma Valenciano, algo que propició que
    el Catalán fuera cada vez más parecido a la Lengua Valenciana ….

    http://www.idiomavalenciano.com/conflicto-politico-de-la-lengua-valenciana.html

  38. AlmogaverOK says:

    Another not objective opinion, readers of this journal should have the ability to read the other point of view, the independence people, 300 years of spanish impositions to the catalan people, flow into the current situation.

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