Catalonia to declare its independence on Monday?

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Catalonia will move on Monday to declare independence from Spain, a regional government source said, as the European Union nation nears a rupture that threatens the foundations of its young democracy and has unnerved financial markets.

Pro-independence parties which control the regional parliament have asked for a debate and vote on Monday on declaring independence, the source said. A declaration should follow this vote, although it is unclear when.

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont earlier told the BBC that his government would ask the region’s parliament to declare independence after tallying votes from last weekend’s referendum, which Madrid says was illegal.  Reuters

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"Puigdemont’s comments appeared after Spain’s King Felipe VI accused secessionist leaders on Tuesday of shattering democratic principles and dividing Catalan society, as tens of thousands protested against a violent police crackdown on Sunday’s vote. "  Reuters

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Both the king, Felipe VI, and the EU are understandably unwilling to accept the desire of what may be only a plurality of Catalans for independence from Spain.  Some 46% of eligible voters voted in the referendum in the face of violent suppression by the Spanish Guardia Civil.

Is the Spanish Civil War going to have a re-run?  The scenario thus far seems eerily familiar.

If the Catalans leave Spain, or try to do so, surely the Basques will do much the same thing.  pl

 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-spain-politics-catalonia/catalonia-to-move-to-declare-independence-from-spain-on-monday-idUSKCN1C9109

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86 Responses to Catalonia to declare its independence on Monday?

  1. Eric Newhill says:

    We seem to be seeing the dividing of nation states into subsets based on ethnic, cultural and religious fault lines. It’s happening in the US too.
    I am beginning to think that once a nation state containing non-homogenous peoples reaches some critical population level, dissolution becomes inevitable. That seems to be what we are seeing. History seems to support the idea. If so, this, of course, bodes badly for globalism and the multi-culti promoters.

  2. Sam Peralta says:

    Col. Lang,
    You are absolutely correct that if Catalonia secedes the Basque will not be too far behind.
    Spain will respond with repression in Catalonia as they will not accept secession. It is not clear that the Catalans will take up arms. More likely they will use civil disobedience and Spain will suppress that with military force if necessary.
    IMO, EU & NATO set the precedent with the forced breakup of Serbia. Now they will hide behind “legalism” and be shown for what they really are. All this talk about human rights and self-determination will be shown for the empty words they are. It is only a matter of time before other regions start to exert separatist pressures. The EU common currency and bureaucratic state will come under increasing discord. Those wanting increasing “unification” through a fiscal union will be opposed by those who believe in increasing sovereignty of peoples with common language and cultural commonality. The open border policy of allowing millions of primarily economic refugees from North Africa and Africa is causing a backlash as reflected in recent elections which have proven to be increasingly divisive. Italy will have elections next spring and euro-sceptic parties are no longer in the fringe.
    It will be interesting to see how public opinion morphs if many Catalans are gunned down in the streets by Spanish forces. The images of the attempted disruption of the Catalonian referendum through the use of force beamed for all to see is upending all the self-righteous EU rhetoric. Will people buy what the EU sells anymore?

  3. Not In Istanbul says:

    According to my contacts in Barcelona, the police action has irrevocably destroyed the desire of many Catalans to remain a part of Spain. Add in the stupidity of a king talking about democracy, and the efforts to avoid a rupture by the Spanish state seem to be nonexistent. The dynamic between Catalonia and the central government really mirrors that between the European North and the South.
    If separation doesn’t effectively happen this year, I’d bet that within the next five years it will. Some of my formerly non-interested/status-quo hugging friends are even moving back to Barcelona so they can actively participate in shaping its independent future. In the next weeks or months there might even be a significant flow of people leaving/returning to Catalonia leading to a more politically homogenous society capable of ever greater, faster action.
    The neo-german colonial project called the EU seems like it will soon come to an end. All it needs is another 2008.
    As Ernest Hemingway wrote in ‘The Sun Also Rises’:
    ‘How did you go bankrupt?’ Bill asked.
    ‘Two ways,’ Mike said. ‘Gradually and then suddenly.’
    We are witnessing that now take place in Catalonia.

  4. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I do not think so.
    Catalans have been agitating for separation from Spain for centuries and always failed. They are like the Kurds, always reveling, and always achieving nothing.
    Their best chance was the Civil War, which they spent in murdering other Spaniards as well as Catalans.
    And all because of that damn Latin script which emphasizes vowels rather than consonants; creating the delusion of being a separate language and in fact, being the same language as Castilian and Portuguese.
    There are many many Spaniards that will go and fight to keep Catalonia in Spain. Just like Kurds, the end state will be a lot of dead young men and women while their elderly leaders would be safely ensconced in this or that European capital farther North.

  5. Babak Makkinejad says:

    So, Democracy means having the ability of destroying the state by a minority of Catalans?
    In other words, Legitimate Authority, under whose auspices the representative system of government is setup, and at whose head stands the Monarch of Spain, should let itself be destroyed by a minority government seated under the Laws of that same said Legitimate Authority?
    At least the Confederate States, singly and collectively, could lay claim to being Legitimate Authority.

  6. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Nah, the central authority will send soldiers to shoot the rebels or hand them from the nearest tree.
    Chinese Government sent tanks to run over the demonstrators at the Gate of Heavenly Peace. That government was not going to risk chaos in China – with potentially tens of millions of dead, by indulging the theatrics of goddess of Democracy supporters.

  7. ISL says:

    See Nigel Farage’s comments
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-10-04/nigel-farage-blasts-eu-juncker-over-catalonia-spain-violates-article-2-lisbon-treaty
    The lack of censure of Spain will strongly support Italexit and Nexit and other movements. Given that the EU is no longer providing rising living standards for the majority of people (their 1% are doing nicely, of course).
    At some point the EU will have to either censure Spain (whose economic situation means the EU can blackmail them), or the rest will run for the door.

  8. Oilman2 says:

    @ Eric Newhill…
    I’m not sure it is merely population level. It’s more like ever diminishing returns from ever expanding government bureaucracy. When the bureaucrats impede business with regulations, permits, licenses and inspections, it contains business by reducing profits and cash flows. When this happens at the city, county, state, national and EU levels – it is onerous in the extreme. Further, when government employees are paid more than the private sector, the golden calf of government bloats even more.
    Yet this is what the globalists propose – a never ending burden of taxation, regulation, permitting and licensing for everything possible. Globalists want to monetize everything, especially the movement of money via transaction fees. They want us to pay for their grand livelihoods, while they remain inaccessible and unresponsive behind myriad walls of bureaucrats, procedures and policy. This is what is happening all around the planet, with a very few exceptions.
    Reverting to common cultural identity is the simplest way to reduce the burdens of those outside the immediate area whom you are supporting with your taxes. Sending taxes away and never seeing anything returned to you other than”security” is an argument whose shelf life has expired. This will become more true if an economy is struggling or in decline.
    Most people just want to be able to earn a living and enjoy their lives – conquering the world and solving global problems are far out of their reach. Yet they can make a difference locally, and cut out the wasteful middlemen, committeemen and managers required for global endeavors. Getting your own house in order will allow countries the wherewithal to cooperate on other issues.
    The great globalist experiment will not endure, as the cost for the majority of the populace is too high.

  9. b says:

    There will be no war.
    There is not a majority in Catalonia that wants to separate. There is a wide majority in all of Spain that is against any such move. It is seen as unjust. Catalonia already has a significant degree of autonomy. It has no political allies.
    Catalonia has many banks. These are licensed by the central government in Madrid. Without license, they have no access to funds, to ECB transfer systems and other necessary connections. If Madrid pulls the plug teh ATMs will be empty. Catalonia comes to a standstill.

  10. alaric says:

    @Sam Peralta
    “It will be interesting to see how public opinion morphs if many Catalans are gunned down in the streets by Spanish forces. ”
    I sincerely doubt that this will happen. I also doubt the Basques will declare independence because the Basques have a pretty good deal and quite a bit of autonomy. You have noticed that ETA has not blown anything up in a long time.
    Catalonia is a problem, not just for Spain but all Europe. What you have there is a privileged region, whose success is really a product of its location (it is the part of Spain with the best land access to France thanks to flatter terrain than elsewhere and it has always had important ports linking Spain to France and the Mediterranean). The privileged want more privilege and they have weaponized regionalism into a potent political tool via control of schools, politics and media. NO ONE IN EUROPE wants to fuel this type of behavior because that could bite them in the rear, especially the French who have Catalans and Basques.
    The separatists have been using this to torment and blackmail the Spanish gov for some time. Every Spaniard I’ve spoken to over the years and even in the 90s and was and is sick of the Catalan separatists. Most i speak to want Catalonia to leave. MY guess is that it would have been a matter of time before the Catalan were able to vote legally (because the Spaniards really don’t like the Separatists). Instead they pulled this vote. I assume the timing means this is about money but the Spanish government is also facing a time bomb in that the younger generation of “Catalan” have been completely brainwashed in their schools. I cannot say how amazed I am that lefties are supporting the very ugly, misguided, discriminatory, and elitist ideology that is the Catalan identity.
    FYI: I used the term “Catalan” here to refer to residents of that part of Spain but the Catalan are no more a people than say New Yorkers. The people of Catalonia are massive mutts of various Mediterranean, Northern European, North African and Iberian stock. They are not a people. Their identity as such is a creation of their own. Their language is influenced more by their location and trade with the French and others in the Mediterranean but they are far from the only region in Spain or Europe with its own dialect. Yes their history is unique and yes so is the history of the people in most every region in Europe.
    I don’t know what will happen next but the problem this independence has is it they movement has not come close to proving it is acting in the will of the people.

  11. Allen Thomson says:

    I’m keeping an eye on Galicia now because of some slightly distant in-laws there and its own independentista history. Galicia is at least semi-Portuguese and it would be interesting if Portugal were put in a position of having to express an opinion on the matter.

  12. Adrestia says:

    IMO Catalonia will declare independence & Spain will react with violence. This might well trigger a rapid desintegration of the EU. I don’t exclude civil war or new totalitarian states in Europe.
    For a background my opinions are posted in: Independence for Catalonia is a bad idea?
    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/10/httpswwwnytimescom20171001worldeuropecatalonia-independence-referendumhtml.html
    IMO this is another example of the existential crisis our OECD democracies are in.
    As an outsider I see similar trends in the US. Eg Puerto Rico, statements from states such as California or mayor Rahm Emanuel, internal divisions between population groups, huge wealth difference etc. The cost of almost 2 decades of war and no prospect of finishing these soon. Similar problems and causes with different symptoms.
    IMO our world will be very different in 5 years time.

  13. LondonBob says:

    The Catalans have no arms and no one will recognise or support them anyway. The Catalan leader is a cunning demagogue but I expect he will back down, Madrid won’t.
    Anyway the Spanish military will operating in support of the civil authorities, they won’t be sending in the tanks and troops with live rounds. More Operation Motorman than Hungary 56, I would expect.

  14. Prem says:

    The results announced on the 1st were:
    YES: 90.1%
    NO: 7.9%
    Turnout: ~42% for counted ballots (2,262,424), ~56% if including the confiscated ballot boxes (~770,000) out of 5,343,358 registered voters.
    Assuming that the confiscated votes were similar, YES = 51% of registered voters for independence.
    The stupidity of sending in tbe Guardia Civil may well have doomed any long term prospect of Catalonia staying in Spain.

  15. turcopolier says:

    Prem
    Yes, someone wrote that when the British shot the leaders of the 1916 Post Office rebellion in the courtyard of Dublin Castle, Ireland was at last free. pl

  16. Lemur says:

    The Catalans have a distinct history. Franco’s centralization of the Spanish state place them in too close an orbit to Madrid.
    I don’t think its prudent to dismiss the various of Iberian identities. By way of comparison, Australia and New Zealand are very closely aligned historically, culturally, ethnically, and politically; yet I can assure you we are very happy being divided into two sovereign countries, and can tell the difference between each other. Good fences make good neighbors.
    There’s a legitimate case to be made an arraignment between the Catalans and Madrid could have kept the present version of Spain intact, but Madrid has refused to play ball. Now this can go one of two ways – Czechoslovakia or Yugoslavia.

  17. ToivoS says:

    I attended a Catalonian independence rally in Barcelona a few years ago. It was part of a demonstration that included over a million participants throughout Catalonia — if I recall it was a line of people holding hands that snaked throughout Catalonia about 1000 miles long. In the center of Barcelona there must have been many hundreds of thousands of people. Right in the center of this demonstration were a few thousand Basques. Waving their flags, chanting their slogans. It was an impressive display.
    Yes, I do believe if Catalonia gains independence the Basques will soon follow.

  18. Lemur says:

    What you’re describing is a hypothetical basic norm, or ultimate legal reality, the first historical constitution presupposed to be valid, underlying the legal system.
    Kelsen called this the ‘grundnorm’.
    How does it change?
    •Either in a manner in ‘which the legal order itself determines’, or illegally – replacement of old grundnorm through revolution.
    •“If [the revolutionaries] succeed…the old order ceases, and the new order [becomes] efficacious, because the individuals whose behaviour the new order regulates [generally conform] with [it], then [it] is [a] a valid order.…If the revolutionaries fail, if the [attempted order] remains inefficacious, then… their undertaking is interpreted, not as a legal, law-creating act… establish[ing]… a constitution, but as an illegal act, [a]…crime of treason [against the surviving grundnorm].”

  19. Babak Makkinejad says:

    So what 90%. They are not a sovereign people and do not have the legal right to destroy the state. At least they should have the courage and the decency of Kurds to take up arms and start killing other Spaniards to become Sovereign – Legitimacy and Force go together.

  20. eakens says:

    Sounds like a good time to start thinking about buying some Barcelona property!

  21. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I agree.

  22. Lemur says:

    Antoly Karlin has the figures:
    “If reports that 700,000 came out in Barcelona are accurate, then Spain in its current borders is likely done for.
    This is about as high a percentage of the Barcelona metropolitan area’s 5.4 million as the 500,000 Ukrainians who came out at the height of Euromaidan in the 3.3 million Kiev conglomerate area – and the latter drew from a country of 45 million versus less than 8 million Catalans.
    For comparison, the largest of the protests that “shook the Kremlin” during the 2011-12 election season garnered about 100,000 people in a city of well more than 10 million.
    I am not writing Spain off entirely. But Madrid’s challenges going ahead are huge.
    Around 51% of the all Catalan voters expressed their desire for independence in the recent referendum. After the police violence, and the hardline response of Rajoy and now the King – in itself yet more evidence that Madrid has settled for a police response – this will have surely jumped by another 10% to 20% points.”
    Further:
    “50% of all Catalan voters were already going to vote Yes, and after today’s events, they must have gained another 10% or 20% points. The local police refuse to obey central commands. They are for all intents and purposes now “lost” to Spain, at least for the time being.
    Very soon the time will come when the Catalonian parliament declares independence. At that point, if Spain wishes to remain whole, there will have to be mass arrests of their government and replacement with a caretaker administration. The security forces tasked with carrying this out must be absolutely loyal for the operation to be successful. The sense that the political elites have their backs is a prerequisite of police loyalty. If they feel that they are going to be stabbed in the back by weak politicians concerned at the first signs of pressure, then they are not going to be able to fulfill their orders with the requisite degree of decisiveness and ruthlessness. They are instead going to fold once their encounter serious resistance and Madrid will have no choice but to make its peace with an independent Catalonia.
    This is what happened with Yanukovych in the Ukraine in 2013-14, who stabbed the security men charged with keeping his regime in power in the back by refusing to provide them support once things got too hot. This totally demoralized them and ensured the triumph of the Euromaidan.”

  23. kao_hsien_chih says:

    The great irony is that this is the direct consequence of globalism and multicultism. Catalan independentists, like their counterparts elsewhere in Europe (e.g. Belgium and Scotland) think that, by ditching the “middlemen,” e.g. the federal Belgium, UK, and Spain, they can do better as members of the globalist international organizations. There is no reason to believe yet that they are necessarily wrong…unless they are backed by Russians like Novorossiyans and Abkhazians (kidding, but not 100% so).

  24. JamesT says:

    It turns out that the Catalonians don’t actually want independence, they have just been tricked into thinking they do by those dastardly Russians. The Washington Post:
    “… the Catalan nationalists’ only backers are separatist-ruled Scotland, the pariah government of Venezuela and Russia’s intelligence and propaganda apparatus, which mobilized its media outlets and social media bots in support of the separatists. Moscow evidently perceives the Catalan movement as another vehicle for dividing and weakening the democratic West.”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/catalonia-held-a-referendum-russia-won/2017/10/02/f618cd7c-a798-11e7-92d1-58c702d2d975_story.html

  25. Colonel – Sinn Fein was nothing much before the Easter Rising and the executions and internment that followed it. Afterwards, in the 1918 election, it swept the board. Churchill’s subsequent sending in of the Black and Tans, together with the use of the Auxiliaries, was the last nail in the coffin of foreign rule over Ireland.
    I am firmly convinced that the road to Irish independence would have been far more sensibly worked out had the British Government not acted as it did. The subsequent civil war would not have occurred had it not been for the intransigent position adopted by the British Government in the negotiations.
    I’ve no idea whether the Catalans should have or should even want independence. There the comparison with Ireland is unclear. But witnessing the mistakes of a century ago in Ireland repeated faithfully so far by the Spanish Government of today is an extraordinary sight.

  26. JohnsonR says:

    the forceful and violent suppression of the people’s freedom of expression was a grave human right’s abuse
    Police obeying lawful orders to enforce the law is a “grave human rights abuse”? It appears either Mr Koenig has suffered a profound objectivity failure here or his moral compass is way off true.
    The “referendum” had been declared illegal well in advance by the highest court in the land, and the government had stated clearly that police would be instructed to go in and seize the equipment and prevent the vote. What did the people who chose anyway to obstruct the police in carrying out those orders expect the police to do in that situation? Go back and tell their superiors: “sorry sir I couldn’t do it because someone stood in my way”?
    It’s not as though they were gunning down civilians indiscriminately (a few rubber bullets were used when the mob threatened to overwhelm the police presence, that’s all). Some of the police seem to have gotten a little heated in their response and maybe a little physically overzealous, but that’s normal in such situations – it might be a disciplinary matter, but it’s hardly “a grave human rights abuse” in national terms.

  27. bluetonga says:

    One may argue about the (un)feasability of Catalonia’s independance at any level, political, economical, whatsoever… Yet about 45 % of its population moved to the voting booths disregarding the official prohibition and ensuing repression, to massively vote for independance. A couple of days later, the same people massively demonstrated against Madrid’s brutal repression and deaf ear to their demands. Maybe not a majority, but a large quantity by all means that cannot be simply ignored. Simply put, that such an event sanctionned with such a success just did happen are facts that cannot be simply left aside and forgotten.
    So however relevant the arguments for or against independance, they will not compensate for the terrible mess and utter deadend the situation has put everyone in. Beyond Madrid and Barcelona, European authorities have now to take impossible stances, risking endless administrative and political quagmires if they yeld to the separatist’ will. Not even to mention the serious risks of a widespread contagion among dissatisfied European regions that would opt for equivalent moves (Flemings and Lombards, to name two)while feeling plainly legitimate to do so (just imagine the pleasure of renegotiating former agreements with these newborn nations). On the other hand, simply rebuffing the separatists will doubtlessly fuel further discontent and unrest in Catalonia or elsewhere and weaken any past or future position of the UE regarding who may and may not secede outside or inside the borders (Bosnia, Kossovo for instance).
    So from now on, it looks like the seams of the European Union apparel have been strained a little bit further. Excesses of bureaucracy and shortcomings of democracy plague an institution that not only proves unable to fulfill its promises and pursue the expectations of its citizen but also proves helpless when time comes to close the ranks.

  28. Richard says:

    “Catalan officials told voters to print off ballot papers at home and said they could vote wherever they wanted.”
    source: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/01/the-guardian-view-on-catalonias-referendum-the-spanish-state-has-lost
    How valid are these results considering voters could bring their own self-printed ballots to the voting booth? I have never seen an election where this kind of practice is accepted, because it is an invitation for fraud.

  29. Realpolitik says:

    Catalonia has been part of the Kingdom of Aragon or Castile-Aragon for centuries. The War of Succession in 1714 (between Bourbon and Hapsburg partisans) had Catalonia on the losing side. It was not a war of independence. Attempts to accommodate Basques and Catalans by the leftist coalitions in 1930’s Spain was viewed as a weakness that led the left in Catalonia to unilaterally declare a republic in 1936. Many believe this was the act that precipitated the military intervention (and civil war). Post-war efforts by the Spanish government to rebuild Spain led to rent extraction from poorer areas to rebuild the industrial base in the Basque region as well in Catalonia. This led to a higher standard of living in those areas. It is not a memory lost to the areas of Spain sacrificed to the rebuilding effort. The recent drive for independence has been about how much money to contribute to support poorer areas of Spain (solidarity) as well as to immunize the ruling parties from corruption prosecutions (viz. The law of transition passed by the Catalan parliament as well as the now oublic disclosure that a 3% kickback was equired from all firms doing business with the government). As to the “vote,” there was no electoral roll, ID check, or independent verification of results. In the last legitimate election in the region, the separationists did not receive a majority of the votes cast (nor ever have they). This is a leftist coup in progress.
    I move between the US and Spain and am fluent in Spanish. Do not trust the reporting in the British press.

  30. Henshaw says:

    Follow the money. Any suggestions from the experts here as to who would stand to do well financially out of independence?

  31. VietnamVet says:

    Colonel,
    This is a new gilded age. Taxation and regulation of Oligarchs is disappearing. Sovereign states are being replaced by global institutions. The remnants of government left are incompetent and run solely by and for corporations. Today there is simply too much private debt and trillions of derivative bets. Wealth is being stolen from the many to pay the few. Things are getting worse. The Atlantic Alliance and the EU are falling apart. What worked earlier by fits and starts was progressive democracy. Only a restoration of government by and for the people will avert civil war in the West. Greece, Catalonia, Brexit and Donald Trump are the writings on the wall.
    Yes, Russia has absolutely nothing to do with this. Except, they also went through privatization in the 1990s and came out of it with Vladimir Putin as their leader.

  32. Hamilcar says:

    Spain is not a nation state though. Spain, like the UK, is a multinational state in which legislative power is partially devolved to regional (national) assemblies . Before this opens up a can of worms whereby partisans argue about the uniqueness or lack thereof of, say, Catalan ethnicity, note that Spain’s status as a multinational state is acknowledged and laid out clearly in its own constitution.
    If the Catalans are not really a nation, then we might make the same arguments about the Scots or their Irish progenitors: Modern genetic studies (Oppenheimer, Sykes, others) have proved that the vast bulk of the Britons and the Irish are descended from the very same migrants from the Iberian peninsula (perhaps there’s some irony here, given the Spanish context) who landed on the islands during the Mesolithic/early-Paleolithic. The modern thesis goes that the separation of the 4 nations of Britain and Ireland came as a consequence of a number of cultural revolutions (instigated or inspired by foreign parties) and a gradual drifting apart over time.
    See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XAQsxhEzvU
    I strongly recommend watching the full version of the lecture and, if you enjoy it, checking out some of Barry Cunliffe’s books – he’s the absolute authority on ‘Celtic’ or pre-Roman Britain.
    I think the question is, are states like these a good idea in the first place? Or is there some way to make them function better, so that they don’t come to this pass? Unless the respective governments are willing to kill their own citizens, I don’t see either of these states surviving too much longer.

  33. Hamilcar says:

    “The great irony is that this is the direct consequence of globalism and multicultism.”
    There’s been an independence movement in Scotland since the day the Acts of Union came into effect. The Scottish National Party itself is well over a hundred years old. Globalism has absolutely nothing to do with the desire among many for Scottish independence – globalization has merely been adopted as a selling point to argue that there is no longer any great risk to the endeavor.
    What’s more, that party is a coalition. It has a significant (very shy for the time being) conservative wing, historically led by the Ewing family. Alex Salmond won the argument in the 90’s that the party could only succeed if it adopted a leftwing policy platform (the Labour Party had effectively run Scotland as a fiefdom since the 60’s). His main opponent in that argument was the current SNP MP for Skye (the party’s finance spokesman at Westminster, Ian Blackford). Salmond was right, and the conservatives in the party have accepted that, for now.
    The SNP leadership has one strategic goal – independence. Everything else is a means to that end and can be changed to suit.
    That aside, I have to wonder why so many of us feel naturally inclined to defend multinational/multi-ethnic states we have little knowledge of, let alone a stake in? That’s not a dig, by the way. I notice it a lot and wonder what it is. A natural aversion to nationalism? The conservative tendencies of many of us who contribute here, who prefer to maintain the status quo rather than risk upheaval? A hidden desire to see a Star Trek-esque one world government in our own lifetimes (as opposed to a Borg-esque one-world government, I have to suppose) and see seperatism as a backward step? I wonder if any of us thinks it was a mistake for the Irish to go their own way? Or for Poland to be put back together?
    I know far too little about the ethnic make-up of the Iberian peninsula to make such glib comments in regard to Catalan nationalism, and I’ve read a great deal on the subject. I fear it’s going to get very ugly there and I’d prefer that didn’t happen, but I’m not in a position to suggest the Catalan’s are simply being led by opportunists. In fact, given the level of public support, I very much doubt that’s the case. They clearly have a strong national identity – stronger even perhaps than the Scots.

  34. Babak Makkinejad says:

    That is fine, let the Catalans take up arms and fight for their independence, like the Americans, the Confederates, the Mao-Mao….victory or death

  35. Babak Makkinejad says:

    What is Catalan Culture?

  36. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Yup, fantasied, however, die a horrid death.

  37. Eric Newhill says:

    KHC,
    Sure, but they’re still organizing on ethno-cultural lines.

  38. Eric Newhill says:

    Oilman2,
    I agree. Taxation without representation or decent ROI is an old reason for secession, revolution, etc.
    But the secession is still on ethno-cultural lines.

  39. alaric says:

    This is good info on Naked Capitalism regarding the steps Spain might take if Catalonia declares independence.
    https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/10/catalonia-puigdemont-promises-secession-days-king-censures-officials-acting-outside-law.html

  40. Balint Somkuti, PhD says:

    While the circumstances surrounding the independence of Kosovo has definitely set a serious precedent, you should not forget that mulietchnical states fall apart after the rise of national identitites. On the other hand there are still a number of countries in the EU and hoping for EU memberships which treat their minorities badly. The intentionally divisive borders set up by UK and France after WWI still linger, not only in the former colonies, but elsewhere too.
    Independent/autonomy minded minorities apart from Catalonia
    – Basques (further complicating the issue that Basques also live in France, so a secession would also mean part of french territory)
    – Scots nuff said
    – Flamands in Belgium also well known
    – Bavarians in Germany – recently reported
    Here comes the interesting part
    – Voivodina in Serbia (with a seriously mixed population) – only recently appearing in the news
    – Transsylvania in Romania (hungarians, local romanians, gypsies. Jews and germans were chased away/sold out by communist dictator Ceaucescu)
    – Transnistria in Moldavia supported by Russia
    – Eastern provinces of Ukraine well covered
    – Western provinces of Ukraine (poles, hungarians, romanians but what is more the majority of the area, the definitedly different slavic group the ruthenians) – completely numbed
    Point is most of these territories belong to either the richest or the poorest of regions of those countries, most of which is the enlarged versions of the original (“founder”) ethnicities area. Just like the Soviet Union was Greater Russia, e.g. current Romanian national holiday is the creation of Greater Romania with the “joining” of Trannsylvania, Dobruja and Bessarabia. And if we speak about Transsylvania the central govt in Bucharest spends only some 1/3 of EU funds there as compared to other regions, angering local residents irrespectively of their nationality. Guess why? 😉
    To sum it up we live in the age where the available means are much numerous than in previous centuries and groups with ideologyies be they good or bad, right or left, national or religious have a real chance to stand up for their righteous or percieved grievances. This means when a large group of people want something badly they will have it.
    Sooner or later.
    Mostly sooner.

  41. Not In Istanbul says:

    I don’t worship at the idol of a state. If it falls, another idol will be erected in its place. Regardless, the people should be allowed to worship freely in their own lands and homes.
    At the core of any state is not some democratic ideal, but a monopoly of violence. I don’t worship violence. What do you worship?

  42. Not In Istanbul says:

    A financial famine, one if undertaken and enforced will likely lead to unnecessary deaths – financially intermediated murders.
    The tools of tyranny…

  43. Lyttenburgh says:

    Pro-independence Catalans have no plan. No plan whatsoever. You don’t stage referendums for the fun of it. If you do, you end up looking wild-eyed, jaw to the floor, and asking yourself “And now what?”. Have they thought through the future of their country? Will they seek (re)admission to the EU and NATO? What they plan to do to achieve that? Do they even have enough qualified bureaucrats to run everything on their own?
    As a Russian – I have no dog in this flight. I, honestly, don’t care what happens next in Spain, whether there will be a Spanish “ATO” with former ultras forming volunteer battalions “Galicia” and such and promising to annihilate racially inferior shit-blood “separs” in the name of Something. I don’t care – here.
    But I do remember some things. I remember who was at the helm of NATO during the 1999 Yugoslav war (Javier Solana). I remember how Spain and it Free and Independent Press ™ had always been a loyal toady when it came to Russia bashing. I remember how last year Spain forbid “Admiral Kuznetsov” from making a stop at its ports, while our aircarrier was en route to Syria.
    The only interesting thing for here – to get as many instances of West’s hypocrisy when handling referendums on independence as possible to use as ammunition in the future.

  44. Philippe T. says:

    Whoever rules France won’t allow an independant Catalonia. Because there is a French Catalonia (Roussillon, centred by the city of Perpignan, department of Pyrénées Orientales), and because France has experience of the negative consequences on its own territory of the Basque movement for independence in Spain. Spain was able to “kill” ETA as a clandestine armed organisation thanks to the involvement of the French police and secret services.
    Of course there is many French Catalans who are sympathizers of their spanish cousins (see the Le Monde article of today on the topic), but France won’t take the risk of seeing the french catalan cultural autonomy movement turn into a political independentist organisation.
    As already said in another post, Catalonia has only one land opening, besides Spain : it is France. And with a French navy remaining neutral, the spanish navy is strong enough to control the sea routes to/from Barcelona (and I don’t mention the good relations between Spain and Russian navy, allowed to use the Ceuta harbour, just opposite to the US/UK base in Gibraltar). So, France will have the final decision in the economic future of an independent Catalonia, no mention its influence in Brussels.
    Le Monde article (in French, sorry) : http://abonnes.lemonde.fr/europe/reactions/2017/10/04/dans-les-pyrenees-orientales-on-regarde-la-catalogne-avec-envie-et-apprehension_5195987_3214.html

  45. confusedponderer says:
  46. Albano says:

    The european union has, for many years,promoted regionalism inside its member states. The goal seems evident to many. Atomise the governing structures and promote direct interaction between those atomised structures and brussels, bypassing the member-states. The strategy is one of empire, against the old westphalian order, much shaken in te 20th century.
    So, a defender of the nation state, as I am, feels divided in situations like the one we are witnessing.
    The dilemma is: should we promote the division along those mentioned faultlines (ethnic, cultural or religious), thus promoting the ideia of nationalism but in fact helping the present progress of empire, or should we defend the present european states arquitecture, that in fact engulfs (historically by force in most cases) many nations like catalonia, thus breaking the rampant progress of EU empire ?
    Difficult to answer, isn’t it ?

  47. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Even sex is violence, you be a eunuch?

  48. LeaNder says:

    Modern genetic studies (Oppenheimer, Sykes, others) have proved that the vast bulk of the Britons and the Irish are descended from the very same migrants from the Iberian peninsula (perhaps there’s some irony here, given the Spanish context) who landed on the islands during the Mesolithic/early-Paleolithic
    Irony alert: So Spain wouldn’t have needed to sent the Armada? Unfortunately they didn’t know that they already had some type of genetic brothers on the ground?
    No harm meant seriously. I might check your link. Depending on time available.
    Maybe we should define ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘globalization’ on historic basis? Beyond pure slogans or political interests.

  49. Lyttenburgh says:

    “and I don’t mention the good relations between Spain and Russian navy”
    Good thing that you are not mentioning it, given the treatment the “Admiral Kuznetsov” received last year.
    There is no indication that French Catalans will SUDDENLY crave independence seeing their cousins “throwing off the Spanish yoke”. It doesn’t matter anything. There is Russian province called the Northern Ossetia. It’s populated by Ossetians. There is also independent, yet internationally unrecognized country of the Southern Ossetia. Ossetians don’t want to go full stupid and create their own united ethno-state (landlocked to boot) in Caucasus. If anything, the people of the Southern Ossetia want to become part of Russia, solving their “hung” status as a merely “breakaway province of Georgia”.
    Naturally, France won’t go so far. But I see no indication that its own Catalans will start any trouble either.

  50. LeaNder says:

    “Now this can go one of two ways – Czechoslovakia or Yugoslavia.”
    explain, Lemur.

  51. DL says:

    Here is my take. I have lived in Catalonia for 15 years. I speak both Spanish and Catalan.
    Both sides are driving straight into each other. Really only about half of all Catalans want independence, at most, though recent events are helping their cause. The other half are firmly against it or don’t care and just wish our politicians would calm down, every one of which is a thief.
    Catalans are somewhat different than Spaniards. Or at least they think they are. Quite a few of them seem to be living as anti-Spaniards. That’s the identity they have chosen, and the Spaniards are not doing anything to sweet talk them out of it. Instead they just heap hatred on them.
    Spanish nationalism is wrapped up in their Old Empire. Catalans consider themselves on the vanguard of the New World Order. They worship multiculturalism (as long as it’s not Spanish) and love the European Union. One of the many glaring flaws in their independence drive is their assumption that they will be a new state within the EU. Instead, they would be shut out and never admitted back in. Spain’s veto would make sure of that.
    The Spanish seem to view the Catalans as greedy ingrates who spitefully reject everything Spanish. They even accuse them of encouraging Muslim migration into Catalonia to dilute Spanish control. Maybe they are right. I also find the Catalans spiteful and divisive. When Spain won the World Cup, people here booed. Many of them simply do not want to live with the Spaniards. Enough of them to get to this point.
    I guess the Spanish are responding the only way they know how. They like to be in charge. They are egocentric and interrupt you when it’s your turn to talk, etc. They are proud and bossy.
    Spain hasn’t let anyone leave willingly. Not Mexico, not Cuba and certainly not the Netherlands. Even Equatorial Guinea was only released after pressure from the UN.
    The Catalans have never had their own independent political project in modern times, so they have felt free to indulge in all kinds of wishful thinking about what a marvelous new society they would create if only they could. They have long had sympathies for anarchists and the far left and an independent Catalonia would quickly become a wannabe utopia with shortages of everything.
    Except that there will be no independent Catalonia. On Monday the Catalan Parliament will declare independence based on the least transparent referendum that anyone can recall, then the Spanish police will arrest the Catalan politicians and call new elections for the regional government here, if it is not outright suspended.
    I think that Spain would have to lose another war to the US before they gave up Catalonia.
    d

  52. LeaNder says:

    Hmm, wasn’t aware of that operation, but in hindsight it might partly explain my “central experience”* while staying in Northern Ireland for a couple of month.
    * to the extend it overshadowed all others.

  53. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to outthere 04 October 2017 at 08:35 PM
    This is the source of the unatributed article copied and pasted in its entirety by outthere:
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/04/violent-spain-catalans-independence-catalonia-crackdown

  54. LeaNder says:

    Lemur, you feel you understand Kelsen or for that matter the idea of Grundnorm, supposing you do, why don’t you use “basic norm”? And what exactly Kelsen wanted to express with it?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pure_Theory_of_Law#Basic_norm_.28Grundnorm.29

  55. Philippe says:

    Soft split or war, I guess…

  56. Sam Peralta says:

    DL,
    Thank you for your perspective.
    I agree that Spain will not allow secession. They’ll use repression if they have to.
    The self-righteousness of the EU will be shown for its hypocrisy, not that any person who can see through their propaganda didn’t already know it.
    I have two questions. One, how fervent are the half that want to separate? Are they willing to die for it? Second, what do you think is the strategy of the separatist leadership? It seems they have unleashed a certain nationalistic fervor and if they back down now many will be disappointed.

  57. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Read all about it in “The Cypresses Believe in God” – no change in 90 years.
    But, then again, we have the example of Kurds across 4 countries in the Near East.

  58. kao_hsien_chih says:

    Eric Newhill,
    Because multicultism operates by recognizing people only by their tribes, not by their individuals. In fact, I think that’s the fundamental problem: devaluation of the individual beneath that of the tribe–all tribes should be equal, but not the people. If you don’t want to be part of the tribe you’re assigned to by the powers that be, then you have no place in the multicultist world.

  59. kao_hsien_chih says:

    Hamilcar,
    I don’t think there really is a such thing called “nation state” that is unambiguously defined. Are Macedonia and Bulgaria part of the same nation? Austria and Germany? Romania and Moldova? Is Bavaria part of the same nation as Northern Germany? Is Brittany of France? All these nations are semi-artificially created and maintained. One imagines that there were many times when Spain could have become a nation–no less than France or Germany. If enough of the people in question think that they are part of the same nation, that’s that. For whatever reason, it hasn’t quite settled in for the Catalans and the modern multicultism encourages the disintegration of the Spanish state.
    I don’t know if there is too much said about either the alleged sanctity of Spain or alleged rights of Catalans. How to make the most of the crisis that does least harm is the only thing we should think too much about. Should the entity that claims itself the sovereign entity in Catalonia receive recognition as such, considering the irregularity of its claim to such authority, for example? Should there be an attempt to organize a more “legitimate” Catalonian entity (that can command recognition from all involved) and if so, what will be its relationship to Madrid, the people and civic entities in Catalonia, the rest of the world, and so forth? (and other questions…not of the “grand principles.)

  60. LeaNder says:

    50% of all Catalan voters were already going to vote Yes, and after today’s events, they must have gained another 10% or 20% points.
    There are different percentages floating around. … Were did you get yours?
    This is what happened with Yanukovych in the Ukraine in 2013-14, who stabbed the security men charged with keeping his regime in power in the back by refusing to provide them support once things got too hot. This totally demoralized them and ensured the triumph of the Euromaidan.”
    Yes,someone here linked to a shooting yourself into the shoe/foot. On the other hand: How will historian put bits and pieces into the larger 21st century Ukrainian tableau?
    Post Yushchenko’s dioxin poisoning? Maybe?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Yushchenko#Presidential_election_of_2004
    versus his post Orange Revolution support for Maidan?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Yushchenko#Euromaidan_and_2014_election
    *******
    Presidency (2010–2014)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Yanukovych#Presidency_.282010.E2.80.932014.29

  61. charly says:

    Spain is not a nation state because the Basque, which makes it not a nation, and the state is the EU so it is not a state.
    About Belgium, if it wasn’t for Brussel the Flemish, which have a small majority in Belgium, would have kicked out the Walloon ages ago. But Bruxelles, which was historically Flemish is now only 10% Flemish. Way to little to add it to independent Flanders but to much people to leave them outside.
    About the military. Most smaller European nations don’t have armies but shared armies in which part is from them and another part is from another country and not being part of Nato because they wont let you in is not a negative. You still have the protection of the EU, The US wont try to change the government to pro-Nato and you wont have the costs. Besides what i understand of the Spanish Nato referendum was that it was fishy.

  62. charly says:

    The plan is to become a EU state, Nato is only important if you want to fight a war and Catalan bureaucrats already do everything outside of the military and border control so i don’t really see big problems for Cataluna. It is not anything as difficult as Brexit.
    Russia is very good in giving free gifts. I seriously doubt that the Russian state thought it could refuel in Spain or Malta but Spain and Malta could use the fact that they say no against Bruxelles/Washington

  63. FourthAndLong says:

    The Catalans can only leave via an armed insurrection, and haven’t the forces necessary to prevail against Spain. At best they can try, then fail, and then nurture dissatisfaction by future generations of youth. The whole thing is absurd, but what else is new ?

  64. Thirdeye says:

    Interesting take on the historical and class character of Catalan nationalism that supports your thesis:
    …..The”>http://www.unz.com/isteve/catalan-nationalism/

    …..The

    Catalan Question is even more perplexing. You’re correct to note that Orwell and the romance of the Civil War has induced foreigners, especially the wide-eyed and big-hearted, into viewing the whole of Catalan seperatism as a historically Leftist endeavour, but it has had several incarnations throughout time. Even there among the barricades of 1936-39 lies a glitch. A big part of why Barcelona had become a hotbed for Marxist and Anarcho-syndicalist movements is that the huge local proletariat was largely, if not exclusively, non-Catalan in origin and was living in shambolic quarters right next to a city of splendour and abundance. So much so that a subtext of Kulturkampf was in evidence: in some quarters, leftist militias erected banners declaring “Speak Spanish” as a culture war symbol against their Catalan-speaking bosses and burguers, presumably chiding their snobbery as much as their exploititiveness. At the same time you had genuinely Catalanist left-wing groupings like the Esquerra Republicana Català, so the picture becomes further mudied.
    Now, if you go back to 1714, supposedly Catalonia’s starting point for regional seperatism, you have to be wary that the French Rev has yet to take place and hence to speak of Left-vs-Right seems anachronistic. But if anything, their revolt was an expression of feudal privileges and a defence of an older Hapsburg form of monarchy as a bulwark against the French-imitating centralising model of a Bourbon monarchy. One might even say it was a defence of traditionalism versus modernisation. Over the next two centuries, the Catalan middle and upper-classes were happy to push for a maximum of local autonomy but never at the expense of their precious access to Spain’s imperial markets – Cuba in particular. Thus, cultural nationalism became a safety valve for expression of local atavisms where political agitation might have been too disturbing to contemplate. Granted, the loss of Spain’s Empire in 1898 makes much of being associated with Spain appear tainted to Catalans on the left and the right. But even post-Civil War and post-Franco, the Catalan urban business community and even its rural conservative faction were always happy to do business with Right-wing parties in Madrid provided that Madrid maxxed their fiscal autonomy and let them engage in a cosplay cultivating dreams of a future nation/yearning for a mythical past. In premise, Catalan regionalism has always had left-wing and right-wing manifestations. For example, Barcelona soccer club has made a killing marketing itself as a sort of anti-Spain, and the kind of rebel-romance mythos that a global fanbase loves to imbibe, yet its directors and operators have featured a hotel magnate who was a fully-paid up member of the Partido Popular – oft-deried as the successors to Franco – on the basis that having the Spanish Right lording it over federal matters in Madrid is preferrable to the Spanish Left holding the levers, as well as a Friedmanite economist whose vision of an independent Catalonia is more Singapore than Scandanavia. What has happened in recent years to bring us to this present impasse is that the etiquette in the Madrid-Barcelona tango has broken down: the Spanish Right is wedded to a centralist vision of the nation since 1812 which in turn alienates the two most productive regions of the country which it needs to prevent the entire peninsula from becoming a left-wing governed banana republic. But since the Spanish Right also purports to defend the Catholic Spain in the culture wars, it ends up casting itself as a punching bag for the grievances of every weed-smoking co-op buying cat-owning leftie in Catalonia and every other corner of Spain. Such that I have lefty friends in Madrid who are egging on Catalan independence because they hope it will become the encarnation of a Spain they wished to see had the Second Republic triumphed. Hell, some of them will even take to learning Catalan and relocate there. So now the prospects of a fiscally prudent Catalonia becoming independent only to midwife a Bolivarian experiment is probably keeping the more right-leaning regionalists awake at night: separate from Madrid only to become a reenactment of Madrid in 1936 (Madrid, despite the libel thrown at it by everyone within Spain who hates Spain, was a leftwing holdout for most of the Civil War), and this time with an open-borders mayor in Barcelona gladly declaring a sanctuary city for Mohammedans (cos, y’know, to atone for Spain having had the temerity to reconquer territory from the Moors)……The closest analogy to Catalan nationalism I can think of is Quebec separatism, with a likely similar result. The Quabecois are the most powerful single political interest group in Canada, with a narrowly self-interested outlook justified on the basis of historical grievances that have little to no reflection in current cultural or material reality. They have managed to make themselves a privileged class largely by holding the threat of succession, to the point that the Canadian government directs all sorts of extra political and cultural rights to Quebec. That game drew to its climax with rejection of the Meech Lake Accord, essentially a “go ahead, make my day” to Quebec on the question of secession. Quebec narrowly rejected sovereignty in 1995, largely on the realization of how dependent they were on the rest of Canada after years of political blackmail. The man threatened to kill the goose if she didn’t increase production of golden eggs. The goose laughed. The man decided he could live with his allotment of golden eggs and the goose still has her head on her neck.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meech_Lake_Accord

  65. Thirdeye says:

    Oh…..THAT Galicia. But something similar could happen with the other Galicia once they realize they can’t rule the rest of the Ukraine by force.

  66. Harry says:

    Didnt the spanish state damage its own legitimacy by beating up as many little old catalan ladies they could find?
    Dont the governed have to consent to being governed? If they withdraw that consent what then?

  67. Babak Makkinejad says:

    They do not have the right to destroy the state.

  68. Hamilcar says:

    “So Spain wouldn’t have needed to sent the Armada? ”
    Let’s not forget, Spain was allied with the Irish when it sent the Armada, and had garrisoned troops on the island. The Spanish and Irish of the time believed they were related peoples but, ironically, the basis for that belief is most probably a myth: The Irish historically called themselves the Sons of Mil (Espaine), a purported ‘Spanish’ king whose offspring supposedly settled in Hibernia.
    Historically, there were Irish regiments in service to Spain, and Irish notables such as Alejandro O’Reilly, one time Governor of Louisiana, and Leopoldo O’Donnell served at the highest levels of Spanish government.
    The Sons of Mil may be myth but recent genetic studies indicate that the Irish (and British) did originate on the peninsula. The emerging consensus is that they migrated north along the Atlantic coastline to Armorica (Brittany). Some then crossed to Ireland while others crossed to Britain, leading to the divergence of the Celtic language into K-Celtic and P-Celtic. The cause of the migration is thought to be tied to the tin and amber trades.

  69. b says:

    Its not a financial famine. It is tool one can finely adjust.
    The rich industry and bankers who are behind the conservative Catalan regional government would simply be given a chance to learn the value of a central Spanish government. With unpaid bills stashing up it would not take long for them to get it.

  70. Hamilcar says:

    “I don’t think there really is a such thing called “nation state” that is unambiguously defined.”
    Agreed. I was trying to convey the same thought by describing the people of Ireland and Britain as a single nation divided by long-term collective amnesia. They were once, many thousands of years ago, a single people; ethnically, culturally, linguistically. Genetically speaking, they more or less still are. That fact is triggering for a lot of people living on those islands but it’s very clearly backed up by the scientific evidence. The invasion myths are not supported by the genetic evidence, nor by the archaeological record, but they persist to this day in popular culture.
    How is it possible that a people can forget their own history? Or cling so desperately to a mythical version even when it’s debunked by real evidence? It can only be because they want to.
    A modern example of this phenomenon, I suggest, is Russia/Ukraine. Many Ukrainians no longer wish to be called Russian, despite the fact their own capital gave birth to the Russian nation. They feel that the word is tainted; or they cry that it’s been hijacked by ‘Moskals’. Imagine these two peoples were illiterate, as the ancient Britons/Irish were, and fast-forward a few centuries, and you can imagine the same thing happening as happened in Britain/Ireland.
    You’re right. A “nation” is a difficult thing to pin-down. I suspect, at some level, when other distinctions become blurred, our notions of what nation we belong to become rooted in tribalism, and tribalism isn’t biological in nature (your biology doesn’t determine what football team you support, for example). I doubt that the average Catalan, or Castilian, or Scot, or Englishman, knows very much about their own history besides some superficial ‘facts’, and those ‘facts’ often relate to historical grievances – even the least educated Scot knows that the English killed William Wallace, but relatively few know that he was a Briton from Strathclyde, an ancient British (Welsh) kingdom.
    It is tribalism that’s on the rise. ‘National’ identities are one form of tribe people can cling to; there are many others (BLM, Antifa, Alt-Right, Democrat, Republican, feminist, ad infinitum). I think other contributors to this thread are close to the mark when they talk about unaccountable power’s role in this and I don’t think I can add much to improve on their take on things.
    As for Catalonia, my opinion is that they’ve made the same basic error as the Scots. They’ve got no friends. They don’t appear to have made any serious attempt to make any. Both devolved governments seem to live in a childish fantasy world in which other countries should be lining up to support them because it’s the ‘right’ thing to do. It’s as if they’ve never heard of real politik, or (nod to the Col. here), for some reason, they believed history had ended and the old rules don’t apply anymore.

  71. Chicot says:

    Good luck with joining the EU since that will require the unanimous approval of all current members (including Spain).

  72. Wunduk says:

    My father was employed in Barcelona in the late ’80s, building a car factory (SEAT). Visited twice during summer tours on my bicycle and crisscrossed the Pyrenees. Been back there professionally several times. The Catalan language is spoken as mother tongue by a third of the population, though it is an official language and all documents and exchanges of letters can be in Catalan. The coast belt has attracted since industrialization and later the tourism boom (Costa Brava) a large population of Spanish workers who did not bother to learn Catalan. This makes for easy Spanish conversation along the coast, where is is even difficult to practice Catalan, as most don’t know it. In the interior, it’s a different story, with almost everyone perfectly bilingual and preferring Catalan. Then come the Occitan speakers, and then the Basque. Each of these has to use Spanish or French to talk to the other. So there is no way around learning either. The regional government wanted to introduce an exclusively all-Catalan pre-K some years ago. Parents were horrified. In order to study and publish later at university, Spanish is a must.
    The referendums were claimed to have been attended by at just under half of the population. Once a closer look is taken, there are drastic discrepancies between what the surveyors count as eligible population. The Spanish Statistics Office has 7.5 mio. people living in Catalunya. With 18% under 18, we look at 6.15 mio. eligible voters in my opinion. Sometimes 5.4 / 6.2 mio. are the ballpark figures for the eligible voter population (depending whether you trust the Generalized de Catalunya or the Spanish National Statistics), which then are put in relation to the claimed 2.25 mio (2014) ‘votes’ of which 80% voted for independence, 10% for statehood within a federal Spain. So 1.8 mio. out of an adult electorate of 6.2 mio. Spanish eligible voters (residents), of which 5.4 were estimated by the Catalan authorities voted in 2014. This time in October 2017 about 2 min. votes are claimed by the Catalan Generalidad, which manages to sell off it’s even more reduced voter list estimate (5.2. min. this time) as the yardstick. In the last Catalan elections of 2014 about 4.1 mio. voters participated. As this was held at the same time as the ‘referendum’, only half of the participants bothered to fill out the non-binding additional ‘vote’ on independence. I therefore suspect that there is a plurality of the adult population, likely living along the coast, which might be even there a absolute majority, that does not wish for independence. And how many of the their of the population who have historically argued for independence are ready to make sacrifices for attempting to force it on their neighbours?

  73. charly says:

    Look at a road map. The easy way to drive a truck from Spain to the rest of Europe is done through Catalan. What are actually the rules about joining EFTA and why would Spain after some time still want them out of the EU. That doesn’t makes sense to me

  74. charly says:

    The Basque are a none issue in France (something like 50k) solved with a bit of gerrymandering. And dialects that want to be independent only happen in case of the dialect being a big net contributor. That is not the case in France.

  75. Alaric says:

    It would be extremely interesting and constructive to probe the current Catalan identity/independence movement to its roots through today. I’m very curious as to what in particular made it popular and who funded it. My guess is that there are many reasons for its popularity but i personally suspect that we shall find that Catalonia’s affluent business community was mainly behind its promotion.
    The Catalan situation is very strange. What you have there are a people who are genetically identical to the persons in the surrounding regions (Aragon, Valencia) and at a minimum extremely similar to those from the rest of Spain. Yet the “Catalan” are obsessed with the creation of their “unique” identity. Why? The hatred for Spain that they have and the us vs them mindset that permeates there is extreme. The alleged cultural differences between the Catalan and their neighbors are minute at most. Its bizarre on all levels especially since many of the “Catalan” moved there from other parts of Spain over the last 100 years.
    My guess is that what have here are divide and conquer tactics that are being used by Catalonia’s affluent community for political and economic gain but which the lefties and others now believe. I’ll also add that giving up all of Catalonia would mean vastly reducing Spain’s land access to France (and so Europe) because the other territories are mountainous and roads are not so great for 18 wheelers. I don’t know that Spain is going to agree to give up all of Catalonia ever.

  76. DL says:

    Sam,
    The Catalan nationalist core is very fervent, but they are also utopian dreamers who will not resort to violence. At least, I cannot imagine them fighting in any substantial way. Their main weapons are rhetorical: they will demand democracy, human rights and the right of the people to express its sovereign will. In my opinion, they are in for a big hangover and many will be disappointed. They are also used to being disappointed, and a kind of sadness hangs over the culture in general. Their main national holiday on 11 September is a commemoration of their defeat. Hence the desire of some to spoil what Spain holds dear.
    We’ll see if they sour on the EU or not. They are firm believers in the globalist project. Almost everybody here was against Brexit and I have never heard anyone argue for Catalan independence using the Kosovo argument. If anything, they want to be identified as avant-garde Europeans in contrast to what they see as their feudal Catholic masters (generally speaking, the Catalans are atheists).
    Yes, a big hangover is on its way.

  77. DL says:

    The separatists won’t fight for it. I imagine they will engage in some form of some civil disobedience, but in the end it is more comfortable and safer to tweet videos of police violence to each other than to pick up a gun. They largely seem aversive to violence — it’s a violation of human rights!

  78. LeaNder says:

    The cause of the migration is thought to be tied to the tin and amber trades.
    something along those line of thought was on my mind while mentally dancing around the word globalization, Hamilcar: Interesting choice.
    Random pick:
    http://www.globalization101.org/what-is-globalization/
    I was quite open to the left critique long before it feels it was picked up on the right as a core argument, although with a different emphasis.
    More recent organized anti-globalization expression:
    https://www.attac.org/en/overview

  79. Babak Makkinejad says:

    NI thought that all children are baptized.

  80. LeaNder says:

    The european union has, for many years,promoted regionalism inside its member states….The strategy is one of empire, against the old westphalian order, much shaken in te 20th century.
    That’s a simplification, Albano. … Although yes, maybe?
    I watched parts of a TV discussion around Catalonia yesterday. One of the people discussing matters was a representative from Catalonia. For me that was a semi-déjà-vu. She assumed that after declaring independence Catalonia would still be a member of the EU based on European policy of regions. No separate treaty necessary. I wondered why no one asked her what law she relied on in her assumption.
    Anyway: This is not the case. But could there be a legal lacunae which is tested? As Greece events showed reality may sometimes test erected legal structure. Matters not thought about? Would the easiest way have been to allow for member states to declare bankruptcy? This could have helped. But there is simply no law to rely on.
    The EU is a Moloch, not easy to grasp its grown structures. Or its history for that matter from the European Coal and Steel Community via the EEC to the EU. And yes, there was always a bit of Utopia present/presented along the way. It had to be accepted after all.
    The one that now may cause troubles on diverse layers is that the leaders and shakers at one point claimed that all countries including the regions would within a short time have the same living standards in the near future. Which doesn’t seem Catalonia’s problem.
    Of course there is a larger world too that wouldn’t mind to have a bigger piece of the bread instead of only crumbs. And surely Bruxelles harbors its fair share of lobbies. …
    But in our context, it may make sense to start with subsidery somewhere along the way. Meaning, strictly I support the Europe of Regions policy for whatever reasons, but not necessarily secession …:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subsidiarity
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subsidiarity#General_principle_of_European_Union_law
    Be careful to not mix up the Council of Europe with the concept of a Europe of Regions. If you are curious at all, and I do not assume you are, that is a good place to start. Although strictly I didn’t check to what extend it links to what is vaguely on my mind:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_of_Europe#History

  81. DL says:

    Alaric:
    “many of the “Catalan” moved there from other parts of Spain over the last 100 years.”
    And most of them don’t want independence. I find the Spanish unable to comprehend the Catalans or take them seriously, as if they invented this strange language called Catalan just to annoy them. They try to break free every 100 years or so: the 1930s, 1830s, 1710s, 1640s. The core identity is still there. They aren’t all just ‘brainwashed’. Also, many still nurse grievances from the Civil War and from their treatment under Franco, when their language was banned. Spain still has to reckon with its past but it chose to just bury it. It’s like Spain doesn’t want to hear about it and doesn’t want to understand. I find that baffling.

  82. Sam Peralta says:

    DL,
    OK, so you believe this will just fizzle out and the separatists who are used to being disappointed will continue in that state.
    Big banks registered in Catalonia are already moving their headquarters out.
    b – banking license does not matter, the only thing that matters is if ECB will continue liquidity support. ECB will of course do what the EU wants. The risk is that banks fail which could have huge repercussions as all European banks are highly leveraged and the ECB can’t have credit markets spooked. Now, if the Catalan separatists really wanted to separate then they would move outside the EU and create their own currency and monetary authority.
    Full disclosure: My firm has positions in Euro instruments.

  83. Albano says:

    Let me share my personal experienc with you, LeaNder:
    In reason of my professional duties, I came to know that the complex (often labhirintic) european regulations often reward, attributing subsidy (money) transfers directly to european local, regional (or even national but not state controlled) public investemnt iniciatives, bypassing the actual member state’s budgetary control ?
    Or, for instance, they give precedence to public investments promoted by inter-border regions ? – for instance Extremadura (spain) and Região Centro (Portugal) ?
    Is it not a sophisticated way to bypass member states ?

  84. Adrestia says:

    “The ballots say Yes to independence this is the will that I want to go forward with,” Mr Puigdemont tells parliament.
    “At this historical moment as the president of Catalonia, I want to follow people’s will for Catalonia to become an independent state.”
    http://www.bbc.com/news/live/world-europe-41567394

  85. Adrestia says:

    The Spanish decision for new elections has worked out well for them. The pro-Catalans have won a majority again with an estamated 70 seats in the 135 seat chamber.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-42450745
    In all recent elections (also Brexit and the Italian constitutional referendum) the voters have voted against the ruling politicians without regard to left/right affiliation.
    IMO this is a vote of non-confidence in their decisions. This is something that should be adressed. Either by changing the neoclassical/liberal policies (which is unlikely) or by removing the troublesome problem of democracy (which is more likely)
    In the Netherlands the prime minister says it is “logical that there will be no referendum on the abolition of citizen-initiated referendums” in the new government (which has a monumental majority of 1 seat in a 4-party coalition).
    For me the next important elections are Italy and local elections in my country. The 50%+1 die is increasingly rolling in favour of the anti-ruling politicians, which seems to indicate a return of those that usually don’t vote to the polling boot.

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