Message in a bottle (Spain watch): The Catalonia crisis

There are clues that suggest our human ancestors might have nearly been wiped out by one or more environmental catastrophes. Paradoxically enough, the harsh conditions that accompanied those catastrophes “may have placed pressure on humans to co-operate with each other. Small foraging groups became larger societies” (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/prehistoric_life/human/human_evolution/first_europeans1.shtml). In other words: co-operation has made us become what we are now.

Back to the 21st century. The now interim regional Government of Catalonia staked a claim for independence from Spain right before the November 25th regional election. Many analysts believed this was just a well planned movement in the framework of a staged fight between them and the central Spanish Government. In those analysts’ view, that fight could be very useful for both Governments in order to divert public attention from the drastic austerity measures each of them were implementing in their respective jurisdictions. Furthermore, the splitting up of people into “goodies” and “baddies” has always proved an effective strategy for rulers to gather support.

But maybe this scenario has changed after the regional election, where Convergencia i Unió (CiU), the regional Government’s party before that date, has polled well below their expectations and will probably need support from other parliamentary forces to form a new Government. And the first one in ranking for buttressing CiU is currently Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC), a left-wing strongly pro-independence party, who is putting pressure on CiU to precise the terms of the purported poll on independence. In the last hours, both parties have come to an “initial” agreement, meaning that the poll will be taken “before 2015”. The question is CiU’s pro-independence stance is considered as purely nominal and their initial movement looked like a merely strategic one, but now the situation seems to be escaping CiU’s control.

However, if we wish to go beyond the specific terms of the above referred conflict, I believe the reflection contained in the opening paragraph of this post should never be disparaged when it comes to the break-down of a country: “co-operation has made us become what we are now”.

But, in the present situation in Spain, who is entitled to cry out in anger over this “outrageous” development and call indignantly for national unity? Not probably those who are creating the deepest ravine ever between the Spanish upper class, on one side, and what is left of the middle class and the poor on the other. Nor those who, obsessed as they are with anything slightly bearing on the notion of State, are completely taken up with the business of bringing it down – except for the riot police -. Their relentless hammering on the Spanish State structure may be leaving crevices in its foundations; in that scenario, it’s hardly surprising that regional “nations” are trying to fit themselves as States in their own right into such crevices.  And, finally, what about those private citizens who have always been happy to add fuel to the “war” with Catalans by promoting vetoes on Catalan products on any suitable occasion?

At the other end of the political spectrum, what can we say about those whose motto is “solidarity”, but who, at the same time, are reluctant to give everything its name when one of our richest regions is planning to pull out of Spain in the middle of an unparalleled recession? That is especially serious if we consider that the Catalan Government’s call for independence was strongly grounded on financial reasons, as they claimed that what they had received from Spain over time didn’t make up for what they had contributed to the national economy.

I don’t think national unity is a sacred thing, as any human arrangement – and a nation is not but one – can be reversed if doing so proves beneficial, but I do believe that, from the historical standpoint, the independence of Catalonia would be an “anti-clockwise” movement, thus potentially leading into some sort of unstable situation. In light of the foregoing, the ensuing question is: who can seriously think wise to carry out an “experiment” entailing a risk of great instability, when a financial, political and moral storm is raging everywhere?

The shadow of the Spanish Civil War has loomed over people’s minds every time there has been a major political upheaval ever since. But the good news is that this time, for one reason or another, nobody seems to be considering the slightest possibility of resorting to violence.

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2 Responses to “Message in a bottle (Spain watch): The Catalonia crisis”


  1. 1 Karl 30 mayo 2013 en 5:53

    Hi! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group?
    There’s a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Many thanks

    • 2 José Ignacio 30 mayo 2013 en 15:10

      On the contrary, I will appreciate it very much if you do so! I’m also on Twitter and I’ll be very glad to exchange views with your group if amenable.

      Thanks for your visit.

      Kind regards,

      JI


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