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Post Catalonia Crisis: An Analysis
Created by John Eipper on 10/19/19 6:45 AM

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Catalonia Crisis: An Analysis (José Ignacio Soler, Venezuela, 10/19/19 6:45 am)

Here are my thoughts on the events in Catalonia and several recent posts from WAIS colleagues.

First I believe that after the violence of the Catalonian street protests in recent days, it is hard to maintain the independents' claim, articulated by Jordi Molins, that their movement is of a pacifist nature. It is far-fetched to blame the police and the Mossos exclusively for the unnecessary violence. There is clear evidence that both sides have sustained and caused injuries.

Second, it is necessary to correct some of Jordi's other statements in his post of October 15th. Jordi wrote that Spain, "as predicted for a long time on WAIS [who predicted this? Jordi?], is transitioning towards a totalitarian state, in analogy to Turkey." Jordi bases this opinion on a supposed official declaration that literally says, "NATO support to Turkey is aimed at contributing to a de-escalation of the crisis along the Alliance's border." It is obvious that this Spanish declaration is nothing more than a formality to support to Turkey as an official NATO member. Jordi sees the declaration rather as an ill-intentioned and twisted proof that Spain is transitioning to a totalitarian state.

It is again useful to repeat once more, for the benefit of those Spaniards of the extreme "left," independentist Catalonians and many foreigners (I refer particularly to Timothy Brown's question and John E's students), that still believe in the argument of self-determination, that such a right does not exist in any body of laws anywhere on the planet, except for the UN referring to regions under colonial status (this is not the case for Catalonia). The claim that holding a referendum as a solution to the secessionist problem in Spain is against the Constitution. It is vain and useless. Why?

Under the hypothesis that a referendum should be held and the outcome is NO to independence, called a "political" solution, what would be the obstacle for Catalonians to periodically request another referendum (such as the case of Scotland or Quebec)? If the result were YES, among other things, what then would be the fate of those Catalonians who still consider themselves both Spanish and Catalonian? (This is apparently a majority.) Shall they be obliged to renounce either of their nationalities? Would they be expelled from the country in case they do not want to do so? In consequence, the so-called "political solution" would really not be any solution at all, but the creation of many other critical problems.

On other matters, Jordi in an ill-intentioned way also mentioned that the average prison sentences for people convicted for the 23 February (1981) coup d'etat, or the neo-Nazi Pedro Cuevas guilty of killing an independentist, were less severe than the recently sentenced Catalonian politicians by 8.3 years. This is untrue. The sentence for Tejero was 30 years, and for Pedro Cuevas it was 18 years. The fact that they ended up spending less jail time is due to certain benefits of the Spanish Penal system. This will certainly happen with the condemned Catalonian politicians, who will be out of jail in maybe 3 or 4 years. So, the recent sentences for the "seditious" Catalonian politicians are not really "out of proportion" as John E seems to have misinterpreted. On the contrary they seem to be light and benign.

Jordi argues also that the VOX (radical right party) is a neo-Nazi party. Again this claim is exaggerated and distorted. Perhaps Jordi should read more carefully the political program of this party to better understand it. I did exactly that, and nothing in there is remotely "Nazi" unless you don't understand what Nazism was/is. It should be clear I am not by any means a supporter or sympathizer with this political party, which I consider to be very far from my political views.

Now the question of ethnicity discussed by José Manuel de Prada and Jordi. Not only am I in complete agreement with José Manuel, but also in the past I have showed on this Forum evidence of racism among the Catalonian independentist leaders Pujol, Junqueras and Torra. I have also had many personal experiences with Catalonians expressing similar racist prejudices against fellow Spaniards from other regions.

Furthermore, it is not a surprise to observe racist and xenophobic prejudices among many independentists that are originally from other regions of Spain. In fact, as I have said before, there is no one more radical or fanatic than an ideological or religious "converso." For them it is a question of mimetic and social acceptance in order not to be rejected by the community.

A couple of other related questions. Timothy Brown asked why Spain has serious independence movements and France has not, even though Spain is the oldest "consolidated" nation in Europe. John E blames Napoleon for the absence of independence movements in France. This may be the case, but the Napoleonic invasion of Spain was also a reason to consolidate Spanish nationalism.

To explain it simply, I believe the current exacerbated independentism in Catalonia is because of a set of complex causes. Its oldest origin is the 1700s War of Succession. The 1900s prosperity of Catalonia resulted in a rivalry between Madrid and Barcelona. Add to this incompetence of the monarchy, the Spanish Civil War and the Franco dictatorship, the extreme autonomy privileges and decentralization of the 1978 constitution, and finally the 2008 crisis. The question of different languages and cultures among the regions are, on my opinion, less crucial and rather unimportant, but sustained by independentists as mantras to be repeated constantly.

Jordi claims that the Catalonian question is no longer about independence, but of basic human rights. This is hardly justifiable in objective ways. Rather, it is another example of the independence movement's victimization syndrome. I insist that self-determination is not a "basic human right" as I explained before. Other basic human rights such as freedom of speech are enjoyed by Catalonians, provided they do not collide with violent protests or democratic laws. It is unclear what other "basic right" Jordi is referring to. On the contrary the right for a nation to preserve its sovereignty and territory is a basic universal right.

So now in a effort to answer John E's political dilemma of what the Spanish government should do regarding the Catalonia independence movement, the answer should be obvious. It should comply with the above-mentioned universal right at all cost if necessary, and at the same time maybe try to negotiate some political autonomic concessions to satisfy Catalonian aspirations in that sector of society.

JE comments:  Yes, I also predict a compromise short of total independence.  As long as we're on the topic of separatism, what is the latest from Scotland?  Too bad we have no Scottish WAISers.  Tim Ashby, who lived and studied there, is a quasi-Scot.  He now (coincidentally) he lives in Spain (Mallorca).  Tim, what are you hearing from Edinburgh?

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