With the forthcoming Christmas holidays approaching along with the investiture of Artur Mas as President of a Catalan Transitional Government, an incredible 3 months in Catalan history come to a close.
So much has happened in a little over three months that it’s time to stock and consider how far Catalonia has come on its road to independence.
However, the main purpose of this post is personal. I’m taking the opportunity to review what I’ve written so far with a view to creating an ebook on the Catalan independence process or approaching publishers with a book idea.
La Diada 2012 – An Atmosphere Of Tension
The very first post on BCN Blog was written on September 6 just a few days before La Diada. I firmly support the demonstration because I’m extremely unhappy with the PP government and see their attitude as aggressive and centralist. The tax deficit isn’t the major issue but rather attacks on identity.
Background To The Catalan Independence Issue
Immedately following La Diada, Lisa Sadleir of Family Life in Spain asked me to write an article asking me to explain what was happening in Catalonia. I was very keen to educate rather than confront but the reception I got from other members of WABAS (Writers And Bloggers About Spain) was vehement to say the least. As a result my position became more intransigent and particularly reading some of the foreign expats regurgitating Spanish nationalist views, I soon came to the conclusion that there was no going back.
Spain and Catalunya – A Marriage Breakdown
A few days after the demo Artur Mas came out in favour of Catalan independence (without ever pronouncing the words) and with an air of resignation stated that Spain was sick of Catalonia’s moaning and Catalonia was sick of always being taken advantage of. I saw this as the breakdown of a relationship.
Independence Day – A Rock’n’Roll Message From Artur Mas To Mariano Rajoy
This was a slightly incoherent post but one which was very important for me because I connect my radical punk past, the Thatcher period and the 1984-85 Miners Strike with the fight for Catalan independence. I think it’s here that I really become emotionally involved and the whole thing starts to make sense in terms of my own personal history.
Catalan Independence: A River Returns To Its Natural Course
Published on Sep 23, less than two weeks after La Diada, the Catalan independence movement was growing but so were the criticisms from Spain. This article was inspired by watching the celebrations of Barcelona’s Mercè Festival. It seemed clear to me that Catalonia was undeniably a nation because of its language culture and traditions. Spanish nationalists, however, have always been intent on denying this.
How Would Catalan Independence Affect Spanish Football In General And FC Barcelona In Particular?
This post covered a subject very dear to my heart – Spanish football and Barça. It’s obvious that FC Barcelona need Real Madrid and vice versa for financial and sporting reasons. Their intense rivalry as representatives of two great nations – Catalonia and Castile - is what makes Spanish football so great. For many years, I have joked that the only argument I can think of against Catalan independence is that Barça wouldn’t be able to play in La Liga. I would obviously prefer relations to remain amicable between Spain and a future Catalan state but even if they weren’t I’m still pretty convinced that in the context of football Don Dinero – Mr Money – will prevail and Barça and Madrid will continue playing as many Clásicos as possible.
EU Vice President Viviane Reding Suggests An Independent Catalonia Would Remain In The European Union
One of the major areas of attack from Spanish nationalists was (and still is) the doubt about whether an independent Catalonia would automatically form part of the European Union or not. In this interview with a Seville newspaper, EU Vice President Viviane Reding states that there is to think that it wouldn’t. Since then other EU leaders including Manuel Barrosso and Joaquim Almunia have refuted this but I’m still convinced that the precedents are unclear. Furthermore, if the worst comes to the worst and Spain vetoes Catalonia’s entry into the EU, the Generalitat could always retort by slapping massive taxes on any Spanish goods coming through Catalonia into Europe. At the end of the day, much as is the case with football, Catalonia and Barcelona’s economic importance will mean that membership will probably be facilitated.
Why Catalan Independence Is A Grassroots Movement Not A Party Political Issue
Following the announcement that Catalan Autonomic elections would be held on November 25, the right-wing Spanish press began insinuating that the whole Catalan independence movement was an invention of Artur Mas. This was obviously false as Mas hadn’t even been present on La Diada demonstration and the ANC had been working at grassroots level for a couple of years. This article covered my own subjective experience of the growth of Catalanism. It needs revising as I now realise that I forget to mention the rejection of the Estatut by the Tribunal Constitucional and my fuzzy memory gets a few of the dates wrong. I do feel, however, that it’s a very faithful account of how the independence movement has gathered strength since 2010.
Madrid and Barcelona Bars And Art: A Tale of Two Cities
Something I and many other Catalans have repeated until we were blue in the face is that being pro-Catalan and pro-Barcelona doesn’t imply being anti-Spain or anti-Madrid (apart from in football, obviously). As luck would have it. in early October I went to Madrid for a wedding and had a brilliant time. However, as I visited the Palacio Real, I was inevitably led to reflect on the differing fortunes of the two cities. If Madrid is up Barcelona is down and vice versa. Wouldn’t it be better for both if each was capital of its own separate country.
Much Ado About Nothing for the Anti-Catalan Independence Demonstration on the Dia De La Hispanidad in Barcelona
The Dia de la Hispanidad - the Day of Spanishness - had been pitched as a massive event that would show the power of the pro-Spain vote in Catalonia. I went down to Plaça de Catalunya where a month earlier 1.5 million people had demonstrated in favour of independence for Catalaonia and saw a few thousand people, some of whom were Latin Americans celebrating their own parallel festival.
Education Minister Wert Wants To ‘Impose Spanish’ On The Catalans. Is This Anything New?
Education, Culture and Sport Minister, José Ignacio Wert hit the headlines just a month and a half before the election when he stated that he wanted to ‘impose Spanish’ on Catalan schoolchildren. In this article, I look back on three hundred years of cultural and linguistic repression against Catalonia by Castile.
Catalan Independence and the Silent Majority: Wishful Thinking or An Exercise In Propaganda?
A few days later it looked increasingly like the Wert statements and the Dia de la Hispanitat had been electoral tactics. Based on exaggerated estimations of the turn out at the demonstration, the PP had begun talking about a ‘Silent Majority’ of Spanish speakers in Catalonia. The implication being that if Spanish speakers were the majority then it was the Catalans who were imposing their language and culture on the Spanish immigrants. This struck me as an extraordinary exercise in propaganda.
An Independent Catalonia: Not Only Viable But Also More Prosperous!
I have always seen the Catalans as a separate nation owing to their language and history but as the electoral debate hotted up, I decided to buy myself a copy of ‘Independència per a la butxaca’ – Independence Because Of Your Pocket - by Alfons Duran Pich and back up my linguistic and cultural arguments with some economic ones. It’s pretty clear that all things being equal Catalonia would be much better off as a sovereign state so the question resides in getting the international community to look on the independence process favourably.
Catalan Independence: Always An Uphill Struggle
As a continuation of the previous question I go on to look at international law and attitudes regarding the creation of new independent countries and come to the conclusion that Catalonia has a legal right to constitute its own state.
Independent Catalonia Prior To The Unification Of The Spanish Monarchy Under The Catholic Kings
By this time, my blog had attracted a few right-wing commentators and I was also getting into spats mainly on the subject of history across the Internet with the Spanish argument being that Catalonia had never existed as an independent nation. It had been part of the Crown of Aragón prior to the marriage of the Catholic Kings and part of Spain from then on. Here I quote a section from Imperial Spain by objective British historian J.H.Elliot that refutes those claims and clearly demonstrates that Spanish historians and teachers teach a very inaccurate version of Spanish history to schoolchildren.
An Overview Of The Catalan Political Parties Competing In The November 2012 Election
With the election a little over three weeks away, I took time out to take a look at each of the Catalan political parties one by one. I try hard to be objective but I think it comes across that my sympathies are generally with Esquerra Republicana.
Obama On Self-Determination And Democracy – Implications For Catalan Independence?
Following Obama’s victory in the US elections my attention briefly looked towards Washington. However, in a quote about freedom and the right to decide, the US President seemed to be expressing values and principles that were very relevant to the Catalan situation.
Full Text Of Artur Mas’s Speech In Brussels – 7 November 2012
On Tuesday November 6 Artur Mas visited Brussels in order to start the process of convincing Europe of Catalonia’s right to sovereignty. He made an excellent speech in impressive English, but the reaction of European leaders was not so positive. The seemed much happier about maintaining the status quo.
Catalonia – A Small Country (Independent Or Not!)
Looking back on what I’ve written in chronological order is interesting. As the attacks on Catalan right to sovereignty increase and more Spanish centralists join in the Catalan bashing, my reaction is to take the words of Catalan singer-songwriter to prove them wrong. My belief is that if Catalonia provokes sentiments such as these, it very definitely has the right to exist as a sovereign state.
Partido Popular Election Propaganda Is Pro Catalan Independence (IMHO!)
As the election got closer, a man came up to me in the street and thrust a PP pamphlet into my hand. It struck me as unintelligent and poorly though out and here I explain why!
Posters and Slogans For the Catalan Elections on 25 November 2012 – I Want Your Opinion!
I published this article mainly because I was concerned about the image that CiU and Artur Mas were putting across. It seemed much too messianic and narcissistic. Later events proved that my gut feelings were right.
Recent Catalan Election Polls Give CiU A Clear Lead But Is It Enough?
Doubts were growing about whether CiU would get a sufficient majority or not and the Duchess of Alba criticised the Catalans for being ‘unpatriotic’.
Alicia Sanchez-Camacho – Alice In Thunderland
There’s no question about what I’m doing here: Attacking PP candidate Alicia Sánchez Camacho because she is the main spokesperson for the politics of fear promoted by the anti-independence pro-Spanish parties.
Four Stages Towards Making Catalonia: A New European State
Looking to after the election, I’m very confident of victory for the pro-Catalan sovereignty parties and so begin to analyse how far we’ve come and how far we’ve got to go by dividing the process into four stages 1. Prior to La Diada 2. Diada To Elections 3. Elections to Referendum 4. Construction of a New European State
Pere Navarro (PSC) – Nowhere Man
Just 10 days before the election Pere Navarro and the PSC were looking more lost than ever. Federalism didn’t seem a well-thought out alternative and the socialist leader was receiving little support from Madrid.
Catalan Expats Give Views On Independence To The BBC
In an attempt to draw on a broad perspective of views on the elections and independence, I decided to republish these opinions expressed by Catalan expats to the BBC.
Oriol Junqueras Converts Real Madrid Fan and ex-UPyD Supporter To Catalan Independence
This was a fun piece of news. It definitely gave away my sympathies for ERC and Oriol Junqueras and showed that being pro-Catalan definitely doesn’t imply being anti-Spanish.
Would Catalonia Be Better As An Independent State?
This is the answer I wrote to an article posing the question above.
Catalan Independence Claims Show The Fragility of Spain’s Transition To Democracy
Just two days before the election the atmosphere was becoming increasingly tense. The right-wing Spanish press were making open attacks on Catalonia in general and Artur Mas in particular. The publication by El Mundo of unfounded claims that CiU leaders had bank accounts in Liechtenstein struck me as an extraordinary abuse.
Looking at Catalan Politics and Independence A Week After The Election Results
Following the election, I went quiet for a few days because, like everyone else I was surprised to see CiU win only 50 seats. However, the growth of ERC was definitely positive for the possibilities of holding a referendum in the forseeable future.
Spanish Education Minister Wert Resumes Attacks On Catalan Language And Culture
Just when everybody thought that there would be a decrease in tension and that the PP would want to start building bridges with the future Catalan government. José Ignacio Wert made a full frontal attack with his LOMCE education proposals that would reduce Catalan to fourth language in Catalan schools after Spanish and two foreign languages.
Of Spanish Bull, Catalan Donkeys and the Spanish Constitution
Wert’s proposals provoke an outcry and here I contrast Spanish and Catalan approaches to government.
An Open Letter To Señor Wert From The Catalan Son Of Andalusian Immigrants
This was one of the most intelligent letters that I came across in response to Wert. It shows very clearly how effective the Catalan immersion system has been for the integration of immigrants and their children.
Aznar and Cospedal – Card-Carrying Falangists In The Partido Popular and Spanish Government?
Reading the newspaper one day, I had a Eureka moment and saw that the acronym FAES could be divided into the two first syllables of Falange Española. I decided to do someresearch into José María Aznar and sure enough he was an extreme right-wing activist in his youth.
Artur Mas and Oriol Junqueras: Strategies For The Catalan Government Of National Transition
The first meeting between Mas and Junqueras didn’t produce an agreement on the creation of a new Catalan government but I was pretty confident that one would soon be reached.