This day in history charts will get a bit more crowded as Catalonia has just declared independence from Spain.
Where the heck is Catalonia? Well, this is a fair question for outsiders to ask. You might not have heard of Catalonia or the four Catalan provinces that comprise the region. What you have almost certainly heard of is the Spanish city of Barcelona.
What happens next? How will Spain respond? What follows, however, is anyone’s guess. Barring a rising Franco-type push from the Spanish Crown, this will not be resolved with force. Already, there are over 155 videos of Spanish Police beating and pummeling voters that cast ballots during the region-wide referendum. (Some of these videos are graphic and viewer discretion is advised.)
Where should a Nationalist stand on this issue? There’s an interesting balance between Balkanization and Nationalism. Naturally, a nationalist believes in the right of self-determination.
BREAKING: Catalonia has removed the EU flag from all government buildings
— Drew Liquerman 🇺🇸 (@DrewLiquerman) October 27, 2017
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Why won’t Spain just let them go? Since the 1800s the Catalan provinces have become the heartland of Spanish industrialization. The region has enjoyed a degree of autonomy at the turn of the 20th century, but an increasingly hostile and fascist government under Franco’s dictatorship resulted in the Spanish Civil War. The Catalans attempted to maintain their republic but ultimately lost. When Franco finally died and passed the rule back to the Crown, a Spanish constitutional crisis emerged. Soon, it was determined that Catalonia would be allowed their autonomy back with some caveats. The centralized government of Spain, ruling from Madrid, would maintain sovereignty over the region and in international disputes it would take the helm in negotiations.
Why should I support Catalonia? Aren’t they socialist? Well, yeah, that they are. But they are swimming in a sea of socialists. You don’t by any means have to support Catalonia in order to oppose the Spanish repression. Essentially, by worrying about the political ideology of the independence movement, you’ve fallen into a rhetorical trap by the Spanish regime.
All of Spain is socialist. The opposition “conservative” party, known as the People’s Party is literally only conservative in their views on social norms. Of course, there’s also the Citizen’s Party (all of these “conservative parties” are named like Marx had a love child with Spain) that is viewed as “right-of-center” by the Spanish press, but it has progressive policies that would make Bernie Sanders blush. Lastly, with literally two out of 8,000+ mayors is the Vox party. Vox is a right-wing nationalist party but they believe so strongly in centralizing authority that they haven’t been taken seriously anywhere. They deeply resent the Catalan’s departure but they are on the money with the Islamic issue—they are anti-multiculturalism and anti-Islamic.
So, to be blunt, there’s really no good choice for people that believe in individual autonomy, capitalism, or property rights. Which means this isn’t a question of ideology, it is a question of practical ethics. The people of Catalonia voted overwhelmingly to depart from the Spanish regime. Now, their legislature has affirmed that departure by declaring independence.
For that reason, and that reason alone, it’s worth opposing the intrusion by centralists that seek to claim entitlement to the industrialized region that so clearly seeks to be done with the relationship.