Arguing for Catalan Independence

Posted by dianamuir on October 04, 2012
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The independence movement is not driven by hatred of Spain. Catalan nationalism is civic and cultural, unlike the ethnic nationalism that has so often plagued Europe. Indeed, most of the two million Spaniards who migrated to Catalonia in the 1960s and ’70s are today fully integrated and many of them have embraced secessionist ideals…

The growth of the secessionist movement is also a reaction to a renewed wave of Spanish nationalism. When Catalonia passed a more far-reaching autonomy law in 2006, some political parties and media outlets unleashed a fierce anti-Catalan campaign that included a boycott of Catalan products. This campaign caused an emotional rift, and many Catalans concluded that only independence would protect them. Once mutual trust was lost, other possible solutions, like a federal state, lost their appeal…

Spain’s Constitution may not permit regions to secede, but the principles of democracy and justice necessitate finding a political solution to Catalonia’s demands. In a world where deep-seated national grievances often lead to violence, Catalans offer the example that peaceful change is possible. Denying Catalans the right to self-determination would be an affront to the democratic ideals that Spain, and Europe, claim to embrace.

Excerpted form New York Times, Oct. 2, 2012

Ricard González is the former Washington correspondent for El Mundo and the Catalan magazine El Temps. Jaume Clotet is a novelist and former political editor of the Catalan newspaper Avui.