Putting aside all prejudice, and preconceptions, what is happening in Catalonia is petulance by two rather immature groups of people. I fear only tragedy may come of it.

In a perfect world, the Catalans might deserve a country. Historically, they have been abused by Madrid. However, the Catalans seem incapable of creating a stable polity. During the Spanish Civil War, they fought each other as much as Franco. Right now, their independence parties often share nothing in common with each other but a disdain for Madrid. This is not a recipe for success.

Artur Mas, the former President of Catalonia – and one who ran up against Madrid as well – has bluntly put it.

Former Catalonian government leader Artur Mas has said the region is not yet ready for ‘real independence’. Mas, currently barred from public office for staging an informal independence referendum in 2014, told the Financial Times on Friday that Catalonia had yet to lay the groundwork. He said there was a debate among Catalan leaders about whether now was the right time to unilaterally declare independence. – Euronews – Oct 7, 2017

Artur Mas is no lover of Spain. He was fined €36,500, and barred from public office for two years because of his defiance of the Spanish Constitutional Court and running a non-binding referendum on independence.

The Catalans have not done the groundwork. It is just that simple.

Ronny Gordon

The Catalans seemed shocked when the EU would not embrace them.

Catalonia’s top envoy to the European Union says the credibility and the reputation of the European Commission has eroded in the wake of an independence from Spain bid on Sunday. – EU Observer

What did they expect? Did they think that Brussels bureaucrats would embrace separatism? Were they even prepared for the obvious? Do they have a backup currency prepared and ready to go? A back up civil service?!

They are considering a crypto-currency?!

I am aware of Catalonia’s history and claims to independence. Yes, they can make a case. A mediocre case, but they can make it. What is clear is that they were not prepared. No Plan B.

Anyone who has read my articles on Spain knows that my sympathies are actually for the Basque.  The Basque actually have a very strong case for independence. Their language is not merely different, but an isolate. They have unique genetic markers. They fought the Romans, the Franks, the Moors, long before Catalonia even existed.

But more importantly, the Basque know how to run things. The highly successful Mondragon Company is a worker cooperative that came out of the Basque country, and is one of the richest companies in Spain. Is the Mondragon Cooperative a capitalist or a socialist organization? It is a bit of both. Unlike the Catalans, the Basque know how to cooperate. On a per capita basis, the Basque are the richest region in Spain.

If the Basque were given independence, they would know what to do with it.

Long after other anti-Francoists had given up, the Basque were waging guerrilla war going back to WWII. While right wing Spanish fought for Hitler in Spain’s Blue Division, the Basque helped form the Maquis, and ran guerrilla squads against the Nazis in France; and, after 1945, against Franco.

In 1959, the ETA was formed. It was these Basque operatives who killed Franco’s henchman and appointed successor, Admiral Carrero, in 1973, preventing a continuation of the fascist regime. Many Spanish, at that time, were happy to see him go. The ETA were heroes to much of the population. Brutal, though it was, the plan was well thought out.

After Franco died and somewhat of a democracy had set in in Spain, many of the more sane members of the ETA resigned. They accepted Spain’s offer of a pardon, and autonomy for the Basque Country. This left the ETA organization under the control of a genuinely extreme left, which not only fought against the Spanish, but the conservative Basque Nationalists, as well (in Spanish).

During post-Franco era, the Basque Country has been chiefly administered by the conservative PNV [Basque Nationalist Party], and the Basque have turned their region into a modern and wonderful example of industrial efficiency.

Yet, though the Basque have proven to be capable, and though they deserve a country, they will not get it. Their ancestral regions are split between Spain and France, neither of which would allow a Basque state.

To my surprise, though the Basque are voicing support for Catalonia, they are presently content to push on with their autonomy slowly, and get rich.

Many here sympathize with Catalan nationalists. But after a controversial Catalan independence referendum in early October, an opinion poll found that nearly 63 percent of Basques did not want to copy the Catalan approach to achieving independence, while only 22 percent were in favor. And while 44 percent hope for greater autonomy from Madrid, just 23 percent want their own independent country.


After over 40 years of separatist violence, many Basques want a timeout from the independence question, suggested Kirmen Uribe, an acclaimed Basque author who writes in Euskera, the Basque language. – NY Times

The Basque are temporarily tired of the violence. The ETA, with its hyper-leftist and fractious policies, did not speak for the equally nationalistic, but right-wing Basque. The Basque want time to coalesce, before they press ahead.

“It’s a question of timing — we don’t want independence right now,” Mr. Uribe added. “We’re more thinking about cleaning the wounds between us, between the Basque people.” – NY Times

So, the Basque people, who deserve freedom, are not pressing for it, right now; while the Catalans, whose cause is a bit more questionable, have gone ahead on a tear.

During the American Revolution, the Second Continental Congress voted almost unanimously for independence, with twelve of the thirteen colonies voting yes, while New York abstained for lack of clear instructions from their constituents. That is the way to seek independence. Not by spot polling, or accepting a questionable election, where only 43% of the electorate showed up, no matter who was to blame for that low turnout. Worse yet, a few months earlier, a Catalan sponsored poll showed that most Catalans did not even want independence, which brings even more suspicion on their claimed mandate.

[T]here is still only a minority in favour of secession. A survey at the end of July found that 49.4% of Catalans were against independence and 41.1% supported it.  – The Guardian (September 2017)

A clear supermajority is required for a decision of that magnitude. The Continental Congress got that supermajority. The Catalans did not.

Whether Catalonia deserves independence or not, the vote of October 1st did not present a clear mandate. Everything about this crisis smacks of incompetence.

This is not to excuse the incompetence of  Spain’s PM Rajoy, whose heavy handed police and  fascist thugs  have turned many Catalans who only wanted more autonomy into favoring secession. PM Rajoy’s PP (Popular Party) thuggery has made heroes out of Catalonia’s buffoonish leadership. Neither side deserves the limelight.

Spain could defuse the situation by offering more autonomy to the Catalans in the December election they propose; and not arresting the Catalan leadership.

Driving this is the ever-present Spanish fear that the strangely presently quiescent Basque are paying attention. If Spain muddles this, the Basque, who are far more competent, may arise out of their slumbers. That thought should inform all of PM Rajoy’s decisions, so he makes them wisely.

But for us Americans, our choice should be to say out of it. Turning Catalonia over to incompetents will not help them get freedom; but neither should we support Rajoy’s goon squads.

Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who wishes he had availed himself more fully of the opportunity to learn Spanish in high school, lo those many decades ago. He also just started a website about small computers at http://thetinydesktop.com.

Putting aside all prejudice, and preconceptions, what is happening in Catalonia is petulance by two rather immature groups of people. I fear only tragedy may come of it.

In a perfect world, the Catalans might deserve a country. Historically, they have been abused by Madrid. However, the Catalans seem incapable of creating a stable polity. During the Spanish Civil War, they fought each other as much as Franco. Right now, their independence parties often share nothing in common with each other but a disdain for Madrid. This is not a recipe for success.

Artur Mas, the former President of Catalonia – and one who ran up against Madrid as well – has bluntly put it.

Former Catalonian government leader Artur Mas has said the region is not yet ready for ‘real independence’. Mas, currently barred from public office for staging an informal independence referendum in 2014, told the Financial Times on Friday that Catalonia had yet to lay the groundwork. He said there was a debate among Catalan leaders about whether now was the right time to unilaterally declare independence. – Euronews – Oct 7, 2017

Artur Mas is no lover of Spain. He was fined €36,500, and barred from public office for two years because of his defiance of the Spanish Constitutional Court and running a non-binding referendum on independence.

The Catalans have not done the groundwork. It is just that simple.

Ronny Gordon

The Catalans seemed shocked when the EU would not embrace them.

Catalonia’s top envoy to the European Union says the credibility and the reputation of the European Commission has eroded in the wake of an independence from Spain bid on Sunday. – EU Observer

What did they expect? Did they think that Brussels bureaucrats would embrace separatism? Were they even prepared for the obvious? Do they have a backup currency prepared and ready to go? A back up civil service?!

They are considering a crypto-currency?!

I am aware of Catalonia’s history and claims to independence. Yes, they can make a case. A mediocre case, but they can make it. What is clear is that they were not prepared. No Plan B.

Anyone who has read my articles on Spain knows that my sympathies are actually for the Basque.  The Basque actually have a very strong case for independence. Their language is not merely different, but an isolate. They have unique genetic markers. They fought the Romans, the Franks, the Moors, long before Catalonia even existed.

But more importantly, the Basque know how to run things. The highly successful Mondragon Company is a worker cooperative that came out of the Basque country, and is one of the richest companies in Spain. Is the Mondragon Cooperative a capitalist or a socialist organization? It is a bit of both. Unlike the Catalans, the Basque know how to cooperate. On a per capita basis, the Basque are the richest region in Spain.

If the Basque were given independence, they would know what to do with it.

Long after other anti-Francoists had given up, the Basque were waging guerrilla war going back to WWII. While right wing Spanish fought for Hitler in Spain’s Blue Division, the Basque helped form the Maquis, and ran guerrilla squads against the Nazis in France; and, after 1945, against Franco.

In 1959, the ETA was formed. It was these Basque operatives who killed Franco’s henchman and appointed successor, Admiral Carrero, in 1973, preventing a continuation of the fascist regime. Many Spanish, at that time, were happy to see him go. The ETA were heroes to much of the population. Brutal, though it was, the plan was well thought out.

After Franco died and somewhat of a democracy had set in in Spain, many of the more sane members of the ETA resigned. They accepted Spain’s offer of a pardon, and autonomy for the Basque Country. This left the ETA organization under the control of a genuinely extreme left, which not only fought against the Spanish, but the conservative Basque Nationalists, as well (in Spanish).

During post-Franco era, the Basque Country has been chiefly administered by the conservative PNV [Basque Nationalist Party], and the Basque have turned their region into a modern and wonderful example of industrial efficiency.

Yet, though the Basque have proven to be capable, and though they deserve a country, they will not get it. Their ancestral regions are split between Spain and France, neither of which would allow a Basque state.

To my surprise, though the Basque are voicing support for Catalonia, they are presently content to push on with their autonomy slowly, and get rich.

Many here sympathize with Catalan nationalists. But after a controversial Catalan independence referendum in early October, an opinion poll found that nearly 63 percent of Basques did not want to copy the Catalan approach to achieving independence, while only 22 percent were in favor. And while 44 percent hope for greater autonomy from Madrid, just 23 percent want their own independent country.


After over 40 years of separatist violence, many Basques want a timeout from the independence question, suggested Kirmen Uribe, an acclaimed Basque author who writes in Euskera, the Basque language. – NY Times

The Basque are temporarily tired of the violence. The ETA, with its hyper-leftist and fractious policies, did not speak for the equally nationalistic, but right-wing Basque. The Basque want time to coalesce, before they press ahead.

“It’s a question of timing — we don’t want independence right now,” Mr. Uribe added. “We’re more thinking about cleaning the wounds between us, between the Basque people.” – NY Times

So, the Basque people, who deserve freedom, are not pressing for it, right now; while the Catalans, whose cause is a bit more questionable, have gone ahead on a tear.

During the American Revolution, the Second Continental Congress voted almost unanimously for independence, with twelve of the thirteen colonies voting yes, while New York abstained for lack of clear instructions from their constituents. That is the way to seek independence. Not by spot polling, or accepting a questionable election, where only 43% of the electorate showed up, no matter who was to blame for that low turnout. Worse yet, a few months earlier, a Catalan sponsored poll showed that most Catalans did not even want independence, which brings even more suspicion on their claimed mandate.

[T]here is still only a minority in favour of secession. A survey at the end of July found that 49.4% of Catalans were against independence and 41.1% supported it.  – The Guardian (September 2017)

A clear supermajority is required for a decision of that magnitude. The Continental Congress got that supermajority. The Catalans did not.

Whether Catalonia deserves independence or not, the vote of October 1st did not present a clear mandate. Everything about this crisis smacks of incompetence.

This is not to excuse the incompetence of  Spain’s PM Rajoy, whose heavy handed police and  fascist thugs  have turned many Catalans who only wanted more autonomy into favoring secession. PM Rajoy’s PP (Popular Party) thuggery has made heroes out of Catalonia’s buffoonish leadership. Neither side deserves the limelight.

Spain could defuse the situation by offering more autonomy to the Catalans in the December election they propose; and not arresting the Catalan leadership.

Driving this is the ever-present Spanish fear that the strangely presently quiescent Basque are paying attention. If Spain muddles this, the Basque, who are far more competent, may arise out of their slumbers. That thought should inform all of PM Rajoy’s decisions, so he makes them wisely.

But for us Americans, our choice should be to say out of it. Turning Catalonia over to incompetents will not help them get freedom; but neither should we support Rajoy’s goon squads.

Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who wishes he had availed himself more fully of the opportunity to learn Spanish in high school, lo those many decades ago. He also just started a website about small computers at http://thetinydesktop.com.



Source link

About the Author:

Leave a Reply