Thread: Catalonia Independence Board: Purgatory / Ship of Fools.


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Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
It seems to me that there are a few things which can be discussed about this weekend's events in Catalonia.

One thing, for example, that interests me is the way that many socialists and (here in Wales) Nationalists have jumped up quickly to support the Catalonian Independence movement.

We've seen prominent lefty politicians talking about bias in the BBC because of claims that the result of the referendum might be "taken with a pinch of salt". But then, isn't this a fair comment?

We don't seem to see many who are taking the viewpoint of the Spanish government.

Leaving aside the actions of the Spanish national police - which I think can universally be condemned and which may have pushed the region inevitably towards independence - it seems to me that there is a serious conversation to be had about the morality of wealthy (or wealthier) regions becoming independent and making the rest of the country poorer.

It's not for me to tell other people whether they should be "allowed" to be independent. But I think it is going to be difficult to continue having an EU if the member countries become increasingly fragmented and others are consequently left poorer.
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
I don't know what anyone *should* do. But when I heard on the radio that Catalonia is the wealthiest region of Spain, I figured that was why the Spanish gov't reacted so strongly.

Evidently, the region used to have a fair bit of autonomy, given by the courts--but most of that was later taken away.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
I'm staggered at Spain's political ineptitude.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
It makes Theresa May's merely look like something excised from Jim Hacker's repertoire in Yes Prime Minister as something so stupid even he wouldn't suggest it.
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
Maybe, weirdly, they want to let Catalonia go, but feel they have to save face??
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
I'm worried that the Spanish police's brutality will give any potential terrorists a justification to take action. I know that this isn't the Basque country and I'm not aware of any Catalan factions similar to ETA, but you never know ...
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
If the Catalan parliament authorises their police to resist the Spanish police - and even if they somehow recruit militas - then I think it is going to be quite hard to describe those people as terrorists if they start military actions against the central government forces.

That's the making of a civil war.

I suppose it is possible that others might use the political vacuum to launch large, horrific, attacks with many casualties - but it seems to me that's quite a different thing.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Maybe, weirdly, they want to let Catalonia go, but feel they have to save face??

No GK. Keep to simple, unenlightened narratives. That's what we do best.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
No GK. Keep to simple, unenlightened narratives. That's what we do best.

Go on then, enlighten me. What's the complicated narrative?
 
Posted by que sais-je (# 17185) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
I don't know what anyone *should* do. But when I heard on the radio that Catalonia is the wealthiest region of Spain, I figured that was why the Spanish gov't reacted so strongly.

Evidently, the region used to have a fair bit of autonomy, given by the courts--but most of that was later taken away.

I was talking with a friend who has a son living in Catalonia. She's says her son's family (all Catalan) are more angry at being told they can't have a vote than concerned about Catalan independence.

Their view is that Catalan provides 25% of the Spanish GRP (see
various statistic on wikipedia) but get a tiny fraction of government payouts. Which, from the National Government's point of view, makes sense - taxing the rich to support the poor.

Is independence like a marriage divorce? If one partner wants to leave on what grounds should their request be refused?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
No GK. Keep to simple, unenlightened narratives. That's what we do best.

Go on then, enlighten me. What's the complicated narrative?
"they want to let Catalonia go, but feel they have to save face". Breaks Occam's razor a couple of ways.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by que sais-je:
I was talking with a friend who has a son living in Catalonia. She's says her son's family (all Catalan) are more angry at being told they can't have a vote than concerned about Catalan independence.

I heard that if it had been a referendum (or even just a poll without interference by the courts and police), there might not have been a majority in favour of independence.

If that's true (I have no idea), then it seems to suggest a massive shooting of oneself in the foot by Madrid.

quote:
Their view is that Catalan provides 25% of the Spanish GRP (see
various statistic on wikipedia) but get a tiny fraction of government payouts. Which, from the National Government's point of view, makes sense - taxing the rich to support the poor.

Is independence like a marriage divorce? If one partner wants to leave on what grounds should their request be refused?

We went to Catalonia earlier in the year and the one thing you do notice is the absolutely huge amount of EU money that has been pumped into the place - including into brand new train tracks which have never had trains for years and other infrastructure.

So I think these things are relative (assuming that the EU structural funds are intended to be used to support poorer parts of the EU).

But then again, presumably an Independent Catalonia would not need such high taxes and probably wouldn't contribute proportionally as much to EU funds as it does today as part of Spain* - which seems to suggest to me (probably over-simplistically) that the EU would have to pick up the slack from the rSpain with decreased revenues.

And what would stop other areas of Spain (or anywhere else) wanting to do the same thing?

Isn't this a downward spiral for the EU?

* assuming various things, of course, including that they'd be allowed to become an EU state
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
"they want to let Catalonia go, but feel they have to save face". Breaks Occam's razor a couple of ways.

I agree - although I'm sure the whole political situation is complex. It is quite hard to comprehend why the Spanish government did what they did but still managed to only disrupt a tiny part of the referendum.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

We've seen prominent lefty politicians talking about bias in the BBC because of claims that the result of the referendum might be "taken with a pinch of salt". But then, isn't this a fair comment?

On one level - given that the referendum had already been ruled as illegal - the entire thing was just a massive exercise in - peaceful - civil disobedience.

Given that, the ineptitude of the Spanish government in dealing with it was staggering.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Sheer incompetence. Wouldn't have happened in Franco's day.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Sheer incompetence. Wouldn't have happened in Franco's day.

As a tactic, it works, as long as you can control all information flow.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Yeah, Trump does that to perfection, better than anyone ever. By control, take a dump in.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I also note that everyone is calling everyone else in this situation a fascist. Which seems to devalue the term both ways around.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
I fully support Catalan independence. If they don't want to be a part of Spain any more then why the hell should anyone else be able to tell them they have to stay?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I fully support Catalan independence. If they don't want to be a part of Spain any more then why the hell should anyone else be able to tell them they have to stay?

There must be some limits. Otherwise how are you going to deal with the person who insists he should be allowed to declare his house an independent state?
 
Posted by american piskie (# 593) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I fully support Catalan independence. If they don't want to be a part of Spain any more then why the hell should anyone else be able to tell them they have to stay?

One reason: because in the post-dictatorship settlement they overwhelmingly supported the adoption of the Constitution which does not permit secession. I think a lot of moderate Spaniards are saying "above almost all things we value being a state governed by law, and so if you think this law ought to be changed we must all vote on it". I think that in Spain, so recently a dictatorship, and with much laundering of dirty laundry still to do, it's not surprising that so many see any drift into illegality as dangerous.

(All this doesn't mean I don't think Rajoy and team have been spectacularly inept.)
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I fully support Catalan independence. If they don't want to be a part of Spain any more then why the hell should anyone else be able to tell them they have to stay?

There must be some limits. Otherwise how are you going to deal with the person who insists he should be allowed to declare his house an independent state?
Ignore it.
 
Posted by american piskie (# 593) on :
 
As an afterthought, if one wants to get a feel for some of the nastier forces at work try this
Collaborators with God
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by american piskie:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I fully support Catalan independence. If they don't want to be a part of Spain any more then why the hell should anyone else be able to tell them they have to stay?

One reason: because in the post-dictatorship settlement they overwhelmingly supported the adoption of the Constitution which does not permit secession. I think a lot of moderate Spaniards are saying "above almost all things we value being a state governed by law, and so if you think this law ought to be changed we must all vote on it". I think that in Spain, so recently a dictatorship, and with much laundering of dirty laundry still to do, it's not surprising that so many see any drift into illegality as dangerous.

(All this doesn't mean I don't think Rajoy and team have been spectacularly inept.)

That's revolutions for you. The constitution be damned. That was then, this is now.
 
Posted by american piskie (# 593) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by american piskie:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I fully support Catalan independence. If they don't want to be a part of Spain any more then why the hell should anyone else be able to tell them they have to stay?

One reason: because in the post-dictatorship settlement they overwhelmingly supported the adoption of the Constitution which does not permit secession. I think a lot of moderate Spaniards are saying "above almost all things we value being a state governed by law, and so if you think this law ought to be changed we must all vote on it". I think that in Spain, so recently a dictatorship, and with much laundering of dirty laundry still to do, it's not surprising that so many see any drift into illegality as dangerous.

(All this doesn't mean I don't think Rajoy and team have been spectacularly inept.)

That's revolutions for you. The constitution be damned. That was then, this is now.
Indeed: and given how the last overthrow of the rule of law went in Spain I am not, as I say, surprised that most Spaniards are not keen on the idea.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
There's no comparison.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
There's no comparison.

I'm so glad you are here to make pronouncements, Martin. Let's just close the thread now, you've clearly ended all possible discussion on the topic.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
I'm so glad you're making your contribution as previously on the Grenfell fire in your interesting way which can only be pursued infernally. If you think that there is a comparison between the Fascist invasion of Spain and Catalonia's yearnings, please make it.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Sheer incompetence. Wouldn't have happened in Franco's day.

Franco would have used much more violence. Perhaps I don't understand your meaning?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
He'd have had the apparatus to make that unnecessary.

[ 02. October 2017, 13:16: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
Franco was a bad man who killed thousands. Catalonia has wanted independence since at least the 18th century and probably since the Reconquista. Spain has worries about Basque independence only recently calmed down. Catalania's melody plays in harmony.

Governance from the dominant core is a problem? Would federalism ie regional control in a devolved power model, where provinces may control many things, work better in some of these countries? But by the time they're voting it is far too late.

Franco's response I think would have been 20k arrested, several hundreds shot in the streets, torture. Followed by retaliatory terror. So Martin you cannot have meant that.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Indeed not. His repressive apparatus would have made sure that it didn't even break the surface, after setting the tone of 114,000 victims between 1936 and 1952.
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Franco was a bad man who killed thousands. Catalonia has wanted independence since at least the 18th century and probably since the Reconquista. Spain has worries about Basque independence only recently calmed down. Catalania's melody plays in harmony.

Governance from the dominant core is a problem? Would federalism ie regional control in a devolved power model, where provinces may control many things, work better in some of these countries? But by the time they're voting it is far too late.
*snip*

The 1978 Constitution (one of the 7 authors was Miquel Roca i Junyent from the Pacte Democràtic per Catalunya) which was endorsed by 91% by referendum, provides for that. There were further extensions of autonomy but the Parti Popular under Rajoy was unhappy with that and withdrew them in (IIRC) 2012. Rajoy's unwillingness to negotiate further has not helped.

Spain is a bit more fragile as a state than many might assume, and a particularly nasty civil war is just now passing from living memory. The period of fascist oppression is still within memory, and was a reality, rather than a rhetorical exclamation. I have long been uncomfortable (not that he cares for my discomfort or, perhaps, anyone's) with Rajoy's negative and unproductive stance with respect to the Catalans; he seems to want to close off discussion and movement and expects that heavihandedness will "solve the problem."

Spaniards generally, and the Catalans are no exception, have come to value the ballot and democratic expression, and the symbolism of interfering with and suppressing a referendum will have longterm consequences.
 
Posted by Pangolin Guerre (# 18686) on :
 
I think that Catalan independence is a bad idea. Were I Catalan, I would probably think the same. However, to be told that I cannot vote on the question would get me out on the street with my fellow citizens.

I think that in the Nationalist mindset there lies the unacknowledged anxiety about Spain's fractious regionalism. (Golden Key, I think that you're attributing far too much subtlety to Rajoy and his government.) Were Catalonia to go, how long before the Basque lands (also net contributors to the national fisc)? And then Galicia (which makes much of its unique, celtically-rooted culture, and has its own language), then Aragon, Andalucia, Asturias? Really, the sensible answer would be a federalism beneath the monarchy.

I doubt, in light of the past weekend, that ETA has failed to take note of the Guardia Civil's behaviour. (Explains the black masks I saw on the GC as they took away ballot boxes.) I certainly didn't fail to notice. I also didn't fail to notice the Nationalist demonstration in Madrid, where given were the fascist salute and rousing choruses of Cara al Sol.*

*Facing the Sun, fascist Civil War song (of the Falangistas, originally).

**Tangentially, in 1937, the only bishop of the Spanish episcopate not to sign the collective letter of support for Franco was Vidal i Barraquer, Bishop of Tarragona, who was moderately well disposed toward the republican government, and to Catalonia.
 
Posted by Og, King of Bashan (# 9562) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
It's not for me to tell other people whether they should be "allowed" to be independent. But I think it is going to be difficult to continue having an EU if the member countries become increasingly fragmented and others are consequently left poorer.

Which is rather what Russia would like, right? Hence the allegations that they are throwing their foreign propaganda wing behind the Independence movement.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Augustine the Aleut:
The 1978 Constitution (one of the 7 authors was Miquel Roca i Junyent from the Pacte Democràtic per Catalunya) which was endorsed by 91% by referendum, provides for that. There were further extensions of autonomy but the Parti Popular under Rajoy was unhappy with that and withdrew them in (IIRC) 2012. Rajoy's unwillingness to negotiate further has not helped.

Spain is a bit more fragile as a state than many might assume, and a particularly nasty civil war is just now passing from living memory. The period of fascist oppression is still within memory, and was a reality, rather than a rhetorical exclamation. I have long been uncomfortable (not that he cares for my discomfort or, perhaps, anyone's) with Rajoy's negative and unproductive stance with respect to the Catalans; he seems to want to close off discussion and movement and expects that heavihandedness will "solve the problem."

Spaniards generally, and the Catalans are no exception, have come to value the ballot and democratic expression, and the symbolism of interfering with and suppressing a referendum will have longterm consequences.

Very helpful. Thanks.

Additional things I wonder is the EU in the situation. How much does it matter if regions are independent if they are all within the EU? Then also I think of ethnic Russians in the Baltic countries and Ukraine
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:
I think that Catalan independence is a bad idea. Were I Catalan, I would probably think the same. However, to be told that I cannot vote on the question would get me out on the street with my fellow citizens.

I think that in the Nationalist mindset there lies the unacknowledged anxiety about Spain's fractious regionalism. (Golden Key, I think that you're attributing far too much subtlety to Rajoy and his government.) Were Catalonia to go, how long before the Basque lands (also net contributors to the national fisc)? And then Galicia (which makes much of its unique, celtically-rooted culture, and has its own language), then Aragon, Andalucia, Asturias? Really, the sensible answer would be a federalism beneath the monarchy.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but unless the regions were only part of Spain in name only, there would be nationally applied taxes. And if that happened, there would continue to be taxes raised in one region and spent in another.

quote:
I doubt, in light of the past weekend, that ETA has failed to take note of the Guardia Civil's behaviour. (Explains the black masks I saw on the GC as they took away ballot boxes.) I certainly didn't fail to notice. I also didn't fail to notice the Nationalist demonstration in Madrid, where given were the fascist salute and rousing choruses of Cara al Sol.*

*Facing the Sun, fascist Civil War song (of the

That's interesting, but I don't understand what you are saying. Which Nationalists? Those supporting Catalonian Independence or against it?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Og, King of Bashan:
Which is rather what Russia would like, right? Hence the allegations that they are throwing their foreign propaganda wing behind the Independence movement.

I hadn't heard that. But I'm not sure what to think about anything much any more - given what we know (or think we know) about various aspects of Russian influence and interference, it seems entirely possible.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Very helpful. Thanks.

Additional things I wonder is the EU in the situation. How much does it matter if regions are independent if they are all within the EU? Then also I think of ethnic Russians in the Baltic countries and Ukraine

Well on a superficial level it obviously does matter otherwise all of the independence movements within countries of the EU would have given up.

On a slightly more serious level, I think it matters because the states within the EU are not all exactly the same - with regard to things like immigration and taxation - so I think it is quite likely that increasing states due to independence of regions would lead to greater instability and a reduction in overall EU funds. Plus politically, it is going to be pretty difficult for existing EU states to wipe the slate clean and get down to working with newly independent states on an equal footing.

Of course, Europe has a lot of history of states breaking with others and being annexed, but most of that happened a long time before the states concerned joined the EU.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Croatia all gained their current form within the lifetime of the EU - and largely on ethnic nationalist grounds.
 
Posted by Og, King of Bashan (# 9562) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Og, King of Bashan:
Which is rather what Russia would like, right? Hence the allegations that they are throwing their foreign propaganda wing behind the Independence movement.

I hadn't heard that. But I'm not sure what to think about anything much any more - given what we know (or think we know) about various aspects of Russian influence and interference, it seems entirely possible.
Here is a link to Politico EU discussing the allegations.

Specifically, Sputnik, a Russian state-backed news source, has been accused of publishing misleading and downright false news about the referendum and corruption in Madrid. That news was then widely shared by Russian twitter bots.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Croatia all gained their current form within the lifetime of the EU - and largely on ethnic nationalist grounds.

OK, but how many of those were new countries created from countries within the EU?

I think the majority were Eastern bloc countries which rejected the influence of Russia in favour of looking to join the EU.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
Sure. But it's pretty hypocritical of European countries to object to separatism when most of them were formed out of separatist movements.

Eta: although I realize on re-reading that this doesn't actually contradict your post.

[ 02. October 2017, 16:11: Message edited by: Ricardus ]
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I fully support Catalan independence. If they don't want to be a part of Spain any more then why the hell should anyone else be able to tell them they have to stay?

There must be some limits. Otherwise how are you going to deal with the person who insists he should be allowed to declare his house an independent state?
You mean apart from withdrawing his permission to work in the country he just left and refusing him access to that country’s facilities such as health, education, power, water, rubbish collection, etc? You could even declare that without a visa arrangement he’s not allowed to cross the border (i.e. leave his house).
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
You mean apart from withdrawing his permission to work in the country he just left and refusing him access to that country’s facilities such as health, education, power, water, rubbish collection, etc? You could even declare that without a visa arrangement he’s not allowed to cross the border (i.e. leave his house).

I'd have thought the simplest solution, as Martin suggests above, is to not let him do it.

You can't have people in a country who arbitrarily declare themselves to be outside the auspices of the law.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:
I think that Catalan independence is a bad idea.

OK, but why?

quote:
Were Catalonia to go, how long before the Basque lands (also net contributors to the national fisc)? And then Galicia (which makes much of its unique, celtically-rooted culture, and has its own language), then Aragon, Andalucia, Asturias?
The problem being? Why not have six or seven independent nations rather than one, if that what the people of those areas want?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
The problem being? Why not have six or seven independent nations rather than one, if that what the people of those areas want?

Because why should individuals, or groups of individuals, be allowed to do something which adversely affects someone else?

If this was a legal agreement in another walk of life, would we say it was fair for one side to simple state that they're walking away?
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
You can't have people in a country who arbitrarily declare themselves to be outside the auspices of the law.

The whole point of independence is that once it’s declared the people who declared it arent in the country any more.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Because why should individuals, or groups of individuals, be allowed to do something which adversely affects someone else?

That argument cuts both ways. The Catalan people clearly feel that they’re being adversely affected by being forced to remain a part of Spain.

quote:
If this was a legal agreement in another walk of life, would we say it was fair for one side to simple state that they're walking away?
You mean like when two married people get a divorce?

I’d be interested to know your opinion of other independence movements from the relatively recent past. Should East Timor have stayed part of Indonesia? Should Eritrea still be Ethiopian? Should we still only have one Sudan? Should the various Balkan states still be Yugoslavia? Should the Soviet Union never have split up? Should Czechoslovakia still exist? Or are you of the opinion that the current set of national borders is exactly how the world is supposed to be, and it’s just taken us until now to realise it?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I'm not saying that Independence is bad. I'm just saying it isn't always a moral good. One example being that an individual cannot simply declare that he is now living in his own country.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
May I clarify something? A nation is a group of people with (usually) cultural values, language and heritage in common. Second, not all nations are countries, and nor can and should they be. Hence the French and English in Canada, and the host of First Nations (indigenous peoples). Which makes it quite a mess a lot of the time.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
You mean apart from withdrawing his permission to work in the country he just left and refusing him access to that country’s facilities such as health, education, power, water, rubbish collection, etc? You could even declare that without a visa arrangement he’s not allowed to cross the border (i.e. leave his house).

I'd have thought the simplest solution, as Martin suggests above, is to not let him do it.

You can't have people in a country who arbitrarily declare themselves to be outside the auspices of the law.

No Sir, let him do what he likes and ignore him until he actually breaks a real law. I like Marvin's fantasy suggestion. But no. If Catalonia started persecuting non-Catalonian Spanish citizens, that would justify intervention.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
What's a "real law" though? I suspect "declaring your house to be in a different country" is in-and-of-itself breaking quite a few laws.
 
Posted by Og, King of Bashan (# 9562) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
What's a "real law" though? I suspect "declaring your house to be in a different country" is in-and-of-itself breaking quite a few laws.

I suspect many jurisdictions would take a "no harm, no foul" approach. As long as I am just telling anyone unfortunate enough to have to listen to me that I have seceded from the United States, I'd probably get away with it. It would only be when I attempted to use that as a defense for not paying property tax, or for not obeying certain property codes, that someone with any official capacity might object to my claim.

At least that's how it worked in Passport to Pimlico. (That was a documentary, right?)
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
I agree with Marvin. The main reason why we don't need to worry about individuals declaring themselves independent is that it's very unlikely an individual would gain any advantage by doing so.

But if we're going to insist that there has to be some kind of minimal threshold for statehood, and that a community has to have a recognisable cultural identity before it's allowed to be an independent state - then I'd have thought that if, say, Estonia or Slovakia pass that test, then Catalonia certainly qualifies too.
 
Posted by Ian Climacus (# 944) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
What's a "real law" though? I suspect "declaring your house to be in a different country" is in-and-of-itself breaking quite a few laws.

Tax in our breakaway state's case.

Fascinating discussion. Thanks for starting it mr cheesy. Plenty to ponder here. I tend to be of the view let people seek independence, but when they hold the wealth it does become trickier. Western Australia continually cries secede, and they were once the powerhouse. Now the minerals are not exported to the same extent, and they are in need. What would have happened if they did go?

[ 02. October 2017, 20:28: Message edited by: Ian Climacus ]
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I'm not saying that Independence is bad. I'm just saying it isn't always a moral good. One example being that an individual cannot simply declare that he is now living in his own country.

Any other examples? Perhaps ones more pertinent to independence campaigns that would actually happen in real life?
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
But if we're going to insist that there has to be some kind of minimal threshold for statehood, and that a community has to have a recognisable cultural identity before it's allowed to be an independent state - then I'd have thought that if, say, Estonia or Slovakia pass that test, then Catalonia certainly qualifies too.

Hell, if Andorra, Lichtenstein and San Marino can be independent countries then I don't see why any larger area can't.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
Twice almost 50% of Québec almost asserted this choice to leave Canada. I think, and hope, that we've moved beyond this. While not fully realizing that Québec has in many ways led Canada forward re accommodating to one another. In my view, the problems with independence votes is that they are a recognition that someone has failed to listen to someone else. Much like which occurs in failing marriages. Evidently Spain and Catalonia haven't been talking properly.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
I don't know which side my sympathies are with on this particular issue. But, if the argument why Catalonia should remain part of Spain is because it is the cash cow that generates the money needed to fund the rest of the country, then if you are Catalan, then unless there some other ties that link them to the rest of Spain, that's a very good reason to break away. It is also neither a persuasive nor an honourable reason why the Madrid government should insist that they stay.

Of the various arguments, it's the one that if the constitution says Spain is indissoluble, then one bit of it shouldn't be entitled unilaterally to break away without the engagement of the rest in the decision in some way, which is the one that is most objectively persuasive.

Incidentally Marvin, can I remind you that East Timor wasn't historically part of Indonesia. It was previously a quite separate Portuguese territory which the Indonesian government grabbed when distance and political change in Portugal meant the Portuguese could no longer protect the inhabitants from being invaded.
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
May I clarify something? A nation is a group of people with (usually) cultural values, language and heritage in common. Second, not all nations are countries, and nor can and should they be. Hence the French and English in Canada, and the host of First Nations (indigenous peoples). Which makes it quite a mess a lot of the time.

Not all nations are countries, and not all countries are nations. The notion of a nation-state is rather more recent than we generally believe and some observers are not certain that it has been a good thing for humanity. A Québec history prof of my acquaintance believes that one of the reasons his compatriots did not opt for independence was that they could not see how they could do it fairly.

Apparently, Catalans are split fairly evenly on independence but I should be surprised if they were split over the suppression of the referendum. It seems that President of the Generalitat Carles Puigdemont wants to use the latter majority as if it were the former. Like many other nationalists, President Rajoy has never enjoyed the idea of the plurality of identities with the 1978 constitution envisaged, and has been foolish enough to try to make his vision prevail.
 
Posted by Pangolin Guerre (# 18686) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:
I think that Catalan independence is a bad idea.

OK, but why?

quote:
Were Catalonia to go, how long before the Basque lands (also net contributors to the national fisc)? And then Galicia (which makes much of its unique, celtically-rooted culture, and has its own language), then Aragon, Andalucia, Asturias?
The problem being? Why not have six or seven independent nations rather than one, if that what the people of those areas want?


I am describing the Nationalist mindset (NOT mine, since you couldn't suss that out) in the second citation.. The second scenario is the the reason why the Rajoy government is so very much against Catalan independence, or (as Canadians will recognise) sovereignty association, or loose federalism. The Nationalist view is of a strongly unitary Spanish state - not merely centralist, but culturally, linguistically homogeneous. The which is manifestly not the case on the ground.

Now, the first question. I think that economically Catalonia is better off within Spain, until the EU realises that the "small states", all of which want to be in the EU, that nothing will change. Scotland, Catalonia, recognise that their viability lies within the EU. The EU should not encourage dissolution of members, but should make clear that new entities emerging from them would not be excluded, as successor states; In which case, as long as Catalonia agreed to the pre-existing agreements, admission to the EU would be a formality.

[ 03. October 2017, 00:00: Message edited by: Pangolin Guerre ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:


Now, the first question. I think that economically Catalonia is better off within Spain, until the EU realises that the "small states", all of which want to be in the EU, that nothing will change. Scotland, Catalonia, recognise that their viability lies within the EU.

I am not an economist - but I can't work out how this can possibly be true. If Catalonia becomes independent then taxes it will raise will be spent there are not in the rSpain and therefore it will presumably be better off and the rSpain will be worse off.

quote:
The EU should not encourage dissolution of members, but should make clear that new entities emerging from them would not be excluded, as successor states; In which case, as long as Catalonia agreed to the pre-existing agreements, admission to the EU would be a formality.
Yes but politically the power in the EU lies with the existing member states, so widening the membership to include successor states from regions which have gone independent requires the consent of all the existing members.

If Spain could be shown that they're somehow better off with accepting Catalonia as a new EU state - presumably by being offered more EU grants and sweeteners - maybe they'd compromise, but I can't see that overall the whole EU project is stronger economically or politically. As seen with the legal conflict between Greece and Macedonia, there is a lot of time wasted when a state gets the hump with a neighbour, and that's not even a situation where the one ceded from the other.

Of course, it looks different from the perspective of Catalonia - where they might well think that they've a right to a bright future within the EU and without the dead-weight of Madrid.

But I don't think that's a given. Even if they somehow miraculously get independence without too much bloodshed, it is going to be an uphill battle to get EU membership without the consent of Spain. It seems to me that the most likely outcome is some kind of in-it-but-not-of-it fudge where they might be allowed to be in the Single Market but are not full members.

It'd be quite interesting to know the level of EU structural funds spent in Catalonia and how well they'd get on without them.
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Augustine the Aleut:

Apparently, Catalans are split fairly evenly on independence

That's the information being reported here as well, the impression I've had is that prior to the banning of the referendum the split was approximately 30% pro-indy, 30% resolutely anti-indy and the remainder undecided. The suppression of the referendum was a big boost for the pro-indy share of the vote: it pushed many undecided in favour, and once there were police on the street interfering with voting then those who were most determined to vote were much more likely to be pro-indy.

Basically, the Spanish government cocked-up big time (they must be giving our own Tory government a run for the incompetence prize). A simple "it's a meaningless opinion poll, we won't recognise the result" would have a) likely resulted in at best a very small majority in favour of independence, and b) if there was a majority then the government could flex muscles (including the Constitution making secession illegal) to stop it happening. As it is they're faced with an apparent large majority of Catalans in favour of independence, which isn't as easy to dismiss, and an almost universal condemnation of suppression of the vote.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:

Basically, the Spanish government cocked-up big time (they must be giving our own Tory government a run for the incompetence prize). A simple "it's a meaningless opinion poll, we won't recognise the result" would have a) likely resulted in at best a very small majority in favour of independence, and b) if there was a majority then the government could flex muscles (including the Constitution making secession illegal) to stop it happening. As it is they're faced with an apparent large majority of Catalans in favour of independence, which isn't as easy to dismiss, and an almost universal condemnation of suppression of the vote.

Can someone clarify this point: I thought I read that the referendum had been banned by the courts in Madrid and the regional one in Catalonia.

If that's the case, then this isn't just about a political failure of the current Madrid PM (although it clearly is that as well).
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:
Now, the first question. I think that economically Catalonia is better off within Spain,

As they are net contributors to the Spanish economy (the Spanish "cash cow", as Enoch put it) I would suggest otherwise.

quote:
until the EU realises that the "small states", all of which want to be in the EU, that nothing will change. Scotland, Catalonia, recognise that their viability lies within the EU.
I'm not quite sure I can successfully parse what you're saying here. Could you clarify?

quote:
The EU should not encourage dissolution of members,
I don't see why the EU should take a position one way or the other on this issue.
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
The EU should not encourage dissolution of members,
I don't see why the EU should take a position one way or the other on this issue.
For most EU structures and programmes it would make very little difference, and so the EU wouldn't have a position. There would need to be a one-off adjustment (eg: divide the Spanish contributions to the EU budget between the two new states, and similarly divide EU expenditure between them), but not much effort.

The areas where there could be issues are:

1. The Council, which would gain a new member. That's not a problem with one or two nations gaining independence ... but if it becomes very common and the Council expands to accomodate dozens of new members then there will need to be adjustments in the way it works (eg: should there be any situation in which a single nation can veto anything?).

2. Programmes which require participants from at least two countries (most R&D funding, for example). Currently that means Spanish institutions need to work with institutions in one of the other 27 EU countries, but would Spanish-Catalan cooperations qualify for EU funding? Or, do the rules need to be changed to prevent funding of projects that are exclusively cooperations within what had been the same country?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
..but not much effort.


Now where have I heard someone else saying that making an adjustment to the EU wouldn't require much effort? Oh yes, Brexit.

The fact is that it'd only be "not much effort" if all of the current members co-operate to help a new member. Given that one of the current members has no political mandate or interest in helping the new member, then the chances of that being easy are miniscule.

I have to say, it is amazing how everyone seems to view this whole topic through the lenses of their own aspirations for independence.
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
OK, technically not much effort - some tinkering with numbers in the ledgers.

Politically I'll accept that if Catalonia becomes independent then the rest of Spain will lose tax revenue and will (naturally) be inclined to want a greater share of EU money (and, lesser share of EU costs) to compensate as part of the deal that will need to be struck to admit Catalonia to the EU. On the other hand, the rest of Spain will know Catalonia is an important market for their goods and services, and hopefully won't be stupid enough to try and block EU membership as that will hurt them as well as Catalonia.

Though, given the incompetance of the UK government (or, less generously their determination to inflict maximum harm on the UK) experience says that politics can result in very strange behaviour.
 
Posted by Leorning Cniht (# 17564) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Now where have I heard someone else saying that making an adjustment to the EU wouldn't require much effort? Oh yes, Brexit.

Not really the same thing. Another country saying "we want in to the same arrangements as all these countries" is straightforward, at least in principle. One saying "we want a specially-crafted trade deal because we don't like your normal terms" is more complicated.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
Not really the same thing. Another country saying "we want in to the same arrangements as all these countries" is straightforward, at least in principle. One saying "we want a specially-crafted trade deal because we don't like your normal terms" is more complicated.

I'm not sure it is possible to tell, from an armchair, which is more difficult. I agree it isn't the same, but both would be entirely new and unexpected decisions for the EU to face.

I suspect the Brexiteers might think that the UK-EU deal was rather more simple than admitting a Spanish region as a new EU state on the basis that the EU-UK trade is greater than the likely contributions to the EU budget from Catalonia - and the almost inevitable intransigence from Spain.

I suspect that Scottish Nationalists and Welsh Nationalists are looking to Catalonia because it is a proxy for their own battles at home, even though the situations are not really comparable.

It'd be comforting to believe that Catalonia could simply switch overnight to being an EU state, but I suspect the chances of anything close to that are minimal and only really exist in the minds of the SNP.

[ 03. October 2017, 12:59: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Pangolin Guerre (# 18686) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:
Now, the first question. I think that economically Catalonia is better off within Spain,

As they are net contributors to the Spanish economy (the Spanish "cash cow", as Enoch put it) I would suggest otherwise.

quote:
until the EU realises that the "small states", all of which want to be in the EU, that nothing will change. Scotland, Catalonia, recognise that their viability lies within the EU.
I'm not quite sure I can successfully parse what you're saying here. Could you clarify?

quote:
The EU should not encourage dissolution of members,
I don't see why the EU should take a position one way or the other on this issue

Going in order:

1) The economic health of a region is not simply a +/- as to whether it receives from or pays to the centre, although it is conceptually simple issue for public consumption. For instance, one important factor is the integration of that region into the whole. To what degree would Catalonia's connections to external markets (within Spain and without) be disrupted? Would a potential reduction in the value of exports be greater than the net payout to Madrid? (Even that example is more complicated than what I'm describing.) Until a clear economic plan is in place, Catalonia is better off biding its time.

2) I'm referring to the EU's distaste for the acceptance of regions of member states as separate entities. It's not a question of the economics so much as an effort not to offend the sensibilities of member states dealing with their internal regional issues. The structural adjustments involved in accepting an independent Catalonia and a reduced Spain would be "fixing" (and, for Spain, psychological), not conceptual. For new, small states, given the size of populations and economies, their respective viability is pretty much contingent on immediate acceptance into the EU: ready-made markets, various subsidies, etc.

3) The EU has taken a position on this, that it supports the current integrity of member states. Also, Valcarcel has taken the rather strident position that the referendum was an attempted coup.
 
Posted by wabale (# 18715) on :
 
“I have the most evil memories of Spain, but I have very few bad memories of Spaniards.” ― George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia.

I’m not sure what I think about Catalonian independence, but I do think the world needs to think hard about what ‘nationality’ does to people. For example, we kill an awful lot of people in its name, as we remind ourselves in November.

Many historians, especially Marxist ones, have put the concept of nations and nationality under the microscope. In 1700 most French people didn’t speak French (20% of the population still didn’t in 1863) and most Italians didn’t speak Italian. When you consider that Western European nations provided the modern model for the state, you realise nations are fragile creations for all their apparently awesome power. They are particularly fragile in Africa, precisely because of their artificiality. Or do ideas like this make a complicated world even more complicated?

The default position of most governments in the world is therefore to support existing states, even when they misbehave. Could we do better? More federalism, and more provincialism, perhaps?
 
Posted by Bishops Finger (# 5430) on :
 
HM King Felipe VI is due to address the nation tonight, though I'm not sure at what hour.

Doubtless he will appeal for calm.

Meanwhile, what does the other part of Catalonia, over the (comparatively recent - 1659) border with France, think about the bid for independence?

My sister lives not far from Perpignan (Perpinya in Catalan):

https://ca.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perpiny%C3%A0

...which page is, as you will see, in Catalan, that part of France being mildly bi-lingual (or even tri-lingual, with Occitan being spoken further along the coast).

IJ
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
What an absolute disaster.
 
Posted by Bishops Finger (# 5430) on :
 
It seems that the King Does Not Approve (but no surprise there, surely...):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41493014

As Martin says...

[Disappointed]

IJ
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
I think the Spanish government is in a bit of a bind. There was a purported referendum in 2014, which the Spanish constitutional court declared unlawful on the basis that it contravened the constitution. In short, the highest court in Spain has declared that there cannot be a referendum on Catalan independence.

The Spanish government duly paid no attention to that referendum.

Now the Catalan government has come back and done it again.

I wonder if this deplorable behaviour by the Spanish authorities comes from concern that if they didn't at least try to prevent the referendum the Catalans would pull another stunt, such as declaring UDI, which the BBC is now reporting that the Catalan government intends to do.

As I understand it, granting the Catalans the legal power to hold a binding referendum (as opposed to a glorified and highly expensive opinion poll) is not in the power of the Catalan government or in the gift of the Spanish government or parliament. First, the Spanish constitution would have to be amended to allow it, and that would require a referendum in which the whole of Spain would get a vote.

What I'd like to know is whether the Catalan authorities have even formally asked for this to happen, or whether they have simply tubthumped and insisted that their political right to independence shouldn't be impeded by pesky things like laws - which incidentally ought to protect people from things like rubber bullets and police truncheons.
 
Posted by Bishops Finger (# 5430) on :
 
If President Puigdemont and his government do declare UDI in the next few days, just how can the Madrid government react?

By sending in troops? God forbid...

IJ
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
This is an unstoppable revolution now the king has revealed himself to be king of non-Catalan Spain only. A small, disappointing king. What a shame.
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
If President Puigdemont and his government do declare UDI in the next few days, just how can the Madrid government react?

By sending in troops? God forbid...

Indeed, It would be like Hungary 1956, Prague 1968, or the Spanish Civil War. Could it really come to that? The mind recoils at such horror.

[ 03. October 2017, 22:24: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
It will get nasty but nothing like any of them.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Northern Ireland. With 80% Catholics.
 
Posted by Sober Preacher's Kid (# 12699) on :
 
A bit of a 'There but for the Grace of God go I' when I saw these stories. Though the Government of Canada's strategy was the exact opposite of what Madrid has done.

Chantal Hébert published a book about what happened behind the scenes in the 1995 Québec Referendum. In short:

a) At 50%+1, Jacques Parizeau, Premier of Québec, was going to declare independence.
b) The Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Chrétien, would very likely have been replaced and the Québec MP's ejected from the House of Commons. And the PM had no plan for a 'Yes' vote.

In short, we were all going to hell in a handbasket. And every side was lying through their teeth about their true intentions.

But what really came through, and I believe this to be true with Catalonia as well, is that countries don't die when they split up politically. They die when their citizens stop believing in them. Canada had a near-death experience, but when push came to shove, enough people never stopped believing in Canada. And a generation on, Québec is more a part of Canadian politics and culture than anyone dared hope at the time.

Sadly, Mr. Rajoy seems to have missed this very point, and causes a majority of Catalonians to stop believing in Spain.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
If President Puigdemont and his government do declare UDI in the next few days, just how can the Madrid government react?

By sending in troops? God forbid...

Indeed, It would be like Hungary 1956, Prague 1968, or the Spanish Civil War. Could it really come to that? The mind recoils at such horror.
It sounds awful, but there is an important difference: it isn't clear that the majority of Catalans actually want independence. Whether that's so will only become clear over the next little while.

Anti-independence Catalans largely boycotted the two previous referenda, the second of which was actually an incitement to millions to take part in a mass contempt of court, which while not justifying the reaction from Madrid was provocative. Opinion polls have generally shown a majority against seceding from Spain.

So if the Catalan authorities are going to do something so unbelievably stupid and inflammatory as UDI there may well be millions of Catalans who may welcome the troops.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
It sounds awful, but there is an important difference: it isn't clear that the majority of Catalans actually want independence. Whether that's so will only become clear over the next little while.

Anti-independence Catalans largely boycotted the two previous referenda, the second of which was actually an incitement to millions to take part in a mass contempt of court, which while not justifying the reaction from Madrid was provocative. Opinion polls have generally shown a majority against seceding from Spain.

So if the Catalan authorities are going to do something so unbelievably stupid and inflammatory as UDI there may well be millions of Catalans who may welcome the troops.

This is a very good point - as I understand it only around 50% of the Catalans want independence and it is likely that "no" voters would not have participated in the referendum given everything we know about that chaos.

On the other hand, there is nothing like government clamp-downs to clear the mind. I suspect there are now more in favour of independence than there were before.
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
Yes, I'd agree with both of you.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
The problem is that it is hard to see a sensible way out of this; if Catalonia declares Independence, it is almost certain that Spain will not accept it - and if Spain doesn't then the EU can't/won't.

The best scenario then is that Spain lets them dangle with pseudo-Independence whilst continuing to extract tax from them at a national level. Undermining that would take a monumental effort from the Catalonian government, and is probably not possible without support from other countries.

I don't even want to think about what a worse-case scenario would look like.
 
Posted by betjemaniac (# 17618) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:


So if the Catalan authorities are going to do something so unbelievably stupid and inflammatory as UDI there may well be millions of Catalans who may welcome the troops.

which, from a military point of view, is even worse. It's arguably safer if you send troops somewhere where *nobody* wants them - when a large number of people are welcoming them and seeing them as defenders and a large number see them as the forces of oppression and resist them is the bit where brother turns on brother....
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sober Preacher's Kid:
Canada had a near-death experience,

Canada wouldn't have died, it would just have got a bit smaller and gained a new neighbour.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
If President Puigdemont and his government do declare UDI in the next few days, just how can the Madrid government react?

By sending in troops? God forbid...

Indeed, It would be like Hungary 1956, Prague 1968, or the Spanish Civil War. Could it really come to that? The mind recoils at such horror.
It sounds awful, but there is an important difference: it isn't clear that the majority of Catalans actually want independence. Whether that's so will only become clear over the next little while.

Anti-independence Catalans largely boycotted the two previous referenda, the second of which was actually an incitement to millions to take part in a mass contempt of court, which while not justifying the reaction from Madrid was provocative. Opinion polls have generally shown a majority against seceding from Spain.

So if the Catalan authorities are going to do something so unbelievably stupid and inflammatory as UDI there may well be millions of Catalans who may welcome the troops.

No they won't.
 
Posted by Bishops Finger (# 5430) on :
 
I suppose it's too much to expect Spain to accept the split, acknowledge Catalonia as a separate, independent, sovereign state (presumably allowing the EU to do likewise), and then to sit down with President Puigdemont to work out a sensible working arrangement.

Given that not all Catalans want independence, might it be possible for them to retain Spanish citizenship, along with their new Catalan citizenship?

I guess it simply isn't likely to be that simple... [Help]

IJ
 
Posted by Pangolin Guerre (# 18686) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Sober Preacher's Kid:
Canada had a near-death experience,

Canada wouldn't have died, it would just have got a bit smaller and gained a new neighbour.
You haven't a clue about which you opine.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
Reuters are reporting that independence will be declared on Monday. Separate reports that Madrid are moving troops into the region.

Not much room for negotiation? The violence by the police was stupid, and the king's speech seems to have gone down like a lead balloon, partly because he didn't condemn the violence.

It's always difficult in these situations to distinguish plain idiocy, and deliberate policy - is Madrid deliberately being provocative?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:

It's always difficult in these situations to distinguish plain idiocy, and deliberate policy - is Madrid deliberately being provocative?

Do you mean to ask whether Madrid is deliberately trying to get a response? Why would they want that?
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:

It's always difficult in these situations to distinguish plain idiocy, and deliberate policy - is Madrid deliberately being provocative?

Do you mean to ask whether Madrid is deliberately trying to get a response? Why would they want that?
In order to crush it.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
Holy crap. Surely not.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
No. But they will any way. Don't look for a rationale. Scratch a 40 year democracy and the fascism is there.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
Well, I think idiocy is the likeliest factor.
 
Posted by betjemaniac (# 17618) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
No. But they will any way. Don't look for a rationale. Scratch a 40 year democracy and the fascism is there.

Thing is Martin, thanks to the Pact of Forgetfulness (so called) post Franco, scratch Spain full stop and both sides of the Civil War are still there, let alone just the Fascists.

There's a lot of festering resentment which a South African style Truth and Reconciliation Commission *could* have released.

As it was, and possibly (certainly my reading of the situation though it's a long time since I studied it as an undergrad) rightly at the time, Spain ensured a transition to democracy by just agreeing that no one was to talk about it.

Hence the (slightly) odd fact that a great deal of 20th Spanish history has been written by the British, and is then translated for the Spanish market. Raymond Carr and Paul Preston in particular are probably more well known in Spanish academia than British...
 
Posted by betjemaniac (# 17618) on :
 
Seriously, when looking at transitional periods (roughly):

Germany (as a whole) - atone for it
Austria - proceed on the basis that someone else did it to you and you're one of the victims
Italy - argue about it
Yugoslavia - fight about it
Czechoslovakia - divorce reasonably amicably
Russia and former E Germany - romanticise it (increasingly)
South Africa - lay it all out on the table legalistically
UK (post end of empire) - assume there's nothing to talk about
Spain - don't talk about it and hope it goes away

the reader may draw their own conclusions as to which approach is most successful, though it is possible that not every option could work in every country I suppose in fairness.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
Interesting stuff, betjemaniac. It reminds me of the so-called historical unconscious, and the political unconscious,, which used to be a popular topic among new lefties. One interesting idea is that repressed stuff festers for long periods, and eventually bursts out. An example is the role of genocide and slavery in the US, and also in the British empire, which can be claimed to be still taking their toll. However, such ideas are pretty unfalsifiable.

[ 04. October 2017, 15:54: Message edited by: quetzalcoatl ]
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Sober Preacher's Kid:
Canada had a near-death experience,

Canada wouldn't have died, it would just have got a bit smaller and gained a new neighbour.
You haven't a clue about which you opine.
If Quebec had seceded there would still have been quite a lot of Canada left. The nation would, therefore, still be alive.

The same would be true of the U.K. after a Scottish secession, and of Spain after a Catalan secession.

For that matter, the same is true of Ethiopia after Eritrea seceded and Indonesia after East Timor seceded. Both countries are still very much alive, just smaller and with new neighbours. So what’s the problem?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
Is there any reasoning to suggest that either side is the equivalent of the Franco fascists and the other the non-fascists?

If so, which is which?
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Is there any reasoning to suggest that either side is the equivalent of the Franco fascists and the other the non-fascists?

If so, which is which?

One side is seeking a democratic vote to decide what should be done, the other is sending in the troops to ensure it gets its own way regardless of what anyone else thinks.

Seems pretty clear to me.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
One side is seeking a democratic vote to decide what should be done, the other is sending in the troops to ensure it gets its own way regardless of what anyone else thinks.

Seems pretty clear to me.

I see. So you're saying that the Madrid government is exactly overlapping the fascists because their actions are - apparently - similar.

That's not very credible, Marvin.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
Hey, you asked the question. And “carrying out actions with a superficial similarity to those carried out by fascists” seems to be enough to call certain other organisations fascist, so...
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Hey, you asked the question. And “carrying out actions with a superficial similarity to those carried out by fascists” seems to be enough to call certain other organisations fascist, so...

OK I guess I should have been more precise. Fascism is an ideology that means certain things. It isn't simply about a state using plastic bullets - otherwise it might have been said that the British were fascists in NI.

The question I'm asking is whether it is possible to actually, politically, associate any of the parties in the current crisis with Franco-style fascism.

The reason is that I don't know. I understand that the Madrid government is vaguely conservative and that the Catalonia regime is generally socialist, but I don't know if either has really anything to link them with Franco and fascism.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
I don’t think so either, to be fair.
 
Posted by Bishops Finger (# 5430) on :
 
A retired (Anglican) priest of my acquaintance spends a couple of months each autumn (i.e. round about now) ministering to an ex-pat congregation in Catalonia. His off-the-cuff take on this affair is that it is, in fact, a sort of continuation of the Spanish Civil War.

Whether he is right or not, I leave to others more knowledgeable to decide.

IJ
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Fascism is an ideology that means certain things. It isn't simply about a state using plastic bullets - otherwise it might have been said that the British were fascists in NI.

I suspect that the IRA said exactly that.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
Fascism as a term is used loosely, and more narrowly. The narrow definition is to do with a corporate state, whereby functions such as trade unions are directly incorporated into the state machine. For example, the Deutsche Arbeitsfront, (labour front), for which membership was compulsory (I think).

The loose definition is just somebody I don't like. Hence there are right-wing fascists and left-wing fascists and Islamist fascists. By now, the term is losing meaning.
 
Posted by Bishops Finger (# 5430) on :
 
Fair comment.

I still haven't seen anything about how Catalunya del Nord - that part of Catalonia within France since 1659 - regards the current turmoil south of the border.

IJ
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
I call sending out-of-province police in to a province to violently suppress a referendum that the head of state respectively overlooks and condemns, fascism, in the perfectly meaningful, well understood, colloquial sense.

Happy to be 'wrong', as I apparently am on my personal, idiosyncratic definition of terrorism (having basically bugger all to do with religion) in another place.
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Sober Preacher's Kid:
Canada had a near-death experience,

Canada wouldn't have died, it would just have got a bit smaller and gained a new neighbour.
You haven't a clue about which you opine.
I would underline this. There would have been a period of great instability (including the likely departure of the PM and no replacement with a democratic mandate, and the mandate of a quarter of the House of Commons being put in play) and Canada's existence would have depended on: a) helpful provincial premiers, and b) a helpful southern neighbour (likely so, with Bill Clinton as president). There was no plan B aside from a few bureaucrats busily drawing up scenarios while their masters quietly looked the other way. I understand that there were US officials churning out options documents.

While the US was not going to immediately recognize a Québec declaration, at least one major European power and about a dozen other countries were planning to do so. Having been there at the time, I do not believe that Marvin's optimism can be sustained. A possible good result is not always a likely result.

King Felipe's choices were limited; either follow the constitution as advised by Rajoy, or pull an Alfonso XIII, dismissing his premier and bringing in personal rule. That didn't work out very well and Alfonso had to take his exit a few years later, with a short-lived republic and civil war to follow.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
I still don't get why it would have been an existential threat to the rest of the nation. Were the other provinces also champing at the bit to secede or something? Is Quebec the only thing preventing the nation's enemies from overrunning it?

Sure, there would have been change and uncertainty for a while. But change and uncertainty happen all the time in politics.
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I still don't get why it would have been an existential threat to the rest of the nation. Were the other provinces also champing at the bit to secede or something? Is Quebec the only thing preventing the nation's enemies from overrunning it?

Sure, there would have been change and uncertainty for a while. But change and uncertainty happen all the time in politics.

Two factors: at the time, national identity was not as strong as it is now, and much polling supported provincial governments' province-first positioning. This introduced a significant element of risk.

As well, we have the ancient and very strong fact that north-south routes and connexions are greater factors in North American economic life. With a chunk taken out of the middle, there is no real east-west connexion any longer, and a diminished requirement for a national government which facilitates such. Several serious commentators have suggested that Canada had a 3-2 chance of continuing-- not a strong set of odds.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
This is an unstoppable revolution now the king has revealed himself to be king of non-Catalan Spain only. A small, disappointing king. What a shame.

In fairness to His Majesty, the question on the ballot paper was 'Do you want Catalonia to be an independent state, in the form of a Republic?' which seems needlessly to be conflating republicanism with secessionism (unlike the Scottish referendum) - so it's a bit rich of Catalan separatists to be complaining now that he won't arbitrate in a neutral manner.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
This is an unstoppable revolution now the king has revealed himself to be king of non-Catalan Spain only. A small, disappointing king. What a shame.

In fairness to His Majesty, the question on the ballot paper was 'Do you want Catalonia to be an independent state, in the form of a Republic?' which seems needlessly to be conflating republicanism with secessionism (unlike the Scottish referendum) - so it's a bit rich of Catalan separatists to be complaining now that he won't arbitrate in a neutral manner.
His poor Majesty. Forced to act in such a graceless, unregal, small minded, self interested manner.

[ 04. October 2017, 20:45: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Sober Preacher's Kid (# 12699) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I still don't get why it would have been an existential threat to the rest of the nation. Were the other provinces also champing at the bit to secede or something? Is Quebec the only thing preventing the nation's enemies from overrunning it?

Sure, there would have been change and uncertainty for a while. But change and uncertainty happen all the time in politics.

Aside from what Augustine said, you would have had
a) The departure of 1/4 or so of the Federal Cabinet
b) The loss of 25% of the federal Public Service, including the senior Public Service who would be critical in such times;
c) The complete loss of territorial integrity between Ontario and the West on one hand and the Atlantic Provinces on another.
d) A rump Canada in which one province Ontario would constitute nearly 50% of the population, and I can't see the other provinces submitting to a defacto Ontario dictatorship. Ungovernable, unstable and untenable.

Or as the erstwhile Eric Williams of Jamaica said of the abortive West Indies Federation: "One from Ten leaves nought." When Jamaica left, the federation collapsed. And so with Canada.
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
This is an unstoppable revolution now the king has revealed himself to be king of non-Catalan Spain only. A small, disappointing king. What a shame.

In fairness to His Majesty, the question on the ballot paper was 'Do you want Catalonia to be an independent state, in the form of a Republic?' which seems needlessly to be conflating republicanism with secessionism (unlike the Scottish referendum) - so it's a bit rich of Catalan separatists to be complaining now that he won't arbitrate in a neutral manner.
Those of us whose insomnia have driven us to a review of the Spanish constitution realize that Felipe is a constitutional monarch, and all of his acts must be countersigned by a minister. He can only arbitrate if Rajoy agrees that he should. Given President Rajoy's open, imaginative, and flexible response to the issue...
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sober Preacher's Kid:
a) The departure of 1/4 or so of the Federal Cabinet
b) The loss of 25% of the federal Public Service, including the senior Public Service who would be critical in such times;

Meh, politicians and public servants can easily be replaced. That said...

quote:
c) The complete loss of territorial integrity between Ontario and the West on one hand and the Atlantic Provinces on another.
d) A rump Canada in which one province Ontario would constitute nearly 50% of the population, and I can't see the other provinces submitting to a defacto Ontario dictatorship. Ungovernable, unstable and untenable.

OK, I accept that the dissolution of Canada was a realistic possibility at the time. Next question: why would it be a bad thing? What would be wrong with the various provinces going it alone or banding together as they wish?

quote:
Or as the erstwhile Eric Williams of Jamaica said of the abortive West Indies Federation: "One from Ten leaves nought." When Jamaica left, the federation collapsed. And so with Canada.
Those Caribbean islands are just fine as independent nations. Each one is free to govern itself as its people see fit rather than having to submit to some overarching system over which it has minimal control. Sounds good to me.
 
Posted by Sober Preacher's Kid (# 12699) on :
 
Or Let's Just get Annexed by the USA.

Or why don't we let Liverpool and Manchester declare independence, if we take your assertion to its logical conclusion? It's about the same level of absurdity.

And what would those islands have been like with a strong system of transfers, a robust internal market and enough emergency capability to look after themselves domestically after a devastating hurricane?

The offshore banking industry might have been replaced with something that is actually productive.....

Eventually you get so small you whither away to nothingness. The only
 
Posted by Pangolin Guerre (# 18686) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Sober Preacher's Kid:
Canada had a near-death experience,

Canada wouldn't have died, it would just have got a bit smaller and gained a new neighbour.
You haven't a clue about which you opine.
If Quebec had seceded there would still have been quite a lot of Canada left. The nation would, therefore, still be alive.

The same would be true of the U.K. after a Scottish secession, and of Spain after a Catalan secession.

For that matter, the same is true of Ethiopia after Eritrea seceded and Indonesia after East Timor seceded. Both countries are still very much alive, just smaller and with new neighbours. So what’s the problem?

Aside from the correct points made by Augustine and SPK, I would add that for many of us, the French component is key to our identity. As the phrase went in 1995, Mon Canada comprend Quebec*, for me not just as an abstraction; for me the French fact is very much part of my lived experience. To lose that would be devastating to my identity as a Canadian. But, I don't expect you to understand that, given your dismissive and flippant tone.

*"My Canada includes Quebec". And, yes, it puns with "understands"

And now, back to our Iberian programming....
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
I think if your national identity is dependent on other people, who aren't you, remaining part of your country when they don't want to be part of your country, then your national identity is not worth preserving.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Those Caribbean islands are just fine as independent nations. Each one is free to govern itself as its people see fit rather than having to submit to some overarching system over which it has minimal control. Sounds good to me.

Having heard from people in government in small Caribbean island states, I think it is an exaggeration to say that they're "just fine" as independent states.

In fact the Small Island States are at enormous risk from various effects of climate change - and isolation, the world economy, extreme events and low resilience to disasters.

I'm sure that there are good reasons to be independent, but I'm pretty sure that places like the British Virgin Islands - which is a non-independent relic of British colonialism - stands a better chance of being helped and rebuilt than other small independent nations.

As far as I understand it, there is a general sense that there are a number of small island states which are basically too small to be viable. Some of these have banded together in various ways to share resources and risk, but there is only so much that they can do.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
I think if your national identity is dependent on other people, who aren't you, remaining part of your country when they don't want to be part of your country, then your national identity is not worth preserving.

That seems a bit defeatist. If you have a community in a city which is increasingly excluded from the majority culture, surely the thing to do is to make efforts to include them.

If Canadians generally think that Canada is better off with Quebec than apart then maybe they'll be more willing to listen when the residents of Quebec talk about their different culture, language and history and maybe they'll be more open to changing the way that Canada works to enable more self-expression, devolution and self-government.

It seems to me that there is more than one approach to be taken when a part of a country seems to want to leave other than slamming the door in their face.

Of course, if one has promised concessions to get them to stay, as with Scotland, one then has to follow through with them. Because going back on that kind of thing makes everyone pissed.
 
Posted by betjemaniac (# 17618) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Augustine the Aleut:
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
This is an unstoppable revolution now the king has revealed himself to be king of non-Catalan Spain only. A small, disappointing king. What a shame.

In fairness to His Majesty, the question on the ballot paper was 'Do you want Catalonia to be an independent state, in the form of a Republic?' which seems needlessly to be conflating republicanism with secessionism (unlike the Scottish referendum) - so it's a bit rich of Catalan separatists to be complaining now that he won't arbitrate in a neutral manner.
Those of us whose insomnia have driven us to a review of the Spanish constitution realize that Felipe is a constitutional monarch, and all of his acts must be countersigned by a minister. He can only arbitrate if Rajoy agrees that he should. Given President Rajoy's open, imaginative, and flexible response to the issue...
Yes but.

all that notwithstanding, there is a post Franco tradition of the King doing exactly that, regardless of what the constitution says. See death of Franco/transition to democracy, also the attempted coup in 1981.

I would say that if you'd read the last 40 years of Spanish history rather than the constitution you might see why a Catalan republican might expect the king to step in at this point and be even handed - without prejudice to their hopes for a republican future.
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
If you have a community in a city which is increasingly excluded from the majority culture, surely the thing to do is to make efforts to include them.

Yes, that is the sensible thing. But, human beings being human beings, and politicians being politicians, the sensible rarely happens. What tends to happen is the minority community gets increasingly excluded, and their efforts to integrate ignored. There comes a point when members of a minority community hear the "you're not part of us" message from the majority culture enough times that they, not unreasonably, respond with "fine, then we'll be ourselves and not even try". That happens on an individual level (like a colleague who has lived here almost 20 years and only spoke Italian when calling her mother, even when getting her morning coffee from a family-owned Italian coffee shop, who after June 2016, along with other Italian born people here, has a morning conversation in Italian while getting her coffee) and on national scales (such as seeking independence for particular regions).


quote:
Of course, if one has promised concessions to get them to stay, as with Scotland, one then has to follow through with them. Because going back on that kind of thing makes everyone pissed.
The SNP lead Scottish government bottled it after the promises made during and after the 2014 referendum were dropped, in particular the promised EU membership. Bottling it like that damages their credibility, and impacts electability (eg: loss of Westminster seats between 2015 and 2017).

The Catalonian government are in a strong position. The disruption to the referendum playing right into their hands, and though that disruption does make the result questionable they have political capital from it. If they bottle it now they're likely to lose credibility as a strong government. Though, probably not push things to the point of civil war.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Let's hope that mediation through the Vatican obtains.
 
Posted by Bishops Finger (# 5430) on :
 
That's a positive thought. Well said, sir.

IJ
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by betjemaniac:
quote:
Originally posted by Augustine the Aleut:
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
This is an unstoppable revolution now the king has revealed himself to be king of non-Catalan Spain only. A small, disappointing king. What a shame.

In fairness to His Majesty, the question on the ballot paper was 'Do you want Catalonia to be an independent state, in the form of a Republic?' which seems needlessly to be conflating republicanism with secessionism (unlike the Scottish referendum) - so it's a bit rich of Catalan separatists to be complaining now that he won't arbitrate in a neutral manner.
Those of us whose insomnia have driven us to a review of the Spanish constitution realize that Felipe is a constitutional monarch, and all of his acts must be countersigned by a minister. He can only arbitrate if Rajoy agrees that he should. Given President Rajoy's open, imaginative, and flexible response to the issue...
Yes but.

all that notwithstanding, there is a post Franco tradition of the King doing exactly that, regardless of what the constitution says. See death of Franco/transition to democracy, also the attempted coup in 1981.

I would say that if you'd read the last 40 years of Spanish history rather than the constitution you might see why a Catalan republican might expect the king to step in at this point and be even handed - without prejudice to their hopes for a republican future.

Knowing what a constitution says is useful in talking about a constitutional democracy. Still, I've got a shelf of volumes on the topic and am only now ploughing through Jeremy Treglown's Franco's Crypt. I used to think that only my really bad Castilian (not even an A level for fans of Canadian government language criteria) stands in the way of my reading more, but my Spanish friends tell me that they rely more on English historians of Spain that they do on their own-- more trustworthy and objective, I am told.

I fear that you defeat your own argument. Juan Carlos' 1981 intervention was to save the constitutional government from a military coup-- perhaps the most useful thing done by a monarch anywhere in the past century, and was easily countersignable by a minister in retrospect.

While I think that his son should spoken to cool the temperature and to have opened a door to the Catalans on the basis that an open door is never a bad thing, he may have been addressing his comments to another audience-- an occasionally restive military which, IIRC, about 8 years ago was muttering about its role in maintaining Spanish unity. I think that Juan Carlos would have handled it with more panache and to better effect but that's for the counterfactual discussion (Lagavulin 16-year old required).
 
Posted by Bishops Finger (# 5430) on :
 
Well, FWIW, I rather got the impression that HM Felipe VI was somewhat out of his depth. As you say, Juan Carlos dealt with the 1981 affair quite well.

Even constitutional monarchs don't always have an easy time of it, or get it right (apart from our own beloved Betty, of course!).

IJ
 
Posted by Pangolin Guerre (# 18686) on :
 
Ricardus wrote:

I think if your national identity is dependent on other people, who aren't you, remaining part of your country when they don't want to be part of your country, then your national identity is not worth preserving.

And Mr Cheesy wrote:

If Canadians generally think that Canada is better off with Quebec than apart then maybe they'll be more willing to listen when the residents of Quebec talk about their different culture, language and history and maybe they'll be more open to changing the way that Canada works to enable more self-expression, devolution and self-government.
******
First, Ricardus, you're working on the assumption that the Quebecois are not Canadian, or are somehow external to that identity rather than integral to it, which is exactly what both the separatists and the hardcore anti-quebecois want you to believe. It's those of who embrace/wrestle with this complexity of multiple components in a single identity who are the creative instinct of the Canadian identity - and who consequently get it from both extremes.

Mr Cheesy, you also have drunk deeply of the well of separatism. Your depiction of the Quebecois as under the iron heel of the Anglo is straight-out PQ propaganda. Whatever the truth of that pre-1960s (and even then, the picture is more complex than that sort of binary relationship), Quebec has powers of which Scotland dreams. Evidence of our success in our dialogue is the notable lack of appetite for separatism in Quebec. And, to be frank, exhaustion has played no small part.

It never ceases to amaze me how people free to pronounce on what they have only the most glancing acquaintance. I remember the Canadian correspondent for the NYT at the time of the referendum spouting the most ill-informed bilge as though his chief informant was Parizeau genial man who was fond of "By Jove", but who in his concession speech said that they were defeated by money and the ethnic vote*. That doesn't demonstrate a very enlightened or inclusive approach.

*(Parizeau's words: "... par quoi? Par l'argent pis des votes ethniques, essentiallement.")

[ 05. October 2017, 14:17: Message edited by: Pangolin Guerre ]
 
Posted by betjemaniac (# 17618) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Well, FWIW, I rather got the impression that HM Felipe VI was somewhat out of his depth. As you say, Juan Carlos dealt with the 1981 affair quite well.

IJ

Probably in no small part down to the fact that Franco groomed JC for decades as successor - it is entirely to Juan Carlos' credit that he used that skill/learning/inheritance instead to oversee the transition to democracy and then stop the backsliding.

Felipe hasn't had that sort of training, because he's always been supposed to be a consitutional monarch. Juan Carlos was supposed to continue the Movimiento and step up to the eminence of the departed Caudillo.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:


Mr Cheesy, you also have drunk deeply of the well of separatism. Your depiction of the Quebecois as under the iron heel of the Anglo is straight-out PQ propaganda. Whatever the truth of that pre-1960s (and even then, the picture is more complex than that sort of binary relationship), Quebec has powers of which Scotland dreams. Evidence of our success in our dialogue is the notable lack of appetite for separatism in Quebec. And, to be frank, exhaustion has played no small part.


I don't know how you got that from what I wrote.
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:


Mr Cheesy, you also have drunk deeply of the well of separatism. Your depiction of the Quebecois as under the iron heel of the Anglo is straight-out PQ propaganda. Whatever the truth of that pre-1960s (and even then, the picture is more complex than that sort of binary relationship), Quebec has powers of which Scotland dreams. Evidence of our success in our dialogue is the notable lack of appetite for separatism in Quebec. And, to be frank, exhaustion has played no small part.


I don't know how you got that from what I wrote.
I don't know about Pangolin, but what I got is that you've likely not delved into the particulars of how over the past forty years federal powers have been transferred to the provinces, often asymmetrically in that Québec was the only province interested (e.g., the Cullen-Couture and succeeding versions accord on immigration, where Québec selects immigrants to suit its linguistic and developmental goals). You should not feel guilty about this, as it is really only of interest to federalism geeks and few of them can be found outside insane asylums or think tanks.

One of my former colleagues, an indépendantiste of long standing from the long-gone days of the Rassemblement, told me why she is no longer a sovereignist: "We were worried about our language disappearing, and now we're not. We were worried about being ignored, and now we're not. We were worried about not running our own show, and now we're not. We have an international voice, and the federal government helps. Why do we need another set of borders?"

Much the same process has been happening in Spain, but with stealth rather than fanfare. Walking through Catalonia - by my rough reckoning about 1,200km by foot through dozens of small towns and its large cities-- I saw how Catalan, once suppressed as a language, is now the default tongue outside Barcelona, and how Catalan culture flourishes comfortably. This is all due to the space created by the 1978 constitution. The real problem is: a) the still-prevalent franquist notion of a Spain "indivisible and great," and b) the ambition (and corruption??) of Catalan nationalist politicians. There is much greater tension in the Basque country, where almost no Castilian bothers to learn the language, and a recent history of nasty killing, but that's for another thread.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:

First, Ricardus, you're working on the assumption that the Quebecois are not Canadian, or are somehow external to that identity rather than integral to it, which is exactly what both the separatists and the hardcore anti-quebecois want you to believe. It's those of who embrace/wrestle with this complexity of multiple components in a single identity who are the creative instinct of the Canadian identity - and who consequently get it from both extremes.

FWIW I've been wondering all day if I should, ahem, 'clarify those remarks', as the politicians call it.

What I'm getting at is that if Canadian identity is conceived to be pluralistic and diverse, and if the Québécois no longer wish to be Canadian, then that pluralistic diversity was illusory, whether or not the Québécois do in fact separate. Which I suppose in fact supports SPK's comment that Québécois separation would mark the death of Canada.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
I suppose it's too much to expect Spain to accept the split, acknowledge Catalonia as a separate, independent, sovereign state (presumably allowing the EU to do likewise), and then to sit down with President Puigdemont to work out a sensible working arrangement.

Well yes, not least because even if the Spanish government was willing to recognise an independent Catalonia, I reckon it would be a matter of hours before someone filed proceedings in the Spanish courts to declare that Madrid didn't have the legal power to do that. Basically a Spanish version of R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.

Only it would be even more difficult, because the problem probably couldn't be overcome by the Spanish parliament simply passing legislation empowering the government. It would require constitutional change, and therefore a referendum in which all Spain voted.

And is that really such a bad thing? We have got used to the idea that if a region wants to secede, it's a matter for the inhabitants of that region alone. But why should a minority have the right to disrupt - sometimes repeatedly - the affairs of the entire state without the rest of its citizens having a say?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Fuck them.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
You overlook the importance of consent.
 
Posted by Sober Preacher's Kid (# 12699) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:

First, Ricardus, you're working on the assumption that the Quebecois are not Canadian, or are somehow external to that identity rather than integral to it, which is exactly what both the separatists and the hardcore anti-quebecois want you to believe. It's those of who embrace/wrestle with this complexity of multiple components in a single identity who are the creative instinct of the Canadian identity - and who consequently get it from both extremes.

FWIW I've been wondering all day if I should, ahem, 'clarify those remarks', as the politicians call it.

What I'm getting at is that if Canadian identity is conceived to be pluralistic and diverse, and if the Québécois no longer wish to be Canadian, then that pluralistic diversity was illusory, whether or not the Québécois do in fact separate. Which I suppose in fact supports SPK's comment that Québécois separation would mark the death of Canada.

Which is my point. Countries don't die when they split up, they die when people stop believing in them. A great many people up and down the Province of Québec tried their utmost to make Quebeckers stop believing in Canada. They very nearly succeeded.

I remember the 1995 Referendum. For most of the campaign, The Other Provinces were told to Stay Out of It. Like we had no part in the relationship, no stake in the outcome, or no feelings about it. By the last week we were tearing our hair out.

And then the tide broke. In the Hail Mary pass of all Hail Mary passes, some senior federal politicians organized a Unity Rally in Montreal. 60,000 people including the premiers of the three other founding provinces turned up. It was just enough to convince the barest majority to stay.

I went to bed on Referdum Night after seeing my country's life pass before my eyes.

As for multiple sides of identity, as I am going to Montréal tomorrow I will have an excellent opportunity to engage in it. You see, Québec French isn't just for Québecois. As I like to point out, it's English Canada's language too. I probably caused a few people to faint saying that.

Half of my French teachers came from Québec and the other half completed their studies there. I trill my 'R's in the old Montréal way, as my last French tutor did. I have two nieces in French immersion. English Canada doesn't do France-French, on both economic and cultural grounds.
 
Posted by Pangolin Guerre (# 18686) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:

First, Ricardus, you're working on the assumption that the Quebecois are not Canadian, or are somehow external to that identity rather than integral to it, which is exactly what both the separatists and the hardcore anti-quebecois want you to believe. It's those of who embrace/wrestle with this complexity of multiple components in a single identity who are the creative instinct of the Canadian identity - and who consequently get it from both extremes.

FWIW I've been wondering all day if I should, ahem, 'clarify those remarks', as the politicians call it.

What I'm getting at is that if Canadian identity is conceived to be pluralistic and diverse, and if the Québécois no longer wish to be Canadian, then that pluralistic diversity was illusory, whether or not the Québécois do in fact separate. Which I suppose in fact supports SPK's comment that Québécois separation would mark the death of Canada.

"Si, si, si ... si ma tante avait des couilles, elle serait mon oncle."* Your piling of ifs is so counterfactual that it's distractingly pointless, and founded on a notable lack of first hand brush with the reality of the history. You're assuming that there is one Quebecois opinion (just as, stupidly, this discussion largely assumes one monolithic Catalan opinion). As I said in an earlier post, were I Catalan, I'd be against independence, but on the street defending my right to vote. Does that make me a centralist, an independist, a (Castilian) Nationalist, or a Catalan nationalist? (The N/n deliberate).

I am committed to the ideal that our Canadian ideal is not illusory... Difficult, a thing always mediated and in flux, but worth the effort. Surely the UK shipmates are now coming to grips with the difficulties, and the stakes, involved, from their own recent experience, and cease being so condescending.

*"If, if, if... if my aunt had balls she's be my uncle." I.e., assume enough, and the absurd is the logical conclusion.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Fuck them.
Love wins.

That goes together for you eh?
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
que sais-je--

quote:
Originally posted by que sais-je:
quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
I don't know what anyone *should* do. But when I heard on the radio that Catalonia is the wealthiest region of Spain, I figured that was why the Spanish gov't reacted so strongly.

Evidently, the region used to have a fair bit of autonomy, given by the courts--but most of that was later taken away.

I was talking with a friend who has a son living in Catalonia. She's says her son's family (all Catalan) are more angry at being told they can't have a vote than concerned about Catalan independence.

Their view is that Catalan provides 25% of the Spanish GRP (see
various statistic on wikipedia) but get a tiny fraction of government payouts. Which, from the National Government's point of view, makes sense - taxing the rich to support the poor.

Is independence like a marriage divorce? If one partner wants to leave on what grounds should their request be refused?

California is in a similar position, actually. Long history of movements to secede from the US (restarted after the 2016 election), and attempts to split into smaller states. And similar financial situation.

Our governor signed a bill today declaring Calif. a sanctuary *state*. (San Francisco and other places are already sanctuary cities, which limit cooperating with the Feds about turning over illegal immigrants.) And the Feds will probably cancel some of our funding.

I have no real desire to secede, but there are moments...
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sober Preacher's Kid:
Countries don't die when they split up, they die when people stop believing in them.

What does it mean to believe in a country? What makes arbitrary lines drawn (in most cases quite recently) on a map something to believe in?
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
..........and if California does try to secede it will be invaded by the United States all the way to the sea!
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Alan Cresswell
quote:
What does it mean to believe in a country?
It means you are an idiot.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
You overlook the importance of consent.

If I've been such a bastard to my partner, abusing my order of magnitude power over them so that they want a divorce, my 'consent' is all part of the abuse, the delusion of power.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Fuck them.
Love wins.

That goes together for you eh?
See above.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
You overlook the importance of consent.

As in a community allowing itself to be policed, no I haven't.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
But why should a minority have the right to disrupt - sometimes repeatedly - the affairs of the entire state without the rest of its citizens having a say?

Did you really just ask that question? History is replete with examples of minorities disrupting the affairs of the entire state because that's the only way for them to get a fair hearing.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
You overlook the importance of consent.

If I've been such a bastard to my partner, abusing my order of magnitude power over them so that they want a divorce, my 'consent' is all part of the abuse, the delusion of power.
Exactly.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
But why should a minority have the right to disrupt - sometimes repeatedly - the affairs of the entire state without the rest of its citizens having a say?

Did you really just ask that question? History is replete with examples of minorities disrupting the affairs of the entire state because that's the only way for them to get a fair hearing.
Yeah but where's my dinner and who's going to do the washing and collect the kids and I suppose a shag's out of the question, even though I've got my hand warmly round your throat?
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
But why should a minority have the right to disrupt - sometimes repeatedly - the affairs of the entire state without the rest of its citizens having a say?

Did you really just ask that question? History is replete with examples of minorities disrupting the affairs of the entire state because that's the only way for them to get a fair hearing.
eg, when said minority owns most of the state's assets. Then they effectively own the government, even in supposedly democratic states.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:
Your piling of ifs is so counterfactual that it's distractingly pointless

The clause following the first IF is an attempt to paraphrase something you yourself said.

The second IF was what the whole Québécois independence referendum was predicated on, so it can't be that counterfactual.
quote:
cease being so condescending.

What excellent advice that is indeed.
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
I'm trying to get my head around this and I'm struggling. It's not that I disagree with the Catalonian right to have independence if that's what they want, but I've lived through enough to know that what might look great somewhere else is epically crap when its on your own doorstep. That aside, there seems to be a lot missing from this debate. Maybe some of these points are entirely wrong - I have no doubt they will be dutifully corrected - but I think they are worth putting out there for the sake of clarity.

1. Why do independence movements (often that we barely know the background and circumstances of) elicit our support so long as they aren't on our doorstep? There was a much more nuanced approach to an independent Scotland and a united Ireland is rarely countenanced by the same people who would jump on the bandwagon of supporting an independent Catalonia.

2. The vote was illegal; wasn't it? In that sense it was the perfect coup, putting the Spanish government in a position whereby no matter what they did, they couldn't win. But would you be so delighted by an illegal Scottish independence vote or Gerry Adams holding such a vote and then threatening the British government with the blackmail of declaring independence on the back of such a sham pantomime?

3. Only 25%, or something like that went out and voted for independence? Sure, Spain could grant a legal referendum on the issue after rewriting its constitution. But would it really be worth all that expense and energy and political upheaval and instability for 25%

4. This is the same 25% of loud voices that know an independent Catalonia's greatest source of income would be from tourism and yet who also arranged marches against the vast swathes of tourists invading Barcelona? Do they really know what they want?

5. The idea of a fractured Spain is surely an unholy demonic terror to all who lived through the civil war years?

6. There seems to be evidence of Russian shit stirring.....again. I've no idea why Russia would be interested in this part of Spain or why it would interfere in such a manner. Is it nonsense?

7. I know there are some in the UK who would love to see this. They truly and misguidedly believe that an independent Catalonia somehow emboldens the cause of a hard Brexit in the same way they hoped that Europe might fall to the far right to 'help them out'. Words outside of hell can't describe my utter contempt for such attitudes.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
I would never regard anything other than an overwhelming majority of the electorate voting for independence as truly ethically valid.

If Gerry Adams obtained that tomorrow from 67% of the electorate, if Liverpool did, that's that.

Unless they decided to be ... Christ-like about it.
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
But which electorate do you ask in an independence referendum? Only the areas which which to secede (Catalonia, Scotland); or the country as a whole (Span, Britain). To me there is no "right" answer to this conundrum as I'm sure losing a large chunk of a country must affect those who stay.

FWIW my Scottish wife felt it was right that only Scotland was involved in its referendum (of course this both included non-Scots living there and excluded Scots living beyond its borders); I was not so sure.

[ 06. October 2017, 13:39: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]
 
Posted by Leorning Cniht (# 17564) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
But which electorate do you ask in an independence referendum? Only the areas which which to secede (Catalonia, Scotland); or the country as a whole (Span, Britain). To me there is no "right" answer to this conundrum as I'm sure losing a large chunk of a country must affect those who stay.

The divorce analogy has been used before, and the conclusion that we have come to in that case (divorces happen more often than independence, so we've had more practice) is that if one party is set on leaving, there's not much to do except say "OK" and work on a reasonable division of property.

There are plenty of cases where one partner wants a divorce and the other wants to stay married, and certainly losing a spouse affects the one that "stays", but that doesn't mean that we look at such couples and say "well, the vote is 50-50, so there's no majority, so you stay married.)

I think independence should be a slow process (it's pretty irreversible, so you should be pretty sure that it's what you want. cf. Brexit!) but I don't see any justice in allowing the rump country to keep the separatists hostage.
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
That makes sense, although (as in a divorce) one would hope for the separation and asset-splitting to involve a lot of amiable discussion.

I don't think a simple majority for those voted to secede would be enough though: I would want at least 50% of the total potential electorate, if not more.
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
Sorry - I tried to edit that to say:

That makes sense, although (as in a divorce) one would hope for the separation and asset-splitting to involve a lot of amiable discussion.

I don't think a simple majority of those who voted would be enough for secession though: I would want at least 50% of the total potential electorate, if not more. Or perhaps two votes, a few months apart.

[ 06. October 2017, 14:01: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Baptist Trafain
quote:
To me there is no "right" answer to this conundrum.
Couldn't agree more. One of the many problems associated with the right of national self-determination is in establishing "the self' which is to do the determining. in this context is the collective "self" Spain or Catalonia? The rest of Spain might claim that independence for Catalonia is as much a matter for them as for the people of that region/nation, so that they, too, should have a vote on the matter.

We might also take the view that if Spain were to agree to a referendum on the issue that were Catalonia to vote for independence from Spain those parts of Catalonia bordering on Spain that voted against i.e. regarded themselves as politically Spanish, should remain within Spain. Similar arguments might be advanced regarding Scottish and Welsh referendums on the issue. Ditto in Canada had Quebec voted for independence. In the US, of course, the matter was decided by the civil war.
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Baptist Trafain
quote:
To me there is no "right" answer to this conundrum.
Couldn't agree more. One of the many problems associated with the right of national self-determination is in establishing "the self' which is to do the determining. in this context is the collective "self" Spain or Catalonia?
Or Spanish people (including those who live in Catalonia) or Catalans (who may live anywhere, but let's just stick to the rest of Spain for convenience).
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Baptist Trafain
quote:
Or Spanish people (including those who live in Catalonia) or Catalans (who may live anywhere, but let's just stick to the rest of Spain for convenience).
OK, but you make an important point. Respecting the Scottish Referendum, Scots living in England (indeed, outside Scotland) were disfranchised, but Englishmen and other nationalities living in Scotland were included. In a finely-balanced referendum such exclusions and inclusions could be decisive.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
We all agree on slow (a week between each phase at least? A month?), overwhelming electorate majority (67%?), mediated, decrees nisi and absolute confirmed by second referendum I imagine.

[ 06. October 2017, 14:50: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Martin60
quote:
We all agree on slow, overwhelming electorate majority
Majority of whom? Who constitute the relevant electorate?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Those seceding. Those wanting a divorce. Which can work the other way of course ...
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
The problem with democracy when it comes to independence movements is that when 'majority rules' the minority which seeks independence hasn't got a proper voice. If the majority won't listen to the minority, then it comes to votes and perhaps violence. Does there not have to be restraint on majorities when they infringe on minority rights? Did Spain impose the majority Spanish will on Catalonia? Did they talk and negotiate about what the Catalans desire?

Does the UK properly respect the Scottish? Doesn't the UK have to devolve powers to the Scotland in aid of keeping Scotland in the union? When is there too much history to have accommodation of minority nations into a larger country?

The Québec votes, the first in 1980, the second in 1995 were preceded by the FLQ in the 1960s and 70s, culminating in the 1970 October Crisis, which involved terrorism, murder, the army and tanks on the streets of Canada's cities, people jailed without clear cause and held (I was terrified personally). The determination was to negotiate and talk after this, which led in a sinuous path to the referendums. It appears that the French speaking minority in Canada feels its national interests are accommodated mostly kind of sort of within Canada now, as previously discussed.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
Why do independence movements (often that we barely know the background and circumstances of) elicit our support so long as they aren't on our doorstep?

For my part, I was (and remain) just as much in favour of Scottish independence as Catalonian. In both cases, of course, my support has always been caveated with "if that's what the people there want".
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Baptist Trafain
quote:
Or Spanish people (including those who live in Catalonia) or Catalans (who may live anywhere, but let's just stick to the rest of Spain for convenience).
OK, but you make an important point. Respecting the Scottish Referendum, Scots living in England (indeed, outside Scotland) were disfranchised, but Englishmen and other nationalities living in Scotland were included. In a finely-balanced referendum such exclusions and inclusions could be decisive.
This was clearly an issue about civic nationalism, as opposed to ethnic nationalism. I thought that the SNP scored plus points on this.

It seems very weird to contemplate a vote for an entire country, from which a region wishes to secede. Imagine this over Ireland in 1918-9, I mean, if the whole UK had voted. It would probably make everything worse.
 
Posted by Leorning Cniht (# 17564) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
We might also take the view that if Spain were to agree to a referendum on the issue that were Catalonia to vote for independence from Spain those parts of Catalonia bordering on Spain that voted against i.e. regarded themselves as politically Spanish, should remain within Spain.

This is a fair point. There is no a priori reason to draw a succession line at a particular existing political boundary. It depends at some level on whether you view your country as a federation of states / provinces / whatever, or as a single country that is divided into convenient administrative regions. In the latter case, there's no reason at all to expect the successionist desire to align with a political boundary.
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
We might also take the view that if Spain were to agree to a referendum on the issue that were Catalonia to vote for independence from Spain those parts of Catalonia bordering on Spain that voted against i.e. regarded themselves as politically Spanish, should remain within Spain.

This is a fair point. There is no a priori reason to draw a succession line at a particular existing political boundary. It depends at some level on whether you view your country as a federation of states / provinces / whatever, or as a single country that is divided into convenient administrative regions. In the latter case, there's no reason at all to expect the successionist desire to align with a political boundary.
A friend tells me that one of the elements which raised doubt in the minds of Québec voters was the obvious unfairness of using the provincial boundaries for their new state and the impossibility of doing anything else. One of the main drivers of separatism was the sentiment that the (francophone) Québécois had been treated unfairly; and there was a reluctance to be unfair in their own turn.
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Respecting the Scottish Referendum, Scots living in England (indeed, outside Scotland) were disfranchised, but Englishmen and other nationalities living in Scotland were included. In a finely-balanced referendum such exclusions and inclusions could be decisive.

This was clearly an issue about civic nationalism, as opposed to ethnic nationalism. I thought that the SNP scored plus points on this.

As you say, there are two forms of nationalism. A nationalism that is defined by ethnicity is a thing of great horror, a xenophobic and racist evil, the first few steps down a road that leads to concentration camps and gas chambers. It's the sort of nationalism that the UK government has embraced in it's barking mad hostility to immigrants and pursuit of a disasterous Brexshit.

The alternative is to define a nation by geography (albeit inevitably arbitrarily) and the people of that nation as those who live within that area - possibly with some allowance for those who have moved temporarily to other locations. Which is, of course, the definition used by the vast majority of nations. Though not ideal (nationality is still a divisive matter), it's far preferable to ethnicity.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
quezalcoati
quote:
It seems very weird to contemplate a vote for an entire country, from which a region wishes to secede.
Not at all. As I tried to point out, for Spanish nationalists Catalonia is part of Spain, so national self-determination is a matter for Spain not a sub-national region. The decision to amend its territorial boundaries is an all-Spanish matter. There is nothing weird in this: the United States fought a civil war to defend its territorial integrity and deny any right of the Confederacy to secede.* I bet the civic nature of Scottish nationalism would be severely tested if it were proposed to redraw the boundaries of Scotland to allow areas contiguous with England to remain in Britain, should the inhabitants so desire, and/or to accommodate a decision of Shetlanders to remain outside an independent Scotland. I do not raise the question of the Sudetan Germans!

* Odd, isn't it that a president of the USA should support national self-determination. One waits with anticipation for a latinised Texas, California, New Mexico, Arizona et. to seek reintegration with Mexico.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
That seems to contradict self-determination to me. It would mean that Scottish independence would be determined by English voters. Eh? That sounds nonsensical, or really, determination by someone else.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
quetzalcotl:
quote:
That seems to contradict self-determination to me. It would mean that Scottish independence would be determined by English voters. Eh? That sounds nonsensical, or really, determination by someone else
]
That's because you have difficulty recognising that Scotland is part of a legal entity called the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, whose nationality is British. Like any other nation the British claim a right to self-determination, which they exercise through their parliament. That collective self has a view as to its territorial rights. Within that territory there are some who reject their British identity, including Scottish nationalists, who assert a contrasting Scottish right to self-determination. Consequently, there is a conflict between two concepts of self-determination in relation to a particular piece of territory. They both uphold the principle of self-determination but are clearly in conflict because they hold incompatible views regarding "the collective self" that is doing the determining. In the UK case, the collective will of the British, expressed through its parliament, agreed to cede part of its territory, Scotland, should voters living there so wish, but do not regard it as a right of the Scottish parliament to hold a referendum on the matter without the say-so of the UK..

The international community, for quite sensible reasons, does not recognise the right of any group within an existing nation the right to secede simply because a regional majority claims it is another nation and wants independence. The problem with the concept of national self-determination is that it's by no means obvious what are the nations which have that right. Wait until Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran begin to respond to Kurdish claims for national self-determination.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
They've been doing just that in their unenlightened way for a century.

Imagine!
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
Re Kurdish independence:

I think their various countries should let them go, if that's what the majority of Kurds want. AIUI, their countries don't want really want them, but won't let them leave. But letting them leave would save trouble, time, money, and lives on both sides.

And Kurds are already referring to themselves as Kurdistan.

I wonder if there are valuable natural resources in Kurdish territory? That might explain why the countries want to hold on to the land.

I hope we're not looking at a Turks vs. Armenians situation...which became genocide against the Armenians...
[Paranoid]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
No we're not. But it shows how dangerous Balkanization is with unenlightened dominant cultures.
 
Posted by Jonah the Whale (# 1244) on :
 
Independence movements are fine when it involves groups we sympathise with. How many Westerners were opposed to independence for Kosovo? South Sudan?

Why did Britain ever let USA get away with declaring independence all those years back? Well, because Britain couldn't prevent them, not because they saw the light. Unfortunately for people like the Kurds, in most cases independence is only viable if it can be backed by force.
 
Posted by Leorning Cniht (# 17564) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
I bet the civic nature of Scottish nationalism would be severely tested if it were proposed to redraw the boundaries of Scotland to allow areas contiguous with England to remain in Britain, should the inhabitants so desire, and/or to accommodate a decision of Shetlanders to remain outside an independent Scotland.

Seems like that would be both defensible and fairly straightforward. Tally votes per geographical region (not necessarily one coincident with existing administrative boundaries, but small regions bordered by geographic features - rivers, hill ranges, watersheds, roadsheds, and so on.) Impose a rule that a new independent country must be continuous (islands such as Shetland are special cases). Small islands of independence in a sea of remain lose out, as do islands of remain in a sea of independence, but border communities get to decide which way to jump.

Once you've done that, you have a proposed boundary for the new country. Now you hold a second ballot, asking people if they want independence on those terms (imagine, for example, that the economic strength of a country is in the border regions, and those regions vote to stay with the old country rather than becoming independent. The independence-minded voters might change their mind when they discover that they're not getting what they thought they would get.

(I'm actually less supportive of independence movements within an EU or similar federal umbrella state, 'cause it seems that there are opportunities to game the regional development grants and similar inter-state transfers if you can split off from the parent country whilst remaining in the EU. If a proposed state intends to stand on its own financial feet, it has a stronger case.)
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jonah the Whale:
Independence movements are fine when it involves groups we sympathise with. How many Westerners were opposed to independence for Kosovo? South Sudan?

Why did Britain ever let USA get away with declaring independence all those years back? Well, because Britain couldn't prevent them, not because they saw the light. Unfortunately for people like the Kurds, in most cases independence is only viable if it can be backed by force.

There was the coincidence of Britain also fighting other wars at the same time. We have seen some interesting not violent independence. Norway from Sweden. Czech Republic and Slovakia. But more are violent.

Then there's Algeria from France, Bangladesh from Pakistan, East Timor from Indonesia, various nations of Yugoslavia, Eritrea from Ethiopia, South Sudan from Sudan. All terribly violent.
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Re Kurdish independence:

I think their various countries should let them go, if that's what the majority of Kurds want. AIUI, their countries don't want really want them, but won't let them leave. But letting them leave would save trouble, time, money, and lives on both sides.

And Kurds are already referring to themselves as Kurdistan.

I wonder if there are valuable natural resources in Kurdish territory? That might explain why the countries want to hold on to the land. *snip*

Oilfields of Mosul. That was the prime reason the western allies created Iraq after WWI.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
...
Then there's Algeria from France, Bangladesh from Pakistan, East Timor from Indonesia, various nations of Yugoslavia, Eritrea from Ethiopia, South Sudan from Sudan. All terribly violent.

Will shipmates please stop including East Timor among the list of states that have split from others. East Timor did not secede from Indonesia in any normal sense of the word.

East Timor was a Portuguese colony which became independent in the normal way when the Portuguese empire fell apart after the Carnation Revelation. Because it lacked the armed forces to defend itself, almost immediately Indonesia invaded and purported to annex it. That triggered a war of resistance which lasted some 25 years until Indonesia was forced to accept that its annexation had failed. It is no more correct to speak of East Timor seceding from Indonesia than to say that D Day was the beginning of France's secession from Nazi Germany.
 
Posted by Leorning Cniht (# 17564) on :
 
Alan Cresswell talked about cultural nationalism vs civic nationalism upthread, and deplored the former as racist xenophobic bigotry (cf. some of the Brexit rhetoric) whilst applauding the latter as the natural desire of people settled in a particular area to chose a government that meets their needs.

And yet when we talk about the dissolution of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, or the independence of Pakistan and Bangladesh from India (all things that enjoy widespread support), we're talking about cultural states. We don't want to be part of them because we're Muslim and they're Hindu. We're Bosniaks and they're Serbs. Whatever.

And quite often, we want to be our own country because we're treated badly by the country that we're in because we're a minority. So I'm not sure the distinction is quite as clear-cut as Alan painted it.
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
Except, the formation of those states along cultural or religious lines are hardly examples of peaceful independence. Which pretty much proves my point about how unpleasant nationalism along those lines is.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Is Catalonian nationalism predominantly civic or ethnic in character? If civic, what is to be gained by independence from Spain? The same question might be asked of civic nationalists in other liberal democracies.
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
I don't fully understand all the nuances, but I think it is firmly in the 'ethnic' camp. One of the arguments that you hear time and time again is 'Sure even the language is different' which is a little like saying Munster Irish is different from Ulster Irish - which it is, but it's still Irish. The problem with the narrative isn't the issue of difference, but that the narrative posits difference as a way of moulding that difference in opposition rather than a diversity to be celebrated. I guess Spain has been looking at some of the freedoms and favours given Catalonia over the last number of years and felt it made an error that has has bolstered notions of independence; so I can understand why they have rescinded (not that this makes it right). I think if Catalonians were being treated in Spin as second class citizens, persecuted or in some way oppressed then an Independence movement would have a lot more traction in terms of it's adoption in my own mind; as it is. It could be argued that what was rescinded politically (in 2012 or whenever it was) is the oppression, but the problem with that is that the rest of Spain probably looks at that as putting them on the same footing with the rest of Spain.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
I don't fully understand all the nuances, but I think it is firmly in the 'ethnic' camp. One of the arguments that you hear time and time again is 'Sure even the language is different' which is a little like saying Munster Irish is different from Ulster Irish - which it is, but it's still Irish. ...

Not quite FC. Although Spanish and Catalan are quite closely related, they are both still in prevalent vernacular use. Unless my information is complete rubbish, hardly anyone in Munster or Ulster speaks either sort of Irish as their vernacular.
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Is Catalonian nationalism predominantly civic or ethnic in character? If civic, what is to be gained by independence from Spain? The same question might be asked of civic nationalists in other liberal democracies.

Of course, in probably all cases a civic nationalism would have cultural components - the region seeking independence could have their own language (almost always a minority language because it's been suppressed by the language of the dominant nation), for example.

But, the argument for independence based on civic nationalism has a strong political and economic base. In any country, different regions will have differences in economy - some areas are rural and agricultural, others coastal with fishing, some areas have heavy industry, others financial etc. A government that enacts economic policies that favour the economic strengths of some regions at the detriment of other regions creates a basis for why those disadvantaged regions would seek independence (or at least genuine devolved powers that allow them to adapt national economic policy for their needs), especially if changes in government don't do much to change the overall bias. Politically, driven by cultural differences, then a region that always votes for parties on a different part of the spectrum compared to the whole nation will feel alienated - eg: where they routinely elect left wing candidates and the nation as a whole routinely elects right wing governments.
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
Posted by Enoch:
quote:

Although Spanish and Catalan are quite closely related...

This was the point I was making, not whether or not they are still in regular use
 
Posted by Bishops Finger (# 5430) on :
 
Re the language question, my own very subjective experience is that, being able to read and speak French fairly well, I find Catalan much easier to read than Spanish. Most of the touristy places in the area where my sister lives offer guide leaflets etc. in French or Catalan.

As for understanding spoken Catalan, well, I find it's a lot easier to comprehend after a carafe or two of the local vi negre (red wine - in Spanish vino tinto).

Sister and I once went to a presentation of troubadour songs etc. in the Catalan House of Culture in Perpignan.

It was most enjoyable, but the French chappie (from the City Council, I think) introducing it happily lapsed into French for our benefit (we were the only two non-Catalans present, I guess), explaining that he actually found Catalan difficult..... [Ultra confused]

Whatever comes of the present troubles, Catalonia (both north and south of the border) is a delightful part of Europe.

IJ
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Alan Cresswell
quote:
But, the argument for independence based on civic nationalism has a strong political and economic base..............
So, the basis of civic nationalism is an assessment of economic economic advantage. In that case one would expect a region or regions anticipating a material advantage from independence to be more prone to civic nationalism than regions dependent on them. That would certainly fit the case of Catalonia, the Italian Northern League and Alberta, and would benefit a nation based on the South East of England, centred on London. Poorer regions would be expected to eschew civic nationalism, given their advantage in being subsidised by the richer ones, so to the outsider it is difficult see Welsh and Scottish nationalism as explained by the civic nationalist model, as they claim. Furthermore, it's difficult to see why civic nationalism defined as a function of economic greed should be seen as more virtuous thnt ethnic nationalism, is it not?
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Re the language question, my own very subjective experience is that, being able to read and speak French fairly well, I find Catalan much easier to read than Spanish. Most of the touristy places in the area where my sister lives offer guide leaflets etc. in French or Catalan.

As for understanding spoken Catalan, well, I find it's a lot easier to comprehend after a carafe or two of the local vi negre (red wine - in Spanish vino tinto).
*snip*

Like Bishop's Finger, I found Catalan much easier to read than Castilian but was not sufficiently in Catalan-speaking circles to get a feel for the spoken language (most of my Catalan friends were anxious to practise their English and I was too lazy to argue).

In recent years, the Catalan authorities have strongly supported language classes for teh considerable number of immigrants into Barcelona and surrounding areas, but they are fighting the uncomfortable fact that Castilian is as much a default language in Barcelona as is Catalan (which is much more predominant in the region outside Barcelona). One of the engines driving Catalan nationalism, like Québécois nationalism of days gone by, is a sentiment that they are becoming a minority in their own territory. And unlike anglophone Canadians, who have a vague sympathy for the use of French in Canada (as long as it doesn't involve any personal expenditure of energy!!), Castilians are much less so.

Still, the situation continues to develop.....
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Alan Cresswell
quote:
But, the argument for independence based on civic nationalism has a strong political and economic base..............
So, the basis of civic nationalism is an assessment of economic economic advantage. In that case one would expect a region or regions anticipating a material advantage from independence to be more prone to civic nationalism than regions dependent on them.
I said political and economic, so it doesn't come down to just the bottom line. If the people living in a particular region feel that their political aspirations were being held back by different political aims from the nation they're part of, or that they would be financially better off without the constraints imposed by national government (or, they'd have better schools, hospitals, welfare etc) then that feeds (civic) nationalism.

quote:
Poorer regions would be expected to eschew civic nationalism, given their advantage in being subsidised by the richer ones, so to the outsider it is difficult see Welsh and Scottish nationalism as explained by the civic nationalist model, as they claim.
That supposes that independence wouldn't change the economic circumstances. If independence (or greater devolution) allows tailoring policy to the needs of that region as opposed to the needs of the larger nation (or, even a different region therein) then that would offset lost subsidy (at least partially). Is it so unreasonable to think that the people who live within a defined region are better able to understand the needs of their own region than people living in different areas? And, better able to devise policies that better meet those needs?

quote:
Furthermore, it's difficult to see why civic nationalism defined as a function of economic greed should be seen as more virtuous thnt ethnic nationalism, is it not?
But, modern nations are defined by "economic greed". Is it any worse to vote for a national government who promise to increase your standard of living, or to support independence which promises to increase standard of living? Whether that applies to you as an individual or the region as a whole.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Alan Cresswell
quote:
But, modern nations are defined by "economic greed". Is it any worse to vote for a national government who promise to increase your standard of living, or to support independence which promises to increase standard of living? Whether that applies to you as an individual or the region as a whole.

I don't think that we are in disagreement here. The point I was making is that civic nationalists often claim to be somehow more virtuous than ethnic nationalists. A case could be made that an ethnic group seeking independence to defend and promote its communal identity at economic cost to themselves, prepared to be "poor but proud", are more to be congratulated than those principally motivated by material values. Are not those seeking Catalonian independence to promote its culture more meritorious than those unwilling to share its economic advantages with poorer regions of Spain?
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Alan Cresswell
quote:
Is it so unreasonable to think that the people who live within a defined region are better able to understand the needs of their own region than people living in different areas? And, better able to devise policies that better meet those needs?
I suspect you are right, which may explain why the Scots voted to stay within the United Kingdom.

A problem with the local solution to local problems depends on the capacity of the locality to command the resources and wider political influence to implement them.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
Posted by Enoch:
quote:

Although Spanish and Catalan are quite closely related...

This was the point I was making, not whether or not they are still in regular use
I may be misunderstanding your point, but Spanish and Catalan are no closer than Spanish and (standard) Italian. The vocabulary is relatively similar, so if your knowledge of Catalan comes from road signs then you might be fooled into thinking they are just dialects of the same thing, but the phonology is something like French would be if they pronounced all the letters, and the underlying grammar is quite distinct.

For example, if you know any other Romance language, you might think that ell va arribar means 'he will arrive', but actually it means 'he arrived'.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
For those who are interested the folks at War is Boring have a quick summary of what an independent Catalan military might look like, given geographic and budgetary restraints and likely necessity/missions. There's no anticipation of war between a theoretically independent Catalonia and any of its neighbors, just guesses about what would be needed to secure ports and (aspirationally) participate in NATO. Part of the problem that would face a newly independent Catalonia is that very little of Spain's current military infrastructure is located within Catalonia, a fact the analysis takes into account.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
But why should a minority have the right to disrupt - sometimes repeatedly - the affairs of the entire state without the rest of its citizens having a say?

Did you really just ask that question? History is replete with examples of minorities disrupting the affairs of the entire state because that's the only way for them to get a fair hearing.
Yes I really did ask that question.

Discussion of secession tends to take for granted that those who want to secede are absolutely entitled to do so and accept the ramifications that go with it. That was the basis on which the Scottish referendum proceeded. I think that was appropriate, not least because the rest of the UK was content to leave it to the Scots (probably because they assumed a No vote was certain).

However, I think that in the absence of genuine oppression, it's a legitimate to argue that the entire state has sufficient interest in the matter for them to have enforceable rights too. Their jobs, businesses, and rights will be affected too, their families potentially split, and the state they belong to will tend to be diminished. There is also precedent for arguing that an entire state (not simply the seceding bit) should decide, e.g. Western Australia and Texas. And everyone has an interest in making sure the rule of law is upheld, as that makes the difference between democracy and mob rule.

As for Catalonia, there is a constitution they adopted in the recent past that appears to require an all-Spain referendum. Given the last 100 years of Spanish history, I think all Spain has an interest in making sure that constitution isn't simply left on the shelf and that the rule of law is upheld. If an unlawful exception can be made for the Catalans, who's to say when the Spanish government will ignore it next? That is what proponents of Catalan independence appear to believe: that if the laws get in the way, they should simply be ignored. Certainly that's the way the Catalan authorities are currently behaving; even to the extent that the Catalan high court has ordered Spanish (ie, not Catalan) police to protect it due to concerns that the judges will be ejected from the building by the Catalan authorities.

I'm not a Spanish lawyer, but I would have thought the obvious step was for Madrid to immediately introduce a motion in the Spanish parliament to facilitate the debate legally. Whether or not they've done this I don't know, but even if they've refused, I don't think an Ian Smith-style declaration of UDI on behalf of a minority is justified.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
As you say, there are two forms of nationalism. A nationalism that is defined by ethnicity is a thing of great horror, a xenophobic and racist evil, the first few steps down a road that leads to concentration camps and gas chambers. It's the sort of nationalism that the UK government has embraced in it's barking mad hostility to immigrants and pursuit of a disasterous Brexshit.

I suggest that nationalism in a country that is predominantly one ethnicity (say 83.95% for example) is always going to be ethnic. It may be ostensibly civic, but let's not kid ourselves that those civic values won't be determined by that overwhelming ethnic majority in their interests.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
However, I think that in the absence of genuine oppression, it's a legitimate to argue that the entire state has sufficient interest in the matter for them to have enforceable rights too.

That does rather depend on what you class as "genuine oppression". Is denial of self-determination enough, or do the population have to be actually mistreated?
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
Self determination for who though? It's not at all clear how the vote would break down. There was a significant rally in Barcelona over the weekend against independence. The problem is that both sides have a tendency to inflate the value of their argument and its support.
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
I think if there was a genuine case for oppression (for example, being treated like a second class citizen on the basis of race - perceived or otherwise - or of regional difference) then yes, I could understand that Catalonia might be somewhat justified in taking the route they have. As it is what have done is to pull a stunt that they hope will garner further support and feed into the narrative of both difference and oppression. What they should have done - seeing it's a peaceful revolution and all - is sent an elected party representing the independence concerns to petition Madrid for a change or addendum to the constitution to permit the vote. That currently has an inherent problem as far as I understand it as the various groupings representing the independence concern are deeply fractured and split (which in turn doesn't bode well for the future peace and stability of an independent Catalonia, but that's another story) so getting to that stage would take a long time, as would petitioning Madrid. They clearly see this stunt as enabling them with a certain impetus of groundswell to move the issue forward through illegal means. I find it profoundly difficult to have sympathy with that.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
That does rather depend on what you class as "genuine oppression". Is denial of self-determination enough, or do the population have to be actually mistreated?

I think that every independence movement is different, and therefore the rights and wrongs of them need to be taken on a case by case basis. The problem with absolute rules such as the right to self-determination is that they tend to ignore the complexities of each situation and gloss over the question of whether there is a valid group whose self-determination has been denied. So I'm tempted to agree, on the basis that it's become too easy for a group of spokespeople to claim to speak on behalf of a group, make unilateral demands, and cause a whole heap of trouble. I think there is also a contradiction, perhaps even hypocracy, in the way the right of self-determination has been treated. It is discussed as if any group of people capable of defining themselves at that particualar moment, have right to create their own state. The reality is that the laws of the average developed, democratic country, do not give the right to any part of its territories to secede, and the reasons for this should hardly need explaining.

I'll add that I am particularly suspicious of secessionist movements that want to split away from multi-ethnic states and from them create nation states dominated by one particular ethnic group, and it strikes me as a lot of humbug when such movements claim they are motivated by "civic nationalism", even if they genuinely believe their own claims. If self-determination means the right of any particular ethnic group to have its own state (as compared to the merely right of an existing political state not to be invaded by another) then it positively encourages ethnic ghettoisation.

I see that the Catalan government has suspended its declaration of UDI. I was interested to see that it happened in the Catalan parliament, sittings of which I thought had been suspended by the Spanish constitutional court.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
I think if there was a genuine case for oppression (for example, being treated like a second class citizen on the basis of race - perceived or otherwise - or of regional difference) then yes, I could understand that Catalonia might be somewhat justified in taking the route they have. As it is what have done is to pull a stunt that they hope will garner further support and feed into the narrative of both difference and oppression. What they should have done - seeing it's a peaceful revolution and all - is sent an elected party representing the independence concerns to petition Madrid for a change or addendum to the constitution to permit the vote. That currently has an inherent problem as far as I understand it as the various groupings representing the independence concern are deeply fractured and split (which in turn doesn't bode well for the future peace and stability of an independent Catalonia, but that's another story) so getting to that stage would take a long time, as would petitioning Madrid. They clearly see this stunt as enabling them with a certain impetus of groundswell to move the issue forward through illegal means. I find it profoundly difficult to have sympathy with that.

Is it just me, or are you also picking up a flavour of 24th-29th April 1916? If so, the actions of the Madrid government at the moment could well have the same effect as the actions of the London government did then.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
The reality is that the laws of the average developed, democratic country, do not give the right to any part of its territories to secede, and the reasons for this should hardly need explaining.

They do to me. Or at least, they do if they amount to anything more than the government saying "we rule here, and if you don't like it then fuck off".

quote:
If self-determination means the right of any particular ethnic group to have its own state (as compared to the merely right of an existing political state not to be invaded by another) then it positively encourages ethnic ghettoisation.
To which I reply only: Israel.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
The notion that the decision of a group of people in a particular territory can gain statehood by declaring themselves a nation explains very little about how states actually come into being, and were it so it would be a cause of great instability and conflict i.e. civil and international war. The principle of national self-determination is one of the daftest ideas known to the modern international system and was ignorantly advanced by Woodrow Wilson, president of a nation which had fought a bitter war to deny the right to its own citizens. Applied to Europe at the end of WWI it created a justification for the territorial ambitions of HItler; and in the Middle East the ruinous consequences of the Balfour Declaration and presently the ambitions of the Kurds. Elsewhere it was used to justify the murderous partition of India, and applied to Africa would encourage the worst excesses of tribalism and political anarchy.
Why the claims of the Catalonians should be encouraged I fail to understand. The individuals who live there enjoy full civil liberties as citizens of Spain and the European Union, are economically the most prosperous region in Spain, and have their language and culture protected. The price of secession would be to destabilise Spain and other parts of Western Europe. It is too high a price for Spain and the rest of the European continent to pay, however civic or civil or even democratic Catalonia's nationalism might claim to be.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Don't you just LOVE the way nothing works. 90% of 40% of the electorate doth not an independent Catalonia make.
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
Posted by Enoch:
quote:

Is it just me, or are you also picking up a flavour of 24th-29th April 1916? If so, the actions of the Madrid government at the moment could well have the same effect as the actions of the London government did then.

I'm not sure that is comparing like with like. Much as I personally wish my country's history to have been written in a different manner there are many who would still vociferously argue that no peaceful means were open to them. I on the other hand find myself firmly in the Sean O'Casey camp. The price that was paid for the quest for independence here was very high and not just morally ambiguous but morally dubious at least. There are no blood martyr's to Catalonia's 'cause' either. Catalonia is wealthy; Ireland in 1916 - and specifically Dublin - was the worst slum in Europe. Spain has been heavy handed, but as far as I know has not killed anyone. Britain set Dublin city alight, killing many innocent people. It had a gun boat sitting on the Liffey firing shells up O'Connell Street! The British soldiers made their way up the opposite side of the GPO by knocking through the walls of the houses, literally shooting dead every occupant they found, regardless of who they were. Shooters occupied the roofs and homeless children who were still wandering the streets were shot dead. Tanks were finally driven up O'Connell Street. I think it would be quite a stretch to compare Spain's handling of Catalonia to that.

All that said, if you were only to compare the method, then yes there might be some similarity. The rebels in the GPO effectively pulled a stunt. They knew they could not possibly win and yet declared an independence, but without any kind of vote, and very possibly at that stage without any kind of mandate from the populace. It's still not quite comparable to what is taking place in Catalonia, but granted there may be some similarities at a stretch.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
The notion that the decision of a group of people in a particular territory can gain statehood by declaring themselves a nation explains very little about how states actually come into being, and were it so it would be a cause of great instability and conflict i.e. civil and international war.

Yes, because denying people the right to govern themselves has never led to instability and conflict.

People aren't going to stop wanting self-determination just because you say so. Deny them any peaceful way to get it and all that will be left to them are violent ways.

quote:
The principle of national self-determination is one of the daftest ideas known to the modern international system
Does that mean Britain can have the Empire back?

quote:
Applied to Europe at the end of WWI it created a justification for the territorial ambitions of HItler; and in the Middle East the ruinous consequences of the Balfour Declaration and presently the ambitions of the Kurds. Elsewhere it was used to justify the murderous partition of India, and applied to Africa would encourage the worst excesses of tribalism and political anarchy.
Yep, this really does sound like you think the British Empire should never have released its control over those territories.

Also, you haven't proposed any alternative to self-determination. How do you think people should be governed?

quote:
Why the claims of the Catalonians should be encouraged I fail to understand. The individuals who live there enjoy full civil liberties as citizens of Spain and the European Union, are economically the most prosperous region in Spain, and have their language and culture protected.
The last point is debatable. And the rest basically amounts to saying that having the democratic right to choose how you will be governed doesn't matter as long as you're rich.

You might as well say that as long as you're well fed, given good housing and treated kindly it doesn't matter that you're a slave. Funny how some people think freedom is more important, isn't it?

quote:
The price of secession would be to destabilise Spain and other parts of Western Europe. It is too high a price for Spain and the rest of the European continent to pay, however civic or civil or even democratic Catalonia's nationalism might claim to be.
Translation: it's better for us if they don't get what they want, so we're not going to let them get it. Their thoughts on the matter are irrelevant.

[ 11. October 2017, 09:10: Message edited by: Marvin the Martian ]
 
Posted by Bishops Finger (# 5430) on :
 
Well, it all looks very confusing to one of Little Brain (like me).

President Puigdemont seems to have made a declaration of UDI, and then put it on hold for a while.

Sr. Rajoy seems to have taken this at face value, which at least allows time for some form of dialogue to begin (whether fruitful or not remains to be seen).

Is Catalonia likely to become an independent state within the next couple of weeks, or not?

IJ
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Nope.
 
Posted by AmyBo (# 15040) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Is Catalonia likely to become an independent state within the next couple of weeks, or not?

Having only lived in Spain for a little bit, my experience was that NOTHING in Spain moves that fast.

[ 11. October 2017, 14:06: Message edited by: AmyBo ]
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
As you say, there are two forms of nationalism. A nationalism that is defined by ethnicity is a thing of great horror, a xenophobic and racist evil, the first few steps down a road that leads to concentration camps and gas chambers. It's the sort of nationalism that the UK government has embraced in it's barking mad hostility to immigrants and pursuit of a disasterous Brexshit.

I suggest that nationalism in a country that is predominantly one ethnicity (say 83.95% for example) is always going to be ethnic. It may be ostensibly civic, but let's not kid ourselves that those civic values won't be determined by that overwhelming ethnic majority in their interests.
There is no such thing as a nationalism which does not include some kind of ethnic component. I think that Marx was onto something when he declared that one ought to support nationalisms if they were on the right side of history, as it were, and oppose them when they were not even if his assessment of Mitteleuropa in 1848 was completely off whack. There are 'good' nationalist movements - Italian unification, Masaryk's Czechoslovakia - and bad ones - Milosevic and You Know Who, spring immediately to mind. And there is no guarantee that a nationalism will stay 'good', the cause of Mazzini became the cause of Mussolini. The thing about nationalism is that it is basically a complaint that another bunch of people are stopping us from flourishing. The reason that nationalism has been so influential in the last couple of centuries is that this is, in many cases, obviously true but the thing is that blaming other people for your problems is often a substitute for solving them.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
There is no such thing as a nationalism which does not include some kind of ethnic component.
...
There are 'good' nationalist movements - Italian unification, Masaryk's Czechoslovakia - and bad ones - Milosevic and You Know Who, spring immediately to mind.

But I wonder to what extent these were 'good' because they had to downplay the ethnic component by design or recast it to a historical past.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
President Puigdemont seems to have made a declaration of UDI

This phrase is as jarring to my mind as "PIN Number". The "D" of UDI stands for "Declaration", so the additional "declaration" is redundant.

Sorry. It's just been bugging me all week.
 
Posted by Bishops Finger (# 5430) on :
 
Apologies. ISWYM.

[Hot and Hormonal]

(Post in haste - repent at leisure!)

IJ
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
There is no such thing as a nationalism which does not include some kind of ethnic component.
...
There are 'good' nationalist movements - Italian unification, Masaryk's Czechoslovakia - and bad ones - Milosevic and You Know Who, spring immediately to mind.

But I wonder to what extent these were 'good' because they had to downplay the ethnic component by design or recast it to a historical past.
Fair comment - Masaryk created a bi-national state and much of Italian nationalism was committed to disempowering the wrong kind of Italian (The Pope, King Bomba) and replacing him with the right sort. Austrian Italy was garrisoned rather than having loads of Austrians flooding in to live and work and so the objection was to Austrians running Italy (or at least their bit) rather than to Austrians per se.

There is probably a Laffer curve of nationalism whereby hitting a certain emphasis on ethnicity turns it from 'good' to 'bad', but I'll leave it to someone else to work out the metrics!
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
The thing about nationalism is that it is basically a complaint that another bunch of people are stopping us from flourishing.

Isn't that pretty much what all of politics is about, when you boil it down?
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
The thing about nationalism is that it is basically a complaint that another bunch of people are stopping us from flourishing.

Isn't that pretty much what all of politics is about, when you boil it down?
That's a very good point. The objection to nationalism is often along the lines of "Not those people! These people!"
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Don't you just LOVE the way nothing works. 90% of 40% of the electorate doth not an independent Catalonia make.

It's not that dissimilar to the proportion of the UK electorate that voted to Leave the EU.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
One big difference is that all the parties, and Parliament, agreed to the terms of the Brexit referendum before it happened.
 
Posted by rolyn (# 16840) on :
 
Nationalism fires people up. Or is it that people who are fired up gravitate towards nationalism?

Whichever it is these are the people who will head for polling booths come hell or highwater.

No direct comparisons with the EU Referendum because this one has been declared illegal from the outset, so those opposed to Independence would not have though to vote against it as the result was all ready declared null and void.

The outcome of the UK Referendum was down to the group normally regarded as politically apathetic.. The ones who were fired turned out for Brexit. The ones who were not fired didn't come out in sufficient numbers to back Remain.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Shhheee-it Alan!

52% of 72%. 37% of the electorate.

How can that be? What's quorate in a UK election/referendum?

[ 11. October 2017, 19:25: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Marvin Martian
quote:
quote:

Kwesi: The principle of national self-determination is one of the daftest ideas known to the modern international system

Marvin Martian: Does that mean Britain can have the Empire back?
Kwesi: The principle of national self-determination is one of the daftest ideas known to the modern international system

Marvin Martian: Does that mean Britain can have the Empire back?
Kwesi: The principle of national self-determination is one of the daftest ideas known to the modern international system

Marvin Martian: Does that mean Britain can have the Empire back?


Decolonisation differs from the Catalonian case in a number of important respects, and I would suggest largely supports my sceptical stance.
1.In a de-colonisation context the freedom of the nation was bound up with the granting of political emancipation to the colonial inhabitants. In Catalonia the inhabitants are free in terms of having full citizenship rights.
2. The boundaries of African states at independence were largely pre-determined by the European powers at the Congress of Berlin and Treaty of Versailles after WWI, not by self-determination.
3. The OAU and AU have existed to protect those colonial boundaries from attempts by ethnic groups to redraw them, of which siding with Nigeria in the Biafran War was an example. African leaders are opposed to self-determination for obvious and sensible reasons.
4. The first generation of African Nationalist leaders were noted not as being Ghanaian, Nigerian, Tanzanian nationalists and so on, but as African Nationalists seeking (romantically?) the unity of the whole continent against the fragmentation of their inheritance and the threat of ethnic tribalism.

Marvin Martian
quote:
Kwesi: Why the claims of the Catalonians should be encouraged I fail to understand. The individuals who live there enjoy full civil liberties as citizens of Spain and the European Union, are economically the most prosperous region in Spain, and have their language and culture protected.

Martin Martian: The last point is debatable. And the rest basically amounts to saying that having the democratic right to choose how you will be governed doesn't matter as long as you're rich.

You might as well say that as long as you're well fed, given good housing and treated kindly it doesn't matter that you're a slave. Funny how some people think freedom is more important, isn't it.

The point I’m making is that the grievances are opaque. To suggest the Catalans are slaves is absurd, rather they have little to complain about respecting their political rights, cultural expression, and economic situation. ISTM their gripe is that they have to share some of their prosperity with poorer parts of Spain. It may be economically rational for the Catalans to seek independence, but one fails to see why it should be regarded by other as a principle to be applauded.
Marvin Martian
quote:
Kwesi The price of secession would be to destabilise Spain and other parts of Western Europe. It is too high a price for Spain and the rest of the European continent to pay, however civic or civil or even democratic Catalonia's nationalism might claim to be.

Marvin Martian: Translation: it's better for us if they don't get what they want, so we're not going to let them get it. Their thoughts on the matter are irrelevant.

Their thoughts on the matter aren’t irrelevant, nor are ours. The problem is that like many nationalists the Catalan nationalists are blind to the interests of others, including other citizens of Spain, which others might consider justifiably over-ride those of the prosperous free Catalans in this matter.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Decolonisation differs from the Catalonian case in a number of important respects, and I would suggest largely supports my sceptical stance.
1.In a de-colonisation context the freedom of the nation was bound up with the granting of political emancipation to the colonial inhabitants. In Catalonia the inhabitants are free in terms of having full citizenship rights.

So if we'd merely given them full citizenship rights but retained ownership of the land that would have been fine?

quote:
2. The boundaries of African states at independence were largely pre-determined by the European powers at the Congress of Berlin and Treaty of Versailles after WWI, not by self-determination.
I agree that that was a bad thing.

quote:
3. The OAU and AU have existed to protect those colonial boundaries from attempts by ethnic groups to redraw them, of which siding with Nigeria in the Biafran War was an example. African leaders are opposed to self-determination for obvious and sensible reasons.
Yes, they'd lose some of their power if it was allowed.

quote:
4. The first generation of African Nationalist leaders were noted not as being Ghanaian, Nigerian, Tanzanian nationalists and so on, but as African Nationalists seeking (romantically?) the unity of the whole continent against the fragmentation of their inheritance and the threat of ethnic tribalism.
Yes, because if Africa was one huge country there wouldn't be any ethnic tribalism there any more. [Roll Eyes]

quote:
The point I’m making is that the grievances are opaque.
Not really. They want to be a separate country so that they can govern themselves rather than being governed from Madrid. Seems pretty clear to me.

quote:
To suggest the Catalans are slaves is absurd
I was making a point about freedom. Namely, that without it it doesn't matter how well your masters treat you or how many rights they give you.

You still haven't proposed a principle by which people should be governed if not self-determination, by the way.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Shhheee-it Alan!

52% of 72%. 37% of the electorate.

How can that be? What's quorate in a UK election/referendum?

At the risk of repeating myself, nobody was bothered about that question before the result was announced.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Marvin Martian
quote:
Kwesi: Applied to Europe at the end of WWI it created a justification for the territorial ambitions of HItler; and in the Middle East the ruinous consequences of the Balfour Declaration and presently the ambitions of the Kurds. Elsewhere it was used to justify the murderous partition of India, and applied to Africa would encourage the worst excesses of tribalism and political anarchy.

Marvin Martian: Also, you haven't proposed any alternative to self-determination. How do you think people should be governed?

Marvin Martian: You still haven't proposed a principle by which people should be governed if not self-determination, by the way.

What I have tried to demonstrate is that most national boundaries are not the product of self-determination. That they should be so determined is problematical because it is difficult to define the “Imagined Communities” (B. Anderson), that should be recognised as legitimately possessing that right. In this case is it Spain or Catalonia? There really is no way of resolving the issue. In reality there is no abstract principle which accounts for the configuration of the international system, rather it is the product of an historical development in which democratic principles are mostly absent, if present at all. There is no principle that can decide between Spanish and Catalonian democracy as to whether the latter region could leave Spain without Spain’s say-so. Currently, Spain holds at least three cards: legitimacy (constitutional power), force (the instruments to enforce its will), and international support (the European Union and the UN). Catalonia would need to undermine one or more of those props if Spain remains opposed to its secession. Probably that would involve armed conflict, as the examples of Eritrea, Bangladesh, East Timor, Crimea, and so on demonstrate. As Bismark realistically observed: “Since the treaties of Vienna, our frontiers have been ill-designed for a healthy body politic. Not through speeches and majority decisions will the great questions of the day be decided—that was the great mistake of 1848 and 1849—but by iron and blood." By and large I think it’s best to muddle along with the state system we have. That may be tough on some secessionist movements, but the Catalans, with their devolved powers, are less disadvantaged than most, IMO.

There are, of course, many other principles involved in how people might best be governed within the states they find themselves. If you wish me to address those issues I’m happy to do so.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Marvin Martian
quote:
Kwesi: To suggest the Catalans are slaves is absurd.

Marvin Martian: I was making a point about freedom. Namely, that without it it doesn't matter how well your masters treat you or how many rights they give you.

How many people have a right to live in the state of their choice?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Shhheee-it Alan!

52% of 72%. 37% of the electorate.

How can that be? What's quorate in a UK election/referendum?

At the risk of repeating myself, nobody was bothered about that question before the result was announced.
How low can it go? The fate of nations and more being decided by a third of the electorate?! Churchill was so right!
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
I think the point is that Catalan unionists are more likely to agree with the Spanish government's assessment that the referendum was illegal, and therefore not vote out of principle, and so no real conclusions can be drawn from the fact that 90% of the vote was for independence.

Whereas in the case of the EU referendum, even people who thought it was a silly idea didn't generally deny that Mr Cameron was acting within his rights in calling it.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
Exactly. It's like the people explaining that Hillary won really because she won the popular vote. You can bet those people would not be conceding the election to Trump had the outcome been the other way around.

The time to argue about the fairness of a vote is before it, not afterwards. The Catalonia referendum was ruled unconstitutional and the turnout suggests (silent) majority support for that position.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
I think the point is that Catalan unionists are more likely to agree with the Spanish government's assessment that the referendum was illegal, and therefore not vote out of principle, and so no real conclusions can be drawn from the fact that 90% of the vote was for independence.

Whereas in the case of the EU referendum, even people who thought it was a silly idea didn't generally deny that Mr Cameron was acting within his rights in calling it.

It was always about silencing the Tory right. Did he have a choice? Would UKIP been the tail wagging the dog in a hung parliament? 'Judge me on Europe.' I remember him saying years ago. We did.
 


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