Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I support Catalan independence - or rather, the right for Catalonia to decide on its independence - because I'm a democrat. Questions like this should be resolved peacefully and democratically, not by beating people in the streets, dissolving elected governments, and jailing people for "sedition". The UK (which is not what I usually think of as a good example of democratic governance) is showing how you can manage such a process with Scotland. Spain should be doing the same, rather than treating peaceful democratic advocacy like terrorism (which only makes people want to get out from under their boot).

As for nationalism, from the outside, the EU seems to provide a model where nations can both be culturally distinct and part of a greater whole. France, Germany, and Italy are all different, all unique, but they're also all European together. Meanwhile, EU regulations and the four freedoms mean that borders just matter less. So peaceful successions within the EU where everyone remains part of the EU seem to not make a hell of a lot of difference (while of course making all the difference in the world to how people feel about their state). But then, I live in a not very nationalist (indeed, kindof anti-nationalist, or anti- the traditional trappings of nationalism) country, so there may be a cultural gap there.

by IdiotSavant on Mon Oct 19th, 2020 at 10:26:13 PM EST
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You could equally argue the right of Spaniards to democratically decide they want Spain to remain intact as is - or at the other extreme, you could give every town and village the right to democratically secede from whatever county, province or country they happen to be in. Democracy can only only operate within the confines of a state whose boundaries may have been decided by wars, colonialism or any number of other non-consensual means.

Czechoslovakia is a rare example of a state freely and democratically deciding to split in two, but that is because the majority in both freely willed it. North island and South Island could become two independent countries, but again, only by mutual consent. Would New zealand grant independence to the richer parts of Auckland, if their people willed it?

It is in the power of Westminster to grant, or not, the right of Scotland to hold another referendum, and then to impose all sorts of conditions for independence to be granted - such as a sharing of the national debt, the loss of nuclear submarine bases, the right to use the British pound etc.

Northern Ireland voted by a large majority against Brexit, (as did Scotland) and their wishes were then totally ignored. Ireland had to fight many bloody uprisings before independence was granted - in part.

The whole concept of a nation state is a relatively recent invention and most countries in the world have only existed, in their current form and territory, for a few generations. Germany Italy France and Spain are amalgamates of previous fiefdoms and kingdoms by war or other bloody means.

The stability of the EU is based on the status quo established by the outcome of WW2 and the more recent fall of the Soviet Union/end of the cold war and the break-up of Yugoslavia. Most people don't want to revisit those conflagrations all over again.

In Spain's case the civil war is still the subject of much bitterness generations later, with much of the structure of politics and the economy determined by its outcome. There is virtually no prospect of a mutually agreed parting of the ways between Spain and Catalunya, and every prospect of a revival of fascism if it is seriously attempted without that agreement.

Best that we all become better Europeans rather than fight those battles again. As you note, there is nothing to prevent a great deal of cultural diversity within a broader European framework, and nothing to be gained by disrupting it, that is worth a few hundred thousand lives.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Oct 20th, 2020 at 01:03:20 AM EST
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I don't think the rest of Spain has any right to decide for Catalonia, or Westminster for Scotland, any more than I have any right to decide for the South Island or Auckland (or for Tokelau, which will undoubtedly have another independence referendum in my lifetime). When a people decide they no longer want to be a part of your country, the best thing for everyone is to accept it and focus on working out how to live together in peace afterwards. Which is what is gradually happening in the UK, it seems (UK law says independence is a non-devolved matter, so Westminster decides; but the UK also seems to recognise that the decision is really one for the Scots, and its just a question of how long it takes them to finally get there).

If states don't want people to want to leave, they need to make them want to stay - and you don't do that by putting a boot on their necks. You can do it with regional autonomy, but Spain fucked that up, to the point where it is probably now irretrievable. (The UK didn't fuck it up, but devolution became a driver for independence in Scotland because it highlighted the differences in political culture and expectations).

by IdiotSavant on Tue Oct 20th, 2020 at 02:44:42 AM EST
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