In Switzerland, the original multi-ethnic, multi-lingual democracy, which has weathered many of the storms of Europe’s separatist tumults without coming apart, has, for better or for worse, lost one of its fringe separatist nationalists this week. Giuliano Bignasca, the founder of the Lega dei Ticinese (League of Ticino) representing Switzerland’s one Italian-speaking canton, Ticino, died on March 7th. He was 67.
|Ticino is Switzerland’s one predominantly-Italian-speaking canton.|
|Swiss and Ticinese flags fly side by side—something some Helvetic Italophones would like to change.|
|Bignasca embraced Bossi and his ideology.|
|German- and Italian-speakers have been fighting over Ticino at least since the Battle of Ponte Rozzo in 1524.|
The League of Ticino in 2011 became the dominant party in the canton. But the League was Bignasca and Bignasca was the League. Whether Ticinese nationalism will survive in its current virulent form without its charismatic founder remains to be seen.
[Also, for those who are wondering, yes, this blog is tied in with a forthcoming book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas to be published by Auslander and Fox under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements, Independence Struggles, Breakaway Republics, Rebel Provinces, Pseudostates, Puppet States, Tribal Fiefdoms, Micronations, and Do-It-Yourself Countries, from Chiapas to Chechnya and Tibet to Texas. Look for it some time in 2013. I will be keeping readers posted of further publication news. (Meanwhile, if you still have money burning a hole in your pocket, an excellent way to support the “Springtime for Nations” blog is by considering donating a volume to the “Springtime of Nations” Research Library via the “Springtime of Nations” Amazon wish list.)]