Separatist movements in the new Europe often have left and right wings to them. Nowhere is this truer than in Spain, whose unusual political landscape of ideologically and regionally diverse splinter groups can be seen as part of the continuing aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, including a Fascist dictatorship which, almost uniquely in western Europe, yielded to pluralism only a generation ago.
It is true especially of Catalonia, whose widely popular independence movement (which this blog called one of “10 Separatist Movements to Watch in 2013”) is hurtling toward a referendum next year on separation from Spain. (See recent articles on the movement here and here.) There is the region’s ruling Convergence and Union (Convergència i Unió, or CiU), which, to the discomfort of some, includes many political conservatives in its broad pro-independence coalition. Then there is the Republican Left of Catalonia (Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, or ERC), which takes a more radical-socialist approach. ERC disdains any attachment to mainstream Spanish politics—promoting unification with the small North Catalonia region over the border in southeastern France in an independent “Greater Catalonia” and (as reported on not too long ago in this blog) bucking the Spanish jingoistic consensus by defending the United Kingdom’s sovereignty in Gibraltar. (After all, Catalans sided with Britain against Madrid in the Wars of Spanish Succession—and for a while during the Spanish Civil War, as readers of George Orwell know, Catalonia was, of all things, an independent “Anarchist” statelet.)
|A Procès Constituent rally in Barcelona.|
Good lord, they must be radicals. Not a Catalan flag in sight.
Sister Forcades considers CiU the party of the rich and calls instead for nationalization of banks, withdrawal from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) (though it has yet to be agreed upon if an independent Catalonia could stay in NATO and the European Union if it wanted to), and even abolition of the military.
|Sister Teresa says the CiU emperors have no clothes.|
But Catalan independence is less important for Sister Forcades and her allies than the social changes they wish to see. “A majority of people in Catalonia already want radical change,” she says, “so we are only trying articulate what already exists. I don’t think these changes can only happen in an independent Catalonia, but I think it would be better. However, there is a hunger for change across all of Spain and I think if it only happens in Catalonia it’s doomed to fail.”
|Looking ahead to 2014 ...|