As most Spaniards do, a majority of Catalans want to participate in a common project for the future of Spain. I cannot resign myself to seeing an isolated Catalonia in a globalized world, nor can I resign myself to seeing more borders in the era of open societies.Since I am neither Catalan nor Spanish nor even European, this is not really my business, but I have a deep suspicion of all separatist movements. Very few of them ever solve the problems (economic stagnation, corruption, a sense of being ignored by leaders) that drive them. Many of them have an "if I can't win I'm taking my ball and going home" feel, for example, you hear a lot more about Southern secession when the Democrats are in power, and many Scots really only want to leave Tory-land, not Britain. More deeply, secessionist movements support the division of the world into smaller and smaller groups, which I think is the opposite of what we need.
Faced with those who promote rupture, I demand dialogue. Faced with exclusion, I ask for coexistence; federalism and union, not provincialism and division; the rule of law, not arbitrariness; and pluralism and freedom against dogma and imposition.
I was born in Barcelona. Catalonia is my homeland, Spain is my country, and Europe is our future.
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
A Catalan for Spain
Catalan politician Albert Rivera calls for greater union, not independence:
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Perhaps the problems you identify are not the primary drivers of separatist sentiments? I think a lot of U.S. (dare I say) elitist thinking, that those rubes who live in the southern, bread basket, and Rocky Mountain regions are too stupid to vote their own interests might be a result of projecting their own interests onto them. Perhaps those rubes are voting their interests. What then? What if they are willing to suffer economically if in return they get something they consider more valuable?
Small is a problem because you can fall prey to a larger country. But so is being too large a problem when different groups within the larger population feel their interests are not being addressed. This is a thorny problem not easily overcome when those interests are in direct conflict with one another. And while I believe ethnic and religious diversity on the whole is a net plus, I also believe the success of diversity is an as yet unsettled, ongoing experiment. I don't know how it will all turn out, but something is in the air -- Brexit, Trump, Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, Spain, and France. Established parties and liberal traditions are under assault, and I am as suspicious of the overly optimistic view as I am of the overly pessimistic one. Culture and History may be as important forces as are economics and security.
"But so is being too large a problem when different groups within the larger population feel their interests are not being addressed." My feeling is that this is true in every community no matter how small. It is true in some nuclear families. No conceivable functioning nation state has ever addressed the interests of all its citizens.
No nation state need address all interests, but it better address those that would destabilize it and tear it asunder.
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