On Catalonia: Debates in the Greek Left

Bellantis, Dimitris
Date Written:  2017-10-18
Publisher:  CounterPunch
Year Published:  2017
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21541

Without the burden of self-censorship or "political correctness" on our backs, let us examine what the possible secession of Catalonia actually means and where it could potentially lead.



Catalonia is a historical nation, an absolutely distinct nation from Castille and – to some degree - from the federal Spanish identity. We mean this in a twofold sense. In the sense of a modern "bourgeois" nation, associated with the rise of capitalism and the development of modern industrialism in Catalonia: Catalans fought for their political independence from Spain during the War of Spanish Succession (1702-1714) as allies of France, and again in the 19th Century in order to construct a separate nation-state or unite with France. The second sense has to do with the formation of a pre-capitalist national community (the one which merged with Castille in the 1490s) prior to the modern era, as we do not accept the theory that the nation is something constructed from scratch by the bourgeois state in modern times without there being a preexisting national community. The modern state of Spain was formed through the unification of the Kingdom of Castille and the Kingdom of Aragon (including, then, the modern Catalonia). For historical reasons (the Francoist dictatorship being one of the most important), the renewal of the Catalan national identity in the 18th, 19th and the 20th centuries did not lead to the formation of a separate national state. Catalonia remained in a status of semi-autonomy, severely repressed in periods of clear reaction such as the Francoist dictatorship.

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