If one were to believe the recent polling in Catalonia it seemed that the country’s popular push for independence from Spain was rapidly loosing its momentum as many Catalans, facing the imminent prospect of an election-cum-plebiscite on the matter, were finding it difficult to square aspiration with reality. Indeed, when one factored in the hostility of a sizeable population of “unionist-leaning” residents from Spanish and other backgrounds, it looked likely that the main anti-nationalist parties were set to make substantial gains in the forthcoming regional election. Gains that would throw a barrier across the legislative road to full sovereignty. Yet, despite the negative polls of the last few months, Catalan nationalism can still inspire hundreds of thousands of people to take to the streets of their capital city, as reported by the Guardian newspaper:
“Nearly 1.5 million Catalans took to the streets of Barcelona on Friday to rally for independence, as the region’s politicians launched their campaigns for a looming election billed as a make-or-break moment for Catalonia.
“This is the most important campaign of our lives,” said Raul Romeva of the pro-independence Junts pel Sí (Together for Yes) party. A coalition made up of the Catalan leader Artur Mas’s conservative CDC party and the leftwing Catalan Republic Left, Junts pel Sí is seeking to turn the 27 September regional ballot into a quasi-referendum on independence.
The formal campaign began on Catalan National Day, a holiday that in recent years has become a show of strength for secession-minded Catalans with massive rallies staged in support of breaking away from Spain. This year, in a nod to the politically charged backdrop, organisers of the rally adopted the slogan “Let’s start building a new country.”
Most polls show that pro-independence parties are poised to win a slim majority. This week, the state-sponsored Centre for Sociological Research released a poll suggesting Junts pel Sí is on track to win 38.1% of the vote (60 to 61 seats). If they join forces with the pro-independence, far-left party CUP, projected to win eight seats, the separatists could eke out the majority they need to begin the process of breaking away from Spain.”
Even though a few of those marching in the demonstrations on Friday were regionalists rather than nationalists, those favouring greater autonomy or federalism within Spain rather than independence from it, the huge turn-out shows that the question of Catalonia’s near future has yet to be decided. The Iberian nation may still have its Irish revolution.
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That last picture … what can you say? Amazing!
Was in San Sebastian for the summer of 1998 wth trips to Bayonne and St Jean deLuz and I had the impression then that the Basques in France seemed more willing to acknowledge and express their Basque heritage than those in Spain at the time The activities of ETA certainly made the word Basque synonymous wih Terrorist and most Spanish and Basques were tired of violence and the impact on tourism and the economy.. I remember being quite fascinated by some of their sports and pastimes often involving acts of personal stamina e.g a tug of war and type of caber tossing. I really absorbed the culture without learning the language The food was the best part of the summer and I brought home cookery books ,unusual gadgets and a very large Traditional basque Tablecloth
Spanish visitors to our home years later politely informed me that it wasn’t viewed favourably by Spanish people in general to display these items which had such terrorist connotations !! I was a bit taken a back and certainly didn’t wear the earrings my family gave me as a birthday gift
Some of these people are now living in Catalunya and are very much Catalans ,
The Basques in my opinion had a tougher journey in attaining their current status
THE Catalan ” cause” was more noticeably an urban one than The Basque one ( with the exception of Bilbao which was destroyed by graffiti and bombed and neglected buidings)
That summer of98 EGIN the newspaper of wa closed down by a court order because of its link to ETA but the closure was part of a government campaign that had to be seent o be doing something as well as planing a very targeted campaign agaist ETA, the resulting One DayStrike and protests by the Basque s was something to behold not least because many of the pamphlets litttering the streets, had hero like representation s of Gerry Adams who had visited earlier that summer.
The Spanish in general are great for protesting but also for partying streets
Intense. And a good thing.
You re too kind !! I would have said a ‘little manic’ ” myself ………the kind ” that ain’t ever satisfied ‘( Steve Earle ) Neglected to mention that the Newspaper Egin was back in print very shortly afterward s And was closed down again at least once
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Thanks to you.
The current Spanish constitution prohibits the Catalan independence.
They’ll have to change it somehow, because no country in the EU will recognise a unilateral declaration of independence.
Wasn’t that what happened in the Baltics though?
In 1920 Russia recognised the independent Latvia – so it wasn’t unilateral.
The war of independence was a very messy 3 sided conflict (Latvia vs the German Empire vs the Russian Empire).
It’s also interesting that while they shot and killed the Irish republicans in Dublin in order to prevent the independence of Ireland the Brits recognised de facto independence of Latvia and supported us militarily – 112 of them died in that war.
And after the collapse of the USSR we didn’t found a new country, but regained independence – today’s Latvia is the same country that was founded in 1918 and recognised by Russia in 1920 (And by other countries as well – the USA and its allies always maintained that the Soviet occupation was illegal). We also kept the same laws and constitution.
Scottish and Catalan situations are different, because they’re not occupied by anyone.