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Self-Determination: Democracy's bastard child

by ManfromMiddletown Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 10:07:23 AM EST

More than 3,000 Catalan nationalists organized by the United Campaign for Self Determination (Campanya Unitària per l'Autodeterminació) protested against the passage of the Catalan Estatut on Saturday in Barcelona.

The Campaign counted, according to its organizers, on the support of some 230 Catalan linguistic organizations that protested for the self determination of what they call the Països Catalans (Ed note Catalan Countries, including the Catalan speaking areas of the Balearic Islands and Valencia.), and denounced that the autonomy statutes of other communities did not contemplate this right.

Xavier Monataje, member of the Campaign, expline that they reject, "the constitutional reforms of the Spanish state, an antidemocratic state since birth", that alredy doesn't contemplate the right of self determination, which they consider basic for all peoples.

In the case of the Estatut, the consider it "unacceptable because is doesn't take into account all the terrority in which Catalan is dominant, and doesn't allow improving the quality of life for the majority of citizens.

Self determination, democracy's bastard child, is forcing Spain to reconsider what the obligations of a democratic nation to its people are.

Promoted by Colman


Below you will find a poster from the event.  In the right hand corner it reads Som una nacio, Trans. We are a nation (Kcurie, please correct me if I get the translation wrong), the word on the bottom, autodeterminacio means self determination.  

Note that nacio is written in red.  The use of the term nation in the Catalan Estaut was the subject of debate between nationalists in the ERC (the Catalan Left nationalist party that entered as a junior partner in Zapatero's government in 2004) and the PP (the conservative opposition party.) In a recent poll commissioned by a Catalan newspaper, found that 76% of Spanish deny that Catalunya is a nation, nearly 50% feel that Catalans are unsupportive of Spain, and 47% believe that Catalunya wants leave Spain.

This graphic gives a breakdown by party voted for in the 2004 general election and region.

When asked whether they viewed Catlunya as a nation only 19.1% of all Spanish said Yes, while 76.3% said No.  Interestingly the only regions which even came close to supporting the idea of Catalunya as a nation where in Catlunya itself, with 46.8% seeing Catalunya as a nation while 49.4% said no. And in the Basque country the region was evenly divided with 47.2% supporting the idea of Cataluyna as a nation while the same percentage denied this. This would appear to be the end of the matter, with such a solid majority of the rest of Spain clearly rejecting the notion of Catalunya as a nation, therefore also presumably rejecting the Estatut and any rejection that Spain is a country with many nations.  Or perhaps not......

When asked whether they saw Spain as a multinational state or as sole nation, the results were less clear. 39.8% said they viewed Spain as a multinational state, while 54.8% stated that they vied Spain as being a sole nation, rejecting the notion of mutliple nations within Spain. Solid majorities topping 60% in both Catalunya and the Basque country supported the view that there are multiple nations in Spain.  This is more than just semantics.  While there is little suport in the rest of Spain for Catalunya or the Basque Country becoming independent states, there is a solid majority in Catalunya and the Basque Country, and a solid minority in the nation as a whole, for greater regional autonomy.

All this talk is more than semantics.  One of the more contraversial aspects of the Estatut would allow Catalunya to keep substantially more of the tax revenue raised in the region at home while sending less of the money to Madrid, where it is currently redistributed to other, less wealthy, regions like Andalucia. The political importance of this should not be underestimated, and as with the the growth of the Spanish autonomies in during the Transition, there's the sense that whatever agreement is reached with Catalunya should be transferable to the rest of the country's regions.  The autonomous communities of Navarra, and the Basque Country currently are unique in that they have much greater control over their finances than the other regions, however in the support of the Estatut, the Generalitat, the Catalan regional government, has asked that Navarra and the Basque Country be called on to abandon the unique financial arrangements (which are the result of historical agreements reaching back to Hapsburg Spain) that they have with Madrid, and join a general system of financation modeled on the Estatut.  There is a tremendous nexus between the economics and politics of self determination, much of the obejections to the
Estatut coming from the Socialist stronghold of Andalucia might have less to do with a grand sense of the unity of Spain, and more to do with the fear that in an environment where the regions retain their tax income, Catalunya's gain is Andalucia's loss.  And this leads to the charge that the Catalans are not showing solidarity with the far poorer inhabitants of Andalucia.  In fact the regions where there are strong regionalist movements that want to keep their tax income at home are by far wealthier on a per capita basis than those regions that favor a centralized finanacial model.

>GDP per capita at current prices (euros) 2004 *
Comunidad de Madrid        25,855
Com. Foral de Navarra        24,690
País Vasco            24,364
Cataluña            23,175
Illes Balears            22,888
La Rioja            21,941
Aragón                21,128
Cantabria            19,153
Comunidad Valenciana        18,374
Castilla y León            18,199
Canarias            17,687
Región de Murcia        16,793
Ceuta                16,744
Principado de Asturias        16,633
Melilla                16,475
Castilla-La Mancha        15,504
Galicia                15,482
Andalucía            14,876
Extremadura            12,886
*1st Estimate

One look at the results of the 2004 elections shows that Zapatero and the socialists have a serious problem in dealing with the Estatut, they have to court the support of voters in Catalunya and in Andalucia, but the on the issue of autonomy there's a wide divide between the people who voted for the Socialist in Badajoz and Barcelona.  The PP is aware of this, and they are starting to manipulate the issue if Catalan autonomy to evoke fear and loathing in ways that previously had been reserved for the Basques. Following a letter by 1981 coup leader Antonio Tejero suggesting that the issue of Catalan autonomy should be put to  national referendum, the PP oblidged, begining a campaign to collect enough signatures to force a referendum on the matter. The problem is that the PP just might unleash democratic irony onto the peoples of Spain, by proving that while most Spanish reject the Estatut a solid majority, in a free and democratic vote, of Catalans want the Estatut to pass.  In 1936, it was strife over the autonomy of Catalunya that forced the nation into civil war, while nothing so dramatic is likely in the short term, a referendum confirming that the Catalans want greater autonomy, while the rest of Spain is unwilling to grant it could lead to a polarization of the country, and the rise of ethnic tensions. Ever the drama queen, Aznar cautioned Mexican businessman against investing in Spain, saying that Spain is going to become a Yugoslavia.

This is overly dramatic, but as much as we in the West pride ourselves on our democratic principles and practices, self determination threatens to make fools of us all.  Can we truly call a nation democratic if it refuses to allow its constituent peoples self determination?  Because it's inconvenient there's a strain of thought that accepts the denial of self determination as legitimate so long as a nation otherwise adheres to democratic principles. Yet this runs in the face of the past hundred years of European history.  If self determination is only legitimate where both parties are willing to part ways of their own free will this raises an important question.

Which of the countries in this map.

But not this one.

Deserve to exist?

The sun never sets on the British Empire.  It did.

Spain. One, free, and grand.  Give it time, and I think you'll find in the long term two out of three ain't bad.

Life is not static nor are nations.

A new book, The Untied States of America:

...reminds us that, in 1950, the United Nations had 50 member countries. Today, the number has grown to 191.
And the trend seems to be toward more new countries. From 1900 to 1950 the world saw an average of 1.2 new countries a year; from 1950 to 1990 the rate grew to 2.2 new countries a year; and between 1990 and now, to 3.1 new nations a year.

We accept nations like Ireland, Poland, and Bosnia Herznegovina that were not independent at the turn of the last century now because they've become part of the map we've grown used to, and there's a sense that we are at an end point where the legitimate nationhood struggles have ceased, and all that remain are frivoulous or worse.  Yet I'm certain that the same attitude existed in 1900, 1919, and 1989. So long as there are peoples who want to have their own nation do the democratic nations of the West have any right to tell them that they can't?   Update [2006-2-14 23:10:10 by ManfromMiddletown]:Per Migeru's request here is a map of the 2004 Spanish election results by party and region. This map is the polar opposite of American maps. Red is for PSOE, the Socialists, while blue is for PP, the Conservatives.

Poll
How will the map of Europe look in 50 years?
. There will be many more countries. 40%
. Things will look exacly the same. 0%
. The rise of the EU will mean that Europe will be a country. 10%
. As an anarchist I find your promotion of the nation-state offensive 50%

Votes: 10
Results | Other Polls
Display:
Thanks for that 4th poll option...

I think my diary on the suppression of the Spanish nationalities is overdue.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 03:24:12 AM EST
There is an interesting parallel with the reports of separatist feelings in the North of Italy. Economic reasoning and a loss of solidarity is a powerful driver in splitting nations.

The EU provides a possible framework to juggle with this problem. Let (for example) Scotland become separate from the UK. If they are poorer than the general line, they will receive EU money, if richer, they will contribute.

Of course, the killer is that whilst this can immediately solve some "national identity" problems, the EU currently doesn't work well enough to solve the economic problems in the way I outlined above.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 03:57:01 AM EST
Give an inch, they take a foot. OR at least that's how I think the saying goes. Multinational empires worked rather well until the first world war.
by messy on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 10:52:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Define "worked well"?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 10:53:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They worked quite well until democracy came along, which is exactly MfM's point.

The present nationalistic movements of Europe have their roots in early 19th-century romanticism. What WWI did was weaken the European empires sufficiently for their natinalities to assert themselves. The decolonization of the British Empire (especially India and Palestine/Zionism) can be seen as part of the same process.

Multinational empires "worked well" until the French Revolution, because until then absolute rule by monarchs regardless of nationality was accepted. But these monarchs had to regularly assert their rule and suppress nationalistic uprisings. For a while now I have been thinking about a diary on the Spanish nationalities seen from this angle.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 11:07:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In line with my rejection of the 'nation' concept, I won't speak of 'multinational empires' either.

Absolutist (and not just absolutist) kings defined nations - and the big problem of the romanticist/Enlightement idea of the nation was that while replacing the Empreror with The People, the latter had no clear definer - it had to be invented. And 'nation' concepts then struggled with each other for people and land, broke apart or unified or pushed out each other. You could have called France a 'multinational' empire too, but unlike in the case of the Habsburg Empire, most of the people in the areas once under the control of the French king were assimilated by the Ile-de-France (or just Paris) French-ness.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 07:11:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just like being an atheist does not prevent me from recognizing the reality of the religious experience, being apatriotic (what do you exactly mean by apatriot, DoDo? Are you inventing the term? In Spanish we have apátrida, but that means basically "stateless") does not prevent me from recognizing the reality of the national experience.

Western Europe's national identities started to form in the 15th century and were fully formed by the end of the 17th century. This coincides with the establishment of authoritarian monarchies to replace the feudal order. The  authoritarian monarchy and the nation developed in parallel and it is hard to argue that one clearly caused the other.

The failure of Spain to annex Portugal and the way that England's annexation of Ireland ended up not lasting have to do with the fact that both annexations happened in the 17th century.

The authoritarian monarchy gave way to the absolute monarchy (17th to 19th centuries), under which the national identities were more or less frozen. There was a second wave of nationality formation staring with the democratic revolutions of the 19th century.

I understand that, to some extent, Central and Eastern Europe followed a different path as nationality formation was influenced by the existence of four multi-national empires: Germany, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman and Russian.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 07:34:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
does not prevent me from recognizing the reality of the national experience.

Agreed here. But I contend that while there are national feelings and self-identifications, national football teams, national cuisines and so on, still there are no nations. (This will be matter for my last diary in the apatriot mini-series.)

hat do you exactly mean by apatriot, DoDo?

Not adhering to a nation. I didn't make it up, I saw it used by others.

Western Europe's national identities started to form in the 15th century and were fully formed by the end of the 17th century.

Belgian, German, Norwegian? Breton, gascogne, Sicilian, maybe even English?

Methinks you confuse the retroactive historical mythologisation of nationalisms with the real one, the sense of nation wasn't fully developed until conversion into democracies/republics.

The authoritarian monarchy and the nation developed in parallel and it is hard to argue that one clearly caused the other.

I wrote "Absolutist (and not just absolutist)" just because I wanted to extend the argument above your narrower terminology - back to feudalism. And I didn't say the former caused the latter - to say my argument differently, the latter replaced the former as raison d'être of community within a state.

The failure of Spain to annex Portugal and the way that England's annexation of Ireland ended up not lasting have to do with the fact that both annexations happened in the 17th century.

Ireland was controlled and de-facto annexed by England for much longer, and there is Scotland too, which had more independence than Ireland but ended up as part of Britain. Prussia did manage to integrate almost all German lands in the 19th century (with the exception of Austria, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, the German parts of Switzerland and Belgium, and The Netherlands). France managed to swallow Lotharingia and Alsace, though those annexations also happened in the 17th century. Austria lost the Czech Republic, though it was under changing Germanic control for almost a millennium, and Habsburg rule for four centuries.

There is a lot of history of forgotten people.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 08:02:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Western Europe's national identities started to form in the 15th century and were fully formed by the end of the 17th century.

Belgian, German, Norwegian? Breton, gascogne, Sicilian, maybe even English?

Yes, I think I would stand by that, more or less. I did say national identities, not nation states. Sicily, for instance, has a distinct identity from the rest of Italy partly because it was part of the Spanish crown (along with Naples) until the 19th century.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 08:10:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I too meant national identities.

The Belgian one only formed in the 18th century, and the ones now poised to replace it are still forming. The German one was not indifferent from Panslavism in the 18th and most of even the 19th century, it transformed a lot in the process of unification and swallowing of local identities (which was still ongoing in the first half of the 20th century), and, say, would have been a lot different had Austria unified the rest, not Prussia. (Or, if both had unified a part, creating a big Northern and a big Southern Germany, divided by the Weißwurst-Äquator. Or, if Hitler's Anschluss, then supported by an Austrian majority, hadn't been undone.) To my knowledge, Gascogne identity, which was strong even at the time of the French Revolution, almost completely died out, while the Breton one is fading strongly lately. (Tho' I did see signs of Breton nationalism when I was in Brittany.) English was rather underdeveloped due to the British identity, and still is.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 08:30:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By George! I think you underestimate the strength of English identity. After all, they have their own international Football, Rugby and Cricket teams.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 08:35:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And you can tell if they're English by the fact that they care about the cricket team. You can tell they're not English if they support whoever the English are playing.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 08:39:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whenever I see someone reading the daily express I know they are English.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 08:42:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is some truth to what you say, but the England cricket team does represent England and Wales not just England.

For historical reasons the England and Wales Cricket Board calls its representative team England, but Welsh players take part in it. For example Simon Jones of Glamorgan played an important part in the Ashes series with Australia last year.

by Gary J on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 12:51:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
However, no demands for self-determination, for keeping taxes, no Estatut (or, at least, only mumblings). England is less developed in that respect than the Faroer Islands, another sports-nation.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 08:51:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You also underestimate the importance of international sports teams. If you have that, who needs taxes, police, or statutes? Did you follow the controversy over the Catalan National Hockey Team?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 08:57:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think I unterestimate them - nowadays in Western Europe, nations are most strongly sports nations. (This is even recognised by some Euro-identity-boosterist EU types, who would like to see an EU football team beating Brazil.) I haven't heard of the Catalan Hockey Team, but it doesn't surprise me at all :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 09:52:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Catalan Hockey Team kicks ass. They were allowed to play in the international "B" division as a one-off and routed every single one of their opponents. Then when the issue came before the international federation, the Spanish government lobbied heavily to defeat the vote to allow a Catalan team.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 09:56:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't count England out.  There's all ready been some talk about devolving powers to the English regions, and there are areas like Cornwall that do have strong regional identities.  I think as a general rule that once nations accept the devolution of power to historic regions a general devolution into a federal system is likely.  Federalism is a viable alternative to regionalism.  By creating a general system for local autonomy, this new power base is tied to notions of subsidarity and not to romantic nationalisms.  

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 11:27:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe referenda to create english regions have failed, but on the other hand the restoration of the Mayor of London has been quite successful.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2006 at 06:59:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, just like there are religions there are nations? Or not?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 08:18:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep to the first.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 08:22:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Neither is monolythic, and both have gurus and churches.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 08:23:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quote:
"In line with my rejection of the 'nation' concept..."
*
Unfortunately this is a fantasy. I had same fantasy before and naively believed that USA, Australia, New Zealand and Canada are multicultural societies...No bloody way and don't let anyone lie about this to you. They are not ...When ever it is needed (like now) for political reasons politicians through media and propaganda machine very easily can start national and resist hatred. It's always been there (inside people) but it's suppressed for political and economic reasons when necessary. Multiculturalism is fairytale unfortunately. At first I thought it's just us in ex - YU that have those feelings and are easy to manipulate but its world wide phenomenon...To be honest my hair goes up from what I see and feel is coming worldwide. I am sorry to be pessimistic and bitter again. And about economy and brotherhood we Serbs have a say :"Yes we are brothers but our wallets are not sisters (or brothers)"


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 08:31:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are Crnagorci Serbs?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 08:35:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Off course they are. Same nation but kind of different tribe. Same religion and most of the time same interest through history. At the moment their political mafia is talking about Montenegro's independence too. They need referendum to do it. Problem is that more then 1/3 of them live in Serbia and are not interested in independence. This 1/3 Montenegro politicians would like to avoid to let them vote.
Referendum is a tricky thing. Most of the time if they have a referendum on whole territory of the specific country of course majority of the people would vote against independence of some specific part. If you make referendum just in that specific part that want independence majority will of course be for independence. Have in mind loyalty to one's nation (it's named patriotism) and propaganda and manipulation too. There is no way that both sides will agree on separatist tendencies peacefully. One side can be pushed (or bribed, or otherwise made to agree) from outside to allow it but it's rarely the case. That's why borders are all soaked in blood and especially in Europe. But Serbs and Crnogorci (Montenegrins) never did and never will fight each other military...because we are same nation...But we do have our differences...ouh yeah...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 09:36:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is an sizeable group of people who felt yugoslav and are left without a nation, whatever passport they hold now.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 08:38:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well yes. Mostly people from Bosnia and other "multicultural" parts and those from "mixed marriages"
I personally am not one of them and I do not mourn for Yugoslavia that much.I always felt more like a "citizen of the world" then Yugoslav or even Serb I grieve for what have we done to each other in the process of "divorce"...We "ruined our house and killed our children"...if you know what I mean.
But I never felt it was a "marriage based on love". It even was not "marriage of interest" for all of us. I wish we have "never marriage" to be honest. But it was not that much our decision anyway...It was always for super powers to determine our destiny on the Balkan...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 09:55:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking of Scotland, when you start talking about the 1707 Act of Union, the importance of the customs union in making poltical union stick is important. Now the incentive the customs union isn't tied to the national state. In the push by the Basques for an autonomy staute in 2005, independence was avoided because that would imply withdraw from the EU.  

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 10:53:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can the people's of regions have their identities and still remain a part of a lrager nation? Must they separate? It will be interesting to see how this plays out...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 04:42:24 AM EST
There seems to be a difference in attitude between Spain and the UK.

No one in the British Isles would deny that there are at least four nations within the UK. I think few would deny that Scotland, England and Wales have a right to self-determination. Even Mrs Thatcher accepted that if the Scots were determined to be independent, they were entitled to be.

Northern Ireland is problematic. Is it part of the Irish nation, as it was before partition, or a nation in itself? Does Northern Ireland have the right to be independent or is its self determination limited to choosing between a United Kingdom or a united Ireland? We may have that issue resolved during the next century.

There are arguably some other nations within the big historic ones. Cornwall has some historic claims to be a distinct nation, more akin to Wales than England. Its nationalist party, Mebyon Kernow, has never made much impact but who knows what will happen in the future. The Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru had little influence before the 1960s.

At the end of the day what is the point of trying to hold polities together when substantial bodies of people are determined to leave? The United Kingdom has not suffered significant harm because 26 Irish counties were no longer within its territory.

The only real problem is what to do with territory within the nation seeking self determination from the multi-national state, where there is a local majority opposed to independence (ie Northern Ireland). Nationalists tend to be quite resistant to solutions like partition and home rule within home rule, so there is scope for another round of core-periphery conflict within the proposed newly independent nation.

I suppose there are always tensions. There are processes in human societies which work to build up and to tear down nations and unions and federations. Where the boundaries are drawn at any given time is the result of politics. All we can try and do is resolve such tensions by peaceful not violent means.

by Gary J on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 03:30:09 PM EST
Yesterday I got e-mail from a friend of mine from Madrid, with a PDF "Madrid Statute" which must be circulating among PP sympathisers and making their day. Maybe I'm overreacting, but underlying it there is a mixture of imperialism, Franquism, Opus Dei, monarshism, Real Madrid fandom, homophobia, anticatalanism, racism (against african immigrants), dictatorial longing, and militarism. All very humorous, but I don't find it at all funny because of the underlying attitudes to the various jokes.

Good thing I'm "in exile".

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 05:11:15 AM EST
Is 60% of ET really anarchist?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 07:02:42 AM EST
Well no, but as an apatriot I find the promotion of the national state offensive anyway.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 07:06:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So long as there are peoples who want to have their own nation

With what borders?

Cut-up like in Northern Ireland? Historical, but 'helped' with ethnic cleansing, like in Croatia?

When will it stop?

When Valencians break off Catalunya? When Eskimo nations break off Quebec? When Franks break off Bavaria? When Florence breaks off Toscana that broke off Padania which broke off Italy?

I of course would favor ditching the 'nation' concept altogether, but even without it, I think the best we can do is to have multiple levels of communal authority and 'sovereignity' (e.g. collective 'self'-determination) and manage tensions in that framework.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 07:05:21 AM EST
When Valencians break off Catalunya?
Valencia may be part of the Països Catalans, but part of catalunya it isn't. And you should see the acrimonious debates that go on regarding whether Valenciano is a separate language, and whether Catalans want to exercise imperialism on Valencia... I mean, you really should.

Same think on whether "Euskal Herria" includes Navarra of the French Basque Country. Basque nationalist vote may be about 50% in what is now called Pais Vasco (50% in Bizkaia and higher in Gipuzkoa, but lower in Araba), about 10% in Navarra (Nafarroa) and about 5% over on the French side (Lapurdi and Zuberoa).

It's all nonsense, and at the same time it is not.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 07:13:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And you should see the acrimonious debates that go on regarding whether Valenciano is a separate language, and whether Catalans want to exercise imperialism on Valencia...

This was a tactless reference to exactly that controversy, a hyperbole aimed at Catalan hyper-nationalists who'd like to create a, how do I call it, Greater Catalunya. (I used to have an on-line friend from Valencia, BTW.)

It's all nonsense, and at the same time it is not.

Exactly.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 07:35:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Anyway, before Valencia can break off Catalunya, Catalunya has to annex it.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 07:37:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But that's the bloody point!

To an 'strong' nationalist, that is a basic demand, just like a Basque nationalist would want the other provinces with Basque population joined to País Vasca and want that to become independent.

(Or another analogous thing, in 1848, the areas of the former Kingdom of Hungary were divided into two provinces within the Habsburg Empire, and even though in Transsylvania Hungarians were a small minority behind Romanians and Germans, one of the central - and fulfilled - demands of the Budapest revolutionaries was a union.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 08:09:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If Spain lets Euskadi and Catalunya become independent, the joke will be on France.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 08:11:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And there's a sizeable group of people in Navarra who feel that the region has it's own unique identity. In autonomous elections the PP doesn't run candidates, rather a regional conservative party the Union of Navarran People (UPN) runs in the place of the PP in Navarra. Ironically, if Madrid wanted to kill Basque nationalism the quickest way would be to incorporate Navarra into the Basque country.  That would ensure that the Basque nationalists could never gain a majority at the autonomic level, and keep the PNV out of government forever.  

Bizkaia or Viscaya, Dios mio funny you choose to use the Basque name.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 11:46:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I cannot write Catalunya and then Vizcaya...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2006 at 07:00:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't make accents of tildes to work on my computer....

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2006 at 10:13:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ñ = ñ, ü = ü, ´ = á

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2006 at 10:21:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
MfM, you should not just point a hyperlink at the results of the 2004 elections, but display them. They're as instructive as this:


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 08:26:20 AM EST
The wikipedia map of the results is better in that it distinguishes PP/PSOE majorities and pluralities of votes.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2006 at 07:04:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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