October 29, 2017

The future of Catalonia – can it follow the Quebec path?

Posted in Irish Independent · 310 comments ·

This week, the Catalan parliament declared independence. Immediately, the Spanish government annulled this move and announced direct rule from Madrid. By tomorrow, the Spanish authorities will have taken over all the organisations of the Catalonia state, including the police force.


This escalation can only further inflame nationalist sentiment in Barcelona.


This story, however, has a wearily familiar feeling to it: the extremists are taking over. The Catalan nationalists will manipulate every mistake by Madrid and, in turn, Madrid will become increasingly deaf to the legitimate yearnings of a significant chunk of the Catalan people who want to go on their own.


So, one side will escalate its own indignation, and the other side will denigrate its significance, leading to a bigger and bigger crisis.


As Yeats noted in “The Second Coming”;


“Things fall apart [when] the best lack all conviction and the worst are full of passionate intensity”.


This perfectly resonates with the current Spanish situation; the middle ground is simply shrugging its shoulders and allowing others to make decisions, while the extremists are becoming more cacophonous.


So, what’s going to happen? If we examine separatist movements of the past thirty years, there are three major movements that might help us predict what will happen in Spain: namely, those of Quebec, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia.


The preferred route for those who want compromise is the Quebec path, and it is highly instructive.


When I first visited Montreal, in 1985, it was a slightly edgy, down at heel, bi-lingual city. I arrived on the day of the funeral of Rene Levesque, the nationalist leader of Quebec separatism.


The region was in mourning.


The Parti Quebecois wanted to lead Quebec out of Canada and create an independent Quebec. From the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s, Quebec underwent a series of constitutional crises. Each crisis allowed the nationalists to grow stronger, ultimately leading to their day in the sun with the independence referendum of 1995.


In the end, the vote was wafer thin: 49.5% voted to leave Canada and 50.5% voted to stay – it was truly extraordinary. Interestingly, the fortunes of the nationalists waned after the referendum.


Importantly, this decline can be paradoxically attributed to the success of the nationalist movement in preserving the unique French-Canadian identity of Quebec; the region becoming both more French and more Canadian at the same time.


The Montreal I visited last year was firmly within Canada but profoundly more French than the city I had visited in 1985.


This is the solution many Spaniards, and many Europeans, want for Catalonia.


The Canadian government allowed the Quebec government to ramp up their linguistic laws to preserve French, and increased financial aid to Quebec at the same time. In return, the Quebec government dialed down the nationalist moves.


Today, Montreal is an extremely cosmopolitan city that has elements of both rural France and hippest Brooklyn. Quebec nationalism has won and Canadian federalism has also won, in a very Canadian display of constructive pragmatism. Dissolution was averted through dialogue.


For many, this route is the best possible outlook for Catalonia.


The second path for Catalonia is the “velvet divorce” of the Czechs and Slovaks. The old state of Czechoslovakia was dissolved peacefully on 1st January 1993. Interestingly, as late as September 1992, opinion polls showed that only 37% of Czechs and 37% of Slovaks actually wanted separation. However, nationalist politicians, on both sides, agitated in parliament for separation and ultimately, rather than prolong a row, the leaders of the biggest parties agreed to separate and form two countries.


The entire divorce was done with a minimum of fuss, very little acrimony and, better still, a total absence of bitterness.


Some people hope that Catalonia, if it insists on independence, might be able to negotiate such a velvet divorce with Spain. However, this doesn’t look too likely as the past few weeks indicate a level of acrimony between Madrid and Barcelona that is becoming more and more aggravated, not less.


The final path is the path to war that befell Yugoslavia. As outlined in this column a few weeks back, right up to the end, the majority of Serbs and Croats still clung to the idea that the Yugoslavian confederation may remain intact. What was regarded as a difficult but manageable constitutional dilemma descended into civil war in a matter of days.

Elements in the Yugoslavian armed forces made crucial mistakes at pivotal moments, dragging a largely unwilling population into conflicts which pitted neighbour against neighbour; a series of communal violence ensued, the likes of which had not been seen in Europe since 1945.


People sometimes dismiss Yugoslavia as being a once-off event, reminding us that, during the Second World War, the Croats and the Serbs murdered each other with impunity. For those with a sense of history, however, we should remind ourselves that over 1,000,000 Spaniards were murdered in their own civil war.


This slaughter is still within human memory.


Very soon, people will look to the EU.


My sense is that the EU will not abandon the Catalans. The “Europe of the regions” slogan only makes sense when you recognize regions.  Moreover, the EU is an expansionist project; if it stops expanding, it loses purpose.


It doesn’t kick regions out.


No matter what it says now, ultimately, the EU will recognize Catalonia as an independent state if it continues down its current path, and the Catalans know this.


In fact, this is Barcelona’s diplomatic ace and Madrid knows this too.


We should all hope that the Catalan crisis takes the route of either Quebec or Czechoslovakia but the Croatian path can’t be ruled out, that is truly terrifying.


David Mc Williams hosts www.kilkenomics.com from November 9th in Kilkenny.   

  1. Truthist

    Apropos of The “so-called Federal 8-) ] Reserve Bank of America [ Actually, USA ] ;
    Yes, that most Tony Brogan maligned “private” Financial Institution.
    They who own the Fed..
    Note ;
    David Rockefeller died this year.
    RIP 8-)

  2. Clinton briefed on “rebels” atrocious massacres in Libya.
    Also complicit is the CNN reporting of fake news to tarnish the “blacks of Libya” that they may be branded Gaddafi mercenaries and slaughtered.

  3. “”The Syrian Army discovered warehouses filled with US military equipment left behind by ISIS militants who recently retreated. This is further proof that the Obama administration and the ‘deep state’ were arming jihadis to topple the Syrian government. A Leaked memo from the Pentagon to the State Department acknowledged that “The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support [this] opposition” which referred to the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda. In 2012, Hillary Clinton’s State Department began backing al-Qaeda, which morphed into ISIS, as a proxy army to topple Syrian President Assad. In 2014, ISIS released a video showing is soldiers receiving American-made weapons being airdropped in territory it controlled. -GEG”"


  4. https://goldswitzerland.com/the-biggest-wealth-transfer-in-history/

    As the socialist dominated media dig into the Panama Papers and now recently the Paradise Papers to attack the rich and tell governments to tackle the unacceptable face of capitalism, nobody understands the real reasons for this enormous concentration of wealth. …………

    But what is missing is that the current economic system could not function without complete state sponsorship and interference.This is the clever construction that a group of top bankers devised on Jekyll Island in the US, in November 1910. This was the meeting that led to the creation of the Fed in 1913. The Central Bank of the US was set up as a private bank, and thus controlled by private bankers for their own benefit……….

    Whilst ordinary people have been landed with liabilities that they can never repay, the bankers and the 1% elite has profitably (ab)used the leverage that the debt expansion has created and thus amassed massive fortunes…………..

    That is why we are seeing this enormous inequality in wealth. Ordinary people have not yet realised that they are liable for this debt………….

    Except for the average person who is likely to become debt free after the implosion of the financial system, the major beneficiaries will be the investors who have no debt and hold hard assets such as agricultural land, commodity investments, including precious metals of course and also certain food sector investments which will benefit from food shortages and food price inflation.

  5. “To translate the legalese jargon of the ECB bureaucrats this could mean that the current €100,000 (£85,000) deposit level currently protected in the event of a bail-in may soon be no more.

    But worry not fellow savers as the ECB is fully aware of the uproar this may cause so they have been kind enough to propose that:

    “…during a transitional period, depositors should have access to an appropriate amount of their covered deposits to cover the cost of living within five working days of a request.”
    So that’s a relief, you’ll only need to wait five days for some ‘competent authority’ to deem what is an ‘appropriate amount’ of your own money for you to have access to in order eat, pay bills and get to work.”


  6. Never mind the Catalonians, although they are important, never mind Trump and the revival of individualism, or Brexit and the revival of nation state sovereignty, what are you going to do about the direction of your country and the direction of your ancient civilization?
    What can you do? Do not give up hope, do not remain quiet, to not allow yourself to be manipulated, do not be deceived by the trickery and deceit of the propaganda and the lies, take a stand for yourself to right the wrongs. TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR LIFE AND THOSE AROUND YOU. VOTE IN THE POLITICIANS THAT WILL DO YOUR BIDDING RATHER THAN THE OTHER WAY AROUND.

    Here is Nigel Farage to inspire you.


  7. Truthist

    Of course, Mandy + “Miranda” 8-) steered Ireland to follow their Path
    These characters feature within short expose on famous character who wanted “Eire” to grant its Ports to Allied Forces during WW2 such that then local populace would be blown to smithereens by German airforce.

  8. Truthist

    More on Deco sponsored off-topic topic that in fact may be topic to serve for later annihilation of :

    Hillary Clinton
    Bernie Sanders ; Because he sold out to Hillary
    Democratic Party ; For next 8 years say




    Harvey Weinstein Hired Israeli Spies to Silence His Victims


  9. Truthist

    @ Grzegorz,

    I propose that u devise on a Wiki of ur sole ultimate control which can be referred to as link within posts :

    Tables on particular topics giving the :
    relevant important immutable facts
    relevant important mutable facts ; And, their current state


    The Stage per different Scenarios
    The Game[s]
    The Plot[s]
    The Actors ; The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
    inter alia

    • Truthist

      Helpful for, or against, accordingly :

      Scholars for
      Scholars against ; Contraires

      Should ultimately save u :
      inter alia

    • Grzegorz Kolodziej

      Don’t you remember :-( that I’ve written here at the beginning of this year that I am now blocked from Wiki for correcting the lies about Jedwabne spread by a “historian” (he is not a historian) Jan Tomasz Gross, who is such a liar that even the director of the Auschwitz museum described Gross’s fictional description of Polish peasants as “racist”? Never mind Auschwitz – even the Israeli ambassador to Poland condemned Jan Tomasz Gross in the past because his (Gross’s) slandering of the Polish nation is based on such lies that it starts having an opposite effect (i.e., Gross claims that in Jedwabne, the Poles set a stable on fire and then put a wooden ladder to the burning wooden stable, climbed on top of that ladder, and started shooting the Jews through the burning thatched roof from machine guns).

      Interestingly, initially Wikipedia accepted my entry to their article on Gross, but a few days after, they took it off and banned me.

      This is my entry they accepted and then withdrew:

      In 2001, Gross said that a documentary on Polish-Jewish relations that a filmmaker, Agnieszka Arnold was working on, inspired him to his description of graphic violence in his ‘Neighbors’: “I had an epiphany” [30]
      The same year, historian Leszek Zebrowski criticised Gross’s use of historical sources [31]
      In 2001, a historian István Deák expressed caution regarding Gross’s account, pointing out that his book “is based on a limited number of documents.” [32].
      Professor Deák, in his 2001 review in these pages, questioned “why the Jews did not defend themselves. As Gross writes, Jews made up two thirds of Jedwabne’s population. The Poles had no firearms.” He concluded that the fact that they did not fight back may also suggest that there were more than a handful of armed Germans present at that time – which would discredit the main hypothesis of Gross’s book [33]
      The ensuing forensic investigation was terminated abruptly after discovery of German bullets among the corpses, although in response to Orthodox Jewish objection to desecration of the burial site. At his 2003 Colin Miller Memorial Lecture at the University of California, chaired by John Connelly, Professor Gross conceded that the forensic investigation at Jedwabne had been prematurely terminated. “And had it not been prematurely terminated, then we would really know.” [34]

      Historian Bogdan Musial writes in his “The Pogrom In Jedwabne: Critical Remarks About Jan T. Gross’s “Neighbors”" that Gross uncritically endorses all survivor’s accounts or related writings that fit into his narrative, and that “He also maintains that there is no reason to suspect Jewish survivors of concocting false accusations against Poles.”[35] He points out that Gross gives contradictory accounts (which are not always based on original documents – these are often missing): “Wasersztajn’s account is supposed to have been recorded in Yiddish on 5 April 1945, and subsequently translated into Polish, but its original version has been never found. [...] There exist two versions of his testimony, and they display substantial differences. The one quoted extensively by Gross is the more detailed of the two; it was translated by M. Kwater and is held at the Jewish Historical Institute (Zydowski Instytut Historyczny — ZIH) in Warsaw (reference no. 301/152). The other version, also held at ZIH (reference no. 301/613) is considerably shorter.” [36] Furthermore, Musial points out that in Wasersztajn’s longer account Germans are responsible for killing the Jedwabne Jews, while in his shorter account it is mainly the Poles [37]

      Later, in an interview published in 2015 in the German Die Welt, Gross said that during World War 2 “Poles killed more Jews than Germans”.[38] Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Marcin Wojciechowski described it as “historically untrue, harmful and insulting to Poland”. He added that Poland’s Ambassador to Germany addressed a letter of protest to the editors of Die Welt. President of the Warsaw-based Stefan Batory Foundation, Aleksander Smolar, called the article “primitive, disgusting and irresponsible”.[39]

      On 15 October 2015, Polish Prosecution opened a libel probe against Gross. The office was acting under a paragraph of the criminal code that “provides that any person who publicly insults the Polish nation is punishable by up to three years in prison”.[40]

      The followed all the references that were also digged up by me, so as you can see, I’ve done quite a research – certainly more thorough than Gross has done (obvously, that’s not the only written sources I read).

      You better save that info yourself, man (and this:
      https://justice4poland.com/2016/06/28/pogroms-kielce-1946/ )

      , because the way the world is going, who knows what the future of the internet will be. Perhaps soon you will only be allowed to read the Gross’s fiction?

      • Truthist

        Yes, Grzegorz, I will promptly save this post ;
        And, file it within appropriate category.

        True Scholar that I am ;
        ==> dedication to the truth ;
        ==> I must request of u submission of list of :
        All mass killings of the Jews committed in Poland since the earliest known one
        Relevant Era
        [ Alleged ? ] Motivating Factor[s] & Context
        Numbers of Jews murdered
        Perpetrators : Poles, Ukrainians, Germans, Russians, inter alia
        Numbers of Jews tried, judged guilty, & executed
        inter alia
        All mass killings of the Poles committed in Poland since the earliest known one
        Relevant Era
        [ Alleged ? ] Motivating Factor[s] & Context
        Numbers of Poles murdered
        Perpetrators : Jews, Ukrainians, Germans, Russians, inter alia
        Numbers of Poles tried, judged guilty, & executed
        All mass killings of the Poles committed in Poland since the earliest known one
        Relevant Era
        [ Alleged ? ] Motivating Factor[s] & Context
        Numbers of non-Judaic non-ethnic Poles who were murdered
        Perpetrators : Poles, Jews, Ukrainians, Germans, Russians, inter alia
        Numbers of Poles tried, judged guilty, & executed
        I humbly suggest that u get assistance of other scholarly colleagues to assist u in completing this at ur convenience.
        Perhaps even delegating it entirely to them.
        Poland’s civil service should help out fully if they were smart.
        And, then create a Wiki other than on Wikipedia.org for insertion of this important information.

        • Truthist

          Typos :

          I forgot to insert the trade-mark “inter alia” 8-) at end of 2_ & what was meant to be 3_ but was typo’d as 2nd 2_.

          As state in above point, the 2nd 2_ should be 3_.

          Also, 3_ refers to non-Judaic Non-ethnic Poles deaths from mass killings.

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