As Spain Protests Austerity, Catalonia Pushes for Independence

WASHINGTON—Thousands of miners entered Madrid last week, singing loudly, setting off fireworks, and waving signs and banners. Some walked as far as 250 miles from the mining regions along Spain’s northern coast. The marcha negra (black march) ended with a violent clash with police in front of Spain’s Industry Ministry building. Over the ensuing days, laborers and civil servants rallied throughout the city, blocking streets and railways. Some women wore black veils as though for a funeral. The target of these protests was the austerity package passed last Wednesday by the embattled government of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy — whose future, the miners reminded him, was “darker than our coal.”

The €65 billion package consists of EU-recommended tax increases, public sector spending cuts, city and regional government overhauls, and the liberalization of the transportation sector. The hope is that these measures will help the country, having recently requested up to €100 billion in European aid for its banks, avoid an international state bailout along the lines of Greece, Ireland, and Portugal. With government revenues and housing prices falling, and debt on the rise, though, it may well prove to be a doomed effort.

And yet as workers from throughout the country converge on Madrid for protests, a second, altogether different movement is gathering strength in one of Spain’s wealthiest autonomous regions, Catalonia. There, thousands have gathered throughout the summer in towns and villages to call for much more than an end to austerity. Their goal is complete independence for their region of over 7.5 million from the Spanish state. Catalonia, like the Basque Country, has a long and complicated history with Castillian-dominated Spain. But the crippling economic crisis, resentment over transfers of roughly 8 to 9 percent of Catalonia’s GDP to poorer parts of Spain, and incidents such as recent Spanish Supreme Court opposition to Catalan language immersion programs in the region’s pre-schools have combined to form a three-layered gift for the independentistes.

According to recent polls conducted by the Centre d’Estudis d’Opinió, 51.1 percent of all Catalans would vote for independence from Spain in a hypothetical referendum. This represents a six-point increase in the past four months alone. When asked the broader question of what Catalonia should be vis-à-vis Spain, 34 percent said “independent,” a 20-point increase since the pre-crisis days of 2006. Following the release of the polling data, Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría called on all Spaniards to understand that with the country’s other concerns, “now must be a time for stability.” Catalan MP Josep Antoni Duran sought to downplay the results, arguing that a majority of Catalans would still prefer increased autonomy over outright independence.

Yet between now and September, over 200 pro-independence rallies and marches are scheduled to take place across Catalonia, building up to a massive demonstration on September 11, the region’s national holiday. The plan from there, according to the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) will be to organize a referendum on Catalonia’s status for the following year, and proclaim full independence in 2014. “For us, independence is a question of dignity,” says Carme Forcadell, head of the ANC. “We don’t want to live on our knees within Spain when we could stand on our own feet in Europe.”

Spain, with unemployment rates of close to 25 percent, youth unemployment over 50 percent, increasing emigration, and expectations of long-term recession and austerity, should be watched very carefully by policymakers in Brussels and Washington. Its dual crises of social and economic unrest, paired with an unprecedented loosening of the bonds that tie it together as a nation, make it perhaps the most apt microcosm of today’s European Union. As the country drifts towards a possible state bailout, the tightening screws of la crisis are threatening to drive fissures through every aspect of its social, political, and economic life, and push it into the uncharted waters of possible, although still unlikely, disintegration.

During the recent European Championship, the uglier side of pan-European tensions was often on display. “Without Angie, you wouldn’t be here,” chanted German fans during the game with Greece, referring to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “We’ll never pay you back,” replied the Greeks. At a wedding I recently attended in Catalonia, I found only one fellow guest tracking the status of the ongoing match between Spain and France, and he was quietly rooting for France. “We Catalans are tired of seeing our tax money go to Spain,” he said, cringing as news of another Spanish goal popped up on his phone. “I guess you could say we understand how Germany feels.”

Nicholas Siegel is Senior Program Officer with the Transatlantic Academy in Washington DC. 

Image by DenPics

  • Jaumevall

    Very good text about the present situation.  Spain and Catalonia are two different nations, one has a state, the other wants and needs his  own state in order to improve economy, to maintain culture , and to preserve dignity.  (By the way, PM of Catalonia is  “Honorable sr. Artur Mas”, who reckons that Spain governement is not loyal to Catalonia laws).
    I apologize if there are some mistakes in my english text.
    Catalunya, Europa

  • Candide Candide

    There is much truth in what this article says, but the phenomenon of Catalan separatism is frightening not only for bringing about the possibility of a regional European conflict, but especially for the stringently undemocratic attitude of those who are leading this movement. See for example

  • Catala

    After almost 300 hundred years after the violent and bloody dissolution of the Catalan Corts by Spain and France, Catalonia is still being treated as a colony by Spain. Today Catalonia have the dubious honor of maintaining the highest tax in the EU. Not only that but besides paying taxes the money never goes back to Catalonia. Spain and Spanish nationalism seem to don’t understand Catalonia is a nation ( as stated on the constitution) and they constantly attack the language of Catalonia, it’s traditions, history and economy. It’s time for a change.

    We needs recover own independence


  • Eeee

    Regional European Conflict? Why is there going to be  a Scottish referendum then? Any mature democratic system has the responsibility to ensure the wish of its citizens. In the case of Catalonia, the conflict would only start from Spain….

  • S.M.
  • Pau Vidal

    Nice blog you have there. What exactly is undemocratic about the common people wanting to decide their own future, with a referendum as a start?

  • Jordi

    Catalan parliament was the oldest in Europe, Catalonia is an ancient Nation that in XVIII Century was occupied abolished and looted until today.

    Now Catalonia will be the Next State in Europe and in the World | |*| |

  • Cesc

     After 30 years of indoctrination and political and economic structures dominated by an elite pseudoculutural, it seems that independence is imminent. There is a lot stablishmen having international repercussions. But ordinary people only see that there are two cultures that coexist peacefully, a few want to break. You were at a party where France encouraged. I wonder, Who organized it? What were you doing in Spain?. Who paid you stay? I guess I did not talk with people from all parts of Catalonia, because they have never become more than 25% those calling indepenencia. I only give you an example, Pau Gasol, will carry the Spanish flag in the Olympics and feels very proud to be Catalan and Spanish. On the other hand, I assure you that in the European Championship was held the Spanish team’s victory in a massive way. thanks

  • Candide Candide

    Mr Vidal, you could have read the text I link to, because it answers that question.  Not all the common people who were the object of that referendum could actually vote in it, because the territory voted about was much larger than the territory in which the vote took place. I reckon that one of the pillars of democracy is that you decide your own future.

    As to Helpcatalonia, thanks S.M., I know that site. I find its content debatable, which is nothing intrinsically bad, except if you invite for debate yet do not accept dissenting voices in the comments section. I’d think that this kind of censorship is not very healthy because it, too, reveals an undemocratic mindset.

    This is certainly not the policy of the blog I run,

  • Candide Candide

    Sir, the will of the citizens is not only expressed in referenda about independence. Freedom of association and freedom of speech are guaranteed, a multi-party system is in place, and also separatist parties do function. Thus there is the possibility of voting for independence, and I’d strongly suggest that the state accept such a vote, if it ever should materialise.

    I’d also suggest that separatists stop complaining about the impossibility to get an official referendum on independence on the way, that they use the possibilities the rule of law offers them and stop discrediting the whole rule of law only because it denies them one option of many.

    I have already suggested that any separatist movement be democratic in and by itself. This should be a no-brainer, alas here it’s not.

  • Pere Alzina

    That’s pretty good. In order to a better understanding is advisable to know that the Spanish Monarchy started as a “confederation” of catalans (Catalonia-Valencia-Balearic Isles), castillians (current spanish monolingual, spaniards), basques-navarra and portuguese…Little by little, step by step “castillians” (spaniards) wanted to change the statu quo to avoid this “Habsburg model”. It turned into a “Borbon” model (absolutist state) after the defeat of 1714: 1 nation, 1 language, 1 flag, 1 national feeling…trying to delete the rest of languages and for 300 hundred years not only languages of catalans-basques-galizians were forbidden but…names!!! I still remember the first day in the school when it was allowed to write our names in our language (mine: Pere instead of Pedro). Spaniards deteste the diversity and they just try to delete everything different than spanish but we’re here, we’ve resisted 300 years, their attempt has failed and hopefull we’ll recover the national freedom we lost after the Succession War (catalans-english-austrian-dutch army against spanish-french army)…Long live to Catalonia! Freedom for Catalonia! 

  • Pau Vidal

    But you do know that the many votes you refer to in your blog were not a referendum, but a mere initiative at a civil society level to encourage the people to simply think of voting as a possibility. Such a referendum is deemed illegal by the Spanish authorities, whom -incidentally- tried to ban the voting anyway, even when it was clearly stated that the ballots carried no legal weight.

    Besides, the votes were organised at a local level, by independent platforms, and every resident over 16 years old, regardless of their administrative status was invited. Sadly, the private donations were not enough to conduct votes in every municipality, but a great deal of them. Still, the point was made. Through the ballot papers nonetheless.

  • Pere Alzina

    In a 12.000 inhabitants town, in the town of “Cesc Fàbregas”…the massive way u mention was 30 spaniards shouting on the streets. Really massive…ahhahahahah. Spanish team is either ignored or detested by catalans. Only those spaniards who live here and some Barça fans (9 players in the Spanish team, the team tha forbidds the national catalan and basque team) were on the streets. Nothing compared to a Barça Victory…that’s a massive celebration. 

  • Pau Vidal

    Really, no. There is no possibility of voting for independence unless the Spanish State allows it. Which they will never do. Now they can’t send the army as they have done several times in the past, so they use the law to ban any chance of national minorities deciding what they want to do with their future.

    Rule of law can’t go against democracy. At least that is what Canada’s Constitutional Court stated a few years ago. Obviously, Spain’s Constitutional Court thinks otherwise. In Spain, rule of law is contrary to democracy when needed.

  • Pau Vidal

     Last polls state that 51% of catalans support independence, and 21% is against it.

  • CatBarcelona1977

    Nice try to fool people Candide. 

    Lots of catalans who are independentist have the aspiration to form a country or a federation which contains all the territories where traditionally people speak catalan. It means Catalonia, Balearic Islands and Valencia (the now french region of Roussillon or also known in Catalonia as North Catalonia too). 

    However, 100% of supporters of  the catalan independence are democrats and they say, once and again, that people should decide. First, they want to decide by a referendum in Catalonia it’s independence. So people of the now spanish region of Catalonia deciding the independence of the spanish region of Catalonia.

    Anybody in the region of Catalonia is willing to decide the independence of any other region which speaks catalan. Those other regions would join the hypothetically Catalan independent state only if they want, and the new state would never invade (even if it could which is impossible) by military means any other territory. You know why? Because catalan people want to decide it’s future DEMOCRATICALLY and not impose it’s own desire to others like the spanish state did the last 300 years.  To sum up: The whole idea you try to explain or make people believe it’s completely false. And the worst thing is that you know that. You won’t find any important catalan politician or intellectual that supports independence who believes the idea of imposing the will of people who lives now in the spanish region of Catalonia to other people who lives in other catalan-speaking territories. Of course would be a conflict. First of all, because the spanish government does not accept/permit to ask people about the independence in a referendum so far. (nice fair play, don’t you think?) So, if the catalan regional government wants to do it anyway will be  surpassing the will of spanish PM. We got then the first conflict.Later on, if the referendum takes place anyway and a vast majority of people says ‘yes’ to form a new country separated from Spain, we don’t know how Spain will react. If it is a proper referendum (democratic, etc) they should accept the results but I think it wouldn’t be easy. So many centuries imposing it’s will by military means. Then we would have a second conflict.    
    Finally, you wrote:

    ‘undemocratic attitude of those who are leading this movement’

    ‘Not all the common people who were the object of that referendum could actually vote in it, because the territory voted about was much larger than the territory in which the vote took place.’

    I already explain that but:


  • Candide Candide

    Yes, it was an unofficial referendum. However, it was not deemed illegal by the authorities and they did not try to ban the voting. What they did try is to make sure that no public office or venues be used for what was entirely a private event.

    I support this decision, because one cannot allow public institutions to be hijacked for partisan purposes. Alas, this is happening right now with the AMI, the Association of Municipalities for Independence. See

    I am afraid you are impermeable to the argument that a referendum, even if privately organised, should be conducted in a democratic manner, lest it violates basic rights of the very Catalans taking part in it, and of those who do not. And of those outside of Catalonia, who were voted about, but not asked.

  • CatBarcelona1977


    Anybody in the region of Catalonia is willing to decide the independence of any other region which speaks catalan.

    I MEANT:


    (the problem of not writing in your mother language ;) )

  • Alex D.

    Shouldn’t you know that spanish constitution was write by people really related to the fascist regime of F. Franco?? Why are we suppose to accept a low that bans our nation and language? Why are we suppose to accept a low that make us every day more poor? 

    I didn’t used to think the way that catalonia should have an own country, but because of every day seeing the spanish government and citizens attacking the way that lives my family, my friends, en even attacking our future I became to think that way.

    Independence is the only way for catalans to survive.    

  • Marguerite

    In Catalonia we have a problem called xenophobia and fascism, headed by the Partit Popular PP and the neo-Falangism Ciudadanos C’S and UPyD, which is the hand of the Partido Socialista Español PSOE.They want to dynamite the democracy, because in Spain we do not have democracy any more, the threats dead Catalans persons are constants.Candide is a neo-Falangist, who wants to convert Spain into a dictatorship.

    Catalonia lost its sovereignty in 1714when it was conquered by the Spanish Bourbon Kingdom (with french troops collaboration), since then, Spain has not treated with respect the catalan nation. Now, 300 years after, Catalonia is ready for independence.

  • Pau Vidal

     It was conducted in a democratic manner, Candide. What was undemocratic about the votes? Please, do tell, with your own words. Thanks.

    Last, but not least, the Spanish authorities did try to ban it, indeed. Then they realised that it wasn’t an official referendum and thus, they could do nothing about it legally. Still, the Falange -a fascist party-, tried to bully the voters in Arenys De Munt; the now governing Spanish right wing were very vocal about it being illegal, and most Spanish papers mocked the initiative.

    We still did it. We voted. Sorry.

  • Candide Candide

    The constitution was debated by the Spanish Congress, and much of that debate is online. An interesting read. Ultimately, it was voted on in popular referendum and got a majority also in Catalonia.

    However, I do understand your uneasiness with the present situation. Then again, change should be brought about democratically, don’t you think?

  • Heather Hayes

    While glad to see increasing coverage of this, I do wish that people would stop being biased and using the term “region.” Catalonia is a “country” under the dominion of a foreign” state.”

  • Candide Candide

    I’m sorry, you just cannot do as if you haven’t read the text you are referring to.

    You do have a lot of mechanisms to even go for independence. Other countries such as France and Germany offer less.

  • Marguerite
    Catalonia Calls to the World

  • Candide Candide

    Sorry, I have actually *proven* that at least part of the separatists effort is undemocratic.

    What you add to my worries is that you confirm my suspicions that a Catalan state, based on the territory of the present-day Autonomous Community of Catalonia, would have territorial claims over its then-neighbours. You may say that you’d like to see these territories express themselves and join democratically (like in the unofficial referendum in Catalonia we have been talking about?), but one has to be afraid of what will be the policy of a Catalan state vis-à-vis the surrounding territories it sees as intrinsically belonging to the Catalan nation.

    There are historical precedents that make me feel quite uneasy.

    Now imagine how might Madrid and Paris feel. And what effects that might have.

  • Candide Candide

    Read.The.Entry. There are my words. Roughly resuming: in Catalonia a vote took place about the independence not only of Catalonia, but also of, for example, neighbouring Valencia. No vote took place in Valencia.

    So how do the common people in Valencia have to feel now, whose fate was decided about in Catalonia, but they had no say on the matter?

    Should Massachusetts accept that Connecticut passes a proposition that affects Massachusetts’ internal affairs?

  • Marguerite
  • Candide Candide

    Oh, that’s a totally unbiased view.

    My dictionary says no.

  • Marguerite

    Pau Casals ONU I’m Catalan I love freedom

  • Marguerite

    In Catalonia we have a problem called xenophobia and fascism, headed by the Partit Popular PP and the neo-Falangism Ciudadanos C’S and UPyD, which is the hand of the Partido Socialista Español PSOE.They want to dynamite the democracy, because in Spain we do not have democracy any more, the threats dead Catalans persons are constants.Candide is a neo-Falangist, who wants to convert Spain into a dictatorship.

  • Marguerite

    In Catalonia we have a problem called xenophobia and fascism, headed by the Partit Popular PP and the neo-Falangism Ciudadanos C’S and UPyD, which is the hand of the Partido Socialista Español PSOE.They want to dynamite the democracy, because in Spain we do not have democracy any more, the threats dead Catalans persons are constants.Candide is a neo-Falangist, who wants to convert Spain into a dictatorship.

  • Marguerite

    In Catalonia we have a problem called xenophobia and fascism, headed by the Partit Popular PP and the neo-Falangism Ciudadanos C’S and UPyD, which is the hand of the Partido Socialista Español PSOE.They want to dynamite the democracy, because in Spain we do not have democracy any more, the threats dead Catalans persons are constants.Candide is a neo-Falangist, who wants to convert Spain into a dictatorship.

  • MargaBB

    Candide Candide – you are doing what Spain has done for 35 years – treating what was a transitional constution, made under duress and fossilised, as a tablet in stone. Spain’s macro-context –  these days to talk about “democracy” in Europe when undemocratic practice based on rule of the richest pays lipservice to the concept is cynical. And within Spain, don’t you realise that the judges defending the law are totally politicised? C.C., your arguments sound convincing but are totally out of the real macro and micro contexts, I’m sorry to say.

  • Joaquim


    In this web site there is the Spanish Constitution of 1978, the current one (

    The article number 2 says that Spain could not be divided and article number 8, that the ARMY (yes, the army) must guarantee the unity of Spain.

    In others european constitutions, the unity of the nation is guaranteed by the goverment or the parliament, but not the army.

  • Pau Vidal

    Of course we do have mechanisms. All of them illegal from the Spanish law perspective (though not from an international law viewpoint), mind you. Independence is illegal per se in Spain. In fact, the Spanish Constitution bans it, stating in it’s 8th article that “The Armed Forces (…) have as their
    mission (…) the
    defense of its territorial integrity and the constitutional order”.

    This is, by the way, quite a weird article for a democratic Constitution. And one that has been repeatedly used to threaten catalans on the matter of independence.

    In defending that not having the option to vote legally in a referendum is somehow acceptable in a democracy, while -to add insult to injury- dismissing as undemocratic a voting organised by the people on their own, you are trying to put wool over other people’s eyes. Fortunately, people think on their own and self-determine their opinions and actions, even if it is illegal to do so.

  • MargaBB

    Wow, I’ve just taken a look at the blog by Candide Candide – I advise everyone to do so, and you will see where this person is really coming from. Neutral it is not!

  • Nate1988

    Scotland and Catalonia for Full Independence by 2014, the success of each campaign will compliment the other.  Both are net contributors to failing states and should be allowed to flourish as independent nations as they once were. 

  • Pau Vidal

    I can’t speak for every vote, because I wasn’t in all of them, and they were all organised by independent platforms (one for every town in which it took place). But it is radically *false* about the one I went to as a volunteer. The vote was strictly on Catalonia’s independence. That was the question made in.the.ballot.paper.

    By the way, were you there, to speak with such vehemence about it?

  • Candide Candide

    The Supreme Court of the US is also highly politicised. That does not mean the whole legal system doesn’t work and that “there is no Constitution”, as former Catalan president Jordi Pujol has recently claimed.

    With that radical approach you are denying all citizens the protection of the law.

  • Pau Vidal

     That’s just like your opinion, man. Let other people have their own, will ya?

  • Aswell

    Catalonia sux… SPAIN FOREVER!

  • Candide Candide

    Article 8 of the Spanish Constitution is not unlike article 87a of the German Grundgesetz, or legal provisions you can find in many democratic countries.

    Will you do the favour to recognise I was not criticising the existence of an unofficial referendum but the way it was conducted? Please.

  • pep

    Sois pateticos,en serio,a nadie le interesa vuestras mierdas independentistas inventadas.No veis que todos estais escribiendo en ingles cuando todos sois españoles?

  • Candide Candide

    Sorry for the vehemence, you are forcing me to make the same point many times over.

    What municipality are you talking about and what was exactly the wording of the question?

  • Candide Candide

    Yes, everybody is invited. And by all means, speak you mind.

  • Candide Candide

    Certainly. I’m just saying it’s biased, while accusing others of just that.

  • Pau Vidal

    But you are wrong, my dear Candide. Article 87a Gg states that: (…) “During a state of defense or a state of tension the Armed Forces shall have the power to protect civilian property and to perform traffic control functions to the extent necessary to accomplish their defense mission. (…) To support police measures for the protection of civilian property; (…) to protect civilian property and to combat organized armed insurgents (…).

    Quite a distinct read compared to what the Spanish Constitution states, about Spain being an “indissoluble unity” (art. 2) with it’s “territorial integrity” guaranteed by the army (art. 8). In the preliminary title! Please, do read the newspapers I have pointed you to. And good luck in finding any german general threatening its own citizens with military force because of their wishes of freedom.

    Finally, you can criticise whichever it pleases you. As far as I know, your criticism is based on a false premise, though. The ballot papers, that is where the question submitted to vote is made, where like the following one:

    “Do you agree that Catalonia should be an independent, social and democratic state, subject to the rule of law and within the European Union” Yes / No

    Besides, being an unofficial vote, not carrying any legal weight, I fail to see why are you that worried about it.

    I’m done here. I bid you a good day.

  • Candide Candide

    This is article 8, section 1: “The Armed Forces, constituting the Land Army, the Navy and the Air Force, have as their mission the guarantee of the sovereignty and independence of Spain, the defence of its territorial integrity and the constitutional order.”

  • Pau Vidal

    You, and myself are biased as well. Don’t patronise people like that.

  • AliBay

    Is to vote in a referendum undemocratic? You’ve got an interesting point of view.

  • Pau Vidal

    Translation to English, for all to see: “You are pathetic, really, nobody cares about your shitty inventions on independence. Why are all of you writing in English when you are all Spaniards?”

  • Candide Candide

    Thanks for mentioning the “armed insurgents”, let’s not forget the basic role “to avert imminent danger to the existence or free democratic order of the Federation or of a Land”, i.e. the defence of the constitutional order.

    The Spanish general you allude to was immediately deposed, as befits any democratic country.Thanks for quoting the question. The ballot we see in that picture is from Arenys de Munt. The usual question after that first vote was about the “Catalan nation”, as I describe in the entry quoted.Certainly, it was always a local initiative -with effects such as the town of Berga asking explicitly about all “Catalan Lands”- however under the umbrella of a general platform called Catalunya Decideix. Local autonomy does not mean that there was no overall agreement.

  • pepe

     excuse me??? Catalonia has never been a country, you shoud read more about history.

  • pepe

     please read more about history, that’s a bag of lies created by independists

  • pepe

     that happened in your imagination….

  • pepe

     please don’t be fooled by this fascist ignorant…Catalonia is NOT a nation, it’s not stated in the Spanisb constitution , for God’s sake!!

  • Pau Vidal

    1# So, now the catalans are armed insurgents? You are really grasping at straws, aren’t you?
    As for the protection of the democratic order, it includes referendums, sorry.

    2# The general was deposed, indeed. But he said it; and the right wing party -now in charge with absolute majority in the parliament- did not condemn his statements but excused him. Have you found out any german general making such an statement yet?

    3# Why do you include Valencia within the terms “Catalan lands” or “Catalan nation”? Weren’t you saying that Valencia is not Catalonia? Be coherent, please.

  • pepe

     Scotland and Catalonia have nothing in common. Catalonia was never “invaded” by Spain. Don’t be fooled by fascist separatists

  • PUtOs InDePeNdEnTiStAs

    jajajajaja…jajajajjaaj oh great, its funy! Remember that CataluÑa can`t pay its debt. Jajaja CataluÑa is the most poor REGION of SPAIN, jaja, remember, in a few months the autonomous communities specially CataluÑA will dissapeard jaja, lets go, jaja now you can dream about independence jajajajajjajajajjajajajajaja

  • Folol

    Spanish people are like nazis, everybody knows they are lazy and drunk people, freedom for Catalunya

  • Jordi

    Españoles paletos de mierda, vagos.

  • Pau Vidal

     Let’s not go down that road. Spaniards are just like everybody else.

  • Pau Vidal

    That is false, yet irrelevant. What matters is the democratically expressed will of the Catalans on whether they want to be independent or remain within Spain now; not three centuries ago.
    By the way, I am not a fascist, thank you.

  • Candide Candide

    ad 1# We were quoting from the German constitution, right? And no, I’m not justifying the use of military force.

    Your misunderstandings come from not reading what you refer to. I’ve tried to explain over and again, but now I have no patience anymore.

  • Pau Vidal

    Of course, if its not in the Spanish Constitution it doesn’t exist. Does the Spanish Constitution define the Netherlands or Mexico as nations, by any chance? You should apply your Constitution to those nationless States and reintegrate them within your sacred national unity, by force if needed. God’s will, my friend. God’s will.

  • Candide Candide

    Excuse me? I like many use the word “region” in English, I’m being told that that is biased, I complained about that label being pressed on me and now I am the patronising one? Way to go.

  • Guest

    Catalonia has never been a country , retards hahaha

  • Jocatln

    Spanish Constitution renowns Spain as a compound state. Concedes oficialities and sublaws called Estatutos (Statutes) to define this reality. Catalan Statute in its introduction Catalonia is a nationality. Spanish law don’t allows to call nation nor nationality as legal articles.
    Anyway nothing matters because these statutes are regularly rolled over by central government

  • Guest


  • Jocatln

    Candide, candide you’re everywhere…..on guard again? CSIC (spanish intelligence departiment) have to pay you some pluses. Next Cristmas you’ll have a well earned vacations.

  • Candide Candide

    Puhleeeze, the CSIC is the Spanish National Research Council. It is dedicated to science.

    I get paid by the CNI. One million a day plus health benefits.

  • Jocatln

    Supremem Court must respect the principles of the Supremacy Clause and the 10th Amendment.

    In US laws, Federal Government powers are conceded by people organized in States. Whose powerd not conceded by Constitution are by default from States.

    Spain constitution is monarchy inspired. From high to down. “Autonomias” power is “conceded” by Central government, and it can retrieve or roll over every law if wishes, as it does.

  • Oricat

    I read the post that are down and are written by nationalis. Catalonia its not a nation, its a region that formed part of Crown of Aragon and 600 years ago, the Crown of Aragon and the Crown of Castille formed only one crown governed under the Catholic kings. Now, Catalonia its a region of Spain, and the most people of Catalonia (80 %) want be a part of Spain, they dont want the independence of Spain.

  • jocatln

    The interest of a catalan state will be obviously to defend the interests of the catalan State and catalans whereever they are, nor Madrid or Paris ones. The sovereignity is still on the people living on the land where they crop their wheat. Nordcatalans. Aragonese catalans, Balearic catalans, valencian catalans, even Alguerese catalans will decide what kind of relations want to mantain with this catalan state.   

  • Jocatln

    The consensus was asking about Catalonia exclusively, it was ruled out asking about PPCC (catalan countries) because is consired actually by independentism of catalonia an utopy due to the current opinion outside catalonia boundaries.

  • pikachu

    I guess you’re  a troll.

  • Jocatln


  • Jocatln

    I mean , i’m agree with Pau Vidal

  • Jocatln

    A country in spirit. Culturally more than that. A sum of counties in the long  past, francs in origin,  free for a while, member from a confederation later, federated and finally abolished to become what it’s now.

  • Oricat

    I read the post that are down and are written by nationalis. Catalonia its not a nation, its a region that formed part of Crown of Aragon and 600 years ago, the Crown of Aragon and the Crown of Castille formed only one crown governed under the Catholic kings. Now, Catalonia its a region of Spain, and the most people of Catalonia (80 %) want be a part of Spain, they dont want the independence of Spain.

  • Anton Persky

    So truth is out here for people to see and judge. Spanish inner conflict spreads over the net with two anthagonic views which clash on every ocasion the find.

  • Mar Twinest

     This is a common kind of Spaniard.  Probably now people from everywhere will understand why there is a “Spain crisis” and why catalans want to be independent.

  • Anon

    Then test your claim in a referendum.


    “Honorable sr. Artur Mas” aajjajajajajajajajajjahahaha o man..y u are killing me

  • Candide Candide

    1 picture =1000 words 

    Official poster of said referendum. In red, the so called Catalan Lands, or Countries.

  • cynicalhighlander

    Catalonia was never “invaded” by Spain.

    Neither was Scotland!   Your point was?

  • Bernat

    Catalonia will be independent pretty soon. The reasons are many: history, language, economy and the most important one is that Spain never wanted, wants and will want Catalonia as it is inside Spain. Spain has a problem of accepting differences and adapting to the world economic and historical changes, it is still anchored in the past.

  • T_D_P_S

    Madrid, Europa

  • Pau Calvet

    The catalan independence will be good for spain, because then spain learn to be selfsuficient.
    Catalonia, like basque country, galizia, valencian country and balearic kingdom are the latest “colonias” of Castillian.
    But… The histori don’t matter to me. My interest is about the present and the future of my country, my vilage, my soons, myself. In spain there aren’t any future and no-present.
    Democracy is freedom, freedom is independence. Americans, you now it.
    Excuse my english (i can’t practice english, because in spain since Franco’s dictaroship, all the films are traslated to get and unpermeable spaniard culture)

  • Jordi

    Pepe, elimina prejudicis anticatalans i accepta que sigui el poble català qui decideixi el seu futur

  • Cesc

     The first parliament was in the world was that of Alfonso IX of Leon. Pau Casals said Vedad.

  • Aclaparat

    Catalonia fits in the definitions of a “nation” and a “country” stated in the “Diccionario de la lengua española “. Actually, Catalonia is not a state, this is the difference we make. Aragon Crown was technically a confederation, this means every “state” was independent from the others. 34% of catalans want Catalonia to be an independent country, 28.7% wants a federal state, 25.4% to remain as an autonomous community and just a 5.7% to be a spanish region. But the intention changes when they are asked for an hypothetical referendum for independence and the 65% of the catalans would say Yes and 35% No, if we don’t count the abstention. So your 80% has no sense. 

  • josep maria

    If Catalan people proclaim the independece Spain (ans specially Madrid’s press) will have a bad response and probably will threat Catalonia with all they can, even with the army (the army guarantees the integrity of Spain, this is written in the Spanish Constitution). Please help us out and make pressure on Spain to allow a referendum.

  • Arnau Estanyol

     You can see, Spaniards only can deny “because not” without any more argument.   It’s an image of their absolutist personality.

  • Candide Candide

    That’s a good one. I also wonder why he calls GB a failing state.

    However, there is a difference that cannot be without effect. The territorial limits of Scotland are quite clear and there are no adjacent territories that an independent Scotland would or could claim after its independence.

    In the other case there are the Catalan Lands, and even the Principality alone, or Catalonia proper, might already exceed the borders of the present-day Autonomous Community to stretch into France, because Northern Catalonia is often seen as part of it. Which it historically was.

  • Arnau Estanyol

    Finally gets out the authentic Spaniard personality. Nothing new under the sun. They waste their time one half of the day drinking in the bar with the money plundered to Catalans and the other one half imposing the Spanishness to other people who don’t feel Spaniards at all.

  • Arnau Estanyol

    In fact Spanish army lately is taking training maneuvers in villages surrounding Barcelona. (Into the villages, I mean in the streets among the civil people and without previous warnings to the civil Catalan authorities )  That threatening attitude has increased in the last month. Something very suspicious and coinciding with the increase of the independence feeling among the Catalan population. As you can see, in Spain, democracy is answered by the force of arms. As historically always has happened.

  • Candide Candide

    Enough yet! Both Catalan and Spanish public TV have been emitting many foreign films and documentaries in the original language over a dual channel system even before the switch to DTT. Since then it’s basically all films and documentaries that can be heard in what is mostly the English original.

    It is true that under Franco the decision for dubbing was made in detriment of subtitling, but since then many things have changed. Yours was a cheap shot that played on the ignorance of a foreign public.

  • josep maria

    Those are so primitive Spaniards :-)

    We wait for a serious attitude about a real problem, not this.

  • Marguerite

    Translation of the previous post: WHORES SEPARATIST / INDEPENDENCEwhy always insulting Spanish people of Catalonia?

  • Marguerite
  • Marguerite
  • Marguerite…THE IMAGES SPEAK!!!!!!

  • Marguerite

    Catalonia’s independence

  • Candide Candide

    This is nonsense. Even separatist media mentioned only one case over the past few months.

    I do not seem them carrying rifles on that photo. Quietly walking through the village.

  • Cullell

    Pepe you are very benighted, you should read more!

  • victoria

    you should read more books! not just the books in spanish! google tradutor, somethimes you sucks ! putting ignorant in english conversations!

  • Marc

    Thank you, as a Catalan it’s a pleasure to see that my cause, my feelings, my desire to be an independent nation inside Europe, to use the Catalan language in peace… Thank you for your sensitivity with us. It’s a good article to tell people interested about knowing more about Catalonia.

  • gorillasandbananas

    “We don’t want to live on our knees within Spain when we could stand on our own feet in Europe.” – that sums it up perfectly.

  • Martirum

    Be carefull with nationalisms, because all them tend to lie, and to manipulate history. Real surveys ( not those done by Generalitat )  show that only the 30% of catalan people wants the independence.

  • Andreu C

    A year ago took place a “not oficial referendum” about catalonia’s independence and it was a complete fail. Despite it lasted for nearly one year, and that, in some cities like Barcelona you could find voting kiosks in nearly every corner during weeks, the participation was only of the 20% . It was a very low participation for such a trascendental issue. It showed that there is no interest for independence in Catalonia, and it is only in nationalists sectors.

  • Andreu C

     Marguerite,  you don’t undestand anything about catalonia’s politic parties.  Ciudadanos, UPyD are not neofalangists, in fact some independentist parties are more fascist than those you mentioned.

  • Maria Khan

    This is spectacular! Simply put i appreciate reading your written content everytime I get feed alarm.

  • lordbert


    Spanish Constitutions conceive Catalonia as a
    nationality, and Catalan constitution conceive Catalonia as a nation. Any way
    this is not the most important. Here, in Catalonia we are not arguing if we are
    a nation or not. This is not the point at all. The point is Spanish people has
    used our solidarity to build up desert airports, the second largest high speed
    train of the whole World just to close it down some months after their opening.
    Spanish quixotic arrogance has pushed the whole euro zone to the cliff. Spain cannot
    pay either a pence of his monumental dept. Spain never learn. In 1866 Spain was
    fall into a default (21th default in its live) because the main infrastructures
    were conceived to connect every palace of the Spanish Crown: El Pardo, Oriente,
    la Granja de San Ildefonso, Aranjuez, Riofrio… That default was the origin of a
    huge political crisis. The queen was expulsed of Spain, while France and
    Germany crash into the Franco-Prussian War (1870) for the Spanish crown: 1,6 million
    soldiers mobilized and over 900.000 deaths estimated. The point is, is Europe
    able to drain off his blood for Spain again?

  • Candide Candide

    “We are a nation, we decide” is precisely one of the most common arguments and it duly was the slogan of a huge demonstration two years ago:

    I do not refuse the economic argument that Spain is being mismanaged. I’d just like to add but so is Catalonia.

  • anna

    The peoples of all nations have the right to be free, and it is their
    duty to exercise that right. Spanish rule has taken away our freedom,
    and brought the Catalan people to the brink of moral, political and
    economic ruin. If Catalonia is to be a land of more just and favourable
    conditions, a land of greater dignity and advancement, a land of open
    arms and accountability, then its people must take hold of the right to
    make their own decision. If there is to be a Catalonia tomorrow, it must
    be sovereign and independent.–H02bi8

  • Roger Baiges

    Soon we the catalans will celebrate our own Independence Day! Greetings from CATALONIA the next Independent State in Europe!

    Roger Baiges


  • Arnau Rojas Sayol

    Thanks for your support Nicholas Siegel!

  • anna

    Flashmob for the independence of Catalonia was recorded on the 18th of
    March 2012 at 12pm at the Plaça Catalunya, in Barcelona. 8.500 people
    filled the centre of the square with “barretines” and separatist flags
    in a flash action that lasted less than 5 minutes. The objective of this
    initiative is to promote through the network the needs of Catalonia to
    be independent to ensure its future as a nation. The peoples of all
    nations have the right to be free, and it is their duty to exercise that
    right. Spanish rule has taken away our freedom, and brought the Catalan
    people to the brink of moral, political and economic ruin. If Catalonia
    is to be a land of more just and favourable conditions, a land of
    greater dignity and advancement, a land of open arms and accountability,
    then its people must take hold of the right to make their own decision.
    If there is to be a Catalonia tomorrow, it must be sovereign and

  • Edward

    I can see there are two different kind of people in these comments.  There are the normal people from Catalunya –different names, wording, and level of knowledge of english language– calling for their independence, and  against them to contradict, this is a lone sniper,  the paid “professional” –using a short number of names as CandideCandide, pepe or Andreu C.– who expend his paid time on fighting Catalunya and its Independence (by the way, with a very low morale as his is becoming aware of the useless of his effort.)

    On the Comments just look at the numbers of “Likes” which make the addition of each one of both sides…It is ridiculous!!!  But he doesn’t never lose heart : he went along with the game as on it depends his salary.  So you can “find him” (Candide) and their blogs and webs against Catalunya (as cataloniawatch is) anywhere –with the same nickname– from catalan digital news to webs or blogs.  He plays, as good as he is able, as a true “watchdog”. Too bad that the role of watch fits him worse than the other… 

  • JK

    Everyone write in English when everyone is from Catalonia. This text is a recopilation of diverse pro-independentism sentences long-ago used for another want-to-be-nations, specially calling for the Republic of Sachsen and the Kingdom of Bavaria until 1920 and 1918, both of them part of the actual Bundesrepublik Deutschland as Free States after a turbulance recent history, far longer than the Spanish civil war and postwar period. Maybe that has to do with the Spanish crisis, here in Germany we fought hard to unificate with the DDA besides coming from an undeveloped comunist country that nowadays is still below the old BRD. In Spain none wants to take of the situation, Spaniards prefer to hide in their hutches of political ideologies meanwhile the land around them is collapsing.

  • Candide Candide

    Are you comfy slandering others or have you never even thought of arguments as something that deserves your attention?

  • Candide Candide

    Actually, I will dedicate you two more minutes, Edward. Your approach is right by the book. You treat the other as:

    – not normal (implied by emphasising that others are the normal people)
    – a loner (yet part of a conspiracy, a double whopper that, even though logically flawed, is not so rare)
    – of low morale (even he himself knows he’s wrong, which makes him extra evil)
    – ridiculous (a must)
    – against the people (that’s a risky one, because it reveals the nature of your attack)
    – a dog (were it not for the pun you would have chosen the term “rat”, it’s better historically sourced)

    Looks quite clear whose book you follow. I guess what many want to know now, Edward: are you a normal person from Catalonia?

  • Alpamu65

    Som i serem………..

    Visca Catalunya. Lliure…..

    Freedom for Catalonia.

  • bored (and disappointed)

    I expected much more from a GMF article/post. This piece is completely partial. Guy, if you attend a wedding (or any other party during your leisure time), don’t try to turn it into a rigourous research and analysis. I believe all you say, but much more reading and surveying is required. Otherwise, you only get what you got here: the same people who comment on the local news (specially in the Catalan newspapers) cheering and repeating the same boring staff.
    Honestly, I thought this was a more serious blog. 

  • Camagrocdepi

    lamentable veure que els participants som la majoria catalans. Estem penjats com sempre sinó ens ho fem sols… malament

  • Ben

    This is wrong, Jocatn. Actually Catalonia was officially recognised as a “nationality” in the Catalan
    Statute of Autonomy enacted in 1979 pursuant to the Spanish Constitution
    of 1978. Therefore Catalonia is defined as a nationality in its statute of Autonomy, and in its introduction it is call a “nation”.
    Legal definition of Catalonia in the current Statute of Autonomy (called “Estatut”, not “Estatuto”):

    “In reflection of the feelings and the wishes of the citizens of
    Catalonia, the Parliament of Catalonia has defined Catalonia as a nation by an ample majority. The Spanish Constitution, in its second Article, recognises the national reality of Catalonia as a nationality.” (end of the Preambule, see the full english version:

    This text “in exercise of the inalienable right of Catalonia to self-government” was proposed by the Catalan Parliament, approved by the
    Constitutional Committee of the Congress of Deputies of Spain and
    ratified by the people of Catalonia in referendum in 2006.

    In any case a majority of Catalans (including those of Spanish origin) would vote in favour of independence from Spain if a referendum on the subject were held, according to  polls published.

  • Catalunyalliure

    I’m from Madrid, and, as you know, here we eat catalan children and we love to fool everything that comes from Catalunya. That’s because Spanish people are monsters with red eyes who suck  blood to good, innocent catalans and want to see Catalunya dessapears, we don’t have any other purpose in this world, just make life impossible to Catalunya. Every morning, when we wake up, we think automatically “let’s do something nasty with catalans” and, of course, we steal their money, because they don’t have any responsabilities in the financial crisis they are suffering right now, all the problems in the planet are created by spaniards, also climate changes, Irak war, poverty in Africa etc… we should be dead


  • Aclaparat

    So there’s no argument? Well, bye.

  • Aclaparat

    The link doesn’t work.

  • Aclaparat

    This is the same irony we use in Catalonia for spanish nationalists complaints.

  • Aclaparat

    The difference is that you all want to be in the same country, but catalans and basques we don’t want. The degree of self-ruling and respect for the german lands is higher than in Spain, moreover you don’t have any case like Catalonia which loses its 8% of GDP for the rest of the Spain. 

  • John Mckissock

    Pepe, i think it is YOU who should read a little bit more history. You have been brainwashed with the PP propaganda. Catalonia as a country is in fact older than Spain. Without catalonia, Spain would go back to being casi tercer mundo.

  • John Mckissock

    Jo soc Escoces, pero si vols puc escriure en catla. La grand fet es que al menys ells saben ingles, mentrestant als monolinguistic castillans no saben res de catala.
    Quin esta patetic ara.

  • John Mckissock

    Ahora mismo yo tindre verguenza de ser español.
    Visca catalonia liure.

  • orlas

    Catalunya, Basq Country and Galicia are Nations with all rights to be independent. Portugal was the only one that was able to escape the occupation from Castillans, as they prefered to smash Catalunya at that time, and when they came back to Portugal they had no chance to get it back.

    Hugs and my support to my friends in Catalunya, the real brothers from Portugal!

  • Anon

    Here is a timeline:

    1.  Spain adopted a new constitution which included Catalonia as a permanent part of the Spanish state.  Then, some time later,

    2. Spain acceded to European Union treaties.  These treaties included the recognition of the rights of citizens of all territories to self-determination.

    The second supplants the first, and Spain cannot have it both ways.

  • Anon

    And this of course includes Spanish fascist nationalism

  • Anon


    Just do it.

    Catalonia must hold its referendum and tell Spain not to interfere.

  • Candide Candide

    No European treaty includes any passage about the right of self-determination. Not even implicitly: the passages that demand the respect for human rights do not do the trick, because neither of the relevant texts, i.e. the UDHR and the ECHR, speaks of it.

  • Felixbello

    Spain has no history,only  human right violations.The first and last colony taken over by criminal mercenaries coming from all over  Spain with the cross and the sword  is called: Canary Islands.Can someone dispute this?

  • Isolda Vilaresau

    You are the ingnorant one here, or maybe the fascist one. You don’t’ even know the diference between ‘nation’ and ‘state’.

  • Isolda Vilaresau

    You really donn’t know anything about History. What about Succession war after death of last Habsbourg King wihtout children? Stop watching Intereconomia tv and start reading French historician Pierre Vilar, for instance.

  • Isolda Vilaresau

    If you are not a big ignorant so you are a little fascist.

  • Solda Vilaresau

    Big ignorant because little fascist so big lier.

  • Isolda Vilaresau

    You need anew one. Or a new brain.

  • Isolda Vilaresau

    Any help wil be welcome. Spanish governement will press the rest of countries, specially the European ones to not recognize Catalonia. Why do you think Spain has not recognized Croatia?

  • Isolda Vilaresau

    Even if you are not completely wrong, I think it’s not the way to do wright things to put down to their level.

  • Anon

    Spain will find it very difficult – take a look at this: 

  • Anon

    So test your theory with a referendum

  • Anon

    And if they have referendum and a yes vote, how will you stop them?

  • Jordiredo

     “…this fascist ignoran…t” Mmmm…Nice words to reply this article. Spaniards are all the same, they won’t change: José Antonio Primo de Rivera (founder of fascist party Falange Española), Francisco Franco (dictatorship during 40 years)… Who is the fascist?

  • Miquel Solé

    I don’t want the independence of Catalonia,
    and I think it’s the opinion and feelings of the majority of Catalan people. We
    are proud with players and sportsmen like Pau Gasol and Saül Craviotto -both
    Catalans- who has been the flag bearer at the inaugural and closing ceremony.
    It’s the same feeling that Piqué and important footballer said some days ago.

    Thank you very much from Barcelona,
    Catalonia, Spain.

    Miquel Solé

  • ian

    to the point!
    visca Catalunya lliure amics !!+!!

  • Jordi

    Parliament of Leon ? I’m afraid there is nothing such that.

  • Jordi

    You’re the fascist one ! Your beloved Franco’s dictatorship was a spanish nationalist one, and close friends with Mussolini and Hitler. Learn history first.

  • Jordi

    I’m a Valencian who lives in the Principality and I want the independence of the whole Catalonia. But since Spain made that crazy division of our land (in addition, they illegally used Northern Catalonia to pay war wages with France), most of Catalans will wait what the people of País Valencià or Illes Balears choose by themselves.

  • catalan of the world

    you use that word (fascist) and I’m sure you like names like Franco. Read the definition of “nation” in the dictionary of your country (Spain) the third definition. Catalonia is a nation, doesnt care what the “spanish consitutions” says. You and the people like you can’t change this, because is a feeling man.
    Free Catalonia!! Independece for Catalonia! Support us americans (we are more serious and hard working than those bull fighters!!)

  • Mike

    You are right pepe, Catalonia was invaded by castillian forces, the name of Spain was an invention to ocupate all the Iberic Peninsula by the Castilla Kingdom. You can ask to portuguesse people, too.

  • Kabir Kang

    what we really need now is a dignified third spanish republic. not this poorly-veiled opportunistic bullshit

  • Jake

    I am currently writing an essay on the Catalonian problem. I believe they should be granted independence and Spain needs to find its own bail-out, not rely on Catalina’s economic success.

  • Gaudi

    Very interesting discussion. Historically speaking gratifying. What ever happened to that nation that over 2,000 years ago was known as Hispania and it was composed by Tarraconensis, Gallaecia, Luisitania and Baetica? I also heard that Texas wanted to become independent. Let’s do it!

The views expressed in GMF publications and commentary are the views of the author alone.

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