Why do Catalans Want Independence from Spain?
Despite having been forcibly held by Spain for 300 years, Catalonia’s culture is very different than that of the rest of Spain, in ways both old and new.
- The ancient Catalan language, the first language of most Catalans, is more akin to Italian and French than it is to Spanish, and cannot be understood by most Spaniards. Catalonia also has its own traditional cuisine, music, dance, clothing, and history.
- Modern Catalans are peaceful, cosmopolitan, educated, democratic, and welcoming of people of all races and creeds. This is in great contrast to the ultra-conservative, anti-democratic, and xenophobic Kingdom of Spain, whose current government actively works against the teaching of the Catalan language, whose leaders revere the memory of fascist dictator Francisco Franco, and whose representatives recently honored Spanish volunteers who fought for Hitler.
Spain uses Catalonia like an ATM, over-taxing the Catalans and spending much of their money in ways that don’t benefit Catalonia or its people. Estimates are that Spain completely removes 8% to 10% of Catalonia’s GDP annually; putting a drain on the local economy that is far worse than is seen elsewhere in Europe or anywhere in the US. This plundering is worsening, causing other regions of Spain to rely more and more heavily on Catalonia with each passing year.
Lack of Self-Government:
- Catalonia was taken by force in 1713 and has since been forcibly held by a series of corrupt, violent, and oppressive Spanish governments. And while Catalonia is represented in Spain’s current “democratic” congress, the Catalans are never powerful enough to counter the entrenched discrimination they receive from most other parts of the country. (And if you want to know more about Spain’s current democracy, just Google the words “Spain” and “corruption” together.)
- Nevertheless, Catalonia attempted for many years to negotiate a self-government solution with Spain, where Catalonia would enjoy many of the rights that the States of the US take for granted. The compromise plan was reluctantly approved by both the Spanish Government and the Catalan people in 2006, only to be thrown out by the next Spanish Government and its political courts in 2010. This had the same impact on the Catalans that the Stamp Acts and Intolerable Acts had on the American colonists of old – after 2010 there was no longer any way to believe that freedom could be achieved without independence. So the Catalan people are asking to vote on whether to remain in Spain or not.
Lack of Respect:
- If Spain respected Catalonia, it would allow Catalonia to govern itself and to tax its own people.
- If Spain respected the Catalan people, it would welcome their use of the Catalan language, side-by-side with Spanish.
- If Spain respected Catalonia, it would either stop taxing Catalonia so heavily, or it would start investing those taxes back into Catalonia.
- If Spain respected Catalonia, there would not be threats from Spain like: veto Catalan accession to the EU, or studying the possibility of a military occupation of Catalonia in order to forestall a referendum for independence.
- Finally, if Spain respected Catalonia, it would allow the Catalan people to decide whether or not they wish to remain in Spain. The United States gives this kind of respect to Puerto Rico. Britain gives this kind of respect to Scotland. So why not Spain?
Thanks for your interest in our cause. For more information, please see any of the following links, all of which are in English:
Help Catalonia – http://www.helpcatalonia.cat/
Wilson Initiative – http://wilson.cat/en/
Catalan Institute of America – http://www.catalaninstituteofamerica.org/
Catalan National Assemblies abroad – http://www.catalanassembly.org