Tuesday, 29 January 2008

another borrowed article - change

This is another of Josep Vergés articles in el Racó Catala.

I am happy to correct any mistakes. Original article (Catalan and English).
As ever, I don’t entirely agree with Senyor Vergés, but his views are a refreshing change from the pro-Spanish establishment media opposed to Catalan independence.

Notary of Change
"I consider myself Spanish" affirms for starters notary Lopez Burniol of Ciutadans pel Canvi, Pasqual Maragall's almost-party who can spoil, if he stands, the elections of the presumed minister Duran Lleida and the presumed president Zapatero. Born at the mouth of the Ebro, in Alcanar, he grew up in Ripoll and in Calella, following his Spanish father who was a village notary. He discovered Catalonia in a Calella hairdresser which offered Destino, my father's liberal magazine, where he read Josep Pla. "A country with barbers who provide Destino is a civilized country."

Today the notary gives witness to a change which has him greatly worried: "Either Spain federalizes or Catalonia will become independent."

Those of us who feel Catalan in Catalonia think the same. In the last three years -there are no reliable figures before that- those who feel exclusively Spanish have fallen by half a million to 4% of the population while the sentiment of being Catalan has grown by five points. Today half a million more Catalans want a State, federated or independent. In total four million want it, one more than have enough with the autonomy of PSC-PSOE or the 390,000 who want the fascist region of the PP. A referendum on a Catalan State, associated or independent, would win by 55% of the vote, the same percentage Europe demanded of Montenegro to be independent of the equally intolerant Serbia.

Why is Catalan nationhood growing so fast? Because of the lying incompetence of Zapatero and the rabid anti-Catalanism of Rajoy, the leaders of the two centralist parties. Pro-independence Joan Puigcercos of Esquerra explains: "Zapatero cannot be bothered at all about Catalan commuter trains. He doesn't care that at the moment there are obsolete trains all over Catalonia and the railways are so disastrous that many trains are stranded daily. In 1992 independence was a proscribed idea, absolutely marginal as something impossible or illegal, while today it has been taken over by 20% of the population."

20% may seem little, but it translates to one and a half million Catalans, more than the total Basque population which has spilt so much ink, and gunpowder. Madrid ignores Catalans at a great peril for centralism. There is still time to offer federalism but in a decade Catalan public opinion will have gone much beyond. Why doesn't Spain federalize, the manifesto with which PSOE won the elections? It doesn't federalize because of a macro-capital just as South American as Caracas. Madrid has feet of clay. It has large companies but except El Corte Ingles, all are disgusting monopolies like Renfe or former monopolies privatized Russian style like Telefonica or Mafiosi public contractors. Madrid does not know what an entrepreneur is. It has great motorways, a galactic airport, meters of metros, all paid from the public purse.

Catalonia leads decentralization, but behind follow all the other autonomies. Madrid battles Catalonia because every time it gives way, and not a year passes that it does not give up something, all the others want the same. The State of the Autonomies is the mortal enemy of Madrid, because in the long run Madrid will be nothing. This is what centralists who identify Madrid with Spain do not want but in fact Madrid lives against Spain. It can build as many high speed lines to the centre as it wants, that these can just as easily attract capital as decentralize. Iberia centralized like today Renfe is doing and has been expelled by competition from Barcelona airport and is for sale like Alitalia, whom nobody wants either.

Catalan parties will not pact with centralists without real measures. The PP may threaten and PSOE may lie, but neither threats nor lies permit the formation of a majority in Congress.
Lopez Burniol ends by asking: "Why don't we do like Canada?"
I answer: "So that civil servants in all of Spain know Catalan?"
The notary of change concludes giving witness, like a good notary: "Impossible! Independence is all that's left."

Josep C. Vergés


Miquel Marzabal Galano said...

True that Madrid is acting such as Moscow. The difference is that Moscow can allow itself to take the arms against their oponents, kill their oponents, bomb their villages. Madrid cannot do that. So, what are we waiting for? Unfortunately in Catalonia we have very bad (VERY VERY BAD) politicians who are too obedient and perhaps afraid. I wish we had someone like the Bask Lendakari.
I am very curious to what is going to happen in october.
But how do you know that 55% of the Catalan population would vote for independence? Where did you get this from?

David said...

Mr Vergés wrote "would win by" not "will win by". Or, if you prefer, he could write "should win by", too.

François said...

Seriously, Catalans need to stop thinking that Canada is the eldorado. It's still very hard for a French-speaking Canadian to have a decent career in many federal institutions. Francophobia is still rampant among many English-spreaking Canadians.

The political system of Canada may be more decentralized, but Canada is probably not a model to follow. Switzerland -- where every linguistic group is respected -- is better