Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Fallacy No 3: Ciudadanos

If you follow Catalan/Spanish politics, you will remember the set up of a political party named Ciudadanos/Ciutadans. On the 2006 elections, the party won 3 seats in the Catalan parliament in the province of Barcelona, getting just about 3.5% of the vote.

This party, and its supporters in the media, claimed at the time that this party was not bothered by matters of national identity and culture, but by things that matter to people: unemployment, energy prices, inflation, access to property, etc. In theory, a good proposition, isn’t it?

Well, if only. Those of us without blinkers in our eyes knew full well that this was a very good PR exercise encouraged by the most rabid nationalist outlets within the Spanish media, El Mundo and COPE, who took over from where El País, the original inventor of this farcical party, started.

The truth is that Ciudadanos is a party exclusively defined by its stance on national identity issues and by its policy of undermining the already precarious status of Catalan-language, and to threaten social cohesion in our cities and towns.

Ciudadanos has always been about being a Spanish nationalist, in the open, and confronting anyone or anybody who dared to pursue a policy of emancipation outwith a Spanish framework, at any level, for Catalonia.

The latest example of the Ciudadanos non-identitarian fallacy is their farcical intervention a few days ago. Instead of challenging the government on the issues that matter, as they told everyone they would, they brought to the attention of the Catalan parliament a football tournament:


And that is the problem with Ciudadanos. Every one of their interventions are designed to undermine and attack a Catalan initiative in any given area, and at the same time use another Spanish-wide initiative as an example to follow.

Their politics of identity is accurately reflected in their website, which uses Catalan for headings and links, but all significant contents, including their key policy documents, are only available in Spanish. For Ciudadanos, Catalan, the language of Catalonia, is just a nuisance and something to put up with rather than protect and cherish.

If Ciudadanos were a party without an identity agenda, surely all their policy documents and party website would be available in both languages? Well, think again.

So these are the people who were elected on the basis of the new politics of non-nationalism: a bunch of resentful Spanish nationalists making a point about a football tournament.


Erik Wirdheim said...


Don't worry about Ciutadans, that'll only bring back attention to them, if only temporarily.

Please, take note that the "manifiesto por la lengua común" is being fully credited to Rosa Diez's UPyD, not to Ciutadans.

The last elections to the parliament of Spain revealed that there is not any support for this movement in Catalonia any longer.

They will re-group and come back, but most likely not as Ciutadans.

//Erik in Vilanova

Rab said...

Erik, thanks for your comment.

I also understand UPyD is behind the infamous Manifiesto but Ciudadanos is using it to create division within Catalan society.

As someone living now in Scotland I am only painfully aware of the social poison of having segregated schooling systems, which is one of their key proposals. We must defend at all costs the integrated and cohesive school system we have in Catalonia against those who would have children taught in separate schools according to language.

Proponents of segregated education are just aware as I am of the social consequences of that policy, and that’s why they are so intent on creating a segregated schooling system based on language.

In Scotland we have a segregated schooling system based on religion (which here is a key part of your cultural identity) and I cannot describe how poisonous this is for social cohesion.

Maybe you are right, and they will come back in a different disguise, but the damage is being done and the PP, which supported the current educational system in the 80s, is making noises that are worryingly similar to those of Ciudadanos and UPyD and which will only cause social tension, division and segregation. Will Ciudadanos join the PP? Time will tell. For now we can only expose their blatant manipulation for what they are, and try to prevent their twisted lies damaging Catalan society.

By the way, your blog is a great read.

Garci said...

Rab.. is your policy of identity clearly English-nationalist? according to your logic, it seems so..just to clarify things.

Rab said...


I don’t have a scooby what you are talking about.

"clearly English nationalist"? What?

Are you posting in the right blog? Got mixed up?

Garci said...

Rab, someone said: "Their politics of identity is accurately reflected in their website, which uses Catalan for headings and links, but all significant contents, including their key policy documents, are only available in Spanish". As far I can follow you, you seem to be (according to your logic) an English nationalist (you don't write in Gaelic or Scots in your blog as far as I know... just using your own arguments..talking about fallacies.

Rab said...


What a silly response.

I am not a political or public organisation, body or agency. I am a private individual and I write my own blog in whatever language I see fit.

There are plenty of other people, more qualified, more smart and more intelligent that write in Catalan or Spanish for domestic audiences.

I choose English so that my arguments have maximum exposure globally. Plus I seem to get more clicks on the adverts. The fact that I write in English seems to upset a lot of you guys.

I must be doing something right then.

Garci said...


not at all, I love using English. I am merely pointing out your fallacies, a sport you quite like to play in your blog. So you can assume a complete "politics of identity" if an organization chooses to write partially in Catalan and partially in Spanish, however, coming from an individual like you, I can't at all guess what your "politics of identity" would be based on your use of language in the web? Well, congratulations, Rab. Making or no continuous and unilateral rearrangements of the rules...I think that's where you REALLY can see what is the "politics of identity" of someone.

Rab said...


Your logic is flawed. I think you have serious problems with your line of argument.

Ciudadanos is a public entity, a political party aiming to represent the people of Catalonia without regard for identity, language, culture, etc. However, their key communications and policies are exclusively in one language: Spanish. Not partially in Catalan and Spanish as you imply. Unless having headings in Catalan is regarded as content.

On the other hand, I am an individual, I don’t speak on behalf of anyone and I only represent myself and nobody else. I think I am perfectly entitled to write in whatever language I want to get my message across to the maximum number of people.

Ciudadanos preaches one message but their actions symbolise and represent something else, and that’s the fallacy I write about in the post.