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Should Catalonia become independent? Show more Show less
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Catalonia is a region in the northeast corner of Spain and is home to Barcelona, the region’s capital. The question of Catalan independence has been a part of Spanish politics for at least three centuries. Since the 1970s, Catalans have been in conflict with the Spanish government and within themselves about becoming an independent country. The question of Catalan independence is central to Spain’s politics and has been polarizing public opinion even further since the 2010s. The demand for Catalan independence has risen greatly in the past few years, to the disappointment of the Spanish government. Is the Catalan drive for independence justified, and is independence feasible?

Yes, Catalonia should become independent Show more Show less

History, culture, politics, and economics influence separatists' and Catalan nationalists' drive for independence from Spain.
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Catalonia is culturally distinct

Catalonia has its own rich culture, history, and linguistic heritage that dates back to 220 BCE. Catalonia should become an independent nation to affirm their strong cultural heritage.

Context

Catalonia has a strong, rich regional identity despite having at least a thousand years of political uncertainty.[1] Catalonia's government also has origins in the Catalan Courts of the 13th century.[2] Catalan identity and culture experienced oppression from General Francisco Franco's dictatorship and attempt to unify Spain. Franco attempted to erase Catalan language, culture, music, writers, and composers in the early 1940s. Older Catalans today who experienced this era of Catalan history, such as Catalonia's 130th president Carles Puigdemont, are passionate about the preservation of Catalonia's culture and culture.[3] In the 2010s, Catalonia is experiencing a new wave of Catalan cultural restoration.[1] Catalans maintain their regional language in homes and is the language of instruction from primary school to university. As Catalonia's immigrant population increases as well, Catalonia has strengthened their cultural organizations and events in an attempt to make Catalonia a welcoming region to reflect the region's international population.[1]

The Argument

Catalonia has its own identity, distinct from Spain. The region has its own language, traditions, music, and food, and a long history of struggle against the Spanish state. [4] Catalonia’s roots as an independent economic power come from its time as a Greek colony and Roman province. Under the Roman Empire Catalonia became an economically prosperous region with good naval links around the Mediterranean. During the Middle Ages, the Catalans formed their own identity and language. Catalonia was part of the small region of Northern Spain which held out against the encroachment of Muslim invaders. As part of the Crown of Aragon in the later Middle Ages, Catalonia became a powerful maritime empire. Although Spain was eventually united under the rulership of Isabella and Ferdinand, Catalonia would repeatedly come into conflict with the Spanish crown throughout its History. [5] Historic Spanish aggression against the Catalans has helped to form their identity as a group, one which has become synonymous with resisting Spanish rule. The official national anthem of Catalonia, the Reapers, was sung during the Catalan revolt against Philip IV of Spain.[6] Many Catalans point to the war of 1714, when Spain was centralized, as the endpoint of their independence. As with many European groups, the 19th century led to a strong nationalist movement that sought to preserve the region’s identity, language, and customs. Perhaps most important to this sense of identity and dislike of Spanish rule was the repression of the Catalan government and language by General Franco.[7] Catalonia has a long history as a culturally distinct group. It also has a long history of fighting for its autonomy against Spanish oppression. Many Catalans feel that Catalonia is not Spain, and this should be respected.

Counter arguments

There is no reason a country cannot be comprised of people with different identities. There is no need to break away from Spain just because Catalonia has its own culture and customs. The growth of divisive nationalism is rooted in prejudice. [8] Many regions of Spain can claim to have unique traditions and distinct heritage, this does not mean they need to be sovereign states in their own right. Many Catalans are under the mistaken impression that Catalonia was an independent state historically. Catalonia was ruled by the count of Catalonia as part of the Crown of Aragon. [9] Catalonia's annoyance with the central government in Madrid comes from the conflict of 1714 during the War of the Spanish Succession, in which King Philip V centralized the Spanish government and removed Catalan autonomy. [10] Most of Europe has had many semi-autonomous regions governed by local grandees as part of the medieval feudal system. These were never nation-states in their own right. The source of the conflict between Catalonia and the Spanish government has always revolved around the devolution of powers, not around independence. Catalonia's historic autonomy has been restored. Separatists claims that Spain is still repressing them are false. Catalonia was never a nation-state occupied by Spain, it was a semi-autonomous region that fought to keep devolved powers. Catalonia now has its own government and extensive regional powers. Separatists' historical grievances are no longer relevant.

Proponents

Framing

This argument appeals to a Catalan cultural and ethnic identity.

Premises

[P1] Catalonia's sense of its own identity has long historic roots. [P2] Spain has repeatedly tried to repress Catalonia's identity throughout its history. [C] Catalonia deserves its own state free from Spanish rule.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Catalonia was never a nation-state, it was part of the crown of Aragon that united Spain. [Rejecting P2] Catalonia's historic autonomy has been restored.

References

  1. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/beyond-headlines-catalan-culture-has-long-history-vibrancy-and-staying-power-180969294/
  2. https://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generalitat_de_Catalunya
  3. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-41508660
  4. https://theculturetrip.com/europe/spain/articles/six-reasons-why-catalonia-is-different-from-spain/
  5. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/reference/people/why-catalonia-spain-wealthiest-region-independence/
  6. https://www.barcelonas.com/els-segadors.html
  7. https://www.thelocal.es/20160911/an-historical-look-at-the-catalan-independence-issue
  8. https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/catalonia-separatism-violates-democracy-rule-of-law-by-pedro-sanchez-2019-11?barrier=accesspaylog
  9. https://www.barcelonas.com/confusing-kingdom-with-crown-of-aragon.html
  10. https://english.elpais.com/elpais/2017/09/25/inenglish/1506339116_980655.html

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This page was last edited on Saturday, 12 Sep 2020 at 21:03 UTC

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