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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?

No, Catalonia should not become independent Show more Show less

An independent Catalonia will be detrimental to both Spain and Catalonia. Spain is a sovereign nation whose Constitution and national history should be respected.
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We should maintain Spanish unity

Catalonia should remain politically, economically, and culturally tied to Spain. Spanish unity would better serve Catalonia as a region and Spain as a nation, especially since many people in Catalonia consider themselves Spanish.

The Argument

Although many of its supporters argue that there is overwhelming momentum towards independence in Catalonia, there is no evidence for these claims. Many Catalans complain they are the silent majority who regard themselves as Spanish and do not want to break with Madrid.[1] Catalonia has been a part of Spain since Spain became a united country in the 15th century, and was an integral part of the unification of Spain under the crown of Aragon. It is not a historically occupied territory and has never been an independent nation, but has been a key region in Spanish history.[2] It is irresponsible to support divisive nationalism. Europe and Spain are stronger through their diversity. The unity of different cultures and peoples is something to be celebrated, not feared. Spain has many diverse regions and unique local cultures, and Catalonia is among them.[3]There is a strong undercurrent of xenophobia in Catalan nationalism, which challenges modern ideals regarding diversity.[4] Spain is at risk of unhealthy Balkanization in which regional resentment is encouraged. Many European leaders have argued that to allow Catalonia to separate would set a dangerous precedence and inspire hundreds of tiny groups of extremists to follow suit. Additionally, Catalan President Quim Torra, a pro-independence leader, has been accused of racism and prejudice.[5] The celebration of unity, and not division, is a necessary component of democracy. Many Catalans still feel Spanish, and Catalonia is a historically significant part of unified Spain. It would be needlessly divisive to place an arbitrary divide among the residents of Spain.

Counter arguments

Catalonia is not Spain. Historically speaking, Catalonia has its own culture and language; Catalonia has banned bull-fighting and does not have Flamenco. Although it may have been a part of Spain for centuries, until 1714, the region consistently held independent powers that recognized Catalonia's unique character. For the last 300 years, Catalonia has pushed back against Spain's central government, which has tried to repress Catalan identity.[6] The claim that Catalan nationalism is rooted in prejudice and non-cooperation is slander. Catalonia is welcoming to migrants, and the Catalan government has many foreign-born pro-independence leaders. Catalonia is historically more tolerant and liberal than the rest of Spain.[7] It is Spain that wishes to repress outside cultures. Spain's demand for unity is repressive and authoritarian. If states want to break away, they should be allowed. Spanish nationalism led to police brutality at the 2017 Catalan referendum, with police mistreating voters with aggression and violence. The Spanish government is trying to punish the region for asking for autonomy and recognition.[8] Catalonia has always had a separate identity, and to suggest the Catalan push for autonomy is rooted in prejudice is merely false.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] A silent majority of Catalans feel they are Spanish. [P2] Catalonia has never been a separate state and was an important driver of the unification of Spain when Barcelona was the capital of the crown of Aragon. [P3] Nationalist sentiments are rooted in prejudice. People and nations should seek unity not division. [C] Catalonia is a part of Spain historically, and this unity should be maintained.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Culturally and historically Catalans are not Spanish. [Rejecting P2] It is Spain that is fostering an aggressive and divisive form of nationalism, not Catalonia. Catalonia's demands are not born out of prejudice.

References

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/08/catalonia-independence-from-spain-silent-majority-rally-barcelona
  2. https://www.barcelonas.com/confusing-kingdom-with-crown-of-aragon.html
  3. https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/catalonia-separatism-violates-democracy-rule-of-law-by-pedro-sanchez-2019-11?barrier=accesspay
  4. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/democracy-post/wp/2017/10/03/why-spains-catastrophic-handling-of-the-catalonia-crisis-is-a-lesson-for-the-world/
  5. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/17/quim-torra-sworn-in-catalan-president-xenophobia-claims
  6. https://www.thelocal.es/20160911/an-historical-look-at-the-catalan-independence-issue
  7. https://euobserver.com/opinion/142000
  8. https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/can-europe-make-it/catalonia-and-spanish-nationalism/

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This page was last edited on Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 22:49 UTC

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