Catalonian Independence – A Growing Trend Towards Secession?
A couple weeks ago I turned on the TV. We just got wireless and streaming Netflix (yeah, I know, I’m way behind the times) and I was watching one of the European news programs that comes up. They had scenes in Barcelona of tons of people in the street in yellow and red, waving flags, banners and signs.
I’m not an expert in the separate regions of Spain, but I know there are divisions between Madrid and some of the other regions. The Basques probably get the most airtime in our part of the world, but Catalonia is distinct with their own cuisine, language (still a Latin language), economy and culture.
So Spain is in deep shit right now with astronomically high unemployment, crushing debt and having to work within the confines of the European Union for a solution. The article mentions that secession movements in Catalan have picked up since the 2008 economic crisis and have been particularly vehement this year as Spain isn’t looking so hot. The general consensus among the nearly half of Catalonians who favor independence seems to be that if the Spanish state can’t make the trains run on time, they should give it a go for themselves. Jumping ship and starting all over sounds more appealing than facing the music along with the central government.
Spain isn’t the only place this is happening either. Off hand I can think of the Flemish/Walloons issue in Belgium, strong movements towards secession in Scotland and Wales to a lesser extent, Bloc Quebecois in Quebec gaining a little more steam and the situation with the Kurds in the Middle East and Turkey. I know there’s dozens of similar situations I’m forgetting right now.
I think as things progress the way they have we will see a lot more of this around the world and maybe even here – we’re definitely not immune. As states go, so do currencies, agreements (pensions, welfare, etc.), political arrangements and other things that many people depend upon. Remember, political borders and governments are not permanent and change over the course of time. Where I sit right now used to be considered Indian territory, then it was some land settled by some white guys, now it’s the United States and who knows what it will be in a couple of decades. Maybe microstates are our future instead of the more monolithic nation states we’ve had over the past century or two?
Even though I don’t see any viable secession movements happening in the US in the immediate future, I do see it as something that could very well be in our future over the next few decades. I think it’s a good idea to think about having skills and things of value that transcend the state. By that I mean having things like precious metals and items (tools, durable household items, machinery, etc) that keep their value and most importantly having skills and knowledge that will make you valuable regardless of where you end up (or who ends up with you) one way or another.