Catalonian Independence – A Growing Trend Towards Secession?

Catalonia Calls Early Elections In Bid for Greater Independence

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.




  • Rottenclam

    I had no idea about the Catalonian secession movement, but that makes sense seeing as how I’m here in the US and do not make it a priority to follow the deeper political issues within the European countries. Like you mentioned, the Basque separatists get all the press (I’ve heard of that movement many times before, and I think they’ve been around since the 60s). The Basque’s are probably akin to the secession movement going on in Quebec. Been around for a long time, makes a lot of noise, but the break just *never* seems to happen.

    When was the last time any sort of successful secession movement happened in Western Europe or America? I know there have been some break ups and/or re-joins in Eastern Europe, Russia, SouthEast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East in the last 50 years, but I cant think of any within North American and/or Western Europe.

    Not that I’m looking forward to any, nor can I say that a secession would actually *truly* fix anything, but it sure as hell would make a statement. If anything, I think a Northern California / Southern California break would be a declaration by the Northern counties that they have ALL the resources. I think that a Texas nation-state break would be a declaration that they are economically powerful enough (and even resource-rich enough) to stand independently.

    IMHO, secessions are more indictments about who is left behind, rather than how friggin’ awesome the secessionist actually happens to be.

    Having just relocated from Northern California to Southwestern Pennsylvania, I’ve become a lot more interested in the State of West Virginia. It is just an hour South of me (and it’s panhandle is a mere 35 minutes West of me) by car. They decided to secede from the Commonwealth of Virginia during the Civil War.

    And although this is a totally different conversation from the current topic, I would like to say that I think West Virginia (at least on paper) has the best bugout location potential of any state East of the Mississippi river.

  • Ryan

    Yeah, I think the Basques are the squeaky wheels over in that part of the world. I knew Spain had a strong sense of regionalism and a few different regional languages spoken, but I hadn’t heard much about a Catalonian secession movement until recently. I forgot what the occasion was for the demonstrations, but it sounded like they had a ton of support. Then again, those people are known for being a little emotional at times. We were kind of kicking around the idea of visiting Barcelona (in Catalonia) in February. I’m not sure if we will, but if I do I’d like to check into it more. Before things started spiraling downhill in Europe we decided that we wanted to go to either Greece or Spain next big vacation we took. We might need a plan C or just stay home.

    As far as secession in Western Europe or North America, I think the last time it was really tried here was in 1861 and we all know how that worked out. Texas and Cascadia have always had some small movements going, there’s still some sentiments in the South, the Northwest has the white nationalist thing going on, there’s some smaller movements in Western Canada to break away from Ontario and Quebec, Hawaii, I think some of the Canadian maritime provinces and that’s about it. Quebec has the biggest one, but like you said I think they’re more into talk than action. As far as Western Europe, the last one was probably in Scandanavia when one of those countries ruled over the other. Denmark and Iceland happened in the 20th Century, I think. Scotland is getting more and more independent, but they’re not quite there (and I’m not sure if that’s exactly what they want, either).

  • Ryan

    RE: West Virginia. I’ve heard you talk about some of the good things about that state. I know it gets a bad rap in the rest of the country as being backwards or whatever, but that doesn’t mean much. I read James Webb’s “Born Fighting” earlier in the year about the Scots-Irish and it gave me a little more of an appreciation for that part of the country and the people who inhabit it.

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