Choping nations

This is an interesting time for my homeland: Spain. Since the XV century Catalonia has been a constant source of trouble and malcontent. The claim is that “Catalonia is a nation“:

… a large body of people united by common descent, history , culture, or language, inhabiting a particular state or territory. …

… we can get into the very murky discussion about large, or perhaps history. In the case of a place that was, in essence, founded by the Carthaginians (check Barcino if you’re interested on that) But that’s not different that many other places in the Iberian Peninsula. My town, for instance has been inhabited for more than 2.2 millenia, some digs are even older than that. As so many other places in Europe, we have history by buckets. Regarding size, well, arguably there is more people in Catalonia than in the whole Iceland, so that’s a large body of people.

Let’s check the history of Spain as I know it. It’s one of the oldests nations in Europe. Born 5 centuries ago, after what we call the reconquer or reconquista it’s one of the initial bastions of what we nowadays call the “Western culture”. One would say that, back in the day, we had ballz of steelz as you can say of contemporary Poles. At the begining of the XIX century we created one of the most advanced constitutions in human history. I believe we should take a stop here. Italy, as an example, is 120 years old. Germany, as we know it nowadays, is a product of the WWI, younger than a century. Yugoslavia (as we knew it) existed for less than 50 years. Poland was an empire in the XVI century. After this, the existence of the Spanish state is a reality that we can’t discuss. However:

What we perceive as the political reality and staticism is such a wobbling entity that it’s almost comical.

States change, evolve and develop. Puerto Rico is a good example, the collapse of Argentina is also interesting, Korea (both of them) are also relevant in this discussion. Nothing is fixed. But all of these changes have a massive cost in suffering and sometimes, lives.

And, well, I’m old enough to remember this happening in the Spanish congress in February 23 of 1981:

As an european, I know that things can go bad, fast. In our history we have massive pogroms, holocausts, general random killing and, even randomer war. If you want to learn about attrocities check with the closest european, that human will give you all you need to know about apes behaving like monkeys.

In recap, and pretty obvious: political reality evolves. Societies take very long to form and stabilize and the road to chaos and civil unrest is short and fast. And, on top of everything, the idea of nation is so close to our beloved tribalism, that should be looked upon with utmost suspicion.

Here, it might seem that I’m taking a conservative position. In this issue, yes, I am a conservative. States are not toys. I don’t believe in good intentions and altruistic motivations. Nationalism is an illness that we should combat.

Catalonian independentism

Let’s be very clear. Catalonia is not oppresed by the state. Quite the contrary. Due to the electoral laws, the Spanish government has pivoted on Catalan parties for the last 20 years and that has resulted in quite a benefit for their interests. In hindsight the investments the Catalonian authorities did in education, some would say indoctrination, was the cornerstone of all this movement. Started 30 years ago they’ve build the citizens that we currently enjoy. Victims. They don’t go towards a goal, they reject and run away from what they perceive as evil and unjust. It’s, in many ways, a negative movement. It’s based in the simple idea that:

We’re not like you. Spain steals us.[1]

As the basques did with the infamous blood RH-, they claim to be genetically closer to the French that to the rest of the Spanish state. More irrational nonsense, but it’s the base of the narrative.

Spain is not a perfect state. It´s oversized and clumsy, like many European states. But it´s not the enemy. Madrid, for instance is an example of evolution and progress, ironically, under the nationalistic authority Catalonia has become smaller and poorer. Companies left the place, favoring either Madrid or Portugal. But they don´t seem to care or value that. The wellfare of their population is secondary to the identity question. And here is where I draw the line.

Let´s draw a parallel between human psyche and states. Let´s think about the question: who am I? The teen angst is almost palpable. And that, for me, is the key of this issue. That’s a completely sterile discussion. Navel gazing, self centered, and utterly neutered ideas only led to catastrophe. There’s a reason why we left such indagations behind us. We open up and act in the world. From a fake sense of victimhood where we’re constanly aggravated, we walk in the world and start transforming it.

What now?

I might lack imagination here but I can only imagine two outcomes after this.

  1. My country collapses. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened. A shitload of suffering and pain will ensue. Every citizen will get poorer and will loose some of their civil rights.
  2. The crackdown. The state reacts (at last) and incarcerates the heads of the seccesionist movement. No force is restrained. From that point we face years of civil unrest and disorder.

In both cases we face recession. The country needs to be refounded. And our collective nightmares come true. We’re back at the hands of the authoritarians.

Gents … ¡Viva España!

  1. Information made public by the Spanish tax agency shows that this is not only a lie, but quite the contrary, the Catalonian regions are inmensly benefitted.