What's Up with Catalonia? (英語) ペーパーバック – 2013/2/8
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On September 11, 2012, on Catalonia's National Day, 1.5 million people from all over Catalonia marched peacefully and joyfully through the streets of Barcelona, behind a single placard: Catalonia: New State in Europe. Fifteen days later, President Artur Mas called snap elections for the Parliament of Catalonia, in order to hold a referendum that would let the people of Catalonia decide their own future. The rest of the world and even Spain were caught by surprise, but the events unfolding in Barcelona have been a long time coming. In this new book, 35 experts explore Catalonia's history, economics, politics, language, and culture, in order to explain to the rest of the world the fascinating story behind the march, the new legislature, and the upcoming vote on whether Catalonia will become the next new state in Europe. With a prologue by Artur Mas, President of Catalonia, and contributions from: Ignasi Aragay - Laia Balcells - Germà Bel - Laura Borràs - Alfred Bosch - Núria Bosch - Roger Buch i Ros - Joan Canadell - Pau Canaleta - Salvador Cardús - Muriel Casals - Andreu Domingo - Carme Forcadell Lluís - Josep Maria Ganyet Salvador Garcia-Ruiz - Àlex Hinojo - Edward Hugh - Oriol Junqueras - M. Carme Junyent - J.C. Major - Pere Mayans Balcells - Josep M. Muñoz - Mary Ann Newman - Elisenda Paluzie - Vicent Partal - Cristina Perales-García - Eva Piquer - Enric Pujol Casademont - Marta Rovira-Martínez - Vicent Sanchis - Xavier Solano Miquel Strubell - Matthew Tree - Ramon Tremosa - F. Xavier Vila
The chapters cover the following aspects of existence in Catalonia:
1. A New path for Catalonia
2. Catalonia, a new state in Europe
3. 2013: the transition year toward the referendum on independence
4. Premeditated asphyxia -: Spanish economic suffocation of Catalonia
5. It's always been there -; Catan language presence even under Franco's extreme oppression
6. Catalonia, land of immigration
7. Opening the black box of secessionism
8. Schooling in Catalonia (1978-2012) -: how Spain treats Catalans different, breaking their own laws!
9. The view from Brussels -: the favorable atmosphere toward Catalonia
10. Keep calm & speak Catalan -: Catalan reaction to Spanish intentions to hispanicize Catalonia & Catalans
11. Wilson, Obama, Catalonia, & Figueres -: American governmental treatment of Catalonia throughout history
12. News from Catalonia -: the current state of Catalonian independentism vs. Madrid's centralization
13. On the prickly matter of language
14. Is the perfect always & everywhere the enemy of the good? -: how Madrid's centralism mirrors the USSR
15. What has happened to us Catalans? -: how Madrid speaks of autonomous govts., but only if they kowtow to Madrid
16. Our place in the world: the country of Barcelona -: Catalonia's future as an independent country
17. How did we get here?
18. Judo in Madrid -: to deal with Madrid re: independence or not
19. European patriots -: Catalan independentists as true European patriots
20. The battle for the audience -: development of Catalan media
21. Strangers in our own land -: Madrid's extreme measures to steal Catalonia from the Catalan people
22. Yet another wiki? -: Catalan language on the internet
23. The languages of the Catalans -: linguistic versatility in Catalonia
24. Non-nationalist independentism -: the case for real autonomy
25. Catalan language literature: what's going on? -: vibrancy of the Catalan language in literature
26. Catalonia or Catalan countries? -: the Catalan nation as more than just Catalonia
27. Time to say "yes" -: a call to Catalan action
28. A Scottish Referendum for Catalonia
29. Language in education
30. What happened on November 25? -: political results of Catalonian election
31. Americans (heart) Catalonia: a geometric progression -: Americans attitudes vis-a-vis American govt. attitude
32. The viability of Catalonia as a state
33. To my Spanish friends -: Catalonia as friends who just want to be left alone politically
34. The Catalan business model
35. The CUP: the oldest & newest independentists -: evolution of a independentist party
36. Our September 11th (1714) -: history of the Catalan nation
Admittedly, some of the above topics overlap & some of the same information is repeated, but each chapter covers its subject from a different angle. Each chapter has a separate author & a summary of the author's credentials are recorded prior to the chapter text. Each chapter is densely packed, even though some are 3 pages or less. This book in many ways is a course on understanding Catalonia.
-: = what follows are my independent summary of the chapter contents
As a collection of articles there is some repetition but it is an easy read and the articles do try to cover various different aspects of the topic.
The book presents a positive and realistic face of the conditions previous and after the case of reaching the independence.
In general it is very suitable for all people who wanted to know more about Catalonia and the independence process under a balanced and rigorous point of view.
While present-day Catalonian society is indeed very diverse -few places in Europe have seen their population double in the space of fifty years due to an influx of population from other places -southern Spain, but also North Africa, South America and Eastern Europe in the case of Catalonia- even Yannis must admit that Catalan society is remarkably cohesive in spite of its plurality. So while approximately 20% of the population feels exclusively Spanish, a high percentage of the population of non-Catalan origin has joined the mainstream grass-roots movement of civil society for independence. This movement -which is unprecedented in scale and drive in recent European history- is fuelled by a peremptory need for dignity, fair treatment, and equal representation as citizens of a free state. This runs against the course of events in the history of the Spanish State, still today dominated by a Castilian oligarchy permeating all spheres of power and holding a supreme disdain for the Catalan identity, language, and socioeconomic structure. The illusion of a plural, federal, democratic Spain has vanished over the last thirty years as it has become gradually more evident that Catalans are nearly absent from the Central Government, the judiciary, the military, the extractive elite at the head of the major corporations created after the privatisation of former state monopolies, the industrial-military complex, and the major banks -all based in Madrid, except for La Caixa.
While the Spanish parties on the left (PSOE) and the poorer Spanish regions have been bought out by these extractive elites with enormous investments of public funds -including EU aid of which Spain as a whole, but not Catalonia, has so far been a net beneficiary-, the entrepreneurial and middle classes in Catalonia have been starved of funds, left out in the cold with obsolete infrastructures, and to add insult to injury, accused of insolidarity and of being lacking in patriotic feeling. Coming from the ruling class of the wealthy megalopolis Madrid has become over the last 30 years, this is cynicism to the utmost degree.
Rather than the 2008 economic and financial crisis, the present situation in Catalonia is the result of the lack of recognition as a distinct nation with cultural, linguistic, and political rights, as well as of 30 years of systematic looting amounting to 8% or 9% of its annual GDP by the Spanish Government, and the humiliation of seeing the very modest Statute of Autonomy of 2006 struck down in 2010 by the Spanish Constitutional Court after it having been approved by the Catalan and Spanish Parliaments and by the population in a referendum.