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Post Catalonian Nationalism and Xenophobia
Created by John Eipper on 11/14/17 4:44 AM

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Catalonian Nationalism and Xenophobia (Jose Manuel de Prada, Spain, 11/14/17 4:44 am)

In addition to what José Ignacio Soler says in his post of November 12, I would like to add that Jordi Molins's interpretation of the statistics is an elaborate variation of the old cliche that casts all immigrants to Catalonia as ignorant and illiterate.

I hasten to say that this racist way of demeaning people from outside Catalonia was not prevalent among most Catalans, but up to the early 1990s it could still be heard in certain circles. When immigration from other parts of Spain was replaced by people coming from North Africa, Pakistan and South America, these, rather, Andalusians, became the target of xenophobic comments.

Immigrants have greatly contributed to make Catalonia the rich region it is now (or was, before, as José Ignacio Soler points out, companies began to flee in droves, scared off by the current situation), but there has always been a latent hostility towards them among the nationalist movement.

Statistics, to the extent that they are reliable, show what is already known: support for independence is stronger among the better-off sectors of Catalan society, having always been the cherished project of a large sector of the Catalan bourgeoisie.

As a recent editorial in El País points out, "el hecho de que el independentismo predomine en los estratos más pudientes, con más estudios y con más ascendientes catalanes configura el secesionismo como un proyecto esencialmente excluyente, en absoluto igualador" (in summary, the pro-independence feeling prevails among the wealthier classes, better educated and with more Catalan ancestors, and in no way egalitarian) defines the nationalist project as essentially exclusionary.


Regarding indoctrination, it certainly exists, and in some private schools it was common already in the 1970s. I can vouch for this because I attended such a school from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. The school in question was well known for its Catalanist orientation, and at that time my parents considered that placing us there was the progressive thing to do. It was a sad mistake, realized too late. Nationalism is never progressive! Fortunately, my siblings and myself resisted the indoctrination, but that was not the case of many thousands of people who attended this and other similar schools and are now among the elites who support "the process."

I remember that in 1980-81, my last year at that school, a mossen (priest) who had previously been teaching religion was assigned the task of imparting a course on Catalan history. The textbook he had written himself, and was mimeographed. It was not precisely a model of objective historiography. When I got home and my father saw that the volume was titled Introducciò a l'esperit nacional català, he was really upset. He went next day to see the principal and told him that in the 1940s in Salamanca he also had to use a book with that title!

A word or two about the true nature of Catalan nationalism. In spite of the claims of its leaders, it is exclusionary, although it is open to embrace people from outside, provided they fulfill certain conditions. The shibboleth is the Catalan language. People from elsewhere that aspire to become Catalans must make an effort to learn and use it. Then, of course, one has to embrace also the nationalist Weltanschauung.

Polls recently published suggest that in the coming elections of December 21, a lot of non-nationalist vote will emerge, cast by people who until now tended to stay home during the local elections. I wonder what will the reaction of the the nationalist movement if they actually lose the vote and a non-nationalist becomes President. Will they cry foul? Or will they turn to the absurd idea that Franco sent all those immigrants to Catalonia precisely to "de-nationalize" the country?

As for the use of the plural in the document quoted by Jordi Soler, I think it refers to the supervision by the central government ministries. The Catalan ones are called Conselleries.

JE comments:  Both sides of the Catalonia crisis attach the xenophobia label to the opposite side.  What about José Manuel de Prada's statement that nationalism is never progressive?  This is hard to refute if you're talking about France, Germany, UK, Russia or the US (or Japan, China...), but what about emerging nationalisms in the guise of 'liberation movements"?  Please discuss.

I am curious about José Manuel's school experiences in the waning Franco years.  How did they impart Catalonian sentiment when to do so was prohibited and punished?

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