For my blog post i have decided to analyze and discuss the issue of the Catalan government in spain. The Catalan Government in the fall of 2017 decided they wanted to declare independence from spain. The argument that the Catalan people make is clear and decisive, with plenty of reasons for why they want to be separated from spain. The region feels that by itself it is sustainable and that because the city of barcelona is one of the richest it supports the rest of spain in this current state of unemployment. In the past couple of years spain has ranged from 20%-16.5% unemployment rate, whereas catalonia has been at a steady decrease since 2013. Another reason the Catalan government wants to secede is because of the police brutality that occured in the election time period this past election cycle. The spanish parliament overtook the control of the Catalan police force and commanded them to stop the illegal poll that was occuring. The police officers were commanded to stop voting, seize ballots, and seize boxes from the polling areas. The catalan people were outraged and this was the main cause for the declaration of independence from the spanish parliament.
When we talked about democratic erosion in class we brought up a couple different scenarios but the one that i think applies the most here is populism within a democracy. The catalan government believes they are representing the needs of the people in this secession from spain. When they brought the idea of declaring independence they seemed disorganized within their coalition. The parties that formed a coalition were the socialists, most of the far left groups, and the nationalists. Some of the leaders in this party were Carles Puigdemont, the main leader of the coalition and Anna Gabriel, she is the leader of the far left party. Combined they were able to get enough support to hold the poll stated above to try and get a general consensus of what the people wanted. Although only two fifths of the population were in attendance whether it was out of fear of police brutality or unawareness of the poll, about 90% of those that did vote voted in favor of independence from spain.
Populism is based on the overwhelming support from the people and the belief that the leader of the group is doing this to help the people. After Catalans leader, Puigdemont, spoke at the spanish parliament it left his people with tons of confusion and little hope for independence. This shows weakness within their own party and that too many major parties are able to have a big influence on what occurs within this coalition that in order to make all parties happy they have stated they would like to be independent but that they are also willing to negotiate with spain. The confusion and the uncertainty caused support for independence to decrease because it seemed hopeless. Citizens expressed emotions of disappointment and hopelessness, while others held onto some bit of hope they had left.
With the issues and the arguments that the Catalan Government have they bring a good case and reasons as to why they want to secede from spain. The catalan government is one of the richest cities in spain and the income it brings is sufficient enough to support its people. With the separation they would be able to focus its money on improving the social welfare programs within its city and the transportation system. They could also help create more jobs by focusing its money on its own city instead of their money and income being funneled into spain to be dispersed. While the money and unemployment is reason enough for the catalan government to consider separating from spain it was more than that for the coalition group and the people. After analyzing the parliaments discussion with the leader it seemed as if all the parties in the coalition were underrepresented, this leads me to believe that the groups and catalan itself are underrepresented.
Catalonia as a region was absorbed by spain in the 1700’s, when this happened spain didn’t do much to integrate catalonia into its culture. Catalonia remained intact but under spain rule, keeping their national pride, their language, and their flag. After years of living under spain’s rules and their control the catalan government has realized that the people are underrepresented and their culture and language aren’t seen as official or established as other european languages within a country.
The catalan government brought a series of valid arguments and reasons for why they wanted to declare for independence from pain. But after parliament hearings it was clear that the coalition group that was representing the catalan government was disorganized and unclear about how to handle the situation. After reading tons of articles and listening to the statements from the parliament hearing i believe that the catalan government could present a clear case to parliament with facts and statements that could cause some controversy within the parliament in favor of independence and freedom for the catalonian people.