The Capital and the Fatherland – the Catalan case

GDP per capita in Iberian Peninsula.
Undoubtedly I cannot take any other part in the present issue in Catalonia, as the part that defends the independence of the region. One cannot imagine a certain people, inserted within a democratic nation and culture, requesting formal and legal approval from the central powers, so that such powers can legitimate the independence of a certain democratic region. Either the powers within a very strong liberal and democratic culture, such as in the United Kingdom with Scotland, allow the sovereign people to democratically decide, or, normally the people that seek independence, use violence to obtain it, such as many African colonies did against European powers. Angola for example, according to the Portuguese constitution of the 1970s, was integrally part of the Portuguese nation. Any secession of the Portuguese empire was faced with discontent and force, and the authorities of the time legally reasoned with the Rule of Law of the Portuguese state. I remind that one may find nations where the Rule of Law does work independently of whether those nations are democratic or not. The African colonies went thus through a very violent and lengthly war for the independence, such independence movements being supported by the two big major powers of the time during the cold war. And today, notwithstanding the severe civilisation and democratic deficiencies of those African nations, they are, at least formally and officially, sovereign and independent nations.

Communists and socialists although have a very contradictory political approach to those issues regarding the autonomy of the people. If such people fight against American imperialism, those people seem to have a strong legitimacy for their sovereignty; nonetheless, if such people, like in Afghanistan, Ukraine, Poland or Hungary, fight against a communist main power, such as the Soviet Union, they suddenly lose the sacred right to protest and defend their autonomy. One cannot find therefore any political coherence when we hear for instance the members of the left-wing party Podemos defending the autonomy of Catalonia, when they defend tyrants in South America. One find coherence nonetheless in modern European liberals which never supported the imperial tyrants which sat in Washington, further not supporting either the invaders that came from the East “to freed” Europe from Nazism and Fascism. Liberty shall not depend on our political quadrant nor on the state where in live and are politically inserted. Liberty is a concept, which mankind shall defend independently of our personal and cultural beliefs. The USA, hence, is one of the biggest world hypocrites, since it always invaded countries providing liberty as the main philanthropic cause. Whilst the Soviets as they invaded sovereign nations were nominated as tyrants, the American invaders were the liberators. An invader is an invader independently of the ideology that it carries and spreads. Spain has always been an empire, and she did well spreading their values, if we think how many people in the world are culturally Catholics and if we consider that Spanish is the fourth most spoken language in the world, after Chinese, Hindi and English. She did well in the past, but time has changed, and Democracy demands that a nation is defined not only by constitutional law, but by people that share values, language, principles and most of all, people that want and desire to live together. And the remainders may not decide by themselves nor prohibit their freewill. The United Kingdom has therefore shown a great democratic contribution to the world when it allowed Scottish to freely decide their future. As did Canadians in Quebec some decades ago. But whilst the UK was already a major world empire that fought with violence and military power any imperial secession, Canada was never one.

But let us not be naïve. The emotions that drive people to nationwide freewill movements and to protect their fatherland, are not, fortunately, what they used to be. We live in capitalist societies, and money, now more than ever, plays a big role. Catalonia has the highest GDP in Spain, doubling Valencia and almost four times the GDP of Galicia. As per person, the Catalonia has twice the GDP per capita that for example Andalusia. Therefore supra-national entities, like federations for instance, have also a major economic and social role in the redistribution of economic and financial assets amongst the regions, diminishing poverty and inequality. The European Union is a very good example, if you consider the huge amount of financial assets that were already transferred from the north to the south, and not for wages nor social benefits, but mainly for infrastructures, such as roads, railway, schools, hospitals and water supply. In any case, the balance between equality and freedom might be hard to achieve within a group of people. Milton Friedman for instance, said once that a country which puts equality before freedom, normally obtains neither of the them. I partially disagree since I think there must be a balance between those two major concepts. Making compulsory contributions to the group, i.e., taxes, which are used to pay to other people poorer than us, does not mean directly that we lost our freedom, because freedom is not a binary concept. In that sense, Spain had an important centralized role, redistributing funds from Catalonia, into poor regions such as Galicia or Andalusia. And I'm perfectly aware that often by not giving financial autonomy and merely subsidizing, nations tend to not change their economic tissue and tend not to perform reforms that provide better economic performances. But if we think on the European economic dichotomy between north and south, we realize that at least since the Industrial Revolution, or even the Reform from Martin Luther, that the north has always been wealthier than the south. And there are always certain differences that, in my humble opinion, will make the south not so wealth as the north, and one of the such reasons in my opinion, is weather. As a conclusion, I strongly support the Catalan movement for independence, but I am perfectly aware that for many people in Catalonia the capital in their pockets is well before the fatherland.

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