The Catalan independence movement

Anika Anderson, Staff Reporter
Originally published November 30, 2017

Created by Ian Davino

Created by Ian Davino

The independence referendum held in Catalonia on Oct. 1 has caused bitter disputes between the Spanish federal government and the regional Catalan government. Catalans voted to secede from Spain, although only about 40 percent of Catalans voted, according to NBC. Thousands of Catalans celebrated independence in the streets of Barcelona after the results were revealed.

Catalonia is a region located in the northeastern corner of Spain. It shares a border with France and sits on the Mediterranean sea. Spain has 17 autonomous regions that each have a distinct culture and many have their own languages other than Spanish, including Catalonia.

Many Catalans feel they don’t belong to Spain; they belong to Catalonia and this regional identity inspired them to form their own nation. Catalans see themselves as a separate entity from Spain and have a unique perception of Spanish history.

Historically, Catalonia has never really been separate from Spain or even been its own state, but Catalans see recent Spanish history as a struggle between Spain and Catalonia.

At school these events in Catalonia seem far away and isolated from our daily lives in the United States. However, the sentiments that have factored into the Catalan independence movement are similar to sentiments felt in the United States.

Americans have a strong sense of national and regional identities that give citizens a sense of unity. Catalans share this sense of regional identity and it has shaped their independence movement.

Also, in the United States the wealthy have always been vying for tax cuts just as wealthy Catalans don’t want to pay Spanish taxes. Catalonia’s wealth has also attracted a large amount of immigrants, and immigration is just as big an issue in Catalonia as it is in the United States.

Spanish teacher Dulce Lopez Madrid is from Almería, Spain and explained how immigration is a global issue: “In Spain currently, and the rest of the world the immigration topic continues to be something important because some people don’t want immigrants. It’s not only in the United States like with Trump, but it’s also with the rest of the countries too. I think it is more difficult this fight against the people who think that immigrants are bad. They are not, they are giving us good things, other cultures. We can meet new people. We can learn new languages. I think there is a place for everyone.”

The Catalan new regional election will take place on Dec. 12 in order to regain normality and order in Catalonia