dimarts, 10 d’abril del 2012

Reason 33: Only way to have and ensure (a real) self-government

When democracy was reinstalled after the dictatorship, Spain did not want Catalonia and Basque Country to have a ‘special treatment’. In order to give them a kind of self-government, they created the so called ‘State of the autonomies’, which consisted of a division of Spain into autonomic (reed regional) ‘governements’. Catalans and Basques thought that was a good idea and believed this would offer them enough competences in order to develop essential aspects of the Catalan and Basque nations. The fact the all the other regions got a self-government they never asked and they didn’t feel they ‘needed’ was irrelevant.
The Catalan government got several competences, such as Civil law, education or health care (1). During the last decades Catalonia has made several laws and applied most of them. But the Spanish government never abolished the Spanish ministries on these matters, even though they did not have these competences any longer. After more than 30 years of making laws Catalans can say today that living in Catalonia differs in many ways from living in other parts of Spain. A recent example is that bull fights are in Catalonia forbidden.
But the reality is that during this time Catalans have tried to play as if Catalonia was a sovereign country or a nation, while they had the competences any other Spanish region also had. We see our country, Catalonia as a nation, the Spaniards see it as a region. So, we Catalans played our ‘role’, in some cases through law making, and when law was not possible (blocked by Spain) we seeked for surrogate solutions (such as the stickers for car number plates with ‘CAT’).
But this Catalan dream seems to be coming to an end. The reality is that none of the competences has ever been transferred completely, and whenever a Catalan law does not like the Spaniards they annihilate it. Some of us woke up when the Spaniards reduced the new Organic law of Catalonia ‘Estatut’. And we can see how the Spanish ministries are more and more unsatisfied with the ‘State of autonomies’.
Even though the Spanish prime minister has said not to want to dismantle the ‘State of autonomies’, the idea is present within the Popular Party (PP) and within the Spanish population. This has come out lately in the news(2). The Spanish dream consists of Spanish supremacy all over the Spanish territory. And the ‘State of autonomies’ is a thorn in the eye of many of them. Many Spaniards (I think most) see as a logic, as proper, as a fundamental right to have equal Spanish education for everyone in Spain. This ensures their language’s supremacy. It also unifies content at school for everyone within Spanish borders (Spanish geography, history, literature, et cetera). Many Catalans can still remember a world like that (1939-1978).
This week Esperanza Aguirre (PP) declared her dissatisfaction with the ‘State of autonomies’. She spoke of taking back competences such as Civil Law, Education and health care.

A positive vote of PP and PSOE for such an idea could mean the end of the ‘State of autonomies’. They have got the majority and have shown to be capable of taking any step in order to ensure the continuity of a united Spain and the recovery of Spanish supremacy.
Today we can see the Catalan government does not seem to have any real competence, and even its existence is unsure as long as we remain under Spanish command.
Only becoming a sovereign state in Europe can ensure we will have real competences and will be able to really decide for ourselves without anyone else prohibiting us to be how we want to be.
As for now, the danger is getting bigger. I just hope enough Catalans wake up before it’s too late.

(1) http://www.gencat.cat/generalitat/eng/estatut/titol_4.htm
(2) http://www.directe.cat/noticia/193759/el-pp-engega-motors-per-liquidar-lestat-de-les-autonomies
(image ols Spanish school book: http://www.rafaelcastillejo.com/escuela-2.htm)