Why Catalonia has no right to Independence from the kingdom of Spain

Despite the minority socialist-communist government of Spain having passed the infamous amnesty law that would pardon all the politicians that tried to commit a coup d’etat in 2017, Catalonia will never be an independent state and this illegal amnesty law will never be applied.

Though Catalonia has a distinct cultural identity and a significant independence movement, opponents argue against its right to independence based on constitutional legality, international law, and a lack of historical justification.

All the Catalan pro-independence political parties from the extreme left CUP and ERC to the bourgeoise right represented by JUNTS and the far-right Catalan Alliance, manipulate history to serve their agenda.

Sadly, most people do not know their history, even most politicians, but Jesus Lainz, member of the European parliament, gave a historic speech in Brussels that ruffled quite a few feathers. Because of the importance of this history lesson, I reproduce it in its entirety.

“What I have to do is briefly explain to you the falsity of the historical legitimisation of Catalonia’s secession. Given the short time available, I will briefly raise eight questions to answer the separatists’ incessant falsification of history.

The Catalan flag originated as a royal flag in the IX century  
The Catalan flag originated as a royal flag in the IX century

1- The first, which is almost superfluous, is that Catalonia obviously does not have the right to self-determination, a right that is very clearly defined by the UN and that is enjoyed by former colonial territories or territories under foreign rule, which is obviously not the case in Catalonia.

2- The second is the separatists’ obsession with extrapolating from the existence in the past of a kingdom, a duchy, a county, a republic or any other form of state, the right to secede in the 21st century. Can you imagine anyone extrapolating from the existence of the kingdoms of Essex, Wessex or Mercia in the 8th century the right of their inhabitants to secede from England in the 21st century? In Italy there were the Republics of Venice and Genoa, the Kingdom of Sardinia, the Kingdom of Naples and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Would these Italian regions have the right to secede from Italy in the 21st century? In Germany there were the kingdoms of Bavaria, Prussia, Saxony, Hanover, Württemberg and thirty-nine other states of the German Confederation. Can you imagine the laughter in Germany if someone argued that the inhabitants of the territories where those kingdoms existed had the right to become independent in the 21st century? And don’t forget the small detail that all these kingdoms I just mentioned at least had the virtue of existing, whereas what never existed was an independent kingdom of Catalonia. Therefore, if the inhabitants of none of these territories have the right to secede from their nations, why should the inhabitants of Catalonia have the right?

3- The separatists argue that Catalonia is something alien to Spain, that its links with it are very weak. But Catalonia has always been part of Spain, not least since Rome began to give administrative form to the peoples of the Iberian Peninsula, with the Catalan Tarragona as the first capital of Roman Hispania. Later, the Catalan city of Barcelona would become the first capital of Visigoth Hispania. Since then, Catalans have taken part in all of Spain’s historical ventures: the eight-century Reconquest against the Muslim invaders, the discovery and conquest of America, etc. Many Catalans were with Columbus and Hernan Cortés, and many of the first to evangelize the Americas were Catalan monks. And while we are in Brussels, we cannot forget the Tercios de Flanders, in which many Catalan soldiers fought under the orders of the Duke of Alba, although the Catalan separatists never mention this, of course.

4- Fourthly, the Catalan separatists claim that Spain is a disjointed, imperfect, unhealthy, unmade nation. But if we look at Europe, we will see that nations as undoubtedly solid as Italy or Germany were unified only 150 years ago. As for France, another obvious nation, Savoy and Nice joined it only very recently, in 1860. And Alsace-Lorraine even more recently: exactly one hundred and one years ago, in 1918, at the end of the First World War. As for Poland, depending on which century we are talking about, its size and position on the map change. It even disappeared for a long time. Spain, on the other hand, has been what it is for six centuries. Well, if none of these regions of these countries, despite their recent incorporation, have the right to secede, why does Catalonia, which has been in Spain for two thousand years, have the right to secede?

5- The fifth question concerns Scotland, whose 2014 legal referendum is widely used as an example by Catalan separatists. But the example is inappropriate, since British constitutional law is not Spanish law, so it is not understandable why it should be extended to Spain or any other country in the world. For British law is obviously the product of British history. For in 1707 two parliaments, Scottish and English, of two kingdoms, Scotland and England, agreed to merge to form the Kingdom of Great Britain by means of the Act of Union. But, in the Spanish case, there was never any Catalan parliament of any kingdom of Catalonia that agreed on equal terms with a Spanish parliament of a kingdom of Spain to form the United Kingdom of Spain by means of any Act of Union. Therefore, the historical explanation and the legal consequences are completely different.

6- Another essential element in the false separatist propaganda is that Spain invaded Catalonia in 1714, an element widely used both externally and internally. Externally, to gain sympathy among the uninformed who believe that a larger power invaded a small country. And at home, to brainwash Catalans, especially children. One example: the separatist leader Artur Mas told Le Monde in February 2012 that “Catalonia has belonged to the Spanish state for three hundred years by force, having lost battles and wars”. But this is simply a lie. What took place in Spain in 1714 was not a war between Spaniards and Catalans, but between supporters of the Habsburg candidate and those of the Bourbon. And there were both in all Spanish regions, including Catalonia. However, since Barcelona was the last stronghold of the ultimately defeated Habsburg candidate, it is portrayed, with appropriate distortion, as a war between Spaniards and Catalans. And, incidentally, the main reason for the probably majority support in Catalonia for the Habsburg candidate was the traditional Francophobia of the Catalans, a detail that Artur Mas, did not explain to Le Monde.

7- Another lie of great propagandistic effectiveness, which usually intoxicates European public opinion, is that Catalonia deserves to secede because it endured particular suffering during the Franco regime. This is obviously neither the time nor the place to explain this. I will just give you three brief facts: there were more Catalan volunteers fighting on the Francoist side than on the Republican side; the Francoist regime was full of Catalan ministers, parliamentarians, ambassadors and other high-ranking officials; and Catalonia was the region that benefited most from Franco’s economic policies. We could go on ad infinitum, but I will give you just one fact: in 1975, when Franco died, Catalonia, which represents 6% of the Spanish territory, had 45% of the kilometres of motorways.

8- Finally, another argument of great sentimental effectiveness: the Catalan language as a justification for secession, an absurd argument if ever there was one, but one that is widely used in propaganda. For since when is a language the same as a nation? There are an estimated 6,000 languages spoken in the world and 193 nations represented in the UN. So, what is wrong with that? Are there 5,800 languages left in the world or are there 5,800 nations missing from the UN? But let’s return to Europe. Because the only European country where only one language is spoken is Iceland. All the others are multilingual. Here in Belgium, for example, three languages are spoken: French, Flemish and German. And in France or Italy, countries that are seemingly monolingual, there are more languages spoken than in Spain. Will France, the one and indivisible republic, be prepared to grant independence to Alsace because it speaks German, to Brittany because it speaks Breton, to Provence because it speaks Provençal, to Corsica because it speaks Corsican, to the Atlantic Pyrenees because it speaks Basque and to Roussillon because it speaks Catalan?

Spain does not have political prisoners
Spain does not have political prisoners

Let us conclude: Catalonia has no historical, legal, ethnic, linguistic, cultural or any other kind of right to secede. Or, as the separatists say, no right to decide, which is a euphemism for not mentioning the inapplicable self-determination.

For what special privilege, for what special superiority, would the Catalans have the right to unilaterally decide the destruction of Spain, while the rest of the Spaniards have to keep their mouths shut? Because let us not forget that the oft-repeated Catalan national construction is nothing other than the national destruction of Spain.

Would you, the French, the Italians, the British, the Poles, the Germans, accept that the inhabitants of one region should decide on the destruction of their nation without the other inhabitants of the other regions being able to take part in the decision?

In fact, the right to decide does exist. It is the right of all Spanish citizens to decide on the existence or disappearance of Spain.”

Clearly, the Catalan provinces of the Kingdom of Spain will never obtain their ill-imagined independence. This is due to many historical reasons, including the Spanish Constitution of 1978, which deems Spain a unified and indivisible nation, and the fact that Catalonia is one of Spain’s most prosperous regions, contributing significantly to the national economy. The economic interdependence between Catalonia and the rest of Spain makes independence impossible. The financial repercussions for both sides would be severe.

The Spanish judiciary has taken a hard line against Tsunami Democràtic, a group sponsored by the pro-independence parties. In 2019, Spain’s National Court investigated the group for possible links to terrorism, citing the use of sophisticated technology and coordination to carry out disruptive acts.

Spain must remain one and undivided Spain, as regions have significant autonomous powers, but they do not have the unilateral right to secede under current international and constitutional law.

The actions of the group tsunami Democratic in Barcelona after the incarceration of pro-independence politicians
The actions of the group tsunami Democratic in Barcelona after the incarceration of pro-independence politicians
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