Catalan Independence: Why The Collective Hates It When People Walk Away

Authored by Brandon Smith via,

I have written many times in the past about the singular conflict at the core of most human crises and disasters, a conflict that sabotages human endeavor and retards critical thought. This conflict not only stems from social interaction, it also exists within the psyche of the average individual. It is an inherent contradiction of the human experience that at times can fuel great accomplishment, but usually leads to great tragedy. I am of course talking about the conflict between our inborn need for self determination versus our inborn desire for community and group effort — sovereignty versus collectivism.

In my view, the source of the problem is that most people wrongly assume that "collectivism" is somehow the same as community. This is entirely false, and those who make this claim are poorly educated on what collectivism actually means. It is important to make a distinction here; the grouping of people is not necessarily or automatically collectivism unless that group seeks to subjugate the individuality of its participants. Collectivism cannot exist where individual freedom is valued. People can still group together voluntarily for mutual benefit and retain respect for the independence of members (i.e. community, rather than collectivism).

This distinction matters because there is a contingent of political and financial elites that would like us to believe that there is no middle ground between the pursuits of society and the liberties of individuals. That is to say, we are supposed to assume that all our productive energies and our safety and security belong to society. Either that, or we are extremely selfish and self serving "individualists" that are incapable of "seeing the bigger picture." The mainstream discussion almost always revolves around these two extremes. We never hear the concept that society exists to serve individual freedom and innovation and that a community of individuals is the strongest possible environment for the security and future of humanity as a whole.

Thus, the mainstream argument becomes a kabuki theater between the "ignorantly destructive" populists/nationalists/individualists versus the more "reasonable" and supposedly forward thinking socialists/globalists/multiculturalists. The truth is, sovereignty champions can be pro-individual liberty and also pro-community or pro-nation, as long as that community is voluntary.

Collectivists will have none of this, however, and despite their intellectual and "rational" facade, they will often turn to brutality in order to disrupt any movement to decentralize power.

The civil unrest in the Spanish region of Catalonia is an interesting example of the tyranny of the collectivist ideology. According to mainstream doctrine, Spain is supposed to be a "decentralized unitary state" made up of "autonomous communities," all with their own statutes and self governing bodies "loosely" regulated by the Spanish constitution of 1978. Catalonia, along with a couple other regions and cities in Spain, has long fought for true autonomy from the central government in Madrid. This separatist culture was crushed under the heel of Francisco Franco's dictatorial regime after the Spanish Civil War which started in 1936.

After Franco's death in 1975, Spain began its "transition to democracy" (democracy being the tyranny of the majority rather than tyranny by military regime). Once again, Catalonia's push for independence returned.

The reasons for a Catalan secession are multitude and are of course noble or nefarious depending on which side you talk to. From my research, it would seem the primary drive for Catalonia is economic. Spain is one of the more indebted member states in the European Union with a national debt near 100% of GDP. The "great recession" starting in 2008 struck Spain particularly hard, with around 21% of the general population officially in poverty and over 40% of all children officially in poverty. Unemployment according to government statistics hovers near 18%.

Catalonia is the most prosperous region in Spain's economy, accounting for nearly 20% of total GDP. Catalans also assert that taxation in their region is a primary pillar for the Spanish government, which has not returned the favor with sufficient investment in infrastructure in the region. In essence, there is a "taxation without representation" feel to the conflict, and Americans in particular know very well how that kind of situation can end.

On the other side of the debate, it is clear that if Catalonia leaves the Spanish system on negative terms, then Spain's already crumbling economy will be destroyed. The motivation for Spain to keep control of Catalonia is high just on the grounds of economic disaster.

Beyond the economic issue, another interesting side note on Spain is its intense social justice (cultural Marxism) programs. While Europeans often suggest Spain as being a "conservative" government, in policy and action this is simply not true.  Spain is notorious for being one of the most militantly feminist governments in the EU aside from Sweden, and this is saying something given the socialist nature of the EU. Gender laws and divorce laws in the country offer some of the most draconian double standards against men I have ever witnessed. Perhaps this will give you a kind of litmus test for the sort of culture we are dealing with here, and maybe it accounts for some discontent in certain portions of the Spanish population.

Catalonia itself is often cited as being "more liberal" in its political orientation in comparison to the rest of Spain. Of course, the term "liberal" can mean many different things in Europe depending on the nation, and American definitions do not necessarily apply. Just as Europeans tend to have no understanding whatsoever of what "conservatism" means in the U.S., Americans have a hard time understanding all the intricacies of the various levels of "liberalism" in Europe.

That said, what side of the political spectrum Catalonia sits on is irrelevant to greater discussion.

What I actually enjoy pointing out here is the fact that whether you look at the Franco era of nationalist totalitarianism, or the "semi" socialist and hyper-cultural Marxist era of today, the Spanish government STILL acts the same in its despotism against Catalan separation or independence.  It is not as if the socialists set out to right the wrongs of the Franco regime once it fell. Not at all. Instead, they merely perpetuated the same attitude of centralization while wearing a smiling face. Once again, we see that there is very little difference between fascism and communism/socialism when we get down to core behaviors and policies.

Collectivists, regardless of what other labels they use to identify themselves, have certain rules that they consistently follow in order to maintain power. One of those rules is that the collective is indivisible. They might pontificate endlessly about their superior democratic ideals, but when some people vote to leave en masse, either in polling booths or with their feet, the mask of benevolence always comes off and the true monster behind collectivism is revealed.

As we have seen in Catalonia, this monstrous behavior is undeniable. The Spanish government has set out to prevent not just separation, it has sought to prevent the very act of voting on separation using police and military force. In essence, martial law was been declared in Catalonia in order to stop the people from enacting the very democratic ideals the Spanish government claims it enshrines.


Despite the vicious measures of interference, reports suggest that the vote was still successful, with 90% of the citizenry in support of independence. What happens now is unclear, but I can tell you two things are relatively certain.

First, a 90% vote in favor will result in a militarized response from the Spanish government. If the vote was less overwhelming, the government might attempt to pit one side of the population against the other, causing internal strife and disrupting secession. This strategy is unrealistic given the mass movement for independence. So, the only other option for the government is full blown martial law.

Second, such a crackdown will result in a violent counter-response. This happened in the 1970s in Catalonia and I see no reason why it would not happen again. When you have almost an entire population in agreement on separation and you use force to stop them from attaining it, they will become violent. Civil war is inevitable if martial law is declared.

It is vital that we examine the root ideological catalyst in this scenario.

The most rational solution would be for the Spanish government to accept the Catalan vote (if they believe in "democracy" as they claim, then they have to accept it, otherwise they appear extraordinarily hypocritical). This could result in a more harmonious economic relationship and less drastic damage to Spain's fiscal structure. However, this is not going to happen. Instead, Spain is going to use the age old collectivist tactics of intimidation and carnage to oppress the Catalan's and subsume their economic production (as socialist governments always do).  When civil war erupts, and it will, production in Catalonia will grind to a standstill and Spain STILL loses 20% of its GDP.

You see, this is a lose/lose scenario for Spain, all because the collectivist doctrine demands a jackbooted reaction to any movement for decentralization. Collectivist systems are parasitic in nature; they see the citizenry as food, as units of production for the state that cannot be allowed to leave, for the "greater good of the greater number." Collectivists rationalize their behavior as essential to the well being of the society at large, but this is dishonest, for their behavior more often harms society by crushing individual innovation and instigating wars that might not have ever happened in the first place.

There is at the same time the matter of sovereignty movements across Europe. The only people who benefit from stopping these movements are globalists/collectivists. They may also benefit by sabotaging these movements after the fact, making an example of them and holding them up to the rest of the world as symbols of the "failures of populism."

It is important to point out here that Catalonia is not necessarily seeking independence from the EU, only Spain.  Some might argue that this makes the Catalan vote irrelevant.  I disagree.  If Catalonia wants to be separate from Spain but still retain ties to the EU, then I suppose that is their choice, which is really the issue here - choice. Everyone should be allowed to make good and bad decisions and hopefully learn from them both. If Catalan's choice is meaningless because they will still be part of the EU, then the Spanish government should pull its national guard out and leave them to their own devices.

Some people might also argue that if secession happened in the U.S., the response would be the same. I would argue that just because it might happen the same way, this does not mean it is right. If leftist Californians, for example, followed through with their latest threats to secede from the U.S. and a massive shift of leftists and cultural Marxists move to the state, frankly I would be ecstatic. Let these people separate and congregate. Let them fail or succeed on the merits of their own ideas and ethics. If they are allowed to organize without interference and they fail, then this is simply more proof that their ideology was unsound and impractical. California's large percentage of U.S. GDP would simply transfer to other states if in fact the productive people there are not leftists and they migrate away, leaving the separatists to wallow in their naive ideology.

If Catalonia separates without interference and succeeds economically and socially, then perhaps it is not for Spain to try to subvert or destroy the region, but to emulate their model and learn from them. If people wish to walk away from a community, they should be allowed to do so. This is very simple. Self determination is not dependent on political expediency or mutual benefit. It is an inherent human right.  Communities and borders should be based on principles that the population stands by and every system should remain voluntary. If they do not stand by said principles and they work to thwart voluntarism, then those communities are worthless and should not exist at all.

When a collective acts to stop people from leaving, all they are doing is exposing the fact that their reasons for existing are inadequate and unconvincing. This goes for Spain, it goes for the EU and it goes for the rest of the world. Globalists and collectivists should take note  decentralization is the true model for the future.

In the long run, forcing people into participation in the system is a losing battle.


Déjà view Slack Jack Thu, 10/05/2017 - 02:14 Permalink

Did not hate it when Yugoslavia was broken up...why did España support bteakup!?

Europe, Backing Germans, Accepts Yugoslav Breakup
Published: January 16, 1992

BONN, Jan. 15— In a triumph for German foreign policy, all 12 members of the European Community, as well as Austria and Switzerland, recognized the independence of the former Yugoslav republics of Slovenia and Croatia today.

In reply to by Slack Jack

Déjà view Slack Jack Thu, 10/05/2017 - 03:39 Permalink

The Ten-Day War, sometimes called the Slovenian War, was a brief military conflict between Slovenia and Yugoslavia that took place in 1991 following Slovenia's declaration of independence.

After Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, its rebel Serbs, backed and armed from Belgrade by the late President Slobodan Milosevic, seized one-third of the territory while killing and expelling the local Croat population.…

In reply to by Slack Jack

Slack Jack Déjà view Thu, 10/05/2017 - 03:57 Permalink

You forgot Croatia. [I see you have now added it; I'm glad you went away and read up on it]

Croatia declared independence on 25 June 1991 and gained independence on 8 October 1991.

War followed.

By the end of 1991 a high-intensity conflict was underway between the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and various Serb paramilitary groups.

On 15 January 1992, Croatia gained diplomatic recognition by various European countries. The war ended in August 1995 with a decisive victory to Croatia.

In reply to by Déjà view

Endgame Napoleon Slack Jack Thu, 10/05/2017 - 08:07 Permalink

How about taxing them less to support the cultural Marxist agenda, which -- let me guess -- includes tons of government freebies for working single mothers if it's anything like the USA. Our government provides free housing, monthly cash assistance, free groceries and child tax credits up to $6,269, in addition to other freebies, assuming the mother works the required 20 hours per week as a feminist career woman.

The article says that Spain is draconian toward men in cases of divorce and untra-feminist. Which also means that it would a horrible place for most childless women except at the top of the economic food chain. Fake feminism, the cultural Marxist version, revolves around womb productivity. Women are rewarded by the state with free bills, independent households financed by the state and tons of mandated workplace privileges for producing more humans for the collective.

According to economists, that is the simple recipe for economic growth: a large population.

Spain has some of the greatest art; that region is know for it. The region's art historical prominence is probably one of the major reasons why the Catalans have a more thriving economy. Tourism is likely a key element, much more so that womb productivity.

From what I have heard, the economic elite in Spain, like the
elites in the USA, brought in hordes of low-wage guest workers, upping the un and underemployment rate of citizens. In the end, it leads to more taxation to fill the gap between what jobs pay and the cost of living for the women with children, whereas the men and the childless women only have the low wages. Government poverty statistics never count all
of the taxpayer-funded freebies handed out to mothers. They just count their [earned] income.

In reply to by Slack Jack

Jeffersonian Liberal Boris Alatovkrap Thu, 10/05/2017 - 09:47 Permalink

This concept that this is an independence movement breaking with collectivism is nonsense.

The Catalans are hardcore socialists, bleeding-heart liberals. They are every bit the collectivists as Spain at large.

But they consider themselves the most cosmopolitan, the most educated, the most enlightened of all the Spanish regions and cities.

Think: New York City liberal and you'll get the picture.

They are separating the way that Californian leftists want to separate from the rest of the US that elected Trump. They want to separate to show how much more eager they are to create a global, socialist governing system.

The EU pretends to support this 'independence' movement, but what they are really hoping to do is to add another 'member nation' to the EU that fully support an even more powerful EU, which they believe will be the framework for the NWO.

In reply to by Boris Alatovkrap

runningman18 Jeffersonian Liberal Thu, 10/05/2017 - 10:30 Permalink

Wrong.  The socialists in the Catalan parliament were against the referendem.  The separatists are a broad mixture of political beliefs connected only by a desire for independence from Spain.  Like the article says, it doesn't matter what their politics are - if they are acting voluntarily to leave, then Spain needs to step aside and stop using force to retain the Catalans.  The Spanish government is the only group acting like collectivists.

In reply to by Jeffersonian Liberal

Jeffersonian Liberal runningman18 Fri, 10/06/2017 - 08:20 Permalink

Wrong. Do you seriously not see the parallel between Catalonia seceding and calls of Californians for that state to secede from America...because Trump?

Do you not see why this has become the cause-du-jour among...of all people...the globalists?

The EU supports Catalonia breaking away because it is yet another step toward destroying the historical national sovereignty of its member states.

The more countries that they can fracture, the more new 'countries' will be willing and eager to join the EU.

The more countries that fracture, the more unstable those countries will be and the more the citizens of those countries will demand that some 'other' governing body save them.

This is conquer-and-divide plain and simple.

As far as the people of Catalonia being some type of great, liberty-loving freedom fighters, you have got to be kidding. They are hardcore, cosmopolitan socialists who want to secede because they want to move further to the left.

In reply to by runningman18

Crazy Or Not Slack Jack Thu, 10/05/2017 - 07:38 Permalink

There's a FUNDAMENTAL misunderstanding here.Bill Clinton and his possé were instumental in instigating the discontent that formulated to break up Yugoslavia.And followed this with a Libya >>> Syria type arms rat run to assist in the escalation of the violence to help create the civil war.It then comes as no surprise that the ex-Yugoslavia Copper/Zinc/Tin mines go to Rio Tinto.ex - Yugoslav. tobacco goes to Phillip Morris and Yugo cars goes to Chrysler..... Another instance of ongoing Game of Thrones by the same usual suspects!

In reply to by Slack Jack

OutaTime43 Thu, 10/05/2017 - 02:14 Permalink

This is very well written and thought out. Nice. Big change from most of the drivel on this site. Well done.I sense a major Ayn Rand influence on the authors point of view, eh?

venga periquit… runningman18 Thu, 10/05/2017 - 05:04 Permalink

hunt them down , a sarc intended to portray the attitude that has commonly been attributed to the rest of Spain on this issue.Yesterday a CUP leader was asked exactly that question and she was speechless.  Nothing has been said of the 40%-50% of Catalan Spaniards whodeserve to preserve their current rights and citizenship. Which takes us back again to this issue of collectivism & individuality.You would think independence will bring more individual freedom and democracy to this place, but you´ll see how the same corrupt political andeconomic system perpetuates itself.  

In reply to by runningman18

OutaTime43 venga periquit… Thu, 10/05/2017 - 05:18 Permalink

The 40-50% of Catalans you refer to would have been allowed to vote if your "little Franco" PM had allowed the vote to proceed. It would have been much closer and maybe the pro collectivist side might have won.  Now, you have this appearance of an overwhelming independence victory and it's 100% the fault of your PM. He should have left the jack booted black clad thugs on the boat in Barcelona. 

In reply to by venga periquit…

venga periquit… OutaTime43 Thu, 10/05/2017 - 05:55 Permalink

Agreed. But in order to hold a legal referendum many legal issues need to be defined and externalities explanied to the people. Big oversight and control on the voting. (this last one was a hell of a joke). Instead of seeking this path, which already requires an big debate, the Catalan coalition has chosen a method based on ultimatums and unilateral action, further dividing the people. And at the same time, the short sighted conservatives in madrid are sitting on the Constitution.There is a shit storm coming.    

In reply to by OutaTime43

Albertarocks OutaTime43 Thu, 10/05/2017 - 04:30 Permalink

I agree.  I have been reading Brandon Smith's articles for a couple of years now and have been absolutely blown away by how sharp and observant this guy is, especially for someone so young.  When he speaks, I definitely listen because he does his homework.  When he writes it's always a refreshing slap in the face with some serious reality.

In reply to by OutaTime43

ebworthen Thu, 10/05/2017 - 02:14 Permalink

Sovereign Nation.  That gets harder and the rights of the individual smaller the further away from the individual the seat of power is.The U.S. Congress and .gov, the E.U., the Central Banks - all deeply and geographically separated from the individual.This is the goal of the globalists, the banksters, the .gov bureaucrats - oppression from afar.Secession and regional local government and sound money the only answer.

Sizzurp Thu, 10/05/2017 - 02:18 Permalink

In the later years of the Roman empire, they made laws that you couldn't move, or even abandon your heavily taxed land. It was the start of feudalism and serfdom.

vato poco Thu, 10/05/2017 - 02:36 Permalink

"why the collective (government and its groupies) hate it when people walk away"srsly? it's the exact same reason that feudal lords wouldn't let their serfs just wander off wherever they wanted to go: because they owned those goddamn serfs, and they weren't about to let that tax-paying asset leave. simple as that

roddy6667 vato poco Thu, 10/05/2017 - 03:41 Permalink

In Catalan, 89% voted to leave, but only 45% of the population voted at all. That means 36% of Catalans voted to leave. That's 4% of the population of the whole country. They are landlocked inside Spain and have a very small following nationwide. Separation will will not go well for them.

In reply to by vato poco

Ghordius Slack Jack Thu, 10/05/2017 - 06:44 Permalink

the Catalan Independentists want territory & sovereignty. the own, for their own Nation, the own Nation StateCatalans are undeniably a Nation. with their own National Identity, Language, Culture, clans and bloodlines. "The Works"and that's why they have a whole lot of Autonomy. but they want more then thatin context, that's what the Quebequois, or Flanders, or Scotland, or many other Independentists wantsure, the Spanish Civil War complicated some issues, but actually it is, at the end, quite simplehow to get there... now that's slightly more complicated. and that's why some of those issues are really old

In reply to by Slack Jack

Slack Jack Ghordius Thu, 10/05/2017 - 07:55 Permalink


"Catalans are undeniably a Nation, with their own National Identity, Language, Culture, clans and bloodlines."

That's nice.

"They already have a whole lot of Autonomy."

So, they speak Catalan and can make their own local laws.

And given this, will be well represented in the Spanish parliament.

Independence would then make little difference to the bulk of the Catalan population.

Independence would seem to only benefit a very small segment of the population (the few at the top).

Realistically speaking they should just remain part of Spain (and maybe push for a little more autonomy).

I can see why turnout was only 40-50%.

In reply to by Ghordius

foxenburg Slack Jack Thu, 10/05/2017 - 09:41 Permalink

 Independence Black majority rule would then make little difference to the bulk of the Catalan Rhodesian black population.Independence Black majority rule would seem to only benefit a very small segment of the population (the few at the top).ha ha ha ha ha....We tried to sell this arguument to the blacks in the late seventies...I was there - but no...the stubborn fuckers insisted on running their own show. Something to do with self determination and pride.

In reply to by Slack Jack