Why The Catalan Independence Movement Is Failing


The Catalan fight for independence is not how conflicts are fought throughout history, let alone how they are won.

Some movements for national independence have succeeded in history, others have not. Presently, it seems that the Catalan bid is destined to fail. Maybe in the future Catalans will change their strategy and achieve their goal, but at the moment of writing the Catalan independence movement can be described as a storm in a teacup.

We therefore looked at what worked in the past and is missing right now, or what clearly is not working.

1. A bad plan to begin with.

Catalan independence is about claiming sovereignty from Madrid, just to immediately relinquish it to Brussels. If this had been decades ago, before the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, maybe it wouldn’t have mattered. Now, especially after the Brexit vote, the EU leadership has decided to push forward with the European Federalist project, starting possibly with a Eurozone financial minister as proposed by French President Macron.The latter’s plan also includes a Eurozone budget and that’s where the Catalan plan makes even less sense: part of the resentment towards Madrid is because Catalans do not like regional fiscal transfers towards the rest of Spain. Would they like it if fiscal transfers were towards other European regions via Macron’s proposed Eurozone budget?Many

Catalans also resent the “austerity” imposed by Madrid. Yet it’s not Madrid imposing it, it’s Brussels. Yet Catalans want to dump Madrid because of austerity and then join Brussels?

Why leave a political system because of its unnerving centralism just to join one that is shifting towards centralization, even further from the will of the people?

The EU also does not like referenda.Mainly because it tends to be on the losing side. It lost the ones on the “European Constitution” in 2004 in the Netherlands and France. The Constitution was then pragmatically swapped into “Lisbon’s Treaty” with a number of formal changes, but even that one was rejected in a referendum by the Irish. This time, the EU leadership forced a remake, finally succeeding.

More recent examples saw the Greek referendum on austerity in the summer of 2015, where the Greeks rejected the “Troika”, just to be forced into a humiliating surrender; the Dutch referendum on the association treaty with Ukraine, which also rejected the agreement; and the already mentioned one in the UK on the European Union membership. The EU’s track record in referenda is poor at best, thus it’s no surprise that EU leaders distrust direct democracy. Indeed, the European Commission through the agency of its President Juncker, refused to support the Catalan bid,fearing an opening of Pandora’s box and further political fragmentation, that would allow anyone to leave political systems (including the EU) at will. One Brexit was enough.

The EU can’t also let Catalonia go without incurring needless risks; nor can Spain. As we explained previously, Catalan independence could spark a second Eurozone debt crisis.

Catalan nationalists chose to overlook the centralist, pro-austerity and anti-direct democracy nature of the current European Union. A bit too much to be ignored.

2. Inconclusive leadership.

The now former Catalan President Puigdemont is a champion of missing opportunities. If there ever was a chance to succeed, it was right after the referendum, regardless of its democratic credibility, when the moral was high and there was a momentum of political support. Puigdemont flinched. His first speech after the referendum left many supporters confused. He then signed a declaration of independence, just to suspend it within seconds.

Can anyone imagine the Founding Fathers of the United States of America doing the same? Or the Greek ones after the war with the Ottoman Empire?

When Puigdemont finally decided to go forward, it was too late. He had missed his date with history. There might not be another one.

3. Gun-free society.

American supporters of the Second Amendment will love this one. It is not necessarily an endorsement, but a historical observation. The former claim to fight against centralism just like their ancestors fought against the King of England. Catalans want to fight against Castilian centralism and the King of Spain (independent Catalonia would be a republic).

The irony is that a sizeable portion of Catalan nationalists within the Catalan parliament are left-of-the-centre progressives.We wonder thus if Catalan progressives now feel that the US Second Amendment is still a “relic of the past” and similarly shun the need for a “well regulated militia” against an oppressive government, like American progressives do.

Looking at historical precedents, why are the French still celebrating the “Bastille Day” as a symbol of their revolution? The fortress didn’t serve only as a prison, it was also an armory.

Catalonia also lacks its own army, while it can rely on its own police force, the “Mossos d’Esquarda”. Not enough to stop the Spanish forces to regain control of the situation with ease.

4. Lack of international recognition or foreign support.

We once again look at past examples: the French fought on the side of the American revolutionaries against the British; the British and the Russians fought on the side of the Greek in 1821. More recent examples, the US backed Slovenia, Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo and Montenegro in the successive splits from Serbia-dominated Yugoslavia. Similarly the US is backing the Kurdish ambition in Syria, while the Russians backed the Crimeans in their secession from Ukraine.

No one backed Catalonia. Nor has anyone so far recognized its independence. Foreign backing generally comes from powers interested in destabilizing the country facing a secessionist movement. No one seems to be interested in destabilizing Spain right now.

Foreign support often provides the weaponry for the insurgents to succeed in overthrowing the oppressors; should a civil war start in Catalonia and should a foreign power start to provide weapons to the Catalan insurgents, the Spanish government could be forced to let Catalonia go or fight an extremely costly war. However, we are not at this point.

Catalans put their faith in the EU, but it was misguided if not plainly delusional as discussed previously.

5. The “snowflake” generation.

Mass crowd rallies waving flags can be inspiring. They can also be hard to control once in movement. Not every crowd is the same, though. Waving flags does not make you independent. Not even the unilateral declaration of independence makes you so. A conditio sine qua non for an aspiring sovereign state is the ability to control its territory and defend it. Catalonia doesn’t seem to be able to do that.

When you look at the crowds of Catalan nationalists, there’s a widespread support among the youth. None of them however did any military service whatsoever. This is a common issue in Western Europe. The last generation that fought a war, the Second World War, is either dead or on its way out. Since then, military service has been progressively abolished. New generations don’t know how to fight.

They also don’t seem to be aware of what exactly they were doing. The Spanish Constitution forbids secession, hence Catalan independence is a rebellion against the constitutional order and as such is being treated by the Spanish government: it’s a revolution. When the Spanish police reacted against the Catalan referendum, Catalan nationalists took it on social media to express their outrage against “fascist Spain”. The disdain seemed to be shared by many Westerners. However, in every other part of the world, and at any other point in history, events of this type would leave dead bodies on the floor, regardless of “fascism”.

We are not inciting violence with this, we are simply making a historical observation.

It seems that the great plan of Catalan nationalists for independence was “Step aside while I make a revolution, otherwise I’m going to call you names. On Twitter. And maybe make a video on Youtube and share it with my friends on Facebook.” That’s it.

While Kurds are fighting Islamic terrorists and brandishing AK-47s in Syria, Catalans are brandishing their Iphones. The former are fighting for independence, the latter look like they are attending a pop concert.

Catalans over-relied on social media outrage to support their cause, just to find out that after a few days, people go back to their lives and lose interest. Nobody lifted a finger in favour of Catalonia. Not even Catalans themselves. It might be that the region is still wealthy despite some problems, hence a civil war would result in more material loss than the Catalans are ready to put up with for the prize of independence. This is not how revolutions are done.


Don Diego Pernicious Gol… Mon, 11/06/2017 - 02:54 Permalink

correct, that is reason # 1. The pro-Spain majority had been marginalized and underrepresented by the Catalan electoral system that gives more seats in Parliament to the pro-independence provinces. Before September you could only see a Spanish flag in the police barracks, now the Pro-Spain majority has lost its fear of the Cataliban bullying and they are everywhere in the larger cities. 

In reply to by Pernicious Gol…

Crazy Or Not Five Star Mon, 11/06/2017 - 16:30 Permalink

Skipping the ancient history and Fascism issues. Catalonian independence is largely an economic session movement.Catalonia's debt represents 35.4 percent of its GDP, at the end of June, its debt stood at 76.7 billion euros.  Yet Catalonia is not in control of managing its debt.  In 2016, each Catalan citizen earned on average 28,600 euros ($33,500), around 19 percent higher than the income of the average Spaniard. Catalonia produces a fifth of Spain's economic output and more than a quarter of its exports. It also pays in taxes far more than it receives in public spending though the exact figure is heavily disputed. In exaspiration to the intransigence of Madrid to repeated demands to negociate over alterations to reduce the debt and allow Catalonia mechanisms to manage its own debt independently; in Barcelona on 11 September 2012—the Catalan government under Artur Mas called a snap regional election and set out to initiate Catalonia's process towards independence. Mariano Rajoy has done nothing during all this time to rectify the imbalance or mediate the crisis.Rather the session movement has flourished due to the impasse. The matter is better seen as a Spanish constitutional crisis, as a change in the constitution would allow a swift resolution to the matter. The impasse has meant the only way out for Catalonia other than accepting the staus quo of continual financial abuse by Spain is to declare independence and negociate from there.The article is a touch wide of the mark.

In reply to by Five Star

back to basics Don Diego Mon, 11/06/2017 - 03:48 Permalink

You are full of shit jizzing your fascist thong as usual. The article is absolutely right about the Catalans wanting to leave Spain where the ghost of Franco still rules and joining the EU which is the 4th Reich in disguise. Utterly stupid. The article is also right that the pro independence leadership squandered their best chance by blinking and being indecisive at a critical moment, right after they won the referendum. Where the article is wrong, and it must have been written by an American, is that guns are neeed to achieve independence. That's rubbish because if it was true India would still be under British rule. A large dose if civil disobedience does the job just fine. Do the Catalans have the stomach for that? It doesn't look like it. But as a minimum the independence movement in Catalonia helped demonstrate how rotten to the core Spanish politics really as well as peeled away the thin veneer of democracy in that country, in which to this day the ghost of Franko still rules. Throw in the added bonus of showing the world yet again that the EU is an authoritarian dystopian nightmare that needs to end soon. Now go and shoot your load on Franko's picture in privacy and stop exposing yourself on this site.  

In reply to by Don Diego

Don Diego back to basics Mon, 11/06/2017 - 04:57 Permalink

the ghost of "Franko" has no influence at all in Spanish politics, unfortunately. If you don't know about the local politics from first hand sources it is is the best to shut up instead of regurgigating platitudes from third-rate sources such as the ones from ZH and MSM.Guns are neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition to achieve independence in today's world, just a clear majority and to have little to lose. In the case of Catalonia, the independentists are a minority and they are a privileged region within Spain.If guns were so decisive, then the American couch potatoes would have already removed from power their AIPAC overlords.

In reply to by back to basics

greenspanator Don Diego Mon, 11/06/2017 - 05:14 Permalink

At last a better informed article about the Catalan thing.Ohh you are going to love this ZHers, Anna Gabriel, independentist leader, is Antifa just like today's church shooter. Isn't that lovely? Make sure who you support before blindly pledging your support. Catalan independentism is pro-EU and pro-NWO. As the article says, the majority of independentist are lefti-center (radical left would be more accurate), which means they love immigrants, feminism, gender politics, etc.And stop stupidly invoking Franco fascist non-sense, because a lot of Freemasonic shit has happended in 40 years. In fact, I wish Franco spirit was still more alive these days to protect us against the above NWO shit.

In reply to by Don Diego

World Cash Day greenspanator Mon, 11/06/2017 - 06:06 Permalink

Who cares if this idiot is Antifa?They're correctly called "Useful Idiots".If their love of the EU leads to the destruction of the EU - isn't that poetic justice for their stupidity?If their love of the EU, and love of Catalonia, causes a fracture in Spain that causes other independence movements to draw strength and fight against their sovereigns, which in turn sees the majority of the population in these countries turn against the EU as the party seen as responsible for these "splittist" tendencies - then that is the definition of irony.

In reply to by greenspanator

Zorost back to basics Mon, 11/06/2017 - 06:49 Permalink

Indian Independance had nothing to do w/ civil disobedience; it happened 10+ years after Gandhi did his show.  It happened because India was not profitable for the British anymore.  The Brits chose to go for economic reasons, not because people had strong opinions.  To the small extent that civil disobedience can help independance, it relies on the government not reacting violently.  If Gandhi had tried his crap in a Belgian colony he & his followers would have been machine-gunned then fed to dogs.

In reply to by back to basics

Tarzan back to basics Mon, 11/06/2017 - 06:56 Permalink

Actually, India's independence movement was a 90 year struggle that Gandhi was only a part of.  And there were many armed struggles along the way!Centralized Government is growing by the day.  Those who seek independence from the NWO better be ready for a long arduous battle.  There will be no more bloodless revolutions...Rather then shed blood for a fleeting glory land, probably better to be truly independent and follow John Galt.  The system will crash of it's own weight when we stop propping it up.

In reply to by back to basics

julian_n Pernicious Gol… Mon, 11/06/2017 - 04:07 Permalink

Maybe a properly run referendum would have answered that question.Had Rajoy run an IndyRef style campaign and explained the situation to the Catalans and had he offered the Catalans the same autonomy as other regions then he could have killed this debate for a generation.Instead he behaved like third-world dictator and we see words like neo-fascist, political prisoner and Franco enter day to day parlance again.Sure, Puigdemont misplayed it - but so did Rajoy 

In reply to by Pernicious Gol…

World Cash Day julian_n Mon, 11/06/2017 - 06:12 Permalink

I happen to live in a State of a Commonwealth that sets it's own taxes, sets it's own gun laws, runs the Health sector in totality in this State and sets Education policies in this State, has it's own police force, has two chambers of a functioning legislature that sets the great majority of the laws of the land of this STATE.And yet - this State has never wanted nor sought "Independence" from the Commonwealth.Does Catalonia have that many powers? It would seem not.It would seem even stranger that Catalonia asking for full taxation powers or indeed the power to set it's own education or health policies for instance would cause any sort of problem - that is hardly much autonomy at all really. Why should tasking for taxation powers be an issue at all? For anyone?Getting those sort of powers is not at all equivalent to Independence.It's my understanding that that is the basis of some of the original "demands" for more autonomy that Puidgemont and his predecessors made several years ago. Asking for more taxation powers and being refused is what lit the fuse?Seriously?That is beyond stupid on the part of whoever prevented this happening!

In reply to by julian_n

World Cash Day DisorderlyConduct Mon, 11/06/2017 - 06:17 Permalink

It did surprise me they apparently never even had a Central Bank lined up for the day after the referendum, why weren't there Chinese/ Russian/ Turkish/ Iranian warships parked in Barcelona harbour in lieu of a declaration of Independence?They were never going to get it without a credible threat of force.In fact - why wasn't Her Majesty's Navy enlisted in lieu of Catalan support for the continued claim of the UK to Gibraltar and more favourable Brexit terms!None of this thought about?The Art of the Deal? Clearly they've not done much reading.The Art of War? Afterall, declaring Independence is in effect a declaration of war against the "offending" or "offended" sovereign - in this case the Spanish Government.The failure of the Catalan authorities to do any of this does indicate one thing for certain - yep - these folks are "idiot" leftists.

In reply to by DisorderlyConduct

Eo187 Mon, 11/06/2017 - 01:32 Permalink

It seems like the people enjoy their slave state. Freak show will only start when their soccer/fast food is taken away. Although this is extremly sad to realize, I can't wait to see it. 

Lokiban Mon, 11/06/2017 - 02:05 Permalink

See? It was a setup against the Spanish people from the political elite.They counted on a massive turnout for their created event which ended in a dud. People are wisening up because of the Internet and are not as easily tricked as twenty years ago.

francis scott … Mon, 11/06/2017 - 02:11 Permalink

If the government of the United States wanted an
independent Catalan, this would have played out
entirely differently. NATO and the US have complete
use of Spain's Naval bases at the entrance to the
Mediterranean, so if the US wants to continue to use
them, they had to give Madrid carte blanch support
for Rajoys Francoesque crack down.

Obviously there is stuff going on we don't know
about, what with Brussels failing to extradite Youknowho.

If Madrid doesn't release the Catalonian leaders they
have jailed and ease the autonomy they will have a
hostile state within their state which could blow at
any time.

More interesting times.

Der Libertäre Mon, 11/06/2017 - 02:18 Permalink

The question is do we the other people of EU see our governments as rightful and legitime.Are the French happy with Macron, the Germans with Merkel, the Spaniards with Rajoy, the Dutch with this Rutte-joke? FORGET IT!We all are ruled by people we do not like the slightest bit as they never do what we want them to do. Insofar I think most of us do recognize Catalonia as free and it is surely just a first step into a much bigger movement to come. Whatever this spainish version of President Snow will do to Catalonia - we will hate it, will hate him, will hate Spain. As more and more will start to boycott Spain, economical pain and the loss of reputation might do the job. I remember a French nuclear test on some nowhere island. The Germans stopped buying French product immediately! Spain is way easier "to kill" as they produce nothing - just travel elsewhere.To gain liberty was never an easy 10 minutes task - if we early as now do as if "all is lost" we are fools. This is not the end, but the start and the loser will be Madrid. It feels the intelligence in Germany is with Catalonia. The MS press just tries to much to make Rajoy look good and we all know what that means.

Don Diego Mon, 11/06/2017 - 02:59 Permalink

well, the Catalans will not do it, so it is now the time for you AR15-toting heroes to take it out of the safe, snap the chest rig around your gut and start the revolution.

ZIRPY DaiRR Mon, 11/06/2017 - 09:14 Permalink

I will happily support any arrangement that rids the rest of America from 55 of the stupidest electoral college votes in the union.We keep our military bases there and in exchange we sign an alliance vowing to defend each other if attacked. Make this Calexit happen, PLEASE!

In reply to by DaiRR

Ghordius Mon, 11/06/2017 - 03:42 Permalink

the most important reason for this situation is still the same:

2 million separatists in Catalonia... aren't enough for secession. they would need another million and half. and a sensible plan how to go about it. one that takes in account the rest of the population in Catalonia and the rest of Spain

(and no, this talk about weapons, militia and so on is completely estraneous to it. we don't have "2nd Amendment fans" on this continent. it's a talking point that is 100% restricted to the US political sphere. not judging, just stating it as a fact)