Everyone gets it — the Catalan referendum has exposed the very deep hypocrisy of the Spanish and EU ruling elite, especially in regards to their support for separatist causes elsewhere in the world and the harsh criticism that they regularly dish out anytime governments in the Global South are even suspected of using force against their citizens.
These are very powerful points that are insightful for the larger audience to dwell upon, but when dealing with the specific issue of Catalan separatism, rhetorical schadenfreude isn’t a solid basis for approaching the issue. While it’s true that the Catalan Controversy is a long and storied one, it’s also equally true that the Spanish Constitution forbids separatism, thereby making this “solution” to the problem illegal.
The argument then becomes one about the legitimacy of the Spanish state and whether the supreme law of the land should be respected or not, and objectively speaking, there are no current grounds at this moment to claim that it shouldn’t, even if there was a period of time decades ago where this might have been applicable.
Therefore, the separatists are employing Color Revolution tactics in order to provoke the state into a violent response that could then be deliberately decontextualized and misportrayed in a viral infowar campaign, the aim of which is to delegitimize the Spanish state and attract international support to their cause.
The separatists claim that they have the right to secede from Spain because their historical ethno-regional differences with Madrid are apparently irreconcilable. This is ironic because Catalonia’s autonomous government favors a multiculturalist approach to civilizationally dissimilar migrants, yet is stating that civilizationally similar people can’t live in the same country with one another.
Moreover, another curious point is that some in Catalonia believe that Germany should “spread its wealth” around in helping the poorer EU-member states, yet believe that Barcelona shouldn’t do precisely this in supporting the poorer regions of Spain. Speaking of the EU, the separatists want to integrate with the bloc after their proposed “independence” and even join NATO, which essentially amounts to their elite swapping patrons from Madrid to Brussels.
Viewed from such an angle, the Catalonian cause appears to be less about “independence” and more about an inter-elite struggle between the people ruling Barcelona and Madrid, though one in which the average person will undoubtedly become a victim if events continue to unfold along the lines of a Second Spanish Civil War, or at the very least, a Basque-like insurgency.
The Catalan Controversy affects much more than just Spain and its restive northeastern region, however, as it could end up having continental implications if Algeria implodes in a post-Bouteflika successionist struggle that ends up catalyzing another “Weapons of Mass Migration” tidal wave into Europe. Of course, the conditionals are that the aging Algerian leader passes away sometime during the Catalan unrest and that the uncertainty over who will succeed him triggers another civil war or fear thereof, neither of which are for certain.
Nevertheless, it’s important to focus on the fact that Spain is fracturing precisely at the moment when it needs to stand strong in defending its borders and the rest of the continent from illegal migration networks operating out of Morocco. The main international consequence of a weakened Spanish state is that it would encourage more uncontrollable migration to the EU if the government is forced to prioritize fighting the separatists over safeguarding its frontiers.
All in all, the Catalan Controversy is a lot more complicated than it’s being made to appear, and the libertarian-inspired logic that the main hallmark of a democracy is that anyone should be able to vote on anything at anytime is impossible to responsibly implement in any functional society. In addition, it’s also a demagogic distraction to obscure the pivot that Barcelona’s economic elite plan to make in swapping Madrid for Brussels as their new patron, which proves that Catalonia won’t ever be as “independent” as the referendum’s organizers have misled the masses to believe.
DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.