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Fift declaration o a Catalan republic

On the 27t October 2017, the Catalonie government o Carlos Puidgemont declared wanthirldom as a republic. This is the fift time that the Catalonie government haes declared the existence o a Catalan republic. In this airticle, we can leuk at the weys the muivement haes been born, an reborn, an developit ower the hunneryears.

The first declaration o Catalan wanthirldom wis in 1641 by Pau Claris, a priest that wis preses o the Disputacio (the Catalan legal an political institution). The wanthirldom wis keepit juist for a week durin the Fraunco-Spainish war, a war that happent acqueesh 1635 an 1659. The impetus for this declaration wis the ‘Union o Airms’. The Union o Airms wis a plan that the Spainish government pit intae place for tae obteen mair sodgers an tax fae Aragon (that Catalonie wis pairt o), an Portingal. The Catalonie government refused, justifyin their opposition by sayin that they were sendin ower mony sodgers, an that anerly the Catalan Courts should can send Catalan sodgers ootwith Catalonie.

This first declaration, like the ithers that follaed, wis precedit by tension wi the Spainish government: there wis muivements agin the lairds an agin the urban oligarchies.1 Deed, it wis, as we’ll see, mainly the wirkers that wis at the forebreist o this muivement.

The catalyst for the revolt o 1640 that accompanied the declaration wis whan the Spainish viceroy at the time pit a nobleman, Tamarit, in the jyle for marrin the Spainish policies. In daein this, he thocht we wad can forder their obtemperin. Hinderly, Catalonie wis in rebellion agin the Spainish king, wi Tamarit an ithers bein freed fae Barcelona jyle in a act reminiscent o the stormin o the Bastille. The Catalan national anthem descrives events fae this period: it’s cried ‘Els Segadors’, the ‘segadors’ bein the hairsters that wis gey an active in the rebellion at the time.

This declaration wis unner protection fae Fraunce initially. Efter the week, an for the remainder o the war, the Principality o Catalonie becam unner French control itsel. Northren Catalonie, nou kent as Roussillon, wis keepit by Fraunce efter the war.

The new Catalan republic wis opponed by the monarchist Majorcan corsairs, that attackit Catalan ships.2 The Spainish king then invadit Catalonie an regained control efter the war. But, in the lang rin, the eftercome o this declaration an aw the follaein insnorlment wi Fraunce wis, ither than the chynge in mairch, that the Catalans got whit they were speirin efter in the first place: in 1652, the Spainish king Philip IV greed tae hain the principality’s institutions.3

The seicont declaration o a Catalan Republic wis declared by the province government o Barcelona (Diputació de Barcelona) in 1873. The Balearic Islands wis includit as pairt o Catalonie at this pynt.

Baldomer Lostau i Prats, depute o the Catalan Pairlament, wis electit as preses o the new republic.

This declaration wis different fae the ithers in that it wisnae for tae estaiblish anither independent kintra, but raither for tae estaiblish a republic ’ithin a federal Spainish republic. It wis ’ithin the wider context o the estaiblishment o the first republic in Spainie. This first Spainish republic didnae last lang itsel, no e’en twa year acqueesh Februar 1873 an December 1874.4

The third an fowert declarations precedit the Spainish civil war. Baith the third an fowert declarations wis by a ERC (Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya/Left Republicans o Catalonie) politician cried Lluis Companys.

The third republic lastit three day in 1931. It wis declared efter the municipal elections o 12t o April5 in whilk the independentist pairties, ERC an Estat Català, won a majority o the seats. This wis follaed by negociations wi the new-foondit seicont Spainish Republic. It wis greed that Catalonie wad hae a certain meisur o sell-government throu a Generalitat.6

Juist three year efter, the fowert Republic wis declared by the same politician. It wis pairt o the October Events, a revolutionary muivement agin the richt-wing government that haed juist taen pouer in Spainie. This wis compescet by the Spainish government invasion. It wis declared due tae fears that the richt wing wad estaiblish a fascist government in Spainie, like the governments awready in place in Italy an Germany. They war pruiven tae hae fears o a real danger in 1936 whan Franco stertit a coup d’état, an mair conclusively in 1939 whan the fascists won the war.

The war that follaed is generally cried the Spainish civil war. But, fae a Catalan perspective, it could be seen as a war o wanthirldom. In this war, the anarcho-syndicalist CNT (Confederación Nacional del Trabajo) teuk control o lairge pairts o Catalonie an sae haed de facto control ower thae pairts, ’ithoot ony declaration.

The maist recent declaration, on the 27t o October 2017, wis efter seiven year o a accressin independentist muivement. The main swecht for the rise in independentism ’ithin the past seiven year wis the Statutes o Autonomy: in 2006, Catalonie votit (wi the acknowledgement o the Spainish government) a chynge in the statutes o autonomy. The population, an maist Catalan political pairties, wis lairgely in favour o the chynges. Major pynts o this Status o Autonomy wis reversed in 2010 by the Spainish Supreme Court. An this wis in maugre o the fact that ae memmer o the Supreme Court wis deid in atween times.

Sae by no bein alloued tae control pairt o their ain destiny in the wey they thocht possible, that actually encouraged the Catalans tae hae ane mair wish tae tak control o their ain destiny.

Aw the declarations discussed in this airticle propones a Catalan republic as a alternative tae a mair authoritarian state, aither a Spainish monarchy or a Spainish dictatorship.

There haes been a chynge in attitude o international commonty fae ither declarations: in earlier declarations, there wis mair support an less opposition fae ither kintras.

This is an orra tendency acause republics is becomin mair an mair common oot-throu the hunneryears. The first time a Catalan republic wis estaiblisht wis in the 17t hunneryear, whan there wis a wee-er proportion o republics in Europe, an them that did exist war wee-er (there wis Veinice an Frankfort for ensaumple). Reaction fae ither governments war non-existent in the 17t century; thir days it’s maist European kintras declarin they’r opponin the referendum result. Thir days, wi the fift declaration, the republics is the maist common form o government in Europe. Yet, thir days maist ither kintras is sayin that it’s a quaisten for Spainie, that Spainie haes its territorial integrity.

Mairches acqueesh different kintras haes chynged mony times oot-throu the hunneryears: maist independent kintras we see thir days disnae hae the same mairches as they haed a hunner year syne, an the’r naur nane that haed the same mairches fower hunner year syne. Here is a chynge that is tae occur throu peacefu democratic means.

Nou, we can better unnerstaund hou we got here. We need tae leuk at the past for tae unnerstaund hou the muivement developit.

We can forby compare an contrast this wi the situation in Scotland:

There is similarities acqueesh the twa kintras: they baith hae haed their ain legal traditions for hunneryears, they war baith integrate intae a muckler union in the 18t hunneryear an they ar kintras that is pairt o a monarchy.

The reaction o the Spainish estaiblishment is gey an different fae the situation in Scotland: as we seen abuin, the reaction o the Supreme Court wis tae strike doun the new Statute o Autonomy. Sae it’s the conter o ‘The Vow’: insteid o insistin they’ll gie mair pouers, they insist they cannae git the pouers they awready votit on. Obviously, we’r aye tae see mony new pouers in Scotland. Likewise, David Cameron, we can gie him that, wis willin tae offer the referendum, an the possibility o wanthirldom, gif wanthirldom wad hae born the gree.

The richt for fowks tae determine their ain destiny is a important pairt o democracy acause democracies gies the political richts tae the fowk, gies the richts for the fowk tae decide theirsels. Thae richts is incomplete gif there isnae the richt tae chynge the existence itsel o the sýstem.

A democracy that disnae allou the richt tae lea the government they’re unner awready is anerly hauf a democracy.

In the lang rin, we can see that Catalan independentism haes a lang history, fae the 17t hunneryear till the day. An, while the proposition o a republic in Europe becomes mair an mair normal, the idea o a republic in Catalonie specifically is opponed mair an mair by the ither governments o Europe. This is acause they ar uisually agin the chyngin o the mairches o their memmers, even gif this is whit the populace is wantin. Sae the opponin is a merk o conservative realpolitik, nae democratic eneuch.

An we can see that, in the first declaration in the 17t hunneryear, the Spainish government thocht that imprisonment wad forder greement. The Spainish government fund that the conter wis mair true: that the repressive actions o the state insteid forder disobedience an ootricht rebellion.

James McDonaldJames McDonald is a Scots polyglot steyin in Réunion. He is keen on different leids, inspecially local leids, an their forderin, whether it’s Scots, Gaelic, Réunion Creole or ither leids. He wirks in scuils, helpin bairns wi their hamewirk an giein chess lessons. Ye can contact him on jmcd89 [AT] googlemail [DOT] com.


(Ye can translate ony wird atween Scots an English at the Online Scots Dictionar.)

Scots English
accressin growing
acqueesh between
mairch boundary, frontier
Catalonie Catalonia
commonty consensus
compescet repressed
hain protect
hairsters harvesters, farm workers
hunneryear century
in maugre o in spite of
insnorlment involvement
marrin obstructing
obtemperin compliance
oppone oppose
orra odd, uncommon
Portingal Portugal
Spainie Spain
speirin efter asking for
swecht impetus
wanthirldom independence
  1. Le premier âge de l’Etat en Espagne: 1450-1700 (CNRS, 1989), coordinate by Christian Hermann
  2. Siclike citation 1
  3. Wayne te Brake, Shaping History: Ordinary People in European Politics, 1500-1700 (University of California Press, Jul 31, 1998)
  4. Encyclopedia of Nationalism, Academic Press, Oct 27, 2000
  5. Helena Buffery, Elisenda Marcer, Historical Dictionary of the Catalans (Scarecrow Press, Dec 18, 2010)
  6. Siclike citation 5