"[..] and the Honour of the British Nation, always renowned for the Love of Liberty, and for giving Protection to the Assertors of it, was most basely prostituted and a free and generous People, the faithful and useful Allies of this Kingdom, were betrayed, in the most unparalleled Manner, into irrevocable Slavery.
—Journal of the House of Lords, vol 19, 20 (1715) with reference to Britain's shameful failure to fulfill its agreement with the Catalans
Well we're into the last 10 days of the campaign and we're almost there ... less than €400 to go when I looked this morning.
As things were going so badly at the beginning, I cut some corners on costs so €2500 will be more than enough to complete the project.
This means that I can be a bit more generous and as a way of saying 'thank you' I've decided to add a free Kindle version of the book to every pledge ... that includes all the ones that have already been made.
A massive thanks to everyone!!!
PS. If all goes well the paperbacks should be available before the end of October and the digital (PDF and Kindle) versions quite a lot sooner!
If you haven't done so already,
MAKE YOUR PLEDGE TO THE CATALONIA IS NOT SPAIN BOOK PROJECT NOW!!!
I've been working on the cover for the Catalonia Is Not Spain book over the weekend and here's the result. The picture is La Diada by Joan Abelló and the Abelló Museum in Mollet del Vallès have kindly given me permission to use the painting that the great Catalan artist produced after the Catalan National Day in 1977, the first after the death of Franco.
One of the big difficulties is getting the blurb text right. Here it is :-
"How much does the world know about Catalonia and its role as a great medieval empire and one of Europe's first nation-states?
In Catalonia Is Not Spain: A Historical Perspective, author Simon Harris takes the reader through 1,000 years of Catalan history focusing on the Principality's often difficult relationship with Castile-dominated Spain.
Assimilation attempts by the Catholic Kings and… read more
At a solemn act at the Palau de la Generalitat at 10.30 in Barcelona this morning, Artur Mas signed the decree calling for the vote on Catalan independence that will be held on November 9th.
His first words were 'Catalonia wants to speak, wants to be hear and wants to vote'.
The question for the non-binding consultations are 'Do you want Catalonia to be a state? In the case of YES. Do you want that state to be independent?'
It is expected that Mariano Rajoy's government will meet on Monday and call on the Constitutional Court to block the vote.
PLEASE SUPPORT THE CROWDFUND
This is obviously not a serious political point but during the War of the Spanish Succession the Catalan troops dressed in blue and claret (blaugrana)
Whereas Felipe V's Bourbonic Castilian troops dressed in white
Some things never change!
PLEASE CONTRIBUTE TO THE CROWDFUND FOR THE BOOK!!!
Translation in Catalan below/Traducció en català abaix
Watching the lengthy interview with Artur Mas conducted by Josep Cuni on the programme 8 al Dia last week, the Catalan President seemed extraordinarily confident about the chances of holding the consultation. I knew he must have an ace up his sleeve but I had no idea what it was until a friend passed me an interesting piece of analysis today. I don't know how accurate this is but if it's true, it looks like we'll win the poker game.
Apparently, the Tribunal Constitucional (Constitutional Court) cannot suspend the Decret de Convocatòria (the decree for calling the consultation) precisely because it is a decree and not a law and this is also why the Llei de Consultes (The Consultation Law) hasn't yet been published.
… read more
As far as the official history of Spain is concerned, the reign of Felipe II was, if anything, even more important than that of his father Carlos V, who by a slow process of piecemeal abdication from 1550 onwards left his son as king of Castile, Aragon and the Italian possession of Naples and Sicily as well as the Netherlands and newly conquered American and African territories. Felipe II became King of Portugal in 1581 and during his reign the Spanish began the exploitation of colonies as far afield as the Philippines, which were named after him. The expression "The empire on which the sun never sets" was coined during reign of Felipe II and reflects the extent and power of the Spanish empire at the time.
On the military front, the reign began well with victories against the French at Saint Quentin and Gravelines… read more
At the beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession, the Catalans actually pledged allegiance to the Bourbon pretender Philip of Anjou, future Felipe V.
They changed sides and began to support the Austrian Archduke Charles after the Pact of Genoa, which was signed with the English, who promised them military support and to guarantee the Catalan laws and constitutions.
Archduke Charles became Holy Roman Emperor and the English were not so keen on supporting him and also there was a change of government from Whigs to Tories. England pulled out of the war in 1713 after signing the Treaty of Utrecht, from which they got Gibraltar and Menorca.
The Catalans continued fighting but the attrocities committed by the Franco-Castilian troops of Felipe V against the Catalans during the Siege of Barcelona in 1714 preyed on the minds of many liberal Whigs. The case was brought up in Parliament and a number of books were published.
… read more
There's been a lot of talk about how the result of the Scottish referendum might affect the Catalan independence movement but to be perfectly honest I always thought it was irrelevant.
Perhaps a YES would have created a precedent and opened up the way for recognition of Catalonia and acceptance by the EU but equally it might have increased fear that more nation-states would break apart and so countries like France, Italy and Begium would have been even keener to block a Catalan referendum.
What is very clear is that the right-wing Spanish nationalist press in Madrid will have field day claiming that this is the end of independence movements for the forseeable future. This is also completely false. There is a strong grassroots movement here, the majority of political parties are in favour of a referendum and a date's been set. Even if Catalans don't manage to vote on November 9th, the Catalan people's desire to control their own future won't go away.
… read more
Sóc nascut anglès i fa 25 anys hauría estat unionista però viure aqui a Catalunya ha canviat les meves opinions sobre l'autodeterminació de petites nacions.
La meva identificació amb la cultura i llengua catalana ha estat total però en un nivell més practic, em sembla ridícul que s'ha de governar Escocia des de Londres o Catalunya des de Madrid perquè el polítics en els capitals anglèsos o espanyols no estan prou aprop de la gent d'Escocia o Catalunya per saber dels temes qu'els affectin i tampoc lis importen gaire.
Crec que hauria d'havar-hi govern de proximitat i que quan més petit més maco! Aixó no té res a veure amb ser anti-anglès ni anti-espanyol sino voler lo millor per la teva propia gent.
Per tant, jo vull un SI! tant per Escocia com per Catalunya!
.... Gràcies a Enric i Alexandre de Sants-Montjuïc per la Independència per les idees, filmació i bon rotllo!
Being English born, 25 years ago I would have been a unionist but living here in Catalonia has completely changed my view on self-determination for small nations.
My identification with the Catalan culture and language has been total but on a more practical level, it just seems ridiculous to me that Scotland should be governed from London or Catalonia from Madrid because the politicians in the English or the Spanish capital are neither close enough to the people of Scotland or Catalonia to understand the issues affecting them nor care very much.
I think there needs to be government of proximity and that small is beautiful. This has nothing to do with being anti-English or anti-Spanish just about wanting the best for your own people.
So I'm hoping for a YES! for both Scotland and Catalonia.
.... Thanks to Enric and Alexandre from Sants-Montjuïc per la Independència for the ideas, filming and the great atmosphere!
There's been a lot of talk in the right-wing press about anti-Spanish insults during yesterday's Diada. That certainly wasn't my feeling and isn't what I pick up from the independence movement in general.
Sumate is a group of Spanish-speaking Catalans who have no problem campaigning for independence for Catalonia whilst comfortably maintaining a pride in their own culture and language. Many of my football mates in Sant Andreu had no problem in supporting Spain during the recent World Cup whilst at the same time admitting they would vote 'Yes' to independence.
I was really pleased then when a friend sent me this photo of a guy on the Diada wearing a La Rioja shirt. It really sums up the feeling of happy tolerance that this movement is all about.
La nit abans de la diada, vaig tuitejar "Potser que la consulta es celebrarà però el govern central no la donarà per valida" al programa 8 al dia d'en Josep Cuni i ara, el día després del 11-S, estic completament segur que aixó és ho que passarà.
No hi ha dubte que el Tribunal Constitucional dictarà en contra de la convocació de la consulta però no sé si imposibilitarà la llei de consultes també. Si no m'en recordo malament, la llei de consultes permet que entitats civils convoquin consultes. Això vol dir que el govern la convocarà i també o poden fer l'ANC o Ômnium. Ho important és que d'alguna manera es farà.
La manifestació demostra clarament que l'ANC i Òmnium són perfectament capacitats per organitzar una consulta sobretot amb el suport tacit del govern. Encara que no sigui dins del marc legal espanyol serà legal sota la llei catalana i els catalans són prou civics per montar un enorme acte de desobedència civil pacificament.
… read more
I fell in love with this painting of the Diada 1977 when I saw it at the Joan Abelló Museum in Mollet del Vallés and I plan to use it as the cover for the book.
Good choice, I think!
Paraules dites a les Corts Espanyoles per Joan Prim i Prats, el 21 de Novembre de 1850:
“Ministres d’Isabel Segona: els catalans, son o no son espanyols?. Sapiguem el que són i doneu el remei o la mort, peró que cessi l’agonia. Son espanyols?. Dons retorneu-los les garanties que els heu arrabassat, garanties que són seves, que tenen el dret a usar, perquè les han conquistat amb la seva sang. Si no els voleu com a espanyols, aneu-vos-en de Catalunya. Deixeu-los estar, que no us necessiten per a res. Però si considerant-los espanyols, els voleu fer esclaus, si voleu continuar la política de Felip V, d’omniosa memòria, feu-ho en bon hora i feu-ho del tot. Fermeu-los el ganivet a la taula, com va fer aquell rei, i tanqueu-los dins un cercle de bronze, i si aixó no és prou, sia Catalunya… read more
As far back as the Reapers' War in the 1640s overtaxation has always been a source of friction between Catalonia and central government. Count-Duke Olivares overestimated the Catalan population to fund the Thirty Years War, in 1716 Felipe V introduced the special cadastre taxation system under the Nueva Planta Decrees, in the 19th and 20th centuries absolutist monarchs and dictators had taken advantage of Catalan revenues since the industrial revolution without reinvesting in infrastructures and democratic Spain was no different.
Way back in 1988, every Catalan paid an average of 377,000 pesetas in tax to central government but only recived 267,000 pesetas back making a tax deficit of 110,000 pesetas per person per year whilst other Spanish regions on average received a superavit of 47,000 pesetas a… read more
This map dates from 1852 and is titled 'Mapa político de España en que se presenta
la división con la clasificación política de todas las provincias de la Monarquía según el régimen especial dominante en ellas', ie. A Political Map of Spain Showing the Division with the Political Classification of all the Provinces of the Monarchy According to the Special Regime Ruling in them. It was made by José María Alonso and is kept in the Biblioteca Nacional de España in Madrid.
It clearly shows that,a century and a half after the Decreto de Nueva Planta and the abolition of Catalan political institutions, the inhabitants of the territories of the former Aragonese crown were not considered Spanish citizens with full rights. These territories were still considered “España incorporada o asimilada” (incorporated or assimilated Spain), in contrast to the “España uniforme o puramente constitucional” (uniform or purely constitutional Spain) centred around Castile.
… read more
The scandal that broke yesterday when the Instituto Cervantes cancelled the presentation of the Dutch translation of the historical novel 'Victus' by Albert Sánchez Piñol really doesn't surprise me at all and is actually one of the core reasons why I believe the only way forward for Catalonia is independence from Spain.
Victus is, in my opinion, a slightly trashy dramatisation of the events surrounding the Siege of Barcelona in 1714. I bought it and got bored because I much prefer dry history books to historical novels. ... but that's just me!
However, in the 200 or so pages I read I found the story to be relatively harmless. It attempted to bring a historical event to life by adding fictional characters and a bit of spice. In no way is Victus political even polemical.
Consequently, I was amazed to read that the Instituto Cervantes had blocked the presentation event in Holland. To be perfectly honest, it just seemed petty.
… read more
Here's what Wikipedia has to say about anti-Catalanism ... I'm not making it up!
*In a historical and political context, anti-Catalanism expresses itself as a xenophobic attitude towards the Catalan language, people, traditions or anything identified with Catalonia and the political implications of this attitude. In its most extreme circumstances, this may also be referred as Catalanophobia. Several political movements, known for organizing boycotts of products from Catalonia, are also actively identified with anti-Catalanism.
Anti-Catalanism in its most virulent form is mostly associated with far-right Spanish political parties. Groups such as España 2000 object strongly to the autonomy enjoyed by Catalonia, claiming that the granting of autonomy to Catalonia and other regions will lead to the breakup of Spain. A former saying amongst… read more
Fun fact: in 2003, Orwell's Homage to Catalonia was published uncensored in Spanish for the first time. But they censored the title: it's called Orwell en España!
Thanks to my friend Roger Evans for the information!
A Facebook friend from Mallorca shared this post from another FB friend of hers, Bartomeu Mestre. I hope they are both happy about me sharing this here but the point that the Franco-Castilian troops were not only attacking Catalonia but also Valencia and the Balearics is so crucial that it mustn't be forgotten. I'll try to weave some of these ideas into the section covering the war and also remember to point out that Mallorca didn't fall until 1715
Escric amb una justificada indignació. En el programa DIVENDRES d'ahir, Agustí Alcoberro, director del Museu d'Història de Catalunya, va explicar la Guerra de Successió. Ho va fer, damunt d'un mapa retallat i, entre simplismes, va arribar a sentenciar: "A mi m'agrada dir que la guerra va començar a Vic i va acabar a Cardona" (sic).… read more