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23 d’ag. 2018

"Spain fails in Catalonia", by José Rodríguez

This is an English translation (by MS) of an article by sociologist José Rodríguez: "Espanya fracassa a Catalunya" (23 August 2018). Original: http://www.elpuntavui.cat/opinio/article/8-articles/1453318-espanya-fracassa-a-catalunya.html

***** To read the whole post, if need be, click below on "Més informació" *****

I trust neither the newspaper nor the author will mind!

States do their nation-building through banal nationalism, subtle and everyday nationalism. For example, we have: the association by the institutions of France of thinkers and philosophers to the idea of ​​French grandeur or the "American dream" of the United States. Spain has elements of banal nationalism: the claim of Spanish as a common language with much of Latin America or the figure of the king, theoretically aloof from political confrontations, or audiovisual products such as the Cuéntame or "El Ministerio del tiempo" series, that try to create a shared imaginary.

These days we have seen how Spanish banal nationalism has utterly failed in its national construction in Catalonia. The accompaniment of the king during the tributes to of the victims of last year's August [terrorist] attacks has been grotesque, even aberrant. Also, the demonstrations a year ago against the process gave us images of a nationalism on the defensive, rooted in very exclusive identitarian elements, even with extreme right-wing symbolism. This way of expressing Spanish nationalism drives people away from demonstrations they might have participated in, not wanting to be associated with such an explicit spectacle.

The discourse of the "common language" that banal Spanish nationalism tries to impose through the RAE [Real Academia Españlola] and the Instituto Cervantes has failed. With this discuourse, they try to folklorise and marginalise the other languages ​​of the State and thus to dilute other national identities. The fact that many people who have Spanish as their family language have adopted and considered Catalan as a language of prestige is something that Spanishist ideologists do not fully comprehendf What we have seen these last months, with a king angry with some Catalans who do not recognize him, and with ghastly demonstrations and acts of Spanish nationalism [espanyolisme] is a sign of the failure of the Spanish nation-building project.

The fact that Spanish nationalism has failed in Catalonia does not mean that there is as yet a good Catalan building strategy. All in all, in spite of overwhelming odds, Catalan has managed to be a language of prestige and usefulness in a broader section of society. Doing so opens a door to identification with the Catalan demos. But we still cannot break some identity barriers and we still do not know which symbols we share most. The failure of Spanish nationalism has allowed more elbow-room for Catalan nation-building, but it now needs to be fine-tuned.

For let us not fool ourselves: beyond the socio-economic and political arguments, in the last analysis what decides support in favour of independence is a greater identification with the Catalan demos than with the Spanish demos. And this requires nation-building.

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