Although there are almost as many arguments in favour of independence for Catalonia as there are Catalans, this set of Ten Reasons for a Catalan State summarises some of the most common ones.
This is a loose translation of a list, which was originally published in Spanish on his blog by Catalan journalist and radio and television producer, Toni Soler, under the title Diez Razones Para Un Estado Catalan.
The growth of the independence movement is a massive, inclusive and totally peaceful movement. It's absurd to deny the truth of this and, just like in Scotland, it makes sense that such an important question should be decided through a referendum. It's not true that referendums divide society. On the contrary, if the question isn't properly decided, Catalonia will be thrown into a period of frustration, reproach and emotional separation.
Many Catalans, who include independence as part of their identity and ideology, have felt insulted since the Spanish Constitutional Court annulled the Statute of Autonomy of 2006, which was passed by the Parliament of Catalonia by 120 votes out of 135 and approved by referendum in spite of having had part of its content restricted by the Spanish Congress of Deputies. Independence fully guarantees that the future of Catalonia and its government will be in the hands of the Catalan people.
To all intents and purposes, the autonomy of Catalonia has been taken over by central government. Politically, many of its responsibilities have been blocked by laws and decrees, and financially, it depends on deficit limit imposed by the Spanish Treasury. Furthermore, the Partido Popular government has used the Constitutional Court according to its whims by blocking, in the last year, measures passed by the Catalan Parliament, such as the tax on bank deposits, measures against energetic poverty and various environmental taxes.
Catalonia is a land of immigration, and Barcelona is a diverse and cosmopolitan city. A Catalan state can and must be more respectful of the diversity of its citizens than the Spanish state is. This is particularly relevant to the hundreds of thousands of Catalans who have sentimental ties with Spain. If we all build independence together, the future Catalan state will be a guarantee of a close fraternal relationship with the people of Spain, with Europe and the rest of the world. This includes official status for the Spanish language and respect for all the other languages spoken in Catalonia.
The Catalan language and culture has suffered centuries of persecution and even now is under threat from phenomena such as globalisation, immigration, attacks on the education system and the dominance of Spanish and English in the media. A Catalan state would help improve knowledge of Catalan, stimulate local creators, and improve the status of our language and increase its international recognition, which is currently limited by Spanish authorities in all contexts, including academic environments.
Just like any other sovereign country, Catalonia ought to benefit directly from the efforts of its tax-paying citizens. All published studies on the topic of fiscal balance between Catalonia and Spain show that Catalan citizens receive public investment well below its tax contribution. Even maintaining a freely-agreed solidarity quota to the rest of the Spanish state, the government of an independent Catalonia would have enough resources available to be able to guarantee the welfare state, improve infrastructures and help key sectors such as research, culture and education.
The political system in Catalonia, just like in the rest of the Spanish state, finds itself in a state of crisis. It has been hit hard by a number of serious corruption cases, which have put in doubt the model that came out of the transition to democracy. The independence movement's peaceful revolution has turned the Catalan party system on its head, and the creation of a new state is an opportunity to begin a new period based on democratic regeneration and insistence on transparency and honesty in public office. This would include the punishment of all past and present corruption cases.
The independence process is inevitably full of unknowns. However, if the process fails, the current situation will certainly result in Catalan autonomy being restricted and the injustices and discrimination will be consolidated. The major Spanish political parties favour constitutional changes that protect state competencies and regulate the powers of the autonomies. This means a centralisation process with some federalising concessions, such as the reform of the Senate.
There is no reason to stop a future Catalan state from trying to find ways of cooperating with the rest of Spain, including a confederation if both parties were to agree and pass it by referendum. While bilateral relations are based on equality, anything is possible, even more so if both countries belong to the European Union. Independence is an opportunity to start again and to work together on a new constituent process that is being called for by the most dynamic sectors of the Spanish left.
Catalans want a secular republican state based on law and freedom. The Catalan people want to see the back of a system of outdated privileges and to build a truly democratic society in which they are in control of their own future.
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