Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Either Catalonia Will Be Calvinist, or It Won’t Be

About the author of this article for Help Catalonia

Marc Monells
Director of Institutional Relations of the Minister of Territory and Sustainibility at Generalitat de Catalunya (Catalan Government)
Past:
Director of Mayor's Cabinet at Sant Cugat City Hall
Educational Promotion Director at Sabadell City Hall
Owner and Director at Training Dreams

Catalonia is a country of Catholic tradition and protestant mentality, even though a secular identity dominates it today. One of Catalonia’s classic conservative nationalist authors, the religious figure Torres i Bages, once affirmed that “either Catalonia will be Christian or it won’t be”. His vision resonated loudly at the time and became the driving force of Catalan nationalism for a while, but today the idea seems archaic. However, lately I’ve been thinking that this European country has, in its own way of being, an important cultural component linked to protestant ethics.

In Catalonia, we often identify ourselves with the Germans and Israelis in our capacity to work rigorously. In this aspect we might be a little less Latin and a little more Nordic. If history didn’t tell us otherwise, one would think that the Luther’s Reformation had triumphed in Catalonia and that Luther wrote his main work thinking of the industrial colonies in el Llobregat, the textile industry of el Vallès or the train of Mataró. This country has always been Spain’s engine. But it’s been stalled for quite a while.

When I speak about being a Calvinist country—with permission from the Madrilenian chronicler for La Vanguardia, Enric Juliana, who maintains that we are Jansenists—I refer to the fact that we share the values of the protestant reformers. It’s as if we were Calvinists, Lutherans, or Zwinglians; we search for truth, we believe in the virtues of hard work and honesty—that’s the Catalan mentality.

According to the most recent poll by the Catalan Opinion Reseach Center, the official government body that records and measures public opinion, 43% of Catalans would vote for independence, as opposed to a meager 28% who would vote against it—that would give the yes 60% of the ballots. We’re on the right track. If we keep on this track, we can and will be an independent state in Europe. They won´t make it easy for us and there will be no shortcuts, but we are definitely on the right track. We’re heading by way of a secular calvinism. Once we consolidate this majority, we will be able to take the final steps towards our national freedom.

Our real enemy, however, is not an external force, but us. We will never attain freedom unless we cease to fight amongst ourselves. It was very clear to Julius Caesar that, in order to conquer Gaul, he had to divide the Gallic tribes—“divide and conquer”. Applying this to now, it must be clear to us, the Catalans, that in order to obtain the national victory, we must be united. Enough with factitious politics. If we unite for he national cause, we won’t be defeated. An authentic “national front” will have to be embodied by a national majority of Catalan nationalism, and the rest will have to be welcome, each with his or her own ideology—and some might lead. But we need a majority of the people supporting the process. In this sense, we must continue working with effort and (why not?) faith that we will reach this milestone. Maybe we’re not talking about tomorrow, but we are getting closer each day and I want to witness it. This is why I work in politics.


Marc Monells,
Enterpreneur for the public sector.
Working for Catalonia at the Government and the Parliament.
Experience in some local administrations
2.0 Political communication and blogging since 2006

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1 comentaris:

  • Miquel Marzabal Galano says:
    July 12, 2011 at 10:48 AM

    Well, Marc, I read your article and think: how didn't I think and say this before?
    I live in the Netherlands, the country of Calvin, where half of the population is Catholic and the other half Protestant (well, now we also have a million moslims, 5,8 % of the population).
    Dutch citizens with a protestant origin can be easily recognized because of these so Catalan mentality of work, common sense and honesty. Even though we Catalans (thank God for that!) do not share the idea that having fun or having a great dinner is sin.
    I often say that Catalans and Dutch have a lot in common and I do mean that we share similar values.
    --
    Very true as well that it is now up to us whether we get to become an independent state in Europe. At this very moment of history Spain cannot stop us, but the question is whether our fellow Catalan citizens shall be as wise and assertive as you are. At the moment they don't seem to be. And seeing how the elections have gone the past years I do have serious doubts. I have seen people vote yes for independence and then vote CiU for the Catalan parliament. Perhaps Catalans share another aspect with the Dutch that is not so positive: the mentality of being too soft, of letting others take over and try to get the best out of it. You might not know how the Germans were welcomed here in 1940. Really shameful.

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