Saturday, September 24, 2011

Another attack against the Catalan people

About the author of this article for Help Catalonia

Dr. Juan Carlos Moreno Cabrera

Spanish Linguist and Professor at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid
The recent verdict of the Spanish Supreme Court, which establishes that the Spanish language must be the language of teaching, together with Catalan, in Catalonia’s educational system, entails yet another attack by Spanish nationalism against the Catalan people. Catalonia’s educational system, known as “linguistic immersion”, was democratically approved by the Catalan Parliament after having undergone all the usual processes required by modern, democratically elected and constituted parliaments.

Thus, the current educational system of Catalonia is founded on a decision freely taken by the legitimate representatives of the Catalan people. Catalan is the language of teaching in Catalonia’s educational system. This is because a clear choice was made for a policy of linguistic integration, not one of segregation, so that all Catalan citizens could use Catalan, the official language of Catalonia, without any problems. The aim is to avoid any Catalan citizens not knowing Catalan, a similar policy to that of all European countries: the educational systems of France, the United Kingdom, Germany or Italy want to make sure that the citizens of these countries know their respective languages. For this reason teaching in these countries’ schools is done through the medium of these languages.

Why is this right not recognized in the case of Catalonia? The answer is obvious. The Kingdom of Spain, by means of the 1978 Constitution, does not recognize the Catalan people on an equal footing to the people of Spain, because it considers that the Catalan nation is an inalienable part of the Spanish nation, and that the latter is the only sovereign nation. This is the doctrine established by the Constitutional Court’s 2010 verdict on the new Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia.

This entails that the Catalan people does not see recognized a right internationally established long ago: the right to self-determination. In today’s Spain, the Catalan people is not recognized as a sovereign people, but instead it is subordinated to the Spanish people. For this reason, decisions adopted by the Catalan democratic institutions can always be questioned, modified and even annulled by Spain’s judicial power, which for the most part expresses a Spanish nationalist conception of Spain, based upon a refusal of full recognition of the different nations that make up the current Kingdom of Spain.

The place of Catalan (and Spanish) in Catalonia’s educational system should be a matter exclusively for the Catalan people to decide. Of course, as happens everywhere, not everybody in Catalonia has the same views on issues like this. But it is precisely for this reason that democratic institutions like the Catalan parliament exist, so that proposals are discussed and decided upon through consensus and democratic processes, exactly the same as in any other parliamentary democracy in the world. The current educational system in Catalonia is based upon a decision adopted by the Catalan parliament, a democratic institution that represents Catalan society, and therefore enjoys all the guarantees required from this kind of political system. The establishment of Catalan as the official language of Catalonia and the language of teaching in its educational system is certainly a democratic decision taken by the Catalan people through its legitimate representatives. The same cannot be said of Spanish, for it is not possible for the Catalan people democratically to decide whether Spanish should be an official language in Catalonia: this is a matter enshrined in the Spanish constitution and it may not be discussed or questioned. Spanish, therefore, is official in Catalonia by means of imposition, not as a result of a democratic decision of the Catalan people. For this situation to change, the Constitution would have to be revised in order to allow each nation in the Kingdom of Spain freely to determine whether Spanish should be official in its territory.

Dr. Juan Carlos Moreno Cabrera
http://portal.uam.es/portal/page/profesor/epd2_profesores/prof782

Related articles:
Spanish Nationalism (1)
Sapnish Nationalism (2)
Spanish Nationalism (3)
Spain seeks to Destroy Catalan Educational System
The Violation of the Right of Self Determination
Divide and Conquer against Catalan language

Read other Special Colaborators articles

17 comentaris:

  • This comment has been removed by the author.
    Andreu Cabré says:
    September 24, 2011 at 5:04 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Andreu Cabré says:
    September 24, 2011 at 5:07 AM

    I love the logical approach this professor uses in dealing with issues that sometimes are hard to discern due to extremism. I wish more people in Spain would think in a similar way.

  • Rosa Bayot says:
    September 24, 2011 at 5:42 AM

    Si senyor, això es entendre les coses!!

  • Aitsuki Akeruki says:
    September 24, 2011 at 7:17 AM

    Millions of thanks, Dr. Moreno, to defend the rights of an oppressed region.
    I would like that more people in Madrid will think like you.

  • Hugh Jordan says:
    September 26, 2011 at 1:55 AM

    As an outsider, the main thing I do not understand is why the Catalan people do not exercise their right of self-determination to secede from the Spanish state.

  • YuriBCN says:
    September 26, 2011 at 10:33 PM

    Hugh, the democratic rights of the Catalan people are restricted first and foremost by the Spanish Constitution. The Catalan government and Parliament may not call the people to referendum without the Spanish government's authority and approval, and they have no intention of giving it. This was made patently clear by the Spanish govenment's attempt in court to stop the "popular consultations" made over the last months, even though they were privately organised by civic organisations.
    As I see it, the Catalan Parliament should make a Unilateral Declaration of Independence followed by a referendum to ratify the UDI. However, the majority of Catalan MPs are not ready to take this step as it is considered illegal, again by the Spanish Constitution: a Kafkaesque Catch-22 situation.
    Sooner or later though, the situation of Catalonia within Spain will become untenable, and growing popular opinion will overcome the reticence of the political parties to take action, as shown by recent polls. See http://tinyurl.com/63ls2zp

  • Hugh Jordan says:
    September 27, 2011 at 3:39 AM

    Thanks for the explanation, Yuri. I understand that the Spanish constitution would permit armed invasion should Catalunya (attempt to) secede (?)

    But I wonder if Madrid could really contemplate such a move, given that they operate under the European Human Rights Convention.

    If the Generalitat were to call a referendum, could Madrid really intervene to prevent it?

  • Candide says:
    September 27, 2011 at 11:50 AM

    OH my god, Yuri. First and foremost, the civil and political rights of all citizens of Spain are guaranteed by the constitution.

    You can go on about "national rights" as much as you like, but that's what a constitution is for and that's how it works.

  • Candide says:
    September 27, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    Invasion, Hugh? You do know that Catalonia is part of Spain, that the Spanish army is stationed there, and that no army can invade the territory of its own state, right?

    You do also know that the name of that region is spelled "Catalonia" in English, I suppose?

    What's your spiel? Pretending to be an uninformed outsider so the misinformation doesn't seem all that crude?

  • YuriBCN says:
    September 28, 2011 at 12:14 AM

    You understand right, Hugh. The Spanish Constitution does in fact say that the function of the armed forces "is to guarantee the sovereignty and independence of Spain and to defend its territorial integrity and constitutional order." However, as you say, it would be extremely unlikely that the tanks would roll out into the streets in a member state of the European Union and of the Council of Europe as a reaction to a decision taken by the democratically elected MPs, the legitimate representatives of the citizens of Catalonia.

  • Hugh Jordan says:
    September 28, 2011 at 3:45 AM

    @Candide. My passport tells the world that I am a citizen of the United Kingdom and of the European Union. I live in a national territory that is not England and which will one day, I hope, no longer be a part of the UK. I view the Catalan situation from a long way off, and wish only to be sure of my facts before venturing an opinion (Maybe you don't understand that position?

    Yes, I do know that Catalunya is at present a part of Spain, as is Euzkadi. I also know that in both national areas, there are many who seek national independence, as is their right under international law.

    On this island we have one advantage over those of you in Iberia: the name of our state is not also the name of the largest country within it; so it is easier to talk of Alba, Cymru, England separately from United Kingdom.

    It seems that it is more difficult for you to separate the idea of the Spanish state, which at present includes Catalunya, and the Spanish nation, which does not.

    And, as for spelling, wherever possible I use the local name for towns, regions and countries.

  • Candide says:
    September 28, 2011 at 4:37 AM

    Can we have this comment of mine up too, which was sent prior to the one above?

    quote

    Good this gentleman is no professor of law. The Catalan education law is constitutional, and it foresees no exclusion of Spanish as classroom language.

    It is the implementation of this law that is illegal, by the very standards of this Catalan law, and by the standards set in the Spanish constitution, which, by the way, was approved in referendum. That means, yes, Catalans have once decided that Spanish is an official language. Democratically. By majority.

    Shall they do it again? Spanish being the mother tongue of a majority of Catalans, shall they vote again if it has to be official? Let me guess what the outcome would be....

    unquote

    Or is the selection of comments politically motivated?

  • Candide says:
    September 28, 2011 at 4:52 AM

    Hugh, the expression "Spanish nation" makes no sense if it is not understood as a nation composed of different cultures. Especially legally it makes no sense. This is what Spain is, defined like any other state by its constitution.

    There is no part of Spain called Spain, there is no "country within" that has the same name as the state. I mean, people reading this at least have seen a map. Have you?

  • Tadeusz says:
    September 28, 2011 at 9:27 AM

    Hugh, Thanks for your comments. It's fine to talk with somebody without prejudices. As Yuri says Spanish laws are very clear: Spanish army has the right, maybe the duty, to take part in Catalonia if this, democratically, wants to secede. This is the Spanish law.
    Of course laws could be changed but Spanish unionists, as Candide shows you, always live in prejudices. For instance he supposed you were a Catalan “pretending to be an uninformed outsider”. Once again he says the “selections of comments is politically motivated”.

    Candide, read again the entry: “ The place of Catalan (and Spanish) in Catalonia's educational system should be a matter exclusively for the Catalan people to decide”. It is called democracy, you know. You are right, the author is not professor of law. He's an Spanish linguist and professor at the U.A. Madrid. We're talking of languages, so he is right to speak about it. The Spanish law is more Spanish than law. In my opinion all the languages are equal. But the Spanish law says: “Castillian is the official Spanish language of the State. All Spaniards have the DUTY to know it and the right to use it.” Nobody have the DUTY to know Basque, Asturian ( wich is not official) or Catalan. It's clear if you want to see it. Looking your anti Catalan blog it's clear you don't. Fortunately you've only 8 members.

  • Tadeusz says:
    September 28, 2011 at 9:27 AM

    Hugh, Thanks for your comments. It's fine to talk with somebody without prejudices. As Yuri says Spanish laws are very clear: Spanish army has the right, maybe the duty, to take part in Catalonia if this, democratically, wants to secede. This is the Spanish law.
    Of course laws could be changed but Spanish unionists, as Candide shows you, always live in prejudices. For instance he supposed you were a Catalan “pretending to be an uninformed outsider”. Once again he says the “selections of comments is politically motivated”.

    Candide, read again the entry: “ The place of Catalan (and Spanish) in Catalonia's educational system should be a matter exclusively for the Catalan people to decide”. It is called democracy, you know. You are right, the author is not professor of law. He's an Spanish linguist and professor at the U.A. Madrid. We're talking of languages, so he is right to speak about it. The Spanish law is more Spanish than law. In my opinion all the languages are equal. But the Spanish law says: “Castillian is the official Spanish language of the State. All Spaniards have the DUTY to know it and the right to use it.” Nobody have the DUTY to know Basque, Asturian ( wich is not official) or Catalan. It's clear if you want to see it. Looking your anti Catalan blog it's clear you don't. Fortunately you've only 8 members.

  • Candide says:
    September 28, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    Tadeusz, the good professor says "it is not possible for the Catalan people democratically to decide whether Spanish should be an official language in Catalonia". Which is not true, because they already have decided so.

    I have not said that there is political motivation in the approval of comments, I have asked, for a reason. It's right there, above.

    You don't seem to like the facts much. Must I also take from you that my blog is anti-Catalan? That's quite a bold observation, for which you will not find any footing in reality.

  • rogerevansonline.com says:
    January 7, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Candide is elsewhere on the Web heatedly pushing the idea that Catalans voted for the Castilian language. He or she purposely omits the fact that they did so with the army threatening them and the state offering them only two choices: dictatorship or that constitution.

    This is to democracy as hot dogs are to filet mignon.

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