Sunday, October 13, 2013

Does Size Matter? The Eternal Question


For centuries, a question has worried myriad men and women: does size matter? The issue is not academic, it has kept many awake at night and even today there are plenty who strive to find a response.


There are two possible answers to the question. On the one hand we have those who say that size does not truly matter. They believe that other variables, such as enthusiasm, can make up for it. They say that inability to completely fill up the target space, leaving a vacuum, should not be taken as evidence of failure.


On the other hand, others stress the need to completely fill the scenario of one's efforts, leaving no portion empty. They thus believe that sizes does matter, and that below certain dimensions one is exposed not only to failure, but to ridicule. Even more so at this time of easily available graphical technologies and social media. Today, failure is not just humiliating, it is public. There is no hiding small sizes.


What is the right answer? Well, it depends on our political philosophy. In a dictatorship, size does not really matter. It suffices for a minority to be ready to use force and fear to keep control and remain in power. Authoritarian regimes do not worry about size. Dictators can afford a small power base.


This stands in contrast with democracies, where size is vital. In a democracy, majorities rule. If you want your country to move in a certain direction, you need to convince most of your fellow countrymen. There is no alternative. Size is the ultimate determinant of success … and of failure.

Where exactly is size important? First of all in elections. Second, also in demonstrations and other public political gatherings. Finally, in referenda.


So, who has a bigger … following in Catalonia? Pictures speak for themselves. Let us have a quick look.





This is a picture of yesterday's Loyalist microdemonstration in Barcelona. We will forget for one minute the fact that most participants actually came from Spain. Even if they were all Catalans, which they were not, they would still be a tiny minority. Laughable D [demo] size. Note how Catalonia Square, in the center of Barcelona, is not properly filled up.







On the other hand, this is a picture of the recent 9/11 Catalan Way, a massive human chain in favour of recovering the country's independence, lost by force of arms in 1714. It was 400 Kilometers long, filling every single inch of the country's coast. No voids, no vacuums.






And this is an aerial view of last year's Catalan National Day demonstration. In the center one can see Barcelona's Catalonia Square. Not half-empty, but full and overflowing, with people filling many adjacent streets.


So, where does Catalonia's future lie? The answer is linked to the response to our original question. If size does not matter, then Catalonia may remain a Spanish colony. If size does matter, Spain's game is over and freedom is coming. For centuries, Spain has resorted to brute force to keep Catalonia down, in an attempt to destroy her language, her culture, her political traditions, and her industries. In today's world, this is no longer acceptable. In a democratic political system, size does matter. And Catalonia's is bigger. Pictures speak for themselves. There is no hiding micro Ds [demos]. Goodbye Spain.


Alex Calvo is currently a Guest Professor at Nagoya University, and a Professor of International Relations and International Law at European University (Barcelona Campus). An expert on Asian security and defense issues, he got his LLB from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS, University of London) and is currently doing an MA in Second World War Studies at the University of Birmingham. He is a former teaching and research fellow at the OSCE Academy in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan).






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