Anti-Catalanism

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A sign in Valencia city calling for a boycott of Catalan products
Anti-Catalanism in France. Royal decree forbidding to use the Catalan language in Roussillon, Conflent and Cerdanya starting 2 April 1700

Anti-Catalanism (Catalan: anticatalanisme, IPA: [ˌantikətəɫəˈnizmə]) is the collective name given to various historical trends in Spain and in France that have been hostile to Catalan culture and traditions. In more recent times it can also refer to a reaction against Catalan nationalism or Catalan independentism.

Description[edit]

In a historical and political context, anti-Catalanism expresses itself as a xenophobic attitude towards the Catalan language, people, traditions or anything identified with Catalonia and the political implications of this attitude. In its most extreme circumstances, this may also be referred as Catalanophobia. Several political movements, known for organizing boycotts of products from Catalonia, are also actively identified with anti-Catalanism.

Anti-Catalanism in its most virulent form is mostly associated with far-right Spanish political parties. Groups such as España 2000 object strongly to the autonomy enjoyed by Catalonia, claiming that the granting of autonomy to Catalonia and other regions will lead to the breakup of Spain. A former saying amongst latter day Francoists during the Spanish Transition (late 1970s, early 1980s) illustrating this attitude was: Antes roja que rota, which roughly translates as: "(I would) Rather (see Spain) red than broken", meaning that these people would prefer to see Spain become Communist than have regions (like Catalonia or the Basque Country) seceding from it.

Criticism of Catalan nationalism and allegedly xenophobic, populist and selfish sentiments that feed it, is to be found throughout the Spanish political spectrum. Such criticism does not necessarily imply being against regional autonomy in Spain, or even the use of regional languages in the public domain.

Besides politics, anti-catalanism is often also based on widespread perceived prejudices among regions of Spain. Negative perceptions of Catalans common throughout Spain involve a sense of them being excessively individualistic, unfriendly, unwelcoming, coward, treacherous, snobbish and mean. This perception plays with political realities, Catalonia often being accused of lack of solidarity with the poorer regions of Spain, marginalization of the Spanish language and culture (e.g. ban on bullfighting or absence of Spanish-language public education) and historical discrimination and racism against economic migrants from Andalusia and Extremadura. The degree to which the latter accusation is justified is debatable, particularly since the children and grandchildren of immigrants have successfully integrated into a multicultural Catalan society. However, arguments forwarded include that whereas the 20 most common surnames names in Catalonia proper are Spanish (Garcia, Fernandez etc..), the majority of politicians have Catalan surnames and many of those who don't catalanize them upon embarking on a political career. On the other hand, in the high ground of the Legal system, Police structure, University structures and high business and corporate grounds, it is more likely to find common Spanish surnames than Catalan ones.

Anti-Catalanism has a local and distinctive manifestation in the Valencian Community called Blaverism, a movement rejecting Joan Fuster's concept of Països Catalans.[1] Blaverism is best reflected in debates concerning the status of Valencian versus Catalan, even though this phenomenon has diminished greatly over the last 25 years. Also in Aragon there is an anti-Catalan movement that seeks to diminish the Catalan identity of La Franja, thus the Aragonese parliament has passed laws that will make no mention of the word "Catalan" in connection with Aragon.[2][3]

Concept criticism[edit]

Critics of this concept regard so-called anti-catalanism as a political manoeuvering tool, coined and used especially by Catalan nationalists. Critics state that the "anti-catalanism" tenet can potentially be used as a victimisation tool by means of which some elected Catalan representatives sublimate any criticism on their performance as elected representatives by deflecting it to Catalans or Catalonia as a whole instead. As such, whatever shortcomings or disagreements with their nationalistic agenda or any less than clear financial management are simply discarded as "anti-catalanism" thus derailing demands of accountability by the general public and pre-empting any policy or ideological criticism; according to this view, the "anti-catalanism" speech foments a non-dissenting environment and enhances support to Catalan nation building plans from a scarcely informed local or international community who is typically keen to support the underdog.

Critics argue accordingly that, within a context of manipulative politics and lack of objective and clear argumentation, the term anti-catalanism can be used as a demagogic or chauvinist concept to channel all non-conforming views about the Catalan nationalist agenda, which, according to these sources, silences alternative points of view, distorts reality and instigates animosity and hatred towards those –whether in Catalonia or, chiefly, in the rest of Spain– who do not conform to the group ideologies from a victimisation perspective, thus greatly reducing the possibility of diverse political choices.

Two new political parties created in Spain during the 2000s adhere to this line of reasoning, Citizens-Party of the Citizenry –which was established in Catalonia– and UPyD Union, Progress and Democracy, which has roots in a similarly nationalist dominated autonomous community, that of the Basque country.


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Xavier Coller [www.cairn.info/revue-pole-sud-2006-2-page-107.htm Collective identities and failed nationalism], in Pôle Sud 2/2006 (n° 25), p. 107-136.
  2. ^ Aragón excluye al catalán de sus lenguas oficiales, ahora se llama Lapao
  3. ^ Las Cortes de Aragón aprueban llamar ‘lapao’ al catalán y ‘lapapyp’ al aragonés

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Jaume Medina, "L'anticatalanisme del diari ABC (1916-1936)", Publicacions de l'Abadia de Montserrat | col·lecció Biblioteca Serra d'Or. ISBN 978-84-7826-606-7