Sardinian nationalism

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Location of Sardinia

Sardinian nationalism is a social, cultural and political movement in Sardinia promoting the protection of the island's environment and the re-discovery of Sardinian culture. It also calls for more autonomy, or even independence, from Italy.

The Sardinian movement has its origins on the left of the political spectrum,[1] as attempts for Sardinian self-determination countered Rome-centric Italian nationalism and fascism. Over the years Sardist parties from different ideological backgrounds have emerged. The first two Sardist parties, the Sardinian Action Party (PSd'Az) and the Sardinian League (LS), were launched between the two world wars. The PSd'Az, which was pretty strong in the 1920s (e.g. 36% of the popular vote in 1921 regional election[2]) as well as in the 1940s (e.g. 14.9% in the 1946 general election), establishing itself as the most important nationalist movement in Sardinia, experienced a comeback in the 1980s. In the 1984 regional election the party peaked at over 20% of the vote in the two major cities and gained overall 13.8%: therefore, due to its pivotal role in the newly elected Regional Council, Sardist Mario Melis was President of Sardinia from 1984 to 1989.[3] Ever since, that result has not been repeated yet by any nationalist party.


The Sardinian nationalist movement is rather disjointed and lacking in unity nowadays.[4] It is composed mostly of several local and scattered grassroots organisations across the island that do not have a clear central policy-making authority, and besides, the different nationalist subgroups often disagree with each other on many issues.[5] Sardinian nationalists address a number of issues, such as the environmental damage caused by the Italian, NATO and U.S. military forces[6][7] (in fact, 60% of such bases in Italy are located on the island),[8] the financial and economic exploitation of the island's resources by the Italian state and mainland industrialists, the lack of any political representation both in Italy and in the European Parliament, and the ongoing process of depopulation and Italianization that would destroy the Sardinian indigenous culture.

Sardinian nationalism is a pacific movement that does not advocate violent revolution, proposing instead to achieve its goals within a liberal democratic framework. However, as an exception to the rule, there had been some issues in the past strictly related to separatist tendencies, the most worth mentioning being essentially three. First, the actions planned in 1968[9] by Giangiacomo Feltrinelli to turn the island into the Cuba of the Mediterranean and "liberate it from colonialism" by making contact with several local nationalist groups;[10] in the end, the attempt of the famous communist thinker to strengthen the pro-independence militant lines, divided into the socialist Fronte Nazionale de Liberazione de sa Sardigna (FNLS) and the rightist Movimentu Nazionalista Sardu (MNS),[11] was nullified by the Italian secret military intelligence.[12] Secondly, there had been in the 1980s the question of the so-called "separatist conspiracy", a secret plan apparently set up by some local activists to reach the island's independence in collaboration with Libya.[13][14][15] Finally, it should also be mentioned the case of a number of bombings,[16][17] the most notable of which being that in 2004 against Silvio Berlusconi in his visit to Porto Rotondo (Olbia) with Tony Blair;[18] the responsibility has been apparently claimed by some unknown anarcho-separatist militant groups,[19][20] the presence of which never to be seen again.[21]

In 2014, another independentist group launched a campaign, called Cantonmarittimo, in order for Sardinia to reach its independence by joining Switzerland as a Canton.[22][23][24]

Political support[edit]

According to a poll commissioned by the University of Cagliari in collaboration with that of Edinburgh,[25][26] 41% of Sardinians would be in favour of independence, whilst another 46% would rather have a larger autonomy within Italy; only 13% of people would be content to remain part of Italy without any "sovereignty" status.[27][28][29][30][31] These numerical data have been exposed by Carlo Pala, a professor of political science at the University of Sassari.[32] Even other polls, published by professional organizations for public opinion research, contribute to corroborating, more or less, these findings and their accuracy.[33] However, so far this support has failed to translate into electoral success for pro-sovereignty Sardinian forces; besides, the nationalist movement still suffers from being highly fragmented into a large number of political parties which, overall, manage to play only a marginal role in Sardinian politics. As an additional reason to explain this contradictory electoral behaviour in Sardinia, among the other things, it should be noted that even the Italian mainstream parties have incorporated some nationalist elements in their political discourses, thus assuming somewhat of a regionalist facade.[2][34]

In the 2014 regional election, for instance, more than a dozen Sardist parties of different connotations took part to the electoral competition, but yet again, because of their number and political fragmentation,[35] they did not manage to win as many seats as they were initially supposed to, especially because of a tactical mistake by Project Republic of Sardinia.[36][37] Despite the combined result of all of the nationalist parties being around 26%[38] (dropping to 18% for the pro-independence forces), they won only eight seats in the Sardinian regional council.[39][40][41][42][43]

Here is a summary of the results of the 2014 regional election for regional parties:

The list does not include the Christian Popular Union (1.7% of the vote and 1 regional councillor elected) because the party, despite being based in Sardinia and having rarely participated in general or regional elections outside Sardinia, pretends to be an Italian national party.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Entrevista a Marcel Farinelli: “Córcega y Cerdeña forman un archipiélago invisible al tener sus islas nacionalismos de signo opuesto"
  2. ^ a b Hepburn, Eve. The Ideological Polarisation and Depolarisation of Sardinian Nationalism, Regional and Federal Studies Vol. 19, No.5. (2010)
  3. ^ Regional Council of Sardinia
  4. ^ Michela Murgia, la scrittrice si candida a guidare la Sardegna. L'eterno ritorno dell'indipendentismo sardo - L'Huffington Post
  5. ^ Scottish vote reignites Sardinia separatist parties' for independence - The Wall Street Journal
  6. ^ Sardegna, il 13 settembre indipendentisti a Capo Frasca contro l’occupazione militare
  7. ^ Indipendentismo sardo, questo sconosciuto - Adalgisa Marrocco
  8. ^ Mattu, Katjuscia. Internal colonialism in Western Europe: the case of Sardinia
  9. ^ Minahan, James. Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations S-Z, pg. 1664
  10. ^ Cabitza, Giuliano. Sardegna: rivolta contro la colonizzazione. Milano, Feltrinelli Editore.
  11. ^ Cultura e identitade - Sardinna, January - April 2002
  12. ^ Morto Pugliese, l' ex ufficiale del Sid che «fermò» nel '60 il latitante Mesina - Corriere della Sera
  13. ^ Italian Court convicts 16 as Sardinian separatists - The New York Times
  14. ^ Agguati, guerriglia, sequestri: ecco il complotto separatista sardo - La Repubblica
  15. ^ Separatismo sardo, condannati i capi - La Repubblica
  16. ^ OIr:<<la bomba era nostra>> - RaiNews24
  17. ^ Assessment for Sardinians in Italy - Minorities at Risk
  18. ^ Sardegna, blitz antiterrorismo: in manette dieci indipendentisti - La Repubblica
  19. ^ Criminologia del terrorismo anarco-insurrezionalista, Marco Boschi, pag.63
  20. ^ Bomb found near Berlusconi villa after Blair visit
  21. ^ Un magistrato in prima linea sul fronte eversione - Unione Sarda
  22. ^ In Sardinia, Secessionists Want to Leave Italy and Join... Switzerland? - The Wall Street Journal
  23. ^ Separatisten auf Vormarsch in Europa - Arte
  24. ^ New proposal for a Swiss-Sardinian maritime Canton
  25. ^ What next for independence movements in Europe? - Eve Hepburn
  26. ^ Identità e autonomia in Sardegna - FocuSardegna
  27. ^ Focus: La questione identitaria e indipendentista in Sardegna - UniCa, Ilenia Ruggiu
  28. ^ La Sardegna vuole l'indipendenza, favorevoli quattro sardi su dieci -
  29. ^ Il 40% dei sardi è per l'indipendenza; il resto è per la la sovranità - Gianfranco Pintore
  30. ^ I giovani non si sentono più italiani - Regione Autonoma della Sardegna, 31.05.2012
  31. ^ Push in Sardinia for online vote on independence from Italy - Russia Today
  32. ^ Indipendentismo, secessionismo, federalismo: conversazione con Carlo Pala
  33. ^ L'indipendenza delle regioni - Demos & Pi
  34. ^ Lluch, Jaime. Constitutionalism and the Politics of Accommodation in Multinational Democracies
  35. ^ Italian centre-left wins Sardinian election, Murgia's pro-sovereignty coalition left outside Council -
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^ Not including the Sardinian Reformers and other selected lists, which are not fully Sardist or even autonomist
  39. ^ Galassia sardista al 26 per cento - La Nuova Sardegna
  40. ^ El independentismo, fuerza al alza en Sardinia - Sortu
  41. ^ Vuit diputats sobiranistes entren per sorpresa al parlament sard - VilaWeb
  42. ^ L'independentisme sard fa un bon paper però guanya el centreesquerra - El Punt Avui
  43. ^ Tèrratrem en Sardenha - Jornalet, Gaseta Occitana d'informacions


  • Sergio Salvi - (1973) Le nazioni proibite, Vallecchi, Firenze
  • Antonio Lepori, Antonello Satta e Giovanni Lilliu Sardigna on MINORANZE num. 4, Milan, trimestre 1976.
  • Antonello Satta - (1977) L'autonomia della Sardigna come mistificazione.
  • Imma Tubella i Casadevall e Eduard Vinyamata Camp - (1978) Les nacions de l'Europa capitalista - La Magrana, Barcelona.
  • Rolando del Guerra e Genoveva Gómez - (1986) Llengua, dialecte, nació, ètnia (Llengua i poder a Itàlia) - La Magrana, Col. Alliberament, 19 Barcelona.
  • Gianfranco Contu - (1990) La questione nazionale sarda - Quartu Sant'Elena, Alfa Editrice
  • Xosé M. Núñez Seixas - (1998) Movimientos nacionalistas en Europa en el siglo XX - Ed. Síntesis, Col. Historia Universal Contemporánea, 26 Madrid.
  • Eve Hepburne - (2008) Island Nations in a ‘Europe of the Peoples’: Corsica and Sardinia compared
  • Bachisio Bandinu - (2010) Pro s'Indipendentzia - Edizioni il Maestrale
  • Ilenia Ruggiu, Francesco Mola, Gianmario Demuro - (2013) Identità e Autonomia in Sardegna e Scozia - Maggioli Editore
  • Adriano Bomboi - (2014) L'indipendentismo sardo. Le ragioni, la storia, i protagonisti - Cagliari, Edizioni Condaghes