A Success Story: Spanish immigration to Catalonia (In Transit #25)

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A Success Story: Spanish immigration to Catalonia (In Transit #25) …

A Success Story: Spanish immigration to Catalonia (In Transit #25)

Date: April 2014.

Source: IT In Transit.

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  • 1. Hope, dreams and the building of Catalonia A success story: Spanish immigration to Catalonia issue #25 - March 2014 The military coup led by Franco against the legitimate government of the Popular Front (Frente Popular) on July 18th, 1936, sparked a bloody civil war, and the outcome was the displacement of thousands of people from the less-developed (or non-industrialized) areas of Spain to Catalonia beginning in 1950. Those who came to Catalonia were mainly from Andalucia (some 890,000 people), but also from Murcia, Extremadura, Aragon, Galicia and Castille. After nearly three years of military and civilian confrontation, thousands of dead and countless exiles, a repressive, authoritarian and fascist regime established itself, led by a soldier and supported by a single political party, the Movimiento Nacional (National Movement), which represented the various social sectors that made up the winning bloc of the war. The Franco regime eradicated the agrarian reform that the Frente Popular had advocated for (the land would belong to those who worked the land). This caused those territories where the land was a source of wealth to continue to be in the hands of a few: landowners, señoritos (wealthy gentlemen), and caciques; a breed of people that closely resembled free-riding and that was not up to the hard work of developing productivity. Therefore, the large number of immigrants that settled in Catalonia between 1950 and 1970 are mostly descendants of the losers of the Civil War, and not “fifth columnists” that the laboratories of the Franco regime manufactured to fight the Catalan language or to stifle the Catalan people’s desire for freedom. There were also losers in Catalonia: the lower classes and the workers. Let us not forget, as well, that part of the wealthy class in Catalonia supported the military coup. It is true that in order to replace the Republican teachers in Catalonia, Franco’s regime placed teachers from other parts of Spain who belonged to the Falange in the so-called nationalist schools. It is also true that Francoism also reached for judges, police, and trade unionists that were pro-Franco and various others who ended up in Catalonia and who helped the new regime get started: civil service officers for the diputaciones, civil governments, municipal secretaries… At the same time, we should not confuse these replacements with the great majority of Spanish immigrants who, within a week, went from being farm workers to factory workers without any professional qualifications. Catalonia and its history show us how it has grown. Without the “anchor” of the various migratory waves, today we would be a country with far less strength and fewer possibilities. Therefore, this country, our country, has been built by all those people who arrived together and worked side by side in the factories and neighborhoods with the people who were already here, and with those who came afterwards. It has been a successful experience, without any significant mishaps or deep-rooted conflicts. The Catalan co-productive system is exemplary: countless mixed marriages have led to a patchwork that has given us a seamless canvas, a dovetail that has blocked any attempt to shatter this social cohesion. For the new arrivals, if this new land offers them a school, a home and a job, they engage and identify with life here without great difficulties. We should remember that it was in the town of Santa Coloma de Gramenet where people first demanded schooling in Catalan. This event, which then spread throughout Catalonia and with a significant parliamentary majority behind it, led to one of the most important successes of President Pujol during those years: linguistic immersion. It was a significant step that overcame the attempts to divide the country on grounds of language. One country, one people, and therefore only one way of accessing the school system, and no talk of two or three separate “itineraries.” Thismeantthatlotsofimmigrants,intheirnewneighborhoods,becamepartoflocalneighborhoodassociations, which were the engines behind the struggle for improved living conditions in places lacking the most basic services. The same thing occurred in the factories, where hundreds of people of non-Catalan descent were integrated into the first workers’ commissions that faced the companies, fighting for the freedom of unions and the freedom to call a strike, which were prohibited by the Franco regime. Here we should also mention another large group of people who arrived from other parts of Spain and connected with clandestine Catalan political organizations and went on to join those fighting to overthrow Franco’s dictatorship. A relevant fact in the neighborhood associations, workers’ committees and political groups in hiding: no one asked about a person’s birthplace. On all three fronts, Catalans and immigrants fraternally embraced each other, and never discriminated against anyone based ontheir last name.There were commonobjectives, which is something the Asamblea de Catalunya (Catalan Assembly) would go on to express as follows: freedom, amnesty, statute of autonomy and the right to exercise self-determination. The latter was relegated and forgotten once the first three had been achieved. Lluís Cabrera, President of the platform Altres Andalusos (Other Andalucians) seven communities, one language eurocatalan newsletter EDITORIAL
  • 2. The PSA, Partido Socialista Andaluz (Socialist Party of Andalucia) ran in the Catalan Parliament elections of 1980 in an attempt to generate confusion and discord in the metropolitan areas of Barcelona and Tarragona. According to the PSA, people from Andalucia should vote for a political party with a designation of origin. We would have to go as far back as the political tenets of the Partido Radical (Radical Party) of Alejandro Lerroux to understand how much of a torpedo the PSA was to the stability and cohesion of Catalan society in 1980. The operation failed in the end. With only two MPs in Parliament, the PSA couldn’t hold its ground in the following autonomous elections in 1984, in which CiU obtained its first absolute majority. The fear of a possible division, embodied by the PSA with its arguments in favor of place of origin and that advocated isolating the social interests that each party represented, was settled in a single legislature. The beloved Transition, the arrival of Tarradellas to the Palau de la Generalitat in 1977, was a giant step forward that made it appear that the Spanish state recognized the legality of the Republic. The ghosts of the coup d’état on February 23rd (23F) of 1981, which served to allow television, the only one there was at that time, to show the monarch as a defender and savior of democracy, the same person appointed by Franco and the Cortes (Parliament) of his Movimiento Nacional party. All of this became a kind of cement that numbed us to what was happening. He was a monarch accepted by weakened political forces fresh from the political catacombs, forces that made pacts with Adolfo Suárez’s Unión de Centro Democrático party and Manuel Fraga Iribarne’s Alianza Popular party, both descendants of the Franco regime. This was what ended up being called the constitutional pact. A constitutional pact that, over the years, was found to have been an infringement on political and economic interests, and to have been an attack on the dignity of all the citizens of Catalonia, regardless of their last name or birthplace. It was a constitutional pact that buried memories and imposed silence on many aspects of the immediate past. Over time, and after the alternation in 2006 –the first tripartite government--, the new political power of Catalonia led by President Maragall began the reform of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy, a journey full of obstacles, obstruction, and some irony (the final “scrubbing”), the collection of signatures against the reform by the PP, and the Constitutional Court’s final sentence that overrode the 1979 Statute that was still valid. It was a process that a significant part of the population of Catalonia, and also the children and grandchildren of those who arrived between 1950 and 1970, saw as an attack on their freedom, on democracy and the individual and collective dignity of this nation, which belongs to everyone. Because while each person has their own special connections and feelings, we have shared political aspirations regardless of where our ancestors were born. It is in Catalonia where we exercise our political rights, and therefore, we are all politically Catalan. It is in Catalonia where we bury and mourn our grandparents and parents, a significant fact that shows our attachment to this country. Since 2006 the demonstrations have worked with tenacity to resurrect the fourth point of the Asamblea de Catalunya, the right to exercise self-determination. The path widened even further after September 11th, 2012 andthe Catalan Wayof 2013,two landmarksinEuropean history,two milestones inanation’s peaceful struggle to achieve freedom. Catalonia has seen how the elites and centralist oligarchies in Madrid are not willing to give up their privileges: to distribute political power and share decision-making on economic matters. And when a nation’s people are deprived of the right to decide their future, democracy is undermined and their dignity is trampled upon. This is when the ties woven over time come to the surface, and on the table once again there is the hope, the dream and the wish to build a society that is not dependent, a society with a State of its own, a normal nation, that’s it, a nation like any other, which doesn’t depend on the decisions made six hundred kilometers away, a smaller and more manageable country. However, those of us who are involved in the current pro-sovereignty process should avoid the following at all costs, as it would work against us and because the consequences would be disastrous: -Thatweshouldnotstigmatize-ongroundsoflanguage-theelderly(ourgrandparentsandgreatgrandparents) living in the Catalan neighborhoods where unemployment is raging. These veterans have worked very hard to move Catalonia forward, and they have nothing in common with others who also usually express themselves in Castilian: senior military officers and members of the courts of justice, to give a couple of examples. - That political, academic, economic and social institutions should not demand that Castilian language have a role in an independent Catalan state. Castilian should be a heritage, and never an obstacle. - That Catalan political parties of a pro-Catalanist nature should not make orphans of those people who use Castilian as their primary language. These political parties should also not allow unionist parties such as the PP, UpyD and Cs become the “owners” of what is a universal language. - That we remain oblivious to the fact that today the Catalan “elevator”, which was what permitted social mobility and permeability, is broken, that we don’t know how to fix it and that without it working it will be very difficult to incorporate people most affected by the crisis into Catalonia’s independence process. - And another danger: those who want a pure Catalonia are a hindrance, not a help. Catalonia is not, thankfully, a corporation ruled by the people with the most shares. This characteristic is typical of corporations, not states. Each vote carries the same weight and makes us equals when it comes time to decide, and it would be better if we didn’t copy the Francoist models still entrenched in Spain today. We do not differentiate, we are not afraid, we continue to offer examples of good practices, of civility, of common sense. We reject hatred and self-hatred, let us travel paths of harmony, ley us continue with the process, as it allows all of us to participate no matter what your social position. Let us not get stuck defining identity and culture, both are permeable and made up of different and complex layers, each equal and different at the same time. Let us look to the Mediterranean, the waves mark a harmonious rhythm. Lluís Cabrera Sánchez President of the platform Altres Andalusos (Other Andalucians)
  • 3. Susana Díaz’s ‘foreigners’ A success story: Spanish immigration to Catalonia issue #25 - March 2014 This weekend Susana Díaz, the president of the Junta de Andalucía, participated in an event held by the PSC in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat. It’s nothing new. From time to time the PSC decides that it is a good idea for the president of Andalucía to attend an event in the Barcelona metropolitan area, to appease those who they like to call the “Andalusians living in Catalonia.” As if we weren’t Catalan enough to keep up with current political events in the country where we live, and we needed someone, with a hint of local color to them, to remind us from time to time that we aren’t part of this society. They are the ones who feel the need to go on emphasizing these differences. Those who think that we couldn’t possibly be interested in a political rally held by Pere Navarro, Artur Mas or Oriol Junqueras, and that they will make us happy by bringing in the President of Andalusia and a handful of olés!. They are the ones who refer to us and to our parents as “Andalusians in Catalonia,” and not as Catalans of Andalusian descent. And on top of that, they have the nerve to come here and tell us that if Catalonia becomes independent, we will become foreigners in our own country. In the Catalonia that we catalanoandaluces (Catalan-Andalusians) will build, we will not be foreigners because we are already part of the process that is leading us to independence. Our vote in the referendum will have the exact same weight as someone with four Catalan grandparents. All of us, all Catalans, will be deciding this together, regardless of our origins. And the country we are going to build will be a country for everyone. The same president of Andalucía also says that the process will force us to choose an identity. Señora Díaz, no one can force me to choose because my identity, like that of most Catalans, is multiple and plural. I am as much a Catalan as I am an Andalusian. However, when the President of Andalucía comes to visit us like a mother visiting her prodigal son, yes, it makes me feel less Catalan. It makes me feel like a second-class Catalan citizen. We Catalans of Andalusian origin do not need anyone to come here and remind us were we come from, because we have no doubt about that and we are very proud of our roots. But above all, we don’t need anyone to tell us where we are heading, because that is something we will choose, democratically, with the rest of the Catalans. Opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of SÚMATE as a collective. First published in SÚMATE. Héctor Montero seven communities, one language eurocatalan newsletter FURTHER READING
  • 4. Welcome, Mister Rajoy A success story: Spanish immigration to Catalonia issue #25 - March 2014 This weekend the PP has landed in Barcelona with all of their artillery (metaphorically speaking). They will be celebrating an “anti-pro- sovereignty convention,” under the banner of Juntos sumamos (“Stronger together”), to show their opposition to Catalan independence and to sell us on the benefits of remaining within Spain. Perhaps they’re here to reveal their “secret plan” for Catalonia, as Rajoy announced this week. What better way to make it public than coming to this wayward province to announce it personally to its factitious inhabitants… We know that the PP, if its known for anything, it is for its honesty and willingness to build consensus based on respect and dialogue. They have repeatedly demonstrated their absolute commitment to truth, welfare, and the defense of the rights of citizens. We do not doubt, therefore, the intentions of these good people. The first thing Mariano Rajoy will do, of course, will be to apologize to all Catalans for that time when he encouraged campaigns to collect “signatures against Catalonia” to block the Statute of Catalonia, which was then crushed in the Constitutional Court. That was pretty ugly, Mariano… They will also apologize for wanting to españolizar (Spanish-ize) Catalan children, and for using the language issue to break the cohesion and consensus that has existed for years in Catalonia. Because the reality is that no language conflict exists in Catalonia. Castilian speakers like us grow up using our language without any major problems (of course, you will find idiots no matter where you go). People go to school and learn with total normality, and the majority of media outlets are in Castilian. Even the director of the RAE has had to admit that the Castilian language is not in any danger. We will hear them apologize for having questioned the right of any person, no matter their sexual orientation, to marry and raise a family. Or for wanting to adopt an abortion reform that leaves women unprotected and sends us backwards some 40 years, imposing a particular moral or religious doctrine on society (no matter that Saint Teresa or the Virgin of Rocío make up more than the majority of ministers…). They will probably condemn the 40 years of Franco’s dictatorship, and the fact that there are still tens of thousands missing in ditches…due to that memory thing. Of course they will apologize for leaving thousands of families in the streets while they rescue and protect bankers. They will also apologize for destroying the pension system, for abandoning dependents and women victims of gender violence, and for leaving young people and immigrants with no protection whatsoever. They will also apologize for killing collective negotiation and making further cuts to workers’ rights. They will show regret, without a doubt, for saying that they were not going to raise taxes, or for that kind “go fuck yourselves” to the 6 million unemployed. They will also ask for forgiveness for lying and covering up embezzlers, thieves, and other corrupt criminals, for accidentally erasing hard disks, and for awarding compensation for simulated dismissals. And surely they will shower us with apologies for persecuting those who investigated these matters, because no one doubts that the PP respects the independence and the work of judges. Of course. They may even apologize for having puffed out their chests and said how much they would help Catalonia through the FLA, “saving it from bankruptcy” by lending us our own money and then charging us an extra 6% (it doesn’t seem very honest to be the savior and the bandit at the same time). As I will presume their honesty, they will acknowledge that Catalonia is suffering an unfair financial treatment, and they will seek to resolve it by offering us that fiscal pact that they rejected two years ago, and that is too late now. Otherwise, and assuming the same degree of honesty, if Catalonia is such a burden to Spain, as some people say, they would have no objection to letting us go… The PP is honest, but not stupid. Above all, the PP’s main interest and concern will be to listen to the silent majority. And as everyone knows, there is no better way to listen than to allow people to express themselves. I am certain that in the framework of this convention of populares Rajoy will announce that, as a strong believer in democracy, he is in favor of the Catalans going to the polls to pronounce themselves democratically on the future of Catalonia. Who could possibly be afraid of democracy? I trust Mariano Rajoy and his gang. Juntos sumamos. And if not, we will always have federalism…maybe we will have more luck. Opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of SÚMATE as a collective. First published in SÚMATE Coque Garcia - Súmate seven communities, one language eurocatalan newsletter FURTHER READING
  • 5. Why a referendum to decide our future? A success story: Spanish immigration to Catalonia issue #25 - March 2014 Starting in the 1950s more than a million people, losers of a war I would call “uncivil!” due to the misery caused by the Franco victory, were forced to migrate to where the efforts of their labor could feed their families, arriving in Catalonia from across Spain, the majority from Andalusia. Why the right to decide? For those of us who have come from outside Catalonia, we know what it means to make decisions. Our parents or our agüelos (grandparents), when they decided to pack their suitcases, and, together with their families, jump on the train that would take them to Catalonia, they had many doubts about where they were going, because they were heading into the unknown. But what they did know was what they were leaving behind: there was no future for them or for their children, and they made a DECISION, as difficult as it was. They decided to leave what was most important in their lives, what was closest to them, their homeland where they had been born, they left the rest of their family behind, their few possessions and their past. Now they tell us that if we choose the path of independence they we will be heading to a dead end. We might remind them that we are already used to moving towards the unknown, and that we had already lost our small homeland when you forced us to emigrate. Today –which is not such a tragic time but one of equal importance, as what is also at stake is the future of our children, and most likely that of our grandchildren— we will have the right to DECIDE. To decide if we can live, together with our families, in a more prosperous and independent Catalonia, free of the fiscal spoliation, or otherwise we will be forced to see our children and grandchildren having to emigrate once again, this time abroad, because unemployment in Catalonia has reached unbearable levels. In a Catalonia free of this fiscal drainage, our families will have a future. We want the right to decide freely, because if this doesn’t happen then we will have to DECIDE to emigrate yet again, even farther… High unemployment in Catalonia is due in large part to the fiscal spoliation, and this because even clearer when we examine the statistics from the Basque Country’s unemployment rate: because they do not have a fiscal deficit (due to their agreement with the Spanish state) their unemployment rate is half of Catalonia’s. This would mean a staggering 425,000 jobs, half of the 850,000 unemployed we currently have. Speaking of Andalusia… I am recalling the poetry of Miguel Hernández “Andalusians of Jaén, proud harvesters of olives”, kilometers and kilometers of olives, and the poem goes Whose are these olive groves? Of one or two people, therefore the profit also belongs to them. In these hundreds of square kilometers there are villages where people live there who only have jobs once or twice a year, and they see themselves forced to emigrate. Those on the Left, who should have fixed this with an agrarian reform after 30 years in office, did not do it due to cowardice about the reaction from the Right. The most comfortable solution and the one requiring less commitment, has been that of offering subsidies, the PER, which keeps people stuck in this situation with no hope of improvement. The PER without a project only creates dependent and depressed people; solidarity that is misunderstood and without and endpoint is only charity. I remember decades ago when the PER didn’t exist for the busloads of people, from Extremadura and Andalusia, who came for 6 month contracts to work along the Costa Brava [Catalonia]. They came to another world, to other opportunities. Some got married or married Catalans and had their families. Nowadays people prefer to stay with their comfortable PER, they don’t risk anything, and their jobs have been taken over by foreigners. Remembering Machado. Españolito que vienes al mundo te guarde Dios, una de las dos Españas ha de helarte en corazón. (Little Spaniard, just now coming to the world, may God keep you. One of these two Spains will freeze your heart.) My problem, as you can see, is that both Spains have frozen my Heart. The other poetic reflection refers to Rafael Alberti. A cabalgar, a cabalgar hasta arrojarlos en el mar...(Let’s gallop, let’s gallop, until you bury them in the sea…). It’s clear that we have not succeeded, as they are the ones riding us. This is why for a long time now I have given up trying to fix Spain. Paco Martínez seven communities, one language eurocatalan newsletter FURTHER READING
  • 6. Why is it Catalonia’s fault if it has not wanted to or been able to make a plural Spain work. No one can accuse us Catalans of not having tried, on the Right and on the Left, we have always wanted to try to find a way to fit, but after many years we have given up. I don’t think any more could be asked of us. I am convinced that with our reaction Spain will find it own path of reforms. When Spain comes to terms with its reality, Catalonia will be here as it always has been, but as an equal this time, and having control over where the solidarity funds end up, so that they don’t go to the hands of the señores, the olive grove owners… Democracy is about being about to vote, to decide, and I want to decide to become independent to be able to create a new country, a country that does not carry these external social burdens. It is important that those on the “no” side are able to express themselves, so that they can provide their own alternative, a project for a future within Spain. But a “no” without a project or with old projects that have been attempted in the past for many years and that have failed, that would be the same as staying exactly where we are. We believe that those who propose a project for a future within Spain will first have to convince Spain… This is a task that those of us on the “yes” side have been trying to do for years now, without any success. I think that by now, most of us are not willing to wait anymore. The future is in our hands What has been giving me the greatest satisfaction at an age of 74 is knowing that our grandchildren will have the certainty that when it came time to defend their future as Catalans and as citizens, at a historic time like this, their parents and their agüelos fought hard and were equal to the task. Building this project for the future will require the help of all of us who want to vote for a new independent Catalan State, and so therefore SÚMATE (Join Us). Opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of SÚMATE as a collective. First published in: SÚMATE
  • 7. Power and Language A success story: Spanish immigration to Catalonia issue #25 - March 2014 Societies around the world regularly petition their education systems to make changes according to their needs, priorities and shared goals. They want an education system that teaches their children math, literature, languages or whatever they feel most necessary and appropriate. Then it is up to the education system to decide how best to meet these needs. It may draw up a curriculum, implement teacher training systems, create school networks, and use all the tools at its disposal to do what that society has requested. If at some point the society detects that some of its needs are not being met in a satisfactory manner, it alerts the education system. Thus, it is the education system that turns around and rewrites its plans in order to adjust what doesn’t work and obtain the requested results. A society might say, for example: students finish school with little musical training. And it might go on to suggest: maybe it would be good to study more hours of music. But it is the school system that, logically, would look into exactly how to improve the training, whether with more hours, by changing the days classes are held, or perhaps by using other teachers… And keeping in mind that the school is not a bubble in the middle of society and that we cannot apply the same strategy everywhere and expect to obtain the same results, because social contexts vary. Here [in Spain] we are different. Here we like to do things differently. We like to be exotic and, I would say, hardly rational. In Catalonia, and with regard to languages, our society has asked our schools to see to it that all students emerge with the ability to speak, understand, read and write in Catalan and Castilian. As a result, we have devised a method that effectively achieves this result. I have found no one who questions this result, and the exams also clearly show it. Therefore, despite the good results, and that the Catalan school system has responded effectively and accurately to what was demanded of it, now it seems that through new laws and the courts, our school system is being forced to change the very methods it had used to achieve such excellent results. And, therefore, these results are in danger of disappearing: if we make significant changes to something that works, there is always the danger that it could stop working. Throughout the world, it is the society that decides what is needed and it is up to the educational community and the specialists to devise the best way to achieve it. Here [in Spain], the courts are telling us how to do things, they even set the number of hours for each, and it seems that they could care less about the result. There is one other thing that is very odd, as well as a load of nonsense: they have even gone on to compare the schools during Franco’s regime to today’s Catalan schools (and those that are calling for the same model) with regard to languages. Yet the objectives and the results are exact opposites. Night and day. The result and the goal of the current school model in Catalonia is for all students to emerge knowing both Catalan and Castilian. The result and the goal of the school system during Franco’s dictatorship was exactly the opposite: today there are several generations of Catalan speakers who don’t know how to read or write in their own language, because the school didn’t teach them how to. And several generations of Castilian speakers were not able to learn Catalan in school and, as a result, have never learned it or have had to study it on their own. The result of the current school model in Catalonia is entire generations of bilingual students, who (no matter what the language they speak at home) have emerged with a strong foundation in both languages. The result of Franco’s school model was generations fated, for one part of the population, to be monolingual Castilian speakers, and for the other, to not have a strong grasp of their own mother tongue. How is it that here in Spain it is the courts that write school curriculums and society is more focused on how language learning is organized and not what is taught? This is because the debate is not really about language and education. It is about power. It’s about who is in charge. It’s about what kind of model should be used, the French one or the Swiss one. Or yet another hypothesis: there are people who believe that a language is a carrier of ideology. That if we speak too much Catalan to our children, then they will end up being Catalan “nationalists” and if we don’t speak enough Castilian to them then they will not be “Spanish” enough. It means believing that the school is an ideological mold and that children are molding clay. This is a concept that has been deeply rooted in all authoritarian thinking throughout history. First published in: Diari ARA Vienç Villatoro seven communities, one language eurocatalan newsletter OPINION
  • 8. An absurd ruling A success story: Spanish immigration to Catalonia issue #25 - March 2014 In a situation like today’s, which is not one of the best moments for our education system (budget cuts, PISA results…), it is surprising to find some people still bent on dismantling one of its most successful parts: Catalan language immersion in the schools. Only a few decades ago most of the citizens of Catalonia understood Catalan, but it was harder to find people who spoke it, and even fewer were able to write in Catalan: a significant number of native Catalan speakers had serious difficulties writing in their own language. Now, however, most of the people who went through their childhood and adolescence in Catalonia in these last few decades can speak and write with ease in both Catalan and Castilian. To see so many young people from immigrant families, from cultural contexts that are markedly different from ours and from each other, able to use both the Catalan and the Castilian language so naturally is an undoubted success. It is a success that, as we said above, is primarily due to our schools. People talk a lot about the media in Catalan, and obviously that factor also contributed to the normalization, but it is the school system that truly deserves the credit for the learning of and the active use of Catalan today. By watching or listening to the media we can learn to understand a language, but it is much harder to speak or write it. It is in the schools where people have had to use Catalan on a daily basis, and this is why they learned to use it without any major problems. It is revealing that when we look at where this immersion system has generated real conflicts, it is not so much in the schools, but instead in other areas (the courts, the political parties, media forums, etc.). And this is largely because the immersion system, in practice, has been applied using rigorous pedagogical criteria, common sense and respect for the languages and cultures of origin of the students. It is therefore a shame that now that things were working so well, some are seeking to disrupt this system by creating new laws that are unmistakably reactionary (LOMCE) and court rulings that are pedagogically absurd. Such as the most recent ruling by the High Court of Justice of Catalonia, which states that the Catalan Government and the directorates of the education centers have to guarantee that students with families who request it –and, as a result, all of their classmates— receive 25% of their classes in Castilian: why 25% and not 47% or 19%?; will they hire inspectors to time the use of each language in class?; does the percentage affect the language the teachers use, or also the language the boys and girls use during the class?; will the students who don’t use the proper language at the right time have to be punished?; and if the majority of families of a class are happy with the way things have been working, why will they have to adapt at the request of a minority? Clearly in such matters, the pedagogical viewpoint always mixes with the ideological one. It is inevitable to find ideological motives behind every political-educational decision, and it is perfectly legitimate. But we should be wary of technocratic educational approaches that are intended to appear neutral, because they are the same ones that falsely conceal the true ideology underneath. Less desirable, but also predictable, is that legal decisions on these issues will be imbued with certain political leanings. What is much less understandable is that there are those who, for pure ideology, are willing to jeopardize their children’s acquisition of an asset as valuable as a language, whether it be Catalan or Castilian. Today we must resolutely defend linguistic immersion as it has been applied up until now: in practice it has worked brilliantly and has produced positive results that before had seemed almost unthinkable. Linguistic immersion is still necessary, because the normalization process is not finished yet: in some important areas of society Catalan is still in a precarious situation. If Catalonia were to become independent, and if there were real attempts to marginalize that Spanish language, I would add my voice to those who would loudly object it. Catalonia, independent or not, should never give up the enormous cultural and communication capital of having all of its citizens to be able to speak the Spanish language fluently. [...] You can read the full article, here: http://www.elperiodico.com/es/noticias/opinion/una-sentencia-absurda-3071894 First published in El Periódico Jaume Trilla seven communities, one language eurocatalan newsletter OPINION
  • 9. What about Valencia and the Balearic Islands? A success story: Spanish immigration to Catalonia issue #25 - March 2014 One of the great challenges to Catalanism and Catalan culture in the coming years will be to keep our cultural unity intact –or at least prevent it from further disintegration-- regardless of what happens on a political level in each of the territories that share our language and culture. In other words, we should be aware that the Catalan language unites us, and this should encourage any cultural productions made in Catalan to freely circulate throughout these territories. Writers from the Principat (Catalonia) should publish their work in Mallorcan publishing houses and Valencian writers in Valencian publishing houses, we should be able to find all their works in all of our bookshops –and in the libraries—and together we should take steps to explain what our culture is like and make it visible on an international level, as well as encourage translations. When it comes to politics, each territory has to have its own dynamics regarding political life, institutional goals and the structure of political forces that it chooses. But culture is a shared space. What will happen with this space? There is a concern that the success of the pro-sovereignty process in Catalonia would mean, in practice, a severing of cultural ties with the rest of the Catalan-speaking territories. A few days ago the Emili Darder Foundation invited Damià Pons, Joan Francesc Mira and myself to Mallorca to speak about this issue. Because it’s something that people are worried about. But what should be even more worrisome is what would happen if the pro-sovereignty process were to stall and calls for greater standardization and re-centralization were to spread throughout Spain. Or simply if the governments of the Balearic Islands, Valencia and Aragon decide maintain the policies that are hostile to our shared language and culture –with the name each territory wants to give this language, but that we all know is the same and that philology calls “Catalan”—as these governments closely mimic the slogans and attitudes coming from Madrid, in addition to their own agenda. They ask us: if Catalonia becomes independent, what will happen to Catalan culture in Valencia and the Balearic Islands? But we might also ask: if Catalonia’s pro-sovereignty process is aborted suddenly, what will happen to the cultural ties with the other territories? And what will happen to their cultures? Some believe that Catalonia’s independence will signify a rupture in the cultural space, that an independent Catalonia would become isolated from the rest of the Catalan-speaking territories. There is no real reason to think so. We can find many cultural spaces shared by territories with very different state realities. German, Spanish, and above all, Dutch, show us that we can maintain shared cultural spaces between states and be in separate states. Even in the case of Catalan, there has been a more fluid cultural relationship between Catalonia and Andorra –despite being different States—than between Catalonia and Valencia, which are in the same state. Thus, if Catalonia were to become a state, then we shouldn’t have to sever ties with anyone. What might “break” something would be the Spanish reaction to Catalonia becoming a state. This is why it would be the fault of their reaction, and not of the pro-sovereignty movement itself. (It would be like the judge who blamed rapes on the mini-skirts women were wearing: the culprit is the one who reacts irrationally, not the one who appears to be causing a problem and then ends up suffering). If the pro-sovereignty process ends well, Catalan culture will have more institutional strength behind it (another state in its favor, we must imagine), but there is the risk of an offended and vindictive reaction of the Spanish state, which would see Spain attempting to break all of Catalonia’s bridges with the rest of the cultural community. This has already started to happen. If the pro-sovereignty process doesn’t end well, it will be more important than ever to closely collaborate with all the Catalan-speaking territories to preserve our common language and culture. In either of the two scenarios, in these next few years Catalan culture will need to have a strong network in civil society that maintains a strong cultural relationship with all the territories, without paternalism, but based instead on equality, as if it were a common and shared house. And we will also need an institutional network that can rise above political conjecture and difference. Regardless, if the Catalan pro- sovereignty process is a success, it should not mean severing ties with a shared culture in Valencia, the Balearic Islands, and in Aragon. And if the process doesn’t go as planned, then our cultural unity will be even more vital. In one case (Valencia), breaking apart will weaken our shared language and culture. In the other (the Balearic Islands), breaking apart will cause it to cease to exist. First published in diari ARA Vicenç Villatoro - Diari ARA seven communities, one language eurocatalan newsletter OPINION
  • 10. Independence: does the EU really have nothing useful to say? A success story: Spanish immigration to Catalonia issue #25 - March 2014 However, it looks as if in the European Commission no one dares to cross the bridge. And when some of them do, they change their minds and cross back again to the beginning, to the place of uncertainty, half truths and completely and utterly useless legal statements that only apply to that sterile and imaginary world in which nothing is really hap- pening. Until, surprise, surprise, it actu- ally does. One of the most relevant events happening in the European Unionin2014isthereferendumonScottishindependence. The agreement between the Scottish government and the UK government to hold the referendum, the so-called ‘Edinburgh Agreement’, is unprecedented in Europe and it should doubtlessly be considered as a model of how to resolve difficult con- stitutional, legal and political issues in a democratic and peaceful manner. ‘In the United Kingdom, in Scot- land, we knew the mandate (to organ- ize a referendum) existed and we, as democrats, wanted to honour that’, Michael Moore, former Secretary of State for Scotland and the man who negotiated the UK government stance on the referendum, told me in an inter- view recently. ‘My argument regularly last year, before the Edinburgh Agree- ment, was that the electorate would get very annoyed with the politicians from both sides if we let the process get in the way of the decision’, he explained. On October 15th 2012 the UK’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, and the Scottish First Minister, Alex Sal- mond, signed an agreement to hold the referendum. The deal set out the basic terms of the Scottish independ- ence referendum: a yes/no question, the right of 16 and 17 years-olds to take part in the ballot and the fact that the decision would be taken in the autumn of 2014. At the time, David Cameron said that he always wanted to ‘show re- spect to the people of Scotland’ because ‘they voted for a party that wanted to have a referendum’. The conservative Prime Minister made sure that the deal allowed Scottish people to have a ‘deci- sive, legal and fair’ referendum. ‘Now we’ve got the process sorted, and in a year’s time we’ll have taken the decision’, Michael Moore said in our interview. This allows politicians from both sides to focus on the key question: Should Scotland become an independ- ent country? A great deal is at stake: the currency, defence and energy policies, oil and gas, pensions and the welfare state being but some of them. Doubts as to how Scotland would continue to be part of the European Union following independence is one of the main issues on the table. Scottish First Minister Alex Sal- mond’s Scottish National Party (SNP) claims that Scotland will be a member of the EU. They accept this might entail some kind of negotiation with Brussels, London and the rest of the member states, but although there is no prec- edent they expect the process to be re- solved during the talks on independence from the UK. In other words, between he time of a ‘yes’ vote, in September 2014, and the official declaration of independence, in 2016. ‘The idea that oil-rich, fishing-rich, renewable ener- gy-rich Scotland will not be wanted as part of the European Union is simply unthinkable’, Salmond has stated on numerous occasions. The former secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore, agrees that membership itself should not be a big issue. ‘I have no reason to believe that any country around Europe would have an in-principle objection to any new member state coming forward’, he said, referring not only to Scotland, but also to Catalonia. For him, the main problem is the kind of ‘deal’ that an independent Scotland could get from the EU and how long it would take to negotiate. Would the new state have to join the euro? Would it retain the British rebate? What about fishing and farming arrangements? ‘Having studied and followed Euro- pean politics for a long time, I am wary of just how long it may take, even if we assume complete support for Scotland’s application’, he said. For Moore, the SNP is promising to keep the rebate and get ‘a better fishing arrangement, a better farming arrangement, and a bet- ter structural funds deal’. ‘This is quite a big negotiation achievement to get for membership negotiations’, he warned, adding that ‘in the meantime’ Scotland would ‘still be part of the UK, waiting for all this to be resolved’ or will have left the union and would not yet have ‘rejoined the EU’. ‘All this is very desta- bilizing to very important economical interests in Scotland’, he cautioned. Graham Avery, Senior Member of St. Antony’s College, Oxford Universi- ty, argued in a report for the UK Parlia- ment that the Scots ‘could not be asked to leave the EU and apply for readmis- sion’ for ‘practical and political reasons’. He said that negotiations ‘on the terms of membership would take place in the period between the referendum and the planned date of independence’, thus agreeing with the Scottish govern- ment’s version of events. Avery added that the EU, ‘would adopt a simplified procedure for the negotiations, not the traditional procedure followed for the accession of non-member countries’. In a similar vein, former European Court judge, Professor Sir David Ed- ward, argues in a paper that, ‘the EU institutions and all the member states (including the UK as it exists) would be obliged to enter into negotiations, before separation took effect, to deter- mine the future relationship within the EU of the separate parts of the former UK and the other member states’. Sir Edward expects the outcome of the ne- gotiations to be, ‘an agreed Laura Pous - Catalan International View seven communities, one language eurocatalan newsletter IN DEPTH
  • 11. amendment of the existing treaties, not a new ac- cession treaty’, unless discussions ‘failed utterly’. However, in Brussels they don’t seem to be at all impressed by these arguments. The possibility of Scottish independence is not an issue in the Eu- ropean capital. Or it appears not to be. With less than a year to go before the referendum, Scottish citizens have yet to receive an unambiguous, precise an- swer from the EU on what will happen if they vote for independence in 2014. Sometimes the European Commis- sion says, in the words of its President José Manuel Durao Barroso or of its Vice-President, the Spaniard Joaquín Almunia, that a new independent state would be treated as a new applicant and it will have to reapply for member- ship. While others, such as Commis- sioner Johannes Hahn, state that the whole debate can be done ‘in a much more relaxed manner’. Meanwhile, EU officials also say that they are unable to comment on specific situations such as the Scottish or the Catalan ones and the EU, ‘will only be able to express its opinion on the legal consequences un- der EU law of a specific situation upon request from a member state detailing a precise scenario’. I often wonder if Eurocrats really expect the Scots to vote on independ- ence next year in the absence of a clear answer on what will happen regarding their EU membership. Particularly since the European Commission usually ar- gues that it doesn’t want to interfere in the internal affairs of its members states and doesn’t want to discuss ‘hypotheti- cal scenarios’. The European Commis- sion rejected the Scottish government’s calls for talks on the issue in December last year, arguing that ‘in the absence of a precise scenario, President Barroso would not be in a position to usefully discuss this’. ‘The European Commis- sion has consistently refrained from expressing a position on questions of internal organisation related to the con- stitutional arrangements in the member states’, said the EC response, signed by Vice-President Maros Sefcovic. Is avoiding an answer a means to in- terfere in the debate? By waiting until a member state puts the question are they offering some ‘advantage’ to that member state? If the UK doesn’t want to ask Brussels about the EU question, Brussels won’t answer. And if Spain does the same (as I am sure it will) the EU won’t comment on the specifics of the Catalan case either. This puts stateless governments in a wholly disadvanta- geous situation, as they depend entirely on the good faith of the big state that is, of course, anything but impartial in the debate. Some might expect the British government to show some willingness to cooperate at some point. I’d very much doubt that Madrid would show the same degree of understanding should Catalonia go ahead with a referendum. We should of course remind our- selves that the EU is a union of mem- ber states. But offering some clarity as to the process to be followed in the case of independence (not necessarily on the outcome of such a process) would benefit everyone. First and foremost, it would benefit democracy and the repu- tation of the EU as a guardian of it; and secondly, it would help Scotland and other nations seeking independence to have a clear and reasonable discussion of the arguments for or against it. Pursuing uncertainty on the process is definitely more advantageous for the ‘no’ campaign. The European Commission should outline a clear path for the negotiation of the accession of a newly created state from within the EU without requir- ing permission from a member state. It should confirm whether the scenarios envisaged by experts such as Graham Avery or Sir David Edwards are poten- tial solutions to a ‘yes’ vote. It is unrea- sonable, as Professor Avery argues, to ask the Scots to leave the EU and wait for the results of protracted negotiations (perhaps lasting several years) simply as a result of having voted for independence. The same should apply to the Cat- alans, who feel extremely pro-European while simultaneously showing a grow- ing desire to leave Spain. Scottish citizens have rights as Eu- ropean citizens and these cannot be done away with so easily. Having agreed on the rescue packages for Greece and the Spanish banking system following years of economic mismanagement in Athens and Madrid (to mention but two examples) it would be unthinkable to expel millions of citizens from the EU simply because they decided (dem- ocratically) to change their passports and create a new country. A new coun- try that would already comply with all European laws, as it has done since 1973, when the UK joined the club. Obviously a newly independent Scotland would have to enter into ne- gotiations: the number of seats in the European Parliament, its share of votes on the Council, its contribution to the EU budget, its share of EU funds, fish- ing quotas and so on. But so too would the remaining UK state. No-one, not even Barroso, can seriously suggest that the Scots or Catalans will have to ‘join the queue’, as the Spanish Foreign Minister once said, to get back into the EU after independence. I seriously doubt even London would be comfort- able accepting an expulsion, especially considering that the Edinburgh Agree- ment states that the two governments are ‘committed to working together constructively in the light of the out- come, whatever it may be, in the best interests of the people of Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom’. I understand independence is seen as a new political nightmare in a European Union in crisis. And I under- stand that Europe thinks it is playing the ‘neutrality’ card by simply repeating a strict legal scenario that is nothing less than utterly stupid and unrealistic. The ‘no’ campaign can argue that inde- pendence is going to force Scotland to start extremely difficult, protracted and complicated negotiations, with the po- tential risk of being expelled from the EU altogether. But nothing is certain. The ‘yes’ campaign has to challenge this argument by appealing to com- mon sense, by claiming that the process will be a smooth one. But nothing is certain. And voters don’t know who to trust. Since nothing is certain. What is certain is the fact that on the 18th of September 2014 the Scot- tish people will vote on whether or not they want to have an independent country. And they should have a spe- cific answer to the European question before doing so. They should know whether they will have to negotiate membership before the declaration of independence, if a transitional period will be needed, during which all Euro- pean rights and obligations will be pro- tected but Scotland would not yet be fully a member, if a new treaty will be needed, or if unanimity of all member states is a precondition for accession. The precedent of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement negotiations with Kosovo demonstrates that special political arrangements can be decided to accommodate everyone’s interests, even those of countries that, like Spain, do not recognize the independence of Pristina. Politics should come into play in the Scottish case as well, sooner rather than later.
  • 12. Recent demographic changes: the new immigration A success story: Spanish immigration to Catalonia issue #25 - March 2014 In the 1990’s, and especially from the year 2000 onwards, a large migratory wave from various origins has reached Catalonia. The society and its institutions offer resources which facilitate the learning of Catalan, in accordance with the characteristics of each community and each individual’s circumstances. The different migratory waves which occurred between the 50’s and 70’s supposed a deep change in the Catalan demographical configuration. In the middle of Franco’s regime there was no welcoming infrastructure, either cultural or linguistic, to receive the newly arrived citizens who had come from the Spanish State, mainly Andalusia, Extremadura and Murcia, and whose native tongue was Spanish. They distributed themselves in an unequal way throughout the region, creating important nuclei around the city of Barcelona which nowadays still has a different linguistic configuration to the rest of Catalonia. The non- existence of a Catalan school system and the regime’s explicit prohibition of the use of Catalan meant that the language passed unnoticed by a large number of immigrants who had low or null contact with it. Although the later linguistic policies have aimed to readdress this situation, experience proves that efficient welcoming infrastructures are essential to guarantee the newly arrived people’s access to the region’s culture and language. Another far reaching migratory wave, which commenced in the 90’s and became evident from 2000 onwards, has affected Catalonia. This time the origin of the newly arrived peoples is more varied. If in Catalonia in the year 2000 there were 6.261.999 inhabitants and 2,90% came from outside the Spanish State, in 2008 the population had risen to 7.364.078 inhabitants, of which 14,99% were from outside the Spanish State. Of of this 15%, the principle countries of origin of the new arrivals were Morocco (19%), Romania (8%), Ecuador (7%) and Bolivia (5%). Nevertheless, up to 75 countries have immigrated communities of more than 500 people in Catalonia. In 2007, 64% of the population of Catalonia was born in this region, 20% in the rest of Spain and 16% outside the Spanish State. Therefore, not a negligible amount, that is to say, 36% was born outside Catalonia and have lived through a process of integration into the welcoming society which, presumably, is different to the one from which they originated, be it from a linguistic or cultural point of view. This variety of origins also represents a variety of languages. With regards to their initial language – the first language that the infant speaks, in a home environment –, we can see this variety because 50% of the people who reside in Catalonia have Spanish as their initial language, 30% have Catalan as their initial language, 10% come from bilingual Catalan-Spanish families and 10% learnt to speak in a language that was not Catalan or Spanish. This 10% of the population is the percentage which contains the greatest degree of linguistic variety because it encompasses speakers of 65 different languages. The most frequent languages are Arabic (16%), Rumanian (14 %), Tamazight (12 %) and French and Portuguese (6 %). In accordance with the cultural and linguistic variety, the welcoming services for the newly arrived people have also become multilingual. The welcoming processes can be generally distinguished in accordance with their addressee. On the one hand, there are welcoming mechanisms aimed at infants and youths of school age. Given that the schooling in Catalonia is free and obligatory until the age of 16, all of the population under this age who arrives in Catalonia is incorporated into the Catalan schooling system. This is both an advantage and a challenge for the school, since on the one hand it facilitates the welcoming processes by having the newly arrived citizens located, but on the other it requires the school to have an infrastructure and solid and flexible welcoming tools which allow the management of this variety to be confronted with guarantees, which is an added task to that of offering knowledge to the students. Furthermore, there are welcoming systems for the adult population. Given the dispersion of this type of population, the welcoming mechanisms have to be developed in different ambits: work place, health, housing, social services, etc. Communication, which is an essential tool for integration, can see itself made difficult by the barriers created by linguistic understanding, in accordance with the origin of the newly arrived person. Therefore, the management of linguistic variety is, at the same time, a welcoming means of the immigrated population. In Catalonia we have opted for a welcoming model in the language of the region, that is, in Catalan. So, we have opted to give the Catalan language the role of common language in the enormous linguistic variety we find in the region. The Catalan society and institutions therefore have to offer resources for the learning of this language to people of quite varied linguistic origin and they have to do so in accordance with the characteristics of each community and the circumstances of each individual who arrives in this region. The routes to learning the language depend on the age of the person who arrives, which conditions their passage through the schooling system. With regards to infants and youths of school age, the school is the principal route for learning the language. Catalan is the language used in the school and, even though this supposes a high degree of contact with the new language which facilitates the learning process, it also requires welcoming resources. The aim is to facilitate that the newly arrived infant acquire the knowledge and linguistic skills which allows him to learn the Catalan language, to integrate into the class, school, and municipality and, in definitive, into the welcoming society. In the Catalan educational centres, this process is undertaken by the welcoming classes. The welcoming class is a space in the educational centre which has been prepared to receive students from a varied linguistic and cultural origin, at any time during the school course. This class facilitates an intensive and personalised learning of the Catalan language, as well as the school curricular basics adapted to each student, Culturcat - Generalitat de Catalunya seven communities, one language eurocatalan newsletter OUR CULTURE OUR HISTORY
  • 13. which allow for their later integration into the school course with the rest of their classmates. As the students acquires these skills, the time they spend in the welcoming class diminishes in the same way that their presence in class increases, until the student leaves the welcoming class to join the common classroom together with the rest of his classmates. The welcoming class requires professionals with pedagogical skill, who can manage the cultural and linguistic variety and perform intercultural mediation which allows them to successfully face this new challenge. With regards to the linguistic integration of adults, the school has little or no role and it is other organisms that take charge of offering Catalan classes to adults. For the last 20 years it has been the ‘Consorci per a la Normalització Lingüística’ [Consortium for Linguistic Normalization] (CPNL) which has undertaken this task. The CPNL is a public entity integrated by the Generalitat de Catalunya and town halls and county councils of the Principality. This task is structured from the programme of linguistic welcoming, which promotes the collaboration with the local and county administrations, offers courses of initial and basic level to the newly arrived and elaborates and distributes materials which foment the linguistic integration of the immigrated people. Furthermore, it also foments the implication of the citizen entities and the associations of immigrants to undertake activities of linguistic normalization. In numbers, the CPNL organised more than 1.800 courses of Catalan for adults during the course 2005-2006, which were attended by more than 42.000 students, mainly from Southern America, North Africa and other countries of the European Union. We must point out, moreover, the innovative initiative called ‘Voluntariat per la Llengua’ [Volunteering for the Language] which, from 2003 onwards, induced the creation of linguistic pairings in order to offer the newly arrived spaces where they could speak in their native tongue. One of the problems which the newly arrived face, who have learnt or are learning Catalan, is the tendency of the Catalan speakers to not maintain their own language when speaking to someone not known to them or someone they identify as being foreign. Various campaigns of the Secretary of Linguistic Policy have also been addressed at changing this attitude, so that the Catalan language become a welcoming and integrating language, that is, a common space of dialogue which allows for the communicative exchange between this multicoloured wide range of origins and cultures which actually fills the streets of our villages and cities. With regards to the other Catalan speaking regions, the situation is very varied and, in general, less favourable to the integration of the newly arrived from the point of view of language. The Valencian region registers 15,4% of immigrated population which can reach substantially higher peaks in the villages where this population gathers together, and the Balearic Islands reach 18,8%. In Aragon, although we do not possess data relative to just the ‘Franja’ area, the percentage reaches 10,3%. There is no data for Alguer and Northern Catalonia. The legal and sometimes demographical weakness of the Catalan languages in these regions, and the lack of integration policies, means that most newly arrived learn Spanish but not Catalan. First published in Culturcat Photo by Culturcat ISSN: 2014-9093 | Legal deposit: B. 2198-2013