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Gharanai View Drop Down
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    Posted: 07-May-2009 at 10:44

Since past one year I have found a keen interest in the history of modern Spain and came to know about the independent autonomies under the Spanish flag, one of whom is Catalonia.

So I would like to know how does this system of government works, is it like the United States, where different states are gathered under one flag or is it some other form of government?
 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-May-2009 at 12:46
Spain is not a federal state like the USA, but it is divided into a number of "Comunidades Autónomas" (autonomous communities); among them Madrid, Castilla Leon, Castilla La Mancha, Galicia, Asturias, País Vasco, Cataluña, Andalucía and others.

All these communties receive financial budget from the central government, and also contribute a percentage of the taxes they collect to the central government; and they can make their own laws regarding the management of public services and taxes.

In the cases of Cataluña, País Vasco, and Galicia, the issue is further complicated by the fact that they have their "autoctonous language" distinct to Spanish; and these regions are legally "billingual".
Some of the militant Catalan and Basque nationalists attempt to increase the importance of their natiave languages in the region, while playing down the role of Spanish; which very often comes into conflict with the policies of the central government in Madrid.

Financialization is another issue of debate. Cataluña, being a wealthy region in Spain, contributes a large amount of taxes to the Central government compared to poorer regions like Extremadura and Andalucía. Many Catalan nationalists complain that they are "giving too many" to their poorer compatriots.







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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gharanai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-May-2009 at 22:43

@ calvo

Dear calvo,

Thanks alot for your informative reply that will really help and solve lots of questions for me. Thanks again and wish to read you around.

 



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Flipper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-May-2009 at 11:38
So, if we bypass the nationalists, how many Catalans feel that the rest of the spanish are their compatriots and how many feel they're not?

Are there theories about external actors (parapolitical organizations etc) trying to create instability between the regions? Evil Smile


Edited by Flipper - 08-May-2009 at 11:41


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-May-2009 at 13:10
As far as I know there are no external factors. However, many Catalanist politicians do play with these nationalist sentiments in that they equate any problems within Catalonia; from the collapse of public transport to the failure of electric generators; to the "lack of autonomous power" and intervention of the Central Spanish government.

Regarding Catalan people, a large percentage of the people in Barcelona are descended from immigrants from other parts of Spain, and they speak Spanish at home. I presume that most Catalans feel both Spanish and Catalan, but they'd like to have more autonomy and a more important role of the Catalan language in everyday life.

Again, a rather large minority are completely pro-independence.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Flipper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-May-2009 at 14:45
Thanks for the info.
However, is the issue on autonomy mainly for economical reasons as you said?

For example, in Crete which has the best economy than any other place in Greece, in some very rare cases people want autonomy. On the other side, the vast majority of the Cretans say "there's no Greece without Crete".

So, the reasons are not nationalistic but mainly economical for those few exceptions.

The opposite example are the Samis in Sweden. Some few cases again want autonomy, but Norrland (home of the Samis) that has 1/7 of the total population of Sweden. The 6/7 of the population pays a lot in order for Norrland to have a good standard (hospitals, infrastructure etc) in an area almost larger than the rest of Sweden. In that case, autonomy would mean that enormous funds would dissappear in a huge area of few people, with fewer jobs and large expenses.

In the case of Catalonia, would people accept autonomy if Spain would withdraw all the funds given in the past (like moving heavy industry to other areas for example)?

Many questions i know, but I've been really troubled in the past about Catalonia and how people there think.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-May-2009 at 15:44
the problem is both economic and linguistic.

Economically speaking, there is a double-standard.  Many Catalanist politicians complain about paying more taxes for the central government to finance other autonomous communities, but they do not complain about receiving money from the Central government. It is the classical question about taking your all share but being reluctant to give.
Not long ago there was an issue regarding water. Cataluña has a large population with a shortage of water; so local politicians asked for the central government to transfer water from other regions to Cataluña without extra charge.
Nevertheless, I don't they'd be rather happy if the Central government asked them to give part of their resources to other regions without extra charge.

Linguistically speaking, some Catalanists prefer to make Catalan the one and only language spoken in the region, going as far as degrading Spanish as a foreign language such as English. These people, I believe, belong to a small, but very politically influential minority.

Regarding most people on the streets, I honestly can't tell what the most common opinion is. I reckon there are a full spectrum of opinions ranging from totally pro-Spanish to totally pro-independence; but members of either extreme are of the minority.

Personally speaking, everytime I visit Barcelona, people sometimes speak Catalan to me by default; but once they realise that I'm not local; they'd quite happily switch to Spanish.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Roberts Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-May-2009 at 19:12
Originally posted by calvo calvo wrote:



Personally speaking, everytime I visit Barcelona, people sometimes speak Catalan to me by default; but once they realise that I'm not local; they'd quite happily switch to Spanish.



Is there any difference between Spanish and Castillian or they are the same language?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-May-2009 at 19:26
Originally posted by Roberts Roberts wrote:

Originally posted by calvo calvo wrote:



Personally speaking, everytime I visit Barcelona, people sometimes speak Catalan to me by default; but once they realise that I'm not local; they'd quite happily switch to Spanish.



Is there any difference between Spanish and Castillian or they are the same language?


Yes, Spanish is also referred to as "Castillian Spanish"; castellano in Spanish because it originated as the native language of Castilla.
In  other regions of Spain there are other languages spoken,  such as gallego in Galicia (a dialect of Portuguese), euskera in País Vasco, catalan in Cataluña, and valenciano in Valencia (a dialect of Catalán).


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