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WASHINGTON – Recent election results in Catalonia, a rich region of Spain, are showing the rise of a new global phenomenon for self-determination – along with a frustration at the massive debt levels governments are accruing.
Catalonia, a semi-autonomous region in the northeast part of Spain, on Nov. 26 voted overwhelmingly for four different pro-secessionist parties that want to hold a referendum on independence from Spain.
The election results, though hardly a massive shock to the establishment in Madrid, are nonetheless a worry to a country that is in desperate need of economic recovery.
Spain’s economy, considered one of the worst in Europe, is lagging under a massive burden of debt and faces enormous social, anti-austerity pressure that is pushing the country toward revolution.
Already, riots, strikes and protests are a part of everyday life.
With Catalonia being one of the wealthiest regions of Spain, it has still been one of the regions hit hardest by the collapsing Spanish economy. With record high unemployment and the growth of burdensome debt, many Catalans are seeing no other alternative than to break away from Madrid’s rule to govern their own affairs and protect their traditional, non-Spanish identity.
Because the pro-secessionist majority is split into multiple parties, getting all components together in a coalition government still remains a huge question mark. Nonetheless, this emerges amid a Europe faltering economically, stagnating politically and boiling for potential revolution in spots.
This new victory of pro-separatist sentiment comes at time when throughout some of the major nations of the world, and being spurred on by a massive trend of centralization of political power and faltering economies, new separatist movements are seeking to create new nations.
In Flanders, the Dutch speaking region of Belgium, the current trends are favoring a Flemish separation from Belgium, where the New Flemish Alliance (NVA) and Vlaams Belang, both Flemish secessionist parties hold a significant portion of seats in both the Flemish and Belgian parliaments.
In northern Italy, the conservative party Lega Nord advocates the creation of a new nation called “Padania” and is demonstrating an increasing amount of power and electoral success.
Additionally in Scotland, there has been a massive rise in the Scottish National Party, which now controls a majority of seats in the Scottish Parliament and has promised a referendum on Scottish independence by 2014.
And closer to home, the Catalonia electoral results also come on the eve of a new pro-secessionist fervor in the United States.
Only one week after the re-election of Barack Obama there started appearing signs of a massive new wave of pro-secessionist petitions for all 50 states on the White House’s website, with Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas receiving enough signatures to force a White House response.
Though not always in complete harmony, there are common threads between these varying separatist movements. That is economics, where rich regions are attempting to resist redistributive policies from what they see as a burdensome central power. This would be the case in Flanders, Northern Italy and Catalonia.
In many other growing cases, it is because of a lack of political representation or perceived political oppression, such as the case in Scotland, Quebec and in the southern United States.
The modern nation state “is out of touch with the local realities of life” according to Dr. Michael Hill, the president of the League of the South, a Southern nationalist organization, who was inclined to comment to WND in regards to the Catalan election results.
From a southern nationalist perspective, Hill described the election results as a “good thing to have this happen.” Adding that in regards to 50 state petitions that recently emerged, that many Americans are “breaking a psychological barrier.”
Similar to the European cases, many Americans are growing increasingly hostile toward what they perceive as their government’s reckless and irresponsible behavior in regards to spending. At $16 trillion deficit and growing, with rising unemployment, economic recession persisting and a government increasingly divided, many Americans are no longer expressing a difference of opinion, but rather an expression of rage.
Additionally, in a similar case, the euro crisis has spawned the rise of new, patriotic, anti-EU parties, the strongest of which is the United Kingdom Independence Party, which advocates the UK’s complete withdrawal from the European Union.
Marta Andreasen, a MEP for the South East of England of UKIP, told WND that this recent development, though “Not comparable to the EU…” is nonetheless an example of the growing separatist sentiment throughout the world, where rich regions are breaking away from central authorities that are attempting to redistribute wealth to poorer regions, such as in Belgium with Flanders and in Northern Italy’s growing hostility to the poorer southern regions.
Andreasen does note however, that the reason this situation with Catalonia is not comparable to the EU, is because “Catalonia belongs to a real state…The EU is simply a structure, not a state.”
These separatist movements are, according to Hill, “Indicative that we are entering a new phase” in the political and social history of the 21st century. He then said that these separatist movements are “on the cutting edge of the revolutionary trend of the 21st century.”
The world is already showing rapid political changes. In Greece, for example, the debut of the nationalist party Golden Dawn in parliament for the first time stunned observers.
If the governments of the West cannot contain the crisis, the tide may start to turn to more active reactionary and separatist groups that could start changing the borders of some very prominent nations.