Saturday, July 10, 2010

Salami tactics and the Constitutional Court

In case you were planning on going to downtown Barcelona today, you may notice lots of Catalan flag waving and marching. This in in protest of the recent Constitutional Court ruling, in which the court stated that, sorry, you can’t call yourself a “nation”, because, well, the constitution says pretty clearly that Spain is one nation.

Until now, the approach of the Catalan government has been generally one of “salami tactics”, where it cuts away one slice of nationhood at a time, but never so much as to justify a veto by the constitutional court. The education law was the last close vote, where the constitutional court basically said, “yeah we know it’s unconstitutional, but we don’t want to cause a constitutional crisis, so we’ll pretend it was ok”.

The bright side of the “slow nationalism” approach was that it was fairly non-confrontational, non-violent and allowed for a degree of constructive ambiguity that kept things functioning despite some of the stupid laws on the books. Now that this has hit a brick wall, it’s likely that Catalan nationalism will get significantly more radicalized.

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