(PennLive – E. Fletcher McClellan) A wealthy coastal region, rich in diversity, is threatened economically and culturally by the state of which it is a part and decides to secede. The central government must determine whether to intervene with force or negotiate with the separatists.
Catalonia and Spain 2017?
How about California and the US 2019?
Dramatic events in Catalonia, where the Spanish government assumed control of the province, have riveted the world’s attention. Located on the Mediterranean and home to Barcelona, host of the 1992 Summer Olympic Games, the area has a distinct culture and language.
Despite experiencing political autonomy under the Spanish Constitution of 1978, a Catalan separatist movement gathered support during the Great Recession, which hit Spain’s economy hard.
While much of the country struggled to recover, Catalonia thrived, leading secessionists to argue that the Spanish government was exploiting the region’s resources.
Two months ago, Catalan citizens voted for independence by an overwhelming margin, though less than one-half of the eligible electorate voted. The government of Spain refused to recognize the results. Two weeks ago the Catalan legislature affirmed the independence vote.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Spain invoked Article 155 of its constitution, authorizing a state takeover of Catalan administration and public media.
Now the Spanish government has the upper hand. A pro-Spanish counter-demonstration took place in Barcelona last week, and separatist organizers are literally on the run.
The Catalan crisis, Scotland in 2014, the Brexit movement in the United Kingdom, and the current struggle in Kurdistan are only the most recent examples of what scholar Ryan Griffiths calls the “age of secession.”
Reflecting an international culture shift toward greater national self-determination, dozens of secessionist crusades have materialized around the world this decade, Griffiths observed…