At The American Conservative, editor Matt Purple asks the obvious question about Catalonia, why should it not be free? Spain can’t answer that question, and it’s doubtful anyone can. Purple writes (abridged):
It’s fitting that George Orwell is the author we reach for first when discussing Catalonia; fitting, too, that a public square in Barcelona bears his name. Not only is Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia the most imperishable English-language account of the Spanish Civil War, the recent actions of the Spanish government to suppress the Catalan secession vote—sending in its police forces while issuing sinister down-the-memory-hole pronouncements: “There was no independence referendum in Catalonia today”—seem lifted from the pages of Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Whatever hopes Spain had of containing secessionist sentiment were squashed last weekend when images emerged from Catalonia of police beating protesters….
The main culprit here is Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy whose response to the secessionist movement has been both too late and too bloody…
The best American analogue for Catalan nationalism is the “Calexit” secessionist movement in California—both are breakaways revolting against right-wing governments, both represent breadbaskets of their respective nations….
There’s no question we are in the midst of a lusty revolt against bigness—big governments, big multinationals, big superstates, big media. With Donald Trump, American voters sought a big weapon of their own to wield against their lumbering institutions. With Brexit, the British removed themselves from the big European Union. Now it’s the Catalans’ turn to exert their identity….
Spain is not “on the brink of CIVIL WAR,” as a couple of Britain’s less phlegmatic newspapers have declared, but it’s certainly hurtling down a very dark trajectory with historical omens on all sides.
Read more here.