Barcelona is not Catalonia | The Kootneeti Editorial
Recently, on Sunday 4th March 2018, Barcelona saw numerous protestors, around 15,000 people with placards saying “Se ha acabado la broma, ¡viva Tabarnia!”(Meaning: The joke is over, hail Tabarnia), offering flowers to the monument of Rafael Cassanova, a prominent Catalonian nationalist.
These people were not doing protest against any tweets of Trump neither they were the football fans of FC Barcelona, unhappy with any selection of players by team management, nor it was the separatist crowd, wanting another country.
So who were these people? And why they were protesting for? And what is Tabarnia?
There arises a lot of questions around
These people represented the common masses, who were simply against the Catalan separatist movement. They were not the politicians who want to gain political mileage from these separatist movements. They were the one who doesn’t want to see their country tearing apart from each other. And they chose to protest against the separatists. These people belong to the region of Tarragona and Barcelona, the two Catalan province where the support of separatism is quite low. These are the people who are actually proud of their bilingual culture of Spanish and Catalan. They are the people who want to remain in Spain, as an autonomous state and doesn’t want to be in Catalonia. The idea actually started with the common reaction of the proponents of Tabarnia, who wish to distance themselves from the separatist movement of Catalonia and reclaim the right of a number of territories near the area of Barcelona and Tarragona to constitute themselves as an autonomous community within Spain.
In the year 2015 and 2017 Catalan regional elections, parties opposed to secession (mainly Citizens, PSC and PP) received a majority of votes and seats in Tabarnia as a whole and in a small number of coastal comarques (Tarragonès, Baix Penedès and Baix Llobregat) including the city of Tarragona. They received a plurality of votes in the comarca of Barcelonès, yet not in the city of Barcelona itself. They allude to a series of fiscal arguments similar to those of Catalan separatism in regards to Spain, although in the last Catalan election (21-D), Tarragona province, in the region of Girona and Lleida, showed more support for separatism than constitutionalism. But the percentage was just of 20% between Girona and Barcelona.
And the fun fact is that after the 21-D election, the word Tabarnia has become most searched word in the social networks and Google within the 24 hours. This has helped the platform “Barcelona is not Catalonia” in gaining more momentum, which during that time was trending just with hashtags in the virtual world. An ongoing petition taking place at Change.org in order to be sent to the Spanish Parliament (Congreso de Diputados) to consider for the creation of an autonomous state, has received 2, 81,000 signatories till date.
Apart from their love for their nation and their bilingual pride, the argument has also been made by their supporters that, although Catalonia is full of industries and there has been lots of development and the region has prospered and have been an industrial backbone for Spain but still the rural region of Barcelona and Tarragona are still poor and undeveloped despite being the major electoral region for various political parties.
It must be noted that this movement was started with a joke by making a mockery of the separatist movement of Catalonia but today it had turned out to be one of the most trending and important movements, which has somehow able to neutralise the separatist movement in the region.
Another thing to be noted is that this movement so far has not been initiated by any political parties. All those persons involved in this movements are intellectuals or teachers or common citizens. There is no politician inside the group neither they have welcomed the politicians nor wanted any political support. So far if we see, there hasn’t been any official and unofficial statement issued by Madrid.
Since the 4th March 2018, the platform of Tabarnia has gained lots of mileage as it was their first demonstration in the street where almost 15,000 people gathered (according to the police authority) and 200,000 (according to the organizers), in the streets of Barcelona. The supporters have rejected the Sovereign address of the separatist and had assured that if the Independence of Catalonia arrived, it will remain the sovereign part of Spain. As said above not a single party had been a vocal of this movement, it was peculiar to see there weren’t any Congressmen of the region but the people associated with the organizations like Vox o Espanya i Catalans.
The President of the association platform by Tabarnia, Miquel Martínez, has ensured that they will go “as far as the independence movement wants to reach”, with which, if they return to submit a unilateral declaration of independence, Tabarnia shall submit an alternative plan. Martinez has clarified that Tabarnia “will not be a political party” and that has no support from any party because, according to Martínez, does not need it, although it has made it clear that they support the parties constitutionalists.
So far we don’t know when we will be able to see Tabarnia in the near future but this anti-separatist movement has somehow made the Catalonian Movement cold. We expect that in the near future we see only three countries in the Iberian Peninsula, not the four.
*Abhinav Kaushal is the Associate Editor at The Kootneeti. His areas of interest majorly focused on the Latin America and other Spanish Speaking Areas
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team