Knife Edge


Over the last ten years, this magazine has had some tricky moments. It started life as an optimistically pre-crisis free daily, which quickly metamorphosed – just before going irrevocably bust - into a weekly with a price tag. When the crisis really got into its miserable stride around about 2009, Catalonia Today's holding company decided to ditch it as potentially noisome ballast, but its editors saved the day by turning it into the successful full-colour monthly it still is. All told, though, Catalonia Today's financial situation has been the least of its problems. Indeed, perhaps the biggest challenge it has had to face is simply that - not being a politically neutral expats' rag filled with little more than restaurant tips and property investment ads - it has been obliged, in some measure, to provide information on what Catalans often refer to as 'el Tema' ('the Subject'): the ceaselessly burgeoning independence movement. A risky business, because for many English readers this is tantamount to making Catalonia Today an outlet for nationalist propaganda; and in England, at least, nationalism is a virtually a synonym for ultra conservatism or worse. There are signs, however, that slowly but surely, people abroad – the English included – are noticing that what is happening in Catalonia is something quite new, whose roots share no soil with those of the often murderous European nationalist movements of the last two centuries. In April, the linguist and (pro-anarchist) political commentator Noam Chomsky, addressing an audience at the Google offices in Cambridge, USA, made it clear that he sees Catalan secessionism as part of an on-going process of progressive cultural and political renovation in Europe. (In March, the veteran left-wing journalist Tariq Ali, writing for The Guardian, said something similar about the Scottish pro-indy campaign). Which is perhaps why, in Catalonia, independence is backed by liberal or left-wing parties – together with a massive grass-roots movement which includes plenty of Spanish-speaking Catalans and 'New Catalans' (residents born outside Spain) - and is mainly opposed by parties which are ultraconservative (or worse). In short, the Catalan push for self-determination could be defined, by and large, as socially concerned, culturally open-minded, internationalist in ambition and – I would dare to add - post-nationalist. Catalonia Today's Romanian, Jamaican, American, Australian, New Zealander, Argentinian, Catalan and English staff will be doing their best to keep you posted about it, well into the future.

Matthew Tree, Catalonia Today, juny de 2014

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