St. Lawrence University
Laurel Hurd '16 - Summer Research Fellow

 

The stickers here comment on different aspects of the Catalonian Independence Movement. Catalonia, an autonomous region located in the northeast of Spain and the south of France, has been seeking independence for so long because of the longstanding differences it faces with the rest of Spain. It has a very distinct cultural identity and language that its people are invested in protecting. In more recent years, the economic crisis of 2008 in Spain has caused a surge in support for the separation due to the way tax dollars are being spent: “The Catalans, simmering over decades of Castilian bigotry and oppression, complain that they send more in tax proceeds to Madrid than they get back. Yet Catalonia, too, is deep in debt and has asked Madrid for a bailout” (The New Yorker, 2013). Some criticize Catalonia for its hypocrisy towards the Spanish government, asking for funding while simultaneously advocating for its separation from the country.

While Catalonian demands may be hypocritical, the statistics exist justifying claims for more tax returns. According to The Guardian (2012), “Catalonia represents 8% of Spain's territory, 16% of its population, 20% of its GDP, 25% of its tax revenues, and 35% of its exports (and 45% of high-tech exports). In return, it receives (in theory; the real figure may be much less) 11% of government investment.” So, in other words, as only 16% of Spain’s population, Catalonia is paying almost twice as much in tax revenues than it has people and only getting back less than half of that money in government investment. This is why the majority of the Catalonians believe it is unjust paying so much to the government in Madrid, and on top of that, it is this very same central government at fault for Spain’s debt problem. In 2015, seven years after it began, the economic crisis still lingers in deserted cities, unfinished construction projects, bankrupt banks and corrupt governmental systems, and the Catalans have gained momentum in their independence movement. The idea of a free Catalonia is becoming ever more tangible.  

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