The Catalan crisis is not just about nationalism

Santiago Zabala in Al Jazeera:

ScreenHunter_2864 Oct. 21 23.55This is a difficult year for Spain. First, the prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, had to appear in courtbecause of corruption charges levelled against his party; then Barcelona suffered a bloody terrorist attack; and now a referendum for the independence of Catalonia has plunged the nation into a political crisis that led to Spanish police beating up voters and Madrid threatening to revoke Catalonia's autonomy.

Article 155, which enables the central government to do so, is rather vague. We still do not know whether applying it entails the dissolution of the Catalan government, taking control of the public security or calling for regional elections. But the imprisonment of two pro-Catalan independence leaders earlier this week indicates we are heading for serious trouble.

What is important to understand now is that there is more than just blind nationalism in the Catalan impasse, despite what Madrid and Brussels want us to believe. The Catalan call for independence should not be discredited; it is the rightful demand of millions of Catalans. But one must wonder why most articles about this crisis focus exclusively on the historical roots of Catalonian statehood, free citizens' democratic right to vote, and the inclusive character of Catalonia's nationalism, which is open to foreigners.

More here.