The debate on nationalisms and the right to decide rages across Europe once again. Catalonian independentists have managed to place their separatist ambitions at the heart of the political debate. The historic pendulum swings from globalism to independentism and that is to their advantage.
I think we are far from seeing the pendulum striking the right balance again and, in the absence of creative and ambitious political movements at the European level, we might see barriers arising again in the next decade, when we thought we had overcome them.
Here below there is the transcription of the article that I published on 2 February 2006 under the title “Stop Nationalism – Promote Transnationalism”. More than a decade later, we know the consequences of lacking a European project. At that moment, Newropeans emerged as a truly transEuropean movement under the intelligent leadership of Franck Biancheri. Today, though he is not present, the initiative #CitizensRoute could be the cradle of new transEuropean teams that take the lead in the European path, the only balance point between globalisation and independentism.
Stop Nationalisms – Promote Transnationalism
02-02-2006 José María Compagni
Stop any type of nationalisms: ethnic nationalisms, romantic nationalisms, cultural nationalisms, state nationalisms, civic nationalisms, economic nationalisms…
Stop nationalisms. Many people will argue about the benefits of nationalism. In nationalism, you find positive and constructive values, they say. Considering a nation as a project is a great incentive for citizens, as well as feeling love for their country. In some cases, also the clearly legitimate aspiration for national independence held by people under foreign domination…Some people could think that this is an interesting subject and indeed, very possibly it is.
Spain is celebrating this year the 20th anniversary of its entry into the European Union. It is now a consolidated democracy, partly thanks to Europe. Today, we should be thinking about how to help Europe make its own democratic transition. But instead, there is just one subject that, without exaggeration, is occupying all radio stations, TV channels, newspapers, coffee discussions, etc.: Catalonia’s Statute of Autonomy. However, people is becoming tired of the permanent and never-ending nationalistic claims and the political debate driven by nationalist parties.
At this moment, the world has very serious problems that need to be put first in all political agendas without fail. It is an absolute to devote so much time to the interests of a particular region governed by political parties favoured by a wrong electoral system.
The former Czech President, Václav Havel, spoke about the risk that a number of European countries might get trapped in a “suffocating atmosphere”. Today, Spain is trapped (we do not know for how long) under this “suffocating atmosphere”. As a consequence, its citizens will face isolation and lose presence on the international scene.
In Western Europe, the more “separatist” regions live in a relatively high degree of freedom and enjoy a very reasonable level of autonomy. This is the case of Spain, where regions hold a wide range of competencies. That’s why we say that being a nationalist in today’s Europe is frivolous. And we must be assertive here to stop it.
However, we do not define ourselves as anti-nationalist. We feel comfortable under a new political category resulting from the social, economic and cultural evolution of the last two decades: TRANSNATIONALISM. This new category focuses on the interconnectivity between people thanks to new technologies, and on the increased amount of people directly linked to DEMOCRACY, beyond national borders.
In Europe, transnationalism is not just a concept or a mere political category. It is a necessity and now it is becoming a reality. Newropeans is the first political TRANSEUROPEAN movement with no national levels.
Now it is opening windows to let in some fresh air in all towns, cities and regions of Spain, and bringing citizens from nineteenth-century discussions to the forefront of innovative politics.
Promoting active transnationalism is nowadays one the most necessary political duties in Spain.
José Maria Compagni