There’s a fascinating article from the BBC about how the Catalonian region of Spain (Barcelona is the capital of this autonomous region and it was the last section of Spain to surrender to Franco in the Spanish Civil War) wants to be an independent nation. But Spain is trying to block it:
The Spanish government has vowed to block plans by parties in Catalonia to hold a referendum on independence on 9 November of next year.
“The poll will not be held,” Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon told journalists moments after Catalonia’s President, Artur Mas, announced a deal.
The BBC is reporting that both major (Read pro-EU Tweedledee-Tweedledum parties) are seeking to prevent any sort of independence referendum:
Under the current Spanish constitution, referendums can only be called by the national government in Madrid, not by the governments of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities, of which Catalonia is one, the BBC’s Tom Burridge reports from Madrid.
It apparently violates the Spanish Constitution to have a regional referendum but the regional leader of Catalonia, Artur Mas says he’ll then turn the 2016 regional elections into a de facto referendum on independence. Mas also has stated that he reserves the right to seek independence unilaterally (UDI) if there is no other legal means to secede and the people want independence.
So, will the central government in Madrid go to war over this UDI? I doubt it. But my point is: It’s similar to what Lincoln did in resupplying Fort Sumter in the face of legal secession. I hate to cite Wikipedia, but here is how the Confederate States voted to declare independence. All the states (including apparently Missouri and arguably Kentucky, too) voted in some legal manner to leave the Union and seek independence:
|S. Carolina||December 20, 1860.|
|Mississippi||January 9, 1861.|
|Florida||January 10, 1861.|
|Alabama||January 11, 1861.|
|Georgia||January 19, 1861.|
|Louisiana||January 26, 1861.|
|Texas||February 1, 1861.||February 23||46,153-14,747|
|Virginia||April 17, 1861.||May 23||132,201-37,451|
|Arkansas||May 6, 1861.|
|Tennessee||May 6, 1861.||June 8||104,471-47,183|
|N. Carolina||May 20, 1861.|
|Missouri||October 31, 1861.|
|Kentucky||November 20, 1861.|
Note: Three states, including Virginia, voted in referenda to secede.
Now, we have to restate three important truths:
- Secession is almost always foolish and Southern secession was especially so!
- The South seceded to preserve slavery and white supremacy and that’s a terrible reason to start a nation.
- The nation is probably better off staying together and we are better for staying together.
BUT I cannot justify force to hold the Union together when and thus I cannot agree that Lincoln was right to threaten and use force to preserve the Union and especially in the manner the Union forces reconquered the Southern states. Lincoln also suppressed dissent in the North. If the war was not constitutional, than he had no right to do that. Lincoln also pushed the first Federal income tax! That was actually ruled unconstitutional later by the Supreme Court.
What the Spanish government and its leaders ought to do is allow the referendum but try to show people that they are better off staying in Spain. Shared history and language. Brothers and sisters together. Shared currency, a stable government, and constitution/laws. But the Lincoln method is not an option. Not anymore.