July 8, 2016

A PEOPLE WHO THINK THEMSELVES A NATION ARE ONE:

The Right to Decide: Exit and Basque Self-Determination (Ashild Kolas, 7/07/16, ISN)

A new book edited by Pedro Ibarra Güell and Åshild Kolås, Basque Nationhood Towards a Democratic Scenario, takes stock of the contemporary re-imagining of Basque nationhood in both Spain and France. Taking a fresh look at the history of Basque nationalist movements, it explores new debates that have emerged since the demise of non-state militancy. Alongside analysis of local transformations, the book also describes the impacts of a pan-European (if not global) rethinking of self-determination, or 'the right to decide'.

The significance of democracy for national sovereignty has been highlighted by globalization as well as Spain's political transformation since the late 1970s and the fall of Francoism. Ideological change, together with increasing mobility and a general growth in the standard of living has influenced the perception of Basque nationhood towards increasingly civic features, as against the earlier emphasis on ethnic characteristics. Today, a moderate Basque nationalism is still propagated by the conservative nationalist party, Partido Nacionalista Vasco (PNV), with its strategy of reciprocal relations with the Spanish state. As such, PNV has for long played the role of interlocutor between the state and the nationalist periphery. At present, PNV continues to highlight its differences with left-wing Basque nationalism, especially as expressed by the party Euskal Herria Bildu. The Basque nationalist discourse converges only on 'the right to decide', which is also supported by the Spanish leftwing party Podemos, which is gaining a significant space in Basque politics.

In core areas with strong Basque majorities, Basque nationalists emphasize the majority vote and decision-making, believing that the Basque Autonomous Community could once again negotiate an updated or reconfigured Statute of Autonomy if the citizenry supports such a project. An imagined sovereignty could hence become real if a legitimate Basque majority decided to govern itself, or at least advance towards greater national sovereignty. 

Posted by at July 8, 2016 7:58 AM

  

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