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‘Every people has the god-given right to mismanage their own affairs’

Margolis Law #3


I’ve always been a rebel, revolutionary, iconoclast and all-around bad boy. Naturally, I have sympathy for most revolutionary movements.

The problem is, many revolutions don’t make political or economic sense, but they do make one feel good – at least for a while. Revolution is the natural habitat of the young.

So the growing revolutionary fervor in Spain’s Catalonia region finds much sympathy, even fascination, with this writer. I’ve been going to Barcelona, capital of Catalonia region, since I was a teenager in the Franco era. My late godfather, Count Ilyas Toptani, a soldier of fortune and noted horseman, married Spain’s eccentric Duchess of Valencia. I used to visit them at their medieval castle in Avila, and then go to Barcelona to recover.

Barcelona, Spain’s industrial powerhouse, has always remained one of my favorite cities along with New York, Paris, Rome, Istanbul and Tokyo. With its glorious Gothic quarter, beach fishing village of Barceloneta, gorgeous girls and wonderful food, Barcelona is unrivaled for fun and culture.

The 7.5 million Catalans have long been one of Spain’s feistiest peoples. With much of Spain’s industry and arts, many Catalans often look down on the rest of Spain, and regard the ultra-proud, snooty Castillians from the national capitol, Madrid, with unlove.

Spain seems from a distance a solid national entity but, in fact, it is a collection of provinces that often lack a sense of national unity and dislike their neighbors. Secessionist movements have flared for decades in the Basque region, other parts of Galicia, Catalonia, Valencia, Andalusia, and even the distant Canary Islands.

Most of these regions have distinct dialects. Catalonia uses both Castilian Spanish and the Catalan tongue which is part of the Provençal/Occitan/Gascon linguistic group. Until 1860, 39% of southern French spoke Occitan. The French rightwing leader Jean-Marie Le Pen told me his parents, simple fisher folk from Brittany, could only speak Breton, not French.

Interestingly, Catalan, which looked to be dying out, has made a lusty revival. I much like it because I can understand and read a lot of Catalan which is not too far from French. I’m ashamed to say I have an easier time with Catalan than formal Castilian Spanish.

I’ve watched for decades as the old languages of southern Europe – Gascon, Occitan, Provençal, Basque, Piedmontese, Romansche – have come again to life. As is often said, Spain, like Italy, is a group of languages in search of a national state.

Speaking of language, Britain’s great writer and guide to sane thought, George Orwell, wrote an entire book, ‘Homage to Catalonia’ about his experiences in the 1930’s with Barcelona’s ultra revolutionary Trotskyita/anarchist/anti-Stalinist/ Marxist party, the POUM.


Having slight anarchist tendencies myself, I’ve always been fascinated by the POUM which heroically battled Stalin’s grip over Spain’s so-called ‘Republicans’ during the bloody civil war. Stalin’s NKVD secret police eventually crushed the POUM but were, in turn, defeated by Gen. Francisco Franco’s rightwing nationalists. Spain was lucky to get Franco instead of Comrade Stalin.

The feisty Catalans are at it again. Last week, they staged a referendum on independence from Spain that the conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy foolishly disrupted by sending busloads of national police from Madrid to beat Catalan protestors. This turned a political squabble over autonomy and sharing national payments into a major crisis that enflamed Catalan separatism. Even so, many Catalans are against independence.

Rajoy is an unloved right-winger who has often been accused of financial irregularities. Spain’s new king, Felipe VI, who is supposed to remain apolitical, joined the fray, denouncing the Catalan independence-seekers, thus bringing the wrath of the Catalans on his head. Felipe should have been mediating, not criticizing.

The national government in Madrid now threatens to block any further votes, dissolve the Catalan government, the Generalitat, and lock up many independence leaders. Doing so would be very dangerous. Spaniards are a courageous, hot-headed people who are not to be bullied. No one wants to even think again about the awful 1930’s civil war whose echoes still reverberate today.

I like the idea of an independent Catalonia. But what is it good for? Modern Catalonia is not an oppressed nation though its taxes are too high. Its biggest problem these days is being utterly swamped by armies of littering foreign tourists. It could stand on its own economically but to what benefit?

Catalan independence would surely enflame separatist movements in Canada, Scotland, Wales, France, eastern Europe, even Switzerland.

The French say, ‘the heart has reasons that reason does not understand.’ That’s the story with Catalan independence.

Catalans…cool down. Madrid, stop lording about and acting like an imperial capital. While you’re at it, ban primitive bull fighting (Barcelona did so). Why not move some important government ministries to Barcelona. Let the hot-headed Catalans blow off some steam.

Spain is a wonderful country. Por favor, don’t muck it up.

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Catalonia 
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  1. Having slight anarchist tendencies myself,

    Bullshit, Eric. Didn’t you write something recently about French unions destroying the country, and Macron saving France by attacking and suppressing them? It doesn’t get more reactionary than that.

  2. Interesting and thoughtful article. Thank you, Eric. The winds of ‘independence’ (secession) are blowing around the globe. The ‘end of history’ was a naive notion.

    Differences involving race/ethnicity, wealth, language. custom, identity, ideology, religion, power. industriousness, intelligence, and personality do matter and will always matter. The resulting tensions will be a lingering curse on ‘diverse’ nations such as Spain and the US.

  3. Mr. Margolis,

    I have been accustomed to findings some “USA=EVIL” stuff in all of your articles, but here you have surprised me!

    Not that the government of USA is not alarmingly evil, but “is evil” or commits evil acts, and, “=EVIL” … those are two different statements. Those who preach the dogma of USA=EVIL find the USA behind every evil situation in the world. E.g., when North Koreans have been subjected to the horrors of a Stalinist regime – a one-man absolutist dictatorship ruled by a billionaire homicidal maniac – such that huge numbers risk their lives in attempts to escape … that’s the fault of the USA, and it’s all been the fault of the USA ever since FDR at Tehran was conned by Stalin into dividing the Korean Peninsula along the 38th parallel. Etc., etc., etc.

    So I expected to find something in your article on Catalonia about how USA and FDR, although the latter perhaps reluctantly, betrayed the Spanish Republic and the Spanish people by extraordinarily uneven enforcement of the Neutrality Act … except I would not have expected anything from you that might make FDR look at all reluctant to commit evil.

    But I did not find it. Instead I found a well-written article describing what it is with Catalonia today, including a reference to Orwell’s great book, Homage to Catalonia.

    Thank you very much. You are off my sh** list … at least for the nonce … not that you ever noticed …

  4. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    Arriba Catalonia!

    This title is hilarious to anyone who knows anything about Spain, especially the Spanich Civil War and the Falange.

    Even more, given Having slight anarchist tendencies myself, and the guide to sane thought!

  5. RSDB says:

    ¡Arriba, escuadras, a vencer,
    que en [Cataluña] empieza a amanecer!


  6. Randal says:

    Spain was lucky to get Franco instead of Comrade Stalin.

    An uncomfortable truth that is generally suppressed for ideological reasons, in a US sphere dominated by the post-WW2 triumph of the political left.

    Spain’s new king, Felipe VI, who is supposed to remain apolitical, joined the fray, denouncing the Catalan independence-seekers, thus bringing the wrath of the Catalans on his head. Felipe should have been mediating, not criticizing.

    Unreasonable and wrong-headed to expect a monarch to remain “above the fray” when it comes to matters of the defence of the basic integrity of the kingdom. The Catalan separatists pushing for unilateral independence were the initiators here, and the response of the Madrid government and of the King have been necessary and proportionate responses to them.

    The King should maintain neutrality between reasonable advocates of Catalan autonomy within Spain and wider Spanish nationalists, but outright separatism has crossed a vital line.

  7. Catalan independence would surely enflame separatist movements in Canada, Scotland, Wales, France, eastern Europe, even Switzerland.

    No seperatism anywhere to be seen in Switzerland, Sir. Not even the tiniest little bit.

  8. Bull fighting is alpha.

    Anyone who wants to ban it is a cuck or a queer.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  9. peterAUS says:

    If the matador and the bull square of straight away, probably.

    Matador walks into arena from one door, bull trots in from the opposite.
    Then, yes……

    Otherwise…….feels…….cowardly, IMHO.
    Just cowardly.

    There is something unsettling about the crowd cheering that slow, somebody would say even sadistic, butchering of the bull.
    Spanish approach to fair play, perhaps?

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
  10. @peterAUS

    Bull fighting takes brass balls–you’re squaring off against a raging, one-ton beast that wants to gore you.

    Is the sport sadistic? Sure. Not really my cup of tea either.

    But animals aren’t people. I object to banning a sport simply because some people get the vapors whenever things get gruesome.

    And these animal worshippers don’t stop at banning blood sports. Plenty of them would love to tax or even prohibit meat if they could–hence the explosive growth of vegetarianism and veganism in recent years.

    At the end of the day this is a form of liberalism, and if recent history has shown us anything is that we must never yield a single inch to liberals.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  11. Santos says:


    Viva Jorge Soros!

    Long live George Soros!!

    What a bunch of BS, anything that has the seal of approval of globalists or talmudists, specially khazars like Soros deserve only disdain, no matter the propaganda behind it. Sadly idiots like the ones supporting this “movement” only do lamentations years after everything is completely screwed.

  12. peterAUS says:

    Bull fighting takes brass balls–you’re squaring off against a raging, one-ton beast that wants to gore you.

    You’re squaring off against an exhausted, confused and already seriously wounded animal. With plenty of help around if things even then get dicey.

    But I do get that it takes brass balls for some people.
    My point exactly.
    Spanish approach to courage.
    And fair play. And fair fight.

    I guess you are confusing blood sport with this shit.
    As I said, if matador squared, one to one, with a fresh animal just out of holding pen, yes, that would take “brass balls”. And skill.

    This exercise takes only….a peculiar….mindset.

    • Replies: @Uebersetzer
  13. @peterAUS

    My own peculiar mindset tends to raise a cheer when the bull, typically with lances sticking out of its bleeding shoulderblades, still manages to take down a matador.

    • Agree: Dan Hayes
    • Replies: @peterAUS
  14. peterAUS says:


    Even better, once a bull jumped/scrambled somehow over the fence into crowd.
    Unfortunately, the fuckers were too fast running….the bull didn’t get any.

    There is a paragraph in A.C.Clarke book “The Childhood’s End” where aliens once for all close the “game”.
    They simply, using their own technology, made each person in the crowd feel exactly what the bull was feeling. The game was very short that time.

    Which brings us back to my point.

    I don’t, personally, care much for hunters.
    And, having said that, I was once upon a time in a war where people were, sometimes, shooting at me and me, sometimes, trying to shoot them.
    But even hunters have a code where the kill should be clean…the animal should NOT be suffering.

    Now, in this case, all that protracted suffering of the bull, for me, is simply perverse.

    Consequently, what I think and feel about people who, apparently, love that “game” is easy to deduce.

  15. mitch says:

    you like the “idea” of an independent Catalonia. they were lucky to get Franco and not the murderous Stalin. okay so far, and then you state they should “ban” bullfighting. i know very little of bullfighting but being an American i’m quite familiar with the concept of banning things. the left in this country looks to ban anything and everything “they” don’t approve of. it seems that Catalonians like bullfighting. how would you go about banning bullfighting? how about doing it the way they do it everywhere. load the council with leftists, ban said activity and call it democratic. do you like that”idea” Eric ??

  16. Respect says:

    Arriba Catalonia Española !!!! , yes sir , and Arriba Texas , Arriba California , arriba Nuevo Mexico , arriba Arizona , arriba Colorado , arriba Nevada , arriba Florida ………

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