Catalonia situation

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Fleur
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Oct 4 2017 15:19

Fwiw I live in Quebec and in order to get a job working in government (the largest employer in the province) you have to be fluent in French. If you're born here a high school diploma indicating you have passed French is sufficient. For people born elsewhere, you have to pass a government set exam to prove fluency. That is because French is the majority language and it would be unacceptable for people to be providing services to the public when they don't properly understand the language they are being addressed in. This is not an especially weird nationalistic thing, it's making sure that nurses, teachers, etc understand the public.

Catalan is not a minority language in Catalonia. In the 2013 census 73% of people in Catalonia spoke it and 95% understood it.

Spikymike
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Oct 4 2017 15:39

Some such as the leftist Paul Mason are arguing that the Catalan social movement, like that in the UK for Scottish independence (and the Greek rebellion), is a form of 'progressive democratic nationalism' much as how they used to argue for the anti-colonial nationalist movements as some kind of (controlled) political stage on the way to revolution. Didn't work out that way then and won't now. The CNT may realise that in the better of their statements - aligning with the movement against the central governments repression whilst seeking to distance themselves from both the Catalan government and it's separatist ideology - but they are a very small alternative influence in the face of global tendencies such as those baboon (in post 168) alludes to and the opposition of local left and right wing nationalists.

radicalgraffiti
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Oct 4 2017 17:03

in the uk for a lot of jobs you need a gcse or equivalent in english

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cantdocartwheels
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Oct 4 2017 17:59
Quote:
Cantdocartwheels, you don't seem to have noticed that malenas referred to public sector jobs, not all and every single job. It's the same in many other countries with several official languages; Finland, Canada, south Africa IIRC. But if you work for the state, not the private sector.

Nope, i saw exactly what he said. However, the reality is that in large amounts of public facing private sector jobs in Catalonia you need a qualification in Catalan also.
.
Again the main point is that in Catalonia currently more people can understand Spanish 99% and can write in spanish 83% as opposed to Catalan (94% understand and 49% for literacy). If you are picking either language over another and setting that up as a job requirement for all public sector jobs then that is plainly a nationalist policy rather than a practical one whether that was done under Franco or under the newer nationalist set up..

melenas
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Oct 4 2017 23:59
cantdocartwheels wrote:
Quote:
Cantdocartwheels, you don't seem to have noticed that malenas referred to public sector jobs, not all and every single job. It's the same in many other countries with several official languages; Finland, Canada, south Africa IIRC. But if you work for the state, not the private sector.

Nope, i saw exactly what he said. However, the reality is that in large amounts of public facing private sector jobs in Catalonia you need a qualification in Catalan also.
.
Again the main point is that in Catalonia currently more people can understand Spanish 99% and can write in spanish 83% as opposed to Catalan (94% understand and 49% for literacy). If you are picking either language over another and setting that up as a job requirement for all public sector jobs then that is plainly a nationalist policy rather than a practical one whether that was done under Franco or under the newer nationalist set up..

I answer to your first coment becuse i was specting your answer in this way. You only repeat spanish right and ultra right speech.

How i could start to answer to you....

Maybe this gif can help:

Map of languages of Iberia

Maybe you are not very familiar with spanish history and language represion.
Maybe can help you the speech of Felipe VI (El Preparao)

Yes the king made the speech to all the spanish people having behind him the paint of Carlos III the king that forbid to teach, to use institutionally and to write literature in: Catalan, Euskera, Gallego, Aragones and Asturiano. So all languages that were not castellano were reduce to private use. What mean that the language of castilla kingdom ate the languages of the rest of the spanish kingdoms, Leon, Aragon, and Navarra.

Maybe you dont know that in spain there was a dictatorship from 1939 to 1977
During the dictatorship a part of the repression to workers movement, there was also a attack to the languages that were not castellano.

Now a days, Aragones and asturiano or AsturLeones are nearly dead languages. only Gallego, Catalan and Euskera are still having a good health.

After this small historical introduction lets speak about what you say:

Quote:
for example why should you have to pass a certificate in Catalan literacy just to work in a shop let alone in the public sector?

You dont have to if the boss doesnt want. Sorry, is what says the low.

Public sector:

First of all, the teachers of public schools are legally responsible of the children they have with them, if something happens to a child the family or directly the court, can go against the school and teachers. As responsible of a child, look logic that you mast be able to speak the same language as him. If something happens to the child, who speak with him if you don´t speak his language? so because Spanish and Catalan are official languages, as public worker you mast be ready to attend to who ever person in spanish or in catalan. Also the administration can make publications in one or both languages so you mast be ready to understand both.

Example of a private school in basque country. They teach al the subjects in french and 4 hours of Spanish per week (no bask). that is all. there are also this kind of schools in catalunya.

As you say, no left organization or union go against this, only spanish right and ultra right. You claim against the catalan nationalist taking part for the spanish nationalist and their defense of castellano language. Really, castellano need to be defense? the second more spoken language in the world need to be defended to do not dissapear?

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By contrast Spanish friends and family of mine have said that even when going for a job in a restaurant or a shop in Barcelona you can be asked for a certificate in written Catalan. This is straight discrimination in a city where 100% of people understand Spanish* . Just a shit mirror image of francos language policy. If you come from Murcia (somewhere that probly suffered equally under Franco and is a lot less well off as a region than catalonia**) to Barcelona to work, for example why should you have to pass a certificate in Catalan literacy just to work in a shop let alone in the public sector?

The comparison you make about franco is totally pathetic. Is so hard to understand that in cataluña you can be asked to speak an official language? If a catalan go to murcia they ask him to speak spanish and i don´t see you complaining. Remember that catalan was a language of murcia till XIX century and there is some old people that still speak it. Why the gallegos are discriminate in the rest of spain and are asked to speak castellano?. I think is discriminatory for catalans that in their own region they cant speak their local laguage and came people from UK complaining because they are asked to speak catalan (is not true, in salou and other touristic places if you do not speak english you cant order in several bars and restaurants, in baleares there are towns that the street signals are in german only).

Quote:
Again the main point is that in Catalonia currently more people can understand Spanish 99% and can write in spanish 83% as opposed to Catalan (94% understand and 49% for literacy). If you are picking either language over another and setting that up as a job requirement for all public sector jobs then that is plainly a nationalist policy rather than a practical one whether that was done under Franco or under the newer nationalist set up

Base on your logic, soon or later will disappear all the languages that are not castellano in spain, because base on statistics are useless. Base on what you say, the spanish languages like catalan, bask, gallego, Leones and aragones cant be recovered because this is to make the same that made franco.

After your comment, i can understand why some people is not able to understand what is doing CNT. Maybe is not easy to understand that in the books of the school in your countries appear spain paint with only one color, when the reality is that there are a lot of colors. to be internationalist is to understand that there are colors, that the colors do not make differences and that the color have to support between them to destroy the state. internationalist is not to say that there are no colors or all is one color.

To finish before you treat me as a catalan nationalist or something like this. Im from Cantabria, one of the starting regions of castellano.

DevastateTheAvenues
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Oct 5 2017 07:04

I don't buy this. First of all, cantdocartwheels said nothing about Castellano Spanish needing to be defended, nor that Catalan shouldn't be spoken and promoted. Frankly, imputing that to cantdocartwheels is pretty sketchy, but for now I'm going to chalk that down to a miscommunication rather than a lack of charity on your part. In any case, both of those things are on an entirely different level than questioning the requirement for Catalan fluency that large parts of public sector and private sector employment have.

Say cantdocartwheels is accurate in saying that almost everyone in Catalonia can speak Spanish. This could be a wrong assessment: it could be the case that there are many Catalans that do not speak Spanish and they should, of course, be entitled to full language support. We can also talk about particular situations that need particular requirements; I can buy, for example, that there are school children that need fluent Catalan speakers as teachers. This doesn't necessarily then require that every public-facing employee, as cantdo puts it, speak Catalan, but one can make an argument for that requirement in this or that job without it being nationalist or promoting preferential treatment for Catalans. But that's just on the level of empirical data and could easily be solved by saying: cantdo, you're a little out of date on the facts, here's the situation.

But let's carry on in the assumption that almost all Catalans can speak Spanish. If so, then a requirement for public sector employees that service the public, for example, to have advanced certificates in Catalan seems to be both onerous and suspect. Onerous in that, presumably, if someone spoke only Spanish and not Catalan, almost everyone they will encounter will be able to speak Spanish anyway; suspect, in that it then seems like workplace effectiveness isn't the real reason the employers have this requirement. From my standpoint, the real motive then seems to be preferential treatment for ethnic or at least 'national' (if we can say that) Catalans, who presumably would have a much easier time getting the required fluency requirements than, say, migrants from other parts of Spain. If some Catalan workers are buying into that, then it seems like they're promoting ethnic or national interests in order to advance their own sectional interests against other workers, and we all know that's just another one of the ruling class's many strategies to pit workers against each other.

And so we get to a line like this:

melenas wrote:
You dont have to if the boss doesnt want.

That's where we're at? We're at the point where we're basically going along with the same dismissive "just find a different boss" rhetoric that all the capitalist apologists use, and doing this to push what seems like an ethnic or nationalist politics? Yeah, I'm not buying this.

Let me go on a tangent for a bit. Consider the Trump and Republican-backed immigration legislation that was proposed earlier this year in the United States. It was a points-based merit system that had stringent requirements for any points to be rewarded for English fluency. Even liberals could see that this requirement was just thinly veiled racial politics, given how onerous it was and the particular points breakdown of the legislation. However, there is arguably a better case (though still not good) for requiring strict English fluency for immigrants to the US than strict Catalan fluency for Spanish speakers looking for employment in Catalonia. Most Americans speak English, but as a whole don't speak the various languages that prospective immigrants speak, and so to communicate with most Americans you probably want to be fluent in English. But,in Catalonia, if you don't speak Catalan, you can always speak Spanish. If one can agree that a strict English fluency requirement for immigration to the US would be racial politics, can this be squared with saying a strict Catalan fluency requirement for various kinds of employment wouldn't be a kind of ethnic or nationalist politics?

furbi
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Oct 5 2017 05:50

Okay, you have made a wonderful hypothetical construction, but it is a little ridiculous that this is being debated here without any experience or evidence, especially when it is a sensitive and delicate subject, even in Spain. And to go around saying things like "policies that promote Catalan are worthy of Franco" is so ridiculously backwards as to be absurd, and rather offensive.

You mentioned the words "Catalan ethnicity"; understanding that this is not an entirely accurate framework, to use this language we can say that there was attempt at ethnic cleansing in Catalonia for 40 years of dictatorship, as in Basque Country, Asturias, and every restive region with a distinct identity and language. Even speaking Catalan or Euskera at home was prohibited, and police informers would report people for using banned langauges in bars or in private company. At the same time the Franco regime promoted industrial projects in these regions to draw immigration from rural regions of Spain to bring an influx of Castilian speakers and culture.

As Melenas mentioned above, Asturian was almost totally wiped out as a regional language, only spoken now by a tiny minority. Euskera was nearly eliminated too - many of the younger generation (in their 20s and 30s) speak Euskera with their friends and grandparents, but Castellano with their parents who never learned their own language. So the laws promoting and protecting Catalan and Euskera in Catalonia and Basque Country after the dictatorship were desperate attempts to keep the language and culture from vanishing, and in regions with fewer resources, or less legal support, Castilian effectively took over, even after the transition to democracy.

Speaking and teaching Catalan became legal in 1978, and there was an immediate push to revive the language, and teach it to monolingual Castilian immigrants - I have a friend whose aunts and uncles taught free Catalan classes in their town in the 80s and 90s. It is very easy to find low cost Catalan and Basque language classes in those regions if you have a desire to learn, and it is not particularly difficult for a Castilian speaker to gain proficiency. So yes, immigrants to Catalonia from other parts of Spain might need to learn a bit of the language before they can fully access every part of the society. Just as Catalans need to learn Castellano to access most jobs in Madrid, or Seville, or Euskera to be a public servant in Bilbao.

I am interested if you have the same critique of laws protecting Euskera in Basque country? Is it silly fascistic nationalism there, too?

furbi
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Oct 5 2017 06:08

To add one more thought to this already too long argument, the comparison with US immigration policy is not actually very fair. The US is precisely a nation-state, with lots of control over who can or cannot immigrate, and how many people can immigrate from which countries, etc. Also it is massive, linguistically and culturally homogenous, and can absorb big waves of non-English speaking immigrants without substantially changing the linguistic makeup of the country. And even so, it is unthinkable that a Mexican immigrant to the US would be able find work in a "public facing job", let alone as a public employee, without a demonstrably high level of English.
Catalonia is a small region in a much larger state with no control over migration from the rest of Spain, and small population that could easily be significantly outnumbered and overwhelmed by Spanish speakers. To say that Catalans should get rid of any legal protections for their language, and hire Castilian speakers for any position without question because "they all speak Castilian anyway" is to say that Catalan language and culture should disappear over the next two generations. And that is precisely why Catalans are so touchy about their regional autonomy.

melenas
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Oct 5 2017 09:18
DevastateTheAvenues wrote:

And so we get to a line like this:

melenas wrote:
You dont have to if the boss doesnt want.

That's where we're at? We're at the point where we're basically going along with the same dismissive "just find a different boss" rhetoric that all the capitalist apologists use, and doing this to push what seems like an ethnic or nationalist politics? Yeah, I'm not buying this.

And then you speak about my interpretations....
Where do I say to find other boss? focus in what I write, there is no low that obligate the privete worker to speak catalan. If a company wants to contract people doesnt have the obligation to ask the people to know catalan. Can a copany put as condition to know catalan to work for them? Yes. Is very typical to ask workers to know englsh and no body says that is a discrimination for spanish people.
If a company wants their workers to know catalan and the workers are already working for the company, the company will need to pay the lessons of catalan to the workers because in this case the company is changing the working conditions for their own interest, so is the company the one that have to pay. the same happens in whatever other change of working conditions, doesn't have to be necessarily about language . Do not try to give me lessons about workers rights. Speak about ethnic or nationalist politics on this is totally paranoid from your side.

DevastateTheAvenues wrote:

Let me go on a tangent for a bit. Consider the Trump and Republican-backed immigration legislation that was proposed earlier this year in the United States. It was a points-based merit system that had stringent requirements for any points to be rewarded for English fluency. Even liberals could see that this requirement was just thinly veiled racial politics, given how onerous it was and the particular points breakdown of the legislation. However, there is arguably a better case (though still not good) for requiring strict English fluency for immigrants to the US than strict Catalan fluency for Spanish speakers looking for employment in Catalonia. Most Americans speak English, but as a whole don't speak the various languages that prospective immigrants speak, and so to communicate with most Americans you probably want to be fluent in English. But,in Catalonia, if you don't speak Catalan, you can always speak Spanish. If one can agree that a strict English fluency requirement for immigration to the US would be racial politics, can this be squared with saying a strict Catalan fluency requirement for various kinds of employment wouldn't be a kind of ethnic or nationalist politics?

Do you know that more than 60% of the catalan population is product of the inmigration of the last 100 years?
do you know that there is no low that obligate immigrants to speak catalan to work in cataluña? nether castellano.

Can you understand that speak catalan is a right in cataluña? the same happens with castellano in all spain. Sock me that is difficult for you to understand that people have the right to speak whatever official language.

the answer to this contrect sentence:

Quote:
can this be squared with saying a strict Catalan fluency requirement for various kinds of employment wouldn't be a kind of ethnic or nationalist politics?

No, absolutly no, becuase, because the obligation to speak castellano and catalan in public sector is attach to the right of catalans to speak castellano or catalan, remember that they are public workers to attend all the needs of catalans and they mast be ready to understand whatever external or internal communication in both official languages. Also doesn't exist a catalan ethnic. We are not speaking about being catalan, we are speaking to work in public sector for the people that live in cataluña. and please dont came back to statistics because is not about how many people speak catalan, is about the right to speak catalan.

to resume all this:

Can a castellano speaker leave in cataluña whith out knowing catalan and be attend in spanish by whatever public administration or service?
Yes
Can happen the same with catalan?
Yes

to assure this, all public workers must know bouth laguages.

Is so logical that soc me that you are not able to understand it and you came here speaking about ethnic-nationalist politics...

melenas
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Oct 5 2017 09:36

Also, why do you speak about discrimination to castellano speakers and you don´t speak about the discrimination of basque speakers that cant speak basque or find a job in the rest of spain speaking and offitial spanish languager? why the discrimination is only in one way and not in the opposite?

Example: a worker born in spain speaks one of the official langaugas of spain but not castellano, this worker is discriminate in the rest of spain and in his own home town because cant work for public sector because is obligate to speak castellano. Why you dont speak about the ethnic-nationalist spanish discrimination to non castellano speakers?

About the argument of statistics and quantity of people doing something, like there is more people speaking spanish than catalan. in spain we usually say "eat shit, 5 million flies can't be wrong"

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cantdocartwheels
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Oct 5 2017 10:08
Quote:
Yes the king made the speech to all the spanish people having behind him the paint of Carlos III the king that ........

......and a few hundred years before that half of ''spain'' spoke arabic and so on.....all very interesting historical titbits for sure but hardly relevant to todays jobs market

Quote:
Quote:
for example why should you have to pass a certificate in Catalan literacy just to work in a shop let alone in the public sector?

You dont have to if the boss doesnt want. Sorry, is what says the low.

yep thats the point, discrimination is effectively legal. If an employer wants to make it difficult for non catalans to apply, they can do.

Quote:
Public sector:

First of all, the teachers of public schools are legally responsible of the children they have with them, if something happens to a child the family or directly the court, can go against the school and teachers. As responsible of a child, look logic that you mast be able to speak the same language as him. If something happens to the child, who speak with him if you don´t speak his language? so because Spanish and Catalan are official languages, as public worker you mast be ready to attend to who ever person in spanish or in catalan. Also the administration can make publications in one or both languages so you mast be ready to understand both.

Sorry nope. I work in education and I simply don;t buy the idea that every member of staff in a school needs to have a certificate in written catalan. Since most can speak it well enough to communicate. Many of my co-workers and friends here including foreign language teachers, support staff/mentors, PE/Art/dance/tech teachers, special needs teachers, playground assistants, school bus drivers and so on don;t have a certificate in written english. They do a great job and i'd consider making them all get said certificate to be pointless discrimination.
If you are a teacher of Spanish, Catalan or an academic subject then you need a certificate fair enough, but that is not a majority of school employees.

The public sector is of course not just schools it includes hospitals, councils and massive number of jobs. The idea that you need a ceriticate in written catalan to do all of these is clearly just nonsense..

Quote:
As you say, no left organization or union go against this

yep thats because they've sadly been sucked into going along with nationalism. Happens in parts of uk too, for example in northern ireland where unions in education are very much tied up in sectarianism.

Quote:
. I think is discriminatory for catalans that in their own region they cant speak their local laguage

Yes it was discriminatory 30 or 40 years ago. Nobody is arguing for that now though so its just a strawman.

Quote:
and came people from UK complaining because they are asked to speak catalan (is not true, in salou and other touristic places if you do not speak english you cant order in several bars and restaurants, in baleares there are towns that the street signals are in german only).

those expat groups exist all over Spain, you can find the same all around the coast, not very pleasant at all, sadly some tourists are scum like that. Again doesn't have much to do with Catalonian employment practices

Quote:
Base on your logic, soon or later will disappear all the languages that are not castellian

Now i'll be honest I have no romantic attachment to language. As such I don't really care if languages disappear personally, in a few hundred years i suspect English as it is written here would look like Shakespeare does to us anyway and in a thousand years or more no-one will be able to read a word of this unless they have a masters in the field However, given that Catalan survived a dictatorship where it was banned, i can't imagine it would be wiped out in the forseeable future if it was given equal status with Spanish rather than the economic primacy.it is being given.

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cantdocartwheels
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Oct 5 2017 10:23
melenas wrote:
Also, why do you speak about discrimination to castellano speakers and you don´t speak about the discrimination of basque speakers that cant speak basque or find a job in the rest of spain speaking and offitial spanish languager? why the discrimination is only in one way and not in the opposite?

Example: a worker born in spain speaks one of the official langaugas of spain but not castellano, this worker is discriminate in the rest of spain and in his own home town because cant work for public sector because is obligate to speak castellano. Why you dont speak about the ethnic-nationalist spanish discrimination to non castellano speakers?

and there's the problem tho innit. By your tone, you think this is wrong in the rest of Spain, which I would agree it is. It is discriminatory to ask somebody from Catalonia to produce a written certificate in Spanish.just to get a job in the council. Doubtless, you would also agree that it is discrimination if a Spanish employer was able to say a Catalan worker couldn't apply for a job in a shop because they didn't have a certificate in written Spanish.
Yet somehow you seem to think its 100% fine for the Catalonian government to do the exact same thing? And that to me is the whole problem with nationalism even of the small state linguistic variety, it gets in the way of rational and critical thinking,

D's picture
D
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Oct 5 2017 11:03

Rather than practicality or ethnic preference its more about preserving catalán as a language in my opinion

Dannny
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Oct 5 2017 11:30
furbi wrote:
To say that Catalans should get rid of any legal protections for their language, and hire Castilian speakers for any position without question because "they all speak Castilian anyway" is to say that Catalan language and culture should disappear over the next two generations. And that is precisely why Catalans are so touchy about their regional autonomy.

I agree with cantdocartwheels that this seems an unlikely scenario, given that Catalan managed to survive a period of genuine repression under the Franco dictatorship. I'd also be interested in how you define Catalan culture, and what would constitute its disappearance.

Acknowledging that, as stated above, Catalan was repressed under Franco, it would be historically accurate to say that the workers' movement was far more effectively and bloodily repressed than Catalan or Basque nationalism during the dictatorship, leading to the so-called 'missing generation'. During the Transition, one of several issues indicating the generational divide between older activists returning to Catalonia from exile and younger activists was precisely the attitude to Catalan autonomy.
Chris Ealham's recent book about José Peirats talks about this (English version, AK Press pp 203-5: "From France, Peirats, who never forgot the Generalitat's anti-cenetista repression in the 1930s, had watched the rise of Catalanism with great concern... At Montjuic [where a massive CNT rally was held in 1977], as he surveyed the crowd and the banners surrounding him before he rose to address the rally, he could not have ignored the presence of Catalan and Basque flags... [after acknowledging his personal debt to Barcelona he stated that he didn't feel Catalan and] went on to raise the issue of an autonomy statute, reminding the audience of the experience of the 1930s: 'We already know what an autonomy statute is... [It is] an apparatus'... Finally he reminded the mainly youthful audience of the CNT's federalist past, advocating the 'free municipality', 'the alternative of the anarchist movement' to a statute. Echoing ... Malatesta, he concluded: 'My homeland is the world, humanity is my family.'
His open rejection of the autonomy statute and popular Catalan demands provoked fury inside the Catalan CNT and beyond. After his address, Peirats was 'severely rebuked' by members of the Catalan Regional Committee of the CNT. In the days that followed, Peirats's speech was censured in the CNT press, while the Catalan organisation issued a statement distancing itself from his position and underlining the extent of its own dalliance with nationalism:
'The CNT of today does not confuse the concepts of nation and state... It rejects the second as it is an instrument of oppression in the service of a ruling class, [but] the nation is a combination of men and women with a will to exist, a cultural and linguistic communion that defines it ethnologically as a natural entity, and as such we must therefore strengthen it as far as possible.'"

MT
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Oct 5 2017 11:43

thanks dannny. the '77 cnt statement is unbelievable...

Fleur
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Oct 5 2017 14:00

I'm floored when people who are internationalist in other aspects who see no value in protecting minority languages. Otoh, I'm not overly surprised that this is present in some people whose first language is one which has colonized half the world (be it English or Spanish,) and has consequently diminished or in some cases obliterated other languages. Language is far more than just a means of communication, there is a symbiotic relationship between the language people speak and their culture, it informs the way we think, it carries our history. In that respect it is unsurprising that first language speakers of the monolith languages sometimes see less value in minority languages but it is very poor internationalist praxis to carry such colonial attitudes to language. Maybe one day people will speak a bland monoglot language that everyone understands but along the way we will have lost a wealth of poetry, music, folk lore, unique ways of thinking and the world will be a sadder and duller place for it.

Whenever a language dies it is a tragedy and I don't have to look further than the borders of the country I live in to see the devastating effects on people of the marginalization and destruction of minority languages. The repression of languages spoken by indigenous people has been part of a systematic brutality which amounted to an attempt at cultural genocide, the consequences of which are still being felt. It's pretty understandable that people will want to take steps to avoid that happening to them.

I don't think Catalan is at any more risk than French is here. However, you shouldn't dismiss the psychological scars of a society than within living memory people were oppressed and treated as second class citizens for speaking their own language. Francophones were actively discriminated against by and Anglo elite and there was a de facto system of segregation which did fuel nationalism. The protection of the French language has been a significant contributing factor to the considerable lessening of Quebec nationalism. The banality of the argument from (a minority of) Anglos that we live in North America and everybody should speak English and that nearly everyone understands it anyway, I find to be ignorant, ahistorical and utterly disrespectful. But as I have already said, language informs the way we think and as English is a language of colonization, it's not altogether surprising some people think like that.

As for not needing a certificate of fluency in English, not only is English under no threat whatsoever but as a globally dominant language it's probably not necessary anyway. There are few places in the world which are untouched by English, people watch Hollywood movies, listen to American music, it's probably the most taught second language, anglicisms pepper other languages. It's pretty hard not to absorb English at at least some level. It's not the same with a minority language like Catalan, which has been historically repressed.

This is probably a huge derail from the OP but to expect public services to be administered in Catalan is in no was comparable the repression of the Franco regime. I expect there's someone out there who can furnish me with a quote from an anarchist grandee about the need to destroy culture, or whatever, but regrettably we don't live in a libertarian communist society, so respecting somebody's efforts to keep their language alive isn't much to ask.

lettersjournal
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Oct 5 2017 14:44

Rinse, repeat. https://libcom.org/forums/news/what-exactly-are-you-supporting-02022011

Mike Harman
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Oct 5 2017 14:54

Part of the reaction to language tests is because in the UK we're seeing moves to introduce language tests where there previously were none:

Graun wrote:
The test was introduced in January 2016 after David Cameron’s cabinet office minister, Matthew Hancock, brought in regulations requiring all foreign nationals in customer-facing public sector roles to speak a high standard of English because the government was “controlling immigration for the benefit of all hard-working people”.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jun/24/english-speaking-ovserseas-nurses-fail-nhs-too-tough-language-test

i.e. specifically a (hard, to the point where qualified nurses with English as their first language were failing it too) language test brought in as a right-wing populist measure to attack immigrants.

Another thing that happens in the UK is that if a child hears two or more languages at home, even if English is their main language, they were born in the UK and/or they're multilingual from birth, it's recorded by the Department for Education as a 'second language' (the definition literally means they can't be recorded as having a first language, just two second languages). This then inflates the figures of 'children who don't speak English as a first language' - as a way to attack migrants and create moral panics about strain on the schools budget from 'immigrants' by grouping bilingual children with those who are actually learning English as an additional language.

At the same time, funding for adult English classes as been drastically cut in the past few years.

Kids who spoke Welsh in school were punished (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welsh_Not for one example) a few decades ago. That situation has changed dramatically, but Welsh language requirements for jobs now have to be balanced against racial discrimination legislation (i.e. Welsh has to be proved as necessary to the role, otherwise an employer could arbitrarily exclude 99.9% of people not born in Wales from employment).

It's quite possible for a language to have been suppressed up until fairly recently while also being used to exclude migrants from work now, the two don't really contradict each other as such.

Also to the point earlier that Catalonia doesn't control migration from the rest of Spain, if it secedes and also leaves the EU, that's not out of the question. For another possibly poor UK comparison, Brexit is raising the prospect of there being a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland again (because that will become the only land border with the EU). The same could have happened with the Scottish referendum had there been an independence vote (and still could with the EU exit situation being reversed).

Fleur
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Oct 5 2017 16:21

But isn't the situation in the UK different? Afaik no one in the UK has ever been prevented from speaking English in the workplace. I've been away from the UK too long to be aware of all the various bits of legislation & directives that are current but there's a qualitative difference between tests which are implemented specifically to exclude immigrants and a language requirement which guarantees that public facing services are delivered in both languages. There was a situation in the past where that wasn't the case, for all sorts of reasons, particularly in medicine and legal services.

Other people know more about Catalonia than me and Quebec does control it's immigration separately from the rest of Canada, it also provides really good French language programs. French isn't exactly a dying language but it's pretty isolated in the Americas and most Canadians and Americans don't speak the language, so when people from out of province migrate here and work in the public services it's important they have a level of fluency they can actually do their job and it works as much for the protection of the worker as the convenience of the public. OK, I live in a very multilingual city and this may not be the same as elsewhere but the end result of protecting the French language as has happened here is that we have a highly bilingual population who slip in and out of either language easily.

Maybe it's just where I live but the only people I've really come across who I've heard complaining about having to learn French have been anglos, specifically UK immigrants.

There has to be some kind of common ground between protecting minority languages and protecting migrants, that obviously involves good language education. Language acquisition is a good thing in general and I think that's something which is compatible with libcom ideology, after all there are an awful lot of libcoms who do open borders work, translation help, TESL etc. I think helping overcome language differences is a far more productive attitude than insisting that you speak your language on the grounds that other people ought to understand it anyway.

Mark.
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Oct 5 2017 18:47
lettersjournal wrote:
What do the Carlists think of it all?

Apparently the legitimate king would have avoided the problem:

http://www.eldiario.es/catalunya/politica/MINUTO-Diada_13_685361458_13314.html

melenas
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Oct 5 2017 19:18
Mark. wrote:
lettersjournal wrote:
What do the Carlists think of it all?

Apparently the legitimate king would have avoided the problem:

http://www.eldiario.es/catalunya/politica/MINUTO-Diada_13_685361458_13314.html

Be carefully there are 2 different lines of carlismo, one from ultra right and the other one let say from left. The one from left now is more close to the libertarian municipalities.

melenas
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Oct 5 2017 19:21

This is the website of the leftist carlismo:

http://partidocarlista.com/

furbi
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Oct 5 2017 19:34
Quote:
The protection of the French language has been a significant contributing factor to the considerable lessening of Quebec nationalism.

In the same way, one of the drivers of Catalan nationalism in recent years has been a series of moves from the PP government to interfere with laws promoting Catalan, especially in the sphere of education. The desire for status as a nation-state with full border controls is arising in part from the feeling of the language and culture being under threat from the conservative Spanish right. So having anarchists and communists call for removing language protections will just push people more towards hard line nationalism. Or maybe if we start telling people "don't worry, Cantdocartwheels and Dannny from Libcom are pretty sure that Catalan will be fine, also everyone speaks Spanish so why make a fuss?" that will win over lots of people to pure Esperanto speaking anarchist communism. Or we could, you know, respect minority cultures and languages, and acknowledge the specificity of their historical reasons for being afraid of losing their language, organize in a way that celebrates the diversity of languages and cultures.

I would note also that while Quebec has about 80% self-reported native French speakers, primary Catalan speakers in Catalonia last reported at around 40% - although in rural regions and among the younger generation this is much higher. In Basque country the percentage is around 30%, although it is near 60% among people under 25. So these languages are far from stable and well-established.

To provide a bit more context, in Spain language competency is entirely judged based on official written examinations and their certificates, and these are required and used to an extent that seems like a bit of a mania to people from other countries. To work in many shops and bars you are asked for a B2 or so in English, the new bilingual education law in Madrid requires every teacher, even those who do not teach subjects in English, to have B2 in English. Everyone, no matter their education or language level, puts A1 English, A1 Italian on their CV. So the idea that you might need to take some classes at an official language school or a private academy to get a certificate of competency is not particularly unusual in the Spanish workforce. As another example, a friend of mine from Madrid got a job in Basque Country working with Spanish-speaking youth - because the position was paid for by the regional government, he was required to take Basque classes, paid for by the cooperative he worked for. This is a fairly standard arrangement.

MT
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Oct 5 2017 19:52

Strawman again? the debate was about the language in the workplace context and as a tool of promoting (subtle) nationalism within the working class. you say, we should accept that people fear that they lose their language. fine. what comes next? accepting people's fear of immigrants? accepting people's fear of collaps of sexist traditions or values? Because it is all about their comfort zone, isn't it? The history and culture cannot be separate into just language issue, which you embrace as "accept diversity". And to be clear - noone says that we should tell these people "fuck off, let your language die".

And second thing, what is so amazing about Catalan history and its language?

Mike Harman
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Oct 5 2017 20:15
fleur wrote:
there's a qualitative difference between tests which are implemented specifically to exclude immigrants and a language requirement which guarantees that public facing services are delivered in both languages.

Is there a qualitative difference when you're looking for a job?

Dannny
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Oct 5 2017 20:35
furbi wrote:
In the same way, one of the drivers of Catalan nationalism in recent years has been a series of moves from the PP government to interfere with laws promoting Catalan, especially in the sphere of education. The desire for status as a nation-state with full border controls is arising in part from the feeling of the language and culture being under threat from the conservative Spanish right. So having anarchists and communists call for removing language protections will just push people more towards hard line nationalism. Or maybe if we start telling people "don't worry, Cantdocartwheels and Dannny from Libcom are pretty sure that Catalan will be fine, also everyone speaks Spanish so why make a fuss?" that will win over lots of people to pure Esperanto speaking anarchist communism.

Haha well yes you could tell them that! Although if they look a bit handy, remember it was mostly cantdocartwheels smile
Seriously though, what do you think the role of internationalists and libertarians should be in this context? Of course it's true that the PP's interference in the legal enforcement of Catalan linguistic primacy has produced a predictable hardening of indepentist sentiment. I was in Barcelona 4 years ago or so when there was a Spain-wide education strike. In the build up the government played the stunt of subsidising private education for kids whose parents didn't want them to be taught in Catalan. The result was that a strike supposedly against cuts that were affecting the whole Spanish territory gave the impression in Barcelona of being an enormous nationalist mobilisation. Shouldn't we be trying to suggest a way out of these impasses?
There are around 7000 languages currently spoken in the world. Is any one of them worth less than Catalan? Does that mean that they all require the protection of laws and states to ensure they don't die out? What's the point of being an anarchist if the preservation of culture, communication, history, depends on legislation?
I would love to live in Barcelona, I speak a bit of Catalan, and I would be delighted to improve. Of course we're not weirdos who would take pleasure in a language dying out. But I do think there's an element of ingenuity in how blurred the line between 'defending' a language and discriminating against 'others' can be.

Mark.
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Oct 5 2017 20:40

Statement from the Barcelona union of street vendors (made up of African immigrants):

https://www.facebook.com/BLMUK/posts/870687239746920

furbi
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Oct 5 2017 20:55
Quote:
And to be clear - noone says that we should tell these people "fuck off, let your language die".
Quote:
And second thing, what is so amazing about Catalan history and its language?
Quote:
Now i'll be honest I have no romantic attachment to language. As such I don't really care if languages disappear personally

You can maybe forgive my confusion. What we have been trying to explain is why many Catalans feel that relaxing the protections for Catalan language are exactly a recipe for the language disappearing, and they have the evidence of other regions of Spain where regional languages disappeared after Francoism because they were not well promoted or supported. You can of course disagree with this, but to dismiss it as simply silly nonsense is a bit ahistorical.

To get back to the original claim, that promotion of Catalan causes discrimination against Castilian speakers who immigrate to Catalonia, has not really been supported or argued for here, except with hypothetical comparisons to the UK and the US. In Spain, the only place where these criticisms come from is the ultra-right. It is not an issue that appears to crop up much in workplace organizing in Catalonia. Most immigrants to Catalonia take advantage of the strong social support for learning Catalan, and it is actually a common stereotype in Spain that many of the most ardent Catalan independence supporters are themselves immigrants from other parts of Spain.
In other words, this "problem" is actually only an issue in practice for the ultra-right in Spain, and apparently some international anarchists who think that the Catalan language is not interesting enough to preserve.

This is just... such a weird point to attack. A mono-lingual Catalan could not move to Madrid and hope to get most jobs without learning some Spanish. That isn't discrimination, it's an issue of language. On the contrary, a mono-lingual Castilian speaker moving to Barcelona actually has many more options even without any Catalan knowledge, but to access a lot of jobs they need to learn some Catalan, because that is the regional language. It's... not really an issue, except for right wing politicians in the rest of Spain who use it to stir up Spanish nationalism.

furbi
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Oct 5 2017 21:22
Dannny wrote:
There are around 7000 languages currently spoken in the world. Is any one of them worth less than Catalan? Does that mean that they all require the protection of laws and states to ensure they don't die out? What's the point of being an anarchist if the preservation of culture, communication, history, depends on legislation?
.

I mean, this is a much bigger question, no? For me the answer might look something like building up strong anarchist communities and structures using these languages to keep them active and vibrant. That means a lot of organizing around education, cultural production, etc, maybe in the vein of some of the work that the Zapatistas were(are still?) doing around indigenous languages in Chiapas, for example.

But I think my answer ties in more with your other question,

Dannny wrote:
Seriously though, what do you think the role of internationalists and libertarians should be in this context? Of course it's true that the PP's interference in the legal enforcement of Catalan linguistic primacy has produced a predictable hardening of indepentist sentiment. I was in Barcelona 4 years ago or so when there was a Spain-wide education strike. In the build up the government played the stunt of subsidising private education for kids whose parents didn't want them to be taught in Catalan. The result was that a strike supposedly against cuts that were affecting the whole Spanish territory gave the impression in Barcelona of being an enormous nationalist mobilisation. Shouldn't we be trying to suggest a way out of these impasses?

The answer is that internationalists and libertarians are not strong enough, in Catalonia or anywhere else in the world, to have much political power to propose or implement solutions to these problems. To me, our role in the current independence crisis should be to try and leverage our opportunity to lead in the streets to try and redirect the terms of discussion away from purely nationalistic solutions and towards a working class movement against the state and capital. We can use this opportunity to build our organizations and capacity, and to try and open up spaces for autonomy and self-organization among the working class during this moment of rupture. And like you said, this should include educational and cultural organization as well.

At any rate, the point may soon be moot. Caixabank and Sabadell, the 3rd and 4th largest banks in Spain and the two largest in Catalonia just announced that they are moving headquarters out of Barcelona to other regions of Spain to "avoid instability", and various other companies are doing the same. So perhaps someday soon Barcelona will no longer be so attractive for economic migration...

Fleur
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Oct 5 2017 21:31

Mark Harman:

Quote:
Is there a qualitative difference when you're looking for a job?

Again I guess this is where different approaches come in. These language protections have been in place since the 70s, so they're no surprise to anyone. Free language courses up to accreditation level, immigrants get paid to do French classes full time with highly subsidized childcare. It's a different situation in the UK where people don't have access to this.

I would have thought supporting people to learn languages is far preferable than basically saying FU, I'll just speak English and not bother, which is what used to happen, when large swathes of the Francophone population had to rely on seasonal work. This is why there are so many disused orphanages in this city, people were forced to relinquish their children when winter came because they couldn't feed them. That's another story though but these scars run deep.

fwiw French is not a minority language globally but it is amongst the 569 million or so North Americans and left to it's own devises it's not inconceivable that it may die out under the weight of English and I think that would be a fucking shame because Quebecois French is a delight. Incidentally, myself and my English born kids are all officially classified in the census as Francophone,despite having English as our first language, the language stats are deliberately skewed.

MT:

What's so fucking wonderful about the Catalan language? I don't know, I don't speak it. Ask someone who speaks Catalan. Why would anyone be so cavalier about people people being deprived of something as fundamentally a part of their humanity as the language they speak?

In an ideal world we shouldn't need laws to protect languages but I hate to break the bad news but we don't live in an ideal world and I seriously doubt it's on the horizon. We do live in a world where external pressures to conform to anodyne, homogenized standards of conformity, every little bit helps to resist that. My ideal world is not somewhere where everyone is the same, that sounds awful.