By Panayiotis Alimisis
The recent uprising in Catalonia, Spain, gave an idea of how easy is for a major European country to get into political and social instability. Certainly, is not only the Iberian peninsula which face the danger of political and ethnic disintegration. Great Britain, Belgium, North Italy and of course the Balkans, could have the experience the Catalan example in the near future. Starting with Britain, the Scotish still are not happy with Brexit, and seems that the majority wants to be part of the EU. South of the English channel, the Flemish community in Belgium, doesn’t feel… Belgian any more, and has a long desire to create its own state and perhaps a future union with the Nerthelands. In North Italy things are not different because the leaders of the «North League» believe that the «poor south» of the country its «another world»… At this point, it has to be clarified that the North italian freedom movement does not have the dynamics of that of Catalonia and Scotland, therefore doen’t pose a direct threat to italian unity.
National Identity vs globalization
All these uprisings, might start from a different cause, but all have a common aim. To create a «state within a state». And that because, even in our days national identities resist the autocratic character of globalization. At least, that’s what many of leaders of these movements claim. For many Catalans, Scotish and millions of Europeans, (English, French Germans, Greeks etc) the EU has evolve into a «dominating organization» rather than a community with collective identities. Yet, the political, economic and intellectuall elites along with the mainstream media and the far- left, call these ethnic movements,«nationalistic dangerous for Human Rights(!). To some extend, this is true. However, the «politicaly correct» speech ignores the fact that the ongoing economic crisis in Europe, the unprecedented refugee flow from the Middle East, state multiculturalism, the groing political islam in Europe and the bloody terrorist attacks, are the main reasons for the «change of feelings».
Usualy, in the public dialogue, most anti-seperatist believe that racism and nationalism drive idoeologically and practically all ethnic uprisings. But this is only one-side narration.The recent elections in Germany, France and Austria, proved that ordinary people, from every class, ideology and social status, abadoned the tradional «politicaly correct» parties and moved mainly towards alternative parties, the far right, even to rascist parties like the neo-nazis!
The most «open eye» example is France. The majority of the left and center orientated voters, especially the working class turn largely their back to Francoise Hollande, Emmanuel Macron and the left parties and gave many points to Mari lepen! The question is… why? Well, Lepen, usued the public distress for her own cause, because the major parties failed to address the main issues like mass immigration and Economic inequalities.
What has to be done…
The political elites in Europe must realise fast without any hesitation, that globalization carries many myths. Large part of the European population-not only the minorities- «suffocate» under neo-liberal policies and state multiculturalism. Although many analysts believe that the phenomenon of globalization is irreversible, at least, there is a chance for a «new deal». The legitimate and democratic leaderships in the EU must persuade their peoples that Globalization cannot step on collective identities. Generally speaking, all they have to do is to create a ballance between collective and individual identity. Otherwise, phenomena like the Catalonian uprising, and the growth of far-right is inevitable and societies will become very inward-looking.
*Panayiotis Alimisis is a journalist. He studied Modern History and International Relations at London Metropolitan University