Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Vilanova Commemorates the 1934 Catalan Republic

It is not everyday we see the estalada – the flag for the independence of Catalonia – on the town hall of this solidly socialist (PSC) municipality. However, today attention was brought to the role of Vilanova i la Geltrú in the short lived Catalan republic, 75 years ago.

The Second Spanish Republic of those days was fragile and many people worried that conservative political forces would join the army and the church and attempt a coup. (Two years later, those groups united in the alzamiento nacional (national up-rising) and the start of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) was a fact.) In 1934 that fear resulted in manifestations around Spain – called the October revolution (la Revolució d’Octubre) – but here in Vilanova, on October 4, the trade unions went further and pushed through that the estelada be hoisted on the town hall and an independent Catalan Republic be proclaimed. One day later, Lluís Companys did the same for the whole of Catalonia.

The Catalan independence of 1934 lasted only for two days in Barcelona, while in Vilanova troops of the Guardia Civil as well as the republican army needed five days to break the resistance. For that reason, the following repression was harsher here than elsewhere and hundreds of people – among them many representatives of the local government – were brought to court.

This is why almost all political parties had agreed to commemorate this day by again hanging the
estalada on the town hall balcony. The proposal to do so originally came from the CUP (Candidatura d’Unitat Popular – a political party active throughout Catalonia, but only on the municipal level). While I will have it hard to feel comfortable with their left-wing ideology, I share their vision about re-connecting politics with the local people and territory. With a limited number of members they manage to stir up an impressive amount of debate, so I am confident that I will have reason to come back to them.

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Source: Vilanova Digital

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Technorati tags: Barcelona, Catalonia, Garraf, Independence, Penedès, PSC, Spain, Vilanova

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