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Review: Catalonia Since The Spanish Civil War – Reconstructing the Nation – by Andrew Dowling

This book focuses on the study of the important Spanish region of Catalonia in the modern age. Catalonia has a strong claim to being an independent state, dating back to its time as the Kingdom of Aragon. There is a unique Catalan language and the region has a culture of its own, independent to that of the main Castilian Spanish national one. In wake of recent events in Catalonia, that occurred after this book was released, this book becomes ever more important to study in order for us to fully understand the political processes that are now occurring in Catalonia and their causes. Catalonia was a key thorn in the foot of Franco and the Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War and during the ensuing Franco dictatorship, he never forgot the Catalan betrayal. Inherent to Francoism was oppression of regionalist identities within Spain. Under Franco, Catalanism went underground. There was suppression of the language and I found it strange how the main thrust of survival of Catalanism was to found within the Catholic church, an institution that, in particular, during the Spanish Civil War, encountered a fierce enemy in the Catalan people and experienced one of the most excessive repressions of the church by any area during its history, with many churches burnt and priests killed. Catalan liturgies and church literature ensured the survival of the language and the culture was empowered by Vatican support. Montserrat and its role in society in terms of Catalan national identity became intertwined. In the post-Franco era, there has been a resurgence in Catalanism. A degree of autonomy has been granted and widespread recovery of culture has developed, with Catalan being taught again and used in schools and an alternative centre of power to the central Madrid government has emerged in the Generalitat, its key figure in its foundation being long term president, Jordi Pujol. In the modern age, immigration of initially non-Catalan speakers from other areas of Spain, and then non-Spaniards, has created issues for integration within wider Catalan society. Catalonia is a powerful and wealthy industrial region that gives away about 10% of its GDP to Madrid with no return. Politically it tends to lean towards bourgeois values although working class organisation and unionisation has played an important role. There has been an ongoing rally for votes within Catalan politics between middle-right Nationalists and Socialists / Communists. The book’s epilogue explores the…

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Review: Catalonia Since The Spanish Civil War – Reconstructing the Nation – by Andrew Dowling

catalonia

This book focuses on the study of the important Spanish region of Catalonia in the modern age. Catalonia has a strong claim to being an independent state, dating back to its time as the Kingdom of Aragon. There is a unique Catalan language and the region has a culture of its own, independent to that of the main Castilian Spanish national one. In wake of recent events in Catalonia, that occurred after this book was released, this book becomes ever more important to study in order for us to fully understand the political processes that are now occurring in Catalonia and their causes. Catalonia was a key thorn in the foot of Franco and the Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War and during the ensuing Franco dictatorship, he never forgot the Catalan betrayal. Inherent to Francoism was oppression of regionalist identities within Spain. Under Franco, Catalanism went underground. There was suppression of the language and I found it strange how the main thrust of survival of Catalanism was to found within the Catholic church, an institution that, in particular, during the Spanish Civil War, encountered a fierce enemy in the Catalan people and experienced one of the most excessive repressions of the church by any area during its history, with many churches burnt and priests killed. Catalan liturgies and church literature ensured the survival of the language and the culture was empowered by Vatican support. Montserrat and its role in society in terms of Catalan national identity became intertwined. In the post-Franco era, there has been a resurgence in Catalanism. A degree of autonomy has been granted and widespread recovery of culture has developed, with Catalan being taught again and used in schools and an alternative centre of power to the central Madrid government has emerged in the Generalitat, its key figure in its foundation being long term president, Jordi Pujol. In the modern age, immigration of initially non-Catalan speakers from other areas of Spain, and then non-Spaniards, has created issues for integration within wider Catalan society. Catalonia is a powerful and wealthy industrial region that gives away about 10% of its GDP to Madrid with no return. Politically it tends to lean towards bourgeois values although working class organisation and unionisation has played an important role. There has been an ongoing rally for votes within Catalan politics between middle-right Nationalists and Socialists / Communists. The book’s epilogue explores the…

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The Cultural Politics of the ‘War on Drugs’ in Latin America: Prohibition and Beyond? – By Dr Joey Whitfield, Cardiff University, 22.11.17

Dr Joey Whitfield is a Research Fellow and member of the Spanish department at Cardiff University. He has a forthcoming book (available on Amazon) titled Prison Writing of Latin America https://www.amazon.co.uk/Prison-Writing-Latin-America-Whitfield/dp/150133462X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1512133181&sr=8-1&keywords=prison+writing+of+latin+america The book details his study of prison writing from the 1910s to the present day. His interest in the War on Drugs springs from this extensive research where he has explored the creative output of prisoners. His work leads him to conclude that there is not so clear a distinction in Latin American jails between political prisoners and criminal prisoners.. Similarly in Latin America, politically, there is not a great deal of difference between democracies and dictatorships. One of the groups he has investigated is the Red Command – from Rio De Janeiro – who are a trafficking gang. There has been a decline if the role of the Urban Guerrilla in Latin America. There have been repressive regimes that are dictatorial. Eg. The government of Brazil during the 1980s The same repressive apparatus that has been used against urban guerrillas is now being used on drug cartels. As the Cold War ended across Latin America the political conflicts gave way to the ‘War on Drugs’. A new class of political prisoner has emerged. US President Ronald Reagan followed on from Nixon’s 1971 declaration of the ‘War on Drugs’. Aid payments to Latin American governments required a certification procedure that these governments were fighting this war appropriately. Often this led to high-profile arrests of cartel leaders in an attempt to justify the aid payments. Also, often there would be swoops upon the easiest people to arrest in the industry. The ‘War on Drugs’ has been completely lost. It is, in essence, impossible to win. It can be dealt with through legislation. The myth that drugs only involve hippies is incorrect. There are global groups that specialize in narco-policy. Leading figures such as Carlo Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa and Kofi Annan, Nick Clegg and former Latin American presidents, César Gaviria (Colombia) and Vicente Fox (underwent a terrible phase of presidency in Mexico during the War on Drugs), all of these figures are advocates of legalisation of drugs as being the key solution to the global crisis. However, all of the important political figures in this list are no longer in power. It is a matter of Realpolitik. It is impossible to countenance wide scale legalisation in order to end violence…

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Nineteenth Century Revolutions and the French Working Classes

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Q] What was the impact of the revolutions and political uprisings of 1830, 1848 and 1870 on the French working classes?          The French Revolution was a critical event in global history. The effects of this revolution continued to reverberate across French society well into the nineteenth century and three subsequent revolutions occurred. The subjects of this essay are these three revolutions in 1830, 1848 and 1870 and the specific effects on the working classes shall be analysed. In 1789 the sans-culottes played an important role although afterwards conservative consolidation meant that the revolution ultimately favoured the bourgeoisie. Similarly, in the nineteenth century revolts, the power of working classes was often used to fuel the revolutions themselves. Thereafter conservatism dominated politics, resulting in benefits to the bourgeoisie and aristocracy, with the demands of the working classes often overlooked. In focussing on each nineteenth century revolution it shall be necessary to identify the causes of unrest and the results of the uprisings in terms of politics. The very fact that there was a repetitive cycle of revolution indicates that there were underlying political instabilities dominating France. After Napoleon, France reverted to a Bourbon monarchy. However, revolutionary gains were not entirely reversed and the King was bound by certain restrictions, unlike his ancestors. 1789 can be regarded as a ‘Bourgeois Revolution and ‘the nobles were, along with the clergy, the clear losers from the revolution’ (Magraw, 1988:25). The Restoration aristocracy clawed back much of their political power under the Bourbons and their power climaxed preceding the 1830 July Days. Charles X had supported policies for properties lost during the Revolution to be returned to their owners, a political bone of contention. In the immediate years preceding 1830 a classic economic crisis had emerged, inducing food shortages and forcing up grain prices. This deeply unsettled peasants and the urban masses. Charles X introduced restrictive censorship measures that had an immediate effect on one group of workers: the printers. The disenchanted bourgeoisie succeeded in rallying emotions among artisans and it was this element of the working classes that did the backbone of the fighting during the ‘Trois Glorieuses’. This artisan class were the first to identify as a proletariat and demonstrate the birth of the working class in France. They agreed with progressive republican ideas thrust upon them by the bourgeoisie. Artisans were comprised of the old craft workers and the industrial revolution was increasingly…

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Les Réseaux Sociaux

    Les réseaux sociaux sont des phénomènes assez récents et dans la décennie qui a suivi son émergence, il a changé la façon dont nous utilisons Internet à travers le monde. Les « réseaux sociaux » renvoient à l’usage social d’internet ainsi qu’aux services de réseautage social, qui peuvent se définir comme l’ensemble des moyens en ligne mis en œuvre pour relier des personnes physiques ou morales entre elles. Alors que l’invention d’Internet à la fin du vingtième siècle peut être considérée comme un progrès technologique majeur pour la société et pourrait facilement être revendiquée comme l’invention de ce siècle, l’Internet lui-même a vraiment pris un nouveau départ du vingt-et-unième siècle avec l’invention des réseaux sociaux qui a rassemblé des personnes sur Internet d’une manière qui n’aurait jamais pu être envisagée. La popularité des réseaux sociaux ne peut pas être sous-estimée – Des services tels que le Facebook, le Twitter et l’Instagram sont maintenant des noms familiers et vous avez tendance à être dans la minorité de la population mondiale si vous n’avez pas de compte sur eux. Dans cet essai, l’impact de ce changement technologique global doit être examiné et il faut discuter si ces nouveaux médias sont une bonne invention ou une mauvaise invention. Comme avec presque chaque invention dans l’histoire de l’humanité, les réseaux sociaux peuvent être utilisés à la fois positivement et négativement. Certaines personnes considèrent que les changements sociétaux que les médias ont apporté à notre monde en font la pire invention de notre nouveau siècle. Peut-être l’un des pires exemples de l’abus des médias sociaux est l’utilisation de Twitter par le nouveau président américain Donald Trump. Les gens du monde entier attendent avec impatience que ce bouffon renégat produise son flot quotidien de tweets, chacun plus souvent controversé et proche de l’os que le précédent. De l’échange d’insultes personnelles avec le leader de la RPDC, Kim Jong Un, à la destruction des principales institutions médiatiques américaines, les accusant de “fausses nouvelles”, personne ne peut prétendre que @realDonaldTrump n’est pas un compte intéressant à suivre? Pas une âme ne semble être exempte de sa colère et il a été critiqué par Theresa May et le gouvernement britannique la semaine dernière en retweetant négligemment une série de messages vils des extrémistes d’extrême droite “Britain First” qui a choqué la population britannique et le grand public plus loin. De l’utilisation initiale positive d’être un outil pour…

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Estereotipos en ‘Ocho Apellidos Vascos’

En la película Ocho apellidos vascos, Rafa, de origen andaluz, se enamora de Amaia, vasca, y decide dejar su Sevilla natal para ir a buscarla a Euskadi. Después de unos días en Argoitia decide escribir un correo electrónico a sus amigos para explicarles las razones por las que no aguanta más en el País Vasco y quiere volver a Andalucía. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LP1hhPCAfR4     Queridos Joaquín y Curro, Os escribo como mis queridos amigos andaluces. Soy un extraño en un país extranjero. Quiero volver al calor de las playas andaluzas. Quiero beber finos en el chiringuito y comer pescado frito. Deseo volver al sonido constante de las guitarras y bailar hermosas Sevillanas. He viajado por todo el país para estar con esta loca chica vasca con un flequillo. Pero Amaia vive en una tierra salvaje que es tan extraña para un sureño con estilo como yo. Nunca más me pongo el jersey al cuello. Ahora he adquirido una identidad vasca para que yo pueda encajar correctamente aquí. Soy un hombre con pendientes. Me visto con una chaqueta grande y también uso un pañuelo palestino. Disfrazo mi pronunciación para hablar en esta áspera lengua del norte y oye, nunca creerías cómo ahora estoy pronunciando la letra R, con toda la fuerza de un verdadero vasco. Ha sido lo suficientemente convincente para que los jóvenes locales crean que, de hecho, soy un importante líder terrorista emergente y hasta he sido invitado a la plaza local para participar en una manifestación. Ellos realmente creen que estoy preparado para liderar los kale borroka. Mi Alma! Creo que demasiados años en el sol andaluz me han ablandado el corazón. Había imaginado que estaría haciendo el amor con mi bella y oscura princesa vasca, Amaia, todas las tardes durante una siesta romántica, pero ¡ay !, ¡no! En su lugar, parezco estar pasando cada hora del día con su rudo barbudo y arquetípico padre pescador vasco, Koldo. Me da la Inquisición para probar mi identidad vasca, para verificar si soy lo suficientemente puro como para ser su futuro yerno. Por mucho que ame Amaia, su forma de vivir aquí es demasiado complicada para un simple hombre andaluz como yo y ¡guau! ella tiene un temperamento vicioso! Adiós mis queridos hermanos de flamenco. Rezo para que no pase mucho tiempo antes de que pueda escapar de este infierno y regresar a nuestra hermosa tierra soleada. “Me cago en la leche”…

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