Joan Crexells was born at the end of the XIX century and studied language, philosophy and other humanities in several universities in Barcelona province. At a very young age he joined Catalan republican intellectual associations, and further on, their political parties. He believed and defended the viability of a Catalan independent state. He worked in Barcelona city hall before Primo de Ribera took the Spanish government around 1923, when the dictator annihilated the Mancomunitat Catalana (somehow a Catalan Commonwealth system created on 1914 to unify Girona, Barcelona, Lleida and Tarragona provinces). Among his written works, there are many relevant political essays and articles worth to mention, but today I will quote an extract of “L’endemà de les festes” (The day after the festivals) that he wrote during this travels to London and Berlin to go deeper in his studies.

When I started this group of articles, we intended to write one only article that would correct the present idea in Catalonia that our independence is impossible due to the disparity between the cities and the country side. Later, though, we could not help but to comment on other aspects of the complex set of circumstances surrounding the independence of Catalonia. The data we have collected until now, no matter if few or many, proofs that there is absolutely no reason to condemn to death the independence of Catalonia, when all the probabilities are in favor of its perfect viability.

Map of Europe during World War I

When you see that after the war almost all of the nationalism problems have been solved and you try to analyze why ours has not been solved yet, it is easy to realize that there are some moments when the Catalan leaders have not followed an adequate policy towards the (I World Wide) War. They could not foresee from the very first moment what part was going to win it: they sympathized with Germany against the feeling of the people, which directly avoided that efficient international actions would be carried out properly; they missed clear opportunities, specially taking into account the difficult moment Spain was experiencing. (..) These moments of hesitation of our politicians, as described above, made it impossible for Catalans to take absolutely any profit at all of the circumstances, in a historical moment when the whole world was in full transformation. The key of this hesitation, and the key to all the causes that lead to a negative result of our policy during the war was that it existed indeed real horror towards the independence of Catalonia in the hearts of our politicians, and this fear got worse in decisive moments. Thus it is absolutely necessary that a new fearless generation of politicians arises. Without that fear, all problems simplify, all attitudes can be seen clearly and logically. Not only it gets closer to the fulfillment of the most radicals ideals, but facilitates the securing of more moderate concepts as well. Like the case of Czechoslovakia , it is a good example for this. When Prussia saw that Czechoslovakia claimed for independence and did not hesitate to join the enemy in order to obtain it, Prussia supported them and asked Austria to grant them self-determination. The institution of the Bohemian estate was then agreed so. And the desires of those who had more moderate ideas were satisfied due to the attitude of the intransigent ones”.

Extract of “L’endemà de les festes: IV” (The day after the festivals: IV), La Publicitat, 1-III-1923, from the book Obra completa, vol.II: Cròniques europees. Berlin-Londres, 1920-1926 (Complete works, vol.II: European chronicles. Berlin-London 1920-1926), published by Edicions de la Magrana, at Barcelona,  1997, page 407-409).

You can find the original quote in Catalan published permanently online at http://www.escriptors.cat/autors/crexellsj/pagina.php?id_sec=2438

Indeed, it seems we are still dealing with the same issue after more than a century after Mr. Crexells wrote these words. Unfortunately for Catalonia, our politicians are still fearful to declare independence. A good example of it is CIU (Convergència i Unió), whose politicians now try to justify their abstention towards the declaration of independence by saying the way independence is being considered is not the correct one… There is only way to convince those frightened politicians and along with them, most of the people living in Catalan territory, that they would be better living in an independent Catalonia: show them a viability plan for a Catalan independent government, certified by key international organizations, economists, banks, masters in law and other qualified experts and scholars. We should do what our ancestors at the beginning of the XX century were trying: develop a new social, institutional and economic system that works and fulfills the most basic needs of the Catalan people and the Catalan economy both in the domestic and the international levels.