Francesc Trillas. – Sunday, March 21, 2021
Hypocrisy, xenophobia and hispanophobia
The French economist Thomas Piketty recounts (in his book “Capital and Ideology” and in this vídeo) that France’s relative delay in introducing a progressive income tax in the 20th century is explained at least in part by the hypocrisy of its elites. Having starred in nothing more and nothing less than the French Revolution, the bourgeoisie considered that there was already enough equality, and that being French they were already enormously advanced in that sense, despite being at that time one of the societies with the greatest wealth inequality in the world. Piketty associates this hypocrisy with the importance that nationalism attaches to supremacist narratives.
The Catalan independentists have not made the French Revolution, but some of them are as proud of the 1-O as the French of it. Perhaps this helps explain why many Pujolists voters now self-position more to the left than a few years ago. When offered the option to self-position themselves in two dimensions (more or less independent and more or less left), they self-locate as more independent and less right-wing (even center-left or left) than in the past. There is no evidence that this would be confirmed if they were asked about specific left-wing policies (support for inheritance tax, a high maximum marginal rate in income tax, support for aid to less developed regions), such as logical given the relatively well-off level of most of these voters. Perhaps if we lowered the independence dimension to the “second division” from being one more indicator of lack of social solidarity and therefore part of the left-right dimension, self-positioning would be different.
The President of Catalan Parliament Laura Borràs is an example of this. Her self-proclaimed leftism contrasts with her null concern for child poverty, or delays in dependency policies, and it contrasts with her comfort in the classist and corrupt habits of lifelong Pujolism. She screams from the rooftops that she is against xenophobia, but she has a very concrete past of contribution to hispanophobia.
Sergei Guriev and Elias Papaioannou explain in their article on economics and populism that one of the consequences of populism upon coming to power is that it normalizes behaviors that were previously considered unacceptable. Specifically, they give the example of an experiment that was carried out before and after Trump’s victory in 2016, where it is shown that the stigma associated with making donations to anti-immigration organizations completely disappeared after Trump’s victory.
In Catalonia, for example, Hispanophobia is manifested today in an open and scandalous way (for example, with the use of insults on Twitter such as ñordo or colonist directed at people with roots in other regions of Spain who often or habitually express themselves in Castilian). But it also manifests itself more subtly, but quite widely, and by people with a high level of education and even international experience. For example, a prestigious political scientist for whom I had respect, yesterday wrote an article in Ara saying that the sad image of Spanish politics this week was little less than something inherent to the country and irretrievable. When in fact the serious part of his argument was that the fights of the nation-state today are mere theater because the important thing is played at the European level, which would place the Spanish theater at the same level as the theater of any country. Another example is that of a well-trained user of tweeter, who to a tweet of mine suggesting that the debate on capitalist self-criticism had not reached Spain, he commented: “and is it constitutional in Spain to debate?”
Hispanophobia is a form of xenophobia. Just as many reasonable people ask footballers to stop the game when the least expression of racism happens, here too we should stop all kinds of interactions every time a sample of Hispanophobia (or Catalonophobia) arises – I say this in prevention of the whataboutism that is sure to tempt some-, or Europhobia, etc. And resume them again when whoever has incurred them pays in some way and apologizes.