Monday, October 23, 2017

On rural and urban in Catalonia

Several weeks ago, the New York Times ran this story about the tractor having become a symbol of the Catalan secession movement.  It discusses the role of the “tractorada,”or tractor armada, in the Catalan independence movement.  On the occasion that is the subject of this report from early October, a tractorada had convened to block an intersection of two major highways that carry Catalan farm products to other parts of Spain and to nearby France.  The dateline is Vic, Spain (population 41,956), which is the center of a valley of hundreds of family-owned farms.  The story's lede follows:
Rolling his rickety red tractor through a rural valley in Catalonia, Jordi Colom seemed like just another farmer heading to the fields. Except that he was in a line of dozens of tractors lumbering along. And cars honked in approval. People on the side of the road waved red-and-orange Catalan flags and cheered.
The story then quotes 39-year-old Imma Colom, the sister of Mr. Colom.
Today, everyone wants to be a farmer.
Ms. Colom's husband, too, is driving a tractor.  Her brother is also quoted:
People who are Catalans are very Catalan here.
Elsewhere the story picks up the urban v. rural theme, noting that Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is highly global and cosmopolitan. That status is the theme of this more recent New York Times story from Oct. 20:  Barcelona: A Global City in the Eye of a Separatist Storm.  Here's that story's lede:
These days, the city of Barcelona wears two hats. And not too comfortably. 
On the one hand, Barcelona is a global city, a former host of the Olympics, and the home of one of the world’s most famous soccer clubs, F.C. Barcelona. It is a magnet for more than 10 million visitors a year, an example of the ways large cities increasingly influence global politics, economics and culture. 
On the other hand, Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, Spain’s restive northeastern region, and the nerve center of a drive for Catalan independence that is described by its opponents as parochial, exclusive and nationalist.
It is the "parochial, exclusive and nationalist" that suggests "rural."  I am reminded of other political movements driven (at least partly) by "rural" concerns, such as Brexit, the State of Jefferson, and Donald's Trump's election.   Other related stories are out of Germany and Poland.

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