34 thoughts on “Political Geography Blog Assignment #4

  1. Many countries throughout the world experience political tensions just like the United States. These images are examples of the propaganda put out by political groups and of the political groups themselves. As each of these groups aim to better themselves or change the organization of the states in which they exist, some are thriving and others are not.

    The top left picture is of the Scottish National Party who is “committed to making Scotland a prosperous country where everyone gets the chance to fulfill their potential” (SNP). They want a fair society where no one is left behind and also want Scotland as an independent country; equal to the very best countries across the world. They believe that the only way to create a progressive, successful, and socially just country is independence and that Scotland needs to govern itself. The 2014 Independence Referendum sparked a transformation in Scotland as many people began to engage in politics for the first time. Many of these people were young and had some of the most valuable debates on the fight for Independence. But not only do the SNP want independence, but they also want democratic reform.

    The bottom left picture is of the Parti Québécois; a Québec nationalist party committed to the independence of Quebec from Canada. Unlike the Scottish National Party, the Parti Québécois has had one major dilemma. “The party has had to attack the federal system from which it wishes to detach itself, while seeking to extract maximum benefit from this very system” (Parti). With this dilemma starting in the fall of 1981, Québec found itself isolated and under a Liberal government until further concessions were made in 1987. They regained power in 1994 and won another term in 1998. The Parti Québécois maintained power until they were defeated in 2003 and in 2007, they formed neither the government nor the opposition in Québec.

    Across the image, in the top right corner, is a political campaign sign for Vlaams Belang, a right-wing populist and Flemish nationalist party in Belgium. As they work towards the advancement of the national and cultural identity of Flanders, and succession from the Beligian state, they voice their demands on the political scene with self-government, and amnesty. They believe that man should be “a free agent, with all his human qualities and flaws, that we reject ideologies that presuppose the “makeability” of mankind and that advocate social engineering” (Flemish Republic). The Vlaams Belang feels that the state is abusing its power and is dedicated to protecting their individuals’ form this abuse. They defend their basic freedoms that they feel are being taken away and will respect the rights and freedoms that are guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

    Lastly, the larger, center picture is of a campaign held by the Catalan Convergéncia I Unió, or CiU. The CiU is a political party that supports greater autonomy for Catalonia, an area within Spain. Established in 1978, the CiU was a moderate nationalist party until it recently shifted its views to open Catalan independence and become a pro-secession party. There are many mixed views within this party as some voters are satisfied with their self-government status while others want complete independence from Spain. During the 2012 elections, they stated, “we want to build a wide social majority so that Catalonia can have its own State in the European frame, because Catalonia has the will to become a normal country among world’s countries and nations” (Mas).

    These pictures represent only a few of the political parties fighting for independence across the world. As some have had much more success than others, it is clear that these parties seek independence for the betterment of their people and for what they believe is better for their states as a whole.

    Citations

    Mas, Artur (2012). “Programa Electoral 2012” (PDF). CiU (Barcelona).
    “Parti Québécois.” The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada. Web. 8 Nov. 2015.
    “Scottish National Party.” Tectonics. Web. 8 Nov. 2015.
    “The Flemish Republic – Friends of Flemish Independence.” The Manifesto of the Vlaams Belang Web. 8 Nov. 2015.

  2. The Scottish National Party is a social-democrat, nationalist party in Scotland. The SNP’s goal is to ultimately see Scotland become a fully independent nation and member of the European Union. The party was founded in 1934 through the merging of the Scottish Party and the National Party of Scotland and has since risen to become the third largest political party in the United Kingdom. The SNP’s first parliamentary seat was secured in 1945, in 1974 the SNP won 11 parliamentary seats, and in 1997 plans for a Scottish Parliament were endorsed in a referendum. This new Scottish Parliament met for the first time in 1999. In 2014 the SNP legislated for an independence referendum which, while voted down, saw a voter turnout of 84.5%, a new record for any election held in the UK since the introduction of universal suffrage in 1918.

    Vlaams Belang is a Flemish nationalist party in Belgium. The goal of Vlaams Belang is to create an independent Flanders. This means that the ultimate goal is the dissolution of the Belgian state structure to establish an independent Flemish state. In addition to an independence, Vlaams Belang also emphasizes national and cultural identity in the formation of the Flemish state, with such policies as to “enforce respect for Dutch” and to undo “the multicultural mistake.” Vlaams Belang’s popular support hinges on nationalistic feelings within ethnic Flemish people as well as antagonistic and anti-Islamic rhetoric aimed against immigrants, such as Syrian refugees.

    The CIU of Spain was a Catalan nationalist coalition of the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia and the Democratic Union of Catalonia parties which, until its split in 2015, pushed for Catalan independence from Spain. After the split the resultant parties, led by CIU leader and Catalan President Artur Mas, continue to call for full independence. Catalonia, located in the northeast corner of Spain, is arguably the country’s most powerful economic region, providing a fifth of the country’s economy while making up just 16 % of the total population. Proponents of Catalan independence are unhappy with what they see as unfair wealth distribution and an unwillingness of the Spanish central government to reduce its contribution of tax revenue. Opponents fear for the stability of the European Union and that a successful independence movement in Spain would spur similar movements across Europe and would “essentially be the end of European integration.”

    The Parti Quebecois of Canada is a sovereignist political party that seeks to attain independence of the province of Quebec from Canada as well as the creation of a sovereign state of Quebec. The party leans heavily on language for its identity and is committed to promoting the French language in public administration, business, and even in international affairs. The PQ also has affirmed its commitment to secularism and religious neutrality of the state as well as arts and sciences and the inclusion of First Nations and Inuit in social programs. While proponents of the sovereignty movement see it as a liberation of the francophones of Canada, others see the movement as a distraction from the real economic problems of Quebec which cannot be solved by sovereignty alone. Still others believe the movement is simply an expression of ethnic nationalism.

    The Kurdistan Workers Party, known also as the PKK, is a Kurdish nationalist militant organization. The PKK has been fighting in Turkey for the right to self-determination of the Kurdish people and for an independent Kurdistan since 1984. The reasoning for this conflict however, have roots much further back in history. After the first World War, upon the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the Kurdish-majority territories of the é Middle East were divided between the newly formed states of Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. This made the Kurds an ethnic minority in each of these states. Ever since this partitioning of the old Ottoman Empire, Kurdish nationalist movements have been suppressed in each of these new nations. The international community is split on the PKK, some states recognize it as a terrorist organization, others have not chosen to make that designation.

    http://www.snp.org/our_party
    http://www.vlaamsbelang.org/beginselverklaring/
    http://time.com/4102619/what-catalonias-vote-for-independence-means-for-europe/
    http://www.pq.org/plateforme/
    http://www.pkkonline.com/en/index.php?sys=article&artID=175

  3. In the case of the Scottish National Party (SNP), a party which seeks Scottish independence above all else, it isn’t as much that they want to change the sub-state organization of Britain as remove Scotland from said organization. That being said, the party would not dispute any change in the sub-state organization which added to the degree by which Scotland is sovereign over itself. This is not the only issue for which the SNP has a position. For instance, the SNP is for British and, if Scotland were to become independent, Scottish membership in the EU. So, in as far as the EU is a state, the SNP would like to maintain that level of state or sub-state organization.
    Vlaams Belang (VB) would like to see Belgium’s sub-state organization change in much the same way as the SNP is fighting for in Britain. That is, VB seeks independence for Flanders from Belgium. This is, with few exceptions, where the similarities end between these two political parties. For instance VB has a negative outlook on immigration, especially immigration from the Islamic world. This type of othering, as we discussed in class, is one reason this nationalist party has support. That is, othering has been and is a big part of a lot of nationalist movements in the past and present.
    The Convergence and Union (CiU) in Spain is similar to the other two parties in that it is a party with a nationalist leaning, in this case Catalan nationalism. This party, although it unanimously supports a large degree of autonomy for Catalonia, is divided when it comes to Catalan succession from Spain.
    These European nationalist/secessionist movements are not necessarily at odds with the overall European trend toward union. In at least one of these cases the party, the SNP, has demonstrated that they are pro-European Union. It isn’t necessarily the case that they want to be isolated, politically and economically, they just want to rearrange themselves within the greater European tapestry.
    The Parti Québécois (PQ) is another secessionist political party, in this case within the North American country Canada. As was mentioned in class, when we talked about separatist movements within the United States, the PQ is not the only secessionist movement in North America but it seems to be the one closest to its goal, Quebec’s secession. Within this party there has been talk of allowing loose sovereign and economic ties with Canada, but the party seems otherwise intent on the complete secession of Quebec from Canada.
    The Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) has the same goal as the rest but has, historically speaking, a different modus operandi. They are actually militant in their resistance to being within a larger state but, to be fair, they aim to represent the most marginalized and most previously exploited group, in relation to the parties in the above discussion. The PKK started out as a Marxist-Leninist party, but have recently changed their platform to a socialist political philosophy which seeks to abolish the state altogether. In other words, they wish to not have state or sub-state organization.

    Extra-Curricular Section:

    Before we discussed United States secessionist movements in class I was unaware of the fact that Alaska has a strong secessionist movement. I read online that there are some separatists in Alaska who favor, instead of an Alaskan state, union with Canada. It occurred to me while writing this that a lot of jostling on the list of top 5 biggest countries would occur if first Quebec secedes from Canada, second Alaska secedes from the United states, and finally Alaska unites with Canada. First, when Quebec secedes, Canada would go from second to fifth (slightly less area than Brazil) and the US would go from forth to third. Then, when Alaska secedes, the United States would then be placed fifth and Canada would go to fourth. Finally, when Alaska unites with Canada, Canada goes back to second (Alaska is bigger than Quebec) and the United States remains fifth, only one hundred thousand square miles bigger than Australia. If the US lost Texas, having a land area about two and a half times smaller than Alaska, we would be the sixth largest country. Why does all this matter? To answer in one word: resources. I am a mathematics major, I like calculations.

  4. “SNP” stands for the “Scottish Nationalist Party”. They are a political party who is working towards Scotland being separated from the UK, and helping the country to pursue its own political goals, which include political reform, increased funding for education, protection of the NHS budget, further increasing free early learning and childcare, promoting the Living Wage and the principles of Fair Work, continuing to invest in domestic energy efficiency and encouraging Scottish businesses to grow and expand (SNP). It is implied that these things could be handled better if Scotland were a free country.
    Vlaams Belang means “Flemish Interest”. According to “The Flemish Republic”, The Vlaams Belang is a party of Flemish patriots.” They are “conservative”, and support the succession of the Flanders people from what they call the “artificial” Belgian state. They are against multiculturalism as an ideology and seem to reject its merits. The excuse given for this is the protection of Flemish culture. I’m sure hitler had similar excuses…Just saying.
    CIU stands for Catalan Convergéncia I Unión, which was a federation of two political parties comprising the liberals of Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC) and the Christian democrats of Unió Democràtica de Catalunya (UDC), according to Barcelonas.com. If their efforts would have paid off, Catalonia would be mostly independent from the rest of spain.
    The Parti Québécois has been working towards moving Quebec towards independence and securing more rights for it’s residents. Quebec is and has historically been much different culturally from the rest of Canada. Many residents speak French, which isn’t the predominant language in any other Canadian province. (Nationalpost)
    The Kurdistan Worker’s Party or PKK is a party which has used militant action to fight turkey in order to push for cultural rights, political rights and self-determination(BBC). They are regarded as terrorists by turkey, rather than a political party, so negotiations, as one can imagine, aren’t going well. Many Kurdish people are victims of oppression and have no right, so the struggles continue with no end in sight.
    The one thing all of these groups have in common is that they are groups who seek to give people who identify with them culturally autonomy from the groups that oppress them or enough rights and political pull so that they are at least equal. I personally have no issue with succession movements, I would fully support any of those movements that happened here. The problem is that most countries would struggle if you take away any of their population, taxpayers or valuable land. Countries have grown accustomed to the budgets, power and laws they already have. I don’t feel that many countries can handle that kind of change. For example, if any of the states who were talking about succeeding a few years ago actually did leave the US, the economy here would take a huge hit. Also, succession based on cultural or racial identity would cause tension for those who were a part of those groups, even if they didn’t succeed too. It’s a hairy situation.
    Works Cited
    “CiU – Convergència I Unió.” Barcelona Travel Guide. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Nov. 2015.
    “Ex-PQ Premier Pauline Marois Releases $25K Report Ripping into Quebec City’s ‘trash radio'” National Post Parti Qubcois Tag. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Nov. 2015.
    “The Flemish Republic – Friends of Flemish Independence.” The Flemish Republic – Friends of Flemish Independence. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Nov. 2015.
    “Profile: Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – BBC News.” BBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Nov. 2015.
    “The SNP.” The SNP. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Nov. 2015

  5. The Scottish Nationalist Party, which wishes to dissolve itself from the United Kingdom, is pictured in the top left of the image. The reason that the SNP wishes to separate itself from the United Kingdom is that it wants a fairer and more equal Scotland. On their website, they state that they “want a fair society where no one is left behind” and “reject the UK Government’s austerity agenda.” The SNP believes that in order to have a better Scotland, it needs to govern itself. The chance of Scotland becoming its own sovereign state may increase in the near future. In the 2014 Independence Referendum, the SNP was only short by 5% of the vote to allow Scotland to leave the UK.

    The Vlaams Belang is the right-wing Flemish nationalist party in Flanders, which wishes to secede from Belgium. Vlaams Belang was created from Vlaams Blok in 2004, after Vlaams Blok was condemned for being racist. The party has a similar desire to that of the SNP in terms of wishing to secede from the state that is resides in, but the Vlaams Belang has a more radical outlook on some aspects, such as immigration, which is what got the party into trouble in 2004. On the party’s website, they have a page that depicts quotes from the media that are as far-fetched as “the more Muslims, the more rapes” or “this exodus is organized by people who want to destabilize our society.” The Vlaams Belang still have a very strong ideology that immigration is not what a country needs, which is why it thinks it should secede from Belgium.

    Like the SNP and Vlaams Belang, the Convergence and Union in Spain is a nationalist movement, but unlike those parties, the CiU is composed of two different parties, the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia and the Democratic Union of Catalonia are split on deciding whether to secede from Spain or not. Recently, in June 2015, the party split due to differences in ideology on how to secede from Spain.

    The Parti Quebecois is political party in Quebec, Canada. The party is the proponent in the secession of Quebec from Canada and promotes the national sovereignty of Quebec. A major factor for the reason why the Parti Quebecois wants Quebec to secede from the rest Canada is that they want to “affirm the primacy of our French language, our identity and our values.” In 1981 Quebec was the closest to seceding that it has ever been and will most likely ever be. They received 49.26% of the votes to secede, only needing 50%. Since 1981, the vote for Quebecer independence has diminished.

    The Kurdish Workers’ Party, unlike the other parties depicted above, is a nationalist militant organization striving for the creation of Kurdistan covering areas in Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria. The Kurds and Turkey have been engaged in battles since 1984. Throughout that time there has been number of cease fires and most recently, a cease fire between the two groups was broken due to the high conflict in Syria. The Kurds have constantly been mistreated by the Turkish government which is causing the Kurdish uprising. Looking into the future, it seems extremely unlikely that there will ever a Kurdistan.

    Sources:
    http://www.snp.org/our_vision
    http://www.vlaamsbelang.org/zogezegd/
    http://www.vlaamsbelang.org/beginselverklaring/
    http://www.pq.org/programme/

  6. The Scottish Nationalist Party, which wishes to dissolve itself from the United Kingdom, is pictured in the top left of the image. The reason that the SNP wishes to separate itself from the United Kingdom is that it wants a fairer and more equal Scotland. On their website, they state that they “want a fair society where no one is left behind” and “reject the UK Government’s austerity agenda.” The SNP believes that in order to have a better Scotland, it needs to govern itself. The chance of Scotland becoming its own sovereign state may increase in the near future. In the 2014 Independence Referendum, the SNP was only short by 5% of the vote to allow Scotland to leave the UK.
    The Vlaams Belang is the right-wing Flemish nationalist party in Flanders, which wishes to secede from Belgium. Vlaams Belang was created from Vlaams Blok in 2004, after Vlaams Blok was condemned for being racist. The party has a similar desire to that of the SNP in terms of wishing to secede from the state that is resides in, but the Vlaams Belang has a more radical outlook on some aspects, such as immigration, which is what got the party into trouble in 2004. On the party’s website, they have a page that depicts quotes from the media that are as far-fetched as “the more Muslims, the more rapes” or “this exodus is organized by people who want to destabilize our society.” The Vlaams Belang still have a very strong ideology that immigration is not what a country needs, which is why it thinks it should secede from Belgium.
    Like the SNP and Vlaams Belang, the Convergence and Union in Spain is a nationalist movement, but unlike those parties, the CiU is composed of two different parties, the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia and the Democratic Union of Catalonia are split on deciding whether to secede from Spain or not. Recently, in June 2015, the party split due to differences in ideology on how to secede from Spain.
    The Parti Quebecois is political party in Quebec, Canada. The party is the proponent in the secession of Quebec from Canada and promotes the national sovereignty of Quebec. A major factor for the reason why the Parti Quebecois wants Quebec to secede from the rest Canada is that they want to “affirm the primacy of our French language, our identity and our values.” In 1981 Quebec was the closest to seceding that it has ever been and will most likely ever be. They received 49.26% of the votes to secede, only needing 50%. Since 1981, the vote for Quebecer independence has diminished.
    The Kurdish Workers’ Party, unlike the other parties depicted above, is a nationalist militant organization striving for the creation of Kurdistan covering areas in Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria. The Kurds and Turkey have been engaged in battles since 1984. Throughout that time there has been number of cease fires and most recently, a cease fire between the two groups was broken due to the high conflict in Syria. The Kurds have constantly been mistreated by the Turkish government which is causing the Kurdish uprising. Looking into the future, it seems extremely unlikely that there will ever a Kurdistan.

    Sources:
    http://www.snp.org/our_vision
    http://www.vlaamsbelang.org/zogezegd/
    http://www.vlaamsbelang.org/beginselverklaring/
    http://www.pq.org/programme/

  7. Scottish National Party

    The Scottish National Parties main goal is to leave the United Kingdom and become their own country. The Scottish people are able to actually be apart of the general elections in order to determine if they can leave the U.K. This was once thought to be an monumental task, but the voting gap for succession is shrinking each election and during the last election they lost the vote by a mere 10 percentage point margin(BBC). Scotland as an independent country would be very wealthy due to the vast amount of resources in the North Sea. This oil reserve is something that Britain could ill afford to lose. On a nerdy side note….. James Bond is technically supposed to be Scottish, so if they were to succeed from Britain, a new backstory should probably be created.

    Parti Québécois

    The Parti Quebecois are a Canadian political party that is attempting to separate their native Quebec from the rest of Canada. In my opinion this makes a lot of since from a cultural perspective. The people of Quebec’s primary language is French, while the rest of Canada are primarily an English speaking nation. Speaking another language then the rest of the Canadian provinces is a major cultural barrier.

    Vlaams Belang

    The Viaams Belang is a group in Belgium, and their goal is to get a north part of Belgium known as Flanders to become a sovereign state. Much like the Parti Quebecois, one of the main issues between Flanders and Belgium are cultural differences, the biggest of which is language. The Flanders region speaks Dutch, whereas the rest of Belgium speaks primarily French. The biggest issue I take with the Vlaams Belang is the radical immigration policy they have in mind. According to migrationpolicy.org, the Vlaams Belang would deport immigrates that do not integrate into their culture, and they are strongly anti-Muslim. According to the site, they would want to limit the number of mosques in the country.

    Convergence and Union(CIU) is a Spanish political organization that wants to achieve independence for the region known as Catalonia. Catalonia is the home of Barcelona, which is the second biggest city in Spain. The Catalans already believe themselves to be a high functioning government, and do not need to be shackled as being apart of Spain. As a huge Soccer fan, i’m curious as to what would happen to FC Barcelona if they were to leave Spain. Since they play in the Spanish La Liga league, if they were to leave, then who would they play? I know there are more serious politics on the line, but that is what comes to my mind.

    Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is a militant group within Turkey. They hope to achieve a independent Kurdish state within Turkish borders. Unlike the rest of these groups mentioned, they use force and violence in hopes of achieving their goals. According to the BBC, about 40,000 people have died due to violence related to the Kurdish substate movement. Religion is one of the biggest reasons for violent outburst in the world. This is a movement/conflict that will probably linger on for a long time.

    Sources:

    “Immigration and Belgium’s Far-Right Parties.” Migrationpolicy.org. 12 June 2007. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.

    “Profile: Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – BBC News.” BBC News. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.
    “Scottish Independence: What’s Going on in Scotland? – BBC News.” BBC News. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.

  8. The pictures above are with different political groups that have tried to change the views and ways of their states that they live in. These pictures are how the political groups have used advertisement or propaganda to influence the state in which they live.

    The top left is the Scottish National Party, or the SNP. They are a political party in Scotland that are Scottish nationalist and social democratic. The SNP is the third largest party in the United Kingdom along with in the House of Commons. Their vision, which I found on snp.org, is “to be committed to making Scotland the nation we know it can be. Their vision is of a prosperous country where everyone gets the chance to fulfill their potential. They want a fair society where no one is left behind. They want Scotland to be an independent country or equal to the very best of their ability.” They were formed in 1934 and from 1942-1945; they campaigned for the people to refuse conscription. What they believe in is same-sex marriage, reducing the voting age to 16, and progressive personal taxation to name a few.

    The bottom left picture is of the Parti Québécois. They are a political party based out of Quebec in Canada. The support national sovereignty involving independence of the province of Quebec from Canada establishing a sovereign state. They were founded in 1968 and their political position is centered to the left. Their first government was known as the ‘”republic of teachers” due to how many professors and scholars served as cabinet members in the Parti Québécois. They did remain in power in Quebec until 2014 when they were defeated due to several mishaps that occurred during the campaign.

    The top right picture is an advertisement from the Vlaams Belang party. They are a party from Belgium, which is a Flemish nationalist political party in the Flemish Region and Brusseles. They are a right wing populist also. They originated from Vlaams Blok, which changed the name to what it is now after a trial in 2004 which condemned the party for racism. They are now a conservative party that has distanced itself from its former programs. They attempt on cutting public subsidies for the party through the Belgian draining law. The policies of the Vlaams Belang focus mainly on the issue of Flemish independence, opposition to multiculturalism, and defense of traditional western values.

    The center picture is the Convergence and Union or the CiU. They are a catalan nationalist electoral alliance in Catalonia, Spain. They were founded in September of 1978 and dissolved in June of 2015. The Convergence and Union party was seen as a moderate nationalist party in Spain although the membership has shifted to open Catalan independentism in recent years. Their goal was to “build a wide social majority so that Catalonia can have its own State in the European frame, because Catalonia has the ability to become a normal country among the worlds countries and nations.” They wanted to defend the notion of Catalonia as a nation within Spain, for the highest possible level of autonomy for Catalonia. But, they have recently become a pro-secession party.

    All of these pictures are from political parties or groups that have and are changing the substate organization of the states in which they currently exist. Some parties are doing a better job than others, and some have died out. In all, these political groups are shaping the governments views in the states in which they live.

  9. Scottish National Party
    The Scottish National Party was established in 1934 when two political parties of Scotland merged. Since then, it has continued to gain seats in Scottish Parliament and the Westminster Parliament, giving the party highly notable recognition within the United Kingdom, but also within Europe. The goal of the party is firstly to promote Scottish representation in the Westminster Parliament in order to see that Scotland can continue to grow its economy, along with protect the rights of Scottish public service and infrastructure. And although the SNP looks for this to change, many non-Scots have control of the Scottish economy, government, and public infrastructure, so the SNP is working toward a method of regaining that representation in order to ensure that Scotland is not overlooked, and that Scots can have a very clear voice in the U.K.’s government. In 2014, the SNP held a referendum to seek independence for the territory of Scotland from the U.K., but the referendum lost after 55% of voters voted “No” for Scottish independence. The party, however, has geared up for another round of seeking independence and has been discussing the possibilities of another referendum.

    Vlaams Belang
    Vlaams Belang is a nationalist Flemish political party within Belgium that seeks greater autonomy for the historic region of Flanders in Northern Belgium in order to “protect Flemish culture and the Dutch language.” Additionally, Vlaams Belang seeks to reunite with The Netherlands as an additional method of protecting the Dutch language. The movement was a reaction to underrepresentation of the Dutch language and Flemish culture in Belgium, and also due to large influence of the French language and culture within Belgium, and particularly within the Brussels area.

    CiU
    Convergència i Unió (CiU, Eng. Convergence and Union) is a Catalan nationalist party in Spain seeking for greater autonomy for the autonomous region of Catalonia and is currently seeking its independence from Spain. The party had attempted a referendum of independence in 2014, but was denied by the Spanish parliament on a legality basis. The party has recently gained momentum and will soon be voting on whether or not it will be a part of Spain. The party not only seeks greater representation of minority rights in Spain, but also seeks a larger role in the integration of the European economy.

    Parti Québécois
    Parti Québécois is a Canadian political party that was established in 1968 which seeks independence for the Canadian province of Quebec. The main goal of the party is greater recognition and protection of the French language and culture within the geo-cultural region of Quebec, along with possessing economic sovereignty and global integration and recognition. The party poses a very unique historical question, as it does not regard the voice of those indigenous communities that once lived in the modern region of Quebec. Therefore, a “minority status” of descendants of French-colonists in a majority English colonist region poses an interesting question on the legitimacy of claiming “minority status” along with seeking national sovereignty. The notion is one historical colony seeking independence from another historical colony, which is very unique. Does that delegitimize the road to Quebec’s independence? Perhaps on some terms, but perhaps not on others. Just a discussion worth mentioning…

    Kurdish Independence
    The region of Kurdistan is a cultural region that lies within the modern states of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria. Although the Kurds were originally told they would have a sovereign nation after WWI, after the Treaty of Lausanne and the actions of the British and French mandates, the region of Kurdistan continued to exist within four different modern states, and consequently, each of these modern states possess Kurdish-representative political parties. Among the strongest of these however, is the the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The PKK seeks to gain independence from the modern states of Turkey and Iraq, but looks to the greater independence of all of Kurdistan as well. The PKK has gained leads by obtaining the autonomous region of Kurdistan in Iraq, but has met severe resistance from the Turkish government for recognition based on the continued desire to control East Turkey as a resource, strategic, and economic outpost. The Republic of Turkey has met severe resistance from the PKK because of this, resulting in mass protests, bombings, and acts of terrorism.

    Each of these political parties represent active organizations of prospective separatist and/or national recognition and expansion movements, which in all reality, is something that is completely natural and goes back to the question of forging borders: how will minorities who don’t affiliate with the national ethnic and/or ideological group be represented, especially if they live in a region that they respectively occupy a majority of? Solutions to curb movements as these are generally giving separatist groups more rights/government representation within a nation, promoting nationalist agenda to unify everyone under a common ideology, or using force to attempt to repress opposition. Each of these agendas has a clearly respective consequence, and as seen clearly with separatist movements in China (East Turkistan Islamic Movement, Tibetan Independence Movement), along with other separatist movements in Central Asia, we see that these can create international outcry, or form violent reaction, often through terrorism. Such is the recent case of Daesh coordination with Central Asian islamic separatist movements to recruit fighters in Syria. But this can be seen in many places where a minority group feels desperate and completely under-represented. But as we discussed very thoroughly in our analysis of asymmetrical warfare, is that terrorism or the inclination to participate in terrorist activity derives from the lack of any other options. We see many of these political parties (the first four European parties) as seeking economic, national, and cultural representation. But when discussing the PKK and the Kurdish movement for independence, the bid for national sovereignty quickly arrives at people taking desperate measures to advance their cause. Very little of this seems to be occurring with European secession movements, but seems to be in fast escalation in the destabilized parts of the Middle East. As we should continue to watch Catalonia in the coming days to see how its separation is going and how that may affect Europe, we should also keep our eyes out toward the Middle East on how the independence movements are evolving, and possibly how that could affect the rest of our world. But could Catalonia’s independence start a chain of European geo-cultural independence movements similar in some ways to the Arab Spring?

    Sources:
    “Our Party.” http://www.snp.org. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.
    “Manifesto.” http://www.votesnp.com. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.
    “The Scottish Nationalists take the sly road to independence.” http://www.theguardian.com. 17 Oct. 2015. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.
    “Alex Salmond resigns as first minister after Scotland rejects independence.” http://www.theguardian.com. 19 Sep. 2014. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.
    “Mission Statement.” http://www.flemishrepublic.org. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.
    Deschouwer, Kris. “Ethnic Structure, Inequality, and Governance of the Public Sector in Belgium.” United Nations Research Institute for Social Development. Jan. 2004. Pg 1-9. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.
    “What Catalonia’s Vote for Independence Means for Europe.” http://www.time.com. 7 Nov. 2015. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.
    “Convergence and Union.” Encyclopedia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.
    “Catalonian leader orders referendum on independence from Spain.” http://www.reuters.com. 27 Sep. 2014. Web. 9 Nov. 2015
    “Parti Québécois.” http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.
    “Programme.” http://www.pq.org. Web. 9 Nov. 2015
    “The new PKK: unleashing a social revolution in Kurdistan.” http://www.roarmag.org. 17 Aug. 2014. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.

  10. Independence for a state has been issues for a multitude of states across the global, for centuries. Even today there are those who fight for a state of their own that can encompass their culture, language, and\or beliefs. Behind these fights are those pushing it to the finish line, the political parties that fight for their believed state and people.
    Scotland has been under Great Britain’s rule since the early 1600s, but in the last few decades have seen an increase in interest to break from England and become its own independent state. Scottish Independence is being led by the Scottish National Party, which recently pushed a referendum to a vote. The outcome was close with 55% no to 45% yes, though independence was not achieved, many still push for Scottish independence (Spector). The reasoning behind this fight stem not only from cultural differences, but also economic ones. Recently, oil has been found in Scotland that has led to conflict to the rights and if the Scottish people will see in of the money that comes from the oil (Spector). Scotland wants to be able to make its own decisions when it comes to its resources and the money that comes from everything Scotland has to offer.
    The issue of the province of Quebec seeking its independence from Canada is led by the Parti Quebecois, PQ. To understand Quebec’s reasoning behind seeking their independence, one has to look to the past. Quebec was once a French colony that was lost to Great Britain in the 1700s. Even with centuries of British influence and rule, Quebec mainly remained a culture influenced by France, through their language and culture (Blackstone). Quebec has a significant stake in the Canadian economy and they believe that they could support this region if it were an independent state.
    The CiU, led by Artur Mas, is just one party in search for independence of Catalonia from Spain. Catalonia was once a region that harbored people that had their own culture and language different from those in the surrounding region. Today, Catalonia still has a culture separate from other Spanish regions, and this is one of the reasons that some seek independence. As well, this region is one of the wealthiest in Spain and contributes to 20% of the Spanish economy, in turn supporting other poorer region in the state (Catalonia). Many in Catalonia believe this to be an injustice and seek to end the abuse of the Spanish government.
    Vlaams Belang, a Flemish nationalist party, seeking an independent Flemish state in Belgium. The Flemish people make up 60% of the Belgium population and over two-thirds of the economy, they believe that they could do better as a separate state that could make appropriate economic decisions for their people (Flemish). As well, with the significant differences from the French culture in the South and the political differences divides the current state and finally separate the groups that were forced together could make strong state that can loo look out for their own interest.
    PKK, Kurdish Worker’s Party, like the other political parties that have been discussed seek an independent state that can harbor a group of people that have a political differences and a culture all their own. When the Ottoman Empire fell the Kurdish people were under the impression that there was going to be a Kurdistan independent from any other state, but when that did not happen they have to fight for an independent state (The Kurds). The Kurdish people have been oppressed over time in multiple states, have to counteract and fight back against this injustice they have resorted to more violent tactics.
    Cultural and political differences seem to be the main reasoning behind many groups of people looking to create independent states. Many states harbor multiple groups that in some cases struggle to get along and in the end it may be best for groups if they were apart and able to focus on the interests of their people and not the others that conflict with their beliefs and ideas.

    Blackstone, Samuel. “Why Quebec’s New Government Wants to Leave Canada.” Business Insider. Web. 8 Nov. 2015.
    “Catalonia’s Push for Independence from Spain.” BBC News. Web. 8 Nov. 2015.
    “Flemish Independence: Better to Become Good Friends than Stay Together in a Bad Marriage.” RT. Web. 8 Nov. 2015.
    Spector, Dina. “Scotland is About to Vote on Whether to Leave the UK – Here’s Everything You Need to Know.” Business Insider. Web. 8 Nov. 2015.
    “The Kurds – People without a State.” English Online. Web. 8 Nov. 2015.

  11. The collage shown here depicts 5 political organizations/parties. These organizations/parties include the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) at the top left, the Vlaams Belang at the top right, the Catalan Convergéncia I Unió (CiU) in the center, the Parti Québécois at the bottom left, and the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) at the bottom right.

    The Scottish Nationalist Party at the top left is the third-largest political party by membership in the United Kingdom, as well as by overall representation in the House of Commons. It is also the largest party in Scotland, where it dominates both the Scottish Parliament and the country’s parliamentary delegation to the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The party was founded in 1934 when the National Party of Scotland and the Scottish Party merged. The SNP supports and campaigns for Scottish independence from the rest of the United Kingdom. They want to become an independent country to try and strengthen Scotland both economically (mainly by accessing oil in the region) and politically around the world.

    The Vlaams Belang at the top right is a Flemish nationalist political party in the Flemish Region of Belgium. Vlaams Belang strives for the succession of Flanders from the Belgian state. Their aim is to dissolve Belgium and establish an independent Flemish State centered around Flanders and Dutch-speaking people. They also state that they are dedicated to protecting the individual from abuse of power by the state. The party defends the freedom of speech, the right of free assemblage and association, freedom of education, freedom of conscience and the right to life.

    The Catalan Convergéncia I Unió (CiU) in the center image was a moderate nationalist party in Spain founded in 1978 that in recent years had a significant part of its membership open to Catalan independentism, and in 2014 demonstrated its intention to hold a referendum on Catalan independence. In June of 2015, the party was disbanded.

    The Parti Québécois in the bottom left image is a sovereignist provincial political party in Quebec, Canada. The Parti Québécois advocates for national sovereignty of the province of Quebec, Canada and establishing a separate sovereign state. The Parti Québécois has also promoted the possibility of maintaining a loose political and economic sovereignty-association between Quebec and Canada once Quebec becomes a separate sovereign state. The party traditionally has had support from the labor movement in the Quebec region, but unlike most other social-democratic parties, its ties with the labor movement are completely informal.

    The Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) in the bottom right image is a left-wing Kurdish nationalist militant organization based in Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan. It is considered the world’s most powerful Kurdish nationalist organization. The PKK generally has the same goal as the rest of the political parties mentioned in this discussion, but has historically had a very different method of operation. They are actually a militant group, and resist being part of the larger state in a much more forceful way. But, unlike the other groups, they aim to represent a significantly more marginalized and extremely exploited group, in comparison to the parties/organizations talked about in the rest of this discussion. As of March 2013, the PKK has agreed to a ceasefire with Turkey, began withdrawing its fighters into the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq, and have started peace talks with Turkey. The People’s Defense Force section of the PKK is currently fighting against ISIS in the region.

    Citations:
    “Convergence and Union | Political Party, Spain.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 19 Oct. 2015. Web. 09 Nov. 2015.
    “The Flemish Republic – Friends of Flemish Independence.” The Flemish Republic – Friends of Flemish Independence. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Nov. 2015.
    For. “Stronger for Scotland.” Stronger for Scotland (2015): n. pag. Scottish National Party. Scottish National Party, 2015. Web. 08 Nov. 2015.
    “Parti Quebecois | Political Party, Canada.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2015.
    “Profile: Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – BBC News.” BBC News. The BBC, 27 July 2015. Web. 09 Nov. 2015.

  12. The top left photo depicts the Scottish Nationalist Party, which primarily advocates the Scottish Independence via social democracy. It is the largest political party in the nation, and holds a wealthy amount of political power for Scotland’s decisions. They hold many modern views on the administration of scotland including support for same sex marriages, as well as opposition to the creation of new nuclear power plant sites. Yet mainly focus their efforts on succession of the British government for a completely independent Scotland. Thus altering the state’s current political disposition by promoting a different sovereignty for the entire nation. The independence of a Scottish nation would cut ties with the ancient parliamentary ways of British rule and invoke a rule of democracy upon the nation, thus giving control to the profitable amount of oil residing in its region. As well as keep their monetary currency the same, which would help the country from collapse in such a pivotal time.

    The next photo to the right depicts a propaganda poster for Flemish secession out of Belgium. The sign is supported by right wing political activist Vlaams Belang, and reads along the line of “this is our land”. Belang supports the Flemish secession through the mindset that it will obviously help Flemish nationality flourish throughout the European region, preserving the historic culture of the people while also protecting their basic rights and freedom (which they feel is being entrenched upon by Belgium’s government). As a minority they only want nothing more than to be in control of their own future. They like the Scottish Nationalist Party stand to alter the sovereignty of a large portion of people in efforts to better an entire population rooted with deep culture and pride.

    The Catalan Convergence Union is being represented in the large image across the middle. This group advocates the nationality of catalonian unit in Spain. Once again a ethnic minority within a country, that feels the need to have power over their own heritage and culture to perhaps give them an economic chance at prospering over their current given situation. The success of a secession for Catalonians in Spain would undo the acts of war upon the Catalonian people by
    Spanish military (which had killed a significant portion of their people) back in 1938. The secession would also offer economic advantages as well as new football team for the Catalonian culture.

    The Parti Quebecois picture represents the nationalist group for Canada’s Quebecois people. The goal of the group is for economic, social, and political sovereignty for Quebec. Thus offering the people of that region . The secession resides in a deep rooted divide between the French speaking district (minority) and the predominantly English common of the country. The Quebecois find their culture superior and unique where they feel due credit for the creation of their own sovereignty. If they actually did seceed they would do so with the baggage of crippling debt, and most likely be forced to rejoin the Canadian provinces once again.

    The Kurdish workers party photo represents the left wings Kurdish nationalist group that relies on militant organization. The group is the world’s largest Kurdish nationalist group and seeks the creation of a Kurdish nation. This group unlike the others has had to reside to actual conflict to gain what they wish to have, instead of civil debates and democratic appointments. Thus a small representation and foreground for how many political issues are dealt with in that region.

  13. All of these political organizations founded within the last century are aiming to protect their nations within larger states. Some of these groups are trying to gain independence, while others simply want their voice to be heard in the existing government.

    The SNP, or Scottish National Party was formed in 1934 with the combination of the Scottish Party and National Party of Scotland. The formation of this group was solely to earn Scottish Independence. The members of the party no longer feel that the union between Scotland and Great Britain is no longer equally beneficial to both countries. These Scotts believe that they could be a successful and prosperous state separate from the crown. Their main goal is to create “a fair society where no one is left behind.” (SNP.org)

    The Parti Québécois is a nationalist party formed in 1968 that came from the merging of the Mouvement Souveraineté-Association (MSA) and the Rassemblement pour l’indépendance national (RIN). The members of the Parti Québécois aim to gain independence for the French province of Quebec from Canada. One of the party’s last major steps forward was the referendum of 1995. Under the leadership of Jacques Parizeau, the referendum was defeated because of the overall disorganization of the movement and their failure to define what exactly Quebec would look like after gaining independence.

    The Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) is a militant nationalist party operating out of Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan. This group found it’s beginnings in the late 1970s, launching an armed campaign against the Turkish government in the 1980s in an effort to create an independent Kurdish state. This conflict has killed over 40,000 people, destroyed villages, and created a huge refugee crisis. In the 1990s, the PKK dialed back their demands for it’s own sovereign state, and instead demanded more autonomy for the Kurds within the existing Turkish government. Since then, violence between the Kurds and the Turks has only escalated.

    The Vlaams Belang is a Flemish movement demanding autonomy within the Belgium. Their aim is to improve conditions culturally. The ultimate goal of the party is for an independent Flanders. They want sovereignty within the borders Belgium.

    The Catalan Convergéncia I Unió is a political party that is fighting for greater autonomy for Catalonia within Spain. They advocate for more European integration and more a more moderate stance on economic policy. The party was established in 1978 as an alliance between the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC) and the Democratic Union of Catalunya (UDC). Finding motivation from the Scottish Referendum in 2014, the Catalan Convergéncia I Unió called for a vote of their own. Polls reported that over 80% of voters were in favor of Catalonia independence. However, in June of 2015, the Catalan Convergéncia I Unió disbanded, leaving the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia leading the fight for Catalonian autonomy and independence.

    All of these political groups are seeking independence and autonomy because they are unsatisfied with the policies of the current government. They feel that as a nation of people, they have been marginalized by the system that is supposed to serve them just as it serves the members of the party in power. Left with few options, some groups such as the PKK are driven to violence, while others diplomatically attempt to gain control of their territory through the creation of independent states.

    Sources:
    http://www.snp.org/our_vision
    http://www.snp.org/our_party
    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-26550736
    http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/parti-quebecois/
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-20971100
    http://www.vlaamsbelang.org/beginselverklaring/
    http://www.britannica.com/topic/Convergence-and-Union

  14. The Scottish National Party is a social-democrat, nationalist party in Scotland. The SNP’s goal is to ultimately see Scotland become a fully independent nation and member of the European Union. The party was founded in 1934 through the merging of the Scottish Party and the National Party of Scotland and has since risen to become the third largest political party in the United Kingdom. The SNP’s first parliamentary seat was secured in 1945, in 1974 the SNP won 11 parliamentary seats, and in 1997 plans for a Scottish Parliament were endorsed in a referendum. This new Scottish Parliament met for the first time in 1999. In 2014 the SNP legislated for an independence referendum which, while voted down, saw a voter turnout of 84.5%, a new record for any election held in the UK since the introduction of universal suffrage in 1918.

    Vlaams Belang is a Flemish nationalist party in Belgium. The goal of Vlaams Belang is to create an independent Flanders. This means that the ultimate goal is the dissolution of the Belgian state structure to establish an independent Flemish state. In addition to an independence, Vlaams Belang also emphasizes national and cultural identity in the formation of the Flemish state, with such policies as to “enforce respect for Dutch” and to undo “the multicultural mistake.” Vlaams Belang’s popular support hinges on nationalistic feelings within ethnic Flemish people as well as antagonistic and anti-Islamic rhetoric aimed against immigrants, such as Syrian refugees.

    The CIU of Spain was a Catalan nationalist coalition of the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia and the Democratic Union of Catalonia parties which, until its split in 2015, pushed for Catalan independence from Spain. After the split the resultant parties, led by CIU leader and Catalan President Artur Mas, continue to call for full independence. Catalonia, located in the northeast corner of Spain, is arguably the country’s most powerful economic region, providing a fifth of the country’s economy while making up just 16 % of the total population. Proponents of Catalan independence are unhappy with what they see as unfair wealth distribution and an unwillingness of the Spanish central government to reduce its contribution of tax revenue. Opponents fear for the stability of the European Union and that a successful independence movement in Spain would spur similar movements across Europe and would “essentially be the end of European integration.”

    The Parti Quebecois of Canada is a sovereignist political party that seeks to attain independence of the province of Quebec from Canada as well as the creation of a sovereign state of Quebec. The party leans heavily on language for its identity and is committed to promoting the French language in public administration, business, and even in international affairs. The PQ also has affirmed its commitment to secularism and religious neutrality of the state as well as arts and sciences and the inclusion of First Nations and Inuit in social programs. While proponents of the sovereignty movement see it as a liberation of the francophones of Canada, others see the movement as a distraction from the real economic problems of Quebec which cannot be solved by sovereignty alone. Still others believe the movement is simply an expression of ethnic nationalism.

    The Kurdistan Workers Party, known also as the PKK, is a Kurdish nationalist militant organization. The PKK has been fighting in Turkey for the right to self-determination of the Kurdish people and for an independent Kurdistan since 1984. The reasoning for this conflict however, have roots much further back in history. After the first World War, upon the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the Kurdish-majority territories of the é Middle East were divided between the newly formed states of Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. This made the Kurds an ethnic minority in each of these states. Ever since this partitioning of the old Ottoman Empire, Kurdish nationalist movements have been suppressed in each of these new nations. The international community is split on the PKK, some states recognize it as a terrorist organization, others have not chosen to make that designation.

    http://www.snp.org/our_party
    http://www.vlaamsbelang.org/beginselverklaring/
    http://time.com/4102619/what-catalonias-vote-for-independence-means-for-europe/
    http://www.pq.org/plateforme/
    http://www.pkkonline.com/en/index.php?sys=article&artID=175

  15. A Discussion of Five Nationalist Movements

    The commonality in the five nationalist separatist organizations in the photos above lies primarily in their aspiration to establish independent states, ultimately. They each espouse various substate organizational changes to the countries in which they currently reside, but their goal is ultimately a change in organization at the state level rather than the substate level. There are also common themes in nationalistic rhetoric and behavior amongst them, and these have profound implications which will be detailed below.

    The most noticeable difference between the groups is the lack of significant levels of racism in the ideology or behavior of the Scottish National Party. The others all exhibit, at one time or in one aspect or another, a significant rhetorical or behavioral demonstration of othering towards people who are residing within their borders but who are not a part of their national culture. This othering has a dominant theme in the area of immigration and multiculturalism.

    Referring back to the photos above, the upper left photo refers to the Scottish National Party (http://www.snp.org ), while the upper right refers to Vlaams Belang in Belgium (http://www.vlaamsbelang.org/), formerly Vlaams Blok. The middle photo is the President of Catalan, Artur Mas, amongst flags of the Catalonian government, at a gathering of his Convergence and Union organization. The photo on the bottom left refers to the Parti Quebecois in Canada (http://pq.org/blogues/ ), while the bottom right refers to the various Kurdish nationalist movements in the form of political parties in Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Turkey and the Kurdistan Regional Government which has functioned as an unofficial interim government (http://www.cfr.org/middle-east-and-north-africa/time-kurds/p36547?cid=otr-marketing-use-Kurds_InfoGuide#!/).

    The Scottish National Party (SNP) desires independence for Scotland, and to abolish the House of Lords, which they feel is “an affront to democracy” (http://www.snp.org ). They want a prosperous Scotland through building a fairer society. They are against public welfare spending cuts being made by Westminster, and are promoting a Living Wage structure developed by the SNP. The SNP wishes to widen the economic and voting franchise in order to foster economic strength (Davidson, 2015, Political Geography class notes).

    Vlaams Belang, though attenuated now because of a lessening of funds and accusations of racism (new laws in Belgium barred the political party’s previous form, Vlaams Blok, from achieving executive positions in the government, and deprived it of state funding. Previously Vlaams Blok, put on trial for discrimination, was ruled to have acted against the Belgium anti-racism law and to have violated the European Union treaty on human rights. A “cordon sanitaire” blocked Vlaams Blok from being a part of any Flemish coalition forming a Belgium government. But in the elections across the EU in 2014, Vlaams Blok, renamed in 2004 as Vlaams Belang, held sway in Flanders (see http://www.vlaamsblok.be/ and (http://www.vlaamsbelang.org/). The organization’s leaders have stated that though the organization’s name is changed, this is the only change.

    “Dit is ONS land, we leven hier” is a slogan from the Vlaams Beland party in Belgium from six years past (http://www.vlaamsbelang.org/) meaning, ‘This is OUR land, we live here.’ (https://translate.google.com/). It conveys the party’s sentiments to put the Flemish first, and also its resistance to the European Union open borders policies and those regarding immigration.

    The changes to their substate organization desired by Vlaams Belang involve the disenfranchisement of those not of the same cultural and religious background, and the establishment of Flemish cultural homogeneity through deportation of those not belonging to the Flemish culture. Sanction to use force against criminals and those not of their cultural heritage is on their agenda, and Independence for the Flanders region of Belgium is the ultimate goal. However, Vlaams Belang now declares support of Jews and of Israel as being “allies against radical Islam.” But is this not hate in a different overcoat, wearing the clothes of current political and legal convention, hiding hatred behind antiterrorism sentiments? If Muslims or other groups perceived or actually residing as immigrants in the country were no longer a factor, would their hatred not then be leveled against Jews or other ethnic minorities in Belgium?

    Most Muslims are Semitic. Anti-Semitism is hatred directed either at Jews OR at Muslims on the basis of membership in the Semitic ethnic heritage, but the bridge from one to the other is not far. The notion that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” doesn’t work here, unless you are the State of Israel itself, which has resources it can wield to protect itself from such groups, and who can play a role in co-opting Vlaams Belang into the mainstream, philosophically. It is just as unwise now for Jews who are residents in the diaspora to advocate for hate groups appearing to be temporarily pro-Jewish as it was just prior to World War II (Vlaams Blok leaders were Holocaust deniers as well). The rule has always been in the Jewish community to work against racism generally, for if racism flourishes, even if it is not directed at the Jews today, it may be tomorrow, and this rule is just as valid today.
    Filip Dewinter, a past leader of Vlaams Belang, has stated that “women wearing the hijab have “effectively signed their contract for deportation.” (From Erk, Jan (2005). “Vlaams Blok to Vlaams Belang: The Belgian Far-Right Renames Itself.” West European Politics28 (3): 493–502). Having previously espoused a “white Europe,” Dewinter, like Vlaams Belang/Blok generally, expresses sentiments that communicate that all who they see as being against Flemish culture or against European values, for example the value of equality between men and women, should be deported. In the quote above, Dewinter is equating the wearing of the hijab with inequality between men and women and therefore against secular values. In actual fact, the two exist in completely different contexts. The hijab itself is not a symbol of inequality; its essence does not revolve around questions of equality or inequality between the genders. My own Jewish tradition shares some of the same underlying reasons for head covering with our Muslim cousins, though there are some customs and bases for the practice which differ. One of the most predominant themes in this type of religious head coverings for both Muslims and Jews is the concept of being seen as a human being, with value and ability to contribute to society, completely independent and free from the influence of one’s sexual attributes on interpersonal relationships outside of the marriage relationship; to interact in society without having to have one’s physical characteristics determine how well one is treated. In short; to have the dignity, respect, and comportment of a Queen valued for her brain, not just her body. This has nothing to do whatever with equanimity between the genders. Dewinter’s comments are at best a reach based on gross ignorance, and at worst, purely anti-Semitic.

    Catalonian Nationalism, in the form of the Convergence and Union Party, strives to achieve changes in substate organization in Spain through the official recognition by the Spanish government of the Catalan language, and works toward building the cultural unity of Catalans (though this is an exclusivist philosophy as well, as it desires a separation from other cultures). Efforts by the Catalonian parties and the Convergence and Union Party has ranged from demands for Catalonian autonomy to independence for the Catalan region. (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/nov/22/catalonia-tales-foreign-nationals-independence). They desire “a Catalonia defined by one language, one history and one set of common traditions” ((Cleries i Gonzàlez (2010), in Zumer (2014) – http://www.upf.edu/gritim/_pdf/WPS22Zuber.pdf ). Just as with Vlaam Belang, this mission by definition runs counter to European Union laws and treaties, and ignores the multicultural reality of Europe today.

    The Kurdish Nationalist Parties in Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Turkey
    (http://www.rubincenter.org/2013/08/the-main-kurdish-political-parties-in-iran-iraq-syria-and-turkey-a-research-guide/) are working toward an independent Kurdistan, and have established an interim, functioning government, the Kurdistan Regional Government (http://cabinet.gov.krd/?l=12 ). In this regard, the Kurds are different than the other groups above, as they are already independent in many ways, including the (unofficial) sanction for the use of force and, while they are not a part of the Family of Nations as yet, they have a standing army and control over territory which cannot be withdrawn within the constraints of the effective sovereignty of any surrounding nations. As a result they now have more in common with an established state than with a nationalist movement, when compared with the others mentioned here.
    The Kurds were used by the Ottomans to carry out most of the attacks on Armenians during the Armenian Holocaust (http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/04/turkey-kurds-try-acknowledgement-reconciliation-armenians.html ), so we must consider this group along the same general themes as we have the others here assembled. There have also been reports currently of ethnic cleansing carried out in “Greater Kurdistan.” See http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/kurdish-fighters-deny-claims-house-demolitions-and-ethnic-cleansing-northern-syria-245454000. The Kurds have been instrumental in the fight against Daesh, so have backing from coalition governments, and independence for Kurdistan may occur soon (http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2015/06/magazine-dreams-kurdistan-150625093200072.html).

    Parti Quebecois, the nationalist movement in Quebec, Canada, is working toward independence from Canada for the Province of Quebec, however there are multiple First Nations groups whose interests are in direct competition, so there exist competing claims for sovereignty from multiple nations within Quebec (see http://www.pq.org/ and http://www.ammsa.com/publications/windspeaker/parti-quebecois-governments-new-bill-angers-first-nations ). The attempt was made by the Quebecois parliament to ban religious symbols in 2013, especially the hijab (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-jordie-gerson/what-quebecs-battle-over-_b_4149846.html ), and the exclusivism of nationalism rears its head here, as elsewhere, disguised under the banner of what so many of us in the West hold dear for its ability under the right conditions to support human rights and religious neutrality – secularism. But we should remember that inadvertently or otherwise, the attempt was made to literally grind the culture and religion out of the Algerians during French colonialism by those who made a religion of their own supposedly neutral position, French secularism. This philosophical innovation and political ideology succeeded in turning a populace in charge of its own destiny into a massive group of oppressed laborers, stripped of every type of education, secular or religious (see Laroui, 1977, and the many works on French colonialism). Secularism, carried to extremes, can become a religion in itself, and can result in prejudice of those who practice other religions. Disrespect toward and punitive treatment of religious minorities can foster the development of other extremisms and even cults, like Daesh, Al Qa’ida and so many others similar to them. While not responsible for their utterly immoral violence, the above sort of treatment has helped to form the growth medium upon which these ideologies have grown (see Ziemke, “Perceived Oppression and Relative Deprivation: Social Factors Contributing to Terrorism.” (2009), Edward Newman (2006) Exploring the “Root Causes” of Terrorism, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, Martha Crenshaw (2014), “The Long View of Terrorism,” and many others).

    There is a human propensity for othering, for hatred in all of us, and in the scratching and pushing to strive toward a lofty and difficult goal, what begins as a call for justice for one marginalized group can evolve into hatred and injustice for other groups as well. We must always be on our guard, lest we lose our very humanity in the process. The groups highlighted in this assignment should remind us of this.

    Going back to the comparison of the SNP with the other groups, SNP approaches the problem of achieving independence from a perspective of widening of the voting and economic franchise. The others, most significant among them Vlaams Belang/Vlaams Blok, approach it from a narrowing of the same franchises based on cultural similarity to their own group. In these other four groups, the othering seems to be directed at third parties, mostly immigrants right now, whereas in the Scottish experience, othering appearing in news stories doesn’t seem to be directed at immigrants, but where it occurs, directly at the countrymen from whom they desire separation (the English), and this sets the Scottish experience apart. There don’t seem to be any Catalan on Spanish, or Flemish on ethnic white Belgian, or Quebecois on Canadian, violence or racism incidents as much as on immigrants.

    There was an attack on two Muslim women which received a vigorous legal response (http://www.scotsman.com/news/woman-jailed-after-pulling-hijab-from-victim-in-racist-attack-1-2713903) I say vigorous because the perpetrators were given a two-year jail sentence for the attack, which involved a verbal and physical assault and certainly emotional trauma, but no significant physical injuries, so it sounds like the courts were taking this agregious incident very seriously. Another article spoke about ‘white on white’ (Scottish against English) racism (http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13135809.Rise_in_racism_against_white_British/) spoke about racism against ethnically white British (the English), while another by the Scottish organization Coalition for Racial Equality & Rights cited statistics making the case in 2013 that more improvement was needed (http://www.crer.org.uk/81-front-page-articles/539-10-true-things-we-need-to-say-about-racism-in-scotland).

    But why isn’t the same intensity of othering being expressed in Scotland, and why isn’t it primarily against third parties or immigrants? What elements prevented this? Was it the history of the original union of Scotland with England which played a part? Was the Scottish inclusion in government from the beginning as a part of a union (being included in the election franchise, at least at the national, leadership level) enough to guarantee that the populace didn’t resort to hatred and violence nearly as much as the other nationalist organizations cited here? If it did, Scotland may be a case study in why opening the franchise and embracing diversity is a good model for building peace in societies. Within the answers to these questions may lie the reasons there is such an excess of othering in the other nationalist movements.

  16. (Upper left) The Scottish National Party is a nationalist and socially-democratic party in Scotland. Established in 1934, the party states that their vision is to establish independence from the UK’s constitutional monarchy and, in-turn, provide a “fairer society,” a “more prosperous country,” that is governed by those who live and work in Scotland, instead of by those who do not (SNP website). In their 2015 manifesto, current First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, writes that, should Scotland become an independent state, they would provide an end to unfair policies such as the Bedroom Tax, raise the minimum wage, and provide protections for their NHS and public services.
    (Upper right) Vlaams Belang, or the Flemish Interest party, is a Flemish nationalist, right-wing populist political party in the Flemish region and Brussels of Belgium . Though once a more radical group, with accusations of racism shutting down the party in 2004, they have now taken on more conservative principles and distanced itself from previous platforms (BBC). Key principles of the party include sovereignty within the limits of the current Belgian linguistic border (including Brussels), to repatriate immigrants who “reject, deny or combat” Flemish culture, which includes freedom of expression and marriage equality, a zero-tolerance policy for criminal wrongdoing, and support traditional Western values, including the stifling of freedom of expression and condemnation of LGBT marriages (Vlaams Belang, Pauwels).
    (Central) Convergence and Union was a political party that desired greater autonomy for the Catalonia Region of Spain (Britannica). Established in 1878, the party advocated for increased Eurpoean integration within Spain, held somewhat moderate positions in regards to economic policy, and later on in the party’s life, supported Catalan independence. Compromised of two smaller parties, the CDC and UDC, the party attracted widespread Catalan support in the late 20th century. However, the party disbanded in June of 2015, after failing to form a coalition government in the early 2000s and then being blocked from calling a nonbinding referendum by the Spanish Constitutional Court over questions of its legality (Brittanica).
    (Lower left) Parti Quebecois is a sovereignist political party in Quebec, Canada that advocates social, economic, and political autonomy for Quebec. Formed in 1968 after the merging of the Mouvement Souverainete-Association and the ralliement national, the party desires independence from Quebec, which protecting the French language and history within the country (PQ).
    (Lower right) Kurdistan is a region that lies between south-eastern Turkey, north-eastern Syria, northern Iraq, north-western Iran and south-western Armenia that is predominantly inhabited by the indigenous people (Kurds) of the Mesopotamian plains and highlands (BBC). Kurdish identity is one that involves connection with others through language, community, ancestry, and religion (the majority of Kurds are Sunni Muslim, though a other religions are also practiced). history of Kurdistan and its push for recognition and autonomy is incredibly complicated. The Kurdish have long inhabited the region, yet outside powers and imperial colonialism have long oppressed and ostracized the people and region. During the 20th century, many Kurds began considering the creation of a homeland known colloquially as Kurdistan. Post-WWI after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, the 1920 Treaty of Sevres via the Western Allies made a provision for a Kurdish state. However, three years later, with the Treaty of Lausanne, the boundaries of Turkey were set and no provision for a Kurdish state was made. Since then, a handful of attempts for a Kurdish independent state were made, though none have been successful thus far.
    Obviously, one of the key common denominators of all five photos is that each group represented desires independence from the state(s) with which they currently reside and to form their own autonomous government. Scotland seems the most likely candidate for independence currently, as the party is focused more on encompassing everyone within the state via more liberal policies that benefit the greater population, while parties like Vlaams Belang seem less likely to be successful, as they isolate certain minority groups and have more restrictive, conservative ideologies.

    http://www.snp.org

    http://www.vlaamsbelang.org/beginselverklaring/

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlaams_Belang#Ideology

    Pauwels, et al. “The party organization of the Vlaams Belang”. 2013. http://www.academia.edu/3760278/The_party_organization_of_the_Vlaams_Belang

    http://www.britannica.com/topic/Convergence-and-Union

    http://www.pq.org/programme/

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parti_Qu%C3%A9b%C3%A9cois#Party_policy

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29702440

  17. Political Identities and nationalism can shape the world and how we live in it. They can redraw boundaries and bring issues into the spotlight.
    This first picture deals with the Scottish National Party. This is a movement coming out of Great Britain. Recently the UK had a referendum in which the Scottish people voted on whether or not to become independent from the United Kingdom. The vote failed to pass, but it is highly likely that it will come up for a vote again. If it comes up for a vote again, it is also likely that it will pass this time. The last time the vote went through it was very close, and London had made many promises to the Scottish people that it is unlikely they will follow through. Another thing is that Scotland has the potential to be a major oil and gas supplier. If they are a part of the UK then that money will be distributed across the country, if they are independent it stays in Scotland. Another reason they are wanting to split is because they do not want to leave the European Union, however, there is a massive push in England to withdraw from the Union. Only time will tell how this will play out.
    The second picture, I’m not a hundred percent sure. I had never heard of it besides this point. However, after a little research I realized that it is a Dutch nationalist party who was condemned for being racist. This issue is not a new one, many political parties have had nationalist ideas that have been pushed into xenophobia. That’s really the real issue, fear of others. Europe is facing an immigration issue very similar to that of the United States. Immigration is both a good thing and a bad thing, the good things are obvious, but it brings fear to the “original” (I say original loosely) community about new customs and ideas being brought into the country. However, as long as these hate and fear filled ideologies are contained it will eventually blow over, usually to a fear of a new “other”.
    The CIU is a Catalonian nationalist movement. This is another one that I didn’t know much about, but according to a brief look over on Wikipedia, it seems to be a moderate party within Spain. It seems similar to that of the Scottish Independence movement. I would believe the main thrust of this is due to the cultural differences between Madrid and Catalonia. There is, I know, some historical animosity since Spain attempted to a purge of all cultures non-Spanish. This one seems unlikely to get another country, since it’s not talked about a ton. But who knows?
    Kurdistan is a country split amongst other countries. They are a cultural group divided up in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. They each play their own roll differently in each country. For instance, there is an organized militant group in Turkey that the Turks have had to deal with. Recently, with the threat of ISIS the groups in Syria and Iraq have also become highly more organized. Kurdistan is a great idea, however, I just don’t see it happening any time soon due to the unwillingness of redrawing the boundaries.
    Lastly is the Quebec independence movement. Another one that seemed highly likely, but now has kind of fizzled out. This is more or less a cultural movement. The Quebec part of Canada is much more French then the rest of the country. It seems unlikely now that they will ever get independence. But with these kind of issues, it’s a toss up.

  18. SNP: Pictured on the top left. The Scottish Nationalist Party is a UK political party in Scotland which seeks the independence of Scotland from the UK. A primary goal of the SNP is to achieve self-governance and to establish a socialist-democratic system of government. With over 93,000 members, the SNP stands as the largest political party in Scotland. Their policies focus on three main issues. They advocate for anti-austerity, anti-Trident, and Scotland’s powers. Anti-austerity pushes for money to remain in branches which benefit the people, like free education. Anti-Trident stands for the removal of Trident, a nuclear weapon from the Cold War which has been maintained with government money and seems to be a dated form of weaponry. In regards to Scotland’s power, the SNP wants to take most of the power of governance from Westminster and place it back in the hands of the Scottish parliament.

    Parti Quebecois: Pictured on the bottom left. Housed in Quebec, Canada, Parti Quebecois is a sovereignist political party. They want independence for the province of Quebec from the rest of Canada and the establishment of a sovereign state. They have entertained the idea of maintaining a loose association with Canada economically and politically.

    Flemish nationalist party: Pictured on the top right. The FNP seeks to establish an independent Flemish republic apart from Belgium. They want this independence due to the vast differences between the Flemish people and the Walloons who make up the other half of Belgium. The party wants to implement a zero-tolerance policy and to maintain closed borders. Due to recent terrorist events, the party has become harsh towards any members who reject Flemish culture, and they have been accused of anti-Muslim sentiment.

    Catalan Convergéncia I Unió, or CiU: Pictured in the middle. The CiU was originally interested in Catalan’s distinction as a separate nation within Spain, but has recently switched to a focus of pro-secession. The party is segmented between moderates and those pushing for independence. The party members are divided on whether the independence of Catalan is beneficial or not. Elections showed that 30 percent of Catalans won the vote for secession, but the coalition is in danger of falling apart due to differing opinions within the party.

    The Kurdistan Workers Party, known also as the PKK: Pictured on the bottom right. The PKK, based in Turkey and Iraq, is a left-wing party which advocates for the establishment of a Kurdish state. The fight has been challenged by the Turkish government, and the Kurds have taken up arms in the fight for equal rights and self-determination. The Kurds make up 18 percent to 25 percent of the population in Turkey, yet they have no nation for themselves. Many different nations like the United States have recognized the PKK as a terrorist organization, while others like the UN do not affiliate the party with any terrorist organization. The PKK slowly withdrew from Turkey in 2013 and migrated into Iraq. In 2015, the PKK agreed to accept a ceasefire with Turkey with US guarantees. The party originally affiliated itself as a communist party during the time of the communist revolution, but the goals have morphed into national autonomy and democratic confederalism, which is a libertarian socialist political system.

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