Friday, December 12, 2014

The crisis of the Restoration. The dictatorship of Primo de Rivera

On September 13th 1923 the pronouncement of the Captain General of Catalonia, Miguel Primo de Rivera, occurred. The objectives of the dictator were to finish the Moroccan war, heal the public administration and re-establish social peace. Theoretically, once these problems were resolved, the power would return to the new governors. However, the truth of the matter was quite different.
In spite of the ‘Lliga Regionalista’ [Regionalist League’s] support of Primo de Rivera, the regionalists had to withdraw their help and refused to be a part of the new dictatorial government. The refusal of the Catalan movement supporters had rapid consequences, like the expulsion of Josep Puig Cadafalch from the presidency of the Mancomunitat, which passed into the hands of the cacique and Alfons Sala Argemí, president of the ‘Unión Monárquica Nacional’ [National Monarchic Union] (UMN). Nevertheless, Sala’s command was ephemeral because the Mancomunitat was abolished on March 20th 1925.

On September 18th 1923 the royal decree against separatism appeared, in which, in the paragraph dedicated to the language, it stated that ‘To express or write in languages or dialects, songs, dances, customs and regional dresses, was not an object of any prohibition; but in the official acts of a national or international nature, those people invested with authority could not use any language other than Spanish, which is the official language of the Spanish State’.

This act signified the suppression or mediation of the Catalan institution, the elimination of liberties, the prohibition of use of their own language, the disappearance of the political formations and the limitation of the distribution of Catalan culture. However, the linguistic repression undertaken by the dictator turned out to be counterproductive, because an important expansion of the book in Catalan started immediately, which was caused by the adhesion of the different ambits of society which were increasingly more numerous and extensive, especially due to the process of linguistic normalization which had been initiated in the last years of the nineteenth century.

The apparition of an extraordinary multitude of new periodical publications, of cultural activities like conferences, Catalan language courses, theatrical and musical activities, and the birth of entities and school centres gave rise to an important cultural network to fight for the legitimization of the Catalan language and file the strength of the dictatorship.

However, the dictatorship collapsed. Some of the elements that made its consolidation an impossibility were the armed conspiracy of Francesc Macià together with the failed events of Prats de Molló in 1926, the working class movement who did not agree with the dictator and confronted him, the internal contradictions on a military level and its wear and tear due to the exhaustion of the social and economical responses to the regime.

Related article:

Not only Franco… Primo de Rivera as well

The Catalan language has periodically been repressed throughout history. Usually people think that Catalan language was repressed only by the Franco’s dictatorship. Unfortunately this is only one of several Spanish repressive waves.

The language was banned by the Spanish dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera (1923-1929), The only language to be used in many aspects was Castilian. For instance:
  • Town councils were not allowed to write Catalan.
  • Teachers who spoke in Catalan at the classrooms were transferred to Spanish-speaking places, fined and punished Read more....

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