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107  4 Rapping on the Cast(i)le Gates: Nationalism and Culture-Planning in Contemporary Spain Thomas Harrington On December 18, 2001, two members of Spain’s ruling conservative party, María San Gil, a city councilor from the Basque Country and national party of- ficial, and Josep Piqué, the Catalan-born Minister of Foreign Affairs, presented their much awaited ponencia on “Patriotismo Constitucional” to the press in Madrid.1 As the pre- and post-presentation spin generated by the Partido Popular made quite clear, the proposal, which was ostensibly rooted in Habermas’ notion of Constitutional Patriotism, was designed with the outsized pretension of closing the debate on how best to guarantee comity between the state’s various nationalistically-defined political communities. That debate had begun (in a formal sense at least) 24 years earlier (in August 1977), when a commission of seven newly-elected members of parliament (Miquel Roca, Jordi Solé-Tura, Manuel Fraga, Miguel Herrero de Miñon, Gabriel Cisneros, José Pedro Pérez-Llorca, and Gregorio Peces-Barba) came together in the hope of crafting Spain’s first democratic constitution since the Second Republic (1931–1939). The draft that emerged from their meetings in the fall of 1977, which would form the kernel of the Constitution which was ratified by popular sovereignty in December of 1978, sought to steer a middle path between Spain’s deeply rooted, and highly antinomic centralizing and *MoranaFinalPages.indd 107 12/1/04 7:13:11 PM 108 THOMAS HARRINGTO decentralizing legacies. Aware of the dangers of tilting too strongly to one side or the other on this contentious issue, which had wreaked havoc on Spanish political and civic life for over a century, they sought refuge in calculated vagueness : La Constitución se fundamenta en la indisoluble unidad de la nación española, patria común e indivisible de todos los españoles, y reconoce y garantiza el derecho a la autonomía de las nacionalidades y regiones que la integran y la solidaridad entre todas ellas. (“Constitución” s.n.) (The constitution is rooted in the undisolvable unity of the Spanish nation, common and indivisible fatherland of all Spaniards. It also recognizes and guarantees the right of autonomy for all of the nationalities and regions contained therein as well as bonds of solidarity between them). (My translation) Aware of the key role that language and cultural symbols have in mediating juridical abstractions the authors went on to state that: El castellano es la lengua española oficial del Estado. Todos los españoles tienen el deber de conocerla y el derecho a usarla. Las demás lenguas españolas serán también oficiales en las respectivas Comunidades Autónomas de acuerdo con sus Estatutos. La riqueza de las distintas modalidades lingüísticas de España es un patrimonio cultural que será objeto de especial respeto y protección. La bandera de España está formada por tres franjas horizontales, roja, amarilla y roja, siendo la amarilla de doble anchura que cada una de las rojas. Los estatutos podrán reconocer banderas y enseñas propias de las Comunidades Autónomas. Estas se utilizarán junto a la bandera de España en sus edificios públicos y en sus actos oficiales. (“Constitución” s.n.) (Castilian is the official Spanish language of the State. All Spaniards have the obligation to know it and the right to use it. The other Spanish languages will also be official in particular Autonomous Communities in accordance with their Statutes. The richness of the distinct linguistic modalities of Spain is a cultural inheritance that will be given special respect and protection. The Spanish flag is formed by three horizontally positioned fields whose colors are red, yellow, and red, with the yellow field being twice as wide as each of the red ones. The statutes allow for the recognition of the Autonomous Communities’s own flags or standards. These will be used along with the Spanish flag at public buildings and in official ceremonies). (My translation.) *MoranaFinalPages.indd 108 12/1/04 7:13:12 PM RAPPING ON THE CAST(I)LE GATES 109 These ambiguous passages from the Constitution’s “Preliminary Title” were designed to express the new polity’s core presumptions, along with Title VIII, devoted to questions of its territorial organization, paved the way for the creation and ratification, between December 1979 and April 1981, of statutes of autonomy for Catalonia...


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