International self-determination movements: Send us your views

Ben Wray

Special week of coverage will culminate in CommonSpace Forum on 25 April  – send us in your views to

28 APRIL looks set to be a crucial General Election in the history of Spain and its ‘autonomous communities’, including the Basque Country and Catalonia. 

In no time in the post-Franco era has the national question been so dominant in a Spanish election, and has no time since then has the far-right been such a threat to peace, tolerance and equality.

The Catalan crisis has shown both that the issue of the right to self-determination of nations remains unresolved in modern politics, and that authoritarian, reactionary nationalism against this right is still alive and kicking in so-called democratic societies. 

But Spain and Catalonia is not the only national question that has re-emerged in recent times, with various movements taking a variety of forms and with different demands, from the Kurdish women-led revolution for autonomy to the revival of calls for a United Ireland to resolve the Brexit crisis on the island of Ireland, to the increasing severity of Israeli occupation and oppression of Palestinian rights.

CommonSpace’s week of special coverage beginning Tuesday 23 April will analyse international self-determination movements, comparing and contrasting the struggles for autonomy and independence across the world. Questions we will be asking include:

– Is the arc of history towards more independent nations, or are we entering a new age of repression where the emergence of new democratic states will become increasingly difficult?

– What form does reactionary nationalisms take against self-determination movements, from Britain to Spain to Turkey to Israel, and can they be a compelling imperial story for their own populations to get behind?

– Is national sovereignty a relevant topic in the age of globalisation? Do political and economic sovereignty go hand-in-hand, or are independence movements merely seeking the right of their nations to join the neoliberal game?

– What is the most effective strategy and tactics for autonomy and independence movements in relation to their pre-existing states, as well as international institutions like the EU and NATO?

We want to hear your views as well: send us in your thoughts on the national question internationally to and we’ll publish them on CommonSpace.

Our week of coverage will culminate in a CommonSpace Forum to discuss the issues in person on Thursday 25 April, 7.30pm, at our new home at the Kinning Park Complex. For full details and tickets visit the Eventbrite.

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