New Trends in Catalan Nationalism
Seguí's death marked the beginning of the end of the period of internecine strife in Barcelona that had opened with the "women's war" in 1918. As mentioned earlier, the roots of a new kind of Catalanism that would transform Barcelona's political landscape in the period after Seguí's death could be traced to 1918 as well. On Novem-
ber 15 of that year, two days after the end of World War I, Catalan delegate Marcel.lí Domingo had argued in the Cortes that Catalunya needed "integral autonomy." What he meant was that Catalunya should have rights of self-government, to be exercised through regional executive, legislative, and judicial institutions within the Spanish state. Another delegate, Francesc Macià, went even further. He viewed Catalunya as properly a nation with rights of self-determination: "The moment of truth has arrived," he said. "All Catalans are prepared for the struggle and the final victory." A former army officer born to a modest family and married into the Catalan landed elite, Macià was the leading advocate for a new cross-class alliance that would gain the independence of a Catalan state. In believing that independence would lift the dual oppression of workers and Catalans, he stood with other European liberals right after the war who were convinced that national self-determination could solve all social problems.
In late February 1919, as the Canadian strike was spreading, Macià had attempted to promote a popular alliance of Catalans regardless of class. Addressing the Cortes on February 21, he claimed that the problems of both the workers and Catalunya raised fundamental questions about freedom. He chastised the assembly, saying: "You treat Catalunya as a conquered country, and you have imposed a language that is not its own. Catalunya wants liberty from the tyranny of Spain and you have denied it. . . . The working classes are [also] oppressed and persecuted, especially in Barcelona [and they, too, deserve recognition]." A month later, in March 1919, Marcel.lí Domingo wrote: "The reason Barcelona has been driven to the present conditions [of the general strike] is that the government has not been willing to treat Catalunya's two great movements, the autonomists and the syndicalists, with justice."
Moved by communitarian sentiments despite the near civil war that swept Barcelona after 1919, Macià intensified his political activities. He believed it was possible to rescue Catalan nationalism from the conservative Regionalist League and promote a middle-class Catalan nationalist party committed to democracy and republicanism. In 1922, to this end, he launched the Catalan State (Estat Català), a political organization that incorporated a militia of young Catalan nationalist men capable of overthrowing the monarchy through armed struggle.
Catalanism, long led by the conservative Regionalist League, was passing to a new generation. Both the goals and the means that Macià and Domingo espoused were political. They wanted social justice as well as regional autonomy, and they believed that Catalunya's success in
creating and running its own courts, schools, and police force and collecting its own taxes would depend on restructuring the Spanish state into some form of republic. Just what kind of republic Macià envisioned and whether he wanted an entirely separate Catalan country—roughly like Ireland or Czechoslovakia—is not clear.