Catalonia has a lot in common with Brexit and other bourgeois populist movements, and little to do with romantic notions of freedom versus oppression

• Aurora Nacarino-Brabo and Jorge San Miguel Lobeto are political scientists, serving as advisers to the Ciudadanos party in the Spanish parliament.

For many Europeans, it was impossible not to feel sympathy for Catalans when images of riot police suppressing an illegal election appeared all over the media at the beginning of October. Then came the dismissal of the Catalan government by Madrid after the Spanish senate approved the execution of article 155 of the constitution. Finally, a judge in Madrid ordered eight members of the deposed Catalan government to be remanded in custody pending possible charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement of funds, among others.

These events have aroused controversy in the sphere of European public opinion and garnered Madrid some criticism for its handling of the crisis. However, most analyses lack understanding of the movement behind the Catalan drive for independence, namely Catalan nationalism. In the runup to the next regional elections scheduled for 21 December, it might be useful to provide English-speaking audiences with some facts that have remained somewhat obscured.

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