Monday, October 13, 2008

For the Independence of the Basque Country-Euskal Herria

The North American Basque Organizations (NABO) was incorporated in 1973 “to promote, preserve and advance the historical, cultural, civic, social and fraternal interests and activities of the Basque people” (Article II, Section I). Article II, Section III, clearly states that “nothing herein contained shall be construed an authorizing or empowering the Corporation to promote, encourage, aid or advance any political ideology, movement, cause, party or activity, wherever located.” However, NABO is becoming increasingly involved in homeland partisan politics. It is about time that NABO becomes politically active regarding the present and future of the Basque Country.

The Federation of Basque-Argentinean Entities’ (FEVA) Article III (1955) states, “[FEVA] will attempt to unite Basque and Basque-Argentinean associations to better recognize Euskadi or Euskalherria, constituted by Araba, Benabarra, Bizkaia, Gipuzkoa, Lapurdi, Navarra, and Zuberoa. As well as the defense of the imprescriptible rights of the Basque people, that they have as the ultimate goal the instauration of greater of self-determination, until accomplishing the unity of Euskalherria as an independent state.”

Following FEVA’s example regarding its political commitment towards the Basque Country, the Ants’ Meat Team would like to propose to NABO the approval of the following statement:

“The Basque Country or Euskal Herria, a nation constituted by the provinces of Araba, Bizkaia, Gipuzkoa, Lapurdi, Nafarroa, Nafarroa Beherea, and Zuberoa, has the same right to become a united and independent state as any other nation. The North American Basque Organizations will consequently work actively to promote the right of the Basque people to achieve the goal of independence if this is the will of the majority of the population of Euskal Herria.”

Ants’ Meat is seeking your support regarding the proposal. Please voice your opinions and distribute this post.


Aleksu said...

You have my support.

Jon said...

Wonderful! As soon as the proposal gets widely distributed and discussed (hopefully), we'll send it officially to NABO.
We'll then know what NABO is all about. If NABO supports a plebiscite for some of the Basque people to decide their future, we are sure that NABO won't have any problem to declare its support for an independent Basque Country.

Paul said...

It's about time that someone began to address the big issue that is ultimately the only solution for the survival of the Euskos/Euskoaga. Please remember that not all the people who live in Euskadi - all three regions of it: the CAV(Basque Autonomous Community), Nafarroa, and Iparraldea - are Basques. Euskadi is full of immigrant occupiers. Many of us who live in the Diaspora have more right to decide Euskadi's status and future than many of the residents in Euskadi.

Jon said...

Thanks Paul for voicing your opinions. But, I respectfully disagree with your statement about the "immigrant occupiers." They have the same right to live in the Basque Country as anyone else.

NABO as of today is the main representative body of the Basques in North America, and we believe that NABO has to start becoming a leader and not a puppet of the PNV and the Basque Government.

Consequently, NABO has to voice our concerns about the crude reality of the Basque Country (violation of human rights, political censorship, torture, dispersion of political prisoners...).

We, through NABO, can better support our brothers and sisters in the Basque Country; but we need a strong NABO; a NABO that understands that the independence of Euskal Herria is a right. That's why we ask NABO to approve our statement for the independence of our nation; nothing else.

Jon said...

On behalf of Cathleen; she said:

"You cannot seriously expect NABO to proclaim that Euskal Herria should be an independant nation, regardless of any individual member's beliefs. That is NOT what they are expected, nor allowed to do in their capacity.

Perhaps those members of NABO that support this can create an organization to support the legal creation of a Basque political state. You need some pretty savvy folks with very thick skins who are not afraid of lobbying. Good luck.

Just for NABO to be at this point, where they can even begin to collectively think about the political realities of the Basque Country is a huge step. It would be incredibly short-sighted to try to force feed more into them, which I think might have happened a little at that last meeting. You don't give an infant duck confit, you start them off with cereal. Don't expect NABO to jump into this "game" feet first and running. You run the risk of if all coming back up on you."

Jon said...

Dear Cathleen,
Thank you very much for your comments. We are sorry that you and some others couldn't post any comment. We think that we have fixed the problem.

We agree that it is a big step for NABO, so what? Stating your love and loyalty to the Basque Country shouldn't be a big step.

Was such a big deal for NABO to approve a PNV plebiscite that it is never going to happen?

NABO opened the door for us and anyone else to respecfully request the recognition of the Basque Country as a historical nation and the right of its people to seek an independent state, constitued by seven provinces. That's all we ask for. FEVA did it 53 years ago. It is about time that NABO does the same. Do you think it is too much to ask?

How does NABO think it is going to continue to promote our heritage if it cannot envision that an independent homeland is the future to guarantee out identity and culture?

It is a very straight forward statement. Does NABO undertand that our homeland is a nation with the right to establish its own independent state?

Nothing is impossible, believe me. Consequently, we have officially requested NABO to discuss and pass our proposal (if it is only in a symbolic manner) in the next meeting to be held in Reno, Nevada.

We need as much help as we can. We need people like you Cathleen, believe me.

Jon said...

Dear Ants' Meat people,
NABO has contacted us and stated the following:

"We have a section in our meeting for new business at which time member organizations can raise motions. If you can get one of our member organizations to sponsor your motion then it will go forward to discussion."

Well, I guess that we need just one organization to sponsor our statement. Though, at the time of introducing the FEVA plebiscite declaration, there was not any organization to sponsor it. It was simply introduced by NABO itself...

Maybe we should contact FEVA and ask them to send to NABO our proposal.

Rules are rules...We would need a NABO associated club to sponsor our proposal. The independence of the Basque Country is just one sponsor away...

To our NABO clubs, please sponsor our proposal even if you don't really believe on it. How much would you pay to learn about the true commitement of many of your fellow delegates regarding the future of the Basque Country? Well, you don't need to pay anything.

Is NABO less committed to our country, the country of our ancestors, than FEVA, our sisters and brothers in Argentina?

Only one sponsor!

cat said...

Hi Jon,

The problem, as I understand it, is the way NABO is set up. They are legally allowed to show support for "political" ideas, as long as they are not supporting just ONE party. In a sense, you are correct. If PNV asked them to support the PNV party, that would be illegal. But this document that NABO supported is something that all parties are voting on, and that specifically says within the document that any negotiations would include ALL political parties, therefore NABO felt that they could support this legislation. I believe, but I may be wrong, that they also cannot campaign on behalf of a political party. So, indeed, it is a very fine line.

Sure, if another organization came forward with an initiative for NABO to support, and presented it at the meeting, I'm sure you could ask for a vote at that meeting or the next. I'm not sure of the protocal. But would that be the wisest approach?

You made the comment:

"We agree that it is a big step for NABO, so what? Stating your love and loyalty to the Basque Country shouldn't be a big step."

This is where you are very much mistaken, in your understanding of how the American of Basque descent views these issues. (believe me, I KNOW, I've dealt with it with human rights issues, which of course, often overlap politics....)

You can't force it. You have to educate, and that takes much time and effort. You have to understand how people were brought up to think about what it means to be Basque. What is Basque culture? For many Americans, it is music and dance and food. Absolutely nothing political. Or if politics are talked about, if there is ANY hint of the Left, people are mighty afraid that ETA is involved, or that someone is going to come and accuse them of supporting ETA. I've seen ALL of this in action, here in SF and other places, believe me.

Just for this last vote to have happened at the NABO meeting is a huge step. I'm not so sure that it was done in the right way, which may be why it is stirring up some negative emotion, and I hope that people who were upset will speak out at the next meeting and tell why. It should have been done at the meeting, but people freeze in situations like that. I wasn't there, so I have heard it all second and third hand.

My advice? Don't try to cram any vote down their throat at a near-future meeting. ORGANIZE ORGANIZE. Put info together, put a video together, get a speaker,whatever, force an issue right away. Makes people defensive and they will shut you off, especially when people are not comfortable and/or familiar with the subject.

Igor Calzada said...

Sorry but being respectful, I do not really understand whole this old topic.
I am from Basque Country, in USA at the moment.
To be honest, this is just an old idea. Basque Country, will be what is going to be.
We have really daily problems there and here, to solve.
But not with "useless" reivindication.
Work, in build our new Basque Country.
We need this.
The rest is...past.
And sorry, with my respect, but I am going to waste a gr. of my energy.
Yes working for building the Basque and there.
For the rest, do not count on me.

Paul said...

Not all immigrants are occupiers. I lived in Euskadi for 11 years (1974-1985). I knew, and know, immigrants who are better Basques than many Basques who speak Euskara and have a gazillion Basque names.
Immigrants who actively repress the Basques and their culture are persona non grata and have no right to be in Euskadi, nor in the land of any other occupied nation. All other immigrants are essentially like the rest of us: fellow human beings trying to survive day by day.
Trying to get NABO to accept this is going to be a hard sell right now. You definitely need to organize and educate. The best place to start is Boise, Idaho.
There are several NABO member organizations there. The government of Idaho has already passed one, or more?, resolutions that are pro-Basque that Washington DC did not like.

Jon said...

Hi, thanks for all your comments and suggestions. I haven't much time to reply to each one of you, so I will be brief.

To Paul: OK, now I understand your argument about the whole immigrant issue...Thanks for the explanation.

To Cat and Paul: I don’t want to sound cynical but I thought that we were dealing with a well informed organization that was ready to make the big the jump into the political reality of the Basque Country. I guess that both of you are right and Ants’ Meat should not go forward with the pro-independence proposal.
Ants’ Meat as a diverse group would like to see a real discussion about real issues regarding the future of the Basque Country within NABO. I think that music, dance and food are not going to satisfy a new generations eager to understand today’s homeland. We are ready, and we are not going anywhere.

Regarding the PNV plebiscite that was approved by NABO in September, Cat, you said that: “I hope that people who were upset will speak out at the next meeting and tell why.” We also hope that this is going to be the case. We believe that NABO delegates were manipulated by a group of individuals, whose deceiving record speaks for them.

To Igor: We got it man, we cannot count on you! But please don’t use our blog to advertise your sad proposal of a Euskal Hiria…As a poetical concept I think it is great. We are sure that our “useless” claim is useless to you and people like you that will never do anything to risk your comfortable lifestyle. But, we bet that once we achieve a greater degree of self-determination or even independence, you will be the first one to take credit for it.