10 euskera

11th text commentary- Euskeldun Batzokijaren Estatutuak

This document is a first level text, being the target reader any citizen. It is not known exactly which the author is, but it is quite sure that it was Sabino Arana or someone next to him. It is about the statutes for the creation of the first Batzoki in Bilbao. It was published in 1894 (a year earlier than the party PNV was created). We can say it has a political content.

At that time, there was a Restoration period in Spain. The system was conservative and two dynastic parties took the power in turns using rigging elections. On the one hand it was a specially delicate moment, because not only was the situation of the country bad, but they were also starting to have problems with colonies (the colonial war, which finished with the loss of the remaining colonies). On the other hand, the backwardness of the country has to be mentioned. Compared to other European Countries Spain was underdeveloped. However, in some areas modern industrialization was beginning, in Catalonia and in the Basque Country. In the Basque Country there was a big iron industry developing. Society was at that moment a class society, where money ordered the whole society. In the Basque Country there was a big bourgeoisie class, which invested in that industry. Nevertheless there were also lots of poor immigrants coming from other regions, since the work demands were high. Those non-privileged people lived in a hard situation, living in barracks and buying food in canteens. Consequently, they joined the workers’ movement which was emerging at that time. Due to the crisis of the government, as the restoration system wasn’t working as well as with Ferdinand VII, three critics started: regeneracionism (democratically wanted to change the country, without changing the government and without manipulating elections), workers’ movement (asked for workers rights) and finally,  nationalism (especially in Catalonia and the Basque Country, where citizens started to ask for autonomy because they think the state did not care about them although they were industrialized). 

Basque nationalism was not a isolate movement. In fact it was following the steps of the Catalonia nationalism model, which started a bit earlier. The Basque movement was linked to Carlism. The founder of the Basque nationalism, Sabino Arana, was a member of a traditional Carlist family. The Basque nationalism was, as it is mentioned in the first paragraph, religious (we can say religion was almost on the basis of this ideology). The author, apart from mentioning the importance of religion and of recovering the fueros, tries to underline the characteristics of the Basque population, this is, what they have in common: race, language, creed, personality, traditions… The “Batzoki” is a place created by the nationalists in order them to meet, with the aim of reinforcing Basque culture. In the second article they mention the PNV party, in which Sabino Arana was the person writing the statutes. Another reality was appearing in the Basque Country: the proletarians or workers number had increased a lot because of industrialization. Consequently, workers movement was created to conduct the interest of those workers. On the contrary,  nationalism is a bit against that because nationalists thought that they were different so they did not want immigrants (who spoke a different language and did not share their culture and traditions). 

The result was that the nationalist movement was settled and in the following year, in 1895 EAJ- PNV political party was created on these ideological bases. They  tried to unify all the Basques, but opposing to the immigrants working in the industries, because they thought they was breaking their interest. So, there was an attempt to separate both realities in the Basque Country. It is obvious that the effect has lasted, because the political party exists even nowadays. This party, was at first very radical, wanting independence and opposing to foreigners (they called them “maquetos”). However, this was not the only nationalist group  created. Leadered by Ramón de La Sota, a industrialist, another one was created. This group did not want independence; they only wanted autonomy (and their speech was more moderate). In the first elections where this political parties took part, PNV had a very poor result. So in a moment, they joined together and Arana moderated his speech (being also less racist). With the time they separated again and the one of Ramón de la Sota disappeared.