Bases de Manresa (1892)
Bases para la Constitución Regional Catalana:
Base 2ª. En la parte dogmática de la Constitución Regional Catalana se mantendrá el temperamento expansivo de nuestra antigua legislación, reformando, para ponerlas de acuerdo con las nuevas necesidades, las sabias disposiciones que contiene respecto a los derechos y libertades de los catalanes.
Base 3ª. La lengua catalana será la única que, con carácter oficial, podrá usarse en Cataluña y en las relaciones de esta región con el poder central
Base 4ª. Sólo los catalanes, ya lo sean de nacimiento o en virtud de la naturalización, podrán desempeñar en Cataluña cargos públicos... También deberán ser ejercidos por catalanes los cargos militares que comporten jurisdicción.
Base 6ª. Cataluña será la única soberana de su gobierno interior
Base 7ª. El poder legislativo regional radicará en las Cortes Catalanas que deberán reunirse cada año en una época determinada y en un sitio diferente. Las Cortes se formarán por sufragio entre los cabezas de familia, agrupados en clases según su trabajo manual, carreras profesionales, propiedad, industria y comercio.
Base 8ª. El poder judicial se organizará restableciendo la antigua Audiencia de Cataluña
Base 12ª. Cataluña contribuirá a la formación del ejército permanente de mar y tierra por medio de voluntarios o bien mediante una compensación en metálico, previamente convenida, como antes de 1845
Base 13ª. El mantenimiento del orden público y seguridad interior de Cataluña estarán confiadas al Somatén, y para el servicio activo permanente se creará un cuerpo parecido al de los "Mossos d´Esquadra " o de la Guardia Civil.
Base 15ª. La enseñanza pública, en sus diferentes ramas, deberá organizarse de una forma adecuada a las necesidades y carácter de la civilización de Cataluña
Base 16ª. La Constitución Catalana y los derechos de los catalanes estarán bajo la salvaguarda del Poder ejecutivo catalán.
Manresa, 27 de marzo de 1892. El presidente, Lluís Doménech i Montaner. Los secretarios, Enric Prat de la Riba, Josep Soler i Palet.
· Primary and written source.
· Political source.
· Public document.
· Context: the text was published in Manresa, town 66 kilometres far from Barcelona, in 1892.
· Intended audience: everyone interested in politics.
· Authors: Lluís Doménech i Montaner, Enric Prat de la Riba and Josep Soler i Palet. Doménech i Montaner was a politician and a modernist architect. When he was young he was a member of Centre Català, the progressive and Catalanist party of Valentí Almirall. Then, he opposed Almirall’s progressivism and he was one of the founders of Unió Catalanista, a federation of Catalanist associations, and he became its president. Unió Catalanista was a federation of Catalanist associations opposed to Centre Català, another autonomist party. Prat de la Riba and Soler i Palet were important members of Unió Catalanista.
The main idea is that Catalonia should have a regional Constitution to allow the Catalans to decide on their liberties and rights and to increase their autonomy (of Catalonia).
Bases de Manresa is the document where Unió Catalanista defined its program. There they defended the organization of Spain as a confederation of states, political autonomy for Catalonia, the re-establishment of ancient institutions, like the Audiencia and the Cortes and Catalan as the official language, and they also defended the control of education by a Catalan government.
The “Somatén” was a Catalan institution of security. At the beginning, it was only an armed force of civil protection and it usually collaborated with the authorities. During Primo de Rivera’s dictatorship, the somatén became one of the régime’s pillars. The somatén was similar to the National Militia. The “Mossos” is a police force that had already existed in the Crown of Aragón.
Bases de Manresa is a Catalanist manifesto. Catalanism had a cultural origin. During the 1830s the Renaixença, a cultural and literary movement, had developed, in the context of Romanticism.
The first party created to defend the Catalan interests was the Lliga Regionalista Catalana, formed in 1901. It was a conservative alternative to the dynastic parties in Catalonia. It was formed by many members of Unió, like Enric Prat de la Riba. It was created because Unió rejected to participate in politics. In the 1901 elections to Cortes the Lliga got 6 deputies and broke the alternation of the dynastic parties for the first time.
The appearance of nationalist and regionalist movements in Catalonia, the Basque Provinces and Galicia was one of the most relevant facts of the Restoration. These movements appeared as a reaction against the State centralization and a political and administrative system that didn’t take the specific cultural and linguistic features of other regions into account. In some way, it was a reaction against Spanish nationalism, which tried to impose a Castilian official culture, ignoring the plural reality of the country.
The Catalanists wanted a similar treatment to the one which had the Basque Provinces. After the end of the Third Carlist War, the fueros of the Basque Provinces and Navarre were abolished, but the Basque Provinces received a special economic treatment with the Basque Economic Agreement (concierto económico), which allowed the Provincial Councils (Diputaciones Provinciales) to collect the taxes directly.
The Bases de Manresa can be considered as the precedent of Catalonia’s statutes (the first one during the 2nd Republic).
Catalonia got more autonomy progressively. In 1899, there was a project of administrative decentralization. The Mancomunitat de Catalunya was created in 1913 and it was suspended during Primo de Rivera’s dictatorship. In 1932, during the Second Republic, the Generalitat de Catalunya was restored and the Estatut d’Autonomia was approved. The Spanish Civil War and Franco’s dictatorship meant the prohibition of Catalan in the official and educational fields. Political freedom wasn’t recovered until the Transition and the approval of the 1978 Constitution. A new Estatut d’Autonomia was approved in 1979, which recovered the official use of Catalan, and it was substituted later by the 2006 Estatut. This one was modified by the Constitutional Court in 2010 and it is in force nowadays.
In the last years, many Catalan parties have claimed for independence and, with the collaboration of organizations such as the Catalan National Assembly, they have written a Constitution, but it isn’t in force because the central government sent it to the Constitutional Court, which declared it unconstitutional.
Salvador Fuentes Lucas-Torres