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The Role of ETA in the Basque Nationalist Movement and its Consequences

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european union
IEP Paris

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  1. Introdction
  2. The struggle for an autonomous Euskadi.
  3. Interpreting ETA as an extreme interpretation of Aranismo
  4. The decision that a socialist government was a utopian idea
  5. The governments failure to grant self-determination to the Basques
  6. Conclusion
  7. Bibliography

Following the recent ceasefire declared by ETA on 22nd March of this year (2006), never has it been more appropriate to look further into what the American Government has classified as one of the best-organised terrorist organisations in the world. In this essay I will explore the origins of ETA and the purpose of its formation. Secondly I will look at how ETA has evolved since its foundation in 1959 and investigate the changes that have taken place within the organisation itself. Following on from this I will examine ETA's motives and its methods, and what it represents in the minds of the Basque and Spanish people alike. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I will discuss the consequences of ETA and its actions; how they have affected the Basque Country, Spain, and the rest of the World. However this cannot be done without first taking into account the history of the Basque Nationalist Movement and all that that entails.

[...] Aranismo is the extreme version of Basque nationalism, and it is important to remember during this discussion that the Basque nationalist movement is a multi-faceted one, with many internal disagreements. The PNV represented a compromise between the radical Aranistas and moderate nationalists, an organization in which all nationalists could feel at home, and this was perhaps Arana's greatest legacy of all. However, it was only in the 1960s, during Franco's regime, when the letters standing for Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (Euskadi and Freedom) began to appear, daubed on the walls of towns in the two coastal provinces of Biscay and Guipúzcoa. [...]

[...] In its early days, ETA was beneficial in so far as it brought the issue of Basque nationalism to the forefront in Spanish politics: ?Basque nationalism is peripheral in Spain in only a geographical sense, and whatever else may be said about ETA, there is no doubt that it took the nationalist debate out of Euskadi to Madrid and the corridors of power.? However this may have been the only benefit that ETA brought to the Basque people. As the organization evolved, it became more and more detrimental to the democratic process that was granting the Basque Country what independence it could in the form of the CAV (Comunidad Autónoma Vasca, Basque Autonomous Community) as a Statute of Autonomy which was approved in the 1979 referendum by the Basque people. [...]

[...] We have already discussed how ETA was product of the repression of the Francoist era, and was radicalised by the student movements of the 1960s in Europe', but their aims and objectives have evolved over the years, largely in response to the attitudinal responses of the Basque people to whatever theories and strategies were current at the time. new organization developed groupings associated increasingly with Marxist positions and set revolutionary socialism as their goal.' At their first assembly in 1962 they declared that Basque identity is defined by the Basque language and that they were an ?aconfessional? organization, i.e. [...]

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