Month: November 2018

Euskaraldia: Speak and Take a Photo in Favor of the Basque Language

“Euskaraldia” (In favor of Basque) is a new initiative from the Etxepare Basque Institutethat first encourages  people in the Basque Country to use Basque more often, not beginning conversations in Spanish for example only to find that the other person is a Basque speaker; and secondly, for Basques in the Diaspora to show support for the Basque language.  As such, they have sent an explanation as well as letters that can be printed out easily.  The hope is that Basques around the world will gather for an event, speak Basque, and then take a photo of the group with the letters.  “Euskaraldia” is set for November 23-December 3rd ending on the International Day of Euskera.  If your group would like to participate, we have provided everything that you need here.  Please send your group pictures to Aitor Inarra, NABO Euskera Coordinator, at naboeuskara@gmail.com. Please find a summary, written by Aitor Inarra, of an event that took place in San Francisco last weekend here.

Visiting Scholar Anjel Errasti Speaks on Cooperative Multinationalization at the CBS Lecture Series

Last Thursday, visiting scholar Anjel Errasti (University of the Basque Country), gave an engaging lecture on the debate about cooperative internationalization. In his talk, Errasti explored the cross-national transfer of cooperative employment practices in multinational worker cooperative, drawing on detailed case studies of two historical and successful European cooperatives: the French ‘Up Group’ and the Mondragon ‘Fagor Ederlan Group’.

Up, headquartered in Paris, is one of the largest cooperatives in France. Founded in 1956, Up has 3,400 employees in 17 countries, mostly in Europe and Latin America, who work with more than a million customers and 21.3 million users of its services and products. In contrast, Ederlan has 3,456 workers and operates as copperative integrated in the Basque Mondragon Group, one of the leading cooperative groups in the world. Ederlan is a global supplier of automotive components for large multinational manufacturers, and has 20 plants and productive alliances in Europe, North and South America, and Asia.

Based on the firm’s documents and interviews with cooperative members and subsidiary employees at different organizational levels, Errasti highlighted the tensions that face Workers Cooperatives when they expand globally through the setting-up of capitalist subsidiaries. He demonstrated there was a great effort  made by both cooperatives in the cross-national diffusion of work organization systems and certain HRM practices on behalf of employee efficiency. However, the attempts that were made for the implementation of the core cooperative practices in the foreign subsidiaries have been unfruitful and were deferred, contrary to what has been done in the their domestic subsidiaries.

Errasti concluded that the policies and actions developed by the multinational Workers Cooperatives to transfer cooperative employment practices (ex: employee participation in ownership, profit sharing, and general management) are not only conditioned by institutional factors, as literature maintains, but mainly in politics and power relations between the headquarters and the subsidiaries. Errasti’s talk ended with a lively discussion among the faculty, students, and other visiting scholars at the Center for Basque Studies. Eskerrik asko, Anjel!

About Anjel:

Anjel Errasti investigates cooperatives, especially Mondragon cooperative internationalization, at the Institute of Cooperative Law and Social Economy (GEZKI) at the University of the Basque Country (EHU-UPV). He is visiting the CBS to do research in the Jon Bilbao Basque Library about Mondragon subsidiaries in the United States. This is what he says about his stay in Reno, “This is the second time I have come to Reno. Both times, I came with my son Lur, who goes to Reno High School. Somehow, both of us are attached to the Center for Basque Studies, UNR, this city and this country, where we have marvelous friends. We are leaving by Christmas, but we hope that we will come back in the future. It’s been such an awesome experience!”

November 4, 1979: Creation of the Euskal Herrian Euskaraz (EHE) association

On November 4, 1979, the Euskal Herrian Euskaraz (Basque in the Basque Country, EHE) association was launched in Durango, Bizkaia under the slogan “Euskararik gabe, Euskal Herririk ez” (Without Basque there is no Basque Country). It is an association that defends the right to live in Basque in the Basque Country. Today, its principal goal is to achieve a Basque-speaking Basque Country made up of polyglot or multilingual people.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Today, the association focuses its concerns on certain areas: the right to learn and study in Basque throughout the educational systems of the whole Basque Country, the right to use Basque and be dealt with in the language in all official situations (including, for example, healthcare, legal contexts, and any circumstances involving the public administration), the right to receive information via the media in Basque, the more general demand for linguistic normalization (comprising much of the aforementioned goals), and challenging what it interprets as any assaults on the linguistic rights of Basque speakers.

EHE symbol on a Basque-Spanish bilingual board, deleting text in Spanish (Zaldibia, Gipuzkoa). Photo by Josu Goñi Etxabe. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

EHE symbol on a Basque-Spanish bilingual board, deleting text in Spanish (Zaldibia, Gipuzkoa). Photo by Josu Goñi Etxabe. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

From the outset, and to this day, the EHE association emphasized its activist nature. That is to say, it is an association that is nonaligned to any political party but advocates peaceful social protest to raise awareness about the minoritized status of Basque as well as in pursuit of basic goal of demanding a Basque-speaking Basque Country. This is considered controversial in some quarters, especially as the association challenges many official administrative goals of bilingualism in the Basque Country, asserting that such goals–in the context of a minoritized language–actually result in a situation of diglossia, in which an “H” or “high” language continues to occupy a dominant position over an “L” or “low” language.

Language is a key theme for many of the Center’s publications. See, for example, Language Rights and Cultural Diversity, edited by Xabier Irujo and Viola Miglio (free to download here) and The Challenges of a Bilingual Society in the Basque Country, edited by Pello Salaburu and Xabier Alberdi.

 

 

Visiting Scholar Haritz Azurmendi Speaks on Basque Nationalism at the CBS Lecture Series

Haritz Azurmendi is a visiting scholar from the University of the Basque Country (EHU-UPV). Azurmendi gave an engaging lecture at the CBS Lecture Series late October, where he addressed Basque debates about nationalism from a historical and contemporary perspective. Tracing the evolution of Basque nationalist thought over 1968 to 2018, the lecture situated Basque discourse about identity and nationalism within the broader intellectual debates between the Modernist and Ethno-symbolic schools.  To what extent, Azurmendi proposed, is Basque nationalism a product of the Enlightenment, of capitalism and of the general resurgence of nationalist movements in the 19th century? To what extent does the emergence of Basque nationalist symbols constitute a pattern of a Hobsbawmian “invention of tradition”? Alternatively, how do they draw on pre-modern ethnic memories? Azurmendi presented the evolution of Basque nationalism as a contested ideological terrain where left wing abertzalism, right wing bourgeois nationalism, Marxism and post-colonial discourses competed for diverse interpretations of the nation.  He identified the initial phase of these developments as the First Renaissance that relied on the exaltation of the peasantry, traditionalism, folklore, and a certain romanticism of rural life. The Second Renaissance, in turn, drew from urban modernity, existentialist thought, and social poetry. Azurmendi discussed the fascinating debate among public intellectuals concerning the question of why, and to what end, is one to speak Basque, with arguments ranging from sentimental reasons to justice, the importance of choice, and the defense of local culture. Azurmendi concluded that in light of the current Catalan crisis and Spanish reactions to it, we must re-think Basque nationalism and its diverse appeal to discourses about the “post-national subject,” the right to decide, democratization, independence, and the role of the Basque language.

Haritz investigates the idea of the nation in Jose Azurmendi`s work as a PhD student in the department of Political Science at the University of the Basque Country (EHU-UPV). He is using the CBS library resources to finish his dissertation, which he will defend next summer. This is what he said about his stay in Reno: “I try to travel around at weekends. I have visited such must see places in the neighborhood as Lake Tahoe, Mount Rose, and I am planning to go to Lake Pyramid soon. I also enjoy historical visits to places like Virginia City. And, of course, I love meeting Basque Americans and hear their stories and memories!”

Haritz`s talk ended with a lively discussion among the faculty, students and visiting scholars of the Center for Basque Studies. Eskerrik asko Haritz!

      

 

 

 

 

 

October 31, 1808: Battle of Pancorbo

On October 31, 1808, the Battle of Pancorbo (or Zornotza, and also sometimes referred to as the Battle of Durango) in Bizkaia marked one of the early military engagements in the Peninsular War after France had turned on its former ally, Spain, that same year in an attempt by Napoleon to take control of the whole Iberian Peninsula.

By late October of 1808, the French were advancing toward Bilbao. At the Battle of Pancorbo, in the vicinity of what is today Zornotza/Amorebieta in Bizkaia, French forces under the command of Marshal François Joseph Lefebvre defeated the Army of Galicia, led by Lieutenant General Joaquín Blake y Joyes. While the French claimed victory, their triumph was incomplete because Lefebvre failed to carry out Napoleon’s order to encircle and destroy Blake’s army–a key component in the left flank of the Spanish forces defending a front that stretched from the Cantabrian Sea to the Mediterranean.

Although Bilbao fell to Lefebvre’s forces on November 2, because Blake’s forces were not destroyed, he was able to effect a retreat and successfully re-engage the French, west of the city, at the Battle of Balmaseda (Bizkaia) on November 5. That said, ultimately the military superiority of the French, now under the direct control of Napoleon proved decisive, and by the end of the year they had captured Madrid.