Catalan Socialist Party

Catalan Socialist Party
   The tensions between socialism/communism and Catalan nationalism which characterize left-wing movements in Catalonia are nowhere more evident than in the Catalan Socialist Party (Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya, or PSC). The PSC was formed in 1978 as an alliance of the three existing Catalan socialist parties, with Joan Raventós as its General Secretary. The party had great success in the municipal elections of 1979, capturing twenty-one mayoral offices. Their biggest prize was Barcelona City Council, which they have controlled ever since, mainly under the leadership of their charismatic mayor, Pasqual Maragall.
   The early 1980s were characterized by the sometimes bitter rivalry between the PSC and CiU (Convergence and Unity). While the PSC controlled what was by far the largest local council, the Generalitat (Catalan Autonomous Government) was in the hands of Jordi Pujol's CiU. However, the position of the PSC has weakened in recent years as support for CiU has grown. While the PSC has always won more votes than any other party in Catalonia at general (all-Spain) elections, it has always done less well at local and autonomous elections. However, its share of the vote has been in decline even at general elections. This has been due in part to its own internal divisions: for instance, the party almost split in 1980 after the more Catalanist wing led by Raimon Obiols and backed by the PSOE defeated the Spanish-nationalist wing, which presented itself as more class-oriented. Another reason for the relative decline of the PSC is its close association with PSOE (it presents itself as PSC-PSOE). The waning popularity of Felipe González's government in Spain was reflected in the fortunes of the PSC in Catalonia. A third cause of its decline could be the growing sense that only Catalan nationalist parties (in particular the CiU) can defend Catalan gains against increasing attacks in the rest of Spain, particularly by the PP (Popular Party) in the period 1993 to 1996. The PSC has tended to present the CiU as a Catalan nationalist party in a negative sense, and this, to a certain extent, has rebounded on it. Having said all this, PSC-PSOE has retained a greater support in the industrial belt of Barcelona than the socialists have in practically the whole of the rest of Spain.
   Further reading
   - Balcells, A. (1996) Catalan Nationalism (edited and introduced by G.J.Walker), Basingstoke: Macmillan (contains an analysis of the role of the PSC in Catalonia).
   DAVID GEORGE

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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