Protest, Radicalism and Militancy in Spain’s Basque Country: The Basque Nationalist Movement and the persistent Struggle of ETA

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Political Science | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Manju Parikh, Political Science


The Basque separatist group ETA (Basque Homeland and Freedom) began its armed struggle against the Spanish state in the 1960s during the repressive Franco dictatorship. After Franco's 1975 death, Spain transitioned to democracy and wrote a new constitution that allowed the granting of regional autonomy to the Basque region. Despite the liberal regime change however, support continues for ETA' s radical agenda. This thesis provides an understanding of the causes of radical Basque nationalism while examining the persistence of ETA throughout Spain's democratic period. ETA's separatist agenda receives support because there is a wide gap between the official concessions recognizing Basque autonomy and in reality, the pursuit of many discriminatory policies against the Basques by the Spanish government. What does the future hold? Continued repression and increased ETA militancy? Is there a way out? The thesis examines the costs and benefits of keeping the status quo for each side.