The recent events involving the efforts of Catalonia to separate itself from Spain, and the resulting repression at the hands of the Spanish state, along with the growing prominence of the Kurdish independence movement, have been accompanied by a range of criticisms being levied against both movements.
The Catalan independence movement has been criticized for not being radical enough, for essentially being a conservative movement within an affluent region that does not wish to pay taxes to the Spanish state, for advocating for a state of its own, and for not rejecting the global capitalist system per se. A similar movement exists in the form of the Lombard League in Northern Italy. The Kurdish independence movement has been criticized for being tacitly allied with the USA and Israel against the Eastern axis within global capitalism, whereas the Socialist hard left and revolutionary nationalists alike tend to have more favorable view of the Eastern axis as opposed to the Western axis
These criticisms are certainly legitimate. However, the issue of the legitimization of secession as an end unto itself is a separate issue from the actual reasons for a particular secession or the objectives of particular groups of secessionists. Having looked at the ideas of hundreds, if not thousands, of secessionist tendencies around the world, I tend to disagree, often strongly, with the specific ideological orientations of these groups. For instance, we have a California secessionist tendency in America that more or less wants California to be a one-party state ruled by the Democratic Party. We have what amounts to a Republican version of the same thing in Texas and Alaska. Some of the Native American reservations here have a semi-independent status even if they function as de facto Bantustans for the US federal regime.
But it would seem that the legitimization of secession is a necessary first step towards the development of more seriously radical separatist movements. Whatever the limitations of the Catalans and the Kurds, for example, it would seem what they are doing would have the effect of strengthening the premise of the self-determination principle even if its only a veneer of self-determination. I am widely hated by left-wing anarchists for, among other things, supporting secessionist movements of an “un-progressive” nature. But the point they don’t get is that the purpose of supporting such efforts is to development a slippery slope towards even more radical forms of decentralization, and separatist movements with a more radical ideological orientation. Other than that, however, I tend to agree with the criticisms that have been raised of these various regionalist movements. I had a similar view of Brexit in the sense that, yes, I’m all for breaking up the EU, but not for the purpose of strengthening the British state which is more or less what Brexit was really about. I had the same view of the Scottish independence movement, which seemed to be mostly about Scotland leaving the UK to be a vasslage of the EU.
Ye the legitimization of secession is only a first step. Future efforts will involve the development of self-determination movements that are independent of any state, that reject the nation-state system, that reject the international system, and which are not aligned with any block within the international system. Instead, these will be representative of a global insurgency against the international system, and the nation-states and related institutions that are its component parts.