Xosé Manuel Beiras

Xosé Manuel Beiras

Xosé Manuel Hixinio Beiras Torrado (Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, 7 April 1936) - commonly known as Xosé Manuel Beiras or simply Beiras - is a Galician politician, economist, writer and intellectual. He is professor of Structural Economy at the Faculty of Economic Sciences of the University of Santiago de Compostela. Former member of the National Council of the Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG in the Galician acronym), he is at present leader of "Encontro Irmandinho" [http://www.encontroirmandinho.org/] , an organization within BNG.

Academic life

Beiras graduated in Law in 1958 at the University of Santiago de Compostela. That same year he moved to Paris to study economics. He also studied French literature at the University of the Sorbonne (1960). In 1961 he joined the London School of Economics to further expand his knowledge on the field of economy. In 1966 he completed a research course on economics with François Perrou at the Institut de Sciencie Economique Apliquée (Paris). While in France, he became acquainted with Robèrt Lafont's concept of "internal colonialism", a concept that would embed his political discourse in the years to come.

He was the vice-director of the "Revista de Economia da Galiza" ("Galician Journal of Economics") from 1963 to 1968. In 1967 he was granted with a prize from "Casa Galiza" of New York for his book "O problema do desenrolo na Galiza rural" ("The problem of development in rural Galicia"). In 1968 he moved back to Galicia permanently, where he took up a job as lecturer in economy at the University of Santiago de Compostela. In 1970, while spending a few months in Madrid, he published his doctoral thesis with the title "Estructura y problemas de la poblacion gallega" ("Structure and problems of the Galician population"). This thesis granted him the post of associate-professor in Structural Economy. In 1972 he published one of this key works: "O atraso económico da Galiza" ("The economic underdevelopment of Galicia"), and he was offered the post of temporary Dean, a position he eventually accepted in 1975. While still publishing books, he directed a research project on the modernization of Galian agriculture sponsored by the Pedro Barrié de la Maza foundation and the University of Montpellier. In 1977 he was invited to join the "Real Academia Galega" ("Royal Galician Academy"), and institution he would leave in 1982 as he disagreed with the linguistic policies endorsed by the Academy (and following the example of Carvalho Calero). In 1980 he became head professor of Strucural Economy at the University of Santiago de Compostela, until today. The 1980s were prolific in publications not just related to economics or politics, but also literary. He would even publish translations from French classics into Galician.

Life in politics

As a politician he was one of the founding members of the clandestine Galician Socialist Party, in 1963, still during the Franco dicatorship. In 1964 he took on the role of International Relations, a position which would grant him access to a number of European Socialist organizations. He would eventually become Secretary General of the party in 1971. Yet, he resigned in 1977 due to the bad results in the first democratic elections of Spain after the death of Franco.

In 1982 Beiras takes part in the foundation of the BNG (Galician Nationalist Bloc) as member of the National Directive Board. In 1985 he gained a seat at the Galician Parliament and gradually became the indisputable leader of Galician nationalism. Beiras took the party to its best results ever in 1997, receiving the support of almost 25 per cent of the electorate. In 2004 he established a number of pacts with nationalist parties from Catalonia and Basque Country in order to gain greater media coverage and, most importantly, joint political weight in the Spanish Parliament. That same year, 2004, he decided to renounce to the candidacy for the Galician presidency for the next elections and gradually leaves active politics. However, being unhappy with the internal dynamics of BNG shortly after he yielded leadership, he fostered a critical organization within it - the "Encontro Irmandinho" - in order to promote party transparency and internal democracy.

After abandoning the first line of BNG, Beiras has been actively involved in anti-globalization movements such as Altermundo and the World Social Forum (WSF) [http://www.anosaterra.org/nova/beiras-no-debate-para-espallar-o-foro-social-mundial.html] . In 2008 he was invited to join the Council of the WSF [http://firgoa.usc.es/drupal/node/40670/print] . Beiras is also the co-founder and president of the politically-oriented foundation "Galiza Sempre", since 1999.

Beiras as an author

He has published a large number of books and articles in politics and economics, but as an intellectual Beiras has also shown an interest in literature and music (he is an accomplished pianist). He contributed to the creation of publishing houses such as Editorial Galaxia and Edicións Laiovento. At present he is a regular columnist of newspaper "Galicia Hoxe". Occasionally he publishes in the newspaper "A Nosa Terra" and in the prestigious Galician cultural journal Grial.

elected works

* Antígona (translation into Galician of Jean Anouilh's "Antigone", with Xosé Luís Franco Grande), 1959
* O problema do desenrolo na Galiza rural, 1967
* Introducción á economía galega de hoxe (Beiras et al.), 1969
* Estructura y problemas de la población gallega, 1970
* O atraso económico de Galiza, 1972
* A Galiza rural na encrucillada, 1975
* Contaminación industrial e desenvolvimento, 1975
* O atraso e Nós. Aportación para un debate encol o atraso económico, 1982
* Dende Galiza: Marx. Homenaxe a Marx no 1º centenario da súa morte (Beiras et al.), 1984
* Por unha Galiza liberada, 1984
* Constitución española e nacionalismo galego: unha visión socialista, 1985
* Cartas a un amigo alemán (translation into Galician of Albert Camus' "Lettres à un ami allemand"), 1987
* Os xustos (translation into Galician of Albert Camus' "Les Justes"), 1987
* Prosas de combate e maldicer, 1991
* O estado da nación, 1996
* A poboación galega no século XX (et A. López Rodríguez), 1999


* Beramendi, J. and Núñez Seixas, X.M. (1996): "O nacionalismo galego", A Nosa Terra, Vigo
* Fernández Baz, M.A., (2003): "A formación do nacionalismo galego contemporáneo (1963-1984)", Laiovento
* Fernán Vello, M.A. and Pillado Maior, F. (2004): "A estrela na palabra. Novas conversas con Xosé Manuel Beiras", Edicións Laiovento - Espiral Maior, Santiago de Compostela

External links

* [http://www.encontroirmandinho.org/ Encontro Irmandinho]
* [http://bng-galiza.org Bloque Nacionalista Galego]
* [http://www.galizasempre.org/ Fundación Galiza Sempre]
* [http://altermundo.org/portal/content/blogsection/37/306/ Beira's personal section in "Altermundo"] .

ee also

* Galician nationalism
* Galician Nationalist Bloc

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