ⓘ Xosé Manuel Beiras

                                     

ⓘ Xose Manuel Beiras

Xose Manuel Hixinio Beiras Torrado 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. He is a former member of the National Council of the Galician Nationalist Bloc, he is currently the leader of ANOVA-Irmandade Nacionalista, an independentist political party with representation in the Galician parliament.

                                     

1. Academic life

Beiras graduated with a law degree in 1957 from the University of Santiago de Compostela. That same year, he moved to Paris to study economics at the University of the Sorbonne, where he also studied French Language and Literature. In 1960, he taught his first course on Political Economy at the Complutense University of Madrid and a year later, in 1961, he moved to London to attend the London School of Economics, where he continued to advance his studies.

During the 1966/1967 academic year, Beiras received a scholarship from the Juan March Foundation, which allowed him to attend a research course with François Perrou at the Institut de Sciencie Economique Apliquee Paris. During his time in France, he became acquainted with Robert Lafonts concept of "internal colonialism", a concept that would remain embedded in his political discourse for 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 a prize from Casa Galiza in New York City for his book O problema do desenrolo na Galiza rural The Problem of Development in Rural Galicia. In 1968 he moved back to Galicia for good, taking up a job as a lecturer in economy at the University of Santiago de Compostela. In 1970, while spending a few months in Madrid, he published his doctoral dissertation under the title Estructura y problemas de la poblacion gallega "Structure and Problems of the Galician Population". His dissertation earned him an Extraordinary Doctoral Prize, as well as a position as associate professor in Structural Economy.

In 1972 he published one of this key works: O atraso economico 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 Barrie de la Maza foundation and the University of Montpellier. In 1977 he was invited to join the Real Academia Galega The Royal Galician Academy – the 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 Structural Economy at the University of Santiago de Compostela, where Beiras still remains 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.

                                     

2. Life in politics

As a politician he was one of the founding members of the clandestine Galician Socialist Party, in 1963, in Francoist Spain. 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 unfavorable results in the first democratic elections of Spain after the death of Franco.

In 1982 Beiras tookpart 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. Beiras is also the co-founder and president of the politically oriented foundation Galiza Sempre, since 1999.

                                     

3. 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 Edicions 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.

                                     

3.1. Beiras as an author Selected works

  • Cartas a un amigo aleman translation into Galician of Albert Camus Lettres à un ami allemand, 1987
  • Os xustos translation into Galician of Albert Camus Les Justes, 1987
  • O problema do desenrolo na Galiza rural, 1967
  • O estado da nacion, 1996
  • Por unha Galiza liberada, 1984
  • O atraso economico de Galiza, 1972
  • A Galiza rural na encrucillada, 1975
  • Prosas de combate e maldicer, 1991
  • Introduccion a economia galega de hoxe Beiras et al., 1969
  • Estructura y problemas de la poblacion gallega, 1970
  • Antigona translation into Galician of Jean Anouilhs Antigone, with Xose Luis Franco Grande, 1959
  • O atraso e Nos. Aportacion para un debate encol o atraso economico, 1982
  • Dende Galiza: Marx. Homenaxe a Marx no 1º centenario da sua morte Beiras et al., 1984
  • Constitucion española e nacionalismo galego: unha vision socialista, 1985
  • Contaminacion industrial e desenvolvimento, 1975
  • A poboacion galega no seculo XX et A. Lopez Rodriguez, 1999