Jordi Garci-Petit, December 30, 2021
“The leaders of the procés held the Government of the Generalitat, but they did not govern “things”, they devoted themselves almost exclusively to the “governing” of the procés, causing the decline of Catalonia in basic indicators.”
Ten years of procés, ten years miserably lost. Although the agitation came from afar, the starting signal for the procés was given by the Agreement for the Transition, which Artur Mas and Oriol Junqueras signed in December 2012. They promised to hold a referendum on self-determination for the independence of Catalonia, disregarding the Constitution, the Statute, the social reality and the foreseeable consequences of their actions.
In the intervening ten years there has been an enormous waste of (unproductive) energy both on the part of the pro-independence parties and their opponents, which has weighed down the politics of the whole of Spain. Vox is a consequence of the procés and the “go for them”, an irrational reaction to acts without reason. Catalonia has ceased to be admired just to be seen with apprehension as a source of general instability.
The leaders of the procés held the Government of the Generalitat, but did not govern “things”, they devoted themselves almost exclusively to the “governing” of the procés, causing the decline of Catalonia in basic indicators. The Parliament was busier in debates and resolutions of the procés than in legislating within the framework of its powers. It ended up discredited and the opposition humiliated by the forced approval of the shameful referendum laws and the legal and foundational transitional laws of the republic.
In the Europe of the last decade there has been no political process comparable to the procés. Its leaders lied, manipulated, misrepresented and intoxicated to the full. They created a rebellious state of opinion, without cause. Other societies suffered the same or worse consequences of the economic crisis, but were not compelled by their governments to react foolishly and wildly. As Pied Pipers of Hamelin they led crowds to the brink: an independence that was doubly absurd, as unnecessary and as impossible.
Years in which the procés has overwhelmingly occupied the emotional and ideological space: “Espanya ens roba”, “el dret a decidir”, “llibertat presos polítics”, “amnistia i autodeterminació”. Thousands of hours spent fighting their ideas and refuting their beliefs, hours taken away from real needs. Madrid, Bilbao, Valencia vibrating with social concerns, Barcelona lost in the delusions and the pains of the procés. All Catalonia stranded in the dead waters of the procés, which has not produced a single idea of general interest, not a single social improvement, not one.
They caused such legal uncertainty and concern that thousands of companies withdrew their heasdquarters in Catalonia and thousands of clients withdrew their bank deposits. Besides those who left, others did not come. Golden opportunities were lost such as the headquarters of the European Medicines Agency – today in Amsterdam – which would have put Barcelona back on the map, bringing highly qualified personnel, hundreds of millions of investment and a stimulus for the biomedical and pharmaceutical industry. How were they going to locate the Agency in a region whose institutional leaders wanted to remove it from Spain and from the European Union?
With the procés, they divided society, broke political consensus, families, friends, associations, professional associations, neighborhood communities, blinded communication and dialogue, and killed the traditional culture of pact. All for nothing, except for their personal or party benefit.
In their irresponsibility, they went to the extreme, unusual in the European Union, of a unilateral declaration of independence. They were not bluffing, they did not succeed because they were delusional and vulgar amateurs, they wanted a State “of their own” and were ignorant of how a State acts when it is threatened – they may have learned it in the meantime at the cost of their disaster – but the evil was already caused. Autonomy was protected, the main leaders were prosecuted, tried and y convicted and others fled to avoid it.
Condemned and fled, appealing to primary emotions, they reversed the blame for what happened, attributing it to the ”repressive” state. The streets were filled with protests and altercations, the city centers, especially in Barcelona, were “burned”, there were barricades, hundreds of containers on fire, destroyed street furniture, windows of shops burned- some looted -, numerous injured and detained .
The decade ends in false. The same ones of the procés are governing, without different collars. The current president of the Generalitat, stubborn like the previous three, never tires of repeating that his purpose is “to complete independence”. He will not achieve it either, but he will waste more time, more energy, more common sense, more Catalonia.
It has been a decade of nightmare and one day it will seem impossible to have lived it. It is difficult to find something positive in the years of the procés; perhaps by forcing things a bit it could be considered that it has been good that we have all worried about the public good, about the value of the institutions, about what bad politics brings, about what happens on the occupied streets.