December 6, 2022

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A Catalan proposal for an institutional future for all. Pro-independence leaders have even monopolised the dialogue table with their grievances, to the detriment of the analysis of existing options to move forward collectively. A proposal that should be formulated and endorsed by all Catalans, those of the waning sovereigntist half and the growing half of those who do not share the idea of independence. Without a joint Catalan proposal, no state government will feel seriously challenged to address the original divergence between Catalan aspirations and the difficulties of a unitary state to interpret plurality. Unless pro-independence leaders have learned nothing and continue to think of imposing their recipe on the divergent.

Jordi Mercader, 17.11.2022

The tangle that confuses us

The confusion introduced by the spokespersons and loudspeakers of the pro-independence movement over the last decade has ended up misleading us and diverting us all from the original problem. With the announcement of the proposed law to eliminate the crime of sedition from the Penal Code, this misleading drift has been reaffirmed. The promoters and foreseeable beneficiaries of this legislative initiative claim that such a change will allow for a better solution to the Catalan political conflict. It is difficult to imagine that the disappearance of a specific criminal offence will help to resolve the historic dispute of institutional dissatisfaction that a large part of Catalan political Catalanism maintains with regard to the solutions offered by successive constitutional governments in Spain since at least the Second Republic.

The original conflict is that of the integration of Catalan national ambitions into the constitutional framework of the Spanish state. And this challenge remains exactly where we left it in 2006, which was already in a situation almost identical to that of 1932. A major dispute over which neither the uproar of 2017, nor the Supreme Court trial, nor the imprisonment of those convicted, nor the pardon, nor the disappearance of the crime of sedition or the new wording that may be given to embezzlement brought or will bring any progress. The same, but tactically distorted.

The mess is born of the desire to assimilate the real conflict with the consequences of a mistaken way of dealing with it. This is what the pro-independence leaders have been doing for years. The frivolity and incompetence with which they organised their attempted declaration of independence, coupled with a police and judicial severity that is now in the process of being amended, led to a host of criminal consequences that they skilfully turned into the modern version of the “Catalan problem”. However, it is clear that the disputes between independence and the judiciary should not be equated with the conflict between Catalonia and Spain in terms of the institutional fit between the two realities.

This manoeuvre of usurping national priorities for the urgency of their delicate personal situations is immediately detrimental to the prospects of the historical dispute itself. The Spanish government (the current one and any other as well) is very comfortable managing the judicial urgencies of pro-independence leaders. Firstly, because it needs specific votes to maintain its parliamentary majority; secondly, because the legislative changes in the pipeline correspond to essential modifications to adapt some articles of the Penal Code to the European standard, before the pending sentences of the EU judicial bodies are known; and finally, because it is much easier (politically and parliamentarily) to meet these demands than to think seriously about a proposal for constitutional development, let us say federal, to satisfy Catalonia’s ambition.

It is clear that the State is gaining time and the Catalans who yearn for a solution to the old dispute are losing it. The most relevant question is whether this deflation of the pro-independence leaders’ criminal concerns will have a favourable impact on a hypothetical advance in the formulation of a new Catalan proposal. It does not seem so, because so far, even while governing the Generalitat without major impediments, pro-independence leaders have prioritised their pressing judicial situations over the search for internal consensus in Catalonia in order to make progress on the essential: a Catalan proposal for an institutional future. They have even monopolised the dialogue table with their grievances, to the detriment of the analysis of existing options to move forward collectively.

A proposal that should be formulated and endorsed by all Catalans, those of the waning sovereigntist half and the growing half of those who do not share the idea of independence. Without a joint Catalan proposal, no state government will feel seriously challenged to address the original divergence between Catalan aspirations and the difficulties of a unitary state to interpret plurality. Unless pro-independence leaders have learned nothing and continue to think of imposing their recipe on the divergent.

https://cronicaglobal.elespanol.com/pensamiento/enredo-nos-confunde_741539_102.html

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