Francesc-Marc Álvaro 8/4/2021
Of purges and disobediences
It is nothing that we have not seen before, but it draws attention because it recalls the most cocky ways: a party that pretends to be new and different (which has broken with many things from the past, according to its promoters) makes a purge in broad daylight . Those who claim to be “new politics” in the Catalan independence movement copy practices of the most stale Stalinism. Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas emits a calm reflection on the strategy of Junts and, after being identified as a heretic, is forced to resign as a member of the Parliamentary Board, despite having corrected his opening words and having applied “self-criticism” in the most embarrassing way. The lawyer falls into disgrace, although he is one of Puigdemont’s defenders and a trusted person, until four days ago, of Laura Borràs. Watchers of the Essence detect the shadow of “betrayal”. Cuevillas’s sad fable has an effect: he illuminates one of the great problems of the independence world and, more specifically, of the sector that maintains a complex relationship of continuity-rejection with the old Convergencia space.
I am sure that Rull, Forn and Turull, the three prisoners of the procés who come from the defunct Convergència, people I know and appreciate, must not be very comfortable when they see Cuevillas being defenestrated after expressing a political criterion in the digital ‘Vilaweb’; a criterion that, on the other hand, some of them could also share. I would say that Damià Calvet, acting councillor, should not feel satisfied with a measure that is a warning for sailors: whoever disagrees, even mutedly, will suffer the fury of the gods.
Cuevillas puts on the table the limits of an institutional breakthrough path
It would be hard for him to find, even in the hardest times of Jordi Pujol’s leadership, such a stark episode of ideological purge. I want to remember that the founder of CDC had at his side figures like Ramon Trias Fargas, who, in public and in private, did not hide his discrepancies with the president. In Junts, on the other hand, it is a big taboo to trespass the script. The way in which Puigdemont dispensed with the Campuzano and Xuclà MPs, how he liquidated Marta Pascal, how he resolved the fight with Bonvehí and the PDECat leadership, how the Junts pawns answer – inside and outside the networks – to those who do not give them the reason, all this indicates that the official dictation is sacred. In this sense, a recent tweet from Cuevillas is illustrative: in it he reiterates “my firm commitment to the political project of Junts and the unquestionable leadership of President Puigdemont”. A leadership cannot be questioned?
Beyond the partisan miseries, the Cuevillas affair reminds us, first of all, of the urgent need for the independence movement to have a rational debate on the strategy for the coming years, in light of the lessons of October 2017. ERC has begun to do so, certainly, but carrying too much insecurity and the fear of being accused of traitors, with the incoherent addition of relying on an actor like the CUP to ensure the governance of the country.
Cuevillas publicly began this discussion in Junts by underlining a monumental obviousness: that there are some disobediences that involve very high costs in exchange for no political gain. They are disobediences – I add – that can only be explained from two circumstances: the bitter electoral competition between Junts and ERC, and the refusal of the space led by Puigdemont to puncture the bubble of unilateralist voluntarism, which feeds the promise of a secession that will happen “because we are right” (making abstraction of the rest of the factors). A bubble full of mirages like “the republican digital identity”.
Second, the Cuevillas purge makes it possible to detect, once again, that many leaders and cadres of Junts do not express in private the same as in public. There are high officials of the institutional Puigdemontism who assume behind closed doors many of the critical observations that, from the press or other parties and entities, are made about tacticism, empty symbolism, the purist temptation or the inability to avoid splits. Living from politics makes many to be dumb.
Finally, thirdly, what Cuevillas puts on the table (and which, strangely, the jurist had not seen before) are the conceptual and factual limits of a disruptive path that aims to use a part of the State (the Generalitat) to carry out a secession in this same State, ignoring that the autonomous technostructure is the weak point of this roadmap, especially in a society divided into two halves, something that (together with repression) prevents an acceleration of the disconnection, such as it has been seen in other latitudes. The outsourcing of the October 1 referendum is the result of accepting these limits, but that is not taken into account later.
In the trial of the independence leaders, as well as in the trial of Major Trapero, it was clear that a break from the institutions was inapplicable. In a hypothetical second attempt or onslaught, and in the midst of the effects of the pandemic, it would be even more so.