Jul 30, 2020 – 7:34 PM
The former Puigdemont in a USAP Perpignan rugby match. ALBERT GARCIA
Manuel Cruz is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Barcelona and member of Senate for the PSC-PSOE.
At last Carles Puigdemont has presented his latest political artifact, which, although labeled with the old name of Junts per Catalunya, is intended to reunify the various sectors of the old Convergence that have been giving way to the most unilateralist and rupture pro-independence movement. The irruption of the new formation and, especially, the difficulties that its birth has brought to light some tensions within the pro-independence space that are worth reflecting on for a moment.
For now, the fragmentation of this space should cause some to correct a reflection that circulated extensively during the peak of the process. The problems, especially in the form of divisions, desertions and even spectacular losses of electoral support, which it caused in the non-independence sectors, were interpreted by secessionism as conclusive proof of their political strength, before which the rest of the projects ended up collapsing as a lump of sugar.
Independence leaders have not helped clarify things, avoiding self-criticism
It is true that within the independence bloc there have always been tensions between the two large parties that made it up but they were not very important, to the extent that when it came to taking stock of the electoral balances, the sum of the two was practically always the same. The problems that arose between them never caused leaks towards non-independence options, but, at most, the displacement of the vote occurred in the same perimeter, that is, from one party to the other. This electoral solidity did not respond to the reasons that usually explain why a political force remains in power for so long. One cannot speak of an efficient management of resources by the Catalan government (rather it has been non-existent). Nor is it due to the fact that the pro-independence forces were reaching the announced goals and thus obtaining the continued support of the citizenry.
We must add, let’s say everything, that the pro-independence leaders have not helped clarify things, constantly avoiding self-criticism. Although the failure of the process has been verified and the lies on which it was based have been revealed (spectacular economic take-off, triumphant reception in Europe as a new independent state, etc.), its leaders have persevered to continue deceiving this sector of voters prone not to question their messages. However, any citizen, however gullible, is entitled to a government that does not lie to him. Therefore, the question we must ask ourselves is: not even now, with the dramatic scenario we are experiencing, do the independence leaders not dare to tell the truth, to recognize the impossibility of carrying out their promises? But if they can’t do it under these circumstances, can they be trusted to ever do it?
A democracy is of low quality when its citizens do not hold rulers to account
They have caused so much damage (all the political forces) and so great (formations even disappeared) that we will have to start thinking if, beyond the particular mistakes, there is something in the same independence project that necessarily ends up generating such devastating effects. So that the result seems incontrovertible and cannot be hidden: in the end, what has happened is that not only the sectors that opposed independence but even those that supported it have ended badly, not to say destroyed. At the moment when all this began, the intention was to blame outside, usually (Madrid), the origin of all ills, this time with a more structural nuance. But the problem has never been outside Catalonia, as much as some unsuccessful independence ideologist insists on putting everything in the alleged low democratic quality of the Spanish State, as if independence, especially after the shameful days of September 2017, were in a position of giving democracy lessons to someone. Without a doubt, there is more. There has always been more.
Some political leaders act as if they are convinced that one is more democratic if they accept without any criticism what citizenship decides and manifests. It is a serious mistake. The virtue of citizens is an indispensable requirement for the achievement of a satisfactory democracy for everybody. Or take it the other way around: a democracy is also of a low quality when these citizens do not make politicians accountable defending their behavior in every possible way, regardless of whether their political acts are good or bad.