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Home » Content » Autonomies in Spain: it is time to recentralize the State
The Spanish autonomous system is considered by many experts as a federal or quasi-federal system. The reality is that it combines confederal, federal and decentralizing elements. The autonomous communities are Spanish institutions that exercise part of the power of the State in a distribution of powers established by the Constitution. A weak thought has been installed in Spanish society that assumes a rational reform of the territorial system as impossible. It seems that it is only possible to flee forward in a process of dismemberment of Spain. All this fed from a complex of guilt of the left, inherited from the misunderstood anti-Francoism, along with a renewed black legend, well financed by nationalisms and our own rulers, which lead the Spanish to be ashamed of being one. One can be Catalan, Galician, Andalusian, Valencian, Asturian or from Extremadura, but not Spanish. The anti-Spanish left of Spain claims the right of self-determination as a magic potion, without understanding that the breakdown of the Spanish State (now) is the greatest attack on the rights of the working class that it claims to defend. Maybe it's time we talk about recentralization from the left. The teaching of all Spanish languages ​​(Catalan, Basque, Galician, Spanish) can perfectly be assumed by the Central State, maintaining in each area a healthy and cooperative linguistic coexistence.

Vicente Serrano * || 13 July 2020

Member of the Board of Directors of the Progressive Citizen Alternative Association |

The autonomous communities are Spanish institutions that exercise part of the power of the State in a distribution of powers established by the Constitution.

The allocation of these powers is asymmetric, both due to the process that the Constitution itself defines as a form of access to autonomy, and the transfers of powers that, from the Government to the Autonomous Communities, have been carried out throughout the most four decades of continuous government defeatism.

The Spanish autonomous system is considered by many experts as a federal or quasi-federal system. The reality is that it combines confederal, federal and decentralizing elements.

I’m not saying it for the first time, but our autonomous system is sourced, in this matter, from the Constitution of the Second Spanish Republic. In that one, access to autonomy was more demanding, since two-thirds of the electoral census were required for this (see article 12 of Title One: Territorial Organization), while the Constitution of 1978 only required more than half of the census (Third Chapter of Title VIII. Of the Autonomous Communities).

In Catalonia, with a census of almost four and a half million, only 59.7% came to vote for their Referendum on the draft Statute of Autonomy ─not even 2/3, 66% ─; of those who voted, 88.15% did so, which allowed them to exceed half the census: 52.62%. If we review the data, we will observe that the province of Tarragona did not reach the middle of the census: it remained at an insufficient 47.38%.

Weak and complex guilt thinking

The drafting of the Constitution of 1978, excessively indefinite, allowed the sentence of the Constitutional Court that annulled LOAPA (Organic Law of Harmonization of the Autonomous Process). Since then, a feeling of acquiescence, resignation, and weak thought has been installed in Spanish society that assumes a rational reform of the territorial system as impossible. It seems that it is only possible to flee forward in a process of dismemberment of Spain. All this fed from a complex of guilt of the left, inherited from the misunderstood anti-Francoism, along with a renewed black legend, well financed by nationalisms and our own rulers, which lead the Spanish to be ashamed of being one. One can be Catalan, Galician, Andalusian, Valencian, Asturian or from Extremadura, but not Spanish.

The anti-Spanish left of Spain claims the right of self-determination as a magic potion, without understanding that the breakdown of the Spanish State (now) is the greatest attack on the rights of the working class that it claims to defend. Some more “progressives” bet on federalism as a solution, without understanding that federalism, historically, is a process towards unification. Posing an increase in powers for certain autonomies can only lead to a confederation or a secession of part.

The Second Spanish Republic fled from the definition of “Federal State”, in a very conscious way – it is defined as an Integral State, not by chance -, after the experience of the First Republic and its cantonalist degeneration. Today, we are dangerously approaching a situation not similar but more serious.

The pandemic seemed, for some, to place us in a new scenario where secessionism would be more weakened. Nothing is further from reality. During the state of alarm, accusations of recentralization have been constant, and the coalition government has been unable, not only to impose its authority, but even to reasonably coordinate the Autonomous Communities. The continuous attitudes of humiliation before nationalisms denying that there was an intention of recentralization denote the weakness of the central government, not only due to its dependence on nationalist votes, but also due to its lack of a project for Spain.

They have regained their health skills and do not seem to be doing their best.

Recentralization from the left

Maybe it’s time we talk about recentralization from the left. In Health, each autonomy has been dedicated to privatizing it, benefiting politically related private consortiums. The White Tides (Mareas Blancas) lack a more forceful discourse so that their commitment to Public Health is understood: to demand, together with the deprivatization of everything privatized, the return to the Central Administration of the powers in Health.

The same can be said of Education. If there is no Constitutional Loyalty, it does not make sense that each Autonomy has full educational competences to dedicate to its processes of “national construction”. The teaching of all Spanish languages ​​(Catalan, Basque, Galician, Spanish) can perfectly be assumed by the Central State, maintaining in each area a healthy and cooperative linguistic coexistence.

The shameful declarations of charges of the Government of the Generalitat on the inconvenience of the use of Castilian or Spanish on TV3 and in the Parliament of Catalonia demonstrate the spurious use that has been made of the subject since Jordi Pujol – a monarch without a crown to whom no one seems want to judge─ came to President. They are not tone outs: it is a constant that the Spanish left and right have always muted.

How wrong was Miguel Hernández (with pain I rewrite him):

Somos de un pueblo de bueyes, 
somos de un pueblo que embargan 
yacimiento de leones, 
desfiladeros de águilas 
y cordilleras de toros 
con el orgullo en el asta. 
Hoy ya medran los bueyes 
en los páramos de España.

¿Quién acabó de echar un yugo 
sobre el cuello de esta raza? 
¿Quién ha puesto al huracán, 
hoy sí, yugos y trabas, 
y quién al rayo detuvo 
prisionero en una jaula?”.

Como Gil de Biedma, pido:

Pido que España expulse a esos demonios.
Que la pobreza suba hasta el gobierno.
Que sea del hombre el dueño de su historia”. 

Nou Barris, Barcelona. Friday, 10 July 2020

*Author of EL VALOR REAL DEL VOTO. Editorial El Viejo Topo. 2016.

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