PABLO SALVADOR CODERCH
15 MAR 2021
Laurà Borràs, on Friday in the constituent session of the new legislature of the Parliament. ALBERT GARCIA
The ambition of the political class is to achieve or retain power, an ambition that it pursues with more or less loyalty, fidelity and education. My modest ambition now and here – in this text – is for our politicians to be, at the very least, polite to each other. Almost everyone is, but they can get better.
Then there is loyalty, which is based on reason, and fidelity, which is based on the heart. Loyalty requires respecting the rules, laws, or word given, even if one no longer appreciates them. Fidelity requires firmness and constancy in affections. One can be loyal to what one opposes – we speak of loyal opposition – if one obeys the rules of the game, but one is not faithful to the one deceived or betrayed.
Thus, when many years ago some lawyers prepared the draft regulation of Catalan marriage, we proposed a definition of marriage more wide open than the one included in the traditional Spanish Civil Code: The Catalan Code now says that spouses must keep -loyalty (231.2), while Spanish continues to demand fidelity (art. 68). They are not the same.
Of course, I would like to ask the parties present in the Parliament of Catalonia for institutional loyalty, something that Mrs. Laura Borràs, its brand new president and activist of Junts per Catalunya, tends to reject when she states that the Parliament is sovereign, it is not subjected to other institution – neither to the Government, nor to the judges and courts. With the laws in hand, what she mentions is not true, but I understand that the president of an institution wants it to prevail over all the others, this is completely human.
This is the state of the issue and, therefore, to demand from a large part of the local political class an affective esteem of the institutions would be a great ingenuity: not only Junts, but also some other very important Catalan political parties define themselves for wanting to suppress basic institutions in Spain and Catalonia. For example, Esquerra Republicana does not want the Monarchy, but a Catalan Republic (but no one knows what it would consist of). Or the Candidacy of Popular Unity (CUP) wants an independent Catalonia that is not a member state of the European Union, or that is not a member of the Organization of the Treaty of the North Atlantic (NATO), nor that there are private financial institutions. More generally, the CUP tends to define itself as an anti-capitalist political party. However, it is difficult to know, after the historical failure of all communist regimes, what kind of anti-capitalism would be congenial to them. Other political formations, equally respectable and representative, show attitudes that are also diverse and opposed in their degree of loyalty and fidelity to the institutions.
Naturally, one can go even further: in addition to being a Republican, anti-EU, or opponent of private banks, a person, group, or political party can be revolutionary, that is, supporters of radical change, usually violent, of the basic political regime of the country, of new loyalties to new institutions to replace those overthrown by the revolution. There have always been and will continue to be revolutions. But the problem then is that if some historical revolutions succeed – as did the American (1775-1783), the French (1789), the Russian (1917) or the Cuban (1953-1959) -, others fail. –like that of the helots in Sparta (464 BC), the revolt of the English peasants (1381) or, for the Confederates, the American Civil War (1861-1865).
In any case, the candidates for revolutionaries must be aware that if you want to be disloyal to the institutions you oppose and, moreover, you really revolt against them to overthrow them, make sure before you have more probabilities of winning rather than losing: after the Spanish Civil War, its victors judged summarily and condemned the losers for aid or adherence to the rebellion, when they were the ones who had done so. But they were the winning side.
Like most jurists in this country, I am not in favor of the Catalan revolution because it would be disloyal (and, above all, irresponsible). As a person I try to be faithful and loyal to the institutions. And as a citizen, I demand at least education, that Catalan politicians of all classes do not call each other beasts, that is, that they be courteous. It’s not asking for so much. Can you imagine if the world recognized us for that?
Pablo Salvador Coderch is Professor Emeritus at Pompeu Fabra University.