Joan Coscubiela 15/02/2021
Joan Coscubiela, member of legal cabinet and general secretary of workers CC.OO. union until 2008, Catalan MP for leftist formations until 2017. He confronted pro-independentist unilateralist declarations in an historic speech at Catalan Parliament 6 and 7 September 2017. In 2018 he participated in the creation of Grupo Pròleg, 5 6 a «group formed by personalities from the social and academic sphere “in order to” promote a reasonable solution to the institutional crisis in Catalonia and Spain. “
“As we feared, the drop in participation has been one of the protagonists of the electoral day. We return to the participation parameters prior to 2012, when Artur Mas launched “the national transition process”.
The electoral photo is that of a Catalan society fossilized in blocks that seem immovable. Catalonia has gone from being “one pèople” to being made up of watertight compartments, fed through a communicative umbilical cord by their respective media bubbles that play a determining role in the impermeability of the blocks. But within each of the spaces there is a lot of diversity –especially social and cultural– and more factors in common than what emerges from the non-communicating electoral vessels.
Unlike in 2017, in these elections there has not been a single articulating axis of the citizen’s vote. The procés has ceased to be the great electoral polarizer, but the procés fatigue has not worn down the independence movement. Pandemic fatigue may have been channeled more towards abstention than change. And the disastrous management of the Catalan government does not seem to have been decisive. These may be some of the factors that explain the maintenance of the independence vote after ten years of blockade. In addition to the lack of an alternative that allows a way out of the conflict.
The frustration caused by the disappearance of the only available utopia, independence – in the lucid expression of Marina Subirats – has not taken its toll. Perhaps because there are still reactive elements, such as solidarity with the imprisoned pro-independence fellows, who unite very much. Also because returning to normality has been a powerful electoral brand, but it has not functioned as a replacement utopia with enough force.
The novelty of these elections is the commitment of a part of the citizenry in favor of building bridges, unlike the 2017 elections in which they voted to build trenches and barricades. And that offers a point of hope if we know how to manage it politically.
The electoral results seem to lead us to a new blockade. We continue to be bogged down and increasingly absorbed in an increasingly globalized world. The pro-independence side has a parliamentary majority, they can configure a government and perhaps they will, but they are incapable of governing, as these years have shown. There is an insomniac struggle between them and “Junts” aggravates this conflict, to the extent that it explicitly excludes half of Catalan society from its country project and that is unsustainable.
To save the blockade, avoid misrule and avoid the true risk of decline, there is no other way than to build bridges and agree to disagreement between the political forces “milloristes”[improvers] (the differentiation between “milloristes” and “empitjoradors” [worseners] is due to Raimon Obiols). This pact of disagreement is risky and will only be viable if pieces are moved from Spain, starting with the pardon of the pro-independence leaders. It is the moment of courageous leaderships that will only be viable if the citizens reward them and do not send them later to the graveyard of brave politicians. Salvador Illa’s announcement to present himself for the investiture opens a loophole to unblock the situation based on a transversal proposal, but it is such a narrow path that reality perhaps cannot travel it.
During the campaign, the Peter Pan syndrome of ERC has reappeared, in which the panic of growing up prevents it from maturing. The dual ideological composition of ERC is analyzed a lot since its inception, but no attention is paid to its anthropological complexity. Half Phoenix that always rises from the ashes when it is considered dead and half Peter Pan that refuses to grow, to mature. Let’s see what soul prevails at this time.
Maybe everything will lead to new elections. Now, in a kind of second round, or in the medium term. But it is not the same to go to them taking steps towards the construction of bridges than raising walls to reinforce the blocks.
The results of the Catalan elections send their shock wave to Spanish politics. It is still too early to know the intensity of the earthquake and which buildings will be affected the most, but we can already intuit some things. Vox has overwhelmingly defeated the PP with a sorpasso of those that Anguita imported from Italy and made fashionable in 1994, with little success indeed. We will see how the PP reacts to a crossroads that it does not know how to tackle. Pablo Casado says that he has broken with Vox, but he has not done it with its mental frameworks, of which he feels a prisoner and a subordinate. Not for nothing is it a splinter from its own trunk. Be careful, because the results of Vox also question the forces of the left due to their social origin.
Ciudadanos confirms that it is not credible. You cannot present yourself as the force of moderation with intolerant attitudes, you cannot promote a liberal party with illiberal attitudes. But being born to confront Catalan nationalism has them trapped. The liberal proposal in Spain seems to be in bad shape, perhaps because it is not exactly liberalism.
The movement carried out during the campaign and in a Spanish key by Pablo Iglesias was not exactly a Queen’s gambit, although it seemed so. It was about handing over a piece, not just a pawn. In the coming weeks we will see the consequences for the Comuns of this risky operation and if it has helped.
Speculation about the Spanish government will not stop with these results. Between “the blood will not reach the river” or “so much does the jug go to the source that in the end it breaks”, I think the first is going to prevail. Although, perhaps mine is more a wish than a diagnosis. Both the PSOE and UP know that, to the eyes of the left and progressive electorate, whoever breaks the agreement pays for the broken plates.
The different open judicial fronts, which are politically only one, the PP case, in the words of Ignacio Escolar, reduces Pablo Casado’s ability to destabilize the government. And it won’t be that he doesn’t try with all his might. The weakness of the PP offers a lot of air to the Coalition Government, which can allow itself some turbulence, but not much irresponsibility
The parties of the coalition government have no choice but to continue to govern together, carry on with disagreements and endure bad moods. Unidas Podemos, once it bet everything to enter the government, has little margin to leave it without crashing. Hopefully Pedro Sánchez has taken good note of the painful experiences of other leaders, who, wanting to go for more wool, have been shorn. Artur Mas can explain how, seeking an absolute majority when he had 62 MCPs, he has ended up disappearing.
With all this mess, we should not forget about the people, the consequences of this crisis, the need to take advantage of European funds and the urgency of reforms that are not the usual recipes. In times of turbulence and shipwrecks, with big waves, you have to hug the safe boards. And during this crisis, the table of social agreement is the one that has offered the best results. It is working like godsend in a polarized and tense political terrain and is serving to solve many – although not all – problems. Those who aspire to a technocratic solution like the Italian one must be answered with an alternative of political stability, anchored in social agreement.
As I said, in Catalonia you have to build bridges and agree to disagreement. In Spain make things easier, open more spaces for political dialogue and strengthen social consensus. Let me dream.