Paola Lo Cascio. 25/01/2021
The village of El Brull. JORGE FRANGANILLO / CC.
The Latin expression that gives the headline to these lines literally means “I want to be dissolved” or “I want to disappear.” It probably derives from a letter from Saint Paul of Tarsus to the Philippians, a New Testament book dating from around 53-62 AD. Over the centuries it has been widely debated by theologians, and finally, already at the beginning of the 20th century, it has crept into journalistic language, with a somewhat different, perhaps broader meaning, to indicate a willingness to cause self-harm.
This seems to be the message that the Generalitat Government parties are crying out – it remains to be seen whether consciously or unconsciously – in recent times. An obsessive fratricidal fight without exclusions of blows, with the sole objective of remaining in power. A spiral that does not understand either pandemic or people’s health, or the economic difficulties that many people are going through (and more that will happen), or guaranteeing the democratic rights of citizens, with resolutions suspending the electoral call -no of delay- extremely dubious. Electoral vaudeville, amidst the suspicions and fears of demonstrations, incompetence and the repetition of worn-out mantras around judicial intervention that in a difficult situation like this sound more like an insult than intelligence, have nevertheless been only the last stage of a degradation that began long ago. And that it can only be so evident precisely because it does not start now, but has been gestating and building over time.
The objective difficulties derived from the clash – and from the judicial consequences – of the events of October 2017 will be brought up. There is no doubt that all this has cast a long shadow over the situation of the last three years: the presidency of Quim Torra at the head of the Generalitat has been characterized by an ineffectiveness mixed with an empty victimist symbolism and oriented only to a part of the population, which has only contributed to widening the polarization among citizens.
But if we looked at only this last and convulsive part of the film, we would not understand much. Mas’s first legislature -which was interrupted in advance by the president himself by the chimera of an absolute majority for CiU that reality was in charge of changing due to a severe loss of 10 deputies- was still a stage in which a direction was printed politics. Neoliberal, savagely antisocial – and, it would later be known, also peppered with a lot of corruption – but a direction, after all. With which you could agree or disagree, as did significant sectors of the citizenry with an unprecedented cycle of mobilizations. What came from 2012 was technically something else, based on two elements. The first was a progressive appropriation of the institutions, which reached its culmination with the shame of the September 2017 plenary sessions, in which, in addition to skipping the shared norms, the rights of the opposition were violated. The second, with the horizon of an independence at the same time magical and, no matter how much democratic rhetoric was used, based on a nationalist and identity claim that was connected with the fears of many middle class frightened by the economic crisis (as happened, on the other hand part, in other latitudes), was the progressive degradation of the operation of the Catalan institutions, of which the function was changed. These, in the last decade, instead of promoting public policies, have been used fundamentally to generate a symbolic narrative suitable both for the internal partisan competition of the Government and to sustain and direct, politically and in the media, the independence story. If we review the data of the legislative impulse activity of the second Government of Mas, of the Puigdemont cabinet and the eventful experience of President Vicar Torra, the outlook is bleak. The only major projects – from the guaranteed income of citizenship and the law on housing emergency and energy poverty to the recent regulation of rents – have been the fruit of the impulse of social movements.
In this context, it can be said that in the upcoming elections (whenever they are) what is at stake is the democratic rescue of the Catalan institutions. Starting from a premise: those who have directed them over the last decade, claiming more sovereignty, have dedicated themselves to rendering them useless, condemning them to paralysis and discredit. That the dissolving “cupio” of the independence governments pass quickly at once. It is time to restart Catalan institutions so that they can respond to the demands of all citizens.