DANIEL INNERARITY – 08/06/2019ç
Full Professor of Political Philosophy at the UPV
The solution of the Catalan conflict will not come by the acceptance of the way in which Catalan sovereignty raises it, for the same reasons that I do not see that the way out consists in accepting the mental framework of those who are in the opposite position. If there is a conflict that must be resolved, it is precisely because there is a substantial disagreement about its nature and, in a logical consequence, about the most appropriate way to resolve it.
I propose to delimit the perimeter of this conflict around some enunciation proposals that in my opinion facilitate the agreement more than others. They would be articulated around the following principles:
1) The same formulation of the problem must not inevitably prejudge the solution. If we insist that sovereignty resides in the Spanish people and we understand that any other distribution of that sovereignty must be accepted by the undifferentiated group of the Spanish people, then we are closing the way to an agreed solution, which necessarily requires installing beyond the mental framework of the incompartible sovereignty. If we consider it as a conflict “between Catalonia and Spain” (underestimating the division that this issue produces within Catalan society), we are taking for granted a mental framework that favors one of the parties, in this case, the world sovereignist. I propose that the starting point be neither closed constitutional formulations nor rights whose existence is not incontestable but part of precisely what is discussed. Would some be willing to accept that the State’s principle of indissolubility is compatible with a different internal distribution of sovereignty, just as European integration has implied substantial cessions of sovereignty without having been interpreted as contrary to the constitutional order? Would the sovereigntists accept that the principle that the citizens of Catalonia must be able to decide their future does not exclude the possibility of sharing that right with other wider fields, in Spain and in Europe? A rigid vision of the idea of unity of the State or the people of Catalonia makes any democratic solution unfeasible because the framework gives reason to one of the parties. Whoever puts on the table the unity of the State as a limit that does not allow modulations or self-determination as an non-negotiable right must know that it is making dialogue and transaction impossible. We cannot turn a possible point of arrival into an inevitable starting point.
2) Imagine another way to exercise popular sovereignty in a composite State. Let us accept as a general principle that the future of Catalonia depends on the will of its citizenship and we think in all its radicalism the concept “citizenship of Catalonia”, of which people whose national identification is very plural are part, from those who aspire to exercise that will policy independently to those who want to configure it within the state framework and, in turn, with very different logics (centralized, federal or confederal). Taking the will of Catalan citizenship seriously would mean designing a procedure, an encounter algorithm we could call it, among that variety of political wills, none of which have a preeminence in principle over the others and whose political relevance depends on the degree of acceptance they raise.
3) It is necessary to achieve a meeting point between the differentiation and the extension of the popular will of the Catalans. The so-called unionists must offer a formula to recognize the specificity of the will of Catalan society, if they continue to maintain the implicit recognition of their differentiated political subjectivity that is contained in the term nationality and in the spirit and letter of the pact constitutional of 78. The sovereigns would have to answer the question about how that will reflects the plurality of Catalan society and how it articulates with that of the Spaniards, to which it is in fact linked in a reciprocal conditioning. Both must think about how to include minorities that are established according to the scope of decision in which we are operating, and the best guarantee of doing the right thing is that no one demands from the other majority what they are not willing to do with their minority. The best negotiation would be to put this logic of reciprocity into play. It would be a matter of finding an intermediate path between the subordinate decision and the solitary decision, between the two unilateralities (that of the secession not agreed and that of the right of veto or imposition) that are not procedures at the height of a compound society. If the concept and procedure to carry out that political will must be agreed, it is not to reduce that will but to ensure that it is as inclusive as possible.