Francesc Trillas, January 22, 2022
The independence ‘procés’ failed (as a project to achieve independence, but not as a smokescreen to facilitate nationalist domination in society), the options presented to the political forces that led it are two: either try re-doing what they did, or enter into a pragmatic process of managing the administration where they govern and dialogue with other political forces. Without underestimating the disruptive force that fanatics of the first option can still have, it must be acknowledged that more and more pro-independence activists accept the second option, even if they do so with a small mouth and without acknowledging their huge mistakes.
The path of dialogue, negotiation and the pact is the path of a democratic society with a vertical and horizontal division of powers, where the rule of democratic law is respected, and attempts are made to address from all public authorities the difficult challenges facing society.
What happens is that there are two ways to derail the dialogue. One is the one who directly denounces it, the supporters of “we will do it again”. The other way to derail the dialogue is to show that there is dialogue, but in reality there is nothing to do but ask for things that are not possible. For example, the self-determination of Catalonia understood as the right to secession is not possible, it is not recognized in ours or in any legal framework. In a democracy there are procedures to change the legal framework, but they require large majorities that simply do not exist and will not exist. Another example: an economic concert is not possible for Catalonia like in the Basque Country, because the concert is an anomaly that is the result of a unique historical evolution that no democratic majority in Spain will agree to generalize, because it would mean giving up distributive capacity of the State.
One cannot know for sure when the pro-independence dialoguers say they want to talk about self-determination, whether they say it purely in the face of the gallery to satisfy their most recalcitrant sectors, or whether they seriously believe it is something they can achieve. There may be everything.
The dialogue between political representatives has a part of representation. That is, in a democratic society, while in dialogue with other forces, an electorate is represented, and it competes communicatively to expand or maintain the electorate. That is why it is very important to explain clearly the positions that are defended in the process of dialogue and negotiation.
There are also two ways to explain things without clarity. One form is simply exaggerating reality, disfiguring it (“Spain is stealing from us!”, Tax looting, the 16 billion tax deficit, “Rome thief!”). And another is being unable to explain with the utmost economy of language and with comprehensible concepts, situations that are relatively complex.
Since the beginning of the process of European integration against horror, the people, governments and parties that run the EU institutions do not want to know anything about creating new borders within their borders. This is one of the things that has not been explained enough, and that marks the real limits, albeit very broad, of any dialogue. It’s been a long time since Andreu Mas-Colell explained it to anyone who wanted to hear it (although it would have been nice if he had said it before). In addition, they have little patience in the EU with destabilizing and disruptive movements. Europe has many lessons to learn from the destructive nature of nationalisms.
Reality has a strong federal, or federalizing bias. Our multilevel democracy has evolved, and it has come to stay. It is in this real context that one can dialogue, negotiate and reach agreements, as is largely the case.
The rest is to deceive people.