LLUÍS BASSETS – MAR 28 2020 – 18:18 CET
Quim Torra, in a videoconference with the regional presidents and Sánchez. JORDI BEDMAR / GENERALITAT
Exceptional measures are needed when the epidemic is declared. The question of sovereignty, even if it is not the subject of public discussion, is openly raised. Carl Schmitt, the jurist of decisionism and political polarization – an enemy who must be designated to perfectly mark the separation between ‘us’ and’ you ‘- put it precisely: the sovereign decrees the state of’ exception.
Correspondingly, to the sovereignist logic, the criticism of the Basque and Catalan governments is to the application of Article 116 of the Constitution. Not only suspension of powers, creation of a single command and centralization of decisions are only legitimate and constitutional actions, but they are the only way with a minimum guarantee of effectiveness in fighting the virus. There is no other way. Opposing them in such grave and exceptional circumstances is an irresponsible attitude that hinders the whole society’s fight against the epidemic.
The most responsible nationalism, as in the case of the Basque government, has merely stated its formal opposition, but has continued to support the measures of the Spanish Government. This is not the case with Quim Torra and his secessionist government, oriented from the first day on the criticism of the Spanish Executive and a jealous dispute over each and every one of its decisions.
There is a strategy to approach the fight against the virus as an exercise in a dispute of authority, competition and even sovereignty between the two executives.
In this attitude there is a tactical disposition, in order to endorse the failures of the Central Government and to reserve as good the successes that can be achieved. But there is also a strategy to approach the fight against the virus as an exercise in a dispute over authority, competition and even sovereignty between the two executives. The Pedro Sanchez, presented contemptuously as “the Spanish Government”, always in Spanish and the Catalan government, Catalan and quintessential therefore only to be obeyed by the Catalans.
The entire public communication apparatus, which, in the case of the nationalist government, includes the entire programming of the public media, has been made available for this policy of exploiting the state of alarm. Any Spanish decision allows and shoots a secessionist response, which begins with the speeches and press conferences of the President and the counselors, and ends with the battalion of the social gatherers and columnists deployed in the media.
This script allows for as many misrepresentations as possible, as delusional as it may seem. The first, on the application of article 116 of the alarm state, presented as a new 155, with no use in combating the epidemic and with the only sense of reducing self-government and contributing to its recentralization. Then criticism of the use of yellow in official advertising, denounced as an explicit identification between the epidemic and independence. And the scandal over the calls to civilian unit of the citizens confined against the virus, identified by Catalan government, according to this mentality, as an apology of the unit of Spain.
Mr Torra knows that in emergency situations the vast majority of citizens have a tendency to be sheltered under the authority of the Government. It is a patriotic reaction, typical of war situations, when differences need to be set aside to focus on eliminating the disease. The time for criticism must come later, after it has expired. Also when it comes to checking in the ballot box. This, which Urkullu and Arrimadas have seen, is not shared by Torra, nor by Casado and Abascal. Each wants what is called “a rally round the flag” in the United States, but they want to lift it and also want it to be theirs, Torra Catalan flag only, Abascal and Casado only the Spanish.
The semantic binder found by Torra for its sovereignist dispute is the slogan of ‘total confinement’, a euphemism for the Generalitat’s control of Catalan territory, once completely isolated from the rest of the world. It has little to do with the confinement of the population, which has already occurred to a very high degree, but with the closure of airports, ports and borders. Nor does it have to do, even if Torra conceals it, with the paralysis of the productive sectors without a direct link with the fight against the virus, as has been proven with the continuation of all the construction works that the Catalan Government had contracted.
These measures are accompanied by the anti-militarist itching of the secessionist government. Not only does he want the isolation of Catalonia, but he does not want to see either the Spanish army or the forces of public order. All European countries have the armed forces for the exceptional tasks required by the epidemic, but secessionism wants to take advantage of them to expel the Spanish armed forces and public order from Catalonia. ‘Total confinement’ is in fact independence obtained through the virus.
The final step in the irresponsible delirium of secessionism guides all these critics in a sinister and unworthy direction, only shared and undertaken by the xenophobic and racist political leaders and forces of national populism everywhere. It is about attributing the balance of death and poverty that awaits us to the action and the direct responsibility of Pedro Sánchez and the Spanish Government, and metonymically in Spain. The infamous cantilena that prepares us, and that the most daring have already begun to run through the networks, is that if Spain so far robbed us, now it kills us.
Most delusional of all, those seemingly most opposed to secessionism like Pablo Casado and Abascal play the game with Torra. This is an additional argument for responsible Catalanism, as well as independentism, still able to maintain its sanity, to take all distances with the irresponsible and opportunistic drift of Torra, Buch and Budó.