Vicente Serrano *by Crónica Popular • June 22, 2019
Member of the Promoting Group of the party LEFT IN POSITIVE and of the Board of Directors of the association Alternativa Ciudadana Progresista.
It seems that in 2012 a bunch of evil secessionists who began to frighten the good Catalans landed in Catalonia. It seems that until that moment the Catalan oasis was real and we all lived floating and enjoying the manna that the pujolismo dropped on this earth touched by the hand of God. It seems that all ‘catalanitos’ were enchanted with the pujolismo, that sweet and welcoming Catalanism that rocked us and taught our children that children’s song “The lion doesn’t scare me / neener neener / the lion doesn’t scare me / because I am a good hunter”. But the secessionist lion began to frighten and took many people to its lair.
I remember, however, that in Catalonia there were always critics with that nationalism that the left cheerfully encouraged and fed. When in 1987 I went to Mallorca, the ears of the lion were very visible already, although not everyone saw them: the economy was going well -at least, the crisis was not as it is now- and, here, the Transition was dressed in Pujol’s Catalanism. The distribution of power in Spain between PP and PSOE, on the one hand, and Catalan and Basque nationalism on the other, had already been agreed (at the beginning of the 1980s); It was the principle according to which in historic nationalities always rules a nationalist as an exchange -clearly- to let the rest of Spain be governed by the PP and the PSOE as if in shifts… Many, the vast majority, were delighted, living in the worlds of Yuppi-pujolismo, The manifesto of the 2300 -year 1981-had been skilfully forgotten, despite the more than 14,000 teachers who left Catalonia in those years.
I guess you become aware when they cause a pain in your ass, and, although I intuitively marked distances with nationalism, when I left for Mallorca I had not yet built a critical account of it. Militancy in the left from the age of 14, with doubts but not yet formulated, and always critical of certain attitudes, already supremacist in those times.
In the 70s Catalan was a language of distinction and prestige, so the few charneguitos who tried to have access to it found mockery and rejection. This was noticeable in the workplace. I am talking about the period going from the year 1973 until the end of that decade. That is, in full Francoism and even somewhat after the Transition. As always, the language, like it or not, was associated with social status. I arrived at Carmelo with 8 years; just in case not everybody knows, it was and it is a working class neighborhood of Barcelona.
It is with the arrival at the Generalitat of Jordi Pujol when the national-secessionist project began to be carried out – they had been preparing it from the Fets de Palau and before; It is advisable to read the book of my friend Antonio Santamaría: “Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya. De los orígenes al giro soberanista“, Akal; and it is from then on – despite the racist reflections of Pujol in his book “La inmigración problema y esperanza de Cataluña“, 1958, reissued in 1976 – when, conscious of the impossibility of being a social majority without including the Spanish-speaking classes, the process of identity assimilation begins with, on the one hand, the famous “Norma” campaign, and on the other, imposing Catalan as the only language in the school .
Here the left collaborated extensively, reselling the nationalist story as guarantee for the integration of workers in a monolingual society, since that is the project: hegemony of identity as a guarantee of a strong class society. After almost 40 years of assimilation, the “castes” are occupied by the same … The 300 families that since 1714 and under the protection of the hated Felipe V were enriched and that until today have maintained political economic control.
The great betrayal or the big scam
According to Cercas, in his article ‘La gran traición’: “The central pact of democratic Catalonia was formulated by his patriarch, Jordi Pujol, in these terms: “Everyone who lives and works in Catalonia is Catalan “. Hundreds of thousands of emigrants arrived from all over Spain in the postwar period, very humble people in their immense majority, they believed it; my parents also believed it, and raised their children accordingly. It is true that my mother, who arrived almost without studies, with more than 30 years and five children, does not speak Catalan, and therefore she is one of those people whom the current president of the Generalitat called, in a memorable article, “scavengers, scorpions, hyenas” and “beasts with human form “; but my sisters and I are not like her. We not only lived and worked in Catalonia, but we also adopted Catalan customs, immersed ourselves in Catalan culture, learned Catalan until we became bilingual, married Catalan people, educated our children in Catalan and even contributed with our small bit to spread Catalan culture. All in vain. Although until the last moment we did our best to continue believing that we were Catalans, in September and October of 2017, when everything exploded, we knew without a doubt that we were not“.
Treason, no. Deceit, yes. It is evident that the emigrant, when he arrives at a new place, does not intend to question what is coming his way: in fact, he generally tries to blend in with the environment. So, one is willing to believe what they are selling, especially if we can someday “tie the dogs with sausages” [pave the streets with gold], which in the village of origin was impossible. That is to say that we cannot complain to our parents for their lack of criticism: they had a predisposition to believe it. It is good to learn Catalan and, if you like, to dance sardanas and to build castells … and to marry Catalan people of pure lineage, what some call “Catalan Catalans” (and that I have been never willing to understand, because it oozes racism: can you imagine that there were Spanish Spaniards “and, on the other hand, only “Spaniards”?).
Not realizing the process of identity assimilation that began to be implemented since the early 80’s can have a certain excuse… but waiting until October 2017 to realize it … Ok! Let’s welcome this falling off the horse, it is never late if the happiness is good, which is not, by the way … In short, it is better late than never.
There is something I cannot forgive Cercas for: he places his mother among those Torra called “beasts with human form” in his already “memorable” article (memorable because of despicable), but he does not include himself in the same category –We are not like her– because he had accepted Catalanism. My mother does not speak Catalan, and this is neither a defect nor a virtue, it is a reality given in a given historical moment. When Torra insulted us, he insulted all of us who came from other parts of Spain or who are children of parents who had done it, speakers of Catalan or not.
My children scarcely stepped on the esplais, those complementary centers of identity assimilation; apparently, a place for recreation and education in human values, but starting really from an indisputable fact: the only language that was used in them was Catalan. I leave you a pearl extracted from Som Esplai.
OK, it is very good that Cercas -with his capacity to reach many people- rebels and denounces the brutality of the proces. But he lacks a few blows of chest and contrition … The thing began before, much earlier, Javier, although you did not find out or you did not want to find out.
Inflection point. From Pujolismo to Procés
Neither the events of September and October 2017, nor the ruling of the Statute: the change in national-Catalanism speed occurred as a result of the “encercla el Parlament” demonstrations on June 15, 2011. Words from Artur Mas that day: “… he regretted having to arrive at the Parliament by helicopter on Wednesday morning to access the plenary session that should debate the Catalan Budgets. He deplored, visibly annoyed, that in Catalonia it was necessary to “use methods like these to reach (the Parliament), and also with violence in the street”. Ah! That was violence! The approved budgets were the most regressive to date and for that reason the indignados of 15M were demonstrating. Accelerating the independence proces, the flight forward, was the option of national-Catalanism, which thought it was ready to make the leap to secession, in addition to the fact that, with the lie of the “Espanya ens roba“, they would manage to demobilize all the Catalan society.
All the “ideological apparatuses of the State” controlled by the Generalitat had done their job. TV3 and the press, the school with its identity assimilation through the same old story of the social cohesion and the linguistic immersion as hook bought by the left, the esplais, the labeling of public spaces creating a social fiction, including fines to shops. The large subsidies to all kinds of associations and foundations in defense of the language or to rewrite the history, the intrusion or involvement in associations of neighbors, petanque, folk dances or parents of students … thousands, millions of euros fattening the Procés …
They demobilized society and replaced social demands with national ones. But reality prevailed: they are not a majority; never 80% of Catalans have claimed the right to decide to be independent. It is true that, at some critical moment, they have passed 40%; but the independence movement, those that are for independence, has never reached 40%. And another thing: the Spanish State (now it is necessary to call it that) reacted late and badly, despite the clear ineptitude of its leaders.
And where is the left? The writings of Rabell
Lluis Rabell headed the list of Catalunya Si Que Es Pot in that phase of metamorphosis between the old left, ICV, EUiA -with its auto-determination tics-, and the new Catalan pseudo-left of Catalonia in Comú –already installed in the pro-sovereignty irrationality-; he maintained a certain coherence – together with Coscubiela – in the ill-fated days of September and October of 2017, and was finally set aside by the new owners of the Catalan national-Peronism. Today, his writings are a call to sanity and to straighten the erratic course of the left.
In his last article –Cuando llegue Brumario– he criticizes the placement again of the yellow ribbon on the facade of Barcelona City Council; Rabell affirms on the yellow ribbon: “It is not the banner of those of us who have considered the pre-trial detention abusive or the accusations of rebellion and sedition against the independence leaders disproportionate. No. The yellow ribbon, denouncing the supposed persecution of political ideas by an authoritarian Spain, puts us squarely in the imaginary of “Procés”».
He is right in the consequences, but does not waste the occasion to strike a distance with the trial in the Supreme Court… Abusive preventive prison and disproportion of charges. Certainly, it is debatable, but what this clearly proves is that the Catalan left – and, therefore, the Spanish left – are still installed – even if they are critical of the official one – in a false equidistance that considers everything that comes from the Spanish State to be pernicious or full of malignity.
Maybe it’s time, Mr. Rabell, to unveil the relationship between the Spanish retrograde rights and the Catalan retrograde rights … They have a lot in common, although their identities are opposed. Talking about “pro-independence” gives them a patina of progressivism that they do not deserve. Equidistance is not the solution: taking sides with the working classes is to begin by denying bread and salt to secessionism.
There are no blocks: there is only one block, the national-secessionist, mixing everything from the extreme right to “supposed” leftists; however, this is not a block legitimized by a just cause. And, on the other side, there is no other block, because what there is, does not act as such: it is a set of people who, for different reasons and ideologies, do not agree with the national-Catalanism, and understand that the Constitution is a good tool, improvable, of coexistence. There are Spanish nationalists, of course, and there are non-nationalist leftists. And they are the majority, in Catalonia and in Spain.
The constitutionalist “no block” has great problems in shaping itself as a “democratic front”. The shadow of Francoism is very much extended to the right and the left: some for longing (Vox), others for shame (PP), others for “modern” (C’s), and the left for a complex confusing Spain with Francoism.
Insults and boos in the parade of serfdom before the Generalitat of the new Barcelona town hall
The municipal power of Barcelona does not come from the Generalitat or the Spanish Government: it comes from the citizens, authentic municipal sovereigns: not because Barcelona is sovereign, which is not, but because it is the Constitution which articulates power in Spain. To make a little parade till the building of the Generalitat is an act of undue vassalage indicating the depth of the nationalist story. It is not mandatory protocol, unlike the act of abiding by the Constitution when taking possession of elected officers, which is a legal imperative – and to say that they do so “for legal imperative” is redundant, unnecessary and, above all, biased, implying their interest in skipping such promise or oath. And yes, unacceptable as well the behavior of the nationalist right, who believes that the City is also its own.
The filigrees of Colau to remain in the armchair –assumed as a lesser evil by many of us, as a means of preventing secessionism from gaining the Barcelona City Council- denote personal ambition, with or without tears –weeping can excite, but not legitimize-, and political strategy. The debacle of votes of the Comuns is always more bearable and more reversible remaining as mayor than being vice-mayor of Tete Maragall.
Citizens have opted for ‘the worse the better’: they preferred Mayor Maragall just to be able to grow through victimizing. And it is not that they do not do it with the Colau -and less with the placement again of the yellow ribbon-, but speaking at this point of the Rivera / Arrimadas drift is already unnecessary. And Valls, regardless of what he does in the future, has acted with an ethical consistency unknown in Spain: he has understood that, although Colau is a disguised secessionist, at least nominally with her separatism does not govern Barcelona, which is not a minor thing.
Just to finish
In spite of what Pedro Sánchez seems to be working on -reform of the Penal Code, pact with nationalists for his new investiture -remember that none of that was said in the campaign-; despite the fact that the trial will entail harsh penalties for the defendants; despite the much noise the secessionists make in Catalonia and outside, in Catalonia it is no longer possible to return to moments prior to 2012; it is no longer possible to return to the national-pujolismo … There are many “Cercas” who have awakened, who were on October 8 and 28, 2017 in the streets of Barcelona, and will not allow it. The future is dialogue; but in that dialogue we must all participate, and the current parties cannot represent Catalan society. It is necessary to reform the electoral law so that the vote of those of the province of Barcelona is equal to that of those of Lérida, Gerona and Tarragona. But, above all, the hegemony of nationalism in institutions has to come to an end.
There are still many political orphans on the left in Catalonia. Let’s see what we do. Rabell? Cercas? Neither PSC nor Comuns can lead that alternative. To persevere in waiting is to despair.
Nou Barris, Barcelona. Friday, June 21, 2019
* Author of the essay EL VALOR REAL DEL VOTO, Editorial El Viejo Topo, 2016.