Antoni Puigverd, 12 October 2022
Image: Contacts at the highest level have been in vain; will decide the militancy of JxCat -Xavi Jurio
I don’t remember who said that the procés was a meat grinder. The metaphor could not be more accurate. All the parties have been reduced to meatballs or small parties. Right now, it seems that only ERC tends to be stronger today than yesterday. Presiding over the Generalitat and having won the race against Junts has finally allowed it to occupy, alone, a Government that wants to appear to be 80% of the size, albeit with a much less showy parliamentary base.
And the PSC? At the beginning of the procés, it suffered a great loss of names and a notorious parliamentary loss. Because of the spectacular emergence of Cs; and because of the slamming of the door of figures such as Ernest Maragall or the reborn Quim Nadal. With great enthusiasm, the pro-independence movement tried to topple the great PSC tree, the only one with roots in the two national emotions that coexist in Catalonia. They thought that the appearance of Súmate (Rufián) would be enough. Now ERC knows that Catalans with a shared sense of belonging cannot be seduced by propaganda. Hence the Scottish way of the Republicans: intense social policy to really penetrate metropolitan Catalonia.
The success of the ERC or the PSC will depend on the feasibility of their projects.
Apart from the flight of personalities and voters, the Catalanist sector has remained loyal to the PSC through the figure of Raimon Obiols (the level and elegance of his latest book, El temps esquerp, [Bad-tempered times] Ed. Arcadia, are impressive). Salvador Illa comes from the central source of the first PSC, what was called Tarradellism. A political figure who has been honed in the most difficult period of the last 50 years (pandemic), he is now in a position to rebuild a broad-spectrum party based on the PSC’s traditional metropolitan roots. If Aragonès can count on the government and the seats Sánchez needs in Congress, Illa is using two cards that are beginning to arouse interest in beleaguered Catalan politics: patience and elasticity.
Traditionally, the PSC’s strategic adversaries are socialist governments. González, Zapatero and now Sánchez have eclipsed the PSC. By blocking or bypassing the PSC, socialist presidents have been able to negotiate with (and therefore prioritise) Catalan nationalism: Pujol, Mas and now Aragonès. In addition to patience and elasticity, Illa will need a lot of determination to reverse this habit that has prevented the PSC from making its federal project credible. It will not be easy for Illa to take advantage of the window of opportunity that has opened up with Junts’ escape. Nor will it be easy for the Aragonès-Junqueras duo. From now on, two social projects will compete for hegemony in Catalonia. Both ERC and PSC want to unite the divided Catalonia around a hopeful project. However, in such a convulsed and darkened Catalonia, hope cannot be hunted half-heartedly (ERC thinking about Junts; or the PSC eclipsed by Sánchez). No half-measures or fantasies. The success of ERC or PSC will depend on the clarity and feasibility with which their projects will be perceived by a majority of Catalans.