JUNE 16, 2019 – 1:14 PM CEST
There are ideas that are divisive by their very nature. They are those who manage to organize the world in two excluding poles. They begin as two halves but each of them aspires to become the whole. They are totalizers and often of totalitarian inspiration, that is to say, having allergies to diversity, pluralism and gradations.
We can discuss the intensity of the divisions of Catalan society. We can even split hairs as thinly as necessary to know whether it is a natural discrepancy or an especially poisonous division. But the debate does not make sense with respect to the truly divisive ideas, which have as characteristic that they always add zero to the opposite idea. If you do not accept them completely, you mean you are against it.
If divisive ideas triumph, society is divided. It doesn’t fail. And the pro-independence process is the best example. Seen over time, all of it is organized into a chain of divisive ideas that are segmenting society in order to build a qualified majority around independence. But, of all of them, few are as effective as the consecration of October 1 as a defining moment and as a legacy that must be defended and maintained for the future, that of a day that will last for years. The 1-O has two faces, and each one of them is the negation of the other. Assuming the whole, in its fullness, including both sides, is at the moment a task beyond the reach of anyone. Today this is the most divisive idea of current Catalan society.
For some, it was the time when the people exercised their right to self-determination in a referendum that constituted the most important act of civic disobedience in the history of Europe and that resulted in the ratification of the laws of disconnection, and the obligatory unilateral declaration of independence. For others, it was an illegal and unlawful call made by the institutions, in an act of abuse of power that contravened the Statute of Catalonia, the Constitution and the legal framework established by the European Council through its Venice commission, culminating in a series of violations of the rights of citizens and parliamentary minorities, especially on September 6-8, 2017, with the approval of disengagement laws.
Nothing has strengthened the pro-independence version like the management of the entire process since it began in 2012 by the governments of Mariano Rajoy and, above all, from the sublease in its final phase, to the Constitutional Court first, at public order forces thereafter, and in the criminal courts at the end. The divisive idea of 1-O was reproduced thereafter in the interpretation of article 155 of the Constitution, a clause of protective exception of the constitutional order that was put in place with the aim of closing the step to the unilateral declaration of independence, dissolve the parliament and call elections, thus avoiding the suspension of autonomy and the intervention of the most sensitive competences (school, media and police).
Those who were not declaring themselves against the 155 belonged to the block of 155. Nobody has yet clarified the responsible and effective alternative that a democratic government, any democratic government, could have on their hand, in the face of a declaration of independence such as that of October 27 And, above all, if it is understood, as is the case with a good part of the population, also Catalan, that it was a call outside the legality and lacking guarantees, with which the future of Catalonia was compromised and the Constitution was abolished in a part of the territory.
The lamentable and stupid police intervention on 1-O did have alternatives. Rajoy himself demonstrated this in the 9-N with his permissiveness in the non-binding consultation. But it was out of its own weight that the application of the current legislation was in order to avoid a declaration of illegal, illegitimate independence and without even a social majority. The alternatives could only be worse: applying the 155 more time and more intensively or declaring the state of emergency or siege. It could be said that dialogue must be opened, and it is true. It was necessary and still it is necessary, even if it was very difficult to do at that time and in those conditions, and it continues to be so today, when it is not yet clear that the conditions are present.
The third derivative of the initial divisive idea is the prisoners and the escaped of justice. There are many of us who would like to see that there had been no preventive prisoners and that we are already well-minded in order to direct the measures that allow the freedom and return of the supporters and the normalization of Catalan political life. But there are many more who need first of all justice, and that only once justice has been made they will be able to convince themselves that it will be possible to return to normality.
Justice first and magnanimity later, but according to that order. It cannot be admitted, and nobody admits it nowhere, that those governing an institution of the State would pretend to break the legal system by which they have been elected. Today it is a pro-independence party but tomorrow this could be done as well by an extreme right governor.
For the time being it will be necessary to wait for the sentence, the appeal and its resolution, but, in any case, we must accept the results and return to work. To pretend otherwise, prolonging the conflict, as it could be deduced from the final declarations of the defendants, is to continue dividing society into an endless end. If, thanks to the political dialogue, divisive ideas are overcome, on the 1-O, on the 155 and on the prisoners and the escaped ones, then the divisions will be finished and it will be possible to speak again of only one people.