Marc Murtra 01/10/2019 00:10 Getty Images
There was a time when the Catalan pro-independence segments gained strength and more strength as time went by. They used an arsenal of arguments that flooded Catalonia effectively: right to decide, referendum, democracy and Mediterranean Denmark. They organized unitary demonstrations with oceans of educated people obeying law enforcement forces.
There were many of us who thought that if Spain did not make reforms to redefine the relationship Catalonia-Spain, in a generation independence could continue to autonomy as autumn follows summer.
All that was, of course, before 2018, the annus horribilis of independence.
At the beginning of 2018, independence was split in two, like a melon. On one side the unilateralists, who would like to implement the republic now. They include President Torra, Carles Puigdemont, the ANC and the CUP. On the other, those who are aware that in 2017 there was a severe defeat and that independence would require very large majorities. Here are ERC, Òmnium and some leaders of Convergencia. It should be noted that some have chosen not to position themselves and remain in no man’s land, as leaders of Junts per Catalunya.
During 2018, ERC and Òmnium opted to try to reorganize and let time pass, leaving the independence leadership in unilateralist hands.
Under unilateralist leadership we have seen the creation of a new party (the Crida); President Torra calling for the “revolt” while keeping the prisoners in Lledoners; the ANC again exercising as a political party; the CDR besieging the Mossos and Arran painting private houses and citing the ‘etarra’ Argala as a reference. In general, improvised, incoherent and tumultuous tactics.
With all this, it is expected that next year the pro-independence side will be at a crossroads.
It will be able to follow the current course and lose electoral support, since no political movement can maintain its support by breaching promise after promise, ignoring the management of the present and changing its objectives quarterly no matter how much it denies the Bourbons. Stein’s law already warns that “what cannot continue forever will stop”.
On the contrary, the pro-independence can turn the wheel and implement what ERC and Òmnium advocate: manage the present and look for much larger majorities. This strategy has the risk of losing the most mobilized independence movement, which acts as the attacking warrior without realizing that no one follows. It has the advantage of making independence possible, in addition to being compatible with the democratic concept that a great change requires a great consensus. Given all these circumstances, what should we do, the ones who do not support independence?
One cannot maintain a condescending attitude to the irresponsibility of unilateralists and their flirtation with intimidation. Neither to celebrate its support nor to follow that Napoleonic advice of “never interrupt your enemy when he is wrong”, since above the tactical considerations are democratic norms, the ethical imperative and the obligation to avoid the costly confusion we are linked to. We have to stand up with a I-do-not-want-to-know-anything about this way; call attention to its lousy management; supporting unfairly the judicial action against any criminal act, and arguing our opinions.
Respect for a new long political cycle in which the pro-independence side would try to reach a much wider social majority? Welcome to convince their fellow citizens whenever they do so respecting the great democratic norms and making sure that we never have to endure fraudulent prestidigitations such as September 6 and 7 or the unilateral declaration of independence. Let us also dedicate ourselves to remind everyone that Spain is a country with much more achievements than deficiencies. That in spite of everything it is a democracy where corruption does not reign with impunity, where health is magnificent and where the homicide rate is among the lowest in the world.
Let us also bear in mind that the chaos and confusion of 2018 have given many additional arguments to those who think that Catalonia would be more prosperous and happy as part of Spain than as a republic ruled by President Torra.
More importantly, those of us who believe that Spain has a future will have to create a political project that attracts a majority of Catalans. To those militants of the PP who believe that it is not necessary, who think that the Catalans have to accept being Spaniards because they are Spaniards, I would say that not wanting to defend a project more attractive than that of independence contributes to independence and that, given the collection of fudges that independence has done during 2018, it should not be an excessively difficult task.