Daniel Fernández, 22 January 2023
Neither Spain nor France! Països Catalans! It was a slogan that was shouted in those now distant demonstrations at the end of the 1970s. Before and after the dictator’s death. Obviously, it was not a clamour like “Freedom, amnesty and the Statute of Autonomy!”, but it was chanted a lot by young people who dreamed, perhaps, of a new country in a Europe that we saw as distant and from which Spain was politically separated and isolated at the time.
We were coming out of a dictatorship and we wanted to be Europeans and live in democracy, and to be able to do so in Catalan, because the language issue has always been there. Much water has flowed under all bridges, despite the persistent drought (which was already invoked under Franco), and the Països Catalans is now also part of the rhetoric, because I don’t think there is anyone in ERC or even in Junts who wants a referendum on self-determination in all the Catalan-speaking parts of Spain. In practice, Catalan independence has given up, at least for now (and it’s a long term goal), on building a Països Catalans, even though it continues to appear in the programmes of maximums and is invoked in rallies and conferences.
In short, a lot of hypocrisy and double-speak. And so we have spent at least a long decade, if not more, wielding this double yardstick that has allowed President Aragonès to appear at the meeting between Presidents Macron and Sánchez and at the same time encourage the protest against that same meeting. Schizophrenia? Not at all! It is simple opportunism that does not see the contradiction between being the one celebrating mass and ringing the bells at the same time, because there is no such supposed contradiction for those who seek to occupy all public spaces and spaces of power with their monothematic ideology.
All in all, some small step is being taken towards a form of governance that, without abandoning either the inflammatory discourse for its own people or the street and the banner when it is convenient, finally brings us down to earth, which can be very hard, but is the only solid ground on which to build. I’d better not say anything about budgets as an essential tool of government…
For example, the ERC has invoked a supposed law of clarity and even praised the secession referendum that took place in Montenegro. Evidently, it all serves to continue to feed the millstone of a political party that is slowly beginning to set its sights on governing the autonomous region, which is what it is. And although I don’t think it was very brilliant to use the Balkan example as an example, once again timid steps are being taken to reconstruct Catalan society. We continue with the referendum – a bad method for resolving complex issues, but I refuse to say it again – but we are already putting fences around the field and accepting that there has to be a minimum turnout and a relatively reinforced majority, even if it is meagre.
A lot of hypocrisy and a lot of double-speak, and we have been doing so for at least a decade now.
In this context, asking for a Canadian-style law of clarity is a joke ( and for crying!), really, because Canada’s famous law of clarity is a federal law that came out of Parliament to, let’s be serious, hinder any referendum on self-determination (which in fact has not happened again in Quebec). But welcome, nonetheless, are these convoluted ways of coming to terms with reality and its heavy laws and burdens. That life was serious (…).