Ángel, 19 September 2021
She was an inveterate student (History, Technology, Psychology), always trying to find answers to the questions she asked herself. She has worked for two decades in the field of computer science. She was a member of Podemos, and is part of the National Council of Catalunya en Comú. She calls herself a federalist.
Why do we continue to pose the “Catalan question” as something between Catalonia and Spain, when it is obvious that, originally and primarily, it is a conflict between Catalans?
It continues to be raised that way, because the independence movement is interested. They, who are a part, constitute the whole to confront Spain and live from that conflict. And the alternative left, instead of denouncing and fighting this, somehow and incomprehensibly, joins that framework.
Something that, in the light of history, is not exclusive to Catalonia, but typical of nationalisms, which with the slogan “one people”, deny diversity, impose themselves on the social group and build an external enemy …
This is done deliberately, because it is not that only the conflict is denied, but by denying the other part there is no longer conflict. In other words, the very existence of the others is denied, which, in the case of Catalonia, is in addition clearly the majority. And that is not just a matter of nationalism, but extends to people and groups outside of it, who share the opinion, reinforced by the mainstream media, that the problem is between Spain and Catalonia. Something that, in a generalized way, occurs in Spain itself, and even outside of it. Nobody thinks about the civil conflict between Catalans. There is a constant and victimizing appeal to the recognition of the community that expresses itself in Catalan, ignoring the existence of others.
Consequently, it is being debated on false grounds, around an unreality …
Reality is being denied, systematically. Resorting to history (distorted), inventing grievances, taking refuge in identity …, ends up building a “supremacism”, not exempt from xenophobia, not only towards Spain and the Spanish, but towards the citizens of Catalonia themselves. Thing that has emerged now, with the process, but that I suspect comes from afar. They don’t want to understand than there are Catalans which communicate both in Catalan or in Spanish . Here the existence of half the population of Catalonia is being denied, its reason for being, in the best of cases. Because the more rude and insulting thing is to call some part of Catalan citizens “ñordos” (excrements) and “fascists”, which is even worse. The parties that could come out in defense of this “ignored” part of Catalonia do not, in some cases, do so firmly enough. Contaminated by ideology and dominant communication they add to this nationalist hegemony. Hegemony that, as we all know, is built on the basis of power, a whole media apparatus that appeals to feelings. Something that is not always written positively, because there are feelings that are despicable, such as “supremacism”, which used to be a matter of four brainless and now is in the institutions.
When they say “Catalonia is a nation”, it is worth asking (beyond the irrelevance of the matter) on the basis of what? Because it once could have been? Because of Catalan language?
If the language is enforced, it turns out that Catalonia is only part of it. But some flokloric people, resorting to abstract affinities, conclude that only those who speak Catalan share these. A mirage that is in direct contradiction with facts such as that among the twenty most frequent surnames in Catalonia there is not a single Catalan. What is being claimed? What is clear is the correlation between the level of income and the attachment to the independence movement, as there is between the mother tongue and nationalism.
With the particularity that, in addition, there are many Catalans who communicate in Catalan and are not nationalists. Thing, that of course, also has its corresponding insulting and derogatory epithet: “botifler” (traitor), coined nothing less than in the War of Succession
Today, more than ever, we are all a mix. Tribalism, which is absolutely baseless, what defends are the privileges, generally on the part of people who have higher income levels and do not admit that they can be shared. When we talk about fiscal balances, Catalonia’s fiscal deficit with the rest of Spain, territories are always put ahead. In the 21st century, are territories going to be more important than people? In Catalonia, the majority of the population has higher incomes than the rest of Spain. It seems logical to me that there is a deficit. According to any principle of fiscal justice, those who have the most must pay more.
The sense of ownership displayed by the nationalists and company is also striking. My country, my language, my homeland, my people …
Which shows that fever can also be collective, and contagious. When thousands take to the streets, they are not all privileged, or they try to take advantage of it. Is the corrupt elite who take advantage, as corrupt as anyone else. There is a lot of talk about populism, but there is nothing more populist than what “processism” has done.
One could also speak at length about the absence of class analysis in the process, on the part of the “alternative” left.
It is obvious that, for the most part, the independence movement is rather a matter of the middle classes. In Catalonia, the lower classes are Spanish-speaking. Of course, the class conflict is left behind, because there is an identification of the alternative left with nationalism. That is the tragedy. Those of us who see it have a responsibility, because we have left half of Catalonia orphaned of political representation.
Does this complacency, if not glorification, of the past, made by the PSUC, does not prevent a necessary self-criticism about the relationship of the left with nationalism, in Catalonia?
Yes, and it is difficult to recognize that people from these parties were part of the elites. It was not by chance that Maragall, Pujol and many others went to the same schools. Obviously, they were elite, which is very well reflected in the surnames that have dominated power in the Generalitat and other institutions over the decades, The famous phrase awarded to Pujol that “Catalan is everyone who lives and works in Catalonia” , had a tagline that said “and who wants to be,” with the meaning “if you do not oppose those who are awarded the ownership of belonging,” sparing your life. The 1983 law, said that no one can be discriminated against for reasons of language in Catalonia, has become to call “ñordos” (excrements) those using Spanish.
In addition, miscegenation, which, as in any modern community, is what defines Catalonia the most, experiences more twists and turns with the arrival of new immigrants …
The tribalization promoted by Catalan nationalism is completely anachronistic. It only responds to the privileges of very few, although there are people who have allowed themselves to be fanatized. Keep closing Health Centers to pay the expenses of the process is too much. This is something that should open the eyes of those who continue to support the process without a critical conscience. And if something should distinguish the left on this path, it is self-critical vision. An impulse capable of turning Catalan society around, taking away the old construct of myths, misrepresentations, assumptions …, which has been installed in Catalonia. Something that inevitably happens through a total change of vision, through a recognition, of its invisible part. Because of the radical innovation of things, of the rights of citizenship … It is not understood that the leaders of the Catalan left have not come out in a whirlwind to defend the people who are being insulted for using Spanish.
Is it fashionable an ideological patching, referring for example to confederalism, to avoid a clear debate on the development of federalism in Spain?
That hits me. Talking about confederation is a way of misleading the population, and people who don’t understand much of that jargon accept it and that’s the way things go. To confederate, you must first be independent. Thing in which they coincide with those who directly claim independence. In other words, what it is about is to continue cooking in the same sauce. To adhere to the dominant spirit, making every home-made trifle a castle. Ignoring such decisive realities as, for example, our belonging to Europe which, objectively, constitutes our life horizon. The Covid pandemic has helped drive federalism in Spain and Europe, and the left remains autistic, if not abducted. Discussing whether or not Catalonia is a nation, in current circumstances (pandemic, climate change, rise of fascism, etc.), is, purely and simply, a narrow-gauge frivolity.