Lluís Bassets, 19 October 2021
Independence rally on October 1, 2017 in Barcelona. MASSIMILIANO MINOCRI
If there is a legacy of October 1, it is negative and toxic: it prevents the recovery of dialogue and coexistence between Catalans and the autonomous institutions have been discredited
The legacy of October 1 does not exist, despite the stubborn proclamations of certain pro-independence propagandists. The only legacy of the false self-determination referendum organized in 2017, in contravention of Spanish and international law, the opinions of the Council of Europe and the advice of the Catalan Parliament’s lawyers, is a pile of ruins.
Four years after that ‘yellow autumn’ of insurrectionary appearances, the effects are all negative. Independence did not occur, nor does it have any signs of doing so in the coming years and even decades, whatever the leaders and militants say with their bravado and lies. If it was only a matter of achieving maximum agitation to end a bilateral negotiation that would lead to an improvement in self-government, it has not been achieved either: the dialogue table is not, although the propaganda continues to present it as such.
His credibility is nil, both in the direction of those who believed his promises among the followers and those who believed his threats among the adversaries. Not to mention their irresponsibility and frivolity, corroborated day after day by the lack of ability to be consistent with their failure and persist in spreading demonstrably false arguments and realities that only existed and continue to exist within their brains.
The disqualification, therefore, is twofold: of the method and of the protagonists, no matter how much the propaganda, increasingly childish in tone, continues to insist on the need for one-sidedness, on the existence of something similar to a legacy and, more funny, in the reality of a proclaimed republic, governed by a grotesque council of the republic, which only waits for the impulse of popular mobilization to get going.
It has been a real defeat, but not for the independentists, but for everyone, Catalans of all ideologies and also Spaniards
The error is of historical caliber. In politics lost time is irrecoverable, as are the efforts of governments and budgets devoted to a cause misguided in principle. This lost decade is the time of a Catalan setback for which Artur Mas, Carles Puigdemont, Quim Torra and, to the extent that it does not leave the quagmire, also Pere Aragonès, are responsible.
The defeat is not only of the independentists, but of all the Catalans, and even of the Spaniards. The setback that Barcelona and Catalonia have experienced in these ten years, recently underlined by the Cercle d’Economia, is part of the stagnation and Spanish disorientation, and if it is bad for Catalonia, it is also bad for Spain as a whole. Even more so if, as seems to be the case, it has only favored Madrid from the Jacobinism of the extreme right that considers federalism or the deconcentration outside Madrid of state institutions in the style of Germany an attack on Spain.
If there is a strong legacy, October 1 is toxic and openly negative for everyone. That ‘yellow autumn’, full of bold provocations and saturated with agitprop, awakened the worst feelings and instincts. Vox is the most substantial part of this reaction, but the most serious is that provided by the PP, with its easy and perverse use of Catalonia to mobilize the vote throughout Spain until it reaches the perverse mimicry that means building a nationalist, sentimental and identity, similar to the one that the independentistas have raised in Catalonia. The legacy of October 1 is the tribal Spain of the confronted identity nationalisms.
Barcelona and Catalonia have experienced a serious setback in these ten years, underlines the Cercle d’Economia
There is a balance of the damages of the authentic legacy of October. Catalan institutions have suffered, starting with the prestige of the Generalitat itself and its presidency, the Parliament, the Síndic de Greuges, the public radio and television, the school system, not to mention the most prominent social institution for the Catalan, as is the language, turned into an exclusive flag, defended by some and attacked by others with the same and wrong orientation: as if speaking, writing, promoting, defending and protecting it were synonymous with independence. Coexistence has also suffered, no matter how much those who embrace the myth of the single people around their cause refuse to accept it. In the October legacy is the end of consent, defined by Anton Costas as the obliteration of the implicit pact that united, in exchange for mutual respect, the worlds of the ruling Catalan nationalism and those who are alien to it.
This is the ruinous legacy of October 1. If anything, there remains the improbable benefit that the experience can provide for each other, without distinction of ideologies and feelings, provided that it is used for reflection and rationalization instead of propaganda and demagoguery. If there are still those who doubt the need for a space for dialogue between Catalans, the divisive legacy of October is the central argument for it to become an urgent programmatic task. Nothing can be done together if the celebration of the divisive and disastrous dates of the yellow autumn, October 1, 3 and 27, is maintained and exhibited, as if they were part of a political and historical capital on which to build some future together, regardless of the manipulation of the August attacks, the shame of September 6 and 7 and the subsequent outbreaks of street violence promoted by the institutions.