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A public petition signed by personalities of culture and academia defends a negotiation in Catalonia without pointing to the main instigator of the independence conflict: the Government of the Generalitat.

Ricardo Dudda – 15 noviembre 2019 

The CTXT website has published a manifesto / public petition “in favor of a political negotiation on Catalonia”. It is signed by more than 200 “people mainly from the world of culture and academia.” Beyond the usual signatories in every manifesto (Chomsky or Žižek), there are Manuela Carmena, Iñaki Gabilondo, Daniel Innerarity, Ignacio-Sánchez-Cuenca or Jordi Amat The text has many questionable aspects, from the title: a negotiation is not required “in Catalonia” but “over Catalonia”. Again, the identification of independence with all of Catalonia.

The tone is explicitly impersonal, in an equilibrium worthy of praise. “There have been altercations” after the sentence. “The normal functioning of civil society has been significantly altered, with special emphasis on the educational community.” But the “normal functioning of civil society” has not been “altered”, has been altered for years by independence, which has co-opted and phagocyted any citizen initiative and has completely broken down the coexistence. There has been no healthy civil society for years: in a CEO survey, Catalans divide when determining whether Catalonia is divided or not. The fracture is huge.

Even local politics have positioned themselves, as evidenced by the existence of the so-called “assembly of elected officials” (a kind of parallel parliament made up of deputies, senators and independent mayors) and the Association of Municipalities for Independence. And the “special impact on the educational community” is so clearly provoked by independence activists that it causes the attempt at equilibrism to blush. For days, independentists protesters have prevented access to students in several Catalan universities and have camped in the Plaza of the University of Barcelona. All Catalan public universities, except Rovira and Virgili of Tarragona, have modified their evaluation systems and postponed exams and works to favor striking students after the sentencing of imprisoned politicians.

The entire Catalan government has supported the protests and has timidly criticized the violence. President Quim Torra has participated in the roadblocks, the president of the ANC, Elisenda Paluzie, said that the images of violence helped the independence cause abroad. The signatories of the manifesto prefer to distribute the blame. “We cannot stand idly in front of what is happening in Catalonia,” they write. But its attitude of mediators fosters precisely indifference, because it promotes the idea of ​​an abstract conflict that will be resolved with vagueness such as “negotiation” or “dialogue” (concepts that never deepens).

For the signatories, the “conflict” (the use of quotes is theirs; it is surprising that it is still claimed that the conflict is between Spain and Catalonia and not between Catalans) was not encouraged, instigated and completely promoted by independence; the “conflict” arose from spontaneous combustion. This attitude is reminiscent of those who, often with naivety and sometimes with evil, say that the civil war arose suddenly and suddenly as a result of a kind of violent atavistic drive from the Spaniards, and not after a coup d’etat.

Once the unfinished origin of the “conflict” has been established (and if there is an origin, only the sentence against the independentist politicians is mentioned), the signatories affirm that “the Catalan government’s request to establish a“ negotiation with the Spanish government in order to address the ‘conflict’ ”. Again, the negotiation as a mantra without investigating its context and content: what has to be negotiated with someone who goes to a demonstration on a highway cut to traffic by hooded burning tires? Independence insists on its classic dissonance: we must break the fascist state that does not want to sit down and negotiate quietly and unconditionally with us.

The manifesto asks that “all the actors involved in the conflict, on one side and the other”, de-escalate social tension. This time the conflict has no quotes. Nor the social tension. The two sides, again, with symmetrical responsibilities: truckers who cannot go to work on the road cuts and those who cut the roads with barbed wire, those who build barricades and then burn them and those who clean up the damage the next morning . The dichotomy is that, not between Catalonia and the Spanish State.

They also demand that the “strategy of prosecuting a conflict of a clear political nature” be abandoned. It is a classic of independence and his travel companions. It assumes that the judicial response to a crime is part of a “strategy”. It seems that everything is political except the rule of law. And, finally, they ask that the negotiations be carried out “in good faith” and that “a reasonable solution that can minimally satisfy the interests of each of the parties be sought”, something anyone can say without needing to be a professor of a college.

The manifesto surprises not by its originality but by its impertinence: in 2019 the process is in its explicitly authoritarian phase but there are those who still intend to negotiate with the independence movement as if the discrepancy were in a fiscal or financing issue, as if we were in 2010, as if the problem of independence was simply the “territorial fit” and not the continued breach of democratic laws.

Ricardo Dudda
(Madrid, 1992) is a journalist and member of the editorial staff of Letras Libres. He is the author of The Tribe’s Truth. Political correctness and its enemies (Debate, 2019).



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