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A new stage has opened up in Catalan politics and, hand in hand, more transversal spaces for reflection are taking shape. Independence and Catalan nationalism are no longer movements that necessarily follow different paths.

Cristina Sen, Barcelona, 20 November 2022

Five years after 1-O, polls reflect movements beyond blocs

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Catalan politics explores new plural spaces to rebuild the consensus broken during the ‘procés’.

On 8 October, the day after the Junts militancy voted to leave the Government, the space Acció Catalana pel Debat Catalanista (Catalan Action for Catalanist Debate), which had been worked on for months by a small group of people led by Carles Campuzano, was publicly launched. On that Saturday, Campuzano had already received a call from President Aragonès proposing him as Minister, as had Gemma Ubasart, one of the speakers at the inaugural conference entitled Catalanism in the 21st Century. Catalan nationalism returns to the political debate as a space and a possibility of reunion, but also with a complex revision of its horizons.

“The moment is a delicate one, it is necessary to regenerate spaces that have been broken, to find a minimum common denominator without necessarily agreeing on everything, but rather on the shared values that have been disregarded in recent years”, explains Jaume Ríos, one of the driving forces behind Acció Catalana, which advocates a “broad and plural” Catalan nationalist debate. The conferences held in Reus with a wide range of speakers, the entry into the Government of Campuzano, Nadal and Ubasart, and some data from the latest CEO survey, are examples that show these changes in the political bloc built in the years of the “procés”.

The Acció Catalana platform, promoted by Campuzano, invites debate regardless of the final objectives of each party.

Marc Sanjaume, professor of Political Theory (UPF), spoke at the round table on politics. In conversation with this newspaper, he recalled that Catalan nationalism had maintained a way of doing things based on moving the country forward jointly and hand in hand with the institutions. This path began to become complicated after the reform of the Statute and the ruling of the TC, or looking further ahead in 2014 – Mas’ rift with Rajoy over the referendum. It is cracking and is now at a turning point.

Sanjaume puts two focuses in his analysis. On the one hand, he refers to those sectors of the pro-independence movement that consider the institutionality of autonomy to be an obstacle, defending 1-O as a constituent process with a mental framework that “has gone outside”. A split in the institution that is a problem, a stance that dynamites consensus.

The political scientist Sanjaume (UPF) indicates that it is necessary to work on a margin of manoeuvre that has the right to decide as its axis.

For this reason, he believes that at this turning point, in this attempt to rebuild bridges and on the basis of the path taken by ERC – the broad path, in the words of Aragonès – it will be necessary to work on a room for manoeuvre that has the right to decide as its reference point. A consensus that must be built from within the institutions, and he points to the case of Scotland, which, based on a Labour model of management of the institution, has made progress in supporting self-determination.

The right to decide, understood from a broad perspective, where the Comuns has already defined a position in favour and where, according to the political scientist, there is room for the PSC. The socialists, beyond the pressure of the “procés” and in the framework of the defence of the advance of self-government. And in calling for dialogue between Catalans.

Language, economy and nation were the central themes of the conference on Catalanism in the 21st Century in the task of constructing a plural debate. Joan Botella, Professor of Political Science (UAB), points out that the margin for progress in this revisiting of Catalan nationalism is narrow, given that the pro-independence route is soon taken. But he does observe this reconstruction of bridges that could allow progress to be made in the construction of majority consensus, especially if the PSOE wins again in the next general elections. If not, the scenario could once again become more complicated.

Professor Joan Botella believes that the first step is to vote on the 2006 Statute, which has not been endorsed by the Catalans.

Joan Botella believes that a first step could be to recover the points of the Statute that were repealed by the Constitutional Court, and put it to a vote again. “Catalonia has a Statute that was not voted for by the people, and this has to be put right,” he says.

An insufficient card for the pro-independence movement, but the fact is that ideas are beginning to be put forward. Precisely this line has been proposed by the Catalan minister Joaquim Nadal, who has appealed to recover “the purest essences” of the 2006 Statute in order to have “solid” self-government and move towards self-determination and amnesty. He said this as a member of the Government of the Generalitat.

The aim of the initiative launched by Acció Catalana is clear. “If we continue to be anchored in 2017, with the usual reproaches, we will not make progress”, says Ríos. And he points out that in this search for shared spaces, everyone’s final aspirations for Catalonia need not be the same. There will be new forums in 2023.

The CEO’s survey points to new political sympathies in the electorate, especially between PSC and ERC.

This November’s CEO survey reflected this porosity between blocs -see attached infographic-, especially when citizens were asked what their second voting choice would be, with communicating vessels between the PSC and ERC.

A new stage has opened up in Catalan politics and, hand in hand, more transversal spaces for reflection are taking shape. Independence and Catalan nationalism are no longer movements that necessarily follow different paths.



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