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Home » Content » Political dialogue in Catalonia? Also civil society dialogue is required
For this reason, among other reasons already exposed in our previous article, we maintain that our society has every right to an opportunity, and this goes through a pardon, even if it is instrumental. It is true that the beginning of a dialogue can always sow confusion, on both sides. Both sides can try to justify themselves by monopolizing reason. Criminalization is an electoral and populist device. You are not right by yelling or refusing to talk; dialogue is not electoral opportunism, but rather the opposite: dialogue can have a high electoral cost. Finally, we want to make it clear that we are neither naïve nor deluded. The dialogue may end in disagreement, but the important thing is that it has existed. The dialogue itself is important.

Authors: Joaquín Almunia, former secretary general of the PSOE, former minister, former European commissioner; Enrique Barón Crespo, lawyer and former president of the European Parliament; Manuela Carmena, magistrate and former mayor of Madrid; Rafael Escuredo, lawyer and former president of the Junta de Andalucía; Javier Ledesma Bartret, lawyer and former regional MP; Javier Muñoz, lawyer; J. Ignacio Navas Oloriz, lawyer and honorary notary; Emilio Ginés, lawyer; Pilar De Prada, notary; Jordi Pedret, lawyer and former MP; Manuel de la Rocha, lawyer and former MP; Ana M.ª Ruiz-Tagle, lawyer and former constituent parliamentarian; Lucía Ruano, magistrate; Francisca Sauquillo Pérez del Arco, lawyer and former European parliamentarian; Elisa Veiga, magistrate.

9 June 2021

The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, greets the President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonés (i), during the ceremony of delivery of the commemorative medal of the 250th anniversary of Foment del Treball to Javier Godó.  Fernando Calvo / EFE

Need and social utility of dialogue

THE PATH OF DIALOGUE

There is no doubt that dialogue is necessary, but is it only necessary in the realm of the political sphere? Isn’t it also in the sphere of civil society, which is the one who ultimately elects the political representatives?

A few days ago, in an article published in a national newspaper, part of the signatories here spoke in favor of granting pardons to those convicted in the procés.

We justified our option on arguments of social utility and the need for dialogue.

Placing ourselves in this dialogue, we added that the possible solutions should not be imposed but negotiated.

Our wish was to publish the Catalan version of that same article, simultaneously with the Spanish version, in La Vanguardia. Unfortunately, we had to give up that simultaneity that was so desirable to us.

All the signatories have great friends in Catalonia and we wanted to offer them, as a token of friendship and affection, the commitment – which in these times we perceive as necessary – of our position in favor of dialogue within the political negotiation.

The reactions that our collective article has elicited have led us to wonder if the way in which we proceeded to request the grace measure was sufficient.

There is no doubt that dialogue is necessary, but is it only necessary in the realm of the political sphere? Isn’t it also in the sphere of civil society, which is the one who ultimately elects the political representatives?

It is common for commentators, columnists, talk shows and experts to conclude their reflections by going to the balconies of power to demand state pacts, agreements between parties and other measures that today we imagine as highly unlikely. Political parties do not receive the necessary pressure to open their windows and connect with the environment on the street.

But the fact is that the street does not dialogue either, nor does it offer its own and agreed versions of what the meaning of political action should be.

These days we have been able to verify the meaning that is usually given to the published opinion. Like-minded agree, non-like-minded disagree, and some others are amazed at the courage it takes to express our opinion in the press.

There is fear, there is mistrust and there is fear to speak one’s mind. There is also tiredness and boredom.

Our civil society is fractured and discouraged. It runs the risk of falling into inanity, it is urgent to revitalize, invigorate and structure it.

Political leaders have a great responsibility in the origin of this diagnosis. They must be exemplary in their behavior, they cannot falsify the data; they cannot create a parallel reality. You can talk about everything without implying a fault or crime. But it is necessary to do it with seriousness, respect, attention and transparency, without double or triple languages. By doing so, civil society will draw its own conclusions.

The Government is obliged to present with balance and objectively justify its arguments for granting pardons.

The opposition – understood in a broad sense – cannot vulgarize the debate with arguments of opportunity, which apparently hide a lack of political project on Catalonia.

The opposition cannot vulgarize the debate with arguments of opportunity without a political project

There are citizens who agree with everything their party leaders do, even if they defend or tolerate corrupt behavior. But there are also many others who, without abandoning their fidelity to certain partisan options, can consider the right decisions taken by an adversary and inspired by the general interest, in the collective good, in the development of coexistence within a society.

We turn to them when we consider the decision to pardon necessary. Again we say it loud and clear: civil society must assume its share of responsibility. It is not enough to demand measures from the political power, it must also offer guidance and it must bet on dialogue.

They have also spoken to us of repentance, of their demand for the granting of grace, which is not strange in a society as influenced by Catholicism as the Spanish and Catalan societies are, or were. In our article a few days ago we alluded to the possible reversibility or conditionality in case of recidivism. We have to admit that there was no unanimity on this issue either. An intra-group dialogue was necessary to reach a compromise. There were those who did not demand such a condition but understood that dialogue is built like buildings, from the bottom up, and that once an agreement has been reached, it is possible to advance and deepen.

Less can be more, parodying the motto of the Bauhaus and its distinguished representative Mies van der Rohe.

Without dialogue there is ignorance, estrangement and, possibly, misunderstanding. With dialogue there is knowledge, closeness and otherness.

Dialogue does not seek unanimity but rather understanding the other’s reasons. It is not necessary to assume them, just respect and understand them.

Agreements may not be reached, but at least the positions will have been released honestly.

Dialogue in civil society must be promoted and fed by political power without sectarianism or lies. With rational arguments, not with emotions.

Civil society must be fully informed so that it can initiate this dialogue that allows it to form its opinion.

The Government, we insist, must facilitate and justify the arguments that lead to the granting of pardons. It must explain whether or not they are partial, if they suppose freedom, but continuing with disqualification, which would eventually prevent the convicted from participating in any vote that seeks independence and would clear reversibility.

We know that what cannot be required of those convicted in the procés is that they renounce their independence ideals that, if developed within the constitutional framework, are as legitimate as those of those of us who maintain a very different position. But data are needed, honest and complete information, of what are the reasons that lead the Government to grant pardons.

In this way, we could recover the way to build a country, the way to mature in democracy. We would recover the climate of dialogue that made the approval of the Constitution and the Statute possible.

The pardons could lead to the beginning of a dialogue in which the confrontation would be reduced considerably.

It is true that the beginning of a dialogue can always sow confusion, on both sides. Both sides can try to justify themselves by monopolizing reason. Criminalization is an electoral and populist device. You are not right by yelling or refusing to talk; dialogue is not electoral opportunism, but rather the opposite: dialogue can have a high electoral cost.

For this reason, among other reasons already exposed in our previous article, we maintain that our society has every right to an opportunity, and this goes through a pardon, even if it is instrumental.

Finally, we want to make it clear that we are neither naïve nor deluded. The dialogue may end in disagreement, but the important thing is that it has existed. The dialogue itself is important.

Our society has every right to an opportunity, and it goes through a pardon, even if it is instrumental

As Habermas said: “What is needed rather is a game of argumentation, in which motivating reasons replace definitive arguments.”

https://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20210609/7515787/necesidad-utilidad-social-dialogo.html

OpenKat

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