JAUME REIXACH – March 8 2021
Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya ERC: to be or not to be.
In Catalonia there is a pending issue since the recovery of democacy
In Catalan politics there is a pending issue since the recovery of democracy: that nationalism becomes involved in the governance of the State, with the participation, with ministerial portfolios, in the Spanish Government. Jordi Pujol always flatly refused this possibility, which was easily within reach with Adolfo Suárez, Felipe González and José María Aznar.
This is an absurd taboo that does not have any kind of political logic and that, objectively, has been very harmful to the interests of Catalonia. In a European way, on the other hand, it is the most normal. The Bavarian CSU has been in league with the CDU for many decades and, together, they have formalized long and solid government pacts, either with the Social Democrats or with the Liberals.
And let’s not say in Belgium: Flemish nationalists regularly participate in complicated coalitions that end up making possible the formation of state governments with representatives of Walloon political parties.
Here, the former Centristas-UCD, the PSC, the Catalan PP and Podemos / Comunes have contributed ministers, uninterruptedly, to the different cabinets that have succeeded one another in Madrid since 1977. Some, such as Narcís Serra or Josep Piqué, they even achieved important responsibilities in Moncloa.
Since the approval of the 1978 Constitution, Catalan nationalism – now circumstantially transmuted into independence movement – has always rejected the possibility of being present in the councils of ministers and has thus wasted the possibility of influencing its vision from the heart of Spanish political power. But this uncompromising resistance is not part of the tradition of political Catalanism.
Unlike both the Regionalist League and the Esquerra Republicana (ERC) actively participated in the Spanish governments. Francesc Cambó held the Treasury and Development portfolios in two governments of the monarchy of Alfonso XIII. And ERC, since its foundation in 1931, was integrated into the progressive executives of the Second Republic. It had seven ministries, occupied by personalities such as Lluís Companys, Jaume Carner or Carles Pi Sunyer.
We are in full swing for the constitution of a Government of the Generalitat, after the 14-F elections. If ERC is carried away by arithmetic, it can add its 33 seats with the 32 of JxCat and the nine of the CUP to form an independence front, inevitably sterile and unstable. But politics is not only arithmetic, it is also intelligence. What better “dialogue table” than the table of the Council of Ministers in Moncloa?
Catalonia is an autonomous community of the Spanish State and a region of the European Union, with broad powers of self-government. By active and passive, the EU institutions have expressed that the right of self-determination of the regions is incompatible with the project of European construction.
The request that the European Parliament will grant today to lift the immunity of former president Carles Puigdemont is a clear and forceful sign that Catalan independence is on the wrong side of history and that unilateralism, manifested in the 1-O referendum, is , in the eyes of the European Parliament, politically and legally unacceptable.
It would be convenient for the secessionist parties, ERC and JxCat, to exercise political realism and act accordingly, thinking about the globality of Catalan society, as business entities and trade union organizations have strongly demanded of them. Despite the fact that the historical coordinates are very different, politicians such as Francesc Cambó, Francesc Macià or Lluís Companys were much more intelligent than Jordi Pujol and his “adopted children”, Oriol Junqueras and Carles Puigdemont, who have grown up under the influence of their authoritarian hyper-leadership.
Pre-politics –also called populism- has dominated Catalonia for many years. Last Friday’s boycott of the SEAT event is yet another example. With the huge salaries that they have assigned themselves, our pro-independence politicians would do well to dedicate a part of their time to study (history, sociology, economics, law …) and to reflect. It would be very profitable for them and we would all benefit.