Milagros Pérez Oliva 05/09/2020
Quim Torra, Pere Aragonés and the new regional ministers: Ramón Tremosa, Miquel Samper and Àngels Ponsa. EFE
There is a moment, in political battles that fail, when the fight for the cause is transformed into a fight for simple survival. Surviving politically becomes the only vector of action. It was like that for ETA and for the IRA with the armed struggle and, saving all the distances, which are many and very substantial, it is now happening to the unilateralist Catalan independence movement. Three years after the train crash, those who see failure clearly try to articulate new strategies that allow them to move forward. Those who do not, are entrenched in their positions and have a main objective, which is none other than to survive.
One part of the movement has assumed that the commitment to unilateralism has failed and that it has no chance, in the short term, of gathering the necessary forces to pursue a challenge for which they are not strong enough even with the parliamentary majorities. Former regional minister Andreu Mas-Colell expressed it a few days ago with great clarity in an article in the newspaper Ara. There will be no independence, he warned. Neither with confrontation, nor with dialogue. Nothing that can be done from Catalonia will affect the probability of independence or of achieving an agreed and binding referendum. Spain will not accept it and the EU will not support anything that is not agreed between the parties. So clear. The Catalan Government is delusional, Mas-Colell said, if it thinks that the confrontational policy does not interfere with the social and economic perspectives.
The former Minister of Economy is not the only one who is concerned about the evolution of the economic statistics of Catalonia and how the situation of political blockade and misgovernment in the country is affecting. Institutional deterioration is rampant and the worst thing is that many are afraid that after the elections everything will be the same. Carles Puigdemont knows perfectly well that the unilateral process is liquidated, and the proof is that despite his pyrrhic legal victories abroad, the independence prisoners remain in prison and he does not dare to cross the border. He knows it, but tries to maintain the fiction that the mandate of the 1-0 referendum is still alive, because over this heat he intends to drag those who do not resign, do not want to see or do not want to accept that the Catalan republic is nothing more than the lure of a strategy designed to stay in power at whatever cost. Even if the cost is the interests of the country.
With the breakdown of JxCat and PDeCAT, Torra no longer presided over an pro-independence coalition government, but rather a government of three opposing factions with radically different short-term objectives. Despite attempts to show otherwise, no one doubts that the sole purpose of this week’s reshuffle was to get rid of PDeCat’s internal rivals and give Puigdemont time to organize his new political force.
His performance couldn’t be more erratic. If in January he appeared by surprise before public opinion to announce that the legislature was exhausted, now look to extend it with assisted ventilation. He then argued that the strategic differences with republican ERC were so substantial that he had to call new elections. But then he didn’t set a date and now he’s not in a hurry. Pending a disqualification that will surely arrive, Torra is preparing to use it as electoral ammunition. And it cannot be ruled out that he seeks some conflictive coup, such as refusing to leave the office, to reinforce the imaginary victimizer.
Meanwhile, Torra and Puigdemont have allowed the situation to deteriorate to limits that make them ashamed, and in many cases anger, even those who have supported the independence cause from economic or academic sectors. The institutional degradation and representation of self-government causes pain and bitterness in many of those who in the past felt proud to belong to a country that they considered innovative and creative. Now they no longer perceive that admiration, that respect.
Both the management of the pandemic and the restructuring of the Government have shown to what extent JxCat’s actions are oriented towards simple survival. With the invaluable help of Budó and Buch, President Torra has squandered ERC’s efforts to show that the pro-independence movement can handle it. That beyond the objective of independence they have a project of the country, of government. In this agonizing end of the most sterile legislature, the question is how many people will allow themselves to be sucked back into self-deception. How many magic vote is still ready in Catalonia to continue failing.