Alliance of the Republican Left of Spain (AIRes – La Izquierda), January 2022
NO TO THE NATIONALIST DEMAGOGIA OF THE “NATIONAL PACT FOR LANGUAGE”
From the Alliance of the Republican Left of Spain (AIRes – La Izquierda) we consider the Catalan language, and the rest of the co-official languages of our country, as a great common heritage of all the people of Spain and a fundamental integral part of the great Spanish culture. That is why we congratulate ourselves that the Catalan language is going through the best moment in its history, because never before have there been so many people who understand it, speak it, write it and use it as a habitual vehicle of communication and cultural creation, and both in his private life as in all spheres of public life. A flourishing situation that has been possible thanks to the inclusive, open and pluralistic spirit that the people who drafted and approved the Spanish Constitution of 1978 were able to demonstrate in linguistic and cultural matters.
The Spanish Constitution of 1978, among other things, has allowed the access of the different Spanish Autonomous Communities to their self-government, applying (in that, as in many other issues) a large part of the spirit of what was the Constitution of the Second Spanish Republic of 1931, which we at AIREs continue to consider an irreplaceable reference point for people on the left in Spain.
However, the assumption by the Autonomous Communities of very broad executive and legislative powers, above the levels of self-government of many federal states such as Germany or Austria, has unfortunately led to the partisan, victimizing, supremacist and sectarian use of the issue for many years now, the public administrations of some autonomous communities such as Catalonia, and the self-interested complicity with it that all successive Spanish governments have exhibited, for spurious reasons.
Under the alibi of what some understand as a supposed linguistic “normalization”, the Catalan public administrations (and, increasingly, those of other autonomous communities with more than one official language; beginning, of course, with the Generalitat de Catalunya, but also practically all of the Catalan town councils and the great majority of the Universities and other institutional entities of that territory, dominated in their governing bodies by parties imbued with nationalist ideology), have been practicing, and have been practicing, for years, a policy of manifest marginalization and very little disguised attempt to eradicate the Spanish language from public life, which has resulted in the misnamed monolingual “immersion” in public and concerted schools, the practical exclusion (and even stigmatization) of Spanish from public media of the Corporació Catalana de Radiotelevisió (and politically related private media, ge very generously subsidized by the Government), and the practical exclusion of the common Spanish language as a means of communication with citizens by the aforementioned Catalan territorial and institutional administrations (Generalitat, Town Halls, Universities).
Not content with this marginalization of Spanish from public life, in recent years initiatives (public, or private but subsidized) have also proliferated, such as those of the so-called Platform for the Language, or those entitled “For a country of all , l’escola en Català”, to try to corner or eradicate the common language of Spanish citizens (a language that, furthermore, we share with hundreds of millions of people around the world) from the private or semi-public spheres in which we still has a certain relevant social presence, such as the classrooms of the Universities or the playgrounds of the schools, with the opening of websites to publicly denounce teachers who use Spanish in class, or the dissemination of anti-constitutional surveys on the linguistic habits of the students of non-university education.
In this context, it seems to us a sign of extraordinary cynicism (and even self-justification of those who know they are guilty) the Government’s announcement to allocate 345,000 euros to a new “National Pact for the Language” justified by the “complex and delicate current situation” in which, according to the signatories of the same, the Catalan language would supposedly be found, and the subsequent “need to reverse” said delicate situation, when in reality they are the rights of the Spanish-speaking population (the majority in Catalonia, and especially the majority among the lower, popular and working classes) who are often ignored and disregarded by the Catalan public administrations. And it seems especially disheartening to us that said nonsense is supported not only by the parties of the national secessionist bloc (ERC, JXC and CUP), and their usual clappers from Catalunya en Comú – Podem, but also by the always disappointing PSC, which combines its already well-known inferiority complex against nationalism – birthmark of the party – with the current mortgages of the Sánchez Government towards national secessionism.
From the Alliance of the Republican Left of Spain (AIRes – La Izquierda) we insist on the need to recognize and protect the real bilingualism of Catalan society in all public and private spheres, especially in Education and in the relationship between citizens and public administrations, and to overcome the slippery concept of “own language” that the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia reserves for Catalan, and that de facto relegates Spanish (the mother tongue of more than half of the Catalan population) to the spurious condition of “improper language”, “imposed language” or “foreign language”, in which the ruling nationalism hides behind itself to ignore or underestimate the linguistic rights of a large part of the Catalan population.
For this reason, from AIREs we demand the recovery by the State of fundamental competences in the field of Education (fully transferred to the Generalitat de Catalunya from the Majestic pacts between Jordi Pujol and José María Aznar, in 1996), and we give full support to the initiative of the “Escuela de Todos” platform, requesting compliance with the judgment of the TSJ of Catalonia and subsequent resolution of the Supreme Court, establishing the obligation that at least 25% of classes be taught in Spanish, including at least one core subject, in all public and concerted schools in Catalonia.
Barcelona, January 2022.
Promoter Group of the Alliance of the Republican Left of Spain (AIRes – The Left)