COLECTIVO TREVA I PAU
Hundreds of thousands of Catalans see the decision-making referendum as the ultimate expression of the democratic ideal. But in reality the referendum is part of the problem and not the solution. A decade of skillful conceptual manipulation stirring up the ambiguous and right expression “the right to decide” has identified in consciences democracy with voting, when this is an important but useless aspect outside of a legal framework in which the rights of all be respected.
Half of non-separatist citizenship is forced to choose a part when they already have the whole
There are basically two types of popular consultations, those that can be called endorsements, in which a proposal for a legal standard is rejected or ratified, usually the result of a long process of elaboration and consensus among various political forces, crystallizing in a complex and nuanced solution, which is subjected to the vote of the citizenry. On the contrary, a decision-making referendum is one in which a course of action is put to the vote, an option for the future, in nature of uncertain and undetermined consequences. A secession referendum is the most fundamental political act to be conceiving, because it means the definition of the scope and limit of the political community, and it is an act of radical and complete opposition to an existing political order. It is an act of rejection, the engine of which, when colonial exploitation and oppression is not mediated, is the identity emotion that rationality barely attends. And as Brexit and the “procés” have shown, the public debate of advantages and disadvantages is a cluster of truths, but also of warped truths, falsehoods and vain illusions, which lack support in reality. All with the desire to reduce life in common to a destroyer game in black and white, friends and enemies.
It is time for Catalans who reject this understanding of politics, and those who consider themselves both Catalans and Spaniards, to a greater or lesser extent, to assert themselves in the evidence that they have already expressed – and will continue to do so – their choice in the elections, including the past 2015 plebiscites, which therefore already exercise their right to decide, and reject the referendum that will do nothing but aggravate the problem.
Pretending to resolve the issue of territorial division of power through a referendum, in addition to not being acceptable to the non-secessionist majority, poses other extreme difficulties: the first is that a victory of secession by a small margin in a community two-in-two guarantees political instability or the suppression of democracy. Indeed, how would a Constitution be consensual in the new State, how would it be endowed with stability? It should be imposed by the fragile winning majority to the large losing minority. In Spain we know very well the suffering that the constitutions imposed on the other have caused. Secondly, a secessionist referendum is an asymmetrical political weapon: if the secessionists win, the result is firm and definitive, but if they lose they will insist again and press whatever it takes to repeat it.
How then do you explain the exaltation of the democratic virtue of the decision-making referendum on secession? Because it covers up the fallacy that involves forcing half of non-separatist citizenship to choose a part – Catalonia or Spain – when it already has the whole, Catalan and Spanish identity.
We the Catalans need to reconstruct democratic principles, practices and convictions and recover our institutions of self-government at the service of all the people of Catalonia, and rescue it from those who use it for their own benefit only and exclusively. But there is more: those who advocate disobedience to rules and laws cannot guarantee the management of a referendum, because law enforcement is as important an element of democracy as to vote and, moreover, because they lack the necessary credibility. Even now they try to present October 1 as the expression of the will of our people, when it was only a political act of a part of it.
It follows that the negotiating table between the Government of Spain and the Government of the Generalitat cannot in any case compromise the rights of all Catalans. The Catalonia in silence must cease to be so unless it wants to be compromised with its citizens’ rights.