by Crónica Popular • December 14, 2019
Vicente Serrano || Member of the Board of Directors of the Progressive Citizen Alternative Association. |
The failure of the Spanish left has engendered its own monsters on which to lean to continue embroiled in its own contradiction.
That Vox is a reaction to the uncontrolled explosion of anti-Spanish nationalisms does not take away guilt and blame from the left that has breastfed, since the Transition, such ravings. The left remains trapped by Franco, or worse said: by anti-Francoism.
Because, although during the Transition it was able to understand that the really existing correlation of forces did not allow it to force the rupture, and it opted for an agreed reform that resulted in a democratic Constitution – the one of 78 – democratic and homologous to our European environment, it was that same left that also gave democratic patina to a nationalism that at that time was very weak but already deeply supremacist: you just have to read the patron Pujol’s precautions regarding the dangers of immigration from the rest of Spain: the newly arrived, els nouvinguts, els xarnegos.
The causes of this support from the left could be temporary, given the common enemy. But I have always affirmed that nationalism, both in Catalonia and in the Basque Country, laid eggs in all ideological and social niches – this is what I have called embedding, or what the Trotskyists called “entryism” -. Nationalism has always been directed by the so-called 300 families, although its mass was made up of middle classes, upper middle and botiguers (shopkeepers) converted today into civil servants of the Generalitat.
That embedding in the organizations of the left was seen from the beginning of democracy, when in the new PSC the leading positions were occupied by Raventós, Obiols, Maragall, etc., or when López Raimundo himself, Secretary General of the PSUC at the time, privately recognized their subsidiarity in the face of Catalanist ethnicity by stating that he – who was from Aragón and spoke bad Catalan – could not be the general secretary of the party.
From the conjuncture to the strategic without interruption. Always putting the cart before the oxen, the national ahead of the social. A process of self-discrediting, a process of loss of ideological referents of the left and loss of image as a social reference of the ethical.
The left was robbed of the portfolio of equality and social justice. Today, what is cool is to be different, to have identity signs that distinguish you from the populace; and that, the left, feeds it: “being Catalan is more than being Spaniard”; “It is already known that the Catalans have always been progressive while the Spaniards are regressive unable to understand superiority …” Progressives, but anchored in traditions, even if they are invented, recent or copied from others … Els Correbous (Catalan popular celebration in which bulls are chased) yes, but els braus (the bullfighting), no.
Podemos and Comuns dissolved by absorption all that was left of the PSOE. IU, even though it maintained its self-determination position in its programs, seemed to do so without much conviction, and did not go far into its defense (Solé Tura, communist father of the Constitution of 78 made clear the position of the PCE in the Transition).
The PSUC, however, was – with its timid “popular Catalanism” – the true promoter of linguistic immersion (See Foro Babel. Nationalism and languages of Catalonia); and, by merging with a group split from Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (the Entesa dels Nacionalistes d’Esquerra), in the days of Rafael Ribó – now a controversial Sindic de Greuges, who offendes everyone with his boutades on Catalan health – to give birth to the post-communist ICV, the new organization fell prey to a krypto-nationalist discourse (pro-sovereignty, as they call it now) that has led it to vote in favor of the unconstitutional declaration of sovereignty that the Parliament of Catalonia approved in 2013, and any other thing that the pro-independence side puts in their face.
It is the final position of ICV, and its detached EUiA, that is installed in the new pseudo-left of Podemos, and it does so in a more uncomplexed way, influenced by the new neo-Peronist or Laclaudian leaders, where the “Right to Decide” becomes the “empty signifier” par excellence.
But the loss of the way of the left does not end in Podemos and its confluences. The PSOE has long since let its project for Spain be directed and marked by what is said from the PSC. All this together with a history of beheading or de-ideologization in leadership at the hands of people like Zapatero or Sánchez.
The current situation, with a problem to establish a stable government, is the result of elucidations and electoral strategies of Pedro Sánchez and his team. His statements before forcing us to repeat elections contrast with the speed of signing his agreement with Podemos within a few days of the elections. The prevention towards pacts disappeared as if by spell.
And, if the strategy of the PSOE was to increase in number of seats to pact with more authority with a Unidas Podemos in a bigger minority, while increasing the total sum of votes with the Errejón strategy to avoid the foreseeable increase in abstention on the left, we can conclude that the said strategy has proved a failure. And that, in any case, the hypothetical government that can be reached through agreement will now be weaker than it could have been before the elections.
But it is clear that the problem of un-governability generated by an outdated electoral system and by the intended use of it to generate majorities is made worse by the lack of a leftist political project for Spain. This statement is evident in the face of Pedro Sánchez’s claim to agree on the supposed “progressive” government with ERC: a party whose main objective is the secession of Catalonia, and which has declared its disloyalty to the Spanish Constitution by all ways imaginable.
That their representatives do not attend the meeting with the Head of State may seem sympathetic to some Republicans stuck in Franco; but to others, like the one who subscribes this piece, there is no doubt that if that Head of State were not the King – but, for example, Mariano Rajoy or Felipe González – their obstructionist attitude would be exactly the same.
Behind the Catalan Republic there is only one ethnic and totalitarian project. And the problem is that there is a left without ideas that has renounced a more solidary Spain, thinking that “the worse the better”, and naively believing that, demolishing the constitutional state, dividing Spain into kingdoms of ‘taifas’, it could recover political and cultural hegemony.
But the reality, which others more trained than I have enunciated, is that nationalist and authoritarian radicalization would be imposed on the resulting pieces. And the big losers would be, as always, the working classes, without ruling out a sure proletarianization of much of the middle classes. The great beneficiaries – also as always – the regional and national oligarchies; and, of course, the multinationals and world powers that would enter into business in a balkanization of Spain.
The Spanish left is still determined to dig its own grave. If it persists in its pact policy with pro-independence and pro-sovereignty, sooner or later it will be abandoned by its natural voters, who will take refuge in options that guarantee the integrity of Spain: the only possibility for a true left, social, solidary and republican come to power in the future.
If there is no Spain, there is no Republic.
Nou Barris, Barcelona. Friday, December 14, 2019.
* Author of the essay THE REAL VALUE OF VOTING. Editorial El Viejo Topo, 2016