Jordi Garcia-Petit, November 25, 2021
The president of Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart, in a ceremony after leaving prison with the third grade / EUROPA PRESS
Minister Félix Bolaños recently said that “the sovereignty procés is over.” Such a resounding statement requires, if not a total correction, then a clarification, and several clarifications.
The necessary clarification forces us to define what is understood by procés in its final phase. Arduous task due to the complexity of the phenomenon. The leaders of the procés themselves do not clarify or diverge in the interpretation of what they did. Clara Ponsatí maintains that they were “bluffing”, Jordi Cuixart and a few others say they will “do it again”, but better. In my opinion, the interpretation of the procés lies in what that “doing” (once done) would be.
The referendum and transitory laws of the Parliament, of September 6 and 7, 2017, and the unilateral declaration of independence of October 27 offer no doubts in their literality: the procés was a serious attempt to free Catalonia from Spain. What appears in these provisions is a full-fledged formal secession project, responding, even with preciousness, to what international law requires in the independence of territories.
That it did not translate into real independence is due to the fact that the procés leaders were deeply mistaken in their assessments and failed to prepare the structures for independence.
They did not get away with it because they did not know how to correctly interpret the strength of the state they wanted to disintegrate, nor the reality of the social composition of Catalonia, nor the general international context, nor the specific membership of the Spanish State in the EU and NATO, nor they knew how to equip themselves with the structural requirements of a de facto state. Actually, they acted like crazy fans.
In this sense, Bolaños is right, the procés has ended because it did not reach its objective. However, Bolaños should not overlook the fact that the leaders of the procés are still sticking to their guns, at least by lip service: consider if not the “culmination of independence” announced by the president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, or the institutional declaration from the president of the Parliament, Laura Borràs, “urging not to neglect the mandate of independence”; that is why it is advisable to be very cautious with these people.
The procés in its violent face, that of violating the Constitution and the laws in order to make Catalonia independent, is crouched, hibernating, waiting for some crazy momentum that would allow it to “do it again”, this time without fail. This is what former president Quim Torra anticipates.
That this momentum could occur only with a great political catastrophe such as the collapse of the European Union, they, irresponsible, do not give a damn for it like for so many other things. But even so, the occasion would not occur without a contemporary collapse of the Spanish State, both catastrophes more than improbable.
However, the procés does not end with the failure of its original objective, it has another side. It is an entire institutional and civil assembly, of offices and of the streets, of verbiage and agitation that keeps Catalonia in instability and division, kidnapped, paralyzed in its potentialities. A nomenklatura, composed of pro-independence politicians, senior officials of the institutions, directors of the public companies of the Generalitat, professionals and related officials, lives economically and politically from the procés. Negotiating with the members of the nomenklatura is inevitable so as not to condemn all of Catalonia to ostracism, but without forgetting their status as vulgar “interested parties”.
The lure of independence is still there, continually fed by the numerous media of the institutional power of the Generalitat and with an important following of the street, now down, but still massive. In this sense, the procés “is not finished”, it is reabsorbed by the Generalitat. Saying otherwise can be understood as accepting, by mistake or for some other reason that a destabilizing political power and ideological trend exists in Catalonia and has repercussions throughout Spain.
The procés is a well-oiled machine to win elections. It has not lost any regional elections and not only thanks to an electoral law favoring its candidates locally. If it is not fought in the field of ideas and emotions, we will have a procés for a while and the Generalitat will continue in the hands of the leaders of the procés. It is not a good idea to relativize their mobilizing capacity.
Someday it will seem impossible to us that we have lived for so long immersed in the nightmare of that absurd called procés, but it is not appropriate to anticipate that it has already ended all the more since the pro-independence consider it very much alive.