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Home » Content » The Day of a Few: the Diada (Catalan National Day)
Essences do not admit amplitudes, only unwavering loyalties. Today, feelings of belonging can be multiple because we have long ceased to be pure, homogeneous societies. Pretending to make a unique identity majority has a difficult course

Argelia Queralt Jiménez

Barcelona 12 SEP 2019 – 00:01 CEST

Argelia Queralt Jiménez is a Doctor of Law and an Associate Professor Serra Hunter of Constitutional Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Barcelona. She highlights her role as editorial director of the Public Agenda. She is currently an analyst at the SER Chain in Hoy por Hoy and El Balcó. Her main lines of research are the judicial protection of fundamental rights and freedoms and the processes of political integration. She has also dedicated herself to the study of the territorial organization of the State, participation rights and gender studies. She is the author of more than 50 scientific publications. She has made study visits in the ECHR and in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. She has conducted research stays at the European University Institute (Italy), at the Lumière University (Lyon II, France) and at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heildeberg (Germany).

As of 2012, the Catalan National Day “Diada” becomes an act of communion with the Catalan government and a citizen’s pulse to the State institutions, but also to those of the Generalitat itself.   

In the years prior to the approval of the 1978 Constitution, September 11 in Catalonia became a day of Catalan and democratic unity against Francoism. That spirit led to the fact that, as an autonomous community, it was declared by the Parliament as National Day of Catalonia.

Since then, during the 11th of September, institutional events were held in the morning where all Catalan had a place; and in the afternoon, independence demonstrations.

In 2012, there is, however, the mutation of the demonstration of the afternoon in an act of communion with the Catalan government of the Generalitat, led by Artur Mas, erected in the leader of independence (still implicit), in front of Esquerra.

Although it seems centenary now, the ANC originated in those times, a movement with the erroneous labeling of civil society, with a very specific objective: to mobilize citizens in favor of independence.

Since then, the Diada becomes a citizen pulse, from the hand of the institutions of the Generalitat, to the institutions of the State, but also to those of the Generalitat itself, with whom they maintain an ambivalent relationship: civil activism wants the polls yes or yes, although it is not possible in the constitutional framework, even if it means ignoring half of Catalans and even if it means breaking the coexistence balance maintained for 30 years.

The 11 September tends to be a meeting of unilateralist independentists, who perceive the rest as an annoying ornament without enough national pedigree.

A few weeks ago, I was talking about how political independence is divided between pragmatists and activists. Pragmatists are aware that the path of unilateralism and division of identities leads nowhere, and especially, not to the Catalan Republic.

An urgent change of direction is necessary, which, on the other hand, activists deny, throwing more and more polarizing, populist speeches, very close if they are not already, to speeches of authoritarian regimes. Read, for that, the new proposals of the ANC, the proclamations of President Torra or the definitions of catalanism of Puigdemont.

This polarization of the debates is not only the heritage of pro-independence movement. And it is not just a characteristic of the political-institutional debate.

The public debate in the media, and especially in social networks, is adopting communication criteria that are contrary to favoring a public-citizen conversation.

Either you are with me or you are against me. If the message encapsulated in 280 characters is not shared, you quickly becomes part of the enemy. The hue, the gray, the doubt are not even accepted. And it’s a shame because networks stop in these conditions being public and open exchange forums to become rings of battles between hooligans.

This phenomenon, in complex societies like ours, does not lead to anything good and does not favor the agreement or the transaction.

In addition, in Catalonia, the pro-independence discourse is reinforced with a para-and pre-democratic mystique, with religious overtones, which has little to do with a modern integrating society.

Catalan political identity is built, for example, in the vindication of the 130 presidents of the Generalitat prior to Quim Torra. They do not explain, however, who, what and to what those past presidents represented. The truth is that, however little it is scratched, there are no glimpses of figures similar to a democratic president prior to the Second Spanish Republic. As historian Roger Molinas affirms, it is under this regime that the configuration of the Generalitat as an institutional structure of democratic self-government can be placed, and, therefore, when it is possible to speak of Presidencies of the Generalitat. Obviously, the 131 presidents serve to show the political-national existence of Catalonia for ten centuries. But that legitimistic use of history presents a serious problem: institutional continuity occurs within the same regime or, at least, similar. Catalonia does not need to reread its history to legitimize itself as a political entity.

Essences do not admit amplitudes, only unwavering loyalties. Today, feelings of belonging can be multiple because we have long ceased to be pure, homogeneous societies. Pretending to make a unique identity majority has a difficult course.

It is usually only achieved when democratic traps are set, and the nation’s populist abuse is made and nationalism is exacerbated. It is not advisable to follow this path if we consider our recent history.


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