December 5, 2022

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The democratic failure of the process is multiple, but its most scandalous element is the General Staff, due to the opacity and secrecy that surrounds it. It is a true democratic anomaly. A case of withholding essential information from citizens.

Lluís Bassets, 8/11/2020

Carles Puigdemont, at the Palau de la Generalitat on October 2017. ALBERT GARCIA

Rich, powerful and clandestines

There is no coup or revolution without a General Staff. Usually clandestine. It is what guarantees the logistics of regime change. In some cases, it is also who makes the decisions and appoints those who have to stand up, regardless of the role played by the politicians who move in the legality of the regime to be overthrown.

The independence process has also had its General Staff. We know very little about its characteristics, its exact composition, its work system, its relationship with the parties and with the Catalan government. We don’t even know if it’s still meeting and working toward its goals.

It is a true democratic anomaly. A case of withholding essential information from citizens. Especially because the conditions of public liberties in which the independence process was launched are difficult to improve. From a legally constituted government. With its own police force. With budgets and means of all kinds, especially communication. With directly governmental radio and television and generously subsidized private media.

And despite everything, there has been an intense and effective underground leadership, the extent of which we do not know. Catalonia is not Xinjiang or Palestine, not even Hong Kong or Belarus. Conducting a democratic political process from underground under such conditions, in a Western country, perfectly recognized and integrated into international institutions, can only be nonsense arising from archaic and nineteenth-century mentalities, perhaps Bakuninists or Leninists, mimetic in any case regarding the now defunct national liberation movements in Africa or Asia.

The reality is that the promise of undertaking a scrupulously democratic process to achieve the independence of Catalonia has only compromised those who believed it. It was never democratic, because it was neither legal nor constitutional, as the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe has commissioned to recall. It was not democratic because the rights of the parliamentary minority were not respected to its greatest shame because this minority represented the social majority. And it was not and is not democratic because political decision-making was carried out outside the representative and statutory channels, with total opacity, by a group of unidentified people who had not even stood in the elections.

In all this there is a disloyalty that is difficult to discuss on the part of those who have organized this General Staff, and not only in relation to all the institutions of the constitutional State, but above all in relation to Catalan citizens, forced to submit, some with pleasure , as is the case of those who have voted these parties, and others with indifference or disgust, as is the rest of the citizenry. Part of the democratic anomaly of the clandestine General Staff belongs directly to the weaknesses of journalism, which has not explained it.

Without quality journalism that observes, investigates, questions and explains to citizens the important issues that affect them, there can be no proper democratic political life, but merely manipulation and propaganda. Much of journalism has failed miserably. And when it has done its job, it has been frequently singled out and punished from the Catalan power and from the heavy apparatus of its propaganda media.

The only salvific argument of this General Staff, in the line of the dream of Judge Marchena or of the bluff, the bluff of the former regional minister Ponsatí, is that its existence was so fictitious as it was later independence and republic. These people who participated in informal government meetings at the Palau de la Generalitat in the most crucial moments are presented to us as mere monitors of a kind of holiday camp organized under the banner of the independence process. According to this vision, it was part of the hoax raised to the cube with which hundreds of thousands of people were dragged behind the independence chimera and tried to convince everyone of the seriousness of the regime change that was proposed.

Several reasons for concern arise from the telephone conversations between the members of the General Staff recorded by the Civil Guard. One of them had an intense contact activity in Russia. Speculation about the dead that are needed for the process to succeed belongs to this individual: he numbers them at one hundred. We also know the businesses, requalifications and informal pressures exerted by both, taking advantage of the authority of their membership in the General Staff. If the inquiries of the police and the judge are not convincing, perhaps it would be interesting if the Parliament, or the permanent deputation when it is dissolved, were to take up the case.

A certain journalistic optimism considers that history does not admit secrets and everything will end up being known. We already know part of it, and not exactly thanks to journalism. And if it is about politics and business in Catalonia, as is the case, we must return to the harsh phrase of Agustín Calvet, Gaziel, in his essential Meditations in the desert, referring to the League of Cambó, so appropriate now for our case: “everyone, absolutely everyone -as if fate had cut them with a single pattern- have ended up the same: politically they have left nothing; economically, everyone has become rich.”

https://cat.elpais.com/cat/2020/11/08/opinion/1604852221_359851.html

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