ANTONI PUIGVERD 28/09/2020
The sum of economic difficulties, very high territorial conflict and ideological extremism has already defined our reality for many years. Tension has steadily increased, favored by two phenomena that degrade all democracies: the emotionalism of social networks and the polarization of the media. The two nationalisms have played with fire, along with the left that still dream of winning the war.
The Spanish right has not tired of pulling the territorial cord and has abused the State institutions that it managed to control, be it in the economic sphere (privatizations, corruption) or in the judicial sphere. In recent days, the prominence of the president of the Judiciary has been scandalized, because, with the expired mandate, he wants to force high-level appointments and has just caused a conflict between the Government and the Crown by converting a private and courtesy conversation with King Felipe in a public statement.
The unresolved memory of a fratricide presides over the political scene
The Spanish right was the first to divide between good and bad. Enjoying, first, the general pain that ETA caused and, later, despising the tradition of anti-Francoism that made the transition possible. When, with good reason, the independence movement is described as a divisive nationalism, it is essential to remember that the first fracture that ruined the transition pacts comes from the traditional interpretation of the idea of Spain that the right wing and its media environments advocate. It is a legitimate interpretation, of course. But, in a plural country like ours, and with the terrible historical antecedents that we carry, this uniformitarian vision, in addition to being divisive and exclusive, goes against the constitutional spirit by trying to impose itself as the only way to understand patriotism. It may appeal to the French rhetoric of “free and equal”, but it cannot hide that it gives continuity to Franco’s “Spain one” and leaves out a good part of Spaniards who come from other political cultures or other national traditions. The Constitution wanted to reunite them, but this uniformity separates them.
Catalan nationalism reacted in an unreflective and emotional way to the campaigns against the Statute and to the slaps of courts suspiciously linked to the Spanish right. This error is the most venial and understandable of the independence movement. However, after ten years of conflict, it is becoming the main problem of the Catalonia that it wants to defend: it is contributing to the decline of the Barcelona axis. Madrid understood as the Paris of Spain and London of Latin America is advancing for various reasons that we cannot deal with today, but it is grotesque that the independence movement is its main ally.
The constant conflict, the uncertainty, the lack of harmony between political power and economic elites are devaluing the attraction and strength of Barcelona. The pandemic, which has blocked tourism, has been the coup de grace. Without forgetting the flight of La Caixa, with its airs of metaphor. Catalan sentimentality is self-destructive. And as cynical as that false mother who claimed half her child from King Solomon, despite the fact that the child’s partition implied his death. In effect, the unforgivable error of the independence movement is the denial it is making of the internal complexity of Catalonia. Forcing the Catalans to choose between the feeling of belonging to Catalan or Spanish, they have promoted the appearance of an internal anti-Catalanism that was previously only anecdotal. This, in addition to being a serious blow to the Catalan language as an instrument of socialization, has turned the country into an unpleasant place for some and an irrepressible emotionalism for others. A place that does not invite you to progress, but rather to discuss or be silent.
Let’s not forget the third mistake, the most obscene. The part of the independence movement that comes from Pujol has managed to mask the long-standing institutional corruption by exalting the wounded Catalan.
As for the socialist left, in the time of Rodríguez Zapatero it used a diabolical resource to confront the crisp hegemony of the right: awakening the ghosts of the Civil War. This has allowed it to survive emotionally, but has reopened the trenches, has completely invalidated the constitutional pact, has buried the possibility of the reparative pact. Since then, the unresolved memory of a fratricide has presided over the political scene. Another resource from the left of Zapatero’s time is now unsheathed again: the dividing sword of a moral character. Now it’s euthanasia. Divide, divide, divide. Polarize, exclude, break. There is not a single political actor willing to sew, suture, heal wounds, gather.
The flames of the fire of division are getting higher and higher. They begin to scorch the Crown. Can anyone believe that a country in ruins, assaulted by an unstoppable virus, divided to the core, can withstand a fire of the main constitutional symbol?