Alfons López Tena: Jurist. Spanish Judiciary Councill & Catalan Parliament’s ex-member, one of the pro-independence leaders in Parliament nine years ago, today repudiated for his acid criticism of the ‘procés’, something intolerable coming from one of his own.
His paper “The global traits of authoritarian populism as shown by its Catalan avatar” has been published in the book of Societat Civil Catalana “En defensa de la democracia. Crisis política, populismo y nacionalismo de Barcelona a Washington” (editorial Almuzara).
Read Paper PDF in English:
Excerpts from essay:
Putting “the will of the people” above the law, attacking the judiciary, sowing scorn for experts and rational arguments, and bullying dissidents –authoritarian populism reigns unabated in Catalonia.
Those ruling populists, from far-right to far-left, join together because they all share basic beliefs: they’are against checks and balances; against law’s constraint on their majority’s power; they delegitimize non-majoritarian institution as obstacles to the will of the people; they transform democracy from an instrument of inclusion into one of exclusion. They all are against modernity.
“Communitarianism, especially when its implicit populism and authoritarianism bloom, needs unanimity to herd people, therefore their self-anointed enablers, with all the taxpayers’ money, media and GONGOs controlled by the Catalan government and institutions, define who belongs to the “good people” and who does not, treating dissent as blasphemy, launching campaigns of lies and slander, relentless assalts against anyone who dares to disagree or tries to hold them accountable. Their aim is to bully everybody into submission, to reduce everybody into silence, and to expel dissenters to Spain, physically or symbolically, in order to expose them as traitors”.
“Catalans are led to see themselves as good, simple, humble faithful people, fed with self-righteous swagger and unrelenting oafishness. Only a thing is needed to belong to the good people: jus blindly believe whatever their caring leaders say, they know better and protect you. Decades of this diet have driven Catalans to fall on a perpetual kindergarten of Hobbits, a slapstick that needs to be fueled by escalating disruptions of the constitutional and legal order to provoke Spain out of its senses in its political an legal reactions”
“Public opinion is manipulated. In a society as weak a (ours), a lie is not used for ideological seduction, but to reinforce the reliance on authoritarian government. This dependency has always been there. The current government chooses its ministers, MPs, and the editors of the pro-government media by how brutal and willing to lie they are. They have risen to power by presenting themselves as the guardians of an abandoned (people), making appeals to nationalism and patriotic selfishness”.
As the newspaper El Confidencial had recorded in 17-2-2019 quoting his essay in the book ‘Constitutional democracy in the 21st century’ (Almuzara editorial):
“Catalonia has a particularity: it does not have its own State. If the current Government had coercive capacity [total control of the police and the armed forces] it would be repressing dissent and clinging to power in the same way that Erdogan does in Turkey. Now this Catalan Government manipulates at will the institutions, the media and distributes public funds, it benefits the ‘good people’, the acolytes of Catalan nationalism, and treats the rest as second-class citizens who threaten the purity of the nation, lacks the strength to become an authoritarian regime, “
“The Government benefits the ‘good people’, the acolytes of Catalan nationalism, and treats the rest as second-class citizens”
“The argument is that the evil Spaniards and their fifth column in Catalonia, which poison the good Catalans, are to blame for all evils. A mixture of bravado, contempt and absolute lack of thought and much less criticism, feeds a people convinced of their mission to offer the world the definitive model of moral goodness and superiority: themselves. There is no interest in others, much less signs of empathy, ” López Tena explains in his essay.
And what is the quintessential example of that narcissistic grandiosity? In effect, independence