by Manel Manchón
Image: Jordi Amat ‘Crónica Global’ / LENA PRIETO
The slogan is now Catalunya 2022. Independence faces a mutation. The Great Transformation, if we rely on that title of Karl Polanyi, a book that has maintained its entire validity, and that leads us to think of that dystopian character that the Austro-Hungarian thinker wanted to spread about the self-regulating market as a basic institution of social organization. While the market gained influence, promoted by the State itself, a self-protection reaction to that State by society was generated at the same time. Are we at that moment, with a massive power of the State to alleviate and save society from the economic crisis that can come, but with its response to such a display of power? The fact is that Catalan independentism has realized that it must rethink everything it has done in the last ten years. The priority now — did it really change, ever?– is to retain the power at the head of the institution of self-government, the Generalitat, and to remake everything in its power.
The president of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, who could be disabled in September by the Supreme Court, wants to play safe. And he has accepted — and now promotes — a plan led by a group of experts, up to 400, to think about the Catalonia of the future and also alleviate the economic situation in the short term. The plan is led by Genís Roca, a training archaeologist, but an expert in digital transformation and valued among international companies.
It was Roca himself who approached Torra, but also the vice-president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, to provide that support, after being part of the team of El món de dema, which has been publishing works on all economic, social and cultural spheres, in the last two years. First published in La Vanguardia, and then collected in a book. It is a material of first magnitude, in which the essayist Jordi Amat has had a decisive influence.
These are not pro-independence proclamations, they are not works on national transition. It is not the committee of experts of Torra and Aragones a new National Council for National Transition. It’s quite the opposite. It is a guide to address the coming years, which will be marked by digital transformation; new tools in the field of education; because of the demographics that will put the pension system in serious trouble; for multiculturalism; by the industrial revolution 4.0; or for the new urban mobility. Nothing to do with seeking a unilateral break with Spain, although everything is related to the future of the Catalan society.
Is it a step back? It’s a mutation. The nationalist parties will continue to rule the Generalitat. But, as is already the case in the Basque Country, the clothes will be different: independentists who govern from pragmatism and with fear of change — as is the case in much of the planet — and who hope to save the day from a crisis of civilization. And, along the way, they will retain power.
The 400 experts will be coordinated by Genís Roca and Victoria Alsina. Don’t look for some independence hawks. They are closer to a classical convergent sovereignism, to a technified Catalan socialism, to neat republicans who talk about economics. Is it a strategy of Torra and the independents Junts per Catalunya that wants to approach the members of El País de Demá, by Antoni Garrell and Marta Pascal, and which has led to the Nationalist Party of Catalonia, in the likeness of the PNV? It is not, but welcome that set of experts — independentism thinks — if through them they can deal with certain guarantees for its great mutation. And join forces, if necessary, with a whole set of movements and parties that want to shoulder, with those who do not want independence but want to “work for the country”.
These experts could drown in the coming months, but the initiative exists, the material is made, and neither Torra nor Aragonès can now be easily unchecked. However, the political struggle will be fierce and fierce. And the independence that emerged from Convergence will seek the best formula to preserve the power. As they have always done. In this, Catalan nationalism has a great experience, something that Jordi Pujol, who has just turned 90 years old, knows very well.