Juan Milián Querol | October 30, 2019
The economic crisis and the appearance of the 15-M movement accelerated everything. An anti-system populism had appeared that put the nationalist oasis at risk and the self-declared business friendly of Convergència i Unió made a decision that, five years later, would lead to the escape of thousands of businesses from Catalonia. They resolved to put the machinery of the Generalidad, that of the entire system, at the service of a national-populist movement. But it was not at that time when everything started to get ruined in Catalonia.
The dynamics of competition between radicalisms were already evident in 2003 when the Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya, leading the tripartite government, initiated a total reform of the Statute of Autonomy, a reform that had more of an electoral positioning to overcome nationalism than of social demand. In this sense, the Catalan left has always preferred to legitimize a nineteenth-century ideology, such as the nationalist, rather than fight it. It is a reactionary left, a reserve team of characters that have provided the procés with a progressive color, and a necessary collaborator of an irresponsible spiral that has caused the most serious constitutional crisis of our democracy and a deep social fracture.
However, everything comes from further back. The slogans of fiscal xenophobia do not come from nowhere. That “Spain steals from us” so similar to the Lega’s “Rome is a thief” was skillfully fed for decades. The Pujol plan had been executed with impeccable precision, in the ‘made in Germany’ way. Absolute control of the media, totaling of civil society and exclusion of any positive idea of Spain. You will remember the millionaire celebration of that tri-centenary which manipulated history until the War of Succession became a war of secession. ‘Today patience, tomorrow independence’. And, above all, a tight control of cultural hegemony to maintain the political apparatus and good salaries. Thus, in The Tribalization of Europe, Marlene Wind, who crossed the T’s and dotted the I’s to the escaped Carles Puigdemont, affirms that we are facing a tribalism promoted by “cynical leaders who have an explicit personal interest in cheering hatred and antagonism on to maintain its own power base”.
This is the context explaining that part of the population of one of the richest and freest regions in the world does not have a minimum of shame when it affirms that the Catalans are “like the blacks who were beaten in the plantations”. With such a level of cognitive dissonance, it is no wonder that nationalism trivializes, justifies and even encourages violence. What I have seen these days – a boycott of roads and railways, airport and station blockades, burning streets and assaulted universities – is not only the result of poorly channeled frustration. This is, in essence, nationalism: trampling on fundamental rights to impose an exclusive and narrow identity. It is an idiotic narcissism, capable of destroying what it says it loves. These are the words of Elisenda Paluzie, president of the Catalan National Assembly, when she proclaims the propaganda benefits of violence and kale borroka. It is the absolute moral degeneration of those looking for a dead person to be featuring on the BBC.
And they won’t get out of that fascist loop. The
competition between ERC and PDeCAT, but also the one also being cooked inside
each one of both organizations, makes the sideways glances and the fear of
appearing as a traitor preventing any moderation. An example. Behind
the last illegal referendum ruminated by Puigdemont together with the CUP there was no fascination for direct democracy, since
they have never raised another type of consultation other than the separatist,
that is, the one eliminating the political rights of a part of the population.
It is the absolute moral degeneration of those looking for a dead person to be featuring on the BBC
His intention, by modifying the promised plan for an independence in 18 months, was to approach it by putting Oriol Junqueras in a difficulty. The then president commissioned Junqueras and Romeva, without first talking to them and in a treacherous way – as the book Tota la veritat points out -, the organization of that infamous day. Should Junqueras refuse, then he would be designated as a traitor; and if he accepted, it could be at least disqualified. The fact is that the procés has had a lot of settling of scores among politicians without any vision of the common good. In this way, the silences of the president of ERC, the cries of the one who was his right hand, Marta Rovira, and the tweets of Gabriel Rufián were also stabs against his fellow travelers towards sedition.
The obstacle of a disoriented left
In short, while nationalism is in power in Catalonia, it will not change. It will continue to impoverish, fracture and discredit. It has no leadership for a rectification, nor a social base prepared for the recognition of failure. Too much propaganda, too much illusion turned into a utopia, an utopia of the past, as Mario Vargas Llosa calls it. However, the Spanish left still dreams – that is its own reverie, indeed – of a Junqueras’ ERC or a new pujolism that might be its allies or the solution to such destruction. Dreamlike claim. For a generation, Catalan nationalism will always be at the same level as the most radical and sinister character of its mass.
Its fragmentation, mediocrity and hatred prevent any elevation. Thus, nationalism must be fought on all fronts, the main obstacle being a disoriented left, which has endorsed that identity policy that broadcasts on the same wavelength as nationalism. Here, too, the Danish professor is right in her diagnosis: “More than emphasizing our common principles and ideals, many former defenders of the liberal world order have become tolerant and, therefore, complicit with tribalism”.
Featured image: The former president of the Generalidad of Catalonia Pasqual Maragall (left) receives congratulations from his predecessor, Jordi Pujol. |Agencia EFE