José Antonio Zarzalejos
09/12/2019 05:00 – Updated: 09/13/2019 14:22
The independence of Catalonia was offered to a good part of the citizens of that community as an available utopia. To aspire to a State of its own in Europe, transferring responsibilities for all the evils of the terrible recession of the second decade of the century to a Spain whose State was the causal paradigm of the country’s ills, was configured as the absolution needed by a degraded and corrupt Catalanism after a quarter of a century of government of Jordi Pujol and CiU and after another erratic period of the PSC with ERC.
The independence parties celebrate the first acts of the Diada in a climate of division
The ruling class of Catalonia – all, without exception, although perhaps for different purposes – set out to list the reasons that could legitimize the independence challenge and found several easily digestible: “Spain steals us” turned out to be the epitome of all of them, along with the 2010 ruling of the Constitutional Court which cut down the aspects of the Statute colliding with the Magna Carta. The final message was clear: the most desirable Catalonia would be one that reversed its relationship with the rest of Spain and, therefore, change the pristine ‘will to be’ of the Catalans into a legal and political reality as posited by Jaume Vicens Vives. Sovereignty and historical-political millennialism.
The majority of those who hauled the availability of that utopia were – are – dangerous irresponsible people, some of whom now officiate as prophets of the past with mournful essays, while others, with no way out either personal or political, continue to proclaim “we will do it again”. But do what? Supposedly, trying to culminate a sovereignty process whose results have been perfectly disastrous in all aspects.
The Catalan institutions are sunk, those directly responsible for the events of September and October 2017 are escaped from Justice or waiting for a criminal verdict, the independence parties confronted, the sovereign entities converted into counter-powers in the manner of a populist drift comparable to the worst of Europe, and the atalan society broken and painful after seven years of maximum tension.
In such a way that the available utopia of the most desirable Catalonia for secessionists has become a true dystopia; that is, in the most undesirable Catalonia, even for the pro-independence side. Because it has retraced everything that progressed unstoppably in recent decades. A breakthrough in all areas: in self-government, in the strengthening of their identity factors (their own language and institutions), in social welfare and in their international projection, with that fleuron in their recent history which put Barcelona on the world map: the 1992 Olympic Games. Before, an avant-garde Catalonia had pioneered the achievements of Spanish democracy: amnesty, autonomy of nationalities, the enthusiastically endorsed Constitution itself and the active participation of its representative politicians in the arbitration of Spanish governments.
Now, as Agustí Calvet ‘Gaziel’ wrote in ‘La Vanguardia’ in December 1934, two months after the separatist attempted coup during the Second Republic – what a reiteration in the mistake! – many Catalans believe as that exceptional journalist that “Everything has been lost, even honor”. We must reread – the Catalans and the rest of the Spaniards – that text with a title fitting like a glove to the current situation, 85 years after it was written: “The Clear Lesson”. Because the sovereign process is not the failure of the Catalans but of their ruling class, which has used them for a self-redemption of their blunders, ineptitudes, outrages, banalities and ignorance.
The flags, the epic, the historians in droves pimping out the story of what was and never existed, the permanence of the grievance of 1714, that victimized way of living in the present and of projecting into the future, the demonization of the external enemy (Spain), the complaint for the absence of the international community, the comfortable accommodation in the story of the people in constant transit to Ithaca, all this has ended up building an overwhelmed and overwhelming Catalonia whose aspiration is no longer to achieve that utopia with which a part of their society was seduced and deceived, but how to get out of the immense trap of the sovereignty process that has ended in a ‘casus belli’ between the different sectors and options of secessionism.
The degraded political and social situation could not bring a successful Diada yesterday. It was not successful even despite the numerical importance of the thousands of citizens who demonstrated. It was a Diada on the defensive, flooded in family demons among loyalists and ‘botiflers’, abundant in revisionist literature written today by the same who supplied fuel to the artifact of segregation in the past. The ‘procés‘ has left an unsustainable Catalonia that continues to function partly by inertia and partly by the effort of a society that has lived together with emotion and with reason, without coming close to the Hong-Kong-like Catalonia that would the wish of the nomenclature abducted by the disaster and sheltered under the rogue patriotism referred to by Samuel Johnson; the same nomenclature who awaits in October the ruling of the Supreme as a last opportunity.