Joaquim Coll, 9 February 2022
Pere Aragonès and Carles Puigdemont at Waterloo / GENCAT
Sometimes, from some media or constitutionalist parties, people continue to talk about the procés as if it were still operative, alive and kicking, simply because separatist leaders insist on holding another referendum and achieving secession. In the same vein, it is claimed that the ‘Procés’ has not been defeated but is only sleeping and that pro-independence forces are already preparing another phase of agitation with issues such as language, looking for another momentum while widening the base, etc.
It is also underlined that the granting of pardons to the prisoners has been an incentive for them to do it again as they themselves fantasise. Father Oriol Junqueras has once again gone on a tour of the villages presenting another self-help booklet in which he promises his people another burst. “What I say to you, what I propose, what I ask of you – I almost demand- is that we do it again and we do it to win and to make it irreversible”, he said last week in Igualada.
It would seem, then, that the ‘procés’ is back, but no. It is true that nobody knows the future, but now that 2017 is beginning to be a little far away, it is important to clarify concepts in order to know exactly what the ‘procés’ was and whether it makes any sense to continue talking about it in the present.
I categorically state that the ‘procés’ is dead and buried, although the latter is hard for the separatists to recognise despite the ridiculousness of their imposture. The circus in Parliament in recent days with the president Laura Borràs giving in to the JEC and assuming the annulment of the functions of the CUP’s MCP Pau Juvillà as a member of parliament is the burial of any discourse of disobedience. It is a minor incident if it were not for the fact that for a few days ERC, Junts and CUP boycotted parliamentary activity, but the final result confirms my thesis.
It is therefore important not to confuse secessionist tension with the ‘procés’. The ‘procés’ was a specific historical moment, between 2012 and 2017, when the pro-independence forces promoted an insurrectionary action based on the conviction that the unilateral threat would bear fruit, which could lead directly to secession or, at the very least, to the agreed holding, probably thanks to European mediation, of a referéndum on self-determination.
The strategy was none other than mass agitation and propaganda, “making a big fuss”, as Jordi Pujol once said, so that international opinion would look to Catalonia and a path of territorial rupture would be forced. That is why after 1 October, when this international mediation did not take place and the European Union closed ranks in favour of the integrity of the Kingdom of Spain while respecting the Constitution, Puigdemont’s government did not know what to do. That was the death of the ‘procés’, after the DUI of 27 October, which was just a posturing exercise to save face in front of their own people, to make it look as if they were doing something. The flight of the former president to Belgium and the compliance with article 155 by the rest of the Catalan executive perfectly sums up its defeat.
In the autumn of 2017, the dream of unilateralism, which was the ‘deus ex machina’ of the ‘procés’, died, although once it was evicted, it experienced an epilogue in which the most fanatical believed it could be resurrected. The period of Quim Torra‘s presidency and the strength of Puigdemont’s legitimism until 2019 meant that the corpse of the ‘procés’ was veiled as if in reality it were only convalescing and that at any moment it would awaken with full force.
The trial and prison sentence for the pro-independence leaders was a hard blow, revealing many of their shamefulness and confirming to the voters of these parties that the ‘procès’-bailout had served no purpose. This triggered an episode of great rage, with new demonstrations, protests, occupations of infrastructures, strikes, and the conspicuous burning of containers in the streets and squares. Today all that has been read in reality as a kind of burial ceremony, as a farewell catharsis. Then came the calm that the pandemic completely ended and that has no signs of changing because its electorate, although they would like independence, no longer believe it is possible.
Therefore, what we have right now is not a ‘proces’, because there is no disobedience or unilateral strategy to speak of, but only secessionist tension, that is, the reiteration of a desire with its corresponding discourse laden with threats, lamentations and short dribbles. Secessionist tension is not new, it existed before 2012, it started like almost everything else with Jordi Pujol, even if it was only on weekends, or with the actions of his puppies boycotting the 1992 Olympics, for example.
Secessionist tension develops with varying degrees of intensity depending on the moment, but in general it leads nowhere. But it will be endless as long as they remain in charge in the Generalitat, because their aim is none other than to keep the secessionist dream alive, feed victimhood and perpetuate themselves in power.