Jordi Garcia-Petit, 19 February 2022
Image: Joan Coscubiela addresses Carles Puigdemont and Santi Vila /ACN at the plenary session of the Parliament that approved the disconnection laws
“The dead that you kill are in good health”. Whoever the phrase belongs to, it is a fitting commentary on the many burials of the ‘procès’. The rush to bury it is understandable, the social damage caused has been enormous, and there is a great deal of weariness with so much empty talk from the pro-independence leaders.
Let us not err in our interpretation of the ‘procés’, this amalgam of office and the streets, of strategy and followership, of interests and illusions, of lies and grievances, of manipulation and naivety, plus whatever else one wishes to add, which will hardly exhaust the complexity of the phenomenon.
I will transcribe what I wrote on a previous occasion, because I believe it defines what was the primary objective of the ‘procés’: “The referendum and transitional laws of the Parliament, of 6 and 7 September 2017, and the unilateral declaration of independence of 27 October offer no doubts in their literalness: The ‘procés’ was a serious attempt to make Catalonia independent from Spain. What is contained in these provisions is a full-fledged formal secession project, responding, even with preciosity, to what international law requires for the independence of territories”. The ‘procés’ was a “means” (old) to an “goal” (new).
Not much ink is needed to explain the failure of the secessionist attempt. But beware, because if the “goal” was not achieved, the “means” continues to exist, if not for that purposed (impossible), then for the other uses not confessed in the ‘procès’ roadmap, but which were already uses of Pujolism.
Pujol’s nationalists, Mas’ pro-independence supporters, Puigdemont’s secessionists and the continuists of Torra and Aragonès have built an institutional and civil structure that has served to fabricate ideology, win elections, occupy institutional powers and produce favoritism. The set-up has always been the same, but with successive updates, and at one point, when they believed that in the wake of the economic crisis and the supposed weakness of the state, independence could be considered, it was renamed the process “for the independence of Catalonia”. That scheme is still in place, and they are still presiding the institutions riding on it.
If the ‘procés’ is reduced to its failed secessionist goal and its instrumental character for other uses is forgotten, then the ‘procès’ ideology will continue to occupy the cultural space and continue to win elections. Nor does the fact that the ‘procès’ parties are divided prove the death of it. If they regain – with the help of the electoral law – a parliamentary majority, they will once again preside over the Generalitat. Power unites, both to live off it and not to lose it.
Processism – that offshoot of the ‘procés’ – must be fought in its very essence, in its ideology, as when it was perceived with great alarm as a high risk of secession. The secessionists will never go down to the economic-social arena. It is not their thing, they would be lost there. We don’t know what, for example, Laura Borràs thinks about the minimum vital income. She doesn’t need to pronounce herself, it’s enough for her to use processist ideology: the mandate of 1-O, the “sovereignty” of the people of Catalonia, the “repressive state”, amnesty, self-determination, etc. That’s enough for Borràs and the others. As long as their ideological pillars hold, their voters will continue to support them no matter how frustrated they feel. Therefore, these pillars must be demolished.
The inflamed words of Junqueras in Igualada proposing – demanding, almost – to do it again” — to win and make it irreversible”, are not to make of 2017 a “winner” – they know they can’t -; these are words for an electoral campaign, of “secessionist tension”, if you will, or of the ‘procès’, all the same thing.
Pere Aragonès, on the anniversary of 14 February, has made a dialectically tricky exercise of symbiosis of the faces of the ‘procès’: self-determination for independence and programmatic rally for the “whole of Catalonia”.
The talk of all of them is not aimed at fighting for independence – they are not so deluded, or at least they stopped being so in 2017 -, it is emotional fodder for their voters, so that they continue to believe that the ‘procés¡ as a means to achieve “independence” is still alive, when it is only an instrument of those who have always used it to preserve institutional power and their perks. This is what needs to be exposed.
To say that the ‘procés’ is finished, dead, buried, has, moreover, a perverse demobilising effect on the constitutionalist vote: “If the ‘procés’ is dead, why vote for it”? Remember, on the other hand, the mobilising effect of the 2017 scares. In the elections of 21 December, the constitutionalist parties obtained 149,021 more votes than the pro-independence parties, but five fewer seats due to the territorially unbalanced electoral law.
Let us know how to interpret the faces of the ‘procés’’. Catalonia is in dire need of a change of political cycle, the achievement of which will depend to a large extent on the usual ‘procès’ being culturally abandoned.