Lluís Bassets 24/10/2020
A student in an act of support for the referendum of October 1, 2017. ANDREA COMAS
The threat of a reiteration will serve little to broaden the base of the independence movement and overcome the flaws in coexistence.
Regret is very rare in politics. The most common is the justification of errors with the display of objective causes beyond subjective responsibilities. Rarely is there someone who concedes personal guilt in the wrong decision, rather the opposite: the fault always belongs to others. The only explanation is usually contextual. And the best, that it was a forced error: in certain circumstances anyone would have behaved in the same way.
The digestion of the process and especially of the chain of errors of October 2017 is very slow, made difficult by the judicial bills that have followed, especially by the criminal ones. The arrogance of those who assure that they would do it again is understood, even if it implies an added difficulty, both in the face of the possibility of pardon and that of a serious self-critical reflection.
Saying “We will do it again” is, above all, an ideological reaffirmation. It is not a prophecy, not even the expression of a will. It is above all a stubborn claim to the dignity of the cause, even if it is very lost and wrong. The game has been lost, if not the entire cause, the price to pay is considerable and the horizon is rather hazy regarding the possibility of returning.
It would be a propitious moment to become elusive, disappeared from the map, try to repair the damages and turn the page, but there are characters in this story who are not willing to end this sad episode in such a sad way and prefer the haughtiness of “we will do it again” . Others, touching more feet on the ground, prefer to detach themselves from what, finally, is only a rhetorical exit and a difficulty both for the lawyers who seek pardons and for the friends and allies who seek to obtain them.
“We will do it again” is, above all, a confirmation that, in the very specific circumstances that occurred as of 2012, any genuine independentist, of those who put an idea, independence, above all, rule of game included, it would act exactly like they did then. It is the forced error that the independentists have not yet recognized because they have not deduced all the consequences, the first of which should be to tell us that, knowing what they know today, we would not do it again.
There are many things that independentists know today and that they did not know or did not want to know then, despite the numerous warnings received from within and from without. The most evident are the lack of international recognition and the strength of the State, evoked with a good dose of victimization and little capacity for historical understanding. The borders that were intended to be modified were the centenary of the Peace of Westphalia and repressive Spain is an internationally recognized rule of law barely affected in its image by the authoritarian action of the Rajoy government on October 1 and by its colossal ineptitude in the management of the whole crisis.
The promise to return to unilateralism is a disloyalty to the institutions of self-government and to the pactist legacy of Catalanism
The independence movement confuse wishes with realities. It preferred the misrepresentations of propaganda in the cold understanding of the correlation of forces, believing that in this way it contributed to making the path taken irreversible. Words became substitutes for actions without pronouncing them producing the changes in reality that those who promised them dreamed of. Now, in the repetition that they will do it again, there is still a remainder of the spells that they wanted to make a reality thanks to the repetition and passion with which they are pronounced.
The message, from the courts, from the Spanish political system, has been captured: where they can, they will return. Some want to believe it and understand it as a threat of an October repetition of disorder. Others trust in making them give up or dissolve the will to reiterate in interesting common projects that at least postpone the threat. None of them take into account that the threat also extends over a blind spot in Catalan territory.
“We will do it again” has a special meaning if it is seen from Catalonia that it has not opted for unilateralism. There is a Catalonia that would like as much self-government as possible without breaking the rules of the game, that puts coexistence above any political option and that feels heir to the political and material legacy of Catalanism, from the Commonwealth of 1913 to the recovered and constitutional Generalitat.
From this Catalonia we must trust that they will not do it again, that they will not use everyone’s institutions for partisan ends. It would be an act of disloyalty to their fellow citizens who do not share the feelings and, above all, the unilateralist political arguments that led them down the wrong path. Then they received many warnings that not only ignored but also became a cause for reproach and division.
The results of the process are not based only on its failure, but on the disastrous balance of government and the division that corrodes the country and the independence movement. Support for the independence movement will hardly increase if those who need to be convinced tell them that they will do it again. It is understood that they do not regret it and that they tell us that “they had to try it”, but if they seek the confidence of the people and want to “broaden the base” they should add: “And now we will not do it again to make mistakes.