Lluís Foix 04/21/2021
Seat of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg Geert Vanden Wijngaert / Bloomberg
Center of gravity
An observation Stefan Zweig makes in his celebrated memoirs of a European that he titled Yesterday’s World is that the great mass chooses the side where the center of gravity is at each moment. This reflection indicates, to some extent, the changes in trends, the sliding majorities, the populisms or the rudder movements that occur in democratic societies or dictatorships that suddenly collapse because people say enough of tyranny.
The astute politician knows how to detect the center of gravity in which the general public finds itself and, with or without conviction, follows what the majority asks of her to put himself at their service. This is not the attitude of the leader who will be recognized by history. General Pétain interpreted that the French did not want to return to war in 1939 and he bowed to the armistice or pact with Hitler, establishing the collaborationist Vichy regime. This sentiment also existed in Great Britain in all social classes, but the word of Churchill came out to face the threat against the freedom of his people and that of Europe. The French lost their honor and the British stood up to Hitler, even at the risk of being defeated, and remained free.
Those who chose the unilateral route are unaware of the international rules of the game
As is well known, the center of gravity does not always coincide with the fairest or most equitable cause. One of the sentences attributed to Unamuno in the tumultuous triumphalist act of the Franco regime at the University of Salamanca in 1936 is that of “you will win, but you will not convince”. It is not enough to have power, but you have to convince and, above all, you have to value the most essential needs of any person, such as work, decent housing, justice, the freedom to disagree and the respect that each individual deserves, regardless of their ideas or backgrounds.
Many liberal democracies have been divided and internally confronted because their leaders have followed the sentiments and symbolic illusions of their fellow citizens without analyzing the unexpected consequences of their public decisions. Nothing is harmless, not even in politics.
The results of the elections in Madrid will indicate the center of gravity of Madrid society, which is also radically divided, more for ideological reasons than identity. In any case, according to the polls, the future government will be possible thanks to the crutch of the extreme right or the extreme left that will swing with Ayuso or Gabilondo.
The problem in Catalonia is more complex because the center of gravity that Artur Mas interpreted as being in the massive demonstration of 2012 has been drifting towards a division of the independence movement that prevents, two months after the elections, that Puigdemont and Junqueras reach an agreement to form a government. The rest is theater.
Everything indicates that they will avoid calling elections again, but we are facing a situation in which, instead of leaders with a vision of the State, we have two ‘shell-gamers’ of power who think more about themselves and their parties than in the country asking from them to form a government urgently to manage the announced European funds and to combat the pandemic.
I suspect that this interim in which we have been installed for years will change the center of gravity of Catalan politics and realism will prevail over the romantic and emotional idea of confrontation as the only way out of the anomalous situation in which we find ourselves. That the independence movement pacts with itself, that those who do not want a break with Spain be respected, that bridges be built with Madrid and Brussels. I repeat what I said at the beginning of the proces: the independence of Catalonia will not be achieved against Spain and without Europe. Those who chose the unilateral route are unaware of the international rules of the game and of our own history.