Juan Luis Cebrián,
January 7, 2022
Electoral table in the Catalan regional elections of December 21, 2017. ETIENNE DE MALGLAIVE (GETTY IMAGES)
Several recent titles underline the conviction that the ‘procés’ is already considered a failure, even by most of those who promoted it
Catalonia, until recently the capital of Spanish-language publishing, continues to honor its ancestry, at least as a taxpayer and object of investigation and debate. Among the many books that have addressed the Catalan question this winter, three of them have attracted my attention for various reasons, among which stands out the conviction that the vaunted ‘procés’ is already considered a failure, even by the majority of those who pushed it. This does not mean that the conflict has disappeared, but that Tyrians and Trojans are looking for solutions, or exit gates, to the situation, among which the dialogue table between the central Government and the Generalitat is only an attempt, and not the most desired.
Jaime Malet, belonging to the Catalan upper bourgeoisie, largely sympathetic when not complicit in the assault perpetrated on the Spanish Constitution, defines himself as “pure Catalan, with dozens of Catalan surnames”, which in itself is a rarity in the old principality. But it is rarer that he is able to raise his voice, as he does, against the independence nonsense that many of his friends and family have endorsed, in the loose sense of these denominations. President for years of the US Chamber of Commerce in Spain, in his recent book ‘From Tibidabo to the Sea¡ he describes with singular success the feelings of many Catalan citizens regarding the disaster produced in their country by the mediated political leaders who represent it. The volume incorporates a collection of articles published in ‘La Vanguardia’, but the most interesting are the unpublished essays in which he describes, with singular success and commendable prose, the labyrinth of present-day Catalonia and the threat of disaster. Among other things, bilingual as he is, he points out that “using the Catalan language as a cause and instrument of independence” is generating “one of the greatest collateral damages” imaginable for citizenship and coexistence. While I was reading those sentences, I was listening to the background as a backdrop to some statements by the President of the Generalitat according to which the Catalan language constitutes the basis and the heart of independence nationalism.
Mallet’s book is built out of common sense, honesty and knowledge, things that are not abundant among the pro-independence guys who support Sánchez’s Frankenstein government. And it serves, among other things, to remind us that the prevailing degree of stupidity is so enormous that it was even suggested to appoint an “international mediator” between the Spanish Government and the Generalitat to resolve the dispute. Or the incompetence is so obvious that the construction of line 9 of the Barcelona metro has been more expensive and has taken longer to complete than that of the second Panama Canal.
With incompetence and corruption deals precisely the work of Carlos Quílez ‘El contragolpe’, a commendable attempt, albeit unsuccessful, to tell the secret framework under the carpet of the ‘procés’. Half a report, half almost fiction, the author’s objective seems to be the demonstration of the existence of a legal-police conspiracy at the service of “unionist” Spanishism. The accusation is so unequivocal that, from the beginning, he wonders if the Prosecutor’s Office was not, “as it seems, the turbine that moved the engine of a judicial machine, in the background and in the forms, of the prevailing and dominant Spanish ideology at that time”. According to the author, the ‘proces’ is the consequence of secret strategies hatched in the sewers of power with dark intentions. Installed, although he does not recognize it, in the equidistance between the defense of the State and the Constitution and the crimes perpetrated by the independence leaders, he assures that “both some (unionists) and others (pro-independence) play everything dirty that is necessary to reduce the enemy musculature ”. And he goes so far as to assure that the Prosecutor’s Office surrendered to the cause “and not always to strict legality.” As at some point in the story he himself proclaims that “equidistance rots journalism,” he should apply the story to his own analysis.
And it is a shame because in the book there is some valuable information, especially in regard to the rampant corruption of Catalan political nationalism and its progenitors. . The Pujol family and the collaborators of the one day very honorable president are characterized as an authentic criminal gang, surely with success. And at this point there is also no doubt that police sectors, sometimes led by political power and others by their own greed, engaged in criminal practices when investigating attacks against democracy. But the general disqualification that he makes of the judiciary, with specific exceptions, is an undeniable service to the independence cause in its effort to denigrate the third of the powers of our democratic State. For the moment, the strongest and most independent defender of it.
In Quílez’s opinion, the State was aware of and was able to prevent the preparations for the referendum masquerade on October 1. “It knew it and let the blood run into the river,” he says. “The thousands of police and civil guards immersed in the 1-O devices (…) had eaten blood for breakfast.” And he concludes that, if the mobilization on the ‘procés’ side was “impressive and powerfully effective,” “the agitation carried out by the bayonet sharpeners of the Spanish State is not far behind.” Some will be irritated by these scriptable descriptions of the Valpurgis night. They seem like a joke to me that allows us to assess the intellectual balance of the one who signs it.
Balance that ‘Catalonia-Spain: from conflict to political dialogue?’, the collective volume promoted by Pere Almeda i Samaranch, director of the Center for Contemporary Issues Studies of the Generalitat. It tries, according to him, “to reflect on and analyze the political conflict between Catalonia and Spain”, a statement that begins by deteriorating the project itself. There is no conflict between Spain and Catalonia because Spain has never existed as such separate from Catalonia. The conflict is between a sector of the Catalan citizenry and their political representatives with the Spanish State. And there is also no “criminal prosecution of the independence movement” as Almeda comments. The government of the Catalan autonomous community is made up entirely of pro-independence persons who freely defend and promote their objectives and sign alliances with their alleged oppressors in the central government. From such prejudices it is difficult to raise a constructive debate as intended, but in the book it is achieved to a considerable extent. Undoubtedly because the scientific inaccuracies of the aforementioned prologue are due not so much to intellectual weaknesses as to the due obedience of the person signing them.
The volume provides different points of view, some suggestive, others reckless, but generally respectful of the opposite. The most interesting I find is the final chapter on the positions in Europe on sovereignty conflicts. Singularly interesting is the article by Michael Keating, a professor at Aberdeen and a good observer of the conflicts in Quebec, Scotland and Catalonia. He analyzes the existing confusion regarding the right of self-determination, or the need for consent between winners and losers in a democratic referendum. He also highlights the need to recognize the importance of power “in a world in which the arguments about sovereignty become abstruse and almost metaphysical” in the face of the existence of social, economic and political relations. “Whichever way you approach the government organization, it will always create winners and losers and generate another round of political confrontation.” Well, Félix Ovejero already explains in his lucid contribution that “every border is a moral anomaly”. And “raising a border in a democratic society means depriving some of their citizenship rights by decision of others.”