During the last forty years in Catalonia, four major political projects have been proposed: the democratization of cities after the “municipal breakdown” of the 1979 elections, the deployment of an autonomous power around the Generalitat and within the framework of the State of 1978, the transformation of Barcelona into a global services capital with the Olympic Games as a catalyst and finally the attempt to become a state of its own. The second and third projects, to a large extent successful, accumulate notable wear and tear: a decade ago the self-government has been suffering disempowerment and the capital has trouble waking up from the dream of having lived a quarter of a century dancing the conga in a summer ad for Estrella Damm. Perhaps the independence challenge, propelled when the economic crisis canceled the welfare state, functioned as an alternative to such wear and tear.
But in the end, like other times throughout the modern history of the country, it ended in a lavish frustrated revolt. It is not surprising, then, that the actors of Catalan politics are trapped in a labyrinth –the vaudeville of the last week exemplifies this–. And neither of them know how to get out. It’s not that they don’t want to. They are unable to because they cannot imagine the way out: the procés has alienated the way of conceiving our politics and has ended up imposing the mirage that nothing constructive is thinkable outside of the exciting and illusory story. But now that we are entering a severe crisis and we are already receiving the slaps of reality (the December unemployment figures were very bad), it is urgent to find a way out of this situation: we must propose to citizens living in concern a horizon of realistic and at the same time stimulating prosperity. Either that or decay.
We must take advantage of all the levers that can make the transformation of the country possible
Fortunately there is a new collective project. We must not make it up. It’s time to integrate in it. It is part of a framework: the outline by the European Union when taking an institutional step forward. A roadmap has been outlined: the Von der Leyen presidency program, focused on digitization and the green economy, which are not just words but are powered by Next Generation EU funds.
Here, thanks to entrepreneurial tradition and accumulated intelligence, we have solid pillars that would allow us to make this transition, which should have as its arrival point the modernization of the economy with the aim of having a more resilient society. We keep large companies with tractor capacity –let’s say Seat–, we have nuclei of technological innovation –Leitat comes to mind in Zona Franca– and we have cutting-edge research centers –the weave of institutions and talent with the Mas-Colell seal. Each of these three examples would have to receive European funding. To make electric batteries, to power 3D printing or to make chips. All three are present assets. We have more. The agricultural sector is reinventing itself in the logic of sustainable food and seeking territorial cohesion. The metropolitan region is rethought to try to be a global pole of science, culture and knowledge.
What we don’t have is politics. Without the leadership of a collective project, which influences so that the funds are not absorbed by the tied up in the Bernabeu VIP box or so that the Spanish tax system is rationalized at once, we will not succeed. In order to get out, the Catalan political majority would have to take a Copernican turn. Understand that the centralization of power today is not reversed by claiming sovereignty but by taking advantage of all the levers that can make the transformation of the country possible and that it is necessary to be with the duties completed everywhere. The shift is conceptual: to place the development that thrives on successful alliances as a collective project. It’s either that or the maze.