MARÍA JESÚS CAÑIZARES 08.01.2021 00:00 h.
Protesters in the assault on the Capitol (left) and the ‘Jordis’ boarded a Civil Guard car / PHOTOMONTAGE CG
In a matter of minutes, the assault on the Capitol by those related to Donald Trump was compared to the events of the ‘procés’. And, by elevation, to a way of doing populist politics that has shocked the pro-independence groups, locked in a new fight.
Thus, while ERC leaders such as Roger Torrent and Pere Aragonès criticized the Trump followers for trying to prevent the ratification of the president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden, from the orbit of Junts per Catalunya (JxCat), the Republicans who vetoed the investiture of Carles Puigdemont in the Parliament were blamed. The escapee himself attacked Trump yesterday, although his hard-core flirtations with the millionaire have been notorious. Joan Canadell – who dedicated himself to deleting his tweets -, Josep Lluís Alay and Josep Costa give proof of this.
Jurists and political scientists analyze for Crónica Global to what extent Trumpism and procés can be compared.
“Contempt for institutions and legality”
The professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Barcelona (UB) Xavier Arbós believes that what happened in the Capitol and the procés “is comparable in part. It is not in the deployment of arms of the American assailants and in their violence. But it is in the contempt for the institutions, the legality and the judicial decisions”. Arbós also sees similarities “in the use of half-truths and the fostering of the belief that moral superiority and the expression of the true people are in their own side itself. Likewise, in the caricature of the adversary”.
The professor also warns: “Some adversaries of the procés also share these traits except, for obvious reasons, the contempt for institutions”.
The similar “style” of Puigdemont and his faithful
Joan Marcet, professor of Constitutional Law at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and member of the Academic Council of Cevipof-SciencesPo-Paris, sees similarities between the procés and Trumpism that broke out in Washington on Wednesday, but he points out that “also there are with the lack of recognition of the Government of Spain by Vox or even the PP. Delegitimizing elections or appealing from populism to impose a political idea, bypassing the Constitution, is always to be rejected. Biden’s appearance appealing to Trump’s constitutional oath is a good example”.
Marcet sees “many points of contact between Trumpist populism and the Puigdemont style. Too many times the positions of Puigdemont and his faithful recall the styles and manners of Trumpism”.
“It’s the same phenomenon: national-populism”
Not so long ago, specifically in October 2020, when the Center d’Estudis d’Opinió (CEO) predicted ERC’s victory in the election, the faithful to Carles Puigdemont admitted that they would not understand the victory of the Republicans if it were not for traps. The same thing that Donald Trump proclaimed before his defeat.
According to Gabriel Colomé, professor of Political Science at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Trumpism and the procés “are the same phenomenon, national-populism, based on post-truth, fake news”. And, in addition, “modeled on other processes, such as Brexit,” he says.
“Mas and Canadell celebrated Trump’s victory”
“President Trump has inspired many. We should not only think about Vox. Artur Mas celebrated his victory, as did Canadell and many other pro-independence. They saw in the American president a reference point for populism; in what they had become, of what they refuse to accept so much”, explains Paris Grau, professor of Political Science at the University of Barcelona (UB).
Sonia Sierra (Citizens) compared the assault on the Capitol with the ‘procés‘
Indeed, the assault on the Capitol surfaced old tweets from number two of JxCat’s candidacy, Joan Canadell, despite the fact that he was quick to erase them. “I would ask for prudence, that the pro-independence world does not stand against Trump”, the businessman wrote.
Artur Mas’s statements from 2016 were also recovered, in which he assured that Trump’s victory in the United States showed that “what seems impossible is sometimes possible”. The former president urged the application of that philosophy “from a Catalan perspective” with a view to the procés. From the closest surroundings of Puigdemont, Josep Lluís Alay, the former president’s office chief, recently expressed his indignation when he understood that TV3 exceeded in its criticism of Trump.
Nationalism, Vox, populism
“Nationalisms, whether that of Vox or that of the multiple branches of pro-independence, are populist and need this phenomenon to survive. To all this, we must not forget Podemos and its speech against the “caste”, its actions surrounding the Congress of Deputies, its beginnings surrounding the Parliament of Catalonia, the ‘escraches’, etc. The pro-independence parties know a lot about all this”…, adds Grau.
The academic affirms that the occupation of the US Capitol “has reminded many of us of some of the moments lived in Catalonia in recent years. The first memory, in 2011. 15M protesters surrounded the Parliament, rebuked the MCPs and attacked them. In 2012, the ‘Surround the Congress’ or ‘Occupy Congress’ took place, also promoted by those who would soon call themselves Podemos. And then we got the procés. The assaults on the Parc de la Ciutadella, the venue where the Parliament of Catalonia is located, have been non-stop”.
The images of the assault by the Committees for the Defense of the Republic (CDR) on the Catalan Chamber, shortly after former President Quim Torra urged them to “push”, have been compared to the taking of the Capitol. This has been recalled by leaders of non-independence parties, including Citizens’ MCP Sonia Sierra, which has earned her harsh insults from the most hyperventilated secessionist activism.
“Half of the Parliament silenced the other half in 2017”
“But not all attempts to assault democracy and its institutions have come through demonstrations in the streets. We must remember those first days of September 2017. Half of the Parliament silenced the other half. The silencing half chose to pass laws typical of authoritarian, populist and non-democratic regimes”, Paris Grau concludes.
On the contrary, Toni Aira, professor of Political Communication at the UPF-Barcelona School of Management, and author of the book The Politics of Emotions (Arpa), explains that “comparisons are always hateful, they are also in a certain way inevitable when someone wants to do them. But such a comparison sounds clearly exaggerated and disproportionate and out of place. What has happened in the US has involved deaths, the use of weapons and the specific assault on a popular representation chamber. In Catalonia, in its day, there was an attempt to siege the Parliament in the context of the economic mega-crisis from 2008, with the outraged at the fore. And that is the strongest thing we have experienced here”.
“They are not comparable scenarios”
Aira insists that “nothing related to the procés has involved an assault on a public institution of these characteristics. Even in Madrid there were sieges to the Congress of Deputies or attempts. I think it’s very different”.
Regarding the fact that “in his day, the president of the Generalitat said the phrase “push, push” to the CDRs, Aira interprets it “in the sense of putting pressure on politicians, without entering into what is right or wrong, which he himself nuanced. It cannot be compared with what Donald Trump has been doing, stirring up the hatred and agitation of layers of society in the US, both in his campaign four years ago, during his tenure, and now as a loser who does not assume the defeat”.
The professor recalls the massive demonstrations of people in favor of independence “without a paper falling to the ground”. Then “the Tsunami and the assault on the airport happened, and that was used to say that the procés was violent, but there was no president to encourage it”.