Let’s go further the nowadays news just to reach an approximate picture of what is happening in Catalonia.
I will not go backwards in history to describe a chronological process of evidences which set firm that Catalonia is a people with a long time claiming about its national reality and the need of preserving its identity within any Spanish or European contexts. The “Catalonia circumstance” is not a new issue. I will not address this article (which would be the subject of a much more extensive issue) on the impact for the Spanish and Catalonia political contexts for today, the historical movements such as the supra-state construction crisis in the EU as common topic for the European peoples, or the crisis on the relation Nation-State on the need of giving a united answer to the “national” construction of nations, instead of bringing over the one given in the previous centuries to the present globalized world. It is very similar the way the "non-stated" nations cannot see their national longings realized within the same political and historical realities in the twenty-first century.
As a matter of fact, I write about the present and the immediate past. So, what has happened in recent times in Catalonia? Basically, it is the crossing of three crises on the line of time: the impact of a severe economic crisis that Spain drags off since 2008, and which has had much more impact on the Catalonian citizens' mobilization than some want to notice; an extreme political crisis of that transition-system-of-1978 in Spain with a singular impact in Catalonia, and finally an institutional crisis unprecedented in 40 years of democracy in Spain between the governments and institutions of both Spain and Catalonia. A hard situation that is presented like a Molotov cocktail that could only finish, logically, in an explosive circumstance like the one seen these days. Those are the background movements. The others are just news.
Let’s synthesize it: the economic crisis has forced the Catalonian citizens, even those hundreds of thousands of non-independentist people, to come out on the streets to claim basic democratic rights, because they want to decide democratically about what concerns to them. They want to decide on everything. This is a popular action empowerment which is impossible to make it to turn back. National claims and struggle for social rights have closely interwoven in recent years.
On the other hand, the government leaded by the People’s Party (PP according to acronyms in Spanish), commanded by Mariano Rajoy, supports a policy of democratic involution and re-reading the 1978 Constitution that opens a dangerous crater, not only between right and left wings but directly between democrats and reactionaries.
And, finally, the political error of Junts Pel Sí (JxS according to acronyms in Catalan), the coalition that governs Catalonia, which orients towards the unilateral way of independence of Catalonia, which does not have the majority support of the people, but it counts with the consequent authoritarian reaction of Mariano Rajoy. This has led to the greatest institutional confrontation since Spain recovered democracy: two political mistakes that we will face with highly costs in the coming times; because there is no governments that can stop the Catalonians to decide over their future, as well as the unilateral independence is not a horizon for the democratic majorities in Catalonia. Said so, social rupture is not only between Catalonia and Spain, but also among the Catalonians themselves.
These are the backgrounds of conflict. But of course, politics, actually the petit politique, has played its unbearable cards in front of hundreds of thousands of people mobilizing uninterruptedly since 2012, at least peaceful as an exemplary way, first to demand the right to decide and later directly the independence. Many of those petit politicien (Artur Más, the former President of the Generalitat) saw a path to widen the precarious majorities of his political force and increase it to absolute parliamentary majorities. Then, they called elections and tried a strategy of hiding their real intentions behind the flag in order to cover up the corruption of the Catalan European Democrat Party (PDeCat according to acronyms in Spanish and former CiU), as notable like the PP's, which set firm the radicalization of the process. All that for nothing, because it triggered off a rupture on the electoral coalition, a completely disaster in the polls, and the Arthur Más’ head was served on a tray by the request of the Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP according to acronyms in Spanish).
Mariano Rajoy, a twopenny politician who has systematically refused to go to the table of politics negotiations and opens ways of dialogue with the Catalonia government, has left the situation rotten by a bungling approach, because he thought the problem would be solved by itself. But above all, he has fed the issue with the rancid and cave Spanish nationalism, with the opportunistic purpose of strengthens his electoral support in Spain, and attempting to put the PSOE on a constant crisis. Is he an irresponsible? Actually he isn’t, but a pyromaniac reactionary.
So, we are where we are now. Thus Catalonia is no longer a Catalonian topic. There is a before and after since October 1st. Nothing will be the same. Catalunya is already impossible to remove from the Spanish political agenda and I would say that of the Europe, too. We go out from a "procès" (process) and enter in a new political scenario. The great debate that will emerge will be the debate between democratic rupture and restoration, both in Catalonia and in Spain. The longing for a Catalan Republic will naturally connect with the democratic yearning of the peoples of Spain for leaving behind the so-called Régime of 78, as maximum expression of the Spanish bipartisanship. Now, nothing is the same, neither in Spain.
The Catalan political situation, therefore, becomes a key in a latent crisis, which the bankruptcy of the political parties system is its most precise expression, both in Catalonia and in the whole state: there is no longer CiU (former hegemonic force in Catalonia), the successors can be 4 forces in the next Catalonian elections and will not overpass the 15%. The Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC according to acronyms in Catalan) was a secondary force heading the polls in Catalonia elections; En Comú Podem (the Catalan electoral force that comprises both Podemos and Izquierda Unida in Spain) won the last two elections in Catalonia (never seen any similar by veterans). The People’s Party is a residual force today and the Socialists’ Party of Catalonia (PSC according to acronyms in Spanish) is a force going through a very rough crisis if we compare it with that overwhelming force that PSC was only 6 or 7 years ago.
Having not intension of being extensive, I quote that it is highly known in Italy the mutation of the Spaniard political system in accordance with the coordinates of the crisis that I indicated.
We have arrived not to the end of a process, but it has to the end of a certain stage. Otherwise, those who no longer wanted a referendum, but an independence express and mentioning that the referendum had already been made (2015 elections), they will not be able to claim victory; and those ones who have prevented it or distorted it will not be able to stand in the way of an unprecedented political mobilization in Europe. Some of us have won that simplistic bet as we have won the position that this is not a debate about independence “yes or no”, but about democracy “yes or no”. Probably October 1 will not be anyone's victory. The perfect “catastrophic draw”. That which defines a crisis: the crisis precisely consists in the fact that the old dies and the new cannot be born.
What will it happen, then? First, we entice that mobilizations be democratic and peaceful, as they have always been in Catalonia. From there on, the time for politics arrives, and so the dialogues and democracy. On that way things are already moving to. Last Sunday, in Saragossa, political forces that diverge in many things, signed the Zaragoza Declaration that will be a decisive element in the future of Spanish politics (1). On that document three things are stated and they will inevitably end up imposing themselves: democratic commitment to dialogue as the only way to resolve conflicts, citation to direct dialogue between the Government of the Generalitat and the Government of Spain, and the ending of running the exceptionality policy and repression by Rajoy and his Government. All these are in order to allow the Catalonians could express freely in the polls. When they do it, then I think that the bonds of brotherhood of the peoples in Spain will be imposed over the segregators and the true separatists (both PP and Rajoy) would have been defeated.
I state that the policy of the Zaragoza Declaration will make way through, because it is accepted by majority in Catalonia and in a very large mass of Spanish citizenship, and because it is a bet for the future. Members of the Catalunya en Comú are committed in that declaration. The Catalonian people, mature, democratic and politically wise as well as their political forces, will know how to find the way.
We are convinced that sooner or later, Catalunia will vote democratically in a recognized, guaranteed and binding referendum. For this, also, I'm not less convinced that we will need politicians of higher stature. The future will not be starred by Puigdemont or Rajoy. And nobody will miss them.
L’Hospitalet, 28 September 2017
1. Declaración de Zaragoza: https://declaraciondezaragoza.org/