Misc 06/12/2020

An outdated State

Esther Vera
3 min
Un Estado superado

Spain has gone from embodying a mythical State agreed on during the Spanish Transition to democracy, to personifying a State of useless disorientation and irritation, in which a part of the country is unable to accept that the institutional framework has been overtaken by reality: history has overcome them.

Memory seemed to have erased the most sinister and violent elements of the Transition to democracy from the collective rememberance, and for some decades a state agreement saw the Constitution as they would see the Ten Commandments. The twisted state agreement was a non-aggression pact that allowed a common game scenario between the main parties, their leaders, and the economic and institutional powers. An atmosphere that allowed the Abc newspaper to make Jordi Pujol the Spaniard of the Year in 1984 for trying to contain a socialism that was not yet systemic, but which today has disappeared, as the authorities of Jordi Pujol and the ex King have. Two key post-Transition actors who now walk around in their new, naked clothes.

The constitutional spirit that was to enable the problems of the so-called historic nationalities to be overcome has become a spectre, and the defence of the Constitution has been left, to a large extent, in the hands of those who voted against it. The extreme right, the military nostalgic for Francoism, and the pompous and testosterone right-wing press, are today the most enthusiastic supporters of a text that has lost its validity at the core.


The incapacity to come to an agreement with reality doesn't allow the main Spanish parties to accept that the institutional framework has been outlived, and that the Spanish Constitution is no longer useful because they were unable to adapt it to the rhythm of changing times.

Spain is today a sick democracy, ill with the political immobility of the very low demands for democratic quality of the public opinion -that seems to not see how its own rights are degraded-, and with the deterioration of the separation of powers, involving a Supreme Court that is more justicious and vindictive than fair.


Democratic Spain's acceptance of the degradation of its system is one of the worst political consequences of recent years. The vitiated separation of powers and the Supreme Court's vengeful action against the civil and political leaders of the Catalan independence bid would have to outrage a majority that observes, without being aware, that its freedoms and rights are being threatened.

Anyone who wants to exercise their right to protest about social or political issues, their anger, will be a seditionist even if they do not use violence, anyone who exercises the right of opinion without contemplation, anyone who dares to transgress what is considered right, is in danger. The political climate stands between the infantilization of the citizenry and blatant authoritarianism. The infantilization of public opinion that accepts the paternalism of the State and the authoritarianism of a Supreme Court that only seeks to justify itself by abusing its power over the civil and political leaders of the independence movement, who are now in prison. Manuel Marchena is imposing a second sentence to remind the National High Court that his interpretation of the events of 2017 is the one that counts, and not the one that led to the acquittal of the Catalan police chief or the prison judges who have considered that political prisoners could obtain the same prison benefits as the rest of the inmates.

When Marchena says that an open prison regime would be "premature", he is flattening the idea of ideological re-education. It seems that more time is needed to evaluate whether prisoners are "re-educated" and "reinserted" so that they can stop being seditious. How? In a re-education camp?

Remember, once again, you will beat them but you will not convince them. The representatives of thousands of citizens will continue in prison, but it is only a matter of time - and the usual political incapacity of the State - before a democratic and peaceful majority marches, both in spirit and physically. The independence movement had forgotten how much life the State breathes into it.

With its decision, the Supreme Court has passed the buck to Pedro Sánchez's government. Only the reform of the crime of sedition, making it clear that violence is violence, and it is nothing else, the disappearance of a nineteenth century crime, the pardon, or amnesty, can gradually improve the political climate, and no one but the PSOE and Unidas Podemos can take the leap. To move forward, the Socialists will have to abandon the strategy of wanting to take away votes from Ciudadanos in Catalonia, and if this happens, it will not be until after the February elections. If Sánchez wants to be able to carry out a second democratic transition he will have to have a better sense of reality and see that the main enemies of the Constitution are precisely those who did not vote for it and whom today defend it as a dogma, and have expressed their will to shoot half of humanity.