17/06/2021

Wanting and voting

3 min
José Luis Martinez-Almeida, Isabel Díaz Ayuso and Pablo Casado at the rally against pardons in Madrid on Sunday 13th June

1. Coup. "What will the King do from now on? Will he sign these pardons?", these are the words of President Díaz Ayuso during the Colón rally and are an incitement to the coup d'état. It doesn't matter if it was a spontaneous expression of someone who always seeks more prominence than anyone else or if it was part of the script prepared by her communication advisor. Díaz Ayuso invited the King to commit an act that would only be acceptable if accompanied by abdication. The royal house has had to come out immediately to cut off any speculation. By accusing her opponents of being coup plotters, it seems that the President has become contaminated.

The failure of the rally against the pardons has meant that twenty-four hours later everyone has taken them for granted. If we add to this the signs of distension coming from the pro-independence movement, how should we interpret what is happening? Little by little the need to enter a phase of calm is spreading. And perhaps this is what the President of Madrid would like to avoid with her provocation. Enough time has passed since October 2017 for only those who do not want to see it to deny what is obvious: the social demand is turning towards seeking understanding and pacification.

In the awareness of the limits is the possibility of creating meeting points. Little by little, the pro-independence movement is coming to terms with what is obvious: that independence by means of rupture is, right now, unfeasible. In these three and a half years, independence has disproved those who believed it was just a mirage, consolidating its parliamentary majority, but, beyond this, the balance is reduced to a few small victories in the judicial field in Europe, without any repercussions on the behaviour of European governments, which do, however, highlight the politicisation of the Spanish justice system. In Spain it seems that some are beginning to realise that the defeat and liquidation of independence is a dream and that, in spite of everything ("everything" meaning judicial activism), ways must be found to reach agreements.

2. Limits. What does it take for the political path to be viable as a form of reunion? Mainly, two things: to want and to vote. First, that a broad majority of both sides accept that there is no other way than this one. Right now this seems easier in Catalonia than in Spain, especially as long as the Spanish right sees what is happening as an opportunity to overthrow Sánchez. The willingness of the different actors to reach major agreements is central and very difficult after a conflict that has given free rein to hatred and repression. But there is also a second condition: to legitimise the stages that will be overcome, the referendum will be essential. There is no other solution, if we are thinking in democratic terms. Naturally, everything changes if one believes that the defence of the homeland gives the right to everything: that is, if the notion of the limits is lost and one or the other swings into the field of beliefs or transcendental truths (those that puff up the chest of some when they speak of homeland), which are transfers from what is theological to what is political, hardly compatible with the democratic culture, where the citizens -and not this entelechy called homeland- have the last word. It is a path that condemns us to the logic of repression-insurrection, that is to say, that has no other way out than the authoritarian one.

Right now it seems far away to be able to move from confrontation to words. The limits of the announced dialogue are evident. But it has to start somewhere. Only if societies become aware that in confrontation we would all lose, can progress be made. And if in Catalonia this perception is becoming generalised, it has not reached a large part of Spanish society, sheltered behind the State. And the political and economic elites are far from accepting it. The serious problem of losing awareness of the limits is that it always ends up being by the authoritarian route. And if we were to go down this road, Catalonia would lose a great deal, but so would Spain, believe it or not.

Josep Ramoneda is a philosopher