Esquerra and Junts: words and things

3 min
Pere Aragonés and Jordi Sànchez at the press conference

1. Backtracking. All political agreements end in the same way: either by shelving the fundamental disagreements (i.e. maintaining a deposit that could ignite with greater or lesser intensity at any moment) or by sublimating them with euphemisms, and leaving some actors with considerable wear and tear, depending on the stage design of the long period of disagreement.

After the announcement of the government agreement, one is tempted to ask oneself: was the sad spectacle of these three months of interim government necessary to get here? When a negotiation gets complicated, the spiral of transferring responsibilities immediately starts: it's the other party's fault. And at the same time the fictions grow, the construction of hoaxes to justify and give grandeur to discrepancies that are often the result of competition for the same electoral spaces. This time the fiction that has heated up the scene has been 52%. The highest share of pro-independence support in an election. A result they wanted to make a flag of, forgetting the harsh reality: that the pro-independence parties had lost a total of 710,000 votes. If everyone knows that two million is not enough, in a process in which the main force is the accumulation of electoral capital, how can one claim victory with one million three hundred thousand? What did it take to force the agreement? For JxCat to realise that new elections could only be catastrophic for them in particular and for independence in general. As if that was not enough, the most loyal, militant civilian independentism, showed their irritation in the street and on the networks. And Junts, sensitive to what people will say, began to back down.

2. To advance. The result leaves interesting clues. In the distribution of power, Esquerra has been left with what we could call the symbolic space (the cultivation of the spirit): Education, Culture, Communication. And Junts, the economic one. Under the baton of Elsa Artadi it will control the economy, which gives reason to think that the conservative neoliberal sector is the strongest in Junts per Catalunya. Who knows if the day is approaching when Junts' ideological mix will be clarified: for the moment, the right seems to be winning this game.

On the other hand, Esquerra has managed to leave the Consell per la República and its entourage on the sidelines, preventing the president from starting with the humiliating and unacceptable submission to an external body, but it will be inevitable that the Govern will live with the background noise of the world of parties and organisations that revolve around this artefact. Junts, at the moment of truth, has preferred to cede words in exchange for things, knowing that if necessary, noise will be made from outside. In fact, Esquerra is staking everything on the figure of the president and the authority he is capable of projecting.

And yet these months of pettiness and foul play leave injuries. Pere Aragonès has had to go through the humiliation of two failed investitures and the gamble of governing alone, which he has had to retract. And the solitude of Jordi Sànchez, always under the threat of internal disavowal, raises questions about his future role. The fact that the two of them have closed the pact alone strengthens Pere Aragonès, while Sànchez's concessions to his right raise shadows, as if he were the one chosen to bear any failure that may come.

Can a pact between eternal rivals end well after such an unedifying spectacle as the one we have seen these months? Can this government be the instrument to get out of the hangover of October 2017 and open another stage, in a more political, possibilist and effective key? Do we have to continue with the ritual cries that serve as rhetorical accompaniment to the documents of the agreement to maintain the confusion about the path to follow, even at the price of increasing frustration? Will it be possible to call things by their name, marking the priorities of each moment, or will we continue to be hung up on the great promise? Amnesty and self-determination are excellent slogans. We all know that right now what there can be are pardons. And this card has to be played. And only an overwhelming social majority could pave the way for self-determination in the European framework. In other words, govern.

Josep Ramoneda is a philosopher