Pardons and the triple right's incendiary tactics

2 min
A moment of the demonstration
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The PSOE-United Podemos government's defence of pardons has awakened the anti-Catalanist impulse always latent in the Spanish right wing, now, if possible, even more prone to it due to the weight of the far right. The PP has brought back the collection of signatures - emulating what Mariano Rajoy did in 2006 to fight the Catalonia's Statute of Autonomy - and the PP itself, as well as Inés Arrimadas's Ciudadanos, have been dragged into the demonstration called in Madrid for Sunday 13 June, in Plaza Colón, by a civic platform led by Rosa Díez, Fernando Savater and María San Gil. Naturally, Vox signed up enthusiastically to the appointment from the first moment, uniting once again the three parties from the symbolic photo in Colón in February 2019, when Casado already led a demonstration with Abascal and Rivera. Although Casado wanted to limit the response to the pardons to the institutional sphere, in the end the main right-wing party will endorse mobilisation in the street. The tension is served. Putting President Pedro Sánchez and independentism in the same bag is big game for this incendiary right wing, incapable of accepting the plurinationality of the State. It is the usual double front to save Spain from the red danger and the Catalan danger, a classic of contemporary history that returns at the slightest opportunity. Moreover, the PP can count, as we are already seeing, on the complicity of the most Jacobin and nationalist soul of the PSOE.

In this particular case, the opportunity is keep up repression against independentism. More specifically still, it is about not giving any kind of truce, any measure of grace to political prisoners. This avoids the slightest gesture that could allow the beginning of a détente and, therefore, of dialogue to redirect the Catalan struggle towards political terms. With ultra-conservative courts like the Supreme Court, judicialisation is certain. The triple right, then, maintains the hard line of the high judiciary which, in Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's words, shows a persistent desire for "revenge and vengeance" towards the pro-independence movement, and that does so with a central argument of an inquisitorial character: if there is no ideological repentance, there is no possible pardon.

With such a stance, the Spanish right continues to distance itself from the Catalan reality, where its presence is increasingly testimonial and where not only do pro-independence parties hold most of the seats in Parliament, but where, according to the latest polls, over 60% of the population support pardons. With this boycott of pardons, the emotional and political distance between Catalonia and Spain only grows. And at the same time, any possibility, however difficult it may be, of political redirection is distanced. So, once again in the wake of sovereignism, times of turbulence are coming in Spanish politics: the unknown will be to see how Pedro Sánchez withstands the pressure on the street and in the media, and how far he is willing to go in terms of détente with the independence movement in order to stay alive politically in the Spanish parliament.