12/09/2021

Sovereignty, on hold

3 min
Sovereignty, on hold

After massive Catalonia Days in which it seemed that there was a consensual sovereigntist roadmap and a serious political strategy to implement it, after Days in response to the indignity of the violence of 1 October and the apathy and cowardice of the governments that turned the great Spanish political question into a judicial issue, after Days in which so many Catalans denounced the imprisonment and exile of their leaders, today we have a new scenario. A new stage in which the covid and its economic and vital consequences cannot be overlooked.

Today sovereignism brings together fewer citizens on the streets, but it is maintaining the pulse, and it is bringing them together annoyed with their leaders. Catalan politicians who defend the only feasible path with the State today, but without great conviction. The path of the negotiating table will perhaps go no further than internationally showing that the State recognises the uniqueness of the Catalan dispute. In any case, if it fails, the state cannot think that independence will disappear. As for the path of unilateralism, it showed its limits on 27 October 2017, and it is surprising that some of the same actors who were unable to complete it then for so many reasons are now flirting with it.

Thought crime

The crowds that sovereignism could summon, the hundreds of thousands of citizens who expressed the will to exercise the right to vote in a referendum, are not the ones that pro-independence is summoning today. For many reasons, but also because of an attitude of withdrawal that is exclusionary. A part of the pro-independence movement seems to be trying to transform what could be an inclusive political project - one that respects the idea of a single people - into a new catechism for the ones who are convinced.

There are many kinds of catechisms and, of course, some are political, demanding the same degree of adherence and purity as many religions. We are not talking about totalitarian or anti-democratic movements, but we are talking about ideologies which, especially in times of difficulty, go from resistance to encasement and from welcoming and willingness to integrate to an aversion to dissidence or to whoever dares to speak without euphemisms on the issue. This is what could happen to independentism if it maintains the demand for purity that goes hand in hand with a lack of realism about its own strength and that of its political adversary.

The parliamentary majority of 52% is a fact and responds to citizen support expressed at the polls, but it is also clear that it shows signs of fatigue due to the difficulties of recovering from 2017 with a realistic and consensual political proposal between the parties. The weakness of the Catalan Government will have its litmus test in the budgets.

The two majority pro-independence parties often get bogged down in the management of the government, which requires a mutual trust that they do not have today, and they also get bogged down in the support for the strategy that they theoretically share. In the area of management, the intention of communicating that they have a common line after hours of "coexistence" does not stand up to the reality of the negotiation of the airport with the State and the internal tensions that are expressed publicly at the slightest opportunity.

On the streets, what has been a majority, peaceful and plural movement is showing signs of weariness and that the straight road is becoming narrower and therefore less travelled. The more orthodoxy is demanded, the fewer citizens will want to walk the road to a future independent state.

Fewer, but more irritated

Politicians and activists who have been released from prison after three and a half years, those who dare to dissent from the most inflamed of salonards or those who have broad views of a country that includes many who are anti-independence or who have simply felt expelled rather than seduced by an ill-defined political project, have to hear words branding them traitors. Half the country is traitorous for those who see "being consistent" as a safe-conduct to maintain the fiction of a quick and painless exit for their political aspirations, despite losing a sheet in every wash or a citizen of Catalonia to the ranks of sovereignism.

Years of digesting the defeat of 27 October 2017 and keeping alive the memory of the affront of 1 October and the State's inability to bravely manage its great territorial problem are coming. It is the turn to explore the negotiation and the courage of the PSOE government and, therefore, also of the PSC. Catalan society will say at the ballot box whether the political proposal is the right one today and whether both are up to the task of the moment in which it has fallen to them to lead.