We may end up getting used to the sustained level of drama, grandiloquence and uncomplicated ignorance - you know, Mallorcan is not Catalan, according to Pablo Casado - of Spanish politics and overlook the seriousness of the institutional crisis that the State is experiencing. In fact, many Spanish citizens, ultimately responsible for the democratic degradation in which we live, don't seem to care much either.
Spanish nationalism, right-wing and left-wing, took no notice of the Statute ruling and even celebrated it without thinking that, as the Lutheran pastor Niemöller said, cowardice in the face of injustice ends up feeding it and does not discriminate against victims. That is why the convenient lowering of democratic standards always ends up taking its toll in terms of the quality of coexistence. And we are where we are, as Pedro Sánchez would say, using the poet.
Uniforms and robes
When in 2010 the Constitutional Court annulled the 2006 Statute of Autonomy, it opened a process that today is not only still unresolved but is leaving the edifice of Spain's democratic system threatened with ruin. Parliament, Congress, Senate and the citizens who expressed themselves in a referendum belittled by a court with a conservative majority that made amends to Zapatero's socialist government. Things have gone from bad to worse, and if for decades involution was imposed in military uniform, today it is done in toga, and at the expense of the Constitution's capacity to adapt to the reality of a plurinational society whose needs are evolving.
Over the years, the very conservative judiciary has been empowered and has been shaping the political reality thanks to the outsourcing of functions made by the PP government with Mariano Rajoy and the "Aranzadi brigade" of the then vice president Soraya Saénz de Santamaría. The PP government renounced politics on the Catalan issue and made use of the Constitutional Court and the National Court, mainly. In addition, administrative and ordinary courts, connected to the most creative reactionary wing when it came to constructing the summaries of the various processes of the Catalan independence bid, have been joining in.
Until today, when the goal is no longer Catalonia but to delegitimise the coalition government between socialists and comuns. Today the war within the Constitutional Court and the Judicial Power against the socialist government, especially through the obstructionism of the right, which has blocked the renewals of the judicial bodies, has reached alarming levels within the EU. It is a war in which magistrates and political parties are aligned, who understand the opposition as a battle to death and intend to delegitimise the coalition government by controlling the judiciary or, if necessary, by blocking it.
The ruling that deemed it unconstitutional for the PSOE government to decree a state of alarm at the barbaric start of the pandemic has exploded in the Constitutional Court and threatens to paralyse it or bring down its president, Juan José González Rivas. Threats from the conservatives not to attend meetings, intense dissenting votes and a huge media row discredit the court that should be the guarantor of constitutional vitality. In the words of the dissenting vote of Justice Juan Antonio Xiol, if the Constitution is not renewed, it becomes an "inert" body, and an "essentialist conception of law, degraded to the extreme of formalism, has taken hold of the Constitutional Court to the point of calling into question basic aspects of the rule of law". Xiol lists the numerous occasions on which the European Court of Human Rights has corrected the decisions of the majority of the court, establishing "the correct doctrine", and ends by confessing "intellectual fatigue in the face of the drift of the court" of which he is still a member.
Against the Constitution
This week the poet from Granada Luis García Montero remembered Luis Cernuda for "having confronted the obscene, depressing and intolerant Spanishism". La realidad y el deseo ("Reality and Desire"), the title of one of the poet's works, continue to be dramatically divergent in Spain. The tendency towards confrontation between the big political forces is a tradition that remains impassive in any historical circumstance, however serious it may be. The law of historical memory shows that there are still responsibilities and realities pending to be accepted by the heirs of Francoism and that the Constitution is today an instrument of involution in the hands of those who claim to defend it while they stifle it and distance it from so many citizens.