22/06/2021

Time to talk

3 min
A man conversing under a tree.

1. Taboos President Sánchez's commitment to pardons breaks the repressive dynamic that was imposed as the only response to the independence movement at least since October 2017, when the PSOE endorsed without reticence the subrogation of the conflict to the justice system. Now, the Spanish government seems to acknowledge that that option was a disaster and that it has to backtrack. The recognition of "the social usefulness" of releasing politicians who "represent hundreds of thousands of citizens" and the fact that Oriol Junqueras is singled out as "indisputable in the relationship between Catalonia and Spain" seems to make the change in register clear. Breaking the judicial taboo is the event.

President Aragonès accepts it: "It is time to return to politics". But there are still many ongoing effects of the repressive offensive against the Independence bid. And, therefore, if progress is to be made, there is unfinished business. Another of Pedro Sánchez's proposals has been put on the back burner: the modification or suppression of the crime of sedition, which was the great discovery to convict the accused when it was impossible to prove violence. Revising it would have to be a next step. Delaying it would be a first sign of insecurity.

2. Rituals. "It's time for the agreed referendum," says President Aragonès, who is a little ahead of schedule. His words confirm that today is the time for ritual speeches. In order not to lose one's footing on the stage it is necessary to deploy the big slogans, perfectly aware that they are not on the order of the day, and to magnify the slaps on the wrists the Spanish courts receive from abroad (knowing that they are moral victories but that Europe will not come to the rescue). In other words, keeping the cause alive, despite the general awareness that we are in a non-confrontational stage and that results must be obtained. Little by little we will get to the fine print. Sánchez says that "the landscape that the pandemic has left us has transformed us". Surely it is true that citizens are eager to enter a phase with priorities other than patriotism. And we must take advantage of this. And, precisely for this reason, before sitting down at the table, it is time to establish a profile.

The Spanish right - "Sánchez humiliates Spain", says Ayuso - is still in tune with patriotic tragedy, which is how it has traditionally tried to conceal what for them is unbearable: the condition of an incomplete nation. And it is good that Sánchez, for once, has not felt conditioned. May it last.

3. Civil society. Without getting bogged down in Sánchez's sugary speech at the Liceu, filled with dictionary quotations put together with an ideological calculator, what never ceases to amaze me in this whole story is the lack of knowledge of where one stands.

We all know that in today's societies power is concentrated in two instruments: money and algorithms (and often both at the same time). But the citizenry exists and it is surprising that Sánchez, a self-styled leader of the left, has brought the proposal of pardons hand in hand with business organisations, with no less than three visits in one week to announce the good news under their protection. That the Catalan business community is taking this step, after a long period of lethargy, is positive. And it is useful for Sánchez because it makes the Spanish right, which feels betrayed, uncomfortable. But, even so, there are many more social players in Catalonia - where independentism has an indisputable popular base - and it is surprising that he who comes with the promise of reconciliation does not seek company in other sectors.

Going hand in hand with economic power alone feeds a double suspicion: that it is taken for granted that they are the only ones in charge (and that if you win them over, the rest will tug along) or that he does not dare to widen his circle of alliances for fear of doors being slammed in his face. Catalan civil society - to which the Liceu event was intended to appeal - is extensive and diverse. One example: Òmnium leads the ranking of entities in number of members, along with RACC and Barça.

In short, pardons are welcome, but much remains to be done. Starting with the cleansing of prejudices and ignorance, which abound in both directions. And after that, talking. And whoever doesn't want to understand that can keep to themselves.

Josep Ramoneda is a philosopher

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