In English Voices From Spain

Two Republics for the price of one

Originally published in Spanish. José Ignacio Torreblanca. El País. 

In Spain we spend our days talking about a far right which does not exist -not politically, socially, electorally or in parliament. Media and and international observers have remarked on this absence for years. Some people, with a very sensitive detector, tell us that there is a far right, hidden somewhere in the Popular Party and the Madrilian Barrio de Salamanca, waiting to get out. Others, with a faulty detector, argue that we do not see it because the whole of the Popular Party belongs to the extreme right.

But Spain’s authoritarian far left, which does exist from a political, social and electoral point of view, and which enjoys representation in parliament, is not seen, detected, perceived or talked about. Yet it exists, and like the far right despises democracy -its methods, its laws, its institutions. Pablo Iglesias, Xavier Domènech and Gabriel Rufián proved this in parliament when they described the attempt to implement orders from the Constitutional Court as something “out of a repressive and authoritarian State”, referring to those arrested in the operation to stop the illegal referendum as “political prisoners”.

Oh, well. For months, when they were asked to take a position on the existence of political prisoners, repression and lack of freedom in Venezuela, the leaders of Unidos Podemos talked about the need for dialogue, but within the limits of law and the Constitution, and now it seems that the very sensitive detector of Pablo Iglesias’ has found, at last, political prisoners -in Spain! Nothing less.

We see now how false their equidistance was. When the Catalan government and parliament de facto repealed the Statute of Autonomy and the Spanish constitution, by passing the referendum and the juridical transition laws, Iglesias was silent. But when the State tries to protect our Constitution it turns out that, in Domènech’s words, the government just killed the Suárez-Tarradellas agreement.

There is a very simple strategy behind all this. Unable to oust Rajoy, to declare a Republic, to destroy the Socialist Party, to rid the country of the 1978 Constitution through popular vote and standard parliamentary procedures in a country where the rule of law is respected, the far left has decided to jump on the secessionist challenge bandwagon, in order to see if they can oust Rajoy by demonstrations in the street and a provoke a constitutional crisis. The goal? To proclaim two republics for the price of one. Let us not fool ourselves -there’s nothing democratic behind this strategy. On the contrary, it oozes authoritarianism, irresponsibility and disdain for democracy.

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