In English Voices From Spain

Starting over

Originally published in Spanish. Sandra León. El País.

This year the Diada (Translator’s note: celebration of the day of Catalonia, September 11th) looked a lot like previous occasions for its festive, pacific and multitudinous spirit. But it was not the same. Not only because it intended to be the start of the campaign towards the 1-O (TN: October 1st, when an independence referendum was scheduled to take place), but also because the driving force behind the independentist movement has changed. This can no longer be focused on an abstract project or an ideal, since there is a specific political answer to their demands.

If this has been the last Diada of the independence process, it would close a five-year period that started when the independentist movement took off in 2012. That effervescence offered an electoral opportunity to the Catalonian political parties, as well as a challenge: to channel in the institutions the sovereignty aspirations of part of the population. The electoral benefit for CUP has been evident. But the independentist parties have not lived up to the project they claim to represent.

First, because the proposal of the Catalonian Government has done a disservice to the independentist cause. It weakens it by trying to impose it over the institutions: a referendum passed using an emergency procedure, at the cost of belittling the parliamentary minority and skipping the proper procedures and guarantees. This juridical architecture includes a “transience law” that detracts from the solemnity of voting by laying down rules for independence even before the citizens are consulted.

Second, because the disconnection from the Spanish state steers the independentist movement out of politics and towards a dead end, transforming it in some kind of movement driven by the thrill of disobedience. It is a path as unproductive to redirect the conflict as the continued attitude of PP of relying only in legal responses, exonerating themselves from the responsibility of dealing with a political conflict in the state it governs.

The political atmosphere will be restless until October 1st, mindful of whether events widen event more the rift, multiplying the wreckage of the political shipwreck that at some point we will have to gather up to start over again.

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