For the Catalan nationalism, the trial of Artur Mas, Joana Ortega and Irene Rigau – former President, Vice-President and Counselor of the government of the Generalitat respectively –, for the crimes of serious disobedience and administrative prevarication in the call of the “participatory process” of November 9, 2014 – in fact, a undercover referendum –, suspended by a decision of the Constitutional Court, is important because of the act itself and because of the propaganda campaign that goes with it.
The trial allows dramatizing the conflict between the State and “Catalonia”. A State – there is the tale of independence which the trial has unleashed– which does not recognize the “right to decide”, which does not tolerate that the government of the Generalitat meets the “democratic mandate” of consulting the citizenship, which “denies the call and celebration of a referendum so that the Catalan people decide freely about their political future”, which is “enemy of something as democratic as the polls”, which is “incapable of discussing” with the Generalitat, which “prosecutes politics”. A “non democratic” State, or which lives in the “democratic anomaly”, which compels the “people” to go out on the street, not just in support of the defendants, but in defense of democracy and the citizens of Catalonia, because “we all are tried on 6F”.
The propaganda campaign encouraged by the Generalitat and its media workstations, as well as the mobilization promoted by that loyal infantry of the “process”which is the Asamblea Nacional Catalana (Catalan National Assembly), is of significant importance. The Catalan nationalism – before the predictable collapse of the “process” – needs to play the last card it has: a manifestation of support to the defendant martyrs – also to the “process” – that be the expression of the strong conviction of people who are not willing to give up the “right to decide” and the Independent Catalan Republic. They assure that “this is what democracy is about” and they want to display the conflict with a State that withdraws into itself. In this sense, the mobilization – another spectacle of secessionism– plays the role of thermometer of the process. Even though Artur Mas, Joana Ortega and Irene Rigau are politically recouped characters.
Facing that, there are the people, in the street, decided not to forego the polls and the vote. The purpose of the Catalan secessionism is the mobilization of the nationalist indignant for its own benefit. The useful indignant, it could be said. We have to show that the “smile revolution”, which “has not thrown a paper to the ground and has neither broken any glass” continues, vigorous, its peaceful fight in defense of the national future of Catalonia. And no one, nor the State, nor the Court, will be able to prevent it. Much less in a democratic society. That is the legitimizing message which secessionism throws to the Catalan people, to the Spanish people, and to the world. And if there’s the need, “we will go to the European Court of Justice”. And Artur Mas, “calm and quiet”, with his “head held high”, not “saying sorry for anything”, “noble defender of what many people were asking for”, concludes that “they wanted us on our knees and they will find us standing”. That’s the rhetoric of the one who flaunted “guile” and did not hide that he wanted to “deceive the State”.
That democracy is the respect for the law and the legality of the rule of law enshrined in the Constitution? That doesn’t matter. That three of the defendants are tried because they allegedly disobeyed an order of the Constitutional Court which points out that “actions to prepare said call or related to it” could not be done, nor “any act of any nature which obstructs the implementation of the suspension” of the 9-N call? It doesn’t matter. That the defendants testify before an independent and impartial court in a fair trial? It doesn’t count. That one of the most stimulating events in a democracy is the fact of being able to defend oneself before a Court? It doesn’t matter.
What matters is the secessionist agit prop at any cost with a view to inject oxygen to a drowning “process”. What matters is discrediting the institutions, fantasizing with inexistent “political trials”, coercing the Court – elected representatives participate in the street performance and a counselor of the government of the Generalitat asks the public officials to attend the event – relying on the freedom of speech, building up a legitimacy alternative to the democratic legality. What matters is the searched impunity. What matters is tightening the ambience, provoking and defying the State with the hope that it reacts disproportionately and thus announcing from the rooftops the urgent need for Catalonia, as if it was a colony of Spain¸ to achieve the independence for being what it is.
And what also matters is warming up and overheating the atmosphere, stirring up feelings, unleashing emotions and fires, colonizing the consciousness. And calling up the people by talking about the “democratic mandate”, about the “true democracy”, about the “power of the polls”, about the “democratic rebellion”, about “vision and sense of country”, about “national construction or reconstruction”. The Catalan nationalism is one of the most finished manifestations of Mediterranean populism. An image for the history of universal populism: the parade of the highest authorities of the autonomic Catalonia, president of the Generalitat de Cataluña and president of the Catalan Parliament transformed into characters of the society of spectacle, parading in the streets of Barcelona to patriotic songs and secessionist slogans. The loudspeaker system: “The day to change the course of our history has arrived. You’re necessary. You know that it’s possible. We will make it possible together.” “You are not alone”, answer the people gathered around the Palace of Justice. Anthological.
Do not get confused:
What matters to Catalan nationalism here and now, without any alternative plan beyond a binding referendum which will not happen, is the tactics. In other words, the continuity of a “process” – what for? Maybe to sell rectification high? – Which threatens breakdown, ruin, scrapping, disappointment and frustration. To say it in a colloquial way: what matters to Catalan nationalism, especially to politicians and nationalist parties, is nothing but to save their neck and the furniture. That’s why it transmits the message that we are in a political conflict that can only be solved by settling a binding and effective referendum with the State. That’s why it distorts and alters the truth. That’s why it victimizes itself. That’s why it discredits the institutions. That’s why it turns to the useful indignant who always accompany the dictator or redeemer on call. That’s why it demonstrates right next to the Arco de Triunfo of Barcelona, that monument where, by the way, the paseo Lluís Companys begins. So kind from its part.