Since Catalonia started to be dragged into the situation we witness nowadays, FAES Foundation has been performing its inherent activity. FAES has published many analyses on the issue, such as “El mito fiscal” (“The fiscal myth”) in January 2012, “20 Questions and Answers on the Secession of Catalonia” in January 2014 in Spanish, Catalan and English and “Cataluña en claro” (“Catalonia in clear”) in May 2014, among others, in which many historians, jurists, political scientists and economists, both Catalans and non-Catalans, debated and wrote about the process which was growing before the eyes of all of us.
The president of the Foundation, with the believe he was always expressed in relation to the Spanish nation, warned very early about the risk of fracture in Catalonia and, in many public appearances, he has referred to this threat and the challenge that has nourished it. In October 2012 he affirmed that “under all kind of threats, secessionists now hope to break the terms of the democratic agreement in order to seek secession and conflict. The State is being threat to be brought before some international court. It is also being blackmailed with the use of a regional armed corps in a secessionist process. They assert on pitting the Constitutional legality against democracy, as if that legitimation does not come from the legitimized representative institutions and from the constituent decision of the nation as the only subject of sovereignty”.
For all these reasons—also performing its inherent activity—FAES Foundation today can make a statement on what had happened in Catalonia and what still could happen. It can do it without inciting a catastrophic scenario, but, also, without confusing loyalty with the convenience of silence and, as always, assuming the responsibility to speak freely to the Spanish citizens about issues that truly urge us. Amicus Plato, amicior veritas.
In Catalonia, it is not possible to continue dwelling on former mistakes any longer. Both the diagnostic mistakes and the mistakes made by the government have impeded the implementation of an efficient and early strategy to confront the impact of secessionism. Thus, leading to ignore the necessity of articulating speeches and policies for mobilizing millions of Catalans who are not willing to support a step towards the abyss.
Moreover, there are opinion mistakes that, without knowing why, have displayed a rare combination of triumphalism and trivialization about what was happening in Catalonia while, at the same time, the “procès” continued to advance. There has been an astonishing lack of comprehension of the nationalistic dynamics and of its abilities to cover the apparent disparity of its components, what explains, for instance, the coexistence of anti-establishment political parties (such as the CUP, for its acronym in Spanish) with a former Catalan bourgeoise now integrated in the PdCAT (the Catalan Democratic Party).
This is this way to the extent that the bourgeoise-rooted Catalonian independence movement does not notice that secession has turn into the opportunity for a revolutionary experiment, that they would not leave undamaged. They should remember that Lenin was the one who discovered the subversion potential of self-determination. Xabier Arzallus referred to this in previous times when he rejected self-determination identifying it with a “Marxist invention”.
It has not been understood that, along with radicalized nationalism, in the secessionists claim have converged anti-establishment populism and revisionism of the constitutional agreement, which has been long promoted by a broad sector in the left determined to destroy the Transition, as a pact and reconciliation narrative among Spanish citizens.
There are previous cases of all this too close in time to be ignored. It is this convergence of secessionist, anti-system populists and revisionists of the Transition that is placing the democratic State in this critical juncture. Even if their agendas differ in the end, they are linked by the current objective of dismantling the constitutional system of 1978 and—again—the perverse motivation of excluding, trough demonizing it, the political representation of the Spanish center-right, which is represented mainly by the Partido Popular (People’s Party).
The events in Catalonia produce astonishment not only for what they are but also for the kind of answer they have received until now. An astonishment that in many Catalans have translated into a feeling of institutional abandonment. The efficient and long-lasting harassment against the National Police and the Civil Guard has done anything but worsening this feeling, because of the impunity of those who know that if they achieve to chase the security forces out, they would symbolically and factually chase the State out.
Nevertheless, before all this, there is a Spanish nation, also in Catalonia, which does not surrender, which will not surrender. A nation that, again in a critical moment and facing a hole that cannot be conceal, has found in the Spanish Crown its best representative, as well as sensitivity and encouragement to overcome this crisis and strengthen both the defense of unity and the continuance of Spain. A community of free and equal men and women, under the law and owners of the decisions regarding their common future that are not willing to let a minority expropriate them this right.
This conciliatory nation, built upon liberty and upon one of the most extensive, sincere, inclusive and useful dialogues which have ever existed in contemporary history, captured in the Constitution, deserves to be defended and summoned by its institutions in order to give continuity to its best development. Surely, the measures that solely the government can take are not enough but they absolutely need to be taken. The government also needs to be the first one to act, since government responsibilities are not transferable and with them the door opens for the rest.
We face compelling decisions which may be critical and in which unity will never be demanded enough. The fundamental pacts in which our coexistence has been founded on have already been broken and it will be necessary to take care of them. However, now it is imperative to confront not a simple challenge but a frontal attack against the law, democracy and the rights of our citizens and thus against Spain. An attack that is taking place now and that has not lost support since it started. Quite on the contrary. In fact, its leaders continue to develop their ordinal activities without any obstacle.
It is not feasible to declare the death of democracy in Catalonia and not do anything that overtakes the threshold of rhetoric to reduce to zero the capacity of action of the truly responsibles of these crimes.
The Government needs to use all the constitutional instruments that, by virtue of the actual parliamentary majorities, not only are at its disposal but also holds the unavoidable obligation to use in an intelligently and efficiently way. Its parliamentary majority is enough to activate all the political power provided for defending the Constitution. It cannot be found any acceptable excuse neither for continuing the inactivity nor for seeking shelter in the opportunity cost, efficiency or cost. All these cautions disappear when the magnitude of the threat is understood.
The Government needs to act as the nation needs it to do it. They need to seek all the possible support. But without them in the case that seeking support would lead to a delay or the establishment of conditions in the accomplishment of their constitutional mandate. The law is the price of liberty, liberty is the award of law.
If they do not find the encouragement to do it or would have to recognize its inability, then it should give Spanish citizens the possibility to decide what government, with which proposal and with which electoral support will cope with this critical situation for Spain.
Translator’s note: The CUP is a far-left pro-Catalan independence party.