Miquel Porta Perales is a critic and writer
The agreement between political parties implies a pact, or mutual commitment, generally of a voluntary nature, with the aim of achieving, through unity of action, one or more objectives. Every agreement responds to a couple of questions: Why is it agreed? What is it for? In this case - the Agreement for the creation of a Table between the Government of Spain and the Government of the Generalitat of Catalonia for the resolution of the conflict - it is also appropriate to answer the questions posed. Why and for what purpose did the PSOE and ERC sign this agreement? Let's go one step at a time.
Why the agreement
The PSOE signs the agreement because it fears a third election that would punish a socialism that would be seen as the culprit of the political blockade. For its part, ERC - if it does not reach an agreement with the PSOE - fears losing the electoral advantage granted to it by the regional polls thanks to the part of the citizenry that either opts for calm after the collapse of the "process" or prefers a truce that allows it to accumulate strength. It is worth mentioning that the PSOE and ERC assume the risk of being branded as disloyal, either by the constitutionalists or the secessionist. The utilitarian cost/benefit analysis, so typical of the policy, leads them to sign the agreement. Among the benefits of the agreement would be the possibility of assembling a bipartite or tripartite of the left in the Generalitat of Catalonia chaired - according to the surveys - by ERC. For the rest, the PSOE assures the investiture of Pedro Sánchez and the approval of the State General Budget while ERC hopes to obtain some concessions that would justify the signing of the agreement.
The PSOE signs the agreement because it distrusts an ERC that -if it does not sign it- could radicalize the independence challenge to compete -supporting itself in the nationalist fundamentalist electorate and in the disappointed one by the impossibility of the pact with Spain- with the radicalism of JpCat in the autonomic elections. Moreover, ERC fears that the PSOE will increase pressure against secessionism. The cost/benefit analysis makes the PSOE and ERC try to avoid the consequences of the lack of an entente. ERC prefers -again the cost/benefit analysis- a PSOE/Unidas Podemos. that one formed by PSOE/PP/Ciudadanos.
The PSOE and ERC signed the agreement because they need to stage a turning point that will make them moderate and dialogue-oriented parties in the face of the "conflict". Moderation in the face of independence and moderation in the face of constitutionalism Underneath the moderation and dialogue is the opportunism of the PSOE and the wait-and-see attitude of ERC. And the will to power of the two parties.
The PSOE and ERC signed the agreement because both need to conceal and cover up the imposture. The deception with the appearance of truth. The PSOE seeks the deconstruction of Spain with the aim of going down in history as the designer of the New Spain. For its part, ERC seeks a truce with the intention of "doing it again" and the spirit of going down in history as the builder of the Catalan Republic.
And if the pact fails, or in the end it is just one more imposture of the socialist and republican leadership, the PSOE and ERC could obtain political and electoral benefits from the fiasco. The PSOE and ERC would reinforce the story of firmness -that's how you harvest votes and political returns- in the face of the impossibility of an agreement with an adversary that no one can trust. Which - sooner rather than later - would invite, once again, moderation and dialogue on both sides. A way to justify another agreement - a new marketing with whomever is convenient in terms of the situation - for the creation of a table between the Spanish government and the government of the Generalitat of Catalonia for the resolution of the political conflict.
The purpose of the agreement
The agreement signed by the PSOE and ERC - which speaks of the creation of a Table between the governments of Spain and Catalonia: as if it were a relationship between States - states that "the signatory parties note that they are faced with the opportunity to unblock and channel the political conflict over the future of Catalonia and to establish the bases for its resolution, as there is a willingness to dialogue in order to reach an agreement that will allow the current situation to be overcome". What are they talking about? The language gives away: "recognition of the political conflict", "dialogue, negotiation and agreement, going beyond its judicialisation", "creation of a bilateral Table", and "recognition and legitimacy of all the parties and proposals" with "no other limits than respect for the instruments and principles that govern the democratic legal system.
The language of agreement has a meaning of its own that is disseminated - what is not said is said and vice versa - in other hidden meanings. Language as a mask. To speak of political conflict, of overcoming the judicialisation of politics, of bilateral Table, of recognition and legitimacy of all parties and proposals, of democratic legal order. To refer to all this is to hide the seriousness of the crime, the whitewashing of the facts and the justification of decisions that would make it possible to remit the penalties and give a charter to the secessionist objectives outside the constitutional framework.
As if this were not enough, the pact states that the agreements or measures adopted will be "subject, where appropriate, to democratic validation through consultation with the citizens of Catalonia in accordance with the mechanisms provided for, or which may be provided for within the framework of the legal-political system". It is worth noting the mechanisms that "may be envisaged within the framework of the legal-political system". The PSOE and ERC continue to avoid or avoid, in a premeditated way, the Constitution. Why? What for? Because they need to crack or break national sovereignty in order to call a consultation or referendum on the citizenship of Catalonia according to the mechanisms that "can be envisaged within the legal-political framework".
Does anyone believe that the ERC and secessionism will be satisfied with a referendum sanctioning a reform of the Statute or a new Statute? The agreement signed by PSOE and ERC announces a destitute or pre-constitute pact whose aim is the deconstruction of Spain.
Meanwhile, things are happening. The PSOE - besides accepting the language of independence: a not at all subtle way of politically legitimizing secessionism - becomes, day by day, a necessary collaborator that creates the conditions of possibility - something to do with the new Attorney General's Office or the control of the State's Attorney, what bias will the renewal of the Constitutional Court and the General Council of the Judiciary have - of the destitutive or pre-constituent pact. Meanwhile, the independence movement, ERC - which delays unilateralism -, continues to weaken the State - especially in Catalonia: an absent State -, undermining the constitutional order and delegitimising the Judiciary. The PSOE? Brief anthology of texts by Pedro Sánchez in conversation with Gabriel Rufián from the lectern of the Congress of Deputies: "I believe that between both we can achieve a change of perception and that is what we are called to", "the judicial drift has made it impossible to make politics", "for us, Mr. Rufián, will not be".
Let us return to the beginning of these lines to talk, once again, about the idea of agreement. Any agreement or pact usually generates criticism. In any event, the most well-founded criticism does not come from the signatory parties, but from those excluded from it. The reason is powerful: they feel threatened.