30 years have passed since I was interviewed on Catalan television, I don’t know which one, and they asked me about the independence problems posed by the Basque Country. My answer was that these problems would not come from the Basque Country but from Catalonia. Back then there were no reasons to think about that, why did I say it? I don’t know very well. I think it was because in my relations with Catalan politicians, mostly socialists, I sensed that Catalonia lacked checks and balances to nationalism. Not in the electoral field but in the ideological terrain that of ways of thinking.
But this is still an anecdote. The reality is that from the Basque Country we saw Catalonia as a model. Nationalism was more moderate than Basque, more Catalan socialism, while Basque was not Basque and Catalan society seemed to us more homogeneous and united than Basque. It was the Catalan paradise in the face of divided and terrified Basque society. Instead today, when we look at Catalonia, it appears to us as a nightmare which reminds us of the Basque Country of the Transition. The language is the same: self-determination, the right to decide, prisoners, amnesty, delegitimization of the Constitution and everything Spanish, and the most serious thing: we intuit that, as happened in Euskadi, the basic consensus has been broken shared by all that makes coexistence possible, without even considering a part of the citizens as legitimate to decide the future of the country.
How could this change occur? When did it occur? Who are the culprits? I will not waste time answering these questions that lead nowhere. The reason for this article was to give my opinion on a possible way out and not fall into the partisan terrain of reproaches. And when I speak of an exit, I am not referring to the formula of the final agreement, which if there is one, it will be a political agreement submitted to referendum, but to the formula to reach that agreement.
I am pessimistic about the Esquerra table / Government, on the dialogue table that already exists in Parliament, if some elements of current Catalan politics are not modified. First of all, be aware of who can change Catalan politics. Indalecio Prieto said that only parties with history have the capacity to change history. All the parties are respectable, but only around those with a history can the forces of society come together capable of breaking with the inertias that paralyze a country and begin to build a different future. In order not to enter into theoretical disquisitions, it is enough to observe the societies and countries that make up Europe. Who are these key parties in Catalonia? The answer offers no doubts, Esquerra and the socialists. By saying this I am aware that I am not providing any solution. I therefore go to the second necessary change.
The problem in Catalonia is that it lacks a party with sufficient strength and political clarity, which, without being conditioned by its rivals, can mark the way of the future and introduce a dynamic that puts historic parties to work. There is a party that needs to do its bad Godesberg and this party is Esquerra Republicana. I would dare to say more, all the dialogue mechanisms that are put in place will hardly work if Esquerra does not do his Bad Godesberg before or in parallel. That is, a political clarification, and a project that is not subject to or influenced by other parties. This clarification makes, in turn, that grow your electoral support, increasing the distance with rival parties and placing it in the position of negotiating with non-nationalist parties, of which they will become allies or collaborators and thus being able to change the entire political landscape.
When we look at Catalunya, we see Esquerra with sympathy, but we observe that It is like a reed that moves at the mercy of the breezes and winds that blow. The flexibility of the reed is good when there are no problems, but to sustain a country you need the solidity of the oak that we Basques like so much.
Every party that is hegemonic or leads a country has gone through this process. The German Social Democracy he broke his limitations when he did his Bad Godesberg. The spanish socialism when Philip raised the problem of Marxism, or, closer to the PNV, when Arzallus delivered Arriaga’s speech. Nobody gave up their objectives but they put their parties in a position of break with maximalisms that prevented them from running a country. I do not doubt that Esquerra, at a given moment, will take that step, but the sooner he does it, the sooner he will start looking for, not the solution, but yes an endorsed political agreement That turns the conflict into a problem and later the problem into the question. The Catalan question, which would have to be invented if it did not exist. Meanwhile, we are waiting to be able to look at Catalonia as we looked at it before, with sympathy and some envy.