November, the turning point

Catalonia's emancipation process is unfolding on many fronts simultaneously. Still, there is a general agreement that the political crisis in the relationship between Catalonia and Spain and the possibility of setting up a new Catalan sovereign power is the detonating factor for the other changes. This is why everything that happens in the next few months will be so decisive. It is also why November 9 is not just a fundamental date from a national point of view, but also from the point of view of the urgent social transformations that must be carried out.

On the international scene, the Catalan cause has had to fight against the tide. The inertia of the other countries (even those that have just recently emerged) –that are quite unwilling to make any effort in understanding a reality that is different to their own– and the systematic and misleading Spanish foreign policy have made the explanations and reasoning given by Catalonia's precarious diplomatic apparatus (including the cultural one) difficult. Mass demonstrations in favour of self-determination and independence have been useful to get media attention, gain visibility and enter some agendas. Nonetheless, having an unequivocal democratic mandate is essential to initiate a more decisive course of action and to build a network of support and commitment to the recognition of Catalonia's sovereignty. This mandate is necessary to be able to proceed in building the state.

Come November –whatever the crisis scenario is in the relationship with Spain after the referendum– a giant stride will be needed in the international campaign to promote and drum up support for the Catalan cause. Not just in relation to the European powers –conditioned by their many dealings with Spain – or to the United States. We must be able to establish collaboration with the new emerging powers and other countries that see in Catalonia a possible ally in their European and Mediterranean strategies. We must not underestimate the number of states that might prefer to leave the Spanish arrogance behind and deal with a new country in need of recognition but economically developed and internally plural and diverse, a country whose foreign policy is only just starting out. Spain's international reputation has seen better days and its political inability when faced with the Catalan democratic challenge –a dire contrast to the British response to Scotland's referendum– gives Catalonia an argumentative basis which must be properly managed.

During the globalisation process of capitalism and of neoliberal postulates we have witnessed the ever more obvious victory of economy over politics. During this recent period, a conventional state's capacity for restoring its legitimacy and guaranteeing the security, freedom and economic and social protection of its citizens has seen a steady decline. A significant part of the world's economy lies completely outside of regulations and political control. The same thing happens with armed violence and wars, full of actors without the political interlocution akin to that of traditional states. We could say that, rather than the growth of productive forces, what really characterises this period is –just like during the feudalisation process– the growth of destructive forces. The most varied forms of violence play a key role in the appropriation of resources, the accumulation of capital and the increase of inequality. At such an internationally unstable time and with such a complex and conflictive geometry, Catalonia will have to find the essential diplomatic, political and financial support to be able to face the definitive stage of independence with guarantees.

Meanwhile, on the political front at home, what is urgent is taking decisive steps in matters as different as the approval of an electoral law or the creation of a Catalan tax system capable of collecting all tax. And working towards the success of November 9. In his usual Sunday sermon, a veteran leader surprised the parish by referring to the need to rebuild the "political centre". Maybe this centre could prolong his enduring trajectory. It also seems that the PSC's apparatchiks have found a shelter impervious to the changes in society's sensitivities and priorities. But the real reconstruction is driven by civic movements that, persuaded of the need for politics, are looking in the political sphere for a choice that is trustworthy, proactive, transformative and able to become the majority's expression. One that can drive, in the midst of global chaos, an engaging local experience.

EDICIÓ PAPER 24/08/2019

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