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21-D: “the” elections

Daniel Raventós ; Gustavo Buster – 11.05.2017 – Editorial Board Sin Permiso

Few could imagine Rajoy and his government when they approved on October 27 the measures of application of art. 155, they ceased to the Government of the Generalitat, dissolved the Parliament and called for regional elections on December 21 what was coming over them.

A week later, what seemed like the masterful move that culminated a calculated strategy, is revealed as the error that can irreparably damage Rajoy’s political career and precipitate the call for general elections in the Kingdom of Spain in the spring of 2018.

Among other things because the Catalan political situation is part of a structural crisis of the regime of 78, whose seams have begun to explode as a result of the Great Recession. And if the attention of the media, and the demands of propaganda, have turned all the foci in the unsuspected and at least cinematographic events that have followed the proclamation of the Catalan Republic, others no less striking have developed in the media gloom: the conclusions of the prosecution in the Gürtel case and the detention of Commissioner Villarejo, exposing once again the systemic corruption and sewers of the regime; the European Commission’s requirements for a budget for 2018 that meets its adjustment requirements; the problems of regional financing that reveal – among others the budgetary debates of Madrid and Valencia -, the bankruptcy that wanted to stop the Conference of Presidents of January of 2017 and that ended in the “cuponazo” of the general budgets of Montoro a few months later.

But the conjuncture was played in a single decision: the autonomous elections convened in an extraordinary way through Article 155. The argument so hackneyed these days that “legality is democracy” could perhaps convince believers of the legitimacy of such an electoral process, with the Generalitat intervened. But what Rajoy did not expect is that all political forces in presence accept the challenge of participating and winning, questioning in a pulse of such magnitude the legitimacy of the Rajoy government.

Unable to follow up on the Law of Transitoriness of the proclaimed Catalan Republic by the intervention first of the Constitutional Court, after the application of art. 155 and, finally, his dismissal, Puigdemont chose to accompany the decision to participate in the elections of December 21 with a symbolic gesture of resistance and maintenance of the legitimacy arising from the referendum on October 1 as he moved with a part of the Govern Brussels. While most of the Govern, eight consellers, ended up in jail, with vexations included, with the vice president Jonqueras at the head, by a decision of Judge Lamela of the National Court whose weak legal bases are more than questionable.

After the European arrest warrant signed by the same judge Lamela, Puigdemont and the consellers who accompany him have turned themselves in to the Belgian police. It will be very difficult for any Belgian judge to accept an extradition for the alleged political reasons – bearing in mind that the crimes of sedition and rebellion do not exist in the Belgian criminal code – but the procedure will not end before 21 December. And meanwhile, Puigdemont has already defined the axes of the 21-D electoral campaign, submitted his candidacy, and is preparing to use the extradition process as an international electoral platform. An “act of cowardice” has been described by that example of a clandestine resistance protected under the Franco regime and a doubtful defender of legality in the “years of lead”, Felipe González; while the press of the regime of 78 converted Puigdemont’s trip to Brussels in an astracanada and in the justification of the detention of the remaining members of the Govern. But Rajoy was silent, because he is more aware than this tragicomic chorus of the second Bourbon restoration that he has lost the political initiative again.

Until November 7, next Tuesday, the coalitions of these plebiscite elections will not be known where they exist, thanks to the policy of the Rajoy Government. From the outset, the “constitutionalist bloc” that should support the candidate of the increasingly right-wing Citizens, Arrimadas, to reach the presidency, will not concur. In fact, the PSC does not want to hear about it and balances how to support the application of art. 155, but condemn (sic) its consequences.

It is easier for “Catalunya en Comú”, which has decided to maintain its defense of a pacted and legal referendum and turn the campaign into a denunciation of the repression and intervention of the Catalan Government and institutions, advancing the perspective of a “sovereignist bloc” and Catalan “at least common denominator with the” independence bloc “.

It is the “independence bloc” that suffers the greatest internal tensions, because ERC will have to choose between imposing its hegemony at the expense of Junts pel Yes, or agreeing to cede it to Puigdemont and, through it, to PDdCAT. CUP, it is clear that despite its indecision, will support any formula decided by ERC and PDdCAT in the name of the release of prisoners and the restoration of Puigdemont as President.

In this electoral scenario, in which the most important effect of the application of art. 155 has been to make the electoral campaign to the “independence bloc”, the polls point out a very similar situation between the three blocks, although with reinforcement within them of ERC and Citizens, although the first would surpass the second in more than 6 points. That is to say, the only real alternative to a new independentist government would be a sovereignist government of the left. Rajoy has it raw. How can he accept or justify any of these two alternatives in the elections he has called and organized after the application of Article 155?

Commentators such as Enric Juliana, but also Luis María Ansón, Fernando Garea, Jose Antonio Zarzalejos or Juan Luis Cebrián, begin to point out the dangers that this implies not only for Rajoy’s political career but for the regime of 78. Rajoy will not have another political option to call general elections in the spring of 2018 and try their own “constitutionalist bloc” to legitimize their performance with a “government of national salvation”, if it does not open before a succession crisis in the PP.

This leads us to the thesis that Sin Permiso has maintained these years: that the causes of the structural crisis of the 78 regime make it irreformable. That sooner or later, the sooner the cost of the crisis is better, a constituent process is needed that democratically finds an alternative solution. We have witnessed the difficulties, mistakes and vacillations of the Catalan sovereignty process, but we are also being aware of the incapacity of the Rajoy government to give it a democratic solution and its threat in converting the 78 regime into the 155 regime. To impose not only a minority and antidemocratic constitutional government in the Generalitat, but also to cover up its corruption and apply the turn of the screw of the neoliberal adjustment demanded by the European Union.

There have been many mobilizations for the coming days in Catalonia, from a large demonstration on November 11 to a concentration in Brussels at the beginning of December, coinciding with the “day of the Spanish Constitution” or a close date. Until then, various acts such as the hanging of posters already made on Sunday 5 and various acts of union struggle and “national strike” on Wednesday, November 8. They have also returned the caceroladas at 22 hours every day for the freedom of political prisoners. Not to mention the many decentralized acts of protest in sporting events such as the one that took place in the FC Barcelona field during the match on Saturday, November 4. Or, when we wrote these lines, the N-II cut of 2,000 people passing through Mataró in protest of a fascist aggression a few days before. The Committees of Defense of the Republic (CDR) are playing a very important role of resistance and organization by neighborhoods and towns. In Manlleu a representation of 172 CDRs met on November 4th. In the communiqué that was made public, we can read: “With the consolidation of the network of neighbors that made the holding of the referendum on October 1 possible, we are ready and prepared to defend the Republic in a peaceful but forceful way. For all this we call the population to participate actively in the Committees of Defense of the Republic of their municipality. “There are even CDRs in foreign cities and very distant, as in Mexico City.

It is an initiative of resistance and coordination of very necessary acts of struggle and should encourage the Spanish left, by common sense, to design a unitary alternative and mobilization in solidarity with the situation of repression suffered by democratic freedoms in Catalonia. We have left it said more than once, and it is something that is becoming increasingly aware in many (?) Sectors of the Spanish left that see beyond the immediate electoral opportunism: the freedoms that are today attacked in Catalonia. they will be soon, if they are not already, in the Kingdom as a whole. Solidarity with Catalonia is a necessary condition to avoid the extension of the repression of democratic freedoms throughout the Kingdom of Spain.

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