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31 O: Catalan Republic stagnates and becomes a European problem

Alfons Bech (La Aurora) | 31/10

I have written an article before starting my chronicles entitled “Ten days that will move Europe”, alluding to the events of September 20 until the referendum of October 1. However, I am surprised. On the one hand, it is not only ten ten days, and on the other, the Catalan problem is set in Europe with no indication it is going away.

The proclamation of independence and the Catalan Republic is assuming a turn in the whole situation. First in Catalonia and Spain. The proclamation was about to fail. Puigdemont, with the support of his PDCat party, the Basque Nationalists of the PNV and the Catalan Socialists, was about to agree to call for autonomous elections, in exchange for the State not applying article 155 that intervenes in Catalan autonomy.

But the PP did not want such a commitment. It wanted revenge for Catalonia´s wish (80%) to exercise their right to decide. It wanted the “weight of the law” manipulated on the independence movement. It wanted more political prisoners, sanctions, absolute control over a “Catalonia is from Spain”. The centralist, imperial, dictatorial vision prevailed over any political vision, of peaceful resolution and dialogue of the national conflict. That and the risk of rupture of the sovereignty front was what ended up deciding Puigdemont to proclaim the Republic and open the constituent process.

However, after the proclamation of the Republic and the simultaneous beginning of application of Article 155, the Government and the President of the Parliament of Catalonia have decided not to offer active resistance. President Forcadell decided to dissolve the Parliament on Monday after going to its headquarters. The Govern decided not to appear publicly. Only two Consellers, the Economy and Vice President Junqueras, and the Territory, Rull, went to their offices. The speculation about where the President of the Government was and the rest of the Consellers was a topic of discussion throughout the day. Until in the afternoon it was leaked that Puigdemont and half Govern were in Brussels.

Stupefaction. Disappointment. Disorientation. That was the general mood of the people and activists who have been supporting the procés. Does the proclamation of the Republic end like this? In the meetings of CDRs of the previous Saturday no concrete actions were adopted although there were proposals to boycott the autonomic elections of next December 21st. The independentist tradeunion meetings postponed a declaration hoping that the situation clarifies, although it is part of following the fight. It was heard that the largest union, CCOO, did not want to support a demonstration for the freedom of the prisoners and against the application of the 155.

At the State level, the two main trade unions, CCOO and UGT, called for a “soft application” of 155. But ANC and Omnium have not called for any action yet. On the other hand, pro-unification supporters did it, with support from PP, Ciudadanos and PSC-PSOE, accompanied by pro-unification from all over Spain, who again filled the center of Barcelona and where “ultra” sectors carried out violent scenes against journalists, independents and immigrants, as on the previous occasion.

Everything has therefore been postponed. Discontinued. The leaders of the Catalan Republic have preferred not to go to the confrontation in conditions that they believe would propitiate bloodshed, and would give the excuse for the intervention of the army and the widespread application of repression and outlaws for “rebellion”.

However, along with this strategy, it also appears that there was no Plan B in mind. The direction of the “procés” has been silent for three key days. The disappearance of the leaders off the scene, the lack of slogans, of ideas of mobilization, shows that the Republic is decapitated. Or, as the director of the bourgeois nationalist newspaper ARA says, it is a “liquid” republic.

And now what? Citizens ask. Puigdemont has appeared at a press conference in Brussels to explain that he and half of his government are staying in the capital of Europe to face the implementation of 155 and continue to practice as such. That is, in the absence of legal guarantees they will not turn in, will not make it easy for Rajoy, challenging the Spanish authority and legality. This is very nice. But it’s not enough. The rest of the Consellers have stayed in Catalonia. What will each one do? Will they promote the mobilization – as peaceful as wanted – for the freedom of the Jordis? What to do against the daily application of 155, that is, against the assumption of the competences of the Mossos, Education, Economy …?

In front of all this, nothing is said. The sovereignist parties are now more aware of the participation in the December 21 elections than anything else. Perhaps it should be said that resistance can only be seen after reorganizing and winning that electoral battle, even if it is autonomic and summoned by Rajoy. The process has to adapt well, quickly. The new conditions will realign the forces. We will talk more about the alliances that will be defined. But the process is still alive in the minds of the people.

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