Monday, November 29

Secessionism faces divided the first Diada after pardons | Catalonia

Concentration of the National Day of Catalonia in 2019 at the entrances to the Plaza de Espanya.
Concentration of the National Day of Catalonia in 2019 at the entrances to the Plaza de Espanya.Carles Ribas

The one of next September 11 will be the first Diada that is celebrated in four years with the politicians condemned by the process free; the first also after regional elections that have turned the independence tandem around and have placed Esquerra at the head until taking her to the presidency of the Generalitat; a national holiday that will be celebrated two days before the appointment in Barcelona scheduled between President Pedro Sánchez and the president Pere Aragonès to resume the dialogue table, and a Diada that, despite the pandemic scenario and with certain restrictions, recovers the demonstration format.

It is a very different scenario than in recent years, but in which one circumstance is repeated: the division of the independence forces, both internally between ERC and Junts as partners of the Government and that of these with the entities of the independentist civil society who star in the Diada.

Last year, the reason for the division was how to face the day after the disqualification of the then president Quim Torra, condemned by the Supreme Court for not removing the banner in support of the so-called “political prisoners” from the balcony of the Palau de la Generalitat. In 2019, the question that faced the different families of secessionism was how to face the Supreme Court ruling on the politicians of the process, dictated just a month after the Diada. This year, the political dialogue table and its effectiveness mark the division within the independence movement.

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One month after the Diada, the only thing that is clear is that the secessionist parties will attend the rally, not necessarily at its head, which already happened in the last calls before the pandemic. And it is taken for granted that those convicted by the Supreme Court and pardoned by the Government in June will attend. This apparent unity, however, is far from being in reality, especially in relation to the most delicate issue: the search for a solution to the Catalan political conflict, the issue that will be addressed at the dialogue table that will meet in Barcelona on September 13th.

ERC is the voice of the Government that most defends this call, while its members of the Boards see more shadows than lights, a divergence that has become a source of cross accusations between leaders of both formations. Marta Vilalta, deputy general secretary and spokesperson for ERC, declares to EL PAÍS: “The strength of the street is precisely an opportunity as a preliminary to the negotiating table. What we don’t have to do is trip ourselves up. You cannot go to the table thinking that it is useless. We go with the maximum ambition and we will raise the right to self-determination and amnesty ”.

Republican party sources understand that a large mobilization can be a useful tool in the face of “attempts to normalize the central government,” insists Vilalta, who acknowledges that this year the Diada may have a point of emotion since the president of ERC, Oriol Junqueras, will be able to attend after being pardoned.

Skepticism of Together

Their Junts partners recognize that the fact that convicted and pardoned politicians can attend the demonstration represents a very important differential point. “But we are not mistaken,” says Josep Rius, vice president of Junts and deputy spokesman for training in the Parliament, to this newspaper. “They have come out [de la cárcel] for self-indulgence that the Government decided and because of the pressure from European justice organizations. In addition, there are many more indicted and persecuted by the courts, the criminal courts and the Court of Accounts ”, he abounds.

Rius’s is one of the voices that shows more caution in the party headed by the former president Carles Puigdemont: “We are very skeptical, because the essence of the conflict is not going to be entered, which is the right to self-determination, because the Sánchez government refuses. Therefore, we believe that it may only have a certain route. In any case, our position is that the unilateral route is not ruled out and, if the table does not work, it will be the unilateral route and retake the 1-O with the mandate that already exists and apply it ”. How to do it is what does not clarify.

This year’s Diada wants to recover the vigor of the mobilizations before the pandemic, although with many unknowns about what participation will be. In the years prior to the coronavirus crisis, a certain exhaustion of the independence movement was already noted and that of 2019 did not gather more than 600,000 protesters, according to data from the Urban Guard. A bulky but discreet attendance compared to other Diades in the culminating points of the process.

The ANC reminds the Government of the ‘mandate’ of the illegal referendum of 1-O

“We are not naive,” acknowledges David Fernández, vice president of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), one of the promoters of the mobilization together with Òmnium and the Association of Independentist Municipalities (AMI). ”We trust participation, but not like the great mobilizations of years ago. First, because we are in a pandemic, and second, because the political moment is not ideal. In fact, there is an explicit resignation to the mandate of 52% of the regional elections [la mayoría de votos de formaciones independentistas] and that generates frustrations and it will show, ”he continues.

The organizers wanted to give symbolism to the stage of this edition: the march will start from Barcelona’s Plaza de Urquinaona, will travel through Via Laietana and will end before the Parliament. These are some of the places where the harshest disturbances were recorded after the conviction of the Supreme Court in October 2019. A la Diada, convened under the slogan “Lluitem i guanyem la Independència” (“Let’s fight and win independence”) Other events will follow on the weekend of October 1-3, the fourth anniversary of the illegal referendum. “This has been done to highlight the importance of the referendum, to show that Catalonia is still standing and that independence will not be renounced. And that the parties get on their feet and stop messing us up ”, the ANC leader, an entity that demands independence“ now ”and disqualifies the dialogue table, decides.

The day recovers the format of the demonstration in the streets

Òmnium is not so blunt, which highlights that it will be the first year after four in which its president, Jordi Cuixart, another of those convicted and pardoned, will be able to attend the Diada. Marcel Mauri, its vice president, points out: “We are in favor of the dialogue table and we welcome the fact that the Government of Spain speaks of political conflict, but the Catalan parties must listen to the streets. A process like this does not end in the offices and we must continue to raise amnesty and self-determination. This conflict will only be resolved with the ballot box ”.

CUP’s own profile

The CUP will have its own profile in the Diada. Two of its representatives will go to the demonstration called by the ANC, Òmnium and the AMI, but the anti-capitalist formation has called its own mobilizations in the four Catalan provinces together with other entities to which it wants to give prominence.

The CUP has warned the Government that it does not share what it interprets as an “autonomist drift” in the dialogue table, which it imputes to the Government, but also to Aragonès.

The anti-capitalists consider that the expectations of political negotiation are far from the claim of the right of self-determination, which, they argue, supports 80% of the Catalan population. For this reason, and taking for granted that the amnesty will not be advanced, the CUP “challenged” the meeting of the two governments and announced that it will call mobilizations for the day it is celebrated.

The CUP gave ERC two years in the agreement for the investiture of Aragonès to calibrate, after that period, the effectiveness of the dialogue instrument. The statements of some of its deputies, such as Dolors Sabater this week, point to their distrust of the fruits of the table: “Either the table addresses amnesty and the self-determination referendum or it will be useless.” In passing, Sabater reminded Aragonès: “The stability of the Government is in your hands.”

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