The historical tradition is well known. Every September 11, defeats are remembered, convictions and identities are renewed, balance is taken, hopes more or less shared are celebrated, wishes are projected. And for years it has also been done with that mixture, impossible for any historian to imagine, in which 1714 intersects with Chile or the United States. In my own experiences of the Diada, I remember timid but significant attempts in the midst of Francoism, powerful expressions of unitary anti-Francoism in the throes of the regime, the great unitary Diada of 1977, and then, a growing institutionalization of the celebration, until reaching the frenzied and increasingly polarized editions of recent years.
A Diada without a common agenda that fails to go beyond the spaces of each family or political formation loses much of its interest. A common agenda that expresses, beyond the renewal of senses of belonging, common tasks or challenges to be faced together beyond what each one thinks about many other issues. And, in this latest celebration, division and fragmentation is what has ended up prevailing over any other consideration. There are no shared spaces in any of the different hypotheses for solution or progress in relation to a political conflict that no one can deny has existed for centuries and remains unresolved.
Nothing unites the so-called “constitutionalists” beyond hiding in a text that has served to deny up to now, but which could also serve to recognize. Few signs are given in this regard by those who might. On the other hand, the independence family is increasingly fragmented. There is no one who knows where to go, once a reckless itinerary has been completed in which one’s own forces and capabilities were overestimated, just as much as the strengths or capabilities of those who opposed any advance were underestimated. Now they insist on finding the culprits, denouncing hypothetical betrayals, deciding responsibilities for this or that, issuing “processist” purity credentials and continuing to nudge to see how each one is placed in an increasingly uncertain future. Those who try to find connection spaces in which to find, yes not definitive solutions, yes, at least, new positions of balance, receive disqualifications and disparagements from one side and the other. One is guilty for some for continuing to think that there is no solution without recognition of plurinationality and without a new pact that somehow reconstitutes spaces for coexistence, and one is also guilty for being cowardly for others when it is argued that the current European and global context it will not facilitate solutions that are not widely agreed upon.
Meanwhile, every day societies and governments in any part of the world have to face uncertainties, urgencies and emergencies of an unknown scope and entity. It is not easy trying to deal with issues that do not allow for delays or postponements of any kind, while trying to negotiate whether the State or the European Union will allow you to change your status. The hypothesis is that you would do it in better conditions if you were a state, but in the meantime something must be done from government positions before which it is falling. It is foolish to accuse of mere managers those who try to find dignified solutions to problems that do not allow delay. Governments, whatever their territorial sphere and their powers, always end up dealing with concerns and problems that go beyond their status. The feeling of fear and uncertainty is growing and governments are expected to be able to maintain the protective capacity that justifies their existence.
During all these years of “process” in Catalonia, many more efforts have been devoted to trying to resolve the historical conflicts in relation to the State and, incidentally, with the European Union than to addressing or better directing the serious deficiencies in internal organization and resolution of problems that the Generalitat itself had and continues to have raised. It is not a question of underestimating a conflict like that of the lack of recognition of identities and of national pluralism that in Spain so many conflicts have generated and continue to generate. But, if one compares Catalonia today and that of ten years ago, and contrasts it with the rest of the autonomies, it seems obvious that trying to solve the “major”, the deterioration of many of the “minor” issues has been and is notorious .
There is now the possibility of accumulating forces, of strengthening alliances with other political forces and communities that share with Catalonia the same feeling of lack of recognition and that denounce centralization processes that continue to be unstoppable. The Catalan question has its own profile and a specific significance, but the truth is that, at the same time, it shares problems of lack of national recognition and territorial structuring that affect more communities. The possibility of combining efforts exists and may have significant connections with the more general political dilemmas facing the right and the left on the Spanish and European scene.
After the most acute phase of the pandemic and after the pardons, we have to place this Diada at that uncomfortable, confusing and uncertain point of transition towards a rather stormy horizon, but in which we should find accommodation points. The negotiation and dialogue table that starts this week will have to be able to combine expectations of understanding in a symbolic key and of political recognition, with signals that facilitate the work of the bilateral commission that has to solve concrete aspects and real problems that have been left parked and have deteriorated. Both sides of the table need it.