That the dialogue undertaken by the governments of the State and the Catalan Generalitat was going to encounter foreseeable and unpredictable obstacles, had to be taken for granted. For example, the new judicial episode on the island of Sardinia and its political and media repercussions. However, the launch of the dialogue table continues to be good news for many, including those of us who are part of the Grup Pròleg. As were pardons at the time. With the meeting of the table, its protagonists have achieved two objectives that cannot be minimized: to mark the beginning of a new stage – plastered in a photo reproduced, for example, in the New York Times- and, at the same time, get rid of the sterile constriction of deadlines. Bet on democratic dialogue -which rules out the odium theologicum Come in irreducible dogmatisms and wants to overcome a shortsighted give and take – it is as important as its possible conclusions can be.
It has been said that the meeting has not aroused any enthusiasm. But nowhere is there evidence that enthusiasm is essential to achieve good results. On the contrary, history teaches us that moments of enthusiasm do not exclude negative results. It is also true that the dialogue table does not by itself solve the problems posed in an environment with serious social and economic uncertainties. But it would be wrong to limit yourself to a wait-and-see attitude, because such uncertainties will not dissipate on their own either.
It is easy to see that the results of this table – positive or negative – will affect us all. For this reason, we insist that dialogue should not be limited only to contact between governments and political forces. It would be necessary for other actors and other spaces -in Catalonia and Spain- to promote the exchange of perspectives and proposals to reinforce the government’s efforts, socially supporting the institutional initiative.
It should be done because the adversaries of this attempt want it to fail. They believe that outright confrontation can reinforce them and they try to feed it. In Catalonia they have tried to hinder the constitution of the table, delegitimizing it from the outset and denouncing it as if it entailed a danger of national extinction. They propose no alternative but the myth of the one-sided with a new embat of quite predictable consequences. Others, from antagonistic positions, reject the dialogue as “an attempted controlled blasting of Spain” that carries an existential threat, they stimulate the expansion of exciting emotions such as those experienced in the bullring of València, and offer no alternative other than the insistence on a punitive response.
It is difficult for them to realize that existential threats lie elsewhere: in the risk of wasting the opportunities for economic and social transformation that a European exit from the pandemic entails, in the mutation of the global geostrategic picture, in climate change or in the decline that It can lead to the chronification of the conflict and the entry into a dialectical loop without practicable results.
Although freed from deadlines, political times count and it is convenient to take advantage of the fact that next year could pass without elections. In the three possible and simultaneous times of the dialogue, the short term requires addressing serious powers and financial deficiencies of self-government, also seeking an intelligent response to pending judicial disputes. In the longer term, respect for the pluralism of our collective feelings must be fostered so that symbols and references to the past cease to be a source of discord.
Between the short and long term, strategic alternatives will be developed that will guide different preferences about our collective future. On the one hand, the essential consolidation of a coalition of progress, today a majority in parliament. It has a dynamic territorial periphery and a culture of equality and respect for difference that tries to apply the method of “federalism of facts”, in Spain and in Europe. Faced with it, a recentralizing reaction that its testing laboratory in “Ayusista” Madrid has today and that may mean tomorrow the confluence of the three rights, with an ultra-liberal proposal in the economic and authoritarian in the political sphere with a desire to apply surgery. repressive of social and territorial conflicts and sometimes evokes the style of the “illiberal” regimes of Eastern Europe.
We do not miss the complexity of a moment in which the three times to which we refer are intertwined. In some way, all three gravitate to this table of dialogue. In our opinion, the progress it achieves in the short term goes beyond a very embryonic response to the territorial dispute. Which would already be a lot and valuable. Because of these advances will also depend how those two strategic options are going to be configured and their possible roots in opinion and in the electoral scenario. If so, we all have the responsibility to make a difficult operation prosper in which the construction of our collective future is at stake.
* The PRÒLEG GROUP was established in February 2018, with the aim of recovering spaces for democratic dialogue in Catalonia and with the other peoples of Spain. It is made up of people from the non-independence Catalan left. Its current members are Marc Andreu, Margarita Arboix, Oriol Bartomeus, Laia Bonet, Joan Botella, Victoria Camps, Joan Coscubiela, Jordi Font, Mercedes García-Aran, Oriol Nel.lo, Raimon Obiols, Lluis Rabell, Joan Subirats, Marina Subirats i Josep M. Vallès.