Before the eternity of the pandemic, the ANC called each year the demonstration that marked the political course much more than any parliamentary debate or party act. Between 2012 and 2019, September 11 became the most important day of the independence movement, a day that served at the same time to show muscle, pressure the institutions and set the annual political slogan. But in recent times things have changed suddenly and, after the rather testimonial mobilization of last year, when everything was reduced to a minimum for health reasons, in this 2021 the ANC has the challenge of regaining strength in the street at a time of special demobilization and disunity of its bases.
The organization is aware of the challenge and for weeks it has been preparing for a demonstration that, to begin with, will have a more classic format and that will move away from the ‘performances’ that made them famous in another time. This year the protest will be mobile again, with a head that will cover the distance between Urquinaona Square and Ciutadella Park (where the Parlament is located) through Via Laietana, Passeig Isabel II and Marquès de l’Argentera streets. . The parliaments will be held in front of the Estació de França and will be carried out by the representatives of the ANC itself, Òmnium and the Associació de Municipis por la Independència (AMI). A demonstration, in short, that has the intention of remembering times before the procés.
“The Day of 2021 should be the resumption of the mobilization. It will be a thermometer of the feelings of the citizens”, defended this Monday the president of the ANC, Elisenda Paluzie, in the microphones of Cadena Ser. The head of the event acknowledged that in the organization they already have that “the headline of a good part of the press will be that of the retreat of the independence movement”, despite which he was optimistic about the influx and demanded to look at “how many mobilizations are made in times of pandemic.”
It is notorious that the pandemic plays against the organizers, but the independence movement openly recognizes that, beyond health issues, the movement reaches this date having suffered strong political wear. The current situation has little to do with the first stage of the process, between 2012 and 2015, nor with the high points that occurred in 2017. The scenario has turned upside down even when compared to the last prepandemic Diada: in September of 2019 the president of the Generalitat was Quim Torra, United Podemos had not entered the central government, Carles Puigdemont had not occupied his seat in the European Parliament, Vox was the fifth party in Congress and the ruling of the procés had not yet been made public . Politics has run a lot since then.
In recent years, after the failure of the secession attempt in the autumn of 2017, the mobilizations had already lost some vigor, although they kept the flame lit largely due to the two major issues that united the independence movement: the prisoners and the indicted, for one side, and the request to the parties to maintain the maximum unity of action. But this will be the first time that both have been changed. From the outset, the prisoners have been pardoned and, despite the fact that there are numerous court cases left, the anti-repression drive has dropped. Second, now it is ERC who leads the Government and its commitment to the dialogue table as the preferred route generates discomfort in the toughest pro-independence sectors.
The proximity of the Diada with the new meeting between the central government and the Generalitat, set for the following week, has turned the date into a battlefield for the position of the independence movement on this instrument. Junts has been unmarking themselves from the negotiating table all summer, something that the Assemblea shares and even takes further. Òmnium, on the other hand, has not positioned itself against the table and its president, Jordi Cuixart, came to refer to it as a “collective success”. ERC, for its part, is the maximum supporter of this forum and considers that the independence movement should put aside the differences and put the maximum efforts in making the appointment with the Government go well.
This Monday the Republican spokeswoman Marta Vilalta wanted a large participation in the Diada to “channel that force” towards negotiations with the central Executive. “La Diada must be the best prelude for the table,” said Vilalta, who nevertheless has shown that his party fears that the mobilization of 9/11 will serve, precisely, to launch messages contrary to the validity of the meeting between governments. “It would be a mistake to take advantage of the Diada to criticize and attack fellow travelers,” the spokeswoman warned.
Vilalta did not have to wait for next Saturday because, almost simultaneously, Junts spokeswoman Elsa Artadi lowered her party’s expectations regarding the table. Artadi stressed that the week before the meeting all the details are still unknown, including the final date, the issues to be discussed and who will attend the central government delegation. A situation that the spokeswoman has described as “worrying”, despite what she recalled that her party will come to the table with the intention of maintaining loyalty among the members of the Government.
But the problems that this Diada can generate in the Government’s account go beyond internal disunity. Demobilization is one of the most prevalent concerns among independentists of all colors, who consider that next Saturday in the streets of Barcelona a powerful image must be seen again that shows that the movement has not dismantled. Each sensitivity has its reasons. While for the Junts and even the CUP, a good response to the ANC’s call would mean not only once again demonstrating popular support for secession but also a counterweight to the moderate theses of ERC, Republicans do not want to come to the negotiating table. with an image that certifies that the movement has definitely lost the pulse it had.