The main risk of the new Government of Pere Aragonès is his eminently technical character to face a legislature that, however, is called to be essentially political with the Tetris of pardons on Pedro Sánchez’s table. It happens that the majority profile of its ‘consellers’ is of resumes that are not willing to ruin their lives doing activism by another unilateral path. And, paradoxically, the risk will now be on the other side: in that the political situation spills over onto the back of the long-term socio-economic context, and the bases of the ‘procés’ burn the technocracy like a fuse, demanding new political advances on the path of independence.
It must be remembered that in Catalan society there is a mass of young independentistas who have already been socialized within the framework of the rupture and who do not remember the Catalonia of parties that are clearly autonomous. In the construction of their collective imagination there are only, namely, the demonstrations for the right to decide, the 9-N of 2014, the October 1, 2017, and finally, the application of article 155 and the imprisonment of the leaders of the ‘procés’. Namely, a processist generation as I tell in my book, ‘The Political Tantrum ‘ (Destino Editions).
In consecuense, the pulse of the ‘process’ is still latent in Catalan society, and this is susceptible to reactivate on the back of some element that agitates the malaise of the streets, as happened in part with the fuse of the 2008 crisis. That is so, despite the fact that the paradox that, according to several polls, a significant bulk of the pro-independence population assumes that the alleged secession from Spain I would not be far from close, although perhaps they came to believe it given the breakthrough advances of their leaders in 2017.
Thus, the management of this legislature seems key for Aragonès, between the vicissitudes of the pardon and a new meeting of the dialogue table, which could be accelerated, especially with the call of the new ‘president ‘and Sánchez this Friday.
In fact, his rivals from Junts also accuse the importance of the steps to be followed in the coming years. It is powerfully striking that within the present Government – coming from the activist airs of Chem Roast, or the political impulsiveness of Carles Puigdemont— the profiles of Junts are the most technical and the least of party culture in strategic portfolios. The most prominent: Josep María Argimón (Health, almost a ministry in itself), Jaume Giró (at the head of Economy and Finance, a sector of important business relations) or Victòria Alsina (the foreign action of the ‘procés’, so appreciated by independence).
The management of this legislature seems key for Aragonès, between the vicissitudes of the pardon and a new meeting of the dialogue table
In the background, the intuition is that Junts is not willing to burn positions of its Executive in a Government with the priority of bilateralism on the table and an agreed referendum, in case something goes wrong. That is, Junts subtly distinguishes itself from the Government of which it is part. The most combative profiles, in fact, are out: Laura Borràs at the head of the Parliament, and even the profiles headed by the Executive of Junts —Elsa Artadi, Anna Erra, Josep Rius… – are not ‘councilors’. The only member of the Junts Executive is Gemma Geis. Jordi Puigneró is not in the Executive and he is in the Government, while Damià Calvet has left the Government and is in the Executive.
At that time, Junts will have room to build the party, beyond the government’s leadership, assuming that now it does not have a powerful capillarization through the territory —unlike ERC-. At the same time, it will be able to reformulate its frontist strategy, which could be doomed to failure. This is so because, in the short term, the pardon bursts the story of the junteros about a Spain closed to any type of dialogue.
With this, ERC will achieve the oxygen it needs to carry out the policy that the new ‘president’ wants, and that it has been repeating for days: useful and executive actions aimed at changing the life of the citizen —After years in the processist loop. It would not be surprising if, on the back of that path, the Republicans end up agreeing to a kind of regional financing, or rejoining certain multilateral spaces that have been abandoned until now.
On the other hand, the independence society will continue to seek power around civil institutionsaway from politics, something that drinks from the idea of ERC on which it is necessary to continue building “republic”. Or what is the same: increasing the number of supporters of independence. These days the elections of the Barcelona Bar Association were held. Sovereignty did not manage to win the presidency, but it did win 40% of the votes. Different is the Chamber of Commerce of Barcelona, which did obtain a majority of positions in favor of the rupture.
Thus, the reality of the day to day is that once the leaders of the ‘procés’ achieve the pardon, the pressure could redouble on the leadership of the Government. Before the effect of the prison will be forgotten in the citizen psyche than in the leaders who have suffered it, for fear of more penalties. Although the reality is that, if that line is addressed, Pedro Sánchez will not yield an agreed referendum of independence. At most, the only thing that could be expected from the PSOE would be a new Statute, or the vote based on some political agreement within the framework of the law. The problem is, it would be surprising if Junts endorsed that idea.
For this reason, those who affirm that the independence movement has not made any setback in these years forget that ERC assumed a very high cost (Junts ate them by the feet calling them traitors) when making their bilateral bet in 2018. And that is the one that prevails in the current Government of Aragonese: a Government of technicians, who will not return to 2017.
ERC’s moderate profile will not be enough to cushion the activist social amalgam that Junts and CUP have more capacity to make profitable
The problem is that if the breeding ground gets out of control in Catalonia, ERC’s moderate profile will not be enough to cushion the activist social amalgam that Junts and CUP have more capacity to make profitable from outside.
Although, to date, Sánchez has kept his back with an ace up his sleeve: the possibility that the pardon is reversible. This would thus knock out the leaders of the ‘procés’: no matter how much the bases tightened, the pressure could not be channeled again as in 2017, at the risk of the revocation of the prisoners’ freedom. It would be different if democracy is cycles and the government’s technicality could have activism again. Although, to certify that, it would still be a long time.