Five years have gone by since the Catalonian society massively embraced the demand for national independence, spurred by the ANC, the Catalan National Assembly. The 2012 Diada’s turnout was the highest ever; one million-plus people crammed the streets of Barcelona, with the cry for ‘Independence’ far overpowering any other slogans. The shockwaves unleashed got far, with the main autonomist party during that period, Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya, shifting to a pro-independence stance.
Driven by the popular surge, the government of Catalonia initiated steps towards sovereignty; in January 2013, the parliament of Catalonia passed a declaration supporting the right of self-determination and sovereignty. In November 2014, a referendum was held, with the Catalan governmental authorities switching to unambiguous pro-independence positions thereafter, and calling a self-determination referendum for the upcoming 1 October. The Spanish government’s reaction has been invariably rigid as expected, adopting rhetoric fraught with menace in the face of a non-violent exemplary democratic process, a revealing sign of its weakness.
As a Nation, Catalonia holds a right of self-determination, a democratic right acknowledged by the United Nations, that applies also to the Basque Country. The government of Catalonia and its allies, making up for a parliament’s majority, have decided to materialize that right, after attempts at negotiation with Spain’s government got them to deadlock. Confronted with the Spanish legality or democratic authority, the Catalans have opted for the latter, in the understanding that law dispenses service to society, and not the opposite.
The self-determination process is entering now a decisive stage. The president Puigdemont has confirmed his willingness to go to prison. A head-on clash appears to be unstoppable. The Spanish government and most of the Spanish political parties have inclined for the judiciary and punishment in order to halt the democratic demands of the Catalans. Their imperialism is so narrow-minded and fanatical as to ignore the fact that imprisoning all members of the Catalan government will not lead them anywhere, given that it is mainly civil society who is conducting this process.
So what about the Basque Country? We have passively looked on an exemplary process, Basque society has largely remained apathetic, with no enthusiasm to support the Catalans so far. The attitude bears witness to another symptom of our feeble national awareness, just another one.
NAZIOGINTZA thinks that the self-determination process of Catalonia provides us with six lessons, a moral of six points we should take into account before initiating our own process:
1.- The mobilization of the civil society is paramount to ignite a process towards independence.
2.- A strong, diverse and horizontal popular movement like the ANC is key to spark the people’s expectations and motivation.
3.- A cooperation among nationalist political parties based on the clear understanding that, beyond right-left debates and electoral ambitions, Homeland ranks first.
4- Leadership and drive of the governmental officials, especially with reference to the president of the Generalitat, understanding that the democratic aspiration of the Catalan people prevails over Spanish legality, and showing a determination to stand his ground until the last consequences.
5- The existence of a people’s conscience, a national awareness, providing the fertile grounds that crystallizes the right of self-determination.
6.- A resolution for political pragmatism (Catalonia) over maximalist ambitions (Països Catalans), by conceding that the territories may have different rhythms, and activating processes towards independence in places where it is practical.