We were surprised by the Spanish President’s decision, in a fit of desperation, to bring forward the Spanish elections. And this obliges us to clarify as soon as possible the doubts we had regarding these elections. Although in the Naziogintza Taldea group we had started a discussion on the position to adopt with regard to the Spanish elections, the unexpected decision of Spanish President Sanchez has inevitably forced us to advance the result of our discussion.
Does it make any sense to participate in a foreign parliament? By doing so, are we not legitimizing the highest political institution of the oppressor state? Is it possible to construct policies in favor of Basque independence in Madrid? More than a few Basque patriots advocate abstention in the Spanish elections. And we understand their reasons to a large extent. We agree with those who say that the Basques should not go to the Spanish Parliament to solve the social issues of the Spaniards, or to save Spain from the fascist threat of the Spanish extreme Right. To the oppressor state, no gift. Rather than to frame Spanish policies or to integrate into the Spanish political system, it is better to stay at home. The question is whether we can take advantage of the loudspeaker that the Spanish State offers us (the Parliament) or not.
We think that the Basque national agenda (self-determination, Basque language, re-unification of the Basque Country ….) has to be worked, mainly, among the people, in the Basque towns and in our own parliaments. And we also think that it is about time for the Basque nationalist political parties to take firm steps to exercise self-determination. That said, we do not think that firmly claiming Basque national rights in Madrid and reminding the Spanish political class of the political conflict between our nation and Spain (and also France) has anything to do with integrating into the Spanish political system.
Playing in enemy territory is not easy. And even less so if the rules of the game are decided by them. Therefore, Basque nationalist political parties should work in Madrid with a clear pro-independence profile. They should put aside submissive positions and prioritize our own political agenda, not that of the enemy.
The ones who decided to go to the Spanish Parliament should answer this question: why go? If it is only to enact left-wing policies in the Spanish Parliament, they should know that PODEMOS or SUMAR are already there. We do not need the Basque patriotic left in Madrid just for that. On the other hand, if the aim is for the Basques to feel comfortable in the Spain of the autonomies, the Basque unionist parties are already there for that, we do not need the PNV (Basque Nationalist Party) for that. We ask something else of the Basque patriotic Left and the PNV: that they defend and prioritise the Basque national agenda in Madrid.
And in addition to that, we ask that when it comes to defending our national rights in Madrid, the Basque nationalist parties work together, for the benefit of the Basque nation (in the same way that Spaniards, whether right-wing or left-wing, always work together on “State issues”). To paraphrase Lluis Companys, and to make his expression our own: all just causes in the world have many defenders, but the Basque Country only has us.
Therefore, this is our position on the Spanish elections: we are advocates of participation, yes, but with a critical stance. The political desert, in national terms, of the previous four years in Madrid cannot be repeated. The national demands of the Basques (self-determination, Basque language, re-unification of our country ….) must be heard in the Spanish parliament, we must take advantage of this institution of the Spaniards not to make Spanish policies there, but to carry out uninhibited policies in favour of Basque independence. Or have our Basque political representatives forgotten that ours is an oppressed and colonised nation?
The representative of the Spanish Government in the autonomous region of Madrid recently said that EH BILDU (Basque pro-Independence Left) has done much more for Spain (in the Spanish Parliament) than have the Spanish Right or far-Right. These words should make any Basque patriot think hard, and make him reflect on whether things are being done well. Because the aim of a pro-independence organisation should not be to help the oppressor state, but to question its legitimacy.
It is time to work for Basque national construction, also outside the country. Forgetting this would lead to frustration among pro-independence supporters and an increase in abstentionist positions in the future. Basque nationalist political parties must define themselves.