The return of pragmatic Catalanism Catalonia


Big party between skeptics and opponents of independence. Andreu Mas-Colell has intellectually thrown in the towel. He said it very clearly: “There will be no independence or binding independence referendum.” Why ?: “Spain, monarchical or republican, will not accept under any circumstances the separation of Catalonia.” The nuance is very important: not even being a Republican would accept it. That is, all the gestures and all the effort to coincide with Spanish republicanism on the road and as an ally are useless. Mas-Colell does not stick to Spain to emphasize his statement: “In this matter, Europe is and will be on the side of Spain.” For one reason: “The EU’s commitment to the principle of the immutability of borders is absolute.”

He wrote it in the newspaper ‘Ara’ a fortnight ago. The reactions that could be expected in the face of such a powerful and authoritative voice say they have been discreet. There is only dialogue between those who agree. This is a country that has stopped talking to itself. These are the drawbacks of an anorexic public opinion, corroded by official unanimity.

Mas-Colell has been thinking about it for a long time. From the same article it can be deduced that he already thought about it before October 27, 2017. He probably already thought about it in January 2016, when he left the ministry and the Government, just with the arrival of Puigdemont. But he has wanted to morally accompany his political friends and direct his dissident voice more inward than outward. Bye now.

Among the arguments of the article, the one that counts the most, for my taste, is the one that denies the foundational thesis of this independence of the 21st century, which is the theory of the gorge so well formulated by Jordi Pujol about ten years ago, after the Constitutional ruling on the 2006 Statute. Catalonia, said Pujol, is on a path that is narrowing and forcing it to choose between accepting assimilation or independence. The formulation is brutal and it seems to me that its effects have not been sufficiently valued, following the method of minimizing the role of Pujol in the independence process: “What Spain wants to impose is the residualization of Catalonia. Its gradual blurring. The loss of its identity and its ability to build a quality society for all its citizens “.

Mas-Colell solves the problem thanks to his mathematical mentality: “Certainly, if the assessment of the different situations is that independence is worth a thousand and the rest is worth zero, then nothing is lost, or even self-esteem is gained by giving “We hit our heads against the wall.” And he consequently vindicates pragmatism, probably the most notable political virtue of Jordi Pujol when he was president.

The reasons that led Pujol to become a stubborn idealist are difficult to elucidate. The family environment? Political fatigue? Or perhaps it also counted on the possibility of what the English call a ‘big bargain’, or a ‘campmàs’, as the Catalans say, that is, a negotiation ‘with Madrid’ in which everything, both private interests and objectives, entered public politicians?

I have no answer to any of these questions and it is the interested parties, Pujol himself and his entourage, including Artur Mas, who are the only ones who have them. Mas-Colell, a supporter of pragmatism, has contributed powerfully to the clarification, not with the information he probably does not have, but with arguments to which a nationalist cannot be insensitive, if he is honest: “It would be strange that patriotic feeling it should lead us to violate the intellect about what is or is not possible. One can be a patriot of chopped stone and at the same time be pragmatic. “

Mas-Colell’s article should lead to the immediate rehabilitation of moderate and pragmatic Catalanism, without the need to add retrospective lamentations. “For me, patriotism is what is committed, firmly and actively, to the cause of the nation’s survival and prosperity,” he says. Who does not adhere unconditionally to this ancient and modern program? “The history of Catalonia is admirably full of it,” he adds.

It is clear, then, that the perimeter of patriotism goes far beyond that of independence, and in many cases with the outstanding virtue of strategic patience, almost always absent among pro-independence activists: “Perhaps the task I invite is difficult, and “It’s certainly exhausting, but it’s the one that touches. There’s no other. In particular, I don’t accept that being a patriot means hitting yourself against the wall one day and another.” We need tireless patriots, rather than impatient and self-interested unrealists.

It is not the return of Pujolism. It is the overcoming of Pujolism, with its ambiguity, its family businesses, its children, and the return to the decent Catalanism that has built the real Catalonia that we have. And whoever is tempted in vain with the useless reproach of the ‘I had already said it’, let him remember the evangelical parable of the prodigal son: the feast organized by the father is not for what he has left, but to celebrate what returns.


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