Monday, October 22, 2012

A call for federalism

Here's another manifesto I have not only signed, but helped to write and promote:

The results of the upcoming snap Catalan election which will take place on November 25 will be decisive for the future of the citizens of Catalonia. Since the CiU coalition, led by Artur Mas, started to govern in Catalonia two years ago, we have been witnessing a paradoxical situation. On the one hand, Artur Mas’ government has taken the lead in implementing a fiscal model, and drastic social cuts in education and health care, which are a far cry from the social model of more advanced countries in Europe. At the same time, CiU has supported, time and time again, in the Spanish Parliament in Madrid, the most backward labor policies in the history of Spanish democracy. The alliance between CiU and the Popular Party (the PP, the conservative ruling party in Spain) in the Spanish and Catalan Parliaments has allowed for public media to drastically lose the freedom of expression that it had gained with previous progressive Spanish and Catalan governments. In parallel, CiU has taken, in a short period of time, a strategic opportunistic turn, placing itself in the forefront of an independence movement which wants to initiate a secession process.
The Catalan society is suffering a very deep economic crisis which has also become a social and political crisis, resulting in an increase in poverty and inequality and an erosion of the equal opportunities principle. Many are suffering and are seeing their life projects truncated.
This situation demands from everyone an exercise in political and ethical responsibility, especially in times of such a serious loss of credibility by political parties and institutions. We think that secession from Spain is not the only way forward and that in the present context it jeopardizes social cohesion. From an economic, social or cultural point of view, it is not the way to improve the living conditions of Catalans.
Right now many propose independence as a “magic” road that would lead us out of the difficulties we are living with, leaving behind the dead weight that, they say, Spain represents. It is a discourse in which half truths and various exaggerations are mixed together. This is especially true relative to the fiscal relations between Catalonia and the central administration: such is the confusion that it is common to hear such populist and aggressive statements as: “Spain robs us”. At the same time, some pro-independence sectors have managed to spread the idea that if Catalonia separates (which will mean breaking up the Spanish State), it will be a politically friendly process with no excessive economic costs, with no social disruption, a win-win situation. Those supporting independence believe that globalization can only have positive consequences for Catalonia and so they have unashamedly taken on the neoliberal economic model. They try to convince us that for the Catalan society, having its own state will be “good business”. The emphasis being put on the economic advantages of independence, which do not stand up to a rigorous analysis, is no more than a careful strategy to obfuscate an unequivocal social reality which goes back many generations: the fact that most of the citizens of Catalonia share Catalan and Spanish identities in various degrees.

The full text can be read here.

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