An entrepreneurial process

The preliminary agreement for a single roadmap for the Catalan sovereignty process signed by CDC, ERC, the ANC, Omnium Cultural, and the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) is a highly important and strategic document. This is because, firstly, it means to give a new impetus to a process that, since the November 9th consultation (9N), appeared to be stuck, and secondly, because it presents an opportunity to expand the base with the addition of new parties and new entities to the constitutional process. A magnificent strategy that has, once again, made the entire unionist spectrum nervous, from President Rajoy to prominent national media. They thought that the entire sovereignty process was a passing fancy and that the Catalan parties supporting it would never come to an agreement. They thought that it was a movement driven from above, especially by President Mas to cover up his poor management, that it wasn´t very worrisome and that once 9N had passed would waste away like foam. But they were wrong about everything. The process is a grassroots movement that was born and grew from below, with strong civilian organizations, with thousands of volunteers who have dedicated substantial effort to achieve the goal that Catalonia would become a new state. But it´s also worth highlighting that these people who have been working on it, in whatever town, whatever neighborhood, whatever country, have done so with the dream of creating a new project in service to society. They are entrepreneurs in the purest sense of the word, assuming risks, dedicating time, trying to convince the undecided that this new project is worth the effort for them, and especially for their children. We have a society with the fortitude to reach the finish line of a high-altitude marathon, and this is what sustains them and is the essence of the sovereignty movement.

However, if we look to the other side, there are only threats, penalties, warnings, and reprimands, with no project, no political offers, only legal challenges to the process. From a business point of view it´s clear that this would not be an exciting project for any investor: it is conservative, traditional, without any type of renovation or innovation, nothing of modernization-- in short, an exhausted project, and worst of all, without the Spanish state recognizing this diagnosis or doing anything to change it.

But to attract new supporters it is necessary to explain this project for a new country very well, in addition to the difficulties in reaching the goal. It is a mystery to nobody that the central government and other entities, such as the judiciary, the media, and great economic powers, will do what they can to hinder it. But it´s also necessary to explain clearly the opportunities that the construction of this new State will create. The ability to make decisions in all areas, the ability to design policies that will adapt better to Catalan reality, from education policies to infrastructure, from fiscal to labor policies. The ability to design our own welfare state and implement a new model of public administration -- in fact, to undertake a constitutional process. It is also essential to insist that the sovereignty process is not going against anyone, not attacking. Simply, the citizens of Catalonia want to decide their own future by creating their own state, a new country like Austria, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, or Belgium.

However, as with any entrepreneurial project, it´s clear that there will be many difficulties until it is established. A fundamental point is that there is a broad majority of citizens who support it, and for this reason, pacts like the preliminary agreement just signed will help. What is undoubtedly a distorting element are partisan tactics and tensions. That is why now is the moment to explain clearly to people, especially the undecided ones, that independence is an entrepreneurial project that brings with it risks, but also great opportunities.

Indeed, from an economic point of view, few argue that Catalonia wouldn´t be a viable country. Those who do base their argument on the retaliation that Spain would take against the new Catalan state. But there are elements that must be taken into account. First, if there is not even a minimal agreement with the Spanish government, Catalonia has as a negotiating point that it would not assume the debt that Spain currently owes, which would put Spain in a very critical situation financially. This could even affect the stability of the Eurozone. Second is the role that the international community, and especially the European Union, would have to play. Would they let Spain take reprisals against Catalonia for having democratically chosen a parliament that, if the majority so chose, would have as a goal the implementation of a roadmap towards sovereignty for the Catalan people? Reprisals that could also negatively affect both the Spanish state and the European Union itself, by generating instability and conflict? I doubt it.

But if a large majority of citizens democratically express a position in favor of the pro-sovereignty parties at the polls on September 27th, then it would be difficult for the central government to claim democratic legitimacy internationally.