October 1st was a historic event that marked an irreversible turning point. But now, after Article 155 and the December 21st elections, the independence movement must be intelligent, pragmatic, and generous. The discrepancy between realists and legitimists lacks practical and strategic sense; it simply responds to tactical debates that go nowhere, and brings us no closer to our shared goals.
The pro-sovereignty parties, in the worst of circumstances, decided to participate in imposed elections, and they won. Nevertheless, since that victory, what has prevailed has, in large part, been a position of resistance against the growing authoritarianism of the State, which refuses to accept its defeat. But resistance, despite being ethically necessary and giving dignity to our claims, will not by itself move us forward.
We must reverse this position and re-take the initiative. It is essential for us to recover a attitude focused on making propositions, and to present political alternatives in opposition to the current repressive scenario, built on the abuse of accusations of terrorism and rebellion and the perversion of legal principles such as hate crimes. Now is not the time for mere resistance, but for openly, publicly, and constantly proposing the need for a strengthening of democracy and consolidation of liberties.
A share of this work falls on every one of us. Some will be deprived of freedom, as evidence of Spain’s democratic shortfalls. Others, in exile, will be the voices bearing witness to the world of what is happening here and what we desire for our future. And many, in civil society, with their well-established persistence and non-violence, will make the unsustainability of the current situation clear. However, perhaps the most urgent task that we can undertake together is that of knowing how to connect with our fellow citizens who, so far, have shown disagreement, fear, or indifference towards the Republican project. We are often accused of divisiveness, but the only true rift can be found between those who defend our ideas democratically and peacefully and those who accept that their ends justify any means.
The first group, the democrats and pacifists, are a vast majority and we must have the determination and empathy to create a broad-based consensus among all those people, spaces, organizations, and parties that recognize this. This is the core majority that, in a moment as crucial as this, we must know how to articulate. Only if we show this ability to reach an understanding with those with whom we share a majority of principles can we undertake the obligation of establishing a constructive dialogue, also with those who celebrate, today, that we are imprisoned. It is an essential duty for a nation that hopes to have a future, as in our case.
My fellow representatives, we must also take stock of where we are, what assets we have, and which strategy will bring us closer to our goal. We have an absolute majority in Parliament, an immense municipal strength, a proven popular ability to stand up to repression, and untiring civic activism. Our parliamentary majority must move from declarations to institutional action. The tactic of shining the spotlight on authoritarianism is no more important than the strategy of preventing the hollowing out of Catalan institutions. We need every possible space of representation, both civic and governmental. Legitimism and pragmatism are not divergent strategies, but complementary.
We need, therefore, determination in the face of repression, republican will, social organization, and institutions that remind everyone that in Catalonia there is a pro-sovereignty government with a majority support. It is essential, every day and from all fronts (prison, exile, institutions, and civil society), to point out abnormalities, denounce indiscriminate attacks and abuses, explain that the unshakeable goal is the Republic, understood as an instrument to guarantee a better future for each and every one of the 7.5 million citizens of this nation.
Our legitimacy has only one source: our growing, sustained, and internationally recognized social and electoral support. The next opportunity to strengthen this legitimacy, and the broad-based support that we need, will be at the municipal level. But to achieve this we must govern, as the democratic majority wishes, and prove that our republican horizon is the best option for the future of us all. Only in this way, working every day in the streets, with humility and perseverance, will we be able to build and open new scenarios for Catalonia.