Fernando Sánchez Costa: The unthinkable


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The independence ‘procés’ and its dramatic expression in October 2017 is diluted in the memory of public opinion. It is a phenomenon worth studying. For years it marked life and captured the attention of millions of citizens. We all live with tremendous anxiety those facts and we can clearly recover the feelings that the words, the images or the sounds (caceroladas, for example) awoke in our body in those weeks of abyss.

But public opinion prefers to forget, “turn the page.” It is curious and in a way healthy. Not even the arrest of the former fugitive president Puigdemont provokes almost a reaction. Everything that happened had been considered impossible for years by the well-thinking elites of Barcelona and Madrid. “It’s not going to happen,” they said. Now also, ‘de facto’, October 2017 has become unthinkable, like an uncomfortable evocation that should be avoided. Explains it well Juan Milian in ‘The Spanish process’ (Deusto, 2021): «With the passing of the years and the cooling of passions, it is hard to believe that all that really happened». But it happened and he relates it.

We could give many explanations for this prior and subsequent denial. Like the shame or the sense of ridicule of those who were embarked on ‘la revolució dels somriures’. But let us emphasize today a political reason. The institutional coup in the Parliament and in the street escapes all logic within a State of Law and a representative constitutional democracy. It was difficult to imagine before and it is almost difficult to remember after a national-populist insurrection pushed by the elites. It seems more like a nightmare than a real event. But it was both. The nightmare came true.

In that October of 2017 another unthinkable thing happened. On 8-O, summoned by SCC, a million citizens took to the streets filling Barcelona with ‘senyeres’ and national insignia. The invisible Catalonia emerged, the Catalonia of double patriotism and plural identity. That day the nationalist consensus was broken. From then on, it will be impossible to rethink Catalonia without counting on the voice of civil constitutionalism, of that social segment that then forever empowered itself as an active political and civil subject. The unthinkable dream also came true. Now we have the task of giving it continuity and efficiency. Because if constitutionalism falls asleep, the nightmare will wake up again.

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