Towards a landslide victory for Catalonia’s independence movement

Two friends have heard rumours of war. One is willing to join the army on day one and fight for his country on the front. The other, though, becomes a conscientious objector and an anti-war activist because he does not want his friends --nor the friends of his friends-- to die. Which one is the greater patriot?

Two women grew up together. One of them works tirelessly, every single day, so that her country may be sovereign and politically free. The other strives and does everything within her means for her people to live decent, ever better lives. Which one is the greater patriot?

Some want to bring together, in a single representation, all the independence supporters in order to emphasise their shared longing for freedom and sovereignty. Others want a range of diverse representations so that every strand of the independence movement will find its fit, so that nobody will feel excluded and we are able to drum up as much support as possible. Which group is showing the greatest loyalty to the cause of Catalonia’s emancipation? Which group is making the greatest contribution towards Catalonia’s social unity?

The Catalan regional elections of September 27 will be a great opportunity for supporters of independence --and any Catalan who is not afraid of the future-- to generate a democratic mandate; a mandate for the new parliament elected at the polls and the Catalan government to start the journey towards independence and full political sovereignty without delay. September 27 will be our first chance to exercise our right to decide, a right that has been claimed by the vast majority of Catalan society. In such exceptional circumstances, it would be surprising and paradoxical if the election winners were those who do not acknowledge that right, or the ones who recognise it but will not lift a finger and are in no hurry to exercise it. Indeed, September 27 is a chance of a landslide victory for the independence process.

Still, it would be even more surprising and paradoxical if some people who have proclaimed their faith in independence and have supported or attended the Yes demonstrations in recent years, now had second thoughts or chose not to cast a ballot. With the excuse that the other ones --it’s always the other ones-- have a partisan intent. With the excuse that the leaders or the main political parties have not done the right thing. With the excuse that this is not the way they would have chosen to hold an election or the most effective one. With the excuse that the way it has become a plebiscite doesn’t sit well with them. Or with the excuse that the election result won’t send a crystal clear message to the media, the corridors of power or the intelligence community in Madrid, Berlin, Bangkok, Moscow, London, Washington, Beijing or Antananarivo. Getting this far was no mean feat. To date, we had never managed to get a democratic window of opportunity like this one. Therefore, we must help out with the campaigns run by the non-partisan groups and strive to make the electoral victory and the democratic mandate as great as possible.

No single individual or political party, despite their pedigree and the relevance they might have gained over time, can possibly expect to represent the whole nation or the entire independence movement by themselves. Anyone may join the independence movement when it suits them. But nobody, nor any single party, may claim to own it. Neither the oldest, nor the newest. Neither the most socially advanced, nor the most conservative. And nobody --not from any stance-- can tell the other supporters of independence that they must abandon or put aside their other political convictions. The total sum will not be the result of adding up temporary pretences, but aggregating authenticities. It will be the sum of who we truly are individually. The sum of whole votes, each one with all of its complexity and signification. The upcoming elections will be a plebiscite because they will be even more democratic than any previous election; because we will also be able to express what we had never been able to, because it had been denied to us.

In a scene of Unforgiven, the movie that Clint Eastwood directed in 1992, the character played by Eastwood himself (William Munny) explains that: “It's a hell of a thing, killing a man. Take away all he's got and all he's ever gonna have”. Life is not just what we have, but our expectations, too. Most Catalans want independence so that we can exercise our right to freedom and our unrestrained responsibility against an unacceptable domination: to secure our capacity to make collective decisions about everything we have and everything that we and our descendants might have in the future. That includes the trouble and the contradictions; the differences and the disagreements; the conflicts and the strains.