The organization SOS Racisme Catalunya has stated that the repeated positions taken by Joaquim Torra, the new regional premier of Catalonia, are “dangerous, irresponsible, unacceptable and based on prejudice.” His hate speech, they warn, damages social harmony and cohesion, above all when it is made from a position of power. In a racist society, the organization points out, there are no rights, freedoms or equality. SOS Racisme Catalunya also encourages associations and social movements to denounce such discourse.
In a democratic society, one would expect that call to be seconded by institutions from civil society, above all when, as is the case in Catalonia, hundreds of them – from soccer clubs to universities – have adopted political positions in favor of the right to decide, if not directly in favor of independence. The College of Political Scientists in Catalonia, for example, added a yellow ribbon (a symbol of protest against the jailed Catalan political leaders awaiting trial for their role in the unilateral independence declaration) to its Twitter account, and sponsored a petition on the website change.org in favor of international mediation in the Catalan crisis. But now it is staying silent. The Barcelona College of Lawyers, meanwhile, has also backed a number of calls for dialogue, but a tough statement backing SOS Racisme is yet to appear anywhere. Nor on the official account of the Catalan branch of the CCOO union is it possible to find any firm condemnation of the statements made by Torra. And so on and so forth in what was once a vibrant civil society that was independent of political power.
In place of, as would have been natural, discrediting Torra to thus validate the legitimacy of the pro-independence movement, the ideological managers of the procés, as it is known, have decided to minimize the facts so as not to damage the cause. The complaint voiced now is not about the facts themselves, but rather that they will be taken advantage of for a campaign to discredit the pro-independence movement abroad. Once more it has been shown that this is not “about democracy,” but about independence. Whenever there has to be a choice between one and the other, the secessionists choose the latter. And if that involves allowing personal racism to accede to the premiership, thus converting it into institutional racism, the price to pay is accepted. In the end, we are talking about religion, not politics.
English version by Simon Hunter.