By Laura Pelay, Barcelona, 4 November 2017
We are living in times of immense nervousness. Angst touches us all. And we survive as we can. The culture and entertainment sector is probably the best barometer for mood. Bruno Oro had to give away tickets to his concert, because people are staying home. We aren’t having parties, and as the producers of Polonia said, we are unable to laugh. Nothing that is happening is funny, and we are in a permanent state of shock.
This situation is understandable. And it is, among many other factors, because many of us have woken up to a harsh and raw reality: in our environment, sociological Francoism is pervasive. Old tics and behaviours. The reality is there is, across this country, a substrata in many people, that has been asleep for a long time, but has now arisen in a most violent manner. And this reality has nothing to do – or if it does, very little to do – with political parties.
The fierce beast has woken up. Comments like “If the Jordis are in jail they must have done something,” or “the government knew that if they dodged the law all its weight would come down on them” or a no less common, “People were an irresponsible: did they really think that 13,000 policeman were coming here on the 1st of October just to watch from the sidelines?”
We knew that the institutions of the State had changed very little. But now we realize that many of the people in our surroundings haven’t either. Legitimate political and social repression has no justification. Nor does the use the public and private media as a domestic extension of the Council of Ministers, either. And above all, allow in the thought that the universal goods of democracy, human rights and freedoms ought not prevail over everything, it is simply wrong. We live in times of doubt and uncertainty. But that is good. One has to be suspicious of those who, from either side of the political conflict we live in think that they have done everything right. There have been errors. By all the players. And when you find yourself twisted in this blame game, it is best to return to the overall basic values that we have as a society, which, bit by bit, seem to be losing all meaning. These days, language is more important than ever. Words have been appropriated and content perverted in repugnant ways. The word freedom has been associated but these elections made under duress according to certain fixed parameters, with pre-set results. Not to mention the ‘coup d’état’ attributed to a Parliament that was elected, like its [State] Government, in a democratic way.
It’s time to take back language. Words must be associated with facts and realities. They cannot be used in a frivolous way, by any parties. A coup d’état refers to overthrowing a government by force; Democracy belongs to the people and to no one else and to popular sovereignty. And freedom is such a complex word that we are modeling every day, but it is certainly not related to imprisoning legitimate governments for carrying out proposals that were within their election manifestos or creating opportunities for people to discuss sovereignty.
On the 21st [of December] there will be elections. They said that October 1st wasn’t a sure bet, and that was certainly the case. We voted in hiding. But we did it with stubbornness and conscious that we defending a supreme value. The next elections, with 13,000 policemen, the government and social leaders in prison, will have no guarantees either. With the sword of Damocles held by members of the political class assuring that, if the result is not correct, they will again violate our Government, there are no guarantees. And the outcome will be uncertainty on many front, since no one, in the run up, will discuss employment, social security, the environment, etc.
We have our work cut out for us, up until December 21st. We must win the battle of ideas but also, and much more importantly, that of language and words. We must call things by name. And no less important: we must unmask the sociological Francoism that many – unconsciously – have in their DNA. We cannot afford to take the outcome of this election as already “tied up”.