Thursday, August 13, 2015

Together for Yes, Oriol Junqueras, president of ERC

Oriol Junqueras, president of ERC, originally published in El Punt Avui

Junts pel Sí [Together for Yes] is not a political party, nor does it aspire to be one. Junts pel Sí is a temporary fellowship of very diverse members, that goes way beyond the initials of CDC or ERC or other political formations. It's hard to imagine such an unorthodox coalition without taking into account the common objective that responds to the demands of a country and a people as heterogeneous as Catalonia. It is in no way a coalition designed to handily win some regional elections. And if anyone has come to that conclusion, either inside or out of the country, they are way, way off base. Let's make it clear, then: Junts pel Sí has no other raison d'être than to win independence. From here comes its strength and its uniqueness. What we are going to do, what we are firmly determined to do, is create a new country that is more free and more just, a country whose standard is the will to live and let live. And that is only possible through independence. And that is precisely the point that distances a good number of those of us who form this Yes list from other perfectly respectable political options like Catalunya Sí que es Pot. We may share a desire for social justice, for democratic regeneration. However, we are conscious that we can only win a country that is more fair and more free by first winning our independence and constructing—between all of us—the Catalan Republic: a fully democratic state which has the unique opportunity of creating a state that is truly at the service of the citizenry. Trying to make us believe that the solution will come from hypothetical new majorities in the Spanish government is pie in the sky. We all know those majorities are not there. Not only because they require the collusion of the PP and PSOE. But also because in the best of cases, the emerging political options in Spain are simply not interested.

However, it's obvious that many of us are convinced that in the definition of this Catalan Republic it will be inevitable, and indeed desirable to count on all of these good people who long for a more just country in which equal opportunity is a foundational value. In this specific area we consider ourselves very close to these other political formations and candidacies. And the fact that a friend and companion like Raül Romeva (what an awesome candidate we have!) is at the top of the Together for Yes list is, in itself, a categorical declaration of principles. Independence is the essential leverage for change. Independence is the key to a new country, it is the only road to the Catalan Republic, it is the only opportunity to create an efficient country, that functions with rational criteria, that administers its resources for the good of the economic needs of the country and all of its people, that it builds itself a powerful network of infrastructures that connects us with the world and that at the same time responds to the daily needs of its citizens, starting with a decent regional rail network. Or that guarantees a pension model for our seniors. Or access to decent housing. Or that allows our young people, our future generations, to have true opportunities in the country of their birth instead of having to travel abroad to build their future. For that reason alone, independence is essential. It's true that there are also weighty cultural and historic reasons. But above all, beyond everything else, there is the need to construct a country that serves the needs of the people, that seeks a better future for them, for all, regardless of where they were born or the language that they speak. Those that advocate democratic regeneration or social justice will never be adversaries of independentism. On the contrary, they will always be potential allies.

Independence is not an ideology, of course. It has never been one. Independence goes against no one, but rather in the end—and absolutely completely I would say—it is at the service of all of the citizens of the country, of all of them without exception. This is why, as I said at the beginning, there is a group of us that have joined together in Together for Yes that in other circumstances would probably never have come together in a single candidacy. From herein lies its strength, its power, its capacity to enthuse, its unequivocal service to a just cause. That is why independence must be, here and now, an unequivocal commitment to the citizenry.

It's obvious that we have to talk with the Spanish government, to negotiate the birth of the Catalan State in the most amicable manner and to achieve the best neighborly relations. But we do not accumulate this joint strength in order to ask permission, nor to negotiate a new status quo with the State, but rather to reflect a demonstration of sovereign will of the Catalan people which will be exercised without delays in a dialogue among equals with the Spanish State. We are going to win independence, we are going all out, it's been said, and we are going all out not only because it's the only possible path or because they've left us no other alternative. We're doing so out of dignity, because we have every right, because of the wishes of all of those who came before us, and because we know that only the Catalan Republic, in the words of Francesc Macià, can ensure "a politically free, socially just, economically prosperous, and spiritually glorious Catalonia".

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