Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Building victory I

Foundations for political regeneration

From the west

From the west comes the scythe
that pretends the broom’s soul
but from the ashes is reborn
the bird that announces the last combat.

Albert Ubach

“Catalans wish for national Independence enough, but do not see the way to achieve it”.
Carles Muñoz Espinalt.
Dear Sir/Madam,

I would like you to, just beginning to read this article, stop an instant and read again the sentence by prof. Espinalt which I decided to head this article with. Because, re-reading it, you will understand to the point that never has been said so much in so little: “Catalans wish for national Independence enough, but do not see the way to reach it”.

Here it is. In a sentence, the more precise portrait of a desire, of a wish to be, to remain, to develop; and yet, also, the confirmation of a statement of impossibility, or more clearly, impotence. Professor Muñoz Espinalt, as studious and knowledgeable of Catalan character, expressed loudly a reality that today, many years after his death, is still valid: the tough reality of a defenceless people in front of the aimless wandering of their leadership.

And it is exactly on the second part of the sentence where Espinalt gives us clues for Catalans to find the solution. After describing the main wish for Catalans –wish that is growing even more-, points that, even indirectly, which is the way to be followed to stop being subdued to the wandering caprices of the leaders that do not represent us any longer. Rightly, when he said but they do not see the way to achieve it, orientate us and even encourage us to ask ourselves why Catalans do not know how to achieve it. From here, believe me, the horizon of reflections that opens before us is thrilling.

How victory is achieved?

So, how do you reach victory? How do you achieve victory? What must be done to obtain it? Firstly, we must recognise that victories, as everything we do in life, are the result of combining aptitudes and attitudes. Concepts like work, efficacy, results, etc would not take the same meaning without adding self-esteem and effort to excellence as a creation mark of own value. Aptitude, but especially attitude, especially the latter, are two engines that work alongside each other to obtain the only goal: victory.

We see then, that to achieve victory, the first we must do is to interiorize a basic concept: to act always with morale of victory and winning mentality. Once again, aptitude and attitude are shown like undividable values to face challenges. Because, frankly, what country would trust, eternally, politicians who have never been convinced or decided to achieve victory?

The necessity of political regeneration answers to the need of substitution of the political attitudes of a leadership that has been not representing the Catalan people for years. The necessary substitution of these people, obsolete and fearful of constant flirting with Spain political attitudes, while Catalonia is bleeding everywhere. The necessary substitution of these humiliating political attitudes, only typical from a slave that constantly asks for the master’s permission, and to change them for attitudes of firmness, winning mentality, pride of the country and for the conviction that the right of Independence is a non-negotiable objective and that third parties do not have to decide for us.

Parliament must return to the country

When Catalunya Acció started to introduce the concept of political regeneration, it was made perfectly knowing that political regeneration means new faces that be willing to make new fire, with conviction to start a lighthouse that illuminated the way to victory, not only as a wish but as a duty, persistent and endless. Aptitude, yes, but especially attitude, to face the destiny that History claims to be sought after.

Mathematics say that two parallel lines always join in the infinite. We do not call to Maths, but to common sense, when we say that, certainly, there are two parallel lines that must reconcile: popular and parliamentary. The social fracture that represents the actual situation of political discredit has left Catalans orphans of will, as was already mentioned by Espinalt. Otherwise, how can a country reach victory when does not feel represented by their Parliament? And, how can ensure a honest administration of their wills without putting leaders in front of the country decided to act with strong hand when is necessary? Yes, it is necessary to bet on vibrant politics, able to be touching and speakers for the common wishes. Catalonia must be able to look at their leaders in the eye and to show with pride the aptitude and attitude that must convert her in a new State in Europe. We must return the Parliament to the Country.

The World reclaims a gesture from Catalonia

Catalonia, lighthouse of the western Mediterranean, cradle of the old Europe, economical incombustible force once free from alien rule. Who is to yield the constant flirting that countries like the United States of America have made and make in front of this key piece that is Catalonia in the international concert? Pujol’s governments and the first and second tripartit have preferred to ignore the occasions that extended hands from around the world have come around them. With no doubt, it is necessary that we return the Parliament to the country to correspond, equally, this international flirting that is inviting us to write world History in Catalan, too.

Catalans wish for Independence enough. And yes, there are chances. There is one way of reaching it. There is a way. The how, where and when. Here and now. There is the aptitude and the attitude. There is firmness and morale of victory. There is the sense of political ethics as an unbreakable duty from historical duty. There is the train of Força Catalunya that has started its way and where every new wagon to join will be first class. And there is, especially, the renovation of the political way in internal key and the political way in international key, because these two parallel ways advance, unstoppable and invincible, to the station that must not be the termination end, but the start of a new Catalonia placed firmly within her world: the independence.

Albert Ubach
Member of Catalunya Acció

Monday, 10 August 2009

Carles Muñoz Espinalt talking about Josep Maria Batista i Roca

Prelude of the Independence.

Carles Muñoz Espinalt, 1992


5th Chapter


When a country suffers from a crisis of patriotism, civic spirit from their best countrymen is silenced, not appreciated and is normally in the way of all those who do not bear that others have exemplary behaviour, and make fun of them saying that is ingenuity. They would like that political mastery equalled backstage plotting, and leadership was synonym of entangling situations. They would like to think everything was a trick.

Do not fool ourselves, people like these cannot have a good opinion of patriots like Josep Maria Batista i Roca –and again I will use an exemplary figure-, not better than Josep Pla’s opinion, when he wrote, on a certain place in his “Complete Works”: “Prof Batista i Roca, who was, as separatist and catalanist, as militarist. Rich family –cod fishing business-. Cambridge University –England-. I do not believe that he ever had a follower. Inevitable decadence of his surname”.

Fortunately, Josep Maria Batista i Roca never worried about other people’s judgments towards his person. All his suffering was the situation of our country. All his life was a prelude of the Independence of Catalonia. 1 He knew it was possible when there was no longer a majority of Catalans that walk on the street with fright on their sight. Batista i Roca knew the Catalans too well. Precisely, he was the first to make an exact diagnostic of the peculiarities of our enslaved character. We will not discuss whether he got the remedy right, but he did not miss an inch on telling us what was the ailment we suffered from. In 1928, wrote “A glance to the actual character of our people do not inspire reasons for optimism”. He saw us sporting very profound inhibitions and lack of audacity that create in our soul a situation that Batista i Roca defined as follows: “We take, unreflectively, defeat for granted even before we try to attack”. However, we infuriate when we are told so, but this attitude must be confronted if we want to strengthen our damaged and frightful character. “In front of a difficulty –Batista i Roca continues-, we have thousands of ways of going around it, shutting our eyes, thinking of overcoming it, although the obstacle remains intact”.

During the last years of his life, Batista i Roca remembered his diagnostic –formulated nearly fifty years before-, with nostalgia and regretfulness for not being able to do everything he wanted to help us rebuilding our character. I asserted that, to me, it had been a shame not to have known his diagnostic, when I, in 1955, participated in a controversial debate with Vicens i Vives, and vehemently, I did not stop telling him that it would be a very costly mistake, in the future, to affirm that Catalans go from wisdom to rage. Catalans go from wisdom to merriment, thinking that they might defeat their fears with laughter. Or are we not proud of being people that laugh at the dead and who stays at the funeral wake?

Confessions like these, motivated that Batista i Roca put a thoughtful face, where man could see how he had suffered during the exile, not being able to stay near those who he would have exercised some mentorship. To me, it represented an incalculable wealth of knowledge, to have had the privilege of maintaining around thirty long talks with Batista i Roca, the majority of them at my house. The rest, with me going at his place, being Batista i Roca seriously ill. We talked and we talked again about the situation of Catalonia, he never tired.

At moments, he seemed to get angry, when I referred that, in Catalonia, the problem is the strong unconsciousness of their leaders more than the preparation of the people. “Look how short-sighted and careless they are –I remember telling him-, that they have neither understood the peculiarities of Spanish Fascism nor they know their chimeras of the main admirers and theorists”.

Like pausing, I looked for papers from my archive and with major emphasis, I added: “Who has worried about what Ledesma Ramos said in 1931? He exclaimed angrily ‘No matter how many ideas a man can have about the regional characteristics of the country, it appears, in sheer manner, that the unity of Spain is only in danger in Catalonia, where the autonomic opinion is only a hidden separatism that cowardly waits for its time’”.

I wanted to point at Batista i Roca that the actual Catalan politicians, do not smell –even right at their noses-, the obsessions, prejudices and deliriums that are the essence of Spain, whatever their ideology. I cited again Ledesma Ramos, with the aim of seeing what consideration he would extract. The sentence was controversial too: “Basque people are noble and their loyalty is so notorious that they convert their regional dispute in an inoffensive and ingenuous claim”.

Heard this, Batista i Roca remained thoughtful, an instant, to comment, bluntly: “And, this conception remains the same, despite the same Catalan politicians do not want that to be said. With hindsight, the likes of Adolfo Suarez and Felipe Gonzalez were more or less important officers of Fascist organizations. Could be possible that they denied their old masters? In this way, Basques will be nobles, inoffensive and ingenuous, regardless of how many Civil Guards are killed and we will be hidden separatists that cowardly wait for their time, regardless of what smiley face we put at them when they scrape-clean our pockets.

I answered that,” in Catalonia, we can only overcome this by training leaders with temper, asking ourselves everything from scratch and looking at everything from another angle, being able to cheer the quiet and to return hope the disappointed”.

A few weeks after this conversation –I am talking about 1977-, Batista i Roca published on the Catalan newspaper Avui, a sort of compendium of his thought in the last years of his life. The title cannot be more meaningful: “Begin again”. The article commences with a sentence in the most typical style of Batista i Roca, because his most original thoughts carried a comment that was highlighted by tone of voice. He also used dashes when he wrote. That sentence was “They robbed us our wallet. Now they say that they wanted to return us it –but empty”. Please note that, after it, he put that dash, means that allowed him, even when he talked, to increase his sarcastic tone. Then, like a pounding sledge hammer, used to follow expressions like “-but empty”.

I think that Batista i Roca is one of our more eminent characters that has ever produced Catalonia and its best teacher of civics as I remembered in my speech at his funeral in Barcelona. I still confess you that I miss him. His only presence would have accelerated the prelude of Independence of Catalonia. Do not go further, when the young troops of my followers go around towns and cities to spread the question “Will 1992 be the year of the Independence for Catalonia?”, not for the people to answer with a confident yes or a fearful no, but to create a new motivational image to renew the reasons of our rights with a psychological strength that was able to melt the hurdles. Or is it not true that faith is able to move mountains? Therefore, when my disciples come back to Barcelona and tell me their argues, often, what I do is asking myself What Batista i Roca would have said about that?

Some might think that, if so operative were the ways of doing and of looking at ourselves, when Batista i Roca returned from exile, why did he not found more warmth and welcome in the Catalonia of the last Borbonic restoration? On one side he was already eighty years-old, on the other, he lived in moments of considerable political confusion. I remember that, in 1976 I recommended a lot of young men with political worry that they must support Batista i Roca to formulate the prelude of Independence of Catalonia, but the proposal did not set. Some of them said that we was too far right, thing that, later, has not made them frown their eyebrows and they have featured in the most nationalist conservative candidatures. Some others, that people would suspect that shaved every morning singing “The International”, pointed that Batista i Roca was an exalted extremist and that Lenin had already sentenced that leftism was the early age illness of communism. And so on.

All this, would return us to talk again about all those who deliberately confuse political capacity with messing about with politics. However, in the foundation of all this, we find a worse ailment. Let’s talk about it: Even if it only was to wash our faces with a dirty flannel –with the previous approval from the Spanish empire-, in the last decades it was imposed a false version about the Catalan ways of life, that quiet the culpability complex of a lot of conservatives and, at the same time, seduced the leftists because they thought they could advance from romanticism. From this convenient version, with the objective of praising it, Raimon Gali gave a clarifying synthesis: “One of the qualities of Vicens i Vives and his school was that he used adequately all that the Marxist school has of usable. One of the other qualities, his vision of our bi-polarization between the wisdom and the rage, it appears to me that is the only coherent psychological explanation about our personality. All others are pure pamphlets”. Therefore, we just knew what to expect. The interpretations of other Catalans, like Batista i Roca, that had nothing to do with this non-sense of wisdom-rage, were “pamphlets”. And pamphlets have no consistency. In summary, without the half a dozen of friends that have strived to keep the figure alive, people will end up questioning the existence of Batista i Roca or if he had been a 17th Century outlaw, or if we had invented him now, like when somebody creates a fictional character for a novel. And, then, another interpretation for the prelude of Independence of Catalonia that had been made disappear.

Carles Muñoz Espinalt, 1992


Josep Maria Batista i Roca (Barcelona, 1895-1978)

Had an intense activity in the field of anthropological research and folklore, but as an excursionist, his most important contribution was the creation of the “Minyons de Muntanya” –Catalan Boy Scouts- and his constant preoccupation for the increase of wellbeing for the young Catalans.
At political level, Batista i Roca defended, until the last minute, the right of auto determination for our people. Consequently, because of his political ideas, exiled after the War in Spain (1936-39).
We must remember that he was the main promoter of the newspaper “Excursionisme” and the patriotic movement Palestra.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

"The State language immersion in Catalan makes our children vulnerable to drugs"

tAccording to José William Vega, chairman of Asocolombia, “with the last government, integration of immigrants was easier”.

Exposure of young migrants to drugs is the main consequence of schooling in Catalan language, said José William Vega García, spokesman of Asocolombia, one of the two associations of Colombian immigrants resident in the Balearic islands. This association began the campaign “No compres si no entiendes”, “Do not buy if you do not understand”, to boycott products labeled in Catalan.
Vega concludes this based on “the linguistic politics applied by the Balearic institutions make that the young Colombian newcomers unable to integrate. Because they do not integrate, failure rates at school shoot up, and, youngsters do not enjoy going to school. This fact increases absenteeism. And if young people remain all day in the street, they finally manage drugs”.
Finally, Vega concludes that “many families, in front of the danger of drugs, opt to send their children back to Colombia, so they can attend school without fearing of problems that drag the educative system in the Balearic Islands”.
The chairman of Asocolombia thinks that “during the last government, the way that language immersion in Catalan was conducted, was more effective because the number of hours taught in Catalan was progressively increased”. According to Vega, “since Unió Mallorquina is in power –qualified as radical xenophobic nationalists by the association-, children have to learn quickly another language and it is not possible”.
Classroom hosts
Asked about what would be ideal, as has happened in Catalonia, temporary “classroom hosts” for immigrants were created, Vega answered “those are totally xenophobic classrooms, that do absolutely no good to immigrants and hinder their integration”. Nevertheless, the spokesman of Asacolombia sustain that “is not contrary to the process of linguistic normalization, and for venture, could win many Colombians to the cause”.
The campaign of boycott against products that are labeled in Catalan is, according to Vega, “for safety reasons”. “How do they pretend that people buy goods that they do not know what contain?”, wanders the chairman of Asacolombia.

Vega, a character linked to the last government

This ex-militant of PP, demonstrated at la Marjal in favour of the PJ Ramirez swimming pool.

José WilliamVega García. This is the full name of the person that promotes the campaign “Do not buy if you do not understand” in the name of the association Asacolombia and it has for object to boycott products labeled in Catalan. Despite Vega’s widespread effect thanks to this campaign, he is not a new character but somebody who has tried to make himself known in the country politics for years.
In fact, this citizen, with Colombian origins that practices Medicine, was a member of the Popular Party in Calvià , from 2001 until April, 27th 2007, not long before the election campaign started. On May 26th, day of reflexion, it was discovered that he had sent, from his cell phone, messages asking for votes to his party.
After abandoning it, Vega made public a letter that said “The cessation is due to personal reasons. It was rewarding to share with the Party, in Calvià, a lot of activities and I learnt that is a party that carries out their promises. In the Balearic Islands, is the party that has made the biggest effort with the immigrants and I feel very pleased by that. This step is necessary to keep the neutrality of the association I am chairman of. And because the time has arrived for the immigrants to have their own voice heard, independent from actual political parties. We have enough capacity to name our own speakers at all levels in the political and social life in the Balearic Islands”.
Furthermore, this spokesperson of a part of the immigrant population of Colombian origins, has taken part in campaigns of big repercussion, promoted by the Spanish right wing. He participated in the infamous demonstration in 2006 at the la Marjal beach, where the platform “Son Servera basta ya” made a homage to the editor PJ Ramirez, manager of a private use swimming pool sited within public use land and sea.
During 2006, Asocolombia, was granted €7000 from the government in concept of projects and expenses, reported by sources from the Conselleria d’Afers Socials, Promoció i Immigració, the Social Affairs, Promotion and Immigration Department of the Autonomous Government of the Balearic Islands. However, is not an “scandalous” sum, as reported by Norbey Andrade, chairman of Asacol (the biggest association of Colombians of the two); they received similar quantities each year in concept of punctual aid.
Translated from OCB, Obra Cultural Balear Artà.