This is not about exchanging one flag for another, but improving the living conditions of Catalonia’s citizens
Once again, we are at the gates of new Spanish elections and we are heading towards them due to the incapability of the political parties in the Spanish State to reach an agreement. Indeed, the ability of reaching agreements is not in the Spanish parties’ DNA and this has been proved every time it has been put to the test. Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) is facing these elections with calm, as we know we have kept our promises. Besides,we feel also certain that, for the first time ever, everything depends on us. We have said in Madrid what nobody else has said before and we have defended like no other the social rights of the citizens, proposing and passing initiatives against the Spanish ‘Muzze Law’ – which sets fines for offences such as burning the national flag and demonstrating outside parliament buildings or strategic installations – the decriminalisation of the right to strike, extending the right to vote to youths aged at least 16 years, the reduction of VAT on cultural expressions and an increase in the minimum wage.
We will repeat during this electoral campaign what we have always said, that we can only invest a Spanish government which would apply social and progressive policies in economic and fiscal terms and which would hold a referendum in Catalonia similar to the Scottish one within a year. However, we know that this is not going to happen. We have seen how the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) have preferred even misgovernment over the acceptance of a referendum in Catalonia. And it is clear that neither the People’s Party (PP) nor Spanish Unionist ‘Ciutadans’ would ever accept it. Thus, we say to all of those citizens who long for a fairer and cleaner country that the only way to get it is by building the Catalan Republic.
There are some who still believe that this change could be done within the Spanish State. Some still believe that, within the Spanish State, they could find an answer to the current social emergency which our citizens’ are suffering, that they could finish with corruption and start a process of democratic radicalism. There are some who believe that we will go to Madrid, for the millionth time, to ask for permission to fight against energy poverty, to ask them to let us take a stance against gender violence, to allow us to guarantee decent housing for everybody, to let us fight tax evasion…and that this time we are going to be listened to. There are some who still believe this. To these people we say that this is just not going to happen, that we have been asking for permission for 40 years, permision to hold a referendum, permision to implement a tax on the banks. And they have always said no. We don’t believe them any more.
And, therefore, we tell those who want to change things that we need to move on. That we build the Catalan Republic without asking for permission, a new country which will put its people above all and beyond parties' interests, power, and banks). . If they wish to, they are invited to join us. Because we will continue to defend our people’s interests without asking for permission, neither from the Spanish Constitutional Court nor the government which emerges from the 26th of June elections. Because this process is not about exchanging one flag for another, but improving the living conditions of the citizens of Catalonia and building a Republic which would be fairer, cleaner and more modern.
Gabriel Rufián and Joan Tardà
ERC candidates for the Spanish elections