“The independence movement grew when there was tension.”

“The independence movement grew when there was tension.”

Tony Rodon He is a lecturer at the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), where he teaches political participation, political behavior and public opinion. He received a postdoctoral degree from Stanford University (USA) and another from the London School of Economics (LSE). Professor Rawdon's latest book will be released in bookstores on Tuesday Who doesn't want dust. Political conflict and polarization (Pio de Mosca, 2024), in which he explains how elites often want to avoid controversial ideas, thorny issues, and tension, in order to stay in power, if nothing else. The infinitive is used in the Catalan case (“tense independence”) and Rodón talks about it, as well as more examples, of the reasons for, and the lies about, this idea, including a strong criticism of the search for consensus VilaWeb visits Rodón to talk about his book, The Catalan elections, two sides of the coin one.

Comment on the sentence: “Political polarization is bad.” “Stress is not good.”
Polarization is not necessarily bad. We've been sold the bike that everything that polarizes is bad and it's not. This constant attempt to signal polarization, that we are constantly angry at each other for political reasons, is often a tool used by the state.The country that To maintain their privileges, maintainThe country that. Often there is a structural problem that is not resolved, and does not want to be solved. This is the summary of the book's thesis.

Puigdemont had announced his candidacy for the Catalan elections. Will this polarize the campaign?
– It remains to be seen whether this will polarize the campaign. However, for me the question of whether Puigdemont is polarizing is poorly focused. We must ask ourselves the same question for all other political leaders, first and foremost: Why is Puigdemont polarizing or might he polarize? Well, again, because it represents a different vision of the regional problem, and since it is not solved, the blame lies with a certain person, while the fault may not lie with a certain person, but the failure to solve a regional problem. The problem, among other issues.

Is the pro-independence movement advancing with polarization, is it stagnant or declining?
– In recent years we have seen that the independence movement grew mainly when there was tension around the regional aspect. During times of polarization, the pro-independence movement actually grew in terms of votes for pro-independence parties.

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And the success of Pedro Sanchez is that he has eliminated polarization?
– In the regional area, yes. But notice that Sánchez depolarized us on a regional scale, but polarized us using the far-right banner to remain in government. Therefore, there is selective polarization. I choose not to talk about the regional issue, but instead use the other flag to attract employees, so that they will vote for me. So, another example: Whoever decides something is polarizing is often for personal gain.

What do you expect will happen in the elections?
The big question is what will happen with the participation of pro-independence voters, who have traditionally voted more heavily in Catalan elections. We come from a context, in 23-J, where at least 700,000 pro-independence voters abstained. What will they abstain from, move on to other options? It is one of the secrets of this great election.

Beyond Catalonia and Spain, the book presents more examples of elites resorting to co-optation to stay in power.
—We can talk, for example, about obtaining the right to vote for males. There were some people in power who believed that when they came to power, the masses would nationalize all industries, even cut their throats, etc. They appealed to polarization to maintainThe country that. Women's right to vote, it's exactly the same. If women ruled, what would happen? Well, the Republic will fall, and the Second Republic will be destroyed. theThe country that The welfare state itself protected, and things we take for granted today, such as public health care, public education, the pension system, etc. All of this, too often, you don't put it on the table, things will go wrong, Elite said.

The idea discussed in the book: “Here we are polarized by the elites, and it is not our fault.”
Polarization can come from both sides. There may be an existing unresolved structural problem that is leading to polarization, or perhaps elites decide to bring a new issue to the table. For example, we can say that Brexit followed this process. We didn't know what we were talking about, so we put it on the table and then the audience became polarized when they saw all these political discussions. Overall, and as far as we know, the vast majority of polarization issues in the world today arise rather from the failure to solve structural problems. Our societies suffer from many structural problems, from inequality to poverty, to child poverty, to the regional problem. So, okay: a lot of political elites sometimes use all of these issues to win votes or whatever, but of course we focus on it in the wrong way, because what they're talking about may not very much be the problem, the problem is the structural problem that hasn't been solved.

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Also compare consensus seeking and polarization.
– What I also came to say in the book to some extent is that our societies are complex and that trying to reach a permanent consensus on certain ideas is a bad idea for democracy. Democracy is the political administration of public power and ideas, not the achievement of consensus. Marina Garcés has a phrase I really like in a book called Princess City, if I remember correctly, who says: “Consensus is censorship.” I would also say that consensus is an oversight and is often usedThe country that To maintain their privileges.

Surveys cited fromICIP Where you can see how Catalan society now has ideas far removed from each other. Much more right. But the same respect.
– True, yes. In a way, it's one of the origins of the book, because there was a clamor among the community, but also among many of my fellow political scientists, to say: Polarization is a problem, so we must return to moderation, to reason. , when converging toward the center, because if that didn't happen, we wouldn't advance, and again, at Christmas lunches, we wouldn't talk to each other or greet each other in the street. Be careful, because the data doesn't show that. Secondly, this interpretation of reality also starts from a moral axiom for many people: since I do not like the solution proposed by some, I react against it emotionally.

God is sufficient Surveys There has already been a change among Spanish speakers.
-Spanish speakers, or people with a very strong Spanish national identity, recognized themselves as a group. Explaining why this happens will require a lot of research. My interpretation is that this is a rather small percentage of people living in Catalonia, but they are very influential electorally, and that the Spanish government and Spanish institutions have essentially treated them as if they were a national minority in a region where they are not. majority. Obviously they are not a minority, but they have a majority in another country. In addition to possessing all powers and sources of authority: judicial, institutional, political, and others.

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he The book begins with your father searching for the bones of the militants. He tells me yes we Please share your personal approach to the issue of polarization and why you ended up writing this book.
– The idea at the beginning of this book stems from a personal experience, which is the experience of my father, a technical architect, who at some point in his life had to go to Paterna, where there is the “Firing Wall on Spain”, because it is one of the places in the Spanish state where More people were shot and buried after the Civil War. My father went there to help open pits for the archaeologists who were working there. In those days, when I was watching the news you talk about, there was a politician, I don't remember who, who was saying that it was not appropriate to talk about historical memory because these issues were polarizing. Immediately after this news came another news talking about taxes or action taken by the state. On the other hand, no one complained that there was no need to talk about that public policy. Why can you talk about one thing and not the other? I realized that often the presence of something conflicted is signaled by elites, for power, for preservationThe country that And so that nothing changes.

Do you want to add anything I didn't ask for?
– We can conclude with a quote I found: “The obligatory uniformity of opinions only achieves the consensus of the graveyard.” And it's a bit like that. In our country we come from the idea that politics should be a pool of oil, all quiet. And also because Francoism comes to mind, and every time something gets tense, we all get anxious and make big statements about whether we're going to tear each other apart again. no. Politics deals with conflict management. All public policies generate winners and losers. And we have to be aware of this and abandon this Catalan idea that sometimes, oh, we're going to get hurt, it's better not to do anything. Well, doing nothing only leads us to…The country that And gradually to the declared decline.

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