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9.01.2015

An English translation: "Unió Democràtica"


I have been asked for an English translation of my post Les eleccions plebiscitàries del 27 de setembre de 2015. The article is more specfically about "Unió Democratica de Catalunya" (UDC) and the plebiscitary elections of September 27, 2015.

A simple translation is meaningless because of the average reader's probable lack of context. UDC was founded by Christian Democrats in November 1931 as a moderate Catalan nationalist party. Their main objective was to achieve a completely self-governing Catalonia within a freely-agreed Iberian Confederation (which never ensued, by the way).


Since the 1980 elections they were the main coalition (Convergència i Unió, CiU) partner of Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC), a liberal nationalist party founded at the end of the Franco dictatorship by the charismatic Jordi Pujol, who has to become president of Catalonia until 2003. Until very recently (2012) CDC was a party calling for full autonomy but not independence. But following the massive September 11 2012 demonstration organised by the newly-founded grassroots movement Assemblea Nacional Catalana, the coalition came under increasing strain, as the main, long-standing leader of UDC, Joan-Antoni Duran i Lleida, still clung to the idea that an institutional and political solution to the historic mismatch between Catalonia and Spain could be found. 

As soon as the May 2015 local elections (at which the CiU coalition stood together for the last time) were over, UDC held an internal vote on June 14 to decide whether or not to go for independence. The ballot question was a  masterpiece of ambiguity. Those voting in favour (and they just won the majority) in effect supported the following statement: 
  
UDC will continue its commitment to "the process", of integrative Catalanism, without renouncing either putting limits to the aspiration of full sovereignty for Catalonia, taking each and every decision in a clearly democratic way, so that each decisions enjoys the majority of votes of the citizens, managing the process through the the dialogue between the government of Catalonia and the government of Spain, a dialogue without prior renunciations and with the will of persisting, as the best guarantee to win complicities inside the European Union, guaranteeing at all times legal security, excluding a hypothetical unilateral declaration of independence as the start of a constituent process outside legality, descarding any scenarion that could place Catalonia outside the European Union and ensuring, at all times, the social and territorial cohesion of our nation.

One wonders whether the founder of UDC, Manuel Carrasco-Formiguera (1890-1938) would have endorsed this statement (half of the party's mayors and councillors have, since the internal poll, left the party to form a new one). Among his sayings we can read:


"The worst misfortune that can a people can suffer collectively is the lack of an ideal" (The Estevet, April 20, 1923).

"While Catalonia do not get another Constitution, are only Constitution is the (1932) Statute (of autonomy), the expression of the will of our people, the only sovereign of our fate"... "I will not adhere to useless extremisms that can not be implanted with full efficiency. But if the time arrives, we, men of an essentially Catalanist party, will ask for a place of honour in those organisations that, based on democratic principles, follow the path marked by the people of Catalonia and we would join, ready to make all necessary sacrifices". (Barcelona, April 14, 1932, act of celebration of the first anniversary of the Catalan Republic).

"Jesus, Jesus, long live free Catalonia!" (Burgos, April 9, 1938, Carrasco's last words before being shot by one of the Franco authorities' firing squads, during the Civil War).


Many regret that Union have given up to occupy a place of honour beside the other parties that (now that the people of Catalonia - the only sovereign of our fate- is ready to choose the distinguished path) aspire to be able to say, with dignity, Long live free Catalonia! At the same time, we understand perfectly that many former members and supporters have coincided with millions of other Catalans, of every origin and of every democratic ideology, in believing that now is the time to opt for the freedom of our people, and that very soon, therefore, Catalonia will give itself a new Constitution.
Baròmetre de l'ús del català a Internet