Albert Botran wants to reissue the two seats the CUP won in 2019 the first time it appeared in Congress, and will try to get a third vice president for Girona. It justifies the memory of 2017 and it’s especially hard for Esquerra to break away from that spirit.
It started in madrid with two deputies in 2019 in full trial of practical The independence movement is hyperactive, but things have changed. What do you offer your constituents at least to preserve the results of that time?
In fact, what we offer is precisely not to lose memory. Despite the repression against the 2017 referendum, we do not abandon the exercise of the right to self-determination and believe that this should once again be at the heart of the political goals of the independence movement, at the heart of the political agenda. Unfortunately, ERC and also Junts have put this request on hold. We have seen in the municipal elections that the independence movement has disappeared from the speeches of both Gonts and Esquera. We still insist that this country is not because they suppressed it in 2017 has buried this claim. What we affirm is precisely that memory.
Prevent PP and Vox government calling it a criminal organization and a gang of thugs, could a pact with PSOE be a good argument?
We will never vote for PP and Vox government. The dilemma is that if an alternative majority is to be formed, the independence movement must assert its demands. By virtue of the logic of the lesser of two evils, we continue to recede our tongue, we persist in oppressive issues, and we persist in the fact that we do not want to meet the demands of the majority for self-determination. If a candidate wants the votes for the independence movement, and PP and Vox are obviously excluded, those votes must be confirmed.
With the logic of the lesser evil, we continue to decline language and oppression.
Are you one of those who think worse is better, i.e. with a government PP Vox can help mobilize?
No, we never believed that the worst is the best, but we never believed that the lesser evil should guide us, in the sense that there were things that PP and Vox did not need to go wrong, and we should also be able to make it clear: espionage with Pegasus, 37 deaths in Melilla, police infiltration in motion. These are the things that PP and Vox didn’t need to get to in order for it to happen. The lesser of two evils must be confronted.
He criticized the price set by ERC for the deal with Sanchez: an end to the fiscal deficit, the transfer of Cercanías, and the maintenance of negotiations with Catalonia. It is a referendum for self-determination that even Yolanda Diaz rejects. Do you see the curriculum as realistic?
From the beginning, no one accepts this request. We also did not say that as a result of the inauguration negotiations we can achieve. It must be the result of mobilizing the country. But it is necessary to be ambitious and that is why we are talking about self-determination. In order for people to move again, we have to regain the ambition that we had in 2017. Nobody will give us this, but other, smaller things will not be given up either. The outcome of what Esquerra Republicana negotiated during these years is very poor. Not that they did not give him the right of self-determination or amnesty, not that neither the transfer of ownership of the Rodalies, nor the management of European funds, nor a greater presence of Catalans on the platforms (audio-visual), all negotiated budgets. Therefore, it is not a question of more or less ambitious goals depending on what the Spanish government is willing to give up, but of more or less ambitious goals depending on why our people are ready to mobilize.
As much as they say the conflict is buried, it has not gone away. They, the Spanish state, know that too.
Do you see the independence movement rallying for it?
No, not now, but I think specifically one of CUP’s jobs is to raise that bar and remember we have to get that ambition back. There are courses and we have to accept that we will not always be on top of the crowd, but it is also true that this city has a drive that never goes away. In 2019, 2017 seemed to be forgotten, and mass mobilization began again. This has not gone away. As much as they say the conflict is buried, it has not gone away. They, the Spanish State, also know this, which is why until last week we had hackers in our movement.
To what do you attribute this layoff?
It is the result of the suppression of the referendum. This will be the first reason. The second is some leaderships that did not know how to interact with this circumstance and did not create new scenarios that led the country to a state of demobilization and apathy. The best example of this is the current Generalitat government, which despite being of a formation that has not had a formation since 1939 and thus has reached a historic capacity, is not noticed. It’s a very gray government.
Are you referring to Junqueras and Puigdemont?
I especially point out the management of Junts i Esquerra, yeah, yeah. And I add that we must all do self-criticism, we certainly have not done things well but we must remember that the greater the strength, the greater the responsibility.
What has CUP done wrong in recent years?
People are asking us to be more involved, more engaged, and more visible. There are people who have a feeling that we are not very engaged. I don’t think so, there are strong ramifications; This president because of the votes of the CUP, which participated in the negotiations for the inauguration, whose approval was good in social and national key, but did not come up with anything. But you have to think in terms of the people who say we should be more involved in everything.
In 2018, they prevented the inauguration of Jordi Turol when he was about to go to jail. Is this not a severe blow to the unity of independence?
Perhaps, however, there are two nuances. Turol himself once said that this is a matter of the past, meaning he wouldn’t be caught here for keeping an open wound with CUP. The second is that it came from January 30, from Puigdemont’s failed inauguration. So we feel very cheated. We were vigorously defending his position. There was no programmatic agreement. Until the same day, our four deputies were there to vote for this candidate and no one explained to us why this vote was not given. The anger and disappointment of January 30th, I think, explains why it was so difficult later to turn the vote over to an alternative candidate, which in this case was Jordi Turol.
What criticize Junts?
Junts, I think, is in many ways obscure, in part inheriting the convergent historical obscurity. Yes, he has a more aggressive pro-independence rhetoric than some of his spokespersons, but later we saw that in the Barcelona campaign with Xavier Trias the pro-independence issue disappeared and what Trias did was consolidate the conservative vote against Colo. We see these multiple voices that make us suspect we only have one.
What do you think of the fights between Junts and ERC? Can you work as a mediator?
Yes, we have played that role in some cases. We live the cause of independence as something that is far beyond us as a party. In other words, our goal is not to be a party and gain space as a party and run institutions, but rather our goal is higher, which is how to achieve independence and win social transformations. From this point of view, we believe that the partisan battle is gaining a lot of weight. It should not disappear because everyone has their platform which is normal, but the partisanship that exists within the pro-independence group is excessive.
Some pro-independence sectors asked to abstain from voting, what would you tell them?
We share part of what this refrain expresses. We understand the disappointment and frustration. But we believe we should vote and vote for independence because all that needs to be done, all the self-criticism and rebuilding of the strength of independence, will not be done better if we disappear from institutions. Giving up space to the enemies of the independence movement will not make the duties that the independence movement must perform faster or better. We also believe that if you want to send a message of criticism to the pro-independence parties, vote for CUP also contains this criticism, because the greater the power, the greater the responsibility. Junts and Esquerra had the presidency and the large majority and the CUP did not.
In the recent budget agreement between the Socialists and Isquira we find climate-denying projects.
In the debates of this campaign, he insisted frequently on the climate crisis and at times seemed to be left alone. How do you explain it?
It’s one of the things that worries me the most that I’ve lived through these 15 days. All climatic indicators indicate that we are on our way to a very, very critical situation. These scenarios seem remote to people, but they are not. The ocean water is getting hotter than expected and people say “the hotter the water on the beach”. This is a monstrous imbalance between climate and biodiversity. But this seems like the biblical plague that happens to us outside of our economic and political business and that’s what we struggle to connect with. Making certain economic and political decisions leads us to exacerbate this warming while making others leads us to mitigate it. But arguing that it is a universal truth and that what we stop broadcasting here will be broadcast by someone else, no one makes these decisions. And in the recent balancing agreement between the Socialists and Isquira we find climate-denying projects. On a planet that’s getting hotter, wanting more planes coming in, wanting more water is a Hard Rock model, wanting more trucks to roll in the Fourth Belt is straight climate denial.
You put so much emphasis on mental health, why?
We see that it is an issue that has also disappeared from the political priorities, post-pandemic has managed to put it in the center but it is still completely neglected. Something similar is happening with the issue of the climate emergency. You do not see the political dimension. It’s as if being depressed or suffering from anxiety is a problem for everyone when in reality it’s more about the economy, with the instability, with this lack of hope. This annoyance must be politicized.