ERC leaders vow to ‘win again’ with civil disobedience if referendum isn’t agreed

New book from Republicans presents itself as a “guide to independence”

ERC leaders Marta Rovira and Oriol Junqueras, photographed at the party's National Council in 2017 (by Norma Vidal)
ERC leaders Marta Rovira and Oriol Junqueras, photographed at the party's National Council in 2017 (by Norma Vidal) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

September 6, 2020 12:14 PM

The president of Esquerra Republicana Catalana (ERC), Oriol Junqueras, and general secretary of the entity, Marta Rovira, are committed to civil disobedience and preparing for independence unilaterally if Spain does not agree to allow a referendum on the question. 

Republican leaders defend these ideals in a new book, 'We will win again (And how we will do it)' (in Catalan: Tornarem a vèncer (I com ho farem)), which the Catalan News Agency has had access to and which goes on sale next week. 

The politicians present it as "a handbook for winning" and "a guide to independence." The strategic proposal, drawn up from the "learnings" of 2017, studies how to correct the weaknesses of independence and how to maximize its strengths.

Among the factors that the Republicans outline is needed is "to be an unappealable majority." They lament that "not once has the pro-independence bloc exceeded the threshold of 50% of the vote in a conventional election." Thus, Junqueras and Rovira are committed to "fighting to get more than half of the votes in a sustained manner, repeatedly" and, if possible, in all elections. 

In fact, they believe that this is also vital for the international community to "take the Catalan case seriously." This is one of the weaknesses to be strengthened. 

Calling for agreed referendum

The ERC leaders, one from prison and the other in exile in Switzerland, are betting on concentrating "as much force as possible" in calling for the referendum during the "current phase of the conflict". 

They see three virtues: the first, to unite the majority of Catalan society; the second, the divisions in the Spanish government that causes contradictions, resulting from the different opinion between the Socialists and Podemos; and third, that it is a language that Europe "understands."

“The combination of these three factors means we should continuing in this line, and even more so when the conditions for an effective unilateral declaration of independence are not in place,” they argue.

That is why they demand "drawing up smart strategies in favor of the referendum," building large majorities in Catalonia, and delving into the “contradictions” of the those who believe in democracy in Spain.

In fact, they believe that dialogue is "essential and strategic" and assure that they always maintain their stance of being open to dialogue since, "in itself, it is already an explicit recognition to the existence of a conflict and a political subject." In addition, they believe that the dialogue table between governments has already been "a victory."

Just before the coronavirus crisis gripped the world, the Catalan and Spanish governments had agreed to meet monthly as part of the dialogue table that was one of the conditions for ERC backing Pedro Sánchez as Spanish president. One meeting was held before the state of alarm, but the second is yet to be organised. 

The Republicans also make clear that they are not "allies of the Spanish Socialists" through the new book. "We condition everything on the progress of a political solution to the Catalan conflict." 

In this line, they advocate having a "demanding but constructive" attitude with the Spanish government as long as they believe that progress can be made in a political solution, "and the day we see the doors closed completely and no progress can be made, we will withdraw our support."