The proposal of Tabarnia, a constitutionalist state within an independent Catalonia, represents a comic relief to the uncertainty that has been going on since the 21-D
Although the independence movement of JuntsxCat, ERC and the CUP got an absolute majority in the elections, part of the politicians chosen to represent them are in jail, or in exile in Brussels. The situation evidently hinders the formation of the government and the election of the next President of the Generalitat. On the other hand, the opposition led by Ciutadans won the largest number of seats in Parliament, but even joining forces with the PSC and the PP, they do not have an absolute majority to determine the new President on January 17.
A satirical proposal since the beginning, Tabarnia is a political project in which a new state is proposed within the independent Catalonia. Bringing together the names of the cities of Tarragona and Barcelona, the constitutionalist group known as 'Barcelona is not Catalonia', has proposed a project of an autonomous community that can be adhered to Spain. Also, the proposal states that it does not share the same values as the Catalonia of the independence Procés.
The Barcelona is not Catalonia collective was unable to imagine that, this proposal they have been working on in social media since 2015, was to gain strength after the elections of 21-D, becoming a global trending topic between Christmas and New Year. According to figures from the same group, Tabarnia has registered over 648,000 tweets during these dates and has been mentioned in the main national and regional newspapers.
The popularity in social media of the Tabarnia proposal has echoed in the Catalan parliamentarians who are still digesting the results of the 21-D, and who have taken advantage of the satire to defend their political positions. Among the most read tweets on December 26, the day that Tabarnia became a trending topic on Twitter, there was Inés Arrimadas’ "Tabarnia is an occurrence that puts the independence movement in front of the mirror of its own contradictions and of the fragility of their arguments. It is very significant how nervous some people have been".
Although the position of Arrimadas - leader of Ciutadans, the most voted force during the last elections- is that of the opponents of the separatist project, her words hide some true. Tabarnia, an autonomous community that includes the coastal region between Tarragona and Barcelona, is a satirical project that has taken the same arguments used by the independence movement, changing only the name of the state.
Like the Catalans against Spain, the Tabanese feel that their position and identity are not being represented by the policies of a major state (independent Catalonia). Thus, they want to separate themselves from that rest of the community that, according to them, contributes less and counts more.
The Spanish political scientist, Jorge Galindo, has written with great success in his column for El País: "Tabarnia is a joke, yes, but a good one, because it shows that it is impossible to defend independence without going through nationalism" referring to the matrioska effect that leaves separatism in Catalonia.
The proposal of Tabarnia is an anti democratic idea according to Galindo, because it does not have the democratic value of solving conflicts and differences without falling into an irreversible rupture.
According to the electoral results of 21-D, the provinces of Tarragona and Barcelona chose constitutionalism because the most voted forces were Citizens, the PSC and the PP. Moreover, the victories of the independence movement, JuntsxCat and the ERC, were evident in regions such as Girona and Lleida.
Beyond Tabarnia, this political fracture within Catalonia puts into question the Procés and the results of the referendum held in October 2017, although the final results of the elections continue to give the parliamentary majority to the independence movement.
Tabarnia represents a comic departure to these weeks of political tension in which the Spanish State must decide if it will free the imprisoned Catalan politicians, and if it will offer guarantees to Puigdemont to return to Catalonia to form a government.
When it is not clear if the Parliament of Catalonia can be restored and if elected politicians can form a government to define the next President of the Generalitat, satirical proposals fill the gaps left by political uncertainty.
LatinAmerican Post | Laura Delgado
Copy edited by Marcela Peñaloza