What are we playing at?
11 de julio de 2019

Juan and Marco have planned to play this afternoon. Both respect the rules of the game. Thereupon, Antonio arrives and also wants to join them, so Juan and Marco include him. However, little by little, they realize that Antonio is changing the rules and end up playing something that, even do is called as in the beginning, it differs from the original game. Marco tries to retake the initial model, but Juan does not show himself very convinced. So much so that he prefers to have Antonio as a playmate, even though, in principle, he planned his afternoon with his first partner.

We have already seen what has happened in Navarre. Several headlines said: «Spain is played in Navarre”. Pablo Casado –the Popular Party leader– himself told Pedro Sánchez —socialist leader— recently that he still had time to retract himself when it comes to selling Navarre. There is still no government agreement, but one thing has remained clear: the Socialist Party of Navarre (PSN onwards) is more willing to come to terms with the parties that flirt with dismantle the constitutional order than with the centre-right.

For the PSN there are two options in this game of alliances: support someone who, being its contrary, does respect the constitutional order, or receive the support of someone who tries to destroy it from within. Analysing this dilemma with a vision of the State, it would be appropriate to support the political forces that want to remain in the current constitutional order. The option that wants to be in the game should prevail over the one that tries to dislocate it. This would mean accepting the right-wing as an opponent in the perpetual agon, the political struggle. Recognize it as a partner with whom to negotiate and not as an opponent to destroy.

However, the attitude of the PSN in this situation is quite different. They think of the right-wing as an enemy to eliminate. Navarra+ —the centre-right coalition— is not even considered as a perpetual opponent, but as something outdated, a remnant of the past that must be abandoned. They are not worthy to govern, but to be overcome in favour of their idea of progress; or, as much, to be asked for three abstentions to make possible a left-wing government.

In this way, the attitude of the PSN, and of the left wing at the national scope, is the one described by the philosopher of law Carl Schmitt. The Socialist Party is in the friend-enemy dynamic. The enemy must be destroyed; that is the only possible attitude before him, which means the rejection of any kind of dialogue. This position turns the left wing into the most dogmatic. Curious paradox, if the «conservatives» are supposed to be the dogmatic…

This left-wing has not grasped the meaning of democracy nor its functioning, since it prefers to reach an agreement with those who seek to break down the established framework than with those who are their opposite inside that framework. Such is the hatred of the right that leads them to do whatever it takes to prevent it from reaching power. This animosity is evidenced by their speech when they affirm that their forces «will never agree with the right» or, in the words of Chivite —the socialist leader in Navarre—: the right «does anything to achieve power or stay in it». And what is the PSN doing but juggling to govern? And, is it a sufficient point of union with Geroa Bai, Izquierda-Ezkerra or Podemos its sole opposition to the centre-right? Without considering the possible abstention of EH-Bildu, which will also cost a price…

On the other hand, the centre-right wing has no intention of cornering and destroying the left. In the past, it may have had this excluding dialectical character, but the present one does not manifest it with the favourable positions to this constitutional order. If the other position accepts the current framework, this right is willing to play with it. In fact, given Chivite’s ambiguous statement about the three abstentions, Navarra+ is willing to represent them, as long as the PSN does not make an agreement with EH-Bildu. This gesture talks in favour of the centre-right and its vision of the State. It is disposed to give up its power (being the majority, which is not a trivial matter) in order to achieve a stable government in the region. What the centre-right is not willing to accept is the change of the rules while playing. This right-wing does not consider the left evil or ignorant. It would never want to destroy the left but negotiate with it. For that reason, the centre-right has extended its hand to the Socialist Party to receive its support in Navarre as the most voted force. The same petition that Sánchez asks to the right in the Congreso de los Diputados, appealing to political responsibility, and that he does not want to do in Navarre. It seems that Navarra+ is more willing than the PSN to this cession… So, who best personifies Chivite’s phrase about the right that «does anything to get power or stay in it»? Would not she be talking about her ideology without realizing it?

In conclusion, I am not sure if I subscribe to that headline: «Spain is played in Navarre». I’m not a friend of apocalyptic tone phrases. As Georges Duby states in the title of his book: History continues (1991). Although the French historian applied the concept of continuity to another issue, I consider that it also serves these questions. Precisely because I believe in the perpetual agon, political confrontation, this performance of the PSN is far from being an end. However, it is a milestone in the disastrous way of doing politics in Spain over the last years. It is one more action in the complete marasmus of national politics that does not decide which game it wants to play. Without a shadow of a doubt, that is where I find the real danger. There is a real problem when part of the participants is ascribed to the rules of the political game, but actually negotiate with those who wish to transform it from within, to prevent the other force from ruling. The framework becomes fickle and fluid. When it exists the possibility of violating the foundations of a well-constituted democracy, without an immediate legal consequence, it generates an insane internal and external instability. That is what the PSN should consider, in a long-term view that seeks national stability, and not working with such an effort for the destruction of its political opponent.

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