Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Teresa Forcades warns that the identity debate could make Rajoy win

EFE/La Vanguardia (English translation by Rebel Girl)
September 9, 2015

Benedictine nun, medical doctor, theologian and promoter of Procés Constituent, Teresa Forcades today warned that making the campaign just about the Catalan identity debate favors the interests of the PP [People's Party] "and could make (Mariano) Rajoy win in the general election."

Forcades requested from the Vatican temporary exclaustration from the monastery where she was living to stand for the Sept. 27 election, but could not do so in the end because Procés Constituent was divided between those who supported the candidacy of Catalunya Sí que es Po and the CUP [Popular Unity Candidacy] ones.

In an interview with EFE one day before the start of the election campaign in which she hasn't been able to participate, Forcades revealed that she will wait to see the political map that remains after the regional elections to decide about her future, "whether or not I return to the monastery," and her participation in politics, although she is still doing the same intellectual work as when she was living in community.

The nun has opined that "you can't substitute elections for a referendum" as Catalan President Artur Mas has done, and she thinks it's "bad news" that the Junts pel Sí candidacy has been formed, because "segregated slates would have allowed us not to forget what kind of country we want; that is a matter that can not be put off until later."

"Moreover, as happened during the Transition, the one who leads a process marks off the field where the game is played," said the nun, who has stated, "I don't trust the separatism of the CDC [Democratic Convergence of Catalonia]."

To Forcades, the ideal scenario in this election would have been to be able to choose between three models for the new country, "the CDC liberal one, ERC's [Republican Left of Catalonia] social democratic one and CUP's anti-capitalist one" and she has acknowledged that her intention when requesting exclaustration was to collaborate on a candidacy that "would unite the national and the social core concepts."

In this regard, she warned that she views the campaign as "poorly focused" because if it focuses on "the identity debate, it helps Rajoy win the general election" and she has announced that Procés Constituent would organize during the campaign debates to encourage talking about social issues.

Forcades, who on the 20th will give a lecture in Philadelphia (USA) on women's ordination and another on the 21st at Princeton University (USA) on the political situation in Spain and Catalonia, has opined that the Podemos circles in Catalonia, "that are neither anti-Catalan nor anti-separatist, have been able to mobilize many citizens."

The nun is also preparing, at the request of a foreign publisher, her first book in English, which has the working title "Freedom and love: A radical manifesto."

Among her tasks is also giving theology classes that she used to give at the monastery and now at the Centro Cultural Bonnemaisson in Barcelona.

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