In its document “Clarifying the political phase and the strategy”, published in October 2009, the abertzale left analyses past negotiation attempts and its successes and failures in order to guide a redirection of its policy. It asserts that:

The internal cohesion of the Abertzale left was not enough in the beginning [of the process]. There were again different points of view even with respect to the meaning of the process. For some, the ceasefire initiative was premature. The main element at the time of implementing the process was left in the air because there was no clarification of the path to be followed by political agents which would lead to a political agreement, which was left in the hands of the enemy. If that wasn’t enough, the fact that from the first moment the Government did not fulfil its part of the agreement increased the distrust. For others, the cease-fire had to be definitive and was necessary to support the process, avoiding stalemate situations. According to this point of view, instead of sustaining the process in ETA and in the factual leadership of the armed struggle, it had to be sustained in the social initiative and in the leadership of Batasuna. Nevertheless, it is necessary to recognize that we did not take the steps necessary to activate all citizens.

According to the current analysis:

Having neutralized the attempt of assimilation on the part of the state, opening a negotiation process demanded a strategic analysis. We didn’t do it. As a consequence, there were some erroneous interpretations which increased the instability of the process.

There are nowadays, according to this analysis, positive consequences of this process:

• The political character of the process. This was the main achievement that established the basis for an agreement between ETA and the Government, and where the nature of the debate of the successive conversations has been placed. (…) The political content of the conflict was identified and its resolution specified, also publicly through a political event organised in the Anaitasuna sports arena. This increased the necessity of a negotiated solution and a political exit to the conflict.

• The struggle in Euskal Herria was internationalized, which could be a future asset.(…)

• The responsibility of PNV was clarified after its alignment with the Spanish Government. Next, the failed attempt of Ibarretxe (to propose a popular consultation with some of the contents of the process) demonstrated once again their corrupt behaviour.

There were also failures and mistakes recognized in the debate process:

• The responsibility for the failure of the process, to a great extent, lay on the Spanish government in the first few months although as the time went by, this situation changed. In that sense, it is enough observing the results obtained by PSN and PSE in the last elections, to realize that the Basque society did not make them responsible for the end of the ceasefire.

• With respect to the end of the cease-fire, the idea that it was ended with the same speed
that it was started has been going on in many people’s heads.
• Thus, with conviction that conditions for a political change did not exist, the idea that the Abertzale left was condemned to a long phase of confrontation was taking hold. In a way, the democratic process could not be rebuilt or built again from scratch so Abertzale left was replicating the scheme that came out after the failure of the negotiations of Algiers. Apparently, we had not realised why and for what we had initiated the democratic process. We have not realised that it was more than continuing the advance and building the foundations for another time. We have not sufficiently internalised the fact that we are at time of making specific political changes, and it forces us to make some changes to our mental frame.

According to this debate promoted during the last months of 2009:

It would be a mistake to forget the work carried out during the last years, as well as to exclude references that should be unavoidable. We live times of hard confrontation, but we must realise that Abertzale left is also in the political phase in which we must achieve the political change and reach a democratic frame. In that sense; we must say that there are necessary conditions to generate a strategic accumulation of forces so later we will reach the Basque state. The necessary conditions exist to take a decisive step in the liberation process and to open a new cycle, although this implies the necessity to adapt the political and organizational tools. With all this, the national liberation struggle has reached to the phase of concretisation, and it would be an enormous lack of responsibility not face it in an adequate manner.

Epilogue: current state of play and new strategy of the abertzale left