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Podemos Congress: The three main positions at Vistalegre II

 
 

By Dick Nichols, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

1)   Recuperar La Ilusión

The political document of Recuperar La Ilusión saw Podemos’s situation as mainly due to its own shortcomings. It said that “the unproductive management of the negotiations over government and the perception of immaturity and arrogance by an important part of our potential electorate explain the results of 26J”.

Podemos had been crude and self-defeating in its tactics towards the PSOE:

Tackling relations with the PSOE in an intelligent, non-religious manner has always been much more productive for Podemos than obsessive negativity and headlong clashes. That approach has been characterised by confronting the PSOE on the least opportune questions and at the least opportune moments, helping its most intransigent sectors dig their people in against political change[1] …The obsession with the Socialist Party has more to do with outstanding [political] debts a part of the left in our country feels it is owed than with the aspirations and ambitions Podemos should have in this new phase.

But what, concretely, was Recuperar La Ilusión proposing? The platform’s political document nowhere addressed the terms on which Podemos should take part in government with its older rival, even while proposing a line of action (“to affirm our clear and unambiguous calling for government”) that immediately begged that question and even while stating that “at the present moment Podemos is losing precious time in not taking advantage of the PSOE’s existential crisis to form a new majority in our country.”

Recuperar La Ilusión’s starting point was that, since “our ideas, our proposals for the country are broadly shared by the citizens, are already hegemonic in society” the task for Podemos was to “convert that widespread social majority into political majority.” A presumable by-product of that process would be a deepening of the crisis of the PSOE, leading to its eventual subordination to a new Spanish political agenda embodied in Podemos. But, again, the document was silent on the tactics towards the PSOE that might help speed that process.

The basic postulate of Recuperar La Ilusión—that Podemos’s ideas already have majority social support—also went with a view of the ruling Spanish PP government of Mariano Rajoy as “weak”.

Our reading of the moment rests on the thesis that we have a government in the Spanish state precisely because the two-party system has broken down [due to the PSOE allowing the PP to govern by its own abstention]. The Rajoy government is weaker than it appears and the crisis of the regime is still open: the proof of that is that for the first time “governability” and “stability of the party system” are contradictory terms. This justifies a basic commitment: Podemos needs to be a political force that is more open, not centred on resistance, but seizing the new opportunities of the new cycle to carry out the tasks of turning itself into a force for government and “people-building” (construir pueblo).[2]

The Errejón current´s nutshell summary of its reading of the political situation and of Podemos’s tasks states:

[W]e find ourselves in a scenario in which we can keep advancing provided that we:

1.     Don’t fritter away any more time, nor believe that the defeat of any of the traditional parties will be forever or that they will do our work for us;

2.     Recover the initiative by showing that we are capable of putting pressure on government, of heading up agreements or of putting issues on the national agenda (energy transition, struggle against sexist violence, social rights, conditions of the self-employed and small business, young people in exile, etc) which show that we are a coming political force with leadership capacity, at the same time as creating a new state of political affairs and generating certainties and assurances;

3.     Recognise that within the institutions we cannot just call for the advent of change, but show ourselves to be useful now, given that if they want to trap us and hem us in in parliament we have to break out of the circle by showing more and better initiative;

4.     Recover an inclusive message that leaves the right/left tickets labels behind—not in order to give anything up but because it understands that popular unity is more ambitious, radical and change-inducing than the unity of the left: of course it includes the traditional left, but it goes beyond;

5.     Recover the ability to engage with and attract the most varied sectors: we can’t be a political force that is de facto associated with specific social, geographical and age profiles, that willingly shuts itself off, talking only to the sectors most battered by the crisis: rather we need to recover the line of a patriotic people’s force, that talks to people without asking where they are coming from;

6.     Reaffirm our clear and unambiguous calling for government. This isn’t just a question of words, but of our practice: we’re the people who represent a new order as against the shambles and bungling of the powers-that-be, we bring good practice and certainty instead of the fear and uncertainty generated by the rulers: we need to behave as if we were already putting into practice the country that is emerging and of which we shall be in charge. We shall only govern if Spain beforehand can imagine us governing. This has nothing to do with any concession towards the form and content of the traditional parties. Historically, nothing has frightened the powers-that-be less than noisy minority protest. And nothing has caused them more anxiety than projects capable not only of expressing people’s outrage but of winning their confidence. The only force that is radical is one capable of winning power in order to implement change. To have their second transition the oligarchs require an impotent, folkloric left. The only force that can deepen and successfully complete the process of unrestricted change and frustrate restoration is a broad popular movement that’s inclusive and democratic. Against the strength of rulers should be counterposed not the left but the majority of the ruled, in all their motley heterogeneity.

To turn the assumed social majority into more conscious and organised political majority Recuperar La Ilusión proposed the processes of “building a people” (construir pueblo) and “making a homeland” (hacer patria). These were to be centred on showing by good work in the institutions (examples—laws guaranteeing transparency in government and LGBTI rights) what a Podemos government would be like, combined with building ever wider networks of support involving civil society institutions, social movements and progressive councils such as those in Barcelona and Madrid.

The document saw the main two paths of advance against the oligarchy and its parties in Podemos articulating first “a set of measures that are useful and able to be debated in the here and now and which enable us to isolate the PP in parliament and socially” and, secondly, “the main axes of a democratic transformation of the State, sketching out the new accord for the country we want”.

The “useful measures” spelled out in Recuperar La Ilusión are a summation of the most important policy proposals of Podemos and Unidos Podemos: modernisation of the economy on the basis of ecological conversion; a tax policy based on social and environmental need and funded by those who can afford to pay more; democratisation and feminisation of the economy and the welfare system with Sweden as an implicit benchmark; a new model of Spanish state based on recognition of its plurinationality, re-empowerment of neglected rural Spain, and “democratic reconstruction from the municipal level”; promotion of a “popular feminism” aimed at making gender equality a reality in all spheres; a plan to deepen citizen participation in decision-making and administration; and the heading from Spain of the creation of a new solidarity-based project for the peoples of Europe, with the goal of developing a “democratic alternative to austerity” at the 2019 European elections.

2)   Podemos En Movimiento

The position most counterposed to that of Recuperar La Ilusión came from Podemos En Movimiento. The differences embraced:

·      The nature of the period. Instead of a weak Rajoy government and a political vacuum that Podemos could readily occupy with an inclusive approach, Podemos En Movimiento saw “a political and social moment marked by the provisional resolution of the crisis of ‘governability’ and the tendency towards the polarisation of the situation between, on the one hand, a grand coalition of parties of the regime and, on the other, the Unidos Podemos space--all in the context of a worrying demobilisation of the popular classes in the face of continuing austerity policies and the threat of further social cuts.”

A major factor in the collapse of social resistance was the marginal presence of the “labour-union conflict in this latest political cycle…corresponding to the political weakening of the labour movement in its classic forms.”

·      The impossibility of a return to the situation before the 2008 crisis. Without mentioning Errejón by name, Podemos En Movimiento directly polemicised with the perspectives and projections of Recuperar La Ilusión:

“In one part of Podemos and the movements for change (above all in those of a ‘populist’ mould, however that’s defined), there exists a not entirely explicit interpretation that points to a possible return to pre-crisis conditions or, at least, to the recovery of the basic social core of Spanish democracy with its roots in the middle classes. It’s along this line that the appeals to a moderate and frightened social mass are to be understood, a mass open to small regeneracionista[3] reforms but not to deep-going changes, let alone substantial transformations of the social and political structure.

“The paradigmatic feature of this line is the search for the ‘social majority’ in accordance with the catch-phrase ‘the missing ones’. Which means, translated into social terms, the (improbable) restoration of the middle class as the political axis of the country; in political terms, the defence of the meritocracy as guarantee of an ‘ordered’ society and state; and in historical terms, acceptance of the Transition [from the Franco dictatorship] as a basically positive development.”

·      The heart of the construction of social majorities for change lies in revived struggle. Rather than Recuperar La Ilusión’s vision for Podemos as not “centred on resistance”, the Anti-capitalist-sponsored platform made the recovery of struggle the indispensable precondition of constructing social majorities capable of reversing neo-liberal austerity and the anti-democratic Spanish state.

“The building of Podemos entails recognising those factors that are not simply electoral but which, precisely because anchored in forms of struggle, can achieve the construction of a consistent alternative political subject. Examples of this sort have been expressed in many ways during this political cycle, mainly in the defence of social rights and as prototypes of new forms of unionism like the PAH [Mortgage Victims’ Platform], but also in forms that combine trade union elements with the struggle for rights, like the Tides[4] …That’s why the issue is not to deny the social fracture that the crisis has produced…but to acknowledge it as a sphere of real conflict. It should be the site for the self-constitution of a social bloc based on the working and subordinate classes—the middle classes in crisis, the new casual labour of the metropolitan centres and the industrial working class, as well as broad sectors of public sector workers still enjoying certain (but ever shrinking) rights and stability of employment.

For Podemos En Movimiento, the process of creating majorities for change—in which the more organised sections of the working class, the poor and the victimised act as pole of attraction for all “those below”—had to pass along two channels: “a social project based on the redistribution of wealth” that converts the economic resources presently in the hands of a few into common property and “the democratisation of society” that moves towards ever more participatory and transparent forms of administration, both in public institutions and the workplace.

Progress towards majorities required “broadening the area of social experiences that generate a common identity, critical of the regime and of neo-liberalism, that is, winning ‘the missing ones’ through the advance of shared social experiences and not by diluting program or mimicking [the program of others].”

From this perspective, Podemos En Movimiento proposed a distrustful orientation to the PSOE (“a mere instrument of neoliberalism”) and a dialogue with its disaffected ranks alone.

[This] is not based on trying to reproduce the social democracy but to overtake in the perspective of a break with capitalism, by giving a certain sense of acknowledgement to those who feel themselves to be socialists at heart. To consciously appeal to that sector open to abandoning the old reformism…[This is] a long-term task that will require firmness and a capacity for dialogue, refusing to take part in governments headed by this party and situating it in the bloc of the regime, but extending a hand to its social bases.

The document is silent about the conditions under which Anti-capitalists think Podemos should be prepared to govern with the PSOE.[5]

Podemos En Movimiento’s programmatic proposals are framed by the need for Podemos to learn from the destiny of the Greek SYRIZA government at the hands of the anti-democratic, austerity-enforcing European institutions (hardly mentioned in the other two documents):

The evolution of SYRIZA (which raised such hopes in many parts of Europe) leaves those of us committed to escaping from the labyrinth of austerity and “debt government” with one basic lesson: a strategy of negotiation and, in the last analysis, accommodation to the European treaties is a path that would condemn us (and a possible Podemos government also) to submission and permanent blackmail.

Podemos En Movimiento’s proposals were therefore set in the framework of “building a European movement capable of defying the EU institutions and of undertaking a process of reconstituting and refounding the European project. A movement whose basic task is to confront austerity, the ‘dictatorship of debt’ and the reactionary and xenophobic outbursts that the neoliberal project facilitates.”

The distinctive programmatic points of the platform were the proposal for a public debt moratorium and citizens’ debt audit, reduction in the working week, promotion of Europe-wide policies on debt and public investment and the creation of a monetary authority to prepare, if necessary, Spanish exit from the Euro and the formation of a new monetary space covering “economies committed to solidarity-based development”.

Another distinctive feature of the Podemos En Movimiento position was the need to “organise disobedience” against the European Commission’s financial constraints, imposed on the regions and municipalities through the central Spanish government. According to spokesperson Miguel Urban, interviewed in the February 2 edition of Público:

We cannot wait to win elections to propose disobedience against the Europe of austerity, we have to put forward proposals now. We run a lot of councils: Why not create a network of councils to disobey the expenditure ceiling on so as to be able to cover the social needs of neighbours? Then an alternative starts to become visible that allows for the satisfaction of people’s needs as well as the undermining of austerity…I propose an organised, popular, collective disobedience, base on self-organisation and empowerment, not only so as to defend rights but to win new rights.

3)   Podemos Para Todas

The political document supported by Podemos Para Todas (“Plan 2020—defeating the PP, ruling Spain, building rights”) was different in approach from both Recuperar La Ilusión and Podemos En Movimiento. It was written as a statement by Iglesias himself, although acknowledging the contributions of many—including supporters of the other main documents—and in a simpler style directed at the average Podemos member; it highlighted no specific programmatic proposals different from those adopted by Vistalegre I and for the 2014-2016 cycle of elections.

The document, which was written as a (failed) attempt to create a single united position, focused on assessing Podemos’s role in the politics of the Spanish state, in particular in the period of blockage from the December 20, 2015 elections until the installation of the second Rajoy government last October, and on winning the 2019 regional and municipal elections and the 2020 general elections. It restricted its engagements with the two other main documents to differences that bore on the achievement of these goals.

In general, Podemos Para Todas occupied a middle position between the two other poles in the discussion, agreeing in the main now with one side now the other, On the issues over which there had been most dispute it made these points:

·      Rejection of the PSOE-Citizens government. “Our members showed clearly that they did not accept this option (which, nonetheless, generated legitimate doubts within sectors of the State Citizens Council in a debate that had had a precedent some months before, on the possibility of supporting the investiture of [PSOE leader] Susana Diaz in Andalusia and in which our organisation and the Andalusian membership took a correct decision, in my opinion.)”

·      Mistakes made in the run-to 26J. “During this period we suffered considerable wear and tear, made mistakes and the writer of this document committed errors (among which was the failure to communicate our proposal [for a left government] well, not knowing how to get the message across that we were perfectly serious when we proposed to govern jointly with the PSOE.”

·      Assessment of 26J. “Maybe we made mistakes in a campaign in which we sounded less credible than at other times, but we not only maintained our number of seats, but also helped to create a large plural political space in which diverse identities and styles and different organisations can live together and complement each other. Had we stood in the 26J elections in the same terms as in 2015 our results would have been worse. “Unity, unity, unity” was one of the most repeated demands during those months and, as such, it would have been very difficult to explain why if we shared the same program [with IU] we did not stand together. Again, it was you the members of Podemos who marked the way forward and thanks to that we have been fulfilling one of the mandates we took on at our formation—to unite the forces for change.”

·      Strength of the PP government. “It is not true that the PP’s is a weak government, despite not commanding a parliamentary majority. As journalist Enric Juliana said, in this legislature we would be seeing [between the PP and PSOE] punch-ups for the Congress public gallery by day combined with strategic deals by night. And that’s what we are seeing. The PSOE not only handed government to the PP, but didn’t even want to reach an agreement with us and the Catalan parties so that the PP and Citizens didn’t control the speakership panel. The PSOE has allowed the PP government to comfortably skip the decisions of Congress with regard to the minimum wage and energy poverty [preventing electricity being cut off to households unable to meet power bills], acting as little more than the government’s ministry of social camouflage.”

·      Meaning of the 1978 transition. The document did not enter into the still-alive debate on the Spanish left as to whether a more favourable post-Franco transition than that negotiated between the anti-dictatorship forces (basically led by the Communist Party) and a wing of the dictatorship was possible. Rather, it summarised the political essence of the Transition--maintenance of the monarchy, a two-party system, capitalist economy, fake federalism and NATO membership--and its impact on popular consciousness:

“The electoral system, the role of the king, the creation of the Senate as a chamber useless except to block constitutional reform, the politicisation of the legal system, the provincial subordination to German strategy for Europe and the economic and financial structure favouring the big economies: all this is the legacy of a Transition where the desire of the popular sectors and the middle classes to escape the dictatorship was met at the price of Spain being one of the countries with least social spending, with most impunity for the elites of the dictatorship and with the biggest role for fear in political discussion. It was normal in that context, after forty years of terror and with armed forces in which democratic officers were persecuted (and which maintained their loyalty to the crown over and above any loyalty to democracy) that fear was a basic operational force in politics and conditioned the approach and strategies of the leaders of the democratic opposition.”

The Spain of that transition has, especially after the 2008-crisis, entered into conflict with the aspirations and values of new generations. “The Spain of the XXI century experiences naturally and with fraternity that ours is a plurinational state and isn’t afraid of referendums (always an indicator of the health of democracy), nor the forms of direct democracy, nor of a more democratic participation in political parties. Podemos, with all our limits and mistakes, has undoubtedly been an example of political organisation most like the new society that is emerging.”

·      Where to look for “the missing ones”. “It is necessary to maintain a balance between holding on to the faithful and attracting the absent. Podemos has always known how to make contact with broad sections of society with different levels of social commitment. It shouldn’t only attend to the convinced nor should it speak deceitfully so as to attract other sectors…we are missing various millions who don’t identify with us and to whom we cannot lie by hiding our political proposals; that’s why Podemos needs to articulate a project for the country and bring more people together in its name.”

The heart of the Podemos Para Todas proposal to construct a social bloc capable of defeating the PP-Citizens-PSOE (the “triple alliance”) was not only a set of alternative policies but a “new social project for Spain” with the potential to win mass support. It would be based squarely on defending the interests of the social majority “that has suffered from the policies of plunder”.

[W]e must be capable of understanding that this is only possible on the basis of the leading role of the popular sectors that are making headway in the forging of a people without fear and able to twist the arm of the élites. That is, today we must put all our resources--institutional, political and organisational—at the service of articulating a new popular will (emphasis in original).

On the relation between social struggle and work in the institutions, Podemos Para Todas was closer to the Podemos En Movimiento position that creating a majority for its politics required renewed social resistance:

We must keep putting popular demands on the political agenda, but we also have to be able to take part in achieving concrete victories that show people’s capacity to build power from below…If stopping an eviction is a win for people, being a tool for those sectors that are defending their rights must facilitate more popular victories that consolidate the bloc for change. We will gain if those wins are not Podemos’s, but of the social, the people’s bloc…Podemos started with the understanding that there had to be a move from the street into the institutions, but also understanding that never in history have changes for the majority been registered without drive from citizens (emphasis in original).

The post-crisis period of social struggle had also been at the root of the 2015 victories of the “Councils of Change” in major Spanish cities. Their work was invaluable because it “sets the political pace” and “convincingly shows our ability to govern with, by and for the people”:

The municipal administrations in which Podemos (along with our allies) takes part is where the boldest, most successful and innovative public initiatives in recent times have unfolded. In each Council of Change we are showing from day to day that we are prepared to face the challenge of governing soundly and consistently, since it is in the difficult and complex work of daily municipal politics that we are manifesting an enormous ability to reconcile, with imagination and without complexes, economic success with policies guaranteeing social rights.

A vital element in guaranteeing advance would be Podemos beginning to act in the Spanish parliament as a government alternative, offering “as if we are going to govern tomorrow” an alternative government program for 2020.

It’s enough to follow the sessions of parliament to confirm that Unidos Podemos is the force that the PP identifies as its main rival in the Congress and the Senate. That’s why we have the huge responsibility of putting forward, in each and every sphere, policies distinct from the practice of the government and its allies (declared and virtual). The parliamentary opposition task of Unidos Podemos is thus sketched against the background of the unstable arithmetic of the forces that keep the PP in government: without the support of Unidos Podemos, neither the government’s permanent ally [Citizens] nor its intermittent ally [PSOE] can propose policies alternative to the PP’s that manage to unite sufficient parliamentary support.

However, that state of parliamentary instability among the parties of the opposition shouldn’t be confused with any supposed weakness on the part of the present government. The elites’ pact (the Triple Alliance) to prevent any possibility of a Government of Change in which Podemos would be present forces them to support the present ministry: that’s why our political activity in both the Congress and the Senate will have to make clear the contradictions between the government’s message and that of its allies.

In that sense, we have to organise our parliamentary activity as a demonstration of strength, to make use of our representation as an unmistakable expression of a different politics. This approach will: project itself as real and concrete government alternative, without falling into tactical game-playing or party-centred opportunism; maintain our programmatic coherence, showing that Podemos is the parliamentary instrument of the social and popular bloc for change; and go forward by anticipating what our activity in government will be during the next legislature.

In this framework Podemos Para Todas took up the apparently fraught issue of the relation between “the institutions” and “the street”, maintaining that “no basic contradiction exists between movement and institution” but rather “a relationship of varying intensity that fluctuates in function of the general political moment”. Podemos faced a double danger:

If we subordinate ourselves to the institutional dynamic, we will liquidate ourselves: and if, on the other hand, we limit ourselves to known and already covered ground, we will rule ourselves out [from taking needed political initiatives]. The dialectic between movement and institution (a permanently unstable equilibrium) never ends, but must work to advance the transformation and the overcoming of the present institutional order. That’s why we must carry on building the historical social and popular bloc—that union of different social sectors that comes together because they coincide in their diagnosis of the problem, of their interests and of their goals—doing politics in the institutions and in the non-institutional public sphere at the same time.

To achieve government Podemos Para Todas outlined these tasks: to represent the demands and aspirations of the most organised sectors while attracting extensive unrepresented social layers; to maintain and extend the experience of the confluences in which Podemos participates in Galicia, the Valencian Country and Catalonia (“guarantee of being able to articulate a broad network” and achieve “unity in diversity”); to eliminate any resemblance between Podemos and the “old parties” while aspiring to become a force of 1 million members and 100,000 activists; to increase implantation at the municipal and , especially, rural levels; to carry out a decentralisation of decision-making towards the Podemos circles and regional organisations; and to “depatriarchise” Podemos by “working to overcome masculine dynamics based on competitive aggressiveness…replacing them with alternatives that, far from avoiding conflict or adopting a naïve belief in some ideal of total consensus, commit to understanding the other person’s point of view and to a more patient approach in the search for inclusive forms of management, including of disagreement and dissent.”

All of which, concluded Podemos Para Todas as it warned of some phenomena of “the old parties” which had appeared in Podemos’s own internal life, requires Podemos officeholders and elected representatives to see themselves not as politicians but as “people doing politics”.

Differences on organisation

Inevitably, the political differences in the three main platforms at Vistalegre II were expressed in differing proposals on how, and how far, Podemos should decentralise and the precise redistribution of powers this process should involve.

For Miguel Urban, interviewed by Público, the two majority documents presented at Vistalegre II represented a partial but still inadequate step forward. They all contained

a series of common-sense proposals that were in the minority before…everybody now talks, with more passion or less, about internal democracy, participation, giving more power to the circles ; there’s a return to talking about a certain decentralisation and, to a degree, about proportional representation…[however] in this case people have gone much farther in their talk than in what was later captured in proposals.

For Urban the proposals of both Podemos Para Todas and Recuperar La Ilusión were insufficient, displacing power to the regional structures but not enough to the circles, municipalities and the rank-and-file “which are the indispensable elements”. In addition, “It’s key that the people who take part in the circles have the ability to decide; that they can have their own finances, take decisions and carry them out.”

Other points of dispute were how candidate lists for Spanish general elections should be decided—by all-Spanish primaries or by primaries at the level of the autonomous communities—and how best to guarantee the neutrality and impartiality of the Commission of Guarantees (Control Commission), critised by the Errejonist sector for its interventions in the election for the Madrid regional leadership (in November 2016).

An important point shared by Podemos En Movimiento and Recuper la Ilusión was the proposal to remove the power of the general secretary to call membership ballots without first submitting any such proposal to the State Citizens Council, a power that has allowed Iglesias to appeal to the membership directly.

On the use of Podemos’s resources, Urban said:

I think we need to slim down the structure of the party, it’s too big. We have a party that’s too dependent on public resources, in which the contributions of the people    progressively count for less in our own financing, and that’s a problem, it makes us like the classical parties. I believe we have to share the resources, that we don’t need 140 workers in Princesa [the Podemos training centre]. We need people more out in the regions, more doing   the work of sectoral and territorial implantation, of putting roots down outside the organisation. And we need more resources to support the new cycle of social mobilisations that can confront this grand coalition of PP, PSOE and Citizens.

With the victory of Podemos Para Todas, a proposal that leaves many such questions of organisation as discretionary has been adopted, and how much and what type decentralisation gets implemented in reality will become clear from the practice of the new leadership. An early test will come with the request from the November Citizens’ Assembly of Andalusia, which voted to be allowed to set up Podemos Andalusía as a legal and financial entity separate to Podemos at the all-Spanish level. Other regional Podemos organisations (Catalonia, La Rioja, Navarra and Asturias) are set to follow in Podemos Andalusia’s footsteps.

Notes

[1] This is a reference to Iglesias’s attack on the creation by the PSOE government of prime minister Felipe González of the Anti-terrorist Liberation Groups (GAL), used to hunt down supposed members of the military-terrorist organisation Basque Homeland and Freedom (ETA). GAL buried its victims in quick lime so that the accelerated decomposition of their bodies would make identification more difficult. Iglesias referred to “Felipe González of the quick lime” in a session of the Spanish parliament, provoking outrage on the PSOE benches.

 

[2] Construir Pueblo is the term used by Errejón, coined by Argentinian political theorist Ernesto Laclau, for the process of constructing a counter-hegemony to that of the ruling élites. University of Málaga Economics lecturer and Recuperar La Ilusión supporter Alberto Montero told the web-based publication El Independiente before Vistalegre II that construir pueblo means «identifying everything that unites us and reinforcing the ties of solidarity and community...and recovering the institutions for citizens.» For a full exposition see Podemos: In the Name of the People, the English-language version of Errejón’s Spanish-language conversation with Chantal Mouffe (details here).

[3] The Regereracionista movement arose in Spain after its losses in the wars of 1898 of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. It sought to understand the roots of, and find cures for, the decadence of Spanish society and polítics under the Borbon Restoration (1974-1831), giving rise to both left-progressive and right-authoritarian ideological and political corrents. “Regeneracionista” is a term applied to reforms that present as radical but leave the essence of the staus quo untouched.

 

[4] The reference is to the marea blanca (“white tide”, in defence of the public health system) and marea verde (“green tide”, in defence of public education. See here and here for coverage of their struggles).

 

[5] Podemos has, at the regional level, so far agreed to take part in a coalition government with the PSOE (Canary Islands), allowed PSOE governments to form as an alternative to the PP but only supported them from outside (Extremadura, Valencian Country, Castilla-La Mancha, Aragón, Balearic Islands) and refused to support the formation of PSOE governments, leaving it to seek support elsewhere (in Asturias from IU, and in Andalucía from Citizens).

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