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Spanish state: Forward Andalusia refounded as home of the Andalusist left

 

 

By Dick Nichols

July 21, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On June 26, in a theatre with a panoramic view of Granada’s Alhambra, the refoundation congress took place of Forward Andalusia, a political force with the ambition to be “an instrument for the emancipation of the Andalusian people” (words of newly elected spokesperson Teresa Rodríguez). The congress adopted three documents, on political line, feminism and organisation, completing a six-month-long reconstruction of Forward Andalusia as common home of the Andalusist left.

Launched last December by the coalition’s four affiliate organisations — Andalusian Spring (PA), Andalusist Left (IA), Defending Andalusia (DA) and Anticapitalists Andalusia — this process took the form of a “bottom-up” public discussion called “Andalusia Doesn’t Surrender!” Over 2000 participants across the eight provinces of Spain’s southernmost mainland region got involved in the exchange, which took place in 26 local organising centres. 

Spain: PSOE ‘pardons’ Catalan political prisoners to better fight Catalan rights

 

 

By Dick Nichols

July 1, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Who is that attacking Catalonia’s Catholic bishops and the Spanish Confederation of Employer Organisations (CEOE), Spanish big capital’s peak body? An anarchist? An indignado? No, try the other end of the political spectrum: it’s Pablo Casado, leader of the conservative opposition People’s Party (PP).

Ever since news of the impending pardon of the nine Catalan leaders imprisoned over the October 1, 2017 independence referendum became public knowledge in late May, the PP leader has been up in arms, determined to stop anyone, no matter how rich or how holy, from approving Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez’s plan for early release of those who flouted Spain’s unity.

On June 21, the PP leader sounded the direst of warnings about this decision of the ruling Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and Unidas Podemos (UP). The goal of the criminal alliance supporting the pardon — Sánchez, UP and “the nationalists” — was the destruction of Spain and the PP.

Catalonia: Coalition government formed after prospect of mass disaffection forces independence parties into agreement

 

 


By Dick Nichols

May 25, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On May 17,with negotiations over forming a Catalan government bogged down and a repeat election looming, the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and Together for Catalonia (Junts) reached an unexpected agreement for coalition government. Hammered out in two days of secret meetings between ERC national coordinator Pere Aragonès and jailed Junts national secretary Jordi Sànchez, the accord was ratified on May 19 by the ERC National Council and by a plebiscite of Junts members (83% to 17%).

Four days later, the 135-seat Catalan parliament voted 74 to 61 to invest Aragonès as premier (president) of the Catalan government (the Generalitat). As the ERC’s lead candidate in the February 14 Catalan elections, he will head a 14-member cabinet made up half-and-half by the appointments of the two parties. Catalonia’s third pro-independence force, the radical People’s Unity List (CUP), voted to invest the government but not to participate in it.

Spanish state: behind the hard right’s win in the Community of Madrid

 

 

By Dick Nichols

May 11, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — It is far too early to be confident about whether the overwhelming victory of the right and far right in the May 4 Community of Madrid election is a harbinger of things to come in the Spanish state.

That the result marks a turn of the political tide is, of course, the hope and forecast of the victorious right-wing People’s Party (PP) and the racist far-right Vox. Just as inevitably, the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and the forces to its left—the Greens-like More Madrid and the radical Unidas Podemos (UP)—desire and predict that this apparent surge of reaction will prove to be a short-lived, Madrid-specific, nightmare.

Irrespective of which of the tendencies revealed on May 4 turn out to be long-lasting or fleeting, we need to register them and ask why they emerged.

Forming government after the Catalan elections: Who is left? Who is right?

 

 

By Dick Nichols

March 19, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The standard political terms “right” and “left” originally grouped supporters and opponents of the French monarchy according to their place in the National Assembly born of the 1789 Revolution: monarchists sat to the right of the speaker, revolutionaries to the left. Since then, the terms have been used to classify parties and elected representatives according to their attitude to the prevailing political order. 

These necessary words must be used with great care when that order is constituted by a multinational state that denies the right of self-determination to its various peoples, as in the case of the Kingdom of Spain. Politics in states like Spain is a minefield because it operates on a double axis: it moves “left and right” along the scale of social and class interests but also “up and down” the scale running from full recognition to total rejection of the right of stateless peoples to choose their relation to the regime ruling over them.

Spanish state: the Catalan February 14 election backgrounded

 

 

By Dick Nichols

February 12, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The issue must have been serious to persuade Salvador Illa, Spain’s minister for health, to leave that critical job just as the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic was approaching its peak. 

It was. For Illa’s party, the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), which runs the Spanish government with Unidas Podemos (UP) as junior partner, the Catalan independence movement’s still undefeated threat to Spain’s territorial unity is a graver concern than any virus—even one that has so far claimed 60,000 lives.

Spanish state: Bulk of Forward Andalusia MPs expelled from their caucus — just desserts for turncoats or pre-emptive purge? 

 

 

By Dick Nichols 

January 3, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On the morning of October 27, Maribel Mora, representative on the Parliament of Andalusia’s speakership board of radical left coalition Forward Andalusia, got a nasty surprise: minutes before the board was due to meet in the capital Sevilla, Inmaculada Nieto, spokesperson for the coalition’s parliamentary caucus, rang Mora to say that she would be asking the board to expel eight MPs from their 17-member group for being “defectors”. If most MPs from the other parties on the board voted for expulsion, the eight Forward Andalusia representatives would be reclassified as “unassigned”. 

Spain: a budget for an ecological, feminist and socially just recovery?

 

 

By Dick Nichols

November 20, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The Spanish government of Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) prime minister Pedro Sánchez and Unidas Podemos (UP) second deputy prime minister Pablo Iglesias launched their 2021 draft budget with great fanfare on October 27. For the proud parents, their newborn fiscal package — the first since 2018 — will inaugurate “a new epoch that definitively leaves behind the phase of neoliberalism and cuts to the public sector” (Iglesias): it will also “mark a turning point in our economic model” (Sánchez).

Not that the birth was painless: up until the day before the draft budget was to go before cabinet UP was tweeting that it could not be adopted because they did not agree. UP only relented after stitching up late-night deals with the PSOE on relaxing conditions for access to the Minimum Living Wage and adopting a law to allow rent control by regional and local government.

Spanish state: Splendour and decline of Podemos - Reasons for a farewell

 

 

Spain’s Anticapitalist Left (now Anticapitalists) was key to the formation of the mass, radical anti-austerity party Podemos, in 2013-14. However, in February this year Anticapitalists decided to leave Podemos. Economist Manuel Garí, Anticapitalist leader and member of the Advisory Council of the magazine Viento Sur, looks back at the evolution of Podemos and explains why the decision to leave was taken.

By Manuel Garí. Translation from Viento Sur by Dick Nichols

October 30, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The formation of Podemos in the Spanish state was an important attempt at building an anti-neoliberal and pluralist mass party to the left of social liberalism. That experience, which began very well, has finally ended very badly. Perhaps that is why the title of this article could have been “Splendour and decline of Podemos ... as an emancipatory political project”. Its purpose is to explain why Podemos had to be created, but also why it has had to be left behind. Involved too is reflection on the balance sheet to be made of the intervention in Podemos of the Anticapitalist Left (now Anticapitalists) and the lessons to be drawn from that experience.[1]

The COVID-19 crisis in the Spanish state: "We can't go on living as per usual"

 

 

Interview with Dick Nichols

March 28, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — As the Spanish state attempts to deal with its spiralling COVID-19 death toll—over 4000 as of March 27 and second only to Italy in Europe—Federico Fuentes spoke to Dick Nichols, Green Left’s Weekly’s European correspondent based in Barcelona, about the debates engulfing country, the government's response, including its "nationalisation" (or not) of private hospitals, and how, among all the anguish, people’s solidarity is shining through.

Spain: An emergency social and political plan against COVID-19

 

 

By Anticapitalistas

March 13, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Viewpoint — The Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic is showing up the inadequacy of capitalist governments in dealing with such a crisis, and pointing to the responsibility of their policies regarding a public health service. It also raises broader ecological questions. These all merit broad discussion on the radical anticapitalist left, This statement from Anticapitalistas in the Spanish state indicates the guidelines to an initial response. 

Spain: Storm clouds gather as PSOE-UP government formed

 

 

By Dick Nichols

January 13, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — By the narrowest of margins (167 votes to 165 with 18 abstentions), the 350-seat Spanish Congress invested Pedro Sánchez as prime minister of a coalition government of the social-democratic Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and the more radical Unidas Podemos on January 7. No Spanish prime minister has ever been elected by so low and so close a vote, with eight of the parliament’s eighteen parties in favour, eight against and two abstaining.

The January 4-7 investiture sessions of PSOE candidate Sánchez took place amid scenes of hysterical vituperation and attempted sabotage by the formerly governing People’s Party (PP), the ultra-right Vox and the neoliberal Citizens. The leaders and MPs of this triple-headed Spanish-patriotic bloc strove to outdo each other in their abuse of Sánchez and the “social-communist” PSOE-UP coalition. 

The PSOE candidate finally won office due to the 18 abstentions of what the right called the "secessionist coup-plotters" and the "terrorists” — the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and the Basque left-independentist EH Bildu. Their vote guaranteed Sánchez the relative majority needed to win office after he failed to achieve an absolute majority in the first round  on January 5.

Anticapitalists: ‘We need a left that is not a crutch for the PSOE’

 

 

Interview with Raul Camargo, spokesperson for Anticapitalists, by Sato Díaz Cuartopoder, November 20. Translation and footnotes by Dick Nichols.

December 6, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The election campaign, then the elections, then the results and then, after 48 hours, the announcement by Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias of the pre-agreement for a coalition government [between the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and Unidas Podemos (UP, United We Can)]. Everything very fast and then sudden silence. Away from the media, the negotiations between the PSOE and UP to devise a government and a program follow their course, while in parallel the PSOE works to win the support needed to achieve investiture before Christmas.

The organisations involved in the possible coalition government (PSOE, Podemos, the United Left (IU) and En Comú Podem (ECP, Together We Can[1]) are consulting their memberships in internal referenda, in the hope of getting the green light. Other left-wing organisations are watching from the sidelines. Anticapitalists has long since been more outside than inside Podemos, except in Andalusia.[2] Always critical of governing with the PSOE and always in a minority within the purple formation[3], Anticapitalists today observes the course of Podemos with suspicion and distance.

Spanish elections: Vox threat scares PSOE and UP into government deal

 

 

By Dick Nichols

November 21, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The apparent winner of the November 10 Spanish general election was Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) acting prime minister Pedro Sánchez, whose party picked up the most seats (120) in the 350-seat Congress.

The contest was the fourth general election in four years. Sánchez had won the most seats but not an absolute majority at the previous poll on April 28 with a scare campaign about “holding off the right”. Afterwards, however, the PSOE decided that it could gain still more by refusing to enter a governmental alliance with the more left-wing Unidas Podemos (UP). UP is an alliance between Podemos and the older left coalition, the United Left (IU). 

Spanish general election: can a divided left keep out the right?

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

September 30, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On September 17, Spain’s acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, leader of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and winner of the April 28 general election, informed King Philip that he didn’t have enough support to form government. If nothing changed by the September 23 deadline for a proposal for government, new elections would be held on November 10.

 

Talks with the radical force Unidas Podemos (UP), a coalition of the United Left (IU) and Podemos, had collapsed and consequently the other two sources of support promised the PSOE—the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV)—also withdrew their backing for Sánchez’s investiture. In over four months of languid negotiations, the acting prime minister had managed to add only one vote to the PSOE’s 124 in the 350-seat Spanish Congress—that of the Regionalist Party of Cantabria (PRC). 

 

Ada Colau re-elected as Barcelona mayor—but at what price?

 

 

By Dick Nichols

June 30, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Compare these two scenes, which took place in Barcelona’s central St James Square after the election of the city’s mayor, the first four years ago and the second on June 15.

On June 13, 2015, successful candidate Ada Colau, former spokesperson of the Mortgage Victims Platform (PAH) and leader of the radical mass-meeting based movement Barcelona Together (BeC), takes ten minutes to lead the city’s 41 newly elected councillors in their traditional walk across the square from the town hall to the Catalan government building on the other side. An enormously enthusiastic crowd presses in on all sides to greet her, to endless shouts of Si, se puede! (“Yes, we can!”)—a celebration of the conquest of Barcelona Council by BeC’s anti-establishment, participatory, ecological and feminist. radical municipalism.

Fast forward to June 15, 2019. This time the newly successful Colau crosses the square to a chorus of whistles, boos, and ugly sexist abuse from a small group. The councillors wearing their red sashes of office walking with her is also one representative short. Missing is Joaquim Forn, leader in the council of Together for Catalonia (JxCat), party of exiled Catalan ex-president Carles Puigdemont.

Spanish elections: The right defeated and Catalonia’s right to decide re-asserted

 

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

May 12, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — How strongly would the filthy brown tide of reactionthe vote for the racist, xenophobic, islamophobic, anti-feminist, homophobic, pro-gun and above all anti-Catalan outfit Vox—run at the Spanish April 28 general election?  That question was on everyone’s lips in the last week of the campaign.

 

Spanish state: candidate preselection turmoil as ‘existential’ election looms

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

March 26 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — According to Josep Borrell, outgoing Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) foreign minister and self-appointed scourge of the movement for Catalan sovereignty, the April 28 general elections will be «existential» for the Spanish state. For People’s Party (PP) opposition leader Pablo Casado they will be a "referendum on the secessionist menace".

 

This shared judgment of Spain’s "parties of government" would only have been heightened by the resounding success of the March 16 Madrid demonstration "Self-Determination is not a Crime: Democracy is Deciding". The rally, organised by the Catalan National Assembly, Òmnium Cultural and the platform Women and Men of Madrid for the Right to Decide, brought into the capital up to 120,000 supporters of the right to self-determination of the nations of the Spanish state. The size and spirit of the demonstration marked an important step ahead down the long road to a democratic alternative to Spanish state unionism.

 

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