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Spain

Spain: As Podemos and United Left join forces, is a left government in sight?

 

 

United Left (IU) spokesperson Alberto Garzón and Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias.

 

By Dick Nichols

 

May 31, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal a much shorter version of this article was first published at Green Left Weekly — Five months after the December 20 election in Spain failed to produce a government, the country is returning to the polls in the most polarised contest since the end of the Franco dictatorship in 1977.

 

The stakes could not be higher. The “second round” election on June 26 could open the door to the final breakdown of the two-party system and the beginning of a deep-going democratisation of the Spanish state and politics: or it could drive all parties defending the status quo into a last-ditch alliance against the forces for radical change.

 

Podemos and the crisis of the Spanish state

 

People hold up banners during a Podemos march in Madrid in January 2015

 

March 13, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from SpectreZine -- Early in February Australian Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal correspondent Dick Nichols, who reports from Catalonia, was interviewed by the Dutch Socialist Party monthly Spanning. Spanning of course published it in Dutch. Below is an edited version of the original interview published on March 1.

 

Spanish state: Basque leader Otegi freed as Podemos-PSOE war intensifies

 

Basque independence movement leader Arnaldo Otegi at a welcoming party in his home town of Elgoibar following his release from prison on March 1.

 

By Dick Nichols

 

March 9, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On March 1, all media outlets in the Spanish state were dominated by the images of two men: one was leaving prison near the northern city of Logroño to the cheers of inmates he was leaving behind; the other was trying to convince the Spanish parliament in Madrid to vote him in as prime minister.

 

After Spanish elections: establishment in funk over Podemos

 

Supporters of left-wing political force Podemos celebrate the strong showing for their party in the December 20 general elections

 


 By Dick Nichols

 

February 12, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In an article that appeared in the January 24 edition of the Spanish daily El País, Pablo Iglesias, secretary-general of the radical Spanish political force Podemos, spells out his view of the kind of government the Spanish state needs after the December 20 general election produced a broadly left social majority but no clear majority coalition in the 350-seat Spanish parliament.

 

The governing conservative People's Party (PP) won 123 seats and the right-populist Citizens 40. On the left, the main opposition Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) won 90 seats, while Podemos and the three people’s unity alliances in which it participated in Catalonia, Galicia and the Valencian Community won 69. The other seats went to the United Left-Popular Unity (IU-UP), and Catalan, Basque and Canary Island nationalist forces.

 

Decisive for determining what sort of government Spain will get — or if it will have to go to early elections — is which way the PSOE will jump in the wheeling-and-dealing presently taking place among the parties.

 

Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias on a 'government of change' for Spain

By Pablo Iglesias, translated by Dick Nichols

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The result of the December 20 election put an end to Spain's political shift-system, and opened up the historical possibility of our country having a government not exclusively dominated by the old party machines that have shared power over the last decades.

For the first time, Spain could have a pluralist and progressive government disconnected enough from past practices to: guarantee the introduction in its first 100 days of a program of immediate emergency social support; lead the constitutional change that the citizens are calling for; provide democratic solutions and new formulae of coexistence to meet the territorial crisis; and with fresh blood purge the parasitism from our institutions.

On Greece, Syriza, Podemos and the Democracy in Europe Movement – Yanis Varoufakis interview in El Mundo

Ex-finance minister of Greece Yanis Varoufakis

January 23, 2016 -- thoughts for the post-2008 world -- Why did you resign the very next day after the ‘no’ victory in the Greek referendum?

Yanis Varoufakis - Because the Prime Minister told me, on the night of that magnificent result, that it was time to surrender to the troika. Not what I had entered politics for and certainly not what the mandate that the 62% NO vote we had just received stipulated.

Did the European leaders press Tsipras to get rid from you? Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the president of the Eurogroup of finances ministers, has admitted that he did so…

They knew that I would never sign up to a new non-viable, toxic loan agreement. That was clear from the beginning. I was elected to negotiate a viable agreement. And since it is the finance minister who signs these agreements on behalf of the state, it was essential to the troika that I should be removed.

Why do you think you are so uncomfortable (and considered even dangerous) for the EU leaders?

Because I was an obstacle to the maintenance of their permanent denial regarding their failed fiscal reform programs.

What has been your major mistake during the time you were Greece Finance Minister?

Catalogna: il premier si suicida per consentire la formazione di un governo a favore dell’indipendenza

 
[English at http://links.org.au/node/4600 ] di Dick Nichols, traduzione di Giuseppe Volpe ZNet Italy

 

19 gennaio 2016 – Il 9 gennaio il titolo di prima pagina di La Vanguardia, il quotidiano filo-sistema della Catalogna, diceva: “Insieme Per Il Sì e CUP esauriscono le opzioni di accordo: il fallimento dei negoziati apre la via alle elezioni il 6 marzo”.

 

I dialoghi all’interno della maggioranza filo-indipendenza del parlamento catalano – composta dalla convenzionale coalizione Insieme Per Il Sì e dall’anticapitalista Candidature Popolari Unite – Appello Costituente (CUP-CC) – erano alla fine crollati dopo più di tre mesi di incontri. Questa maggioranza era emersa dalle elezioni “plebiscitarie” catalane del 27 settembre, convocate come sostituto del referendum in stile scozzese che è sempre stato respinto dai maggiori partiti spagnoli, il Partito Popolare (PP) al governo e il Partito Socialista Spagnolo dei Lavoratori (PSOE).

 

Nonostante l’intervento all’ultimo minuto delle tre organizzazioni di massa del nazionalismo catalano – il Congresso Nazionale Catalano (ANC), l’Associazione delle Municipalità per l’Indipendenza (AMI) e il movimento per la cultura catalana Omnium Cultural – il CUP-CC continuava a rifiutarsi di accettare il premier pro tempore Artur Mas come capo del primo governo filo-indipendenza della Catalogna.

 

Catalonia: Premier falls on sword to allow pro-independence government to form

 

Artur Mas announced he would be stepping down from the role of premier of Catalonia on January 9 in order to help pave the way for the formation of the region's first pro-independence government

 

By Dick Nichols

 

January 14, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On January 9, the front-page headline of La Vanguardia, Catalonia's establishment daily read: “Together For Yes and the CUP exhaust options for agreement — failure of negotiations opens the way for elections on March 6.”

 

Talks within the pro-independence majority in the Catalan parliament — composed of the mainstream Together For Yes coalition and the anti-capitalist People's Unity Candidacies-Constituent Call (CUP-CC) — had finally collapsed after over three months of meetings. This majority had emerged from Catalonia's September 27 “plebiscitary” elections, called as a substitute for the Scottish-style referendum that has always been refused by Spain's major parties, the ruling People's Party (PP) and the opposition Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE).

 

Despite the last-minute intervention of the three mass organisations of Catalan nationalism — the Catalan National Congress (ANC), the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) and the movement for Catalan culture Omnium Cultural—the CUP-CC was still refusing to accept acting premier Artur Mas as head of Catalonia's first pro-independence government.

 

'If we've come so far, this can't go wrong' -- Interview with CUP deputy in Catalan parliament

Antonio Baños (pictured) was the lead candidate for the left-nationalist People's Unity Candidacies—Constituent Call (CUP) in the September 27 Catalan elections. Read more about the Catalan struggle here.

 

Antonio Baños, journalist and author of The Catalan Rebellion, was the lead candidate for the anti-capitalist left nationalist People's Unity Candidacies—Constituent Call (CUP) in the September 27 Catalan elections. The CUP scored a major success at the poll, increasing it presence from three seats to ten in the 135-seat Catalan parliament (for further analysis, see here).

Presently involved in negotiations with the the winning pro-independence ticket Together For Yes, Baños outlines the CUP's view of the present stage of the Catalan independence process.  For Baños, the new road to independence is too complex to be reduced to the debate over whether Catalan premier Artur Mas should continue in that role—opposed by the CUP--and therefore prefers that negotiations with Together For Yes and other organisations and groups focus on how to start disobeying the laws of the Spanish state and the decisions of its Constitutional Court, and on how to shield Catalan institutions from attacks from Spain.

Baños insists: "If we've come this far, this can't go wrong.”

Catalonia: Half-won independence battle guarantees harsher war with Spanish state

More than 1.4 million people marched to support Catalan independence on September 11. The September 27 elections were seen as a de facto referendum on independence, in which pro-independence parties won a majority of seats but not the popular vote.

By Dick Nichols

Who won the September 27 elections for the Catalan parliament, called as a substitute for the Scottish-style independence referendum that the People's Party (PP) government of the Spanish state has always refused to allow? It depends whom you ask.

On the night most of the commentators on Madrid-based TV and radio called the result as a defeat for the pro-independence camp: its two tickets—the mainstream nationalist Together for Yes and the anti-capitalist People's Unity Candidacies (CUP)--had won only 47.74% of the vote against 52.26% for "the rest".

Catalonia: Unstoppable showdown with Madrid looming

Click for more on political developments in Catalonia and the Spanish state.

By Dick Nichols

July 26, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- If a Catalan Rip Van Winkle were to wake up today after a sleep of only six years, his disorientation with present-day Catalonia would be as great as that of the original Rip Van Winkle after he dozed right through the American War of Independence.

“Am I hallucinating?”, he might ask, struggling to find the right answer to questions like:

What is Raul Romeva, former Initiative for Catalonia-Greens (ICV) member of the European Parliament (MEP) doing on a ticket for the September 27 Catalan elections with Catalan premier Artur Mas, from the ruling conservative nationalist Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC)?

Is this the same Romeva who said in 2009 that “if it were up to Convergence, Catalonia would be a huge highway with nuclear power stations, buildings and factories everywhere, without even a tree to provide shade”?

Podemos in solidarity with SYRIZA's struggle against austerity

For more analysis and discussion on SYRIZA's struggle against austerity, click HERE

By Podemos (Spain)

June 30, 2015 -- Podemos, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In view of the situation in Greece, and following the breakdown in the negotiations by the Eurogroup, Podemos wishes to communicate the following:

1. Last Monday, the Greek government presented a proposal to the Eurogroup which included important concessions and was unanimously welcomed by the lenders as being reasonable and viable. In the following days, however, the international creditors led by the International Monetary Fund did not accept the Greek government’s proposal to tax the wealthiest sectors of society, restructure the debt and launch an investment plan to revive the economy.

Spain: Huge advance for left in local/regional elections, but 'Spanish SYRIZA' sorely needed

In Barcelona, central St. James Square was packed with chanting, whooping and confetti-throwing supporters of the winning Barcelona Together and its leader, housing rights activist Ada Colau.

By Dick Nichols

July 1, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On Saturday, June 13, the squares in front of scores of town halls across the Spanish state were jam-packed with enthusiastic crowds: tens of thousands were gathering to celebrate the inauguration of the progressive administrations created by the leftward swing in the May 24 local government elections for the country’s 8122 councils.

Basque Country: History made as pro-Basque coalition forms government in Navarre

Uxue Barkos, leader of Geroa Bai.

By Duroyan Fertl

June 23, 2015 -- Hintadupfing, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Regional elections held in Spain on May 24 have installed an historic pro-Basque state government in the autonomous community of Navarre for the first time, bringing to an end 16 years of rule by the pro-Spanish, centre-right Navarrese People's Union (UPN).

The UPN won only 15 seats, down four from 2011, while its ally, the right-wing Spanish People’s Party (of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy), won two, half of its quota in 2011.

Instead, Uzue Barkos, leader of the pro-Basque coalition Geroa Bai (“Yes to the Future”) – itself a coalition of centre-left Basque nationalist association Zabaltzen and the centre-right Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ-PNV) – approached other pro-Basque parties to negotiate a coalition government after her party won nine seats.

Greece-Troika negotiations: last turns of the screw?

Two years after its closure by the previous right-wing government, Greek public broadcaster ERT was back on air on the morning of June 11, 2015. 

For more analysis and discussion on SYRIZA's struggle against austerity, click HERE

By Dick Nichols

June 15, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For a while in late May, it looked as if the negotiations over the terms for releasing the last €7.2 billion owed Greece under its second bailout package with the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund (the “Troika”) just might have some chance of success.

Basque Country: Historic day for Iruñea/Pamplona

June 13, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It was an historic day in the Basque Country's capital, Iruñea/Pamplona. For the first time a pro-independence left mayor was elected with the support of four progressive and nationalist parties.

Euskal Herria Bildu's candidate Joseba Asiron will now form government to run the city for the next four years after 20 years of repressive pro-Spanish right-wing unionist mayors. Thousands gathered outside the city hall to celebrate.Thanks to Basque Info.

Spain: 'The elections sent us a message: we have to rebuild the United Left'

Alberto Garzón in his office at the Congress. Photo by Marta Jara.

June 1, 2015 -- Transform!, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Alberto Garzón, a Izquierda Unida (IU, United Left) candidate in Spain's November general election, was interviewed by eldiario.es in his office at the Spanish Congress. The interview was conducted by Aitor Riveiro.

Spain: Madrid and Barcelona show -- the greater the unity on the left, the bigger the win

Supporters of the Madrid Now! ticket await the results of the regional and municipal elections in Madrid, May 24, 2015.

For more on politics in Spain, click HERE. See also Spain: 'Barcelona Together' and the fight for people-first city councils"

By Dick Nichols, Barcelona

May 27, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Once the results of Spain’s May 24 local and regional elections became known the main lesson for the anti-austerity and anti-capitalist left was simply and starkly obvious: the more united and more involving of ordinary people its election campaigns were, the greater its gains and the greater the losses for the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE)—its main rival for the popular and working-class vote—and for the ruling conservative People’s Party (PP).

Where the two main poles of the radical left in the Spanish state—Podemos and the United Left (IU)— managed to merge their forces in projects organised not as alliances between party apparatuses but as participatory citizens’ electoral campaigns, the results were at times little short of astounding.

Spain: Leftist Ada Colau wins Barcelona mayor, traditional parties lose support

Ada Colau, who won the May 24 Barcelona mayoral elections, with Podemos leader Pablo Iglasias.

By Stuart Munckton

May 25, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Popular left-wing activist activist Ada Colau has won Barcelona's May 24 mayoral elections. Running on the ticket of "Barcelona Together", which united several left groups and grassroots activists, Colau came first with 25% of the vote.

Spain: How did the radical new mayor of Barcelona win Spain’s second city?

Ada Colau.

May 25, 2015 -- Revolting Europe, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Former anti-eviction activist Ada Colau was elected the new mayor Barcelona in the municipal elections on May 24. Ahead of the victory of the radical campaigner, who was backed by a coalition including Podemos and United Left, she spoke to Il Manifesto newspaper.

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