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Spain

Eric Toussaint: SYRIZA, Podemos and the way towards power for the people

Click for more on SYRIZA, Podemos, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador

By Eric Toussaint, translated by Adam Clark-Gimmig

February 18, 2015 -- Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Experience proves that left-wing movements can come to be in government, but nevertheless not hold power. Democracy, in other words the exercise of power by the people and for the people, requires much more.

The problem is currently being faced in Greece with SYRIZA, and will have to be faced in Spain with Podemos (if that party wins the general elections in late 2015), as it was faced in the past, in Venezuela with the election of Hugo Chávez as president in December 1998, in Bolivia with Evo Morales in 2005, in Ecuador with Rafael Correa in December 2006, or several decades earlier with Salvador Allende in Chile in 1970 |1|.

Podemos: Politics by the people

Andrew Dolan interviews Eduardo Maura of Podemos

February 2015 -- Red Pepper, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Less than a year after its formation, a populist left-wing party is claiming more than 200,000 members and topping the opinion polls in Spain. Its leader, Pablo Iglesias, has the highest approval rating of any Spanish politician and opinion polls show Podemos, which was only launched in January 2014, surpassing one or both of the major two parties and even entering government at the next election.

Podemos (We can) first put its popular support to the test in May’s European elections. It secured nearly 1.25 million votes (8 per cent) and five MEPs, a remarkable achievement for a newly-formed party with no established infrastructure, little money and limited mainstream media coverage.

SYRIZA: 'For us, "structural reforms" are the fight against corruption and corporate tax evasion'

For more on SYRIZA, click HERE

[February 25, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Paul Mason, writing on the February 24 SYRIZA government letter to the Eurogroup, outlining the reforms it intends to carry out, comments: "As flagged before it looks like [the Greek government] will be allowed to carry out the humanitarian aspect of Syriza’s so-called Thessaloniki Programme – i.e. anti-poverty measures. This, plus one of the most aggressive anti-tax avoidance offensives ever planned in the western world, is the centrepiece of Yanis Varoufakis’ plan.

["If the Greek government is allowed to use €10bn in an earmarked fund to recapitalise the banks, then the issues that remain are ones that demarcate the radical left from the centre: privatisations, trade union rights, universal healthcare, pensions and the minimum wage...

Vincenç Navarro: Why Podemos is a big threat to Spain's political establishment

Pablo Iglesias, Credit: La Veu del País Valencià (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Pablo Iglesias. Credit: La Veu del País Valencià (CC-BY-SA-3.0).

Click for more on Podemos and politics in Spain.

January 28, 2015 -- EUROPP – European Politics and Policy, London School of Economics, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  -- Following SYRIZA’s victory in the Greek election on January 25, a number of commentators have turned their attention toward Spain, where the left-wing Podemos party, which originally emerged from the Indignados protest movement, has been receiving strong polling numbers since the end of 2014.

Here Vicente Navarro writes on the growth of Podemos and his role in shaping the party’s economic program. He argues that the anti-austerity and pro-democracy narrative put forward by Podemos has deeply resonated with the Spanish electorate, and that the party now poses a major threat to Spain's political establishment.

Spain needs its own SYRIZA

Alexis Tsipras and Pablo Iglesias. 

Click for more on Podemos and politics in Spain.

February 2, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The victory of SYRIZA in the January 25, 2015, general election in Greece has led to widespread discussions across the Europe on the way forward for the left. In Spain, the rapid rise in the polls of the Podemos party has excited many. The following is one viewpoint on the meaning of the SYRIZA win for the Spansih left.

* * *

By Manel García Biel

Pablo Iglesias: 'It is called SYRIZA in Greece, in Spain it is Podemos'

Click HERE for more on SYRIZA and the election in Greece.

January 23, 2015 -- Stokokkino.gr, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Alexis Tsipras was joined on stage by Pablo Iglesias, leader of Spanish leftist party Podemos. Supporters waved Greek flags and placards reading "Change Greece, change Europe!", while loudspeakers blared lyrics from the Leonard Cohen song, "First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin".

"The wind of democratic change is blowing, a change in Europe, of a change in Greece", Iglesias told the rally. "It is called SYRIZA in Greece, and in Spain it is called Podemos."

Earlier Iglesias gave an interview to the radio station StoKokkino, in which he underlined that the forthcoming electoral win of SYRIZA will be a promise to the majority of Europe's people, because "SYRIZA, like Podemos in Spain and Sinn Fein in Ireland, is fighting first of all for democracy.”

Alexis Tsipras in 'El Pais': 'SYRIZA win will be a compass for Europe'

By Alexis Tsipras, translation by TheTOC.gr

January 16, 2015 --- El Pais, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On January 25 Greece will shut the door on the past. SYRIZA’s victory is the hope of the worlds of labour and of culture in all of Europe for change. To make the necessary step forward. From the darkness of austerity and of authoritarianism, into the light of democracy, of solidarity and of sustainable development.

For this reason, Greece is only the beginning. Within this year, Spain's turn is coming. The change begins from the South. The defeat of the political sponsors of austerity, foreclosures, of insecurity and fear, of corruption and the scandals has its launching point in our countries. Our people will take the future in their hands and open the door of tomorrow for young and uncorrupted individuals. For their own people who have a clear gaze. For this reason, the victory of the Greek people and of SYRIZA carries the message of a new and hopeful course for Spain. A course which, as is shown by public opinion polls, the Spanish people are steadily turning towards. This is how the South will move forward, to change Europe.

The POUM: Those who would?

On January 3, 2015, historian Doug Enaa Greene led a discussion on the history of the POUM and the lessons to be drawn for today. It was presented to the Center of Marxist Education. His talk was based on the text below.

By Doug Enaa Greene

January 7, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For generations of leftists, the most recognizable images of the Spanish Civil War is from May 1937 comes from George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia of anarchist and POUMist workers defending the Telephone Exchange in Barcelona from the Communist Party. This image is said to represent the betrayal of Spain's libertarian communist revolution by agents of Moscow. In the decades since May 1937, a great number of polemics have been exchanged on what went wrong and on many “what ifs” on how the revolution could have won in the streets of Barcelona.

Pablo Iglesias (Podemos) on working-class consciousness and politics

Click for more on Podemos and politics in Spain.

Spanish leftist leader Pablo Iglesias, from the political party Podemos, explains his approach to the masses. During its campaign for the 2014 European election, Podemos was criticised by some on the left for avoiding traditional terms such as "class struggle", "bourgeois", "proletariat"...

Read the full text of the comments at https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/12/pablo-iglesias-podemos-left-speech/.

Rebellious Catalan vote rocks Spanish establishment

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

By Dick Nichols

November 12, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On November 9, 2.305 million residents of Catalonia defied a November 4 Spanish Constitutional Court ban and voted on what future political status they wanted for their country, which is presently one of the 17 “autonomous communities” (regional governments) within the Spanish state.

This “participatory process” presented voters with the same ballot paper as the original non-binding consultation that had been adopted by the Catalan parliament on September 26. That too had been suspended by the Spanish Constitutional Court on appeal by the national government of People’s Party (PP) Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

After this first legal veto the Catalan minority government of right-nationalist party Convergence and Union (CiU) adopted a substitute ballot for November 9, one that had more the status of a mass survey of public opinion than a formal plebiscite.

Spain: Podemos on road to sweeping away two-party system

Click for more on Podemos and politics in Spain.

By Julian Coppens, Extremadura, western Spain

November 7, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- About 8000 members of the new organisation Podemos packed the Palacio Vistalegre in Madrid on October 18 and 19, 2014, for the final stages of the Citizens' Assembly “Si se puede” (Yes we can). The assembly, with 150,000 taking part online, discussed draft documents for the foundation of the Spanish state’s newest and fastest growing political force.

European economic stagnation: diagnoses and treatments

Trade unions in Greece have announced a general strike against austerity to take place on November 27, 2014.

By Dick Nichols

November 4, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For 48 hours it looked as if Thursday, October 16, 2014 might join similar October Thursdays in 1907, 1929 and 1979 as another dramatic moment when share market panic triggered economic downturn.

However, it was not to be. The three trillion dollar slump in world share market values in the first two-and-half-weeks of October has so far been partially reversed by a coordinated effort of “calm engineering” by central bankers. But how long can that treatment—whose message to the gambling fund managers is that interest rates will stay low—succeed?

Catalan national struggle enters critical stage

On the day after the Constitutional Court decision, the squares of Catalonia’s towns were full to the brim with protesters.

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

By Dick Nichols

October 12, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On September 29, the normally sluggish Spanish legal system had an attack of extreme speed. Its Usain Bolt-like behaviour was sparked by the regional government of Catalonia formally decreeing the long-awaited November 9 non-binding consultation of Catalan opinion [referendum] on the future political status of the region.

Catalonia and the Spanish state on collision course

1.8 million people (25% of the population of Catalonia), took part in this year’s September 11 Diada demonstration. More pictures HERE.

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

By Dick Nichols

September 17, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This year’s September 11 Catalan national day (Diada) demonstration, in support of the Catalan parliament’s planned November 9 popular consultation on Catalan statehood, was the biggest since the present cycle of mobilisations for the country’s right to national self-determination began four years ago.

Spain: Podemos and the dynamic reorganisation of the left

Click for more on Podemos and politics in Spain.

By Mario Candeias

September 3, 2014 -- The Bullet, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission-- It is no longer enough to win over civil society, occupy public spaces, take to the streets, carry out symbolic actions, prevent evictions or to win plebiscites. In Spain movements for "real democracy" are setting a course to capture institutions – albeit with the aim to recreate these institutions in a constitutive process in the interests of "real democracy".

We are witnessing a dynamic reorganisation of the political sphere – from the left. Even before the European parliamentary elections at the end of May a shift was evident that would bring the Izquierda Unida (United Left, IU) party a tripling of its votes. It now has six members in the European Parliament (MEPs) in Strasbourg.

Spain’s Podemos: An inside view of a radical left sensation

Pablo Iglesias.

Click for more on Podemos and politics in Spain.

By Iñigo Errejón, head of Podemos' European election campaign

July 15, 2014 -- Le Monde Diplomatique, translated by Revolting Europe -- In Spain, the surge of discontent caused by structural adjustment policies and hostage taking of popular sovereignty by the oligarchic powers gave rise to a series of protests and created spaces for social cooperation. However, it had no effect on the political system and its internal balance.

Spain: Podemos MEP Pablo Iglesias condemns 'hijacking of democracy' by big business

To activate subtitles, press play and click on the bottom right icon, next to the clock. Then choose English.

Click for more on Podemos

July 2, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal --  Pablo Iglesias is one of the five members of the European Parliament elected from the lists of Podemos, a barely 100-day-old political party that in the May 2014 European elections won more than 1 million votes in Spain.

In his maiden speech in the European Parliament, Iglesias praised the memory of the European peoples who fought for justice and freedom, and attacked the hijacking of democracy by financial markets, lobbies and big corporations.

Podemos website (in Spanish)is at http://podemos.info/

Catalonia: ‘Let’s Win Barcelona’ lays down unity challenge for left

The school hall in which the launch of "Let's Win Barcelona" took place was packed, with over a thousand forced to watch proceedings from outside and 5000 more looking on via video link

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

By Dick Nichols

Spanish state: Eruption of Podemos sparks turmoil left and right

By Dick Nichols

July 1, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The five seats (7.9%) won by the platform Podemos (“We Can”) in the May 25 European election was an earthquake in Spanish politics. It stunned all political trends, including Podemos itself.

Spanish state: ‘Podemos has won new people over to the left, to oppose neoliberal policies’ -- United Left

Federal coordinator of the United Left in the Spanish state, Cayo Lara. Photo from Público. 

More analysis of politics in the Spanish state.

By Daniel del Pino, Madrid; translated from Público for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by Federico Fuentes

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