Podemos which translates in English to “We can”, is a left-wing anti-austerity, anti-capitalism, political party in Spain. This party has become the focus of Spanish politics since it was founded in 2014 by Pablo Iglesias. Since 2014 it has become the second most powerful party in Spain, and won 8% of the European Parliament votes within just four months of its creation. In only a few months Podemos also gained over 300,000 members and is rising.
In its first party congress (Citizens’ Assembly - “yes, it can be done”) it adopted resolutions including: improving education, anti-corruption measures, improving healthcare, and re-structuring the European debt. Podemos also presented a collaboratively written programme that emphasizes healing the Spanish economy through promoting social dignity via universal basic income, and changing the taxation system. The programme also emphasizes abandoning free trade agreements, leaving institutions such as NATO, and redefining the Spanish sovereignty.
The Spanish Economy is heavily embedded in trade treaties, and financial bailouts from institutions such as the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). All of the previous governments have continued the neo-liberal agenda of deficit reduction, and austerity measures i.e. lending public money (taxes) to financial intuitions while selling off public services. Also countries such as Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Italy are used like financial sink holes to absorb surplus capital: indebted countries’ resources are ransacked while the crediting countries (such as Germany) are protected.
Major bourgeois political parties in Europe, from centre-left to centre-right, are using “debt repayment” and “debt reduction” as an excuse to pass deep austerity cuts to social services via privatization. However, if Podemos remains loyal to its working class power base, at the least it will have the ability to renegotiate its bailout and will not need to play by the rules of European neo-liberalism. That is, Podemos needs to create and maintain the confidence in the working people of Spain that their class political and economic interests are at the forefront. As long as Podemos continues on the path of untangling Spain from the web of capital accumulation and financial institutions such as ECB and IMF and towards the social division of surplus, the working class, in its millions, will defend it and keep it in power.
The working people in their thousands marched in support of Podemos in Madrid chanting “Yes we can” and “Tick tock tick tock”: suggesting the end of political elite in Spain. This call for change was echoed in Greece by Syriza that swept into power this week. Change is coming to Europe and perhaps it will mean an end to the humiliating robbery of the working people of Europe.