Tariq Ali & Luke Stobart: Podemos, crisis & movements

by · March 12, 2015

Alexis Tsipras & Pablo Iglesias at a Syriza election rally

Alexis Tsipras & Pablo Iglesias at a Syriza election rally

Within a year of its creation, Podemos became the main opposition party in Spain. Analyses of its rapid rise have centred on its unorthodox and ambitious political approach and the different forms of participatory democracy practised (however imperfectly). Less has been said about the relation between the Podemos phenomenon and the Spanish context of major political crisis and inspiring social struggle. In this video, Luke Stobart, author of a series of studies on Podemos published on Left Flank (see below), joins Tariq Ali, author of The Extreme Centre: A Warning, to talk about the Podemos phenomenon in relation to a series of topics: the Spanish economy, Catalan independence, the demand for a “Constituent Process”, the failure of the traditional Left, and others. The interview was broadcast in English and Spanish on the Venezuelan-based Telesur on Tuesday 3 March.

Podemos has strong ties with Syriza – the left-wing party now in office in Greece – and its top economist Vicenç Navarro has recently justified Syriza’s failed strategy in the first round of negotiations with the Troika. This moderate institutional approach, which ruled out both a unilateral non-payment of Greece’s crushing debt and the threat of an organised break with the Euro, meant the German-led EU could bully Syriza into abandoning electoral promises and accepting the core of the Troika’s harsh policies on debt repayment, budgetary constraint and monitoring of the bailout process. This was aided by the kind of large-scale withdrawal of capital from local banks that has repeatedly met Left reformist governments in history. With Podemos also in a position to reach office within the next year (despite a slowing of the growth in its popularity), Left Flank believes more debate about the political and economic strategy of Podemos is necessary (as part of a wider discussion of international Left strategy) and that this interview provides some useful background to contribute to this process.

Previous analysis by Luke Stobart