Podemos, het Syriza van Spanje

Podemos, Spain’s new leftist party, is challenging austerity and winning public support.

Podemos (“We can,” in Spanish) is the name of Spain’s newest political party — resembling the slogan of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. But not much else links Obama and Pablo Iglesias, the 30-something public face of the party.

After all, Podemos has put forth a radical program based on class politics. Their proposals include citizen audits of public and private debt, shortening the workweek to 35 hours, reducing the retirement age to 60, illegalizing for-profit layoffs, a universal basic income, parliamentary control over the European Central Bank, and abolishing private credit rating agencies.

But most importantly, Podemos uses a decision-making model strikingly different from the two mainstream parties. They call it the “constituent process.” A number of local “circles” peppered across Spain shape the overall party structure. Made up of anyone who wants to participate, these circles introduce and debate proposals for the party to take up. Each circle has an organizational leadership that works by compulsory rotation. And each avoids a subordinate relationship to the circles in Madrid, where the party was founded and where Iglesias and other key organizers participate.

Voting and circulating proposals online makes this kind of politics possible. Everyone’s on equal footing, and everyone has a chance to lead the party.

Podemos took many by surprise this past May when nearly 1.25 million Spaniards voted for them in the European Parliament elections. This nearly 8 percent vote share earned Podemos five seats.

Lees verder op Jacobin Magazine