On March 22 elections were held in the region of Andalusia, the most populated region in Spain and a key political arena. This is especially so because, firstly, these are the first elections in a year that will be marked by the ballot box: there will be municipal elections in May and general elections in December.
The PP government intends to approach the 2015 election by declaring, with great fanfare, that the crisis is over. It is true that GDP increased by 1.4% in 2014 and that net-employment increased by 417,500. This year GDP is expected to increase by more than 2%. Does this mark a fundamental change in the economic situation?
Since PODEMOS started registering members on its website in July 2014, over 300,000 have joined. Tens of thousands take part in the weekly meetings of over 1000 circles scattered all over the country. With just over a year of life, Podemos has gone from nothing to becoming, according to all opinion polls, the first party of the country, polling at 30% with about 6.5 million votes. One would have to go back to 1977, immediately after the fall of the dictatorship, to find a comparable political phenomenon in terms of enthusiasm, hopes and mass organisation.
Hundreds of thousands marched in Madrid on 31 January, in a demonstration called by Podemos to mark the beginning of their campaign to win the general election this year in Spain. The huge march came just after Syriza’s victory in Greece and reflected the deep anger of millions of working people against capitalist austerity, as well as the hope that it can be ended.
On Sunday, November 9, over 2.3 million Catalans mobilised to vote in a “consultation” over their future status in Spain defying Rajoy’s government which had twice banned the vote. The vote was on two questions, the first asking if Catalonia should have a state of its own and then, if so, whether such a state should be independent. Of those who voted, 80% or 1.8 million said they wanted Catalonia to be an independent state (Yes-Yes), 10% voted for what is interpreted as a federal solution (Yes-No), and 4.5% voted against statehood.
PODEMOS has become the focal point of Spanish politics. There is no party in the establishment that is not panicking about the dangers of ‘populism’. The last words of the one of the biggest bosses in Spain, the recently deceased president of Santander Bank, Emilio Botin, to a selective group of journalists days before he passed away, expressed his concern about the rise of PODEMOS.
Like lightning out of a clear blue sky a new party has appeared on the Spanish political landscape: Podemos. Jonas Foldager interviewed David Rey of the IMT in Spain, the editor of Lucha de Clases on the rise of this phenomenon.
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