After defeating the right, let’s demand what’s ours

Anticapitalistas (Spanish state)

Posted May 17, 2019

Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias speaking in Barcelona (Dani Gago)

The general elections have X-rayed the reality of the political situation in the Spanish State: the great majority of the population has said “no” to the radical, macho, racist right at the service of the rich. The people of the left mobilized against the threat posed by these minority sectors. Their defeat is clear, although they will continue to try to condition public debates by trying to turn into problems issues that for the majority of the population are legitimate rights to be developed: the freedom of women, migrants and working people.

The big loser in these elections is the [traditional center-right] Partido Popular (Popular Party, PP). If there is one party that has represented the putrefaction, crisis and lack of scruples of Spanish capital, it is the PP. Its severe beating at the polls opens a crisis on the right. Ciudadanos [Citizens Party, Spanish-nationalist, the rising center-right party] seems destined to take over, but they have not significantly increased their percentage of the vote either.

The vote has also shown that, no matter how hard some people try, both in Catalonia and in Euskadi [the Basque region] there is a social majority that wants to decide its future and wants to do it in peace and without violence. The results of the pro-independence forces demonstrates this, and any project for transformation must take it into account.

Although the people of the left have been able to stop to the right, we cannot fail to point out that it was the [traditional center-left] Partido Socialista Obrero Español (Spanish Socialist Workers Party, PSOE) which benefited from this wave to retake its hegemonic position. We have no doubt that many people who voted for the PSOE share many concerns with those of us who want a system that is different from neoliberalism and that goes beyond the narrow institutional framework that the 1978 regime [the transition from dictatorship] offers us.

But we must also make clear that the PSOE apparatus is not to be trusted. For 40 years the PSOE has systematically refused to address the structural problems affecting the working classes and has adopted a policy submissive to the economic powers. A government led by the PSOE apparatus will be a government linked to financial capital. However, we are aware that many honest leftists have hopes that their lives will improve.

We take on the tasks involved in promoting the mobilization to demand that the government of [PSOE leader and Prime Minister] Pedro Sánchez introduce measures against precarious employment and climate change and adopt feminist and antiracist policies. We are aware that only the struggle will succeed in imposing these demands in practice. We therefore believe that the best thing is to turn the mobilization against the right into a positive, sustained mobilization that puts the demands of the working social majority at the center, independently, without any confidence in the progressive political class.

As Anticapitalistas, we support and call for a vote for Unidas Podemos [an electoral bloc of the broad left Podemos and the somewhat further left Izquierda Unida (United Left)]. Despite their fall in votes, we believe that it was right to support them. The social left and the whole generation that has been mobilized since the 15M [the huge anti-austerity demonstrations and occupations which began on May 15, 2011, and were an inspiration for Occupy Wall Street in the U.S.] gave their votes to Unidas Podemos.

However, we must point out that the strategic turn towards moderation and “possiblism” by Unidas Podemos did not increase its electoral base, but led an important sector of the electorate to opt for a “useful vote” [for the PSOE]. Nor has it improved the balance of power between the sectors of the left that reject neoliberal management of the system and the sectors that accept it. All these questions put on the agenda the need to rethink a new strategy to deal with the new situation. Not to settle for the political retrogression is the first point we have to address.

We think that it is necessary to build a broad project for transformation, with a strategy that goes beyond the electoral and that defends a firm program capable of thinking beyond the limits of capitalism.

For Anticapitalistas, the challenge now is not so much that the left be in government with the PSOE as to open a cycle of struggles that puts at the center an ecological, feminist and pro-rights program: to repeal the labor reform and the LOMCE [reactionary education law], to reverse the government spending ceiling, and to strengthen the independent organization from below of the working people. It is about working in the long term to re-establish a perspective of rupture with the economic and political powers, building a project of radical emancipation out of the current struggles. Only patiently building such a project will allow us to regain momentum and not have to choose between the right and the “lesser evil,” avoiding new disappointments such as those we have experienced in the past. It depends on all of us.

This statement was adopted by Anticapitalistas on April 29, 2019. Anticapitalistas is the Fourth International affiliate in the Spanish state. The statement was published in Spanish on the Anticapitalistas website here and in English on the International Viewpoint website here. We have slightly revised the International Viewpoint translation for clarity.