One year after the last general election, the Spanish voters were asked to vote again. Although the conservative PP was rocked by scandals it was able to win this election. In fact the conservative won +3% more votes and got 137 seats in the Spanish parliament. The social democratic PSOE lost a few seats. A disappointment are the results for the coalition around United Left (led by the communist party) and Podemos, a leftist populist party. Podemos hoped to win at least 90 seats but got 71. Still it makes the leftist coalition the third largest force in the country!
Why did the conservatives win? Maybe because the negative propaganda directed against Podemos this last year. The conservatives have always denounced the new leftist party as a ”communist” party. This red scare works on the older generation, who are still brainwashed by reactionary anticommunist thinking. A clear remnant of 40 years of fascist rule under Franco. Because Podemos refused to join a capitalist government, it was scapegoated by the capitalist media. With 30% of all Spanish not voting, a huge group that might have supported the leftist party stayed home!
Last year, the talks about forming a austerity regime failed. European capitalism demanded cuts to social welfare, deregulation and massive labour market reforms to make Spain ”competitive”. But the People’s Party and the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE-social democrats) have never worked together in a coalition. Between the two parties there is no trust or willingness to compromise. In reality there is little difference. The PSOE used to be a socialist party, but abandoned the Marxist ideology in the late 1970’s. Today the social democrats agree to austerity and deregulation to please European capitalism. Podemos is a new party, founded in January 2014 by Pablo Iglesias Turrión. The new leftist party rejects European enforced austerity. Although leftist in nature, Podemos has not offered a socialist alternative and lacks a revolutionary program. This was maybe a reason why the party stagnated!
Still Podemos is seen by many to be a alternative to the capitalist PSOE, who has betrayed the Spanish workers. Unfortunate the coalition between United Left and Podemos was not enough to defeat the social democrats. The PSOE is still larger then the new leftist party. Another possibility for the stagnation is the brutal capitalist propaganda against Podemos. After the last general election in 2015, the capitalist media called on Pablo Iglesias Turrión to form a government with the social democrats. But Turrión refused since he did not trusted the social democrats. He was scapegoated and called ”untrustworthy”, they branded him and his party as ”irresponsible”
This worked in favor of the two parties of capitalism. A year after the last general election a coalition of United Left and Podemos, failed to win more seats. Turrión agreed that the outcome was a disappointment. The election results could lead into a dangerous direction, if Podemos turns to the right by joining a coalition government with the PSOE. We have seen in Greece what happens when a leftist party agrees to the demands of European capitalism. SYRIZA not only turned against the Greek workers, it became the vehicle for European enforced austerity cuts. Alexis Tsipras once hailed as ”savior” of Greece has sold airports, seaports and more state owned enterprises to European capitalists. His privatizations and deregulation of the Greek economy only makes one class stronger!
The PSOE is not a leftist party nor a workers party. Social democracy in Spain is as right-wing as it has become in most European nations. But the former party of workers still has the support of the older generation. Workers who lived in a time when the PSOE was still their party. The turn to the right is not uncommon for social democrats as most betrayed the socialist ideology by the 1980’s. Like the Labour Party in Britain, the Social-democratic Party of Germany, the Socialist Party in France, the Party of Labour in the Netherlands, the Spanish Socialist Workers Party became a fully capitalist party. Today in 2016, only their propaganda remain center-leftist!
With a conservative victory there is a possibility, that a coalition government will be formed by the PP and the center-right; Citizens party. Still it would not be enough as these two capitalist parties lack a majority in parliament. The PP and Citizens party could ask for the support of separatist forces in Catalonia and Basque, but since the conservatives always rejected independence movements it is unkindly these groups will support a austerity regime. A final move could be a PP-PSOE government, this would to acceptable to European capitalism. Both conservatives and social democrats support austerity, wage cuts and deregulation in favor of big business. The conservative establishment demands attacks on workers and poor, the social democrats however could lose their remaining supporters if they join up with the PP!
What can Podemos do now? We revolutionary socialists argue for uncompromising opposition to any capitalist government. The coalition between United Left and Podemos must build a socialist alternative with rejection of austerity, capitalism, neoliberalism, monarchism and the EU. Pablo Iglesias Turrión has soften its leftist rhetoric since 2015, therefore it is good that United Left leader; Alberto Garzon, has criticized Podemos from a leftist perspective. Garzon can become a voice for anti-capitalist opposition to the more moderate group around Turrión. The IU-Podemos coalition needs to develop a socialist program that call for a republic of workers and the poor. A socialist society that rejects European capitalism and the ”Employers” Union!