Third Spanish elections, failure of capitalist politics

For the third time in over a year, the Spanish voters must vote again. The Kingdom of Spain is in a political crisis as no stable capitalist government can be formed. Until recently the Spanish political spectrum was divided between the conservative People’s Party (PP) and social democratic; Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE). Both the PP and PSOE ruled in favor of the ruling class and capitalism. But their days of absolute control are over. Because both parties cannot find allies to govern, new elections are planned. Revolutionary socialists call for massive rejection of the capitalist parties and we urge the Unidos Podemos coalition, to adapt a socialist program to fight for a revolutionary transformation of Spanish society!

For those who do not understand the right-wing nature of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party, we will explain why the PSOE is not a socialist workers party. Since the late 1970’s, the social democrats moved to the right-wing. In fact this started right after the death of fascist dictator Franco, who ruled Spain since 1939 with iron fist. Franco installed a monarchy and reestablished the Kingdom of Spain. After democracy was restored, the social democratic party embraced the Royal House and abandoned their commitment to republicanism. Worse, the party moved into the capitalist camp and fully abandoned Marxist socialism!

In the 1990, the so called ”Spanish Socialist Workers Party” also moved away from the classic social democracy and became neoliberal. They started to support austerity, deregulation and market based politics. Under right-wing leader; José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the PSOE was able to regain some seats in parliament, but only because the conservatives of the People’s Party were hated. This is why the social democrats were able to regain control over the government. Still Zapatero did not changed anything fundamental about the nature of Spanish capitalism. As the economic crisis started in 2008, the PSOE were told by the European Union to carry out massive austerity to ”balance the budget”. Like loyal puppies, the social democrats carried out attacks on workers and the poor, resulting in massive anger!

2011 was the worst election year. The party lost 50 seats, the lowest number since democracy was restored. Although the conservatives were back in power, the PSOE was unable to promote itself as a leftist opposition party. By 2015, Spanish workers had enough of the social democrats and conservatives. They openly rejected the PSOE who ended up with only 90 seats (out of 350) in parliament. But because both conservatives and social democrats were unable to form a coalition government, new elections had to be held again. In 2016, the Spanish Socialist Workers Party lost more votes and ended up with 85 seats!

Since the People’s Party was unable to form a government, the Spanish working class is told to vote again for the third time in less then a year. Spain is becoming more and more like the Weimar Republic, the unofficial name of Germany between 1918 and 1933. The Weimar Republic also had many elections and failed to produce stable governments. In the end, the Nazi Party of Adolf Hitler (NSDAP) was able to abuse the disillusioned German electorate. Hitler then formed a coalition with far-right conservatives and became chancellor in march 1933!

In Spain there is a leftist coalition that has the potential to become the leading force of the country. Unidos Podemos is formed between the United Left (a coalition around the Spanish Communist Party) and PODEMOS, a young leftist party founded only two years ago. For many years, the United Left was the only force to the left of the PSOE. But they lacked a socialist program and even opted to work with the social democrats. This led to a massive defeat in the year 2000 from which the United Left never recovered. Since then they are a marginal force in Spanish politics. With the rise of PODEMOS, the United Left was even more marginalized. Winning only two seats during the first elections in 2015!

United Left leader Alberto Garzón, made the right choice to work with PODEMOS and in late 2015, the Unidos Podemos coalition was formed. Together with Pablo Iglesias (leader of PODEMOS) Alberto Garzón now has the task to rally the working class behind the new coalition. This is not an easy task as Iglesias has soften his political positions, which we revolutionary socialists find disturbing. What the coalition needs is a socialist program which is needed to win over the minds of the working class. Meanwhile the conservatives play the dirty card. They use brutal anticommunism to turn people away from Unidos Podemos. Pablo Iglesias had been called a ”dirty communist” and many right-wing papers portray him as a puppet of Alberto Garzón and the communist party!

The last elections in June 2016 were disappointing for the left. The Unidos Podemos coalition failed to win more votes. Worse, it had lost over 150.000 voters. The capitalist media had done its work. By attacking Pablo Iglesias they were able to portray PODEMOS as ”unwilling to govern”. Also the lack of a socialist program and the inexperience character of the young party, made it ideal for right-wing attacks. Still we must not forget that 3,19% of all voters choose to stay home. It is very possible that the voter turnout will drop even more. The election in June gave a turnout of 66,48%, meaning that 33,52% did not participated in the voting. Had PODEMOS been able to reach these disillusioned voters they could have defeated the PSOE and PP!

One thing is clear however, capitalism is failing in Spain. The European Union will demand more social cuts and austerity programs and any new Spanish government will be forced to carry them out. This is why the Spanish workers need a party that rejects austerity, capitalism and fights for a socialist revolution. Pablo Iglesias is not a Marxist and lacks a revolutionary attitude, a major flaw which the ruling class can exploit. Alberto Garzón is a member of the Spanish Communist Party. But the communist party is calling for a restoration of  the 1931; Republic of Spain, not a revolutionary state under control of workers and peasants!

It is very possible that the new elections will result in a much lower voter turnout. This is a negative forecast as the Unidos Podemos coalition would lose voters. The conservatives of the People’s Party won the last election because many PODEMOS supporters stayed home. Faith in democracy as a system had dropped considerable, now that no major political party was able to form a stable government. Revolutionary socialists call on Unidos Podemos to reject any coalition with the social democrats on capitalist/austerity principals. The Spanish ”Socialist Workers” Party cannot be trusted as a force for the working class. Pablo Iglesias and Alberto Garzón need to focus on providing a socialist alternative, this means

  • Rejecting the European Union
  • Rejecting the Spanish monarchy
  • Calling for a socialist republic under control of workers councils
  • Nationalize the means of production
  • Nationalize the whole financial sector
  • Expropriate all millionaires and billionaires
  • A planned economy under democratic control of society


PODEMOS leader Pablo Iglesias Turrión!

PODEMOS leader Pablo Iglesias Turrión!