Tuesday, May 17

A war that tears the left

The Republic must focus on democracy and on what is common to all Spanish democrats

Manuel Azana

To try to understand you have to get out of one. The debate in our country is so short that verbal attacks have spread as if the tension that has just been experienced within Podemos, and between a part of the Podemos ministers and those of the PSOE, were a national thing that could be explained exclusively in local terms. The fracture between the Social Democrats and the parties to their left and the division within the latter is something that also occurs in the rest of Europe in relation to the war in Ukraine. The only difference is that in the case of the French or German divergences, it is possible to find a debate of ideas while in Spain the issue is being limited to a kind of soccer match between fans and a fight of historical or geopolitical references, taken from of context in many cases, which do not finish defining the real lines of divergence and their implication.

The European social democratic parties, like the Spanish, are clear about their position, the common one in the EU foreign ministries. The Greens, French and Germans, generally agree with an approach that posits that “Putin’s Russia has no right over the fate of Ukraine” and with those who consider that “it is legitimate for a democracy to defend itself with the weapons of the Russian imperialism, including military support for the Ukrainian resistance”, in the words of Delphine Batho of Génération Écologie. “Europe must remain united and extend its sanctions as part of a coordinated effort” said the Green Alliance, which is in favor of sanctions, the exit of Russian companies and the improvement of cybersecurity “to avoid massive disinformation campaigns” . Green parties, including the German party that is part of the government that has historically increased the military budget, stress the opportunity and the need to move towards European independence from fossil fuels. “The military power of the Putin regime has been built with the benefits of the exploitation of fossil fuels” and they recognize that “the predatory and anti-democratic spirit has changed its nature” in the words of Batto, which seem to indicate that the anti-American position is has become old in the face of the reality of the “new order that dictators like Putin want to impose”. So the window of opportunity in the face of “the historical outrage that we are experiencing also calls for an in-depth response and a new civilization project that the Ecological Republic is the bearer of.” To summarize, European environmentalists see clearly that the need for European energy independence forced by Putin leads directly where they want to go, to renewables.

The most left-wing German party, Die Linke, has subscribed for the most part to what they remember is the internationalist line of the left: “this internationalism has never been in solidarity with autocrats like Putin. Our solidarity is with the people who in Ukraine oppose the Russian army. Putin is the aggressor and must be stopped.” This position has caused a public fracture of seven parliamentarians, led by Sahra Wagenknecht, who have positioned themselves against Putin’s aggression but blaming the United States to those who attribute “a determining responsibility in the situation”. This sector rejects the sanctions against Russia and aid with military material to Ukraine, and continues to advocate leaving NATO and the construction in Europe “of a collective security system of which Russia itself is a part.” The majority of their own party, through Gregor Gysi, has accused them saying: “all you care about is saving your old ideology.” I can’t help but see similarities in this position with the one maintained in Spain by United We Can. A position that distances itself from that internationalism that considers that all the peoples of the world, all people, have the same rights and that, therefore, Ukrainians “have the right to self-determination, to want to live in democracy, to want to be independent and to want to be part of the European Union if they so wish” and that is what it means to demand perpetual neutrality from them, to become the buffer state that Putin demands.

Podemos has positioned itself alongside figures, rather than supporting debates of ideas and, above all, they have aligned themselves with that of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader and candidate of La Francia Insumisa. Mélenchon proposes non-alignment and diplomacy as the only way, but he is campaigning and this very week he has been put on the ropes on TV. After saying that the EU’s response has been null and that he has no confidence in it, he said: “France will defend itself. We have a complete army. Be careful who messes with us if I am the one who runs the country The response will be sudden. If someone attacks the borders of France, the response will be military and terrible. It will be what it should be, “said the leftmost leader of France, the only EU country that has the bomb. atomic. I don’t know if someone from Podemos would subscribe to those words but, in the mouth of the French, they still seem like a very clear differentiation between the right of defense of the Ukrainian people -to whom arms cannot be sent- and that of the French people, who he has for himself and a serious anti-Europeanist defection. They also make it very clear that he gives peace, love, flowers and unicorns, just enough.

The proposal of Mélenchon’s party, geopolitically more elaborate than that of Ione Belarra, blames Putin for the sole responsibility of the conflict and positions itself in what it calls “the field of peace” because it considers “unimaginable to find ourselves in a position of co-belligerence” , in the words of his security spokesman, Bastian Lachaud. “Sanctions can serve as a lever if they affect the oligarchs but if they affect the people they strengthen the regimes and increase their influence over resources.” Nor does he view without misgivings the economic rapprochement that is taking place between Russia and China, to save the sanctions, because “it runs the risk of causing a readjustment of the political order that turns Europe into a simple variable in the adjustment of power between the USA and China. “. So they bet on a non-alignment “that cannot be neutrality between the aggressor and the attacked” and that requires “radical diplomatic initiatives to settle the differences accumulated since the cold war.” So yes, Mélenchon’s party believes that everything that has happened since the USSR dissolved in a chaotic manner must be reviewed and “rethink Europe’s collective security architecture”, which means reviewing and questioning everything: “border disputes , military alliances, mutual disarmament”. Is this what United We Can also propose? Impossible to know. If it is necessary to say clearly that, like La France Insumisa, it advocates that a new European order should be rethought, for example within the framework of the OSCE, and based on international law, why not say so? That obviously implies reopening all the old European wounds and trying to close them again satisfactorily for everyone? in a negotiation. At least they say it clearly, although there is no certainty, none, that such a proposal would be enough for a Russian leader who is determined to accept and impose a single vision of Europe: his own.

The sin of all of them, like that of United We Can here, is the same, regardless of whether their proposals are viable. In all countries it is evident that those who have eaten at the hands of the Russian autocrat have been the far-right parties, some of which Abascal had the weakness to gather in Madrid not even a month ago. With these disquisitions, with these disputes, with these public confrontations, they have all given rise to the ultra-right hiding behind a column to hide its shame, and they remain there while the left flays.