Monday, September 25

Legitimate reasons and harmful mistrust of Podemos and Sumar

With my desire to be able to continue debating politics, culture and life in the great Sevillian Chaotic bookstore today threatened with eviction by the voracious gentrification that the State must tame or there will be no independent bookstore in the heart of any city.

After months announcing the “listening process” of Yolanda Díaz, even after learning that she would call her initiative Sumar, at last, on Friday, July 8, it was presented at an event in Madrid before 5,000 people and the following Friday, July 15 , was held on first “act of listening” with twenty young environmental experts and activists (again in Madrid). But on the third Friday, July 22, Minister Ione Belarra dismissed Enrique Santiago (from the PCE and Díaz’s right-hand man) to put Lilith Verstrynge, secretary of organization for Podemos, in her position as Secretary of State for the 2030 Agenda. And on Monday, August 8, the exact month of Sumar’s presentation, Podemos announces that it will not join the sum, but rather will negotiate a coalition. The pulse is served to concern registered, affiliated, sympathizers and potential voters.

People on the left aspire to have well-matched representatives. Bases and leaders abhor “acronym soups.” When disagreements become evident, as happened crudely on the eve of the Andalusian elections, not a few of us put our hands to our heads. However, is the tug-of-war unjustified? Let’s see.

Undeniable evidence is that Yolanda Díaz is the only candidate who, at present, can lead with the option of a good result a political project of progressive depth and with a government aspiration that, no matter how much she lucidly defends it as “broad spectrum”. , “of majorities”, is based on a left to the left of the PSOE.

Díaz, whose origins are a labor lawyer who is a member of the IU and later of the Galician coalition En Marea, has managed to be the undisputed candidate for a vision, which she has put into practice in the Ministry of Labor, of pragmatism to approve measures that improve the people’s lives (ERTES and labor reform) and proven transversality by reaching agreements with unions and also the business community.

The step that, from that vision of being “pragmatic and transversal”, is wanting to take by constituting the platform? movement? coalition? “or whatever the hell it’s called” (according to the expression of Pablo Iglesias in the Agora de Hora 25) attracts and arouses sympathy because it returns to the essence of 15M with its discourse of “the people” over “partisan views” and appeals to “a sense of the common good” over “rigid and abstract ideologies.” Sumar wants to bear witness to the 2011 outrage from which Podemos arose when it defended that “left and right” were obsolete categories and the new paradigm was that of “those from below versus the caste above”.

Sanchification of Podemos, quixotization of IU

Now we are witnessing a curious phenomenon: Podemos, which made the banner of transversality and circles (Belarra, Verstrynge, Irene Montero and, in his role as free electron, Pablo Iglesias) defends the importance of “the brand” and “the members” of the party while those like Yolanda Díaz, Alberto Garzón or Enrique Santiago come from IU and the PCE (with its orthodox party tradition) insist that “we must overcome the party framework.” As in the second part of Don Quixote, the two protagonists of the story seem to exchange personalities.

In the background, but without needing to scratch much, the suspicion of Podemos comes from the fact that in that Sumar that Yolanda Díaz promotes, the people of the United Left and the Communist Party shine a lot, more than Podemos. And one thing is certain, from the Transition to 2010, the IU formula had reached a point where it represented exactly what Díaz now calls “the little corner of the left, small and marginal” and did not even contemplate the option of forming a government and to be able to really change, concretely, reality.

In Podemos it is seen with alarm that Yolanda Díaz relies more on IU and PCE colleagues when it is Podemos who has managed to be a governing force with the PSOE. That is why they demand that “the listener” and “the sum” start counting on “those insiders”.

I remember talks with Andalusian members of IU dazzled by the victory of the 5 Star Movement in the Italian elections of October 2013 to whom when it was pointed out that IU was far from the profile of its potential voters, that IU was a redoubt of convinced, too masculine and not very urban, they looked stunned and lowered their arms. It was three months before January 2014 when Podemos was founded, six months before May 2014 when Podemos burst onto the board with its five MEPs. If after many misadventures and struggles, in 2018 the first progressive coalition government in Spain was reached with ministers like Yolanda Díaz, it is thanks to Podemos and it is the law to recognize it.

Intermediate positions of Podemos today reveal fear that their colleagues from IU and PCE with more tables in politics, now that Sumar is brewing, are going to monopolize and/or spoil what the momentum of Podemos has conquered. No one disputes Diaz’s leadership. But she is asked to “start adding with those inside” and put into practice, in internal negotiations, that capacity for dialogue that she always shows off, both when it comes to agreeing with social agents, as well as with the socialist half of the government or, at the moment, with civil society. “Why doesn’t the listening process include listening to peers?” they ask.

Who does not listen or respond to whom?

Voices from both sides give as an example, to justify their misgivings, the terrible negotiation of the list in Andalusia this June 2022. The three most powerful brands in the coalition were Podemos, IU and Más País (the small ones were Equo, Initiative of the Andalusian People and Alianza Verde Andalucía). The tug-of-war on the lists went so far to register candidacies that the inclusion of Podemos and AVA came in after the deadline with the legal, financing and image dispute consequences that this entailed. Between that fiasco and the previous fight with the former leader of Podemos in Andalusia, Teresa Rodríguez, already at the head of her own party (Adelante Andalucía), the result was to go from 17 deputies to 5+2.

In Podemos they disassociate themselves from the fiasco because the Andalusian list was headed by Inmaculada Nieto, from IU and Yolanda Díaz’s personal bet against the candidate Juan Antonio Delgado whom Podemos wanted. In IU they say that Podemos sent its approval to the pact late and thus it started badly from the beginning. Just as then, now, one and the other point out their own willingness to negotiate and the other’s disregard and sticks in the wheel.

Having the two sectors in contention for reasons of dislike and mistrust, airing them instead of solving them together, aggravates them and scares away potential Sumar voters and any possible signing of civil society who will not want to do politics that way.

Podemos must do some self-criticism if you look back and remember those who disassociated themselves or founded projects new: Luis Alegre, Carolina Bescansa, Íñigo Errejón, Xavi Domènech, Teresa Rodríguez, Sergio Pascual, Noelia Vera, Miguel Urbán and behind them so many managers, workers and supporters.

Yolanda Díaz, acknowledging the merit of recovering some of those far away for the addition, do you not see aspects that urgently need improvement? Because historical figures from IU who have the greatest sympathy for him are concerned about Sumar’s enormous dependence on a single person, even if it is her (with her vilification of the parties and her chant to function without structure). And an analyst like Sergio del Molino in this recent columnwhere he showed that he did not feel affinity with Díaz, nevertheless made objections that were not nonsense, such as hiding behind “the listening process” to delay assuming leadership, avoids staining with regional or municipal failures and preserves the aura of “young promise”, but it is neither acceptable one year before the next general elections nor is it very likely the right one to achieve good results.

From my perspective, it is not that one of the two sectors in contention is right about the other, but that having both justified reasons for dislike and mistrust, airing them instead of addressing them seriously together, on the one hand does not solve them, on the contrary, It worsens them and on the other hand, distances the citizenry from Sumar’s proposal. It distances the simple and hard-working people who will be called to vote in the municipal and general elections of May and December 2023 and, of course, it also scares away those who aspire to incorporate as recruits from civil society who logically will not embark in any project if around you chattering piranha teeth.

Misunderstandings have been, are and will be in all the games. The question, to last and win, is to manage them.

Bearing in mind also that, meanwhile, the neighbors of so many blocks and houses, in large capitals, provincial cities, towns and villages are not up to this, but are facing challenges such as the struggle of seven working-class neighborhoods in the fourth municipality for a population of Spain, Seville, against Endesa’s continuous power outages which, in the midst of a heat wave, leave those who pay their bills with so much effort, without air conditioning, without a fan, fridge or kitchen. Families, children, the elderly and the sick connected to respirators who suffocate and already need the courageous action of those who, from the executive, stand up to the energy companies as the work in the coalition government has just proven with the creation of taxes on their profits abusive