Preceded by an intense rain that caused the cancellation of Friday’s concerts, on Saturday the celebration of the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) parties was resumed. The thousands of attendees who came to Rivas Vaciamadrid (Madrid) this weekend had two reasons to celebrate: the centenary of communist formation and the return to social events, after a year and a half of pandemic.
The events scheduled for the weekend became a coming and going of members of the central government. Almost all the ministers of United We Can passed through the discussion tables. On Saturday the head of the Social Rights portfolio, Ione Belarra, participated in a talk on popular unity. The presence of the Minister of Consumption, Alberto Garzón, was also scheduled, who could not attend because he was “trapped” – sources from the organization assured – in an official visit to La Palma, although he was present in the afternoon in a tribute to Julio Anguita. Yolanda Díaz and Irene Montero, Second Vice President of the Government and Minister of Equality, took part in the closing ceremony of the festivities and at a feminism table, respectively.
The poster not only welcomed the present and the future of United We Can. Former vice president Pablo Iglesias took advantage of these festivities to attend his first public act after leaving politics in May. On Saturday, hundreds of attendees packed the tent in which the former secretary general of Podemos intervened. Shouting ‘Yes, we can’ and with praise from the rest of the participants, he took the floor to highlight the importance of the communist movement in the history of our country.
“We have to thank his presence and the work that Pablo has done so that workers participate in the Government of Spain,” said Enrique Santiago, secretary general of the PCE and secretary of State for Agenda 2030, who also assured that Iglesias is the “responsible for the oligarchies who are trilling with the presence of the left in the Government of Spain.”
The former secretary general of Podemos defended that our country is witnessing “an attempt at democratic involution” by sectors of the right and the extreme right, since they consider that “the State was their farmhouse.” Iglesias defended that one of the possible alternatives to the Government could be an Executive made up of Vox and a PP “located in positions to the right of its own history.” And he fears that these two formations will support the “banning of parties”, with the “support of a large part of the media” and “of a part of the judiciary.”
Another issue addressed by the former vice president was the role of the PCE in United We Can and its entry into the coalition Executive. As he stated, with the government agreement signed in 2019, an “exclusion clause” that the communists suffered since the transition was broken. It is – as Iglesias reported – a strategy promoted by the traditional party system that never allowed any communist politician to form part of the Council of Ministers.
“The best example to understand what it means for a force like United We to be in government is to see how this has awakened an anti-communism that has not been seen in this country for a long time,” he said.
Regarding his experience in the Government, Iglesias has defended that in 2020, when they reached an agreement with Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya and EH Bildu to carry out the General State Budgets, and not with Citizens as “a part of the Government” wanted, there was a turning point in his career. “I am perfectly aware that the fact that we won that race implies that my head would end up exposed in a pike,” he said.
Another of the high communist positions in the Government, Enrique Santiago, exposed in the same table the obstacles that were found when arriving at the institutions. “You cannot imagine how difficult they have done it to the coalition government, and especially to the ministries of Unidos Podemos, from institutions that should be subject to democratic power,” he said to later charge against oligarchic powers. “Anything is worth them, even ending democracy, if it is about maintaining the slightest of privileges,” he said.
The first public act in which Iglesias participated was interrupted by a small group of young people, who took advantage of the former vice president’s turn to boycott him, shouting “where is the change? Where is the progress?” and launching leaflets calling for “an amnesty for political prisoners.” The intervener condemned this action. “Those who give headlines and clicks to the far-right media deserve all the forcefulness of the popular and communist militancy,” he said.
Vice President Díaz and Ministers Montero and Belarra took advantage of their interventions to strengthen relations with the PCE. The secretary general of Podemos introduced herself as a “companion” and “ally” of the party organizing the party. “The communist youth and the PCE have been my school of life and have been my home for a long time,” recalled the head of Equality.
In a pandemic time, with smaller capacities than those of the events held before the outbreak of the virus, Díaz took a mass bath this Sunday at the closing rally of the festivities. To the shout of ‘president’ he took the floor in the event to which he has attended with his family and in which he has coincided with veteran militants of his place of origin (Fene), whom he has embraced excitedly at the foot of the track at the end your intervention.
He began his speech by remembering “those men and women who comb gray hair” and who have taught him “an important thing”: “In order for us to have freedom, we have to be equal.” Thus, he has warned that in poverty “there is no equality” and that precarious young people, who “charge 600 euros a month” in Spain, “are not free.”
And there has been no lack of nods to the political formation that organized the event: “I feel at home, it is my culture, you are part of me.” Díaz has also defended that the communists have “the most lucid, sad, heroic history, with many errors”, but “always on the right side of history.”
The ministers took advantage of their speeches to review their government action. The Labor Minister insisted on her determination to revoke the labor reform. “Believe me, we are going to repeal it,” he said in a scenario in which the leaders of the UGT and CCOO, Pepe Álvarez and Unai Sordo, were also present. “If we do not do it, the country, the Government and Spain will be wrong,” he said.
For its part, Belarra has defended that thanks to the “political space of popular unity” that they built to attend the elections they have been able to “meet most of the objectives” that had been set. Taking advantage of the attendance of hundreds of attendees at the conference, he wanted to launch a hopeful message, in the face of “the reactionary wave” that the country is experiencing and that causes its militants “to be discouraged.” “We have achieved political goals that we would never have imagined ten years ago,” he said.
The organization of these days has claimed that these have been the first parties in which the political formation has ministers in the Government. “That says a lot about the strength of our party,” said Clara Alonso, Secretary of the Institutional Area, before introducing Iglesias. With the presence of Díaz, Garzón, Montero and Belarra, and the attendance of several thousand followers to the events, the PCE has taken advantage of Rivas’ act to gain muscle.