Wednesday, February 1

Yolanda Díaz and the corners of politics

The division between Podemos and Yolanda Díaz turns out to be more and more evident. The last episode of many, that of the main purple leaders opposing the sending of “offensive weapons” to Ukraine, while Yolanda Díaz applauds and closes ranks with Pedro Sánchez. All this, while Díaz has already announced the will to promote, starting in the spring, her own political project for the general elections.

One of the reasons, she affirms, that has led her to create a new project that overwhelms United We Can (UP) is her desire to get out of the corners. “I do not want to be to the left of the PSOE. I am a woman who does not stay in the corners. I don’t like corners!” he affirms in each interview. Nothing to object to this statement, every transformative project must aspire to be able to question the social majority. However, the fact that Yolanda Díaz is only capable of making a unipositional and static reading of the political corners and not a multipositional and changing one, which is such as they are, can lead her, in practice, to the opposite of the objective of her. That is, to the self-construction of her own corner from which she will not be able to reach any majority either. What do I mean?

Perceiving the political corner as something unipositional and static, Díaz can only place it at the left pole of the political board. The only corner in which, according to such a reading, he could be cornered in his new project is that of leftist purity. The one where political and social changes are considered in terms of all or nothing, renouncing, due to insufficient and not embodying a society of absolute and finished justice, to play on the broad surface of the board that is that of partial reforms of the conditions of lifetime. According to this unipositional and static analysis of the street corner, the more moderate and centrist his new proposal is, the further away it would be from the street corner and the broader its field of social interpellation and political action would be.

However, the thesis here is that this is not necessarily true. Political corners are not unipositional and static but multipositional and changing.

What does it mean, in politics, to be on the corners? Well, simply narrow down your field of doing politics. Every transformative project can expand or reduce its field of action. Corner is synonymous with cornering, shrinking, isolating yourself from the political whole. It’s narrowing down the terrain on which you intend to exert influence to change things. The corner is a small space that is entirely political.

It is not necessary to have the center of gravity in the far left corner of the board to narrow your political field of action. The left can also reduce it by having the gravity point anywhere on the board. Also in the center there are corners or small spaces of politics. The corners are multipositional and changeable.

Not understanding this is what is leading Yolanda Díaz to build her own corner. Her political actions consist of trying to introduce measures of equality within political life but eliminating from it:

  • Any kind of critical position on foreign policy, NATO and the EU.
  • Any commitment to democratically address structural aspects of the 1978 regime, such as the corrupt monarchy. Faced with the question in the interview by Jordi Évole with the Vice President, on a Sunday in prime time television, about a referendum on the republic in Spain, she answers a “now is not the time.”
  • Any type of proposal aimed at putting an end to the repression and political persecution of thousands of people in Catalonia and finding a solution to the territorial conflict. There are already more than 3,500 defendants and more than 800 trials that have taken place and that do not stop growing every day (last week more than five detainees in different Catalan municipalities) in the face of the absolute silence of Díaz on the issue, who, facing To Évole’s question about the Catalan Referendum, he answered again with another: “Now is not the time”. AND,
  • Part of your own electoral program. While the approval of the labor reform with the progressive investiture bloc made it possible to comply with the UP program. His negotiation and his agreement with the bosses and Ciudadanos forced Díaz to neutralize and empty his original proposals, resigning and placing part of his electoral promises outside of politics.

When you eliminate all these aspects, and others, of political life, you have expelled so many spaces from your field of action and from your proposal that the space in which you end up pretending to do politics is limited to a small, reduced field, isolated from the rest of the whole politician from which you exclude yourself as an actor of change. Although not located on the extreme left but in the center, it ends up, after all, building another corner for yourself, that is, giving up playing on the entire board.

Just as there is a left corner that is built by eliminating pragmatism with ideology, there is also a centrist corner that is built by eliminating ideology with pragmatism. The corners or small spaces of the policy can have their center of gravity at different points on the board.

In politics, those only historical moments in which the left has been able to generate hope, win elections and make changes, has not been when it has reduced politics, but when it has expanded it. When it has been able to dialectically connect the micro elements of everyday life (the minimum wage, pensions, education and health, housing, etc.) with the macro elements of structural change (the form of State, the economic system , geopolitics, the Constituent Power, etc.) and universalize in the collective imagination of the social majority the idea that the reform of the former does not occur without the transformation of the latter and vice versa.

Yolanda Díaz’s political project does not expand the field of action where the left intends to introduce changes, but rather reduces it, and this is nothing more than another way of self-constructing corners, central but just as corners as the others. Small spaces isolated from the political whole from which it is as difficult to create illusions and build social majorities, as it is from the corner of leftist purity.