Less than a week ago we warned, "today Athens, tomorrow Madrid," and sure enough, emboldened by the success of Syriza in Greece, the people of Spain have turned out in their tens of thousands in Madrid at a demonstration called by the insurgent Spanish leftist party Podemos. As The Independent reports, Podemos, which means "we can", has surged into first place in opinion polls in the few months since it was set up in the summer of 2014. It is now ahead of the centre-right Popular Party and centre-left Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party in many opinion polls. Podemos’s policies include a universal basic income, increased democracy, crackdowns on tax avoidance, and increased public control over the economy. Most worrying for the status-quo huggers in Brussels, Podemos has also wants to reform the European Union, describing the current euro arrangement as a "trap."
As we noted earlier this week, while Alexis Tsipras name (and face) are now well known, we suspect few are yet fully aware of Pablo Iglesias, general secretary of Spain's left-wing Podemos party...
“Winds of democratic change are blowing in Europe.
The change in Greece is called Syriza, in Spain it’s called Podemos.
The Hope is coming.
Hasta La Victoria. SYRIZA – PODEMOS … Venceremos! ” (Until victory – We will win!“
* * *
And sure enough, here are the winds of social change...
One marcher, Jose Maria Jacobo, told the Reuters news agency that Podemos supporters wanted to fight back against the country’s political class.
"It is the only way to kick out all of those politicians who are taking everything from us. They even try to take our dignity away from us. But that they won't take that from us."
* * *
Pablo Iglesias, the leader of Spanish anti-austerity party Podemos, pledged to restructure the nation’s debt if he can convert his opinion-poll lead into election victory, following the example of his ally, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. “It has to be a rigorous restructuring,” Iglesias, 36, told thousands of supporters at a rally in Madrid on Saturday. The deal “should be appropriate for the fourth-largest euro economy,” he added.
The party has also pledged to take on Spain’s highly entrenched establishment, dubbed “la casta”, which has dominated politics in the country since the fall of fascism there.