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From ‘Demos’ to ‘Podemos’: Popular Uprisings in Greece and Spain


From ‘Demos’ to ‘Podemos’: Popular Uprisings in Greece and Spain

Amy Goodman

In ancient Greece, the birthplace of democracy, power derived from “demos,” the people. Well, the people of contemporary Greece have been reeling under austerity for five years, and have voted to put an end to it. In January, the anti-austerity Syriza Party was swept to power in national elections. Greece is a member of the so-called eurozone, the nations that joined together with a common currency back in 1999. Following the economic crash of 2009, the Greek economy was in shambles.


I celebrate Syriza’s victory in Greece, and hope that Podemos will emerge victorious when they hold elections sometime in late 2015 (a definite date hasn’t been set yet).

My one point of discomfort is that Pablo Iglesias, as well as other Podemos leaders, have become mainstream media darlings in Spain. A general principle I live by is that anybody glamorized on TV should be immediately consider as “suspect” (many learned this fact with Obama and the subsequent disappointment following his election in 2008). Any meaningful change will have to start with we-the-people learning some basics, such as to ignore TV. Perhaps one hopeful distinction between Podemos and Obama-the-media-phenomenon is that Podemos started very much as a grassroots movement (the “Indignados”, as stated in the article) and only recently the Spanish media discovered it, whereas Obama was a media creation from day 1.


I had a dream that I overlooked a massive demonstration that became self-aware as visual opportunity to produce images of geometric and other principles. I guess it came from the images of people laying on the ground to spell out messages in words. I saw demonstrators smiling as they counted off dance steps coordinated 50-100 people at a time illustrating living images of masses of people moving in concert. It was breathtaking


You can’t ignore TV when it programs the vast majority of persons. Your post sets up a Catch-22 in that the Man Of The People is being placed under a suspect lens for having gained celebrity by The People.

It takes mass media or incredibly effective Twitter/Internet messages going viral to create mass support. If someone has gotten it, and media responds, that doesn’t necessarily translate into cause to undermine the person who has the right message at the right time and is seen as The Necessary Alternative (to the status quo) by The Crowd.

It’s standard fare in the message threads to demean EVERY positive development. Additionally, in the past, any groups that protested and took a stand were also pilloried so that the dominant meme–that citizens don’t care (and thus are responsible for whatever is done unto them by dangerous, lawless, long entrenched and powerful elites) could remain in place.

Now, when rebels rise up in Greece, Spain and soon to come, other lands (for precedents are powerful things) to demonstrate that an alternative is possible, the usual forum cynics do their utmost to take the wind out of their sails.

That’s why I see this form of messaging as Status Quo preserving, at heart. Although I don’t see Tom Carberry here as a daily fixture to indict the moral acts of the likes of Amy Goodman, Kumi Naidoo, Marjorie Cohn, Dennis Kuchinich and others; or Rosemarie Jackowski barking her chorus line of Blaming Voters, I still notice that a deep cynicism is still strategically in place that downplays true rebellion… a force that is spreading.


Another piece of that interview you fail to mention, Amy …

“PABLO IGLESIAS: For necessity, because we understood very well that if you need to change the things, you need political power. And we were activists, and we used to work in social fields in the civil society, but we know that it’s very important to occupy the institutional powers in order to change things. It’s quite important to be in the Parliament. It’s quite important to win the elections.”

So where are the American would be equivalents of Podemos or Syriza on your show, Amy? While touting a Greek and Spanish political oposition, why not feature the Greens here in the US? Well i suppose it is safer to feature parties that offer no challenge to our LOTE routine here …Too bad when RT gives better coverage to our 3rd parties than our own so-called “prog” media does …


Note that Podemos is the only party without support from Spanish print media; even the progressive leader El País is a relentless critic. Two private TV-radio networks are practically alone in inviting Podemos spokesmen to their panel shows, whose audiences have risen dramatically as a result. So hungry are Spanish citizens to hear voices calling for major changes in politics!


Spain has a movement that is unknown in the USA, called Mondragon. It is a holding company consisting of some 600 Spanish firms, all of which are owned by their workers. They all compete in the open marketplace, but help each other when one of their firms producing a modern equivalent of buggy whips, fails in the current economy. The workers are trained in another field and set up as a new company to compete again. It’s a perfect combination of capitalism and socialism that uses the best virtues of both. In the USA, believe it or not, there are states where it is illegal for the workers to own their companies, and everywhere the corporate controlled media have repressed all mention of Mondragon and Syndicalism, which is what this form of economy is called. Google it and find out more. It is the sort of thing that can grow from the grassroots and destroy the ruling class without firing a bullet. Beware, labor unions hate it as much as the capitalists do. It gives power to the people.


It strikes me that the German people seem to think that the IMF loans to Greece will be paid by the German taxpayer when the truth is that this money is made up on a computer. It does not consist of bank deposits or tax dollars. It is a purely fictional amount created by the World Bank on which they then charge interest for decades thereafter. Spain and Greece should both drop out of the EU, nationalize their banks, use their own currency and tell the international bankers who own the IMF to screw themselves. Google marginal fractional banking to see how the system really works. It’s one big Ponzi Scheme run by the “most respectable people on Earth”. We are all its victims, and we are headed for the demise of the system thanks to its inevitable march towards unbearable debt.