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The Spanish Invasion: Leftist Leader Says Populism Rises from Failures of the Elite


#1

The Spanish Invasion: Leftist Leader Says Populism Rises from Failures of the Elite

Jon Queally, staff writer

Marking his first visit to the United States as leader of the ascendent Podemos party in Spain, Pablo Iglesias is in New York City this week to discuss the rise of leftwing populism in his country and how what began in the Spanish streets as the Indignados movement just four years ago has now become a powerful political force across his country and beyond.


#2

OK, Amy, now time to pay attention to alternative political parties in the US - if even ABC interviews Jill Stein, why not DN?


#3

I for one am tired of swinging on the right to left pendulum and ready for a different approach to remedy socioeconomic problems.

The Zeigeist Movement with Peter Joseph and Jacque Fresco is possibly at the leading edge of socio-economic advancement through science and technology. At its root is the elimination of money and the scientific sharing of resources.

Although a worthy goal, eliminating money may be very difficult to do. But a limit on personal wealth could be established by periodic direct democratic initiatives that could utilize advanced technology such as encrypted online voting.

Limiting personal wealth and rerouting the excess electronic money equally to everyone else's bank accounts is likely to achieve goals similar to the ZGM's. The difference is that these goals could be reached direct democratically in a near future instead of post-apocalyptically.

Capping personal wealth would have the effect of leveling a playing field that now allows a few super-rich, super-powerful individuals to buy the government and get obscenely richer. There is no technological reason left to prevent a more equitable sharing of resources and to put an end to human misery in the world once and for all.

We need to accept that technology such as robotics is steadily taking over repetitive jobs and doing them more cheaply, faster and better than humans ever could. That it can liberate us all from rote labor to enjoy and create a better world. To work at doing what we like, not toil like slaves of an elite.


#4

DN has interviewed Jill Stein and the previous Green Party candidates a number of times - notably before the presidential elections.

The never well-organized US Green Party has only been in decline for the past 15 years and European/Canadian/Australian Green Parties are not doing much better - never having more than a handful of seats. Meanwhile PODEMOS has exploded in membership and popularity over the period of only a couple years. So, I am much more interested in what Sr. Iglesias has to say.


#5

Take the wages of robo laborers and apply it to education and other avenues of social uplift.


#6

Ah yes, "a number of times" - last time i think it was once and it wasn't much of an interview - believe me, i have been paying attention ...

"Prog" media in the US, IMO has been notorious for dismissing 3rd party efforts - grudgingly sticking in a mention or two here and there if only to ward off criticism for it's obvious lack ...

Actually, the GP has been making strides abroad, though, granted, not in over whelming numbers - and maybe part of the problem for the GP in the US is precisely that folks like yourself have been more interested in foreign politics than in domestic ones ...

So to whom do you give support, if any ....?

It's ironic because one thing "prog" media does is perpetually bitch about the MSM and the coverage it gives to the duopoly .... if it were really interested in fostering prog politics, it seems to me it would provide a venue for those who are practicing it ....

It would appear that in Europe, folks actually take their positions to the electoral polls - we seem content to leave them in opinion polls ...


#8

Aquifer,

Actually, I has domestic economic issues specifically in mind. Why aren't the Spanish rallying behind Los Verdes and picking Podemos instead? Deserved or not, Green Parties have perception of representing middle-class liberal (in the US/Canadian sense) interests, not working class interests.


#9

The elites have looked at this as well and to them, it looks like we are expendable. The question then becomes, who is better prepared to accomplish their goals and how to put a spanner in the works, so to speak?


#10

One of the problems of any movement, and that includes one leader of the populist in the USA at that time is that the movement can be undermined by the actions of its leaders. If William Jennings Bryan, used the Populist, Party for personal political goals, Tom Watson, went from encouraging poor farmers, both blacks and whites, to join together against the ruling class, to someone who championed racist, anti-socialist policies that further led to the destruction of a bi-racial, populist movement in America.


#11

Yunzer, I agree. I looked at a recent interview of Jill Stein, maybe from this site or Truthout. One can agree with the fundamental points she makes as what is part of the Green Party platform, but what is glaringly missing is a class conscious politics. Sure, she mentions income inequality, but not with an understanding of a working class mindset. The Green Party may be the best organized third party in the US, and of course in the US that is not saying much, but until it moves away from its liberal outlook, its reformist ala carte menu for what it stands for and puts the economic issues that condition her menu as the main thrust of what it is all about, then the Green Party will remain an elitist, liberal, college educated, and non-effective party. The Green Party's only hope, since it has done some initial structural building in the election game, is to unite with those who put labor as the focus, class consciousness at the fore, participatory democracy as the vehicle, and a complete transformation of capitalism into something else as the goal. The Green Party needs to be taken over by those who understand this.


#12

Or the workers could own the factories. But this has been very difficult to do. Large corporations undercut prices and worker owned businesses are put out of business or have to sell out.

On the other hand, large corporations have economies of scale that can accelerate progress. I don't think that putting them out of business is the answer. But any system that rewards greed is a negative influence on human progress.

The answer could be to limit greed by limiting the amount of wealth a person could possess. This could be established by periodic online initiatives and referendums that would set a cap on personal wealth in a completely decentralized and direct democratic way.


#13

The trouble is, the populism that is reaction to failures of elite interests may not necessarily be a left-populism that brings progress. The other direction populism goes is hard-right to fascism. Spanish populism is leftist because Spanish citizens have ready access to leftist viewpoints in even their mainstream media, and a long tradition of experiments of leftism and even successful anarcho-syndicalism - continuing in a moderate form in the Mondragon Cooperative enterprises. Meanwhile, the right alternatives are only going to be associated with fascism. Unlike USAns even young Spanish know the history of the fascist (and Stalinist too) crushing of the libertarian (no not what it means in the USA) anarchist experiments Republic and the years of fascist Franco.

Absolutely none of this is the case in the USA - quite the opposite. USAns have NO access to leftist viewpoints in the mainstream - and the corporate mainstream - from the local 6 o'clock news to Hollywood, makes damn sure they never will. They are illiterate in history - especially the history of labor and the social relations of production. "Libertarian" refers to the philosophy of social-economic savagery rather than anarcho syndicalist economic organization - a term (and its feline mascot) only one in 100,000 USAns probably even recognize. Consequently, USAns, (even many claiming to be "progressive" whatever that means) who tend to be anti-science, including social science, and especially that branch of social science called Marxism, have no tools of political-economic analysis to create a massive left-populist movement.

So what kind of populist movement is likely to arise in the USA - it largely already exists - it is called the "Tea Party" and its close allies the so-called "Libertarian" Party.

As an aside, both sides of the Ukraine conflict seem to be just a Slavic form of this same fascist-tending populism too.

I wish I could be more optimistic about the hope of Podemos or Syriza-type formation in the USA, but it simply is not possible in the USA. The history and degree of popular media control in the USA could not be more different than Spain or Greece.


#14

I wouldn't say failures of the elites as much as I would say the abuses of the elites. The elites didn't fail at anything they set out to do such as cheating their employees to increase their profit margin. That wasnt a failure; it was very deliberate. Fact is: the elites require a high unemployment rate. With a high unemployment rate, people are desperate for any kind of job, have to fight to get a job, and so are less picky about the low wages and undesirebale working conditions available to them when they get a job offer. If the tables were turned and unemployment rates were low or non existant, employers would have to be a lot nicer to their employees, offering high pay, good working conditions, benefits, paid vacation time and so on in order to entice people to come work for them. Elites don't want that.... The trickle down theory is a lie!!!


#15

So, are you one of those robo laborers? Or are you one of those elites who strives to maintain a high unemployment rate in the community? See my other post below. Making rich people richer does not automatically decrease unemployment nor does it mean the rich will start paying their employees higher wages. You are a fool to believe such things. Rich people getting richer usually just means more money getting laundered without being taxed only to be deposited into foreign bank accounts never to be seen again in the US economy. I'm assuming that that's what you want. so do explain why you want such a horrible thing.


#16

If the difference between the profit growth and the labor wage is Exponential even if it is robo labor the difference should be corrected. Pay more to those working and fix the safety nets.


#17

You failed to answer my question. But in response to your diversionary response, you really actually expect rich people to just start giving their employees raises because their profit margin was exponential? I believe you are off in lala land. Why don't you get a robo labor job and get a taste of the real world? The French Revolution happened because those who could most afford to pay taxes (the rich) refused to do so as we are seeing here in the US today. If the rich of today actually paid their employees decent wages and actually hired more people and reduced the unemployment rate, there would be less need for social benefits. Why is that so hard to understand? Or is it willful ignorance on your part? As I stated before, the rich artificially create a high unemployment rate for their own benefit. So, the rich can either hire more people and pay them better or pay their taxes!!!!!