Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the LRC. We are currently undergoing technical problems with the site and currently with the links to blog postings. Please bear with us until we can complete a new website.
25th May 2015 at 20:08
“Spain’s indignados made the move from city squares to the halls of power on Sunday in municipal and regional elections that saw an anti-poverty activist elected as mayor of Barcelona and the ruling People’s party battered at the ballot box,” reports The Guardian. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/25/spains-indignados-ada-colau-elections-mayor-barcelona
Elections in thirteen regions and more than 8,000 municipalities saw sweeping gains for new left-wing alliances, as voters delivered their verdict on rampant corruption, a stagnant economy and vicious austerity. The two traditional parties, the ruling conservative PP and the opposition social democratic PSOE were reduced to just 52 percent of the vote.
The biggest victory of the night was for Ada Colau, an anti-eviction activist and leader of Barcelona en Comú (Barcelona in Common), who was elected mayor of Barcelona. Barcelona en Comú is a grassroots coalition of several parties and thousands of activists. It includes Podemos, the new radical left party, which was founded just over a year ago and won 5 MEPs in last year’s European elections.
Ada Colau is a founding member of the Mortgage Victims’ Platform, which fights evictions, a huge issue in Spain, where there are more than 5 million empty houses. Half a million people have been thrown out of their homes but still have their mortgage debt with banks. One analyst explained: “The Spanish mortgage system is different from the UK in several respects: a home owner can find their property repossessed easily, if they fall into just one month’s arrears, and a bank is entitled to be repaid the full loan amount at that point – even if the borrower has already paid back 50% of the original loan. If a bank repossesses and sells a property on, it is allowed to keep the entire sum raised at sale even if the loan is cleared and there is an excess.” http://www.theguardian.com/housing-network/2013/apr/26/spanish-housing-crisis-tenants-future
Barcelona en Comú was crowdfunded and underpinned by a strong code of ethics, written by its members. It plans to limit the mayoral monthly salary to €2,200 (£1,600) and eliminate official cars and expense budgets for attending meetings.
Elsewhere, the elections were a disaster for the ruling PP, which previously controlled a majority of Spain’s regional parliaments – now they run none of the newly elected ones. Nor are they certain to run Madrid, where their candidate, a countess, won most votes and 21 seats on the city council. But Podemos came from nowhere to take twenty and the PSOE came third, so a left-wing alliance looks possible.
With a general election later this year, the PP could be on the way out. More significantly, the whole post-Franco model of politics is being called into question by the rise of Podemos, which came third in many contests. Speaking in Madrid on the night of its spectacular gains, its leader, Pablo Iglesias, declared that “in Madrid and Barcelona there was a battle between business as usual and happiness and hope. Hope won.”
He went on: “If you do not impose democracy on the economy, you open the door to the totalitarianism of the market and corruption. Today Madrid has shown that we can defeat the party of the banks in elections.” [continue/comment...]
9th May 2015 at 12:46
Irrespective of who succeeds Ed Miliband as leader of the Labour Party, there needs to be a thorough-going discussion about its future strategy. On one side, there will be a new offensive from the remnants of New Labour, claiming it was the radicalism of the 2015 Manifesto that was the cause of Labour’s dire showing on May 7th. While some of these policies may have inspired the print media to plumb new depths in fear - and hate-mongering, the idea that these policies were inherently unpopular should be treated with extreme caution. [continue/comment...]
21st April 2015 at 22:11
The strike at the National Gallery is very important. Beyond the campaign to reinstate Candy, which is just and correct in itself, there is the struggle against the penetration of finance capital – in the form of private enterprise and ‘culture for profit’ – in the field of culture. [continue/comment...]
19th March 2015 at 19:03
Twelve years on from the 2003 invasion of Iraq, there is no let-up in the misery being inflicted on the Iraqi people. The UN mission to Iraq says violence in the country claimed the lives of at least 1,100 Iraqis in February, including more than 600 civilians. [continue/comment...]
8th March 2015 at 22:20
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the LRC. We are undergoing technical problems with the site and currently with the links to blog postings. Please bear with us until we can complete the build of new website.
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