[Marxism] Podemos votes against a moderate turn at Vista Alegre II

Ken Hiebert knhiebert at shaw.ca
Thu Feb 16 08:05:20 MST 2017


Podemos held its second congress at Vista Alegre, Madrid, last weekend (February 10-11). Over 8000 activists attended and 155,000 of its members voted online out of a database of about 450,000 supporters.

The first congress, which followed the great breakthrough of the new left populist movement in 2014, saw the joint leadership of Inigo Errejon and Pablo Iglesias establish the party as a centralised, presidential ‘big electoral war machine’. They brushed aside the criticism of one of the founding currents, the Anticapitalistas (ACs) and ensured it was kept out of any leadership structures. The ACs’ main critique was the way this electoral war machine was going to gut the dynamism of the 600 or so local branches and limit the political debate and development of the membership. A centralised, hierarchical leadership without an organised plural debate and relying mainly on online consultations would store up problems for the future.

Sometimes the radical left does get it right. The centralised leadership blew up into two factions and the party structures could not manage the debate in a sober way. Today the two main currents have recognised to different degrees that the organisational model of Vista Alegre was not fit for purpose. They called for reinforcing the branches and developing a more plural leadership.

Of course quite a lot of impetus for this shift of opinion came from the split that has developed between Errejon – the so-called number two and his great friend Iglesias. If you are no longer likely to be in the leadership bloc you quite quickly become enthusiastic for a plural approach. The organisational changes decided at the congress are still limited. Iglesias can still decide on consultations with the base without getting a majority in the national committee and can also dissolve local or regional structures. Nevertheless today Podemos is a plural party with open tendencies.

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