Chomsky: Greece’s Syriza & Spain’s Podemos Face “Savage Response” Taking on Austerity “Class War” 1

Noam Chomsky Podemos

Noam Chomsky, world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author. He is institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught for more than 50 years.

Democracy Now.org–Following its election in January on a pledge to confront the austerity program that’s decimated Greece’s economy, the Syriza government has faced a major pushback from international creditors led by Germany. Days after Greece secured a four-month extension to a loan package in exchange for new conditions on its spending, Noam Chomsky says the European response to Syriza has been “extremely savage,” a reaction that could face Spain’s Podemos party should it win upcoming elections.

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Can Podemos Win in Spain? Reply

Pablo Iglesias Podemos

Just a year after its founding, it’s the country’s leading party

The Nation.com–If the current poll numbers hold, Spain’s next prime minister will be Pablo Iglesias, a pony-tailed 36-year-old political scientist who cut his teeth in the Communist Youth and the anti-globalization movement—but whose party, Podemos, wants “to change the rules of the political game,” Iglesias told the journalist Jacobo Rivero. Left and right, he added, are metaphors that are no longer “useful in political terms”: “the fundamental divide now [is] between oligarchy and democracy, between a social majority and a privileged minority.” Or, as Podemos likes to put it, between la gente and la casta, the people and the caste.

Podemos was founded only a year ago and, in May, it stunned Spain’s political establishment by winning five seats in the European Parliament (1.25 million votes, nearly 8 percent). In many respects, the party—whose name translates as “We can”—is the Spanish sibling of Greece’s Syriza. Central to its still-evolving platform is a broad set of economic-stimulus measures that buck the European obsession with austerity as the only way out of the continent’s economic crisis. Among other things, Podemos proposes a restructuring of the national debt, a “deprivatization” of essential services such as healthcare and energy, and a form of universal basic income that would provide a road back into Spain’s anemic economy for the millions of unemployed—officially nearly 24 percent of the workforce, and as high as 54 percent among those 18 to 25.

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At Least 100,000 March in Madrid in Show of Strength for Podemos, Spain’s Rising Leftist Party Reply

Podemos demonstration Madrid

US News.com, Harold Heckle and Jorge Sainz write for AP–At least 100,000 people marched through Madrid on Saturday in a show of strength by a fledgling radical leftist party, which hopes to emulate the success of Greece’s Syriza party in the Spanish general election later this year. Podemos supporters from across Spain converged around the Cibeles fountain Saturday before packing the avenue leading to Puerta del Sol square in what was the party’s largest rally to date. Police said at least 100,000 people participated in the march while Podemos put the figure at 300,000.

Podemos (“We Can”) aims to shatter the country’s predominantly two-party system and the “March for Change” gathered crowds in the same place where sit-in protests against political and financial corruption laid the party’s foundations in 2011. The party’s rise is greatly due to the charisma of its pony-tailed leader, Pablo Iglesias, a 36-year-old political science professor. Hailing from the Madrid working class neighborhood of Vallecas, Iglesias prefers jeans and rolled up shirt sleeves to a suit and tie and champions slogans such as Spain is “run by the butlers of the rich” and that the economy must serve the people. “We want change,” Iglesias told the crowd. “This is the year for change and we’re going to win the elections.”

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Spanish Upstart Party Said It Could, and Did. Now the Hard Part Begins Reply

Podemos last January

Raphael Minder writes for the NY Times.com, MADRID — In the wake of Barack Obama’s first presidential election, few slogans became as popular, or arguably overused, as “Yes, We Can.” But since its shattering electoral debut on Sunday, a three-month-old party that adapted the slogan in Spanish — Podemos — might as well consider a name change, to We Did.

What it did was to shake the foundations of Spanish politics in the balloting for the European Parliament on Sunday, denying the governing conservative Popular Party and the opposition Socialists a majority of votes for the first time since the country’s return to democracy 35 years ago.

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