Spain: crossroads


With the failure of the PSOE-Unidas Podemos negotiation, the debate about the steps to be taken -among them, the “Portuguese way”- was reopened. Without visible fissures, the PSOE has returned to its original line of forming a collaborative government, monolithic on the reactionary policy towards Catalonia and monochord in terms of the main positions, without ministries in the hands of other parties. Based on programmatic agreements and common parliamentary objectives with Unidas Podemos, it is what they call the “Portuguese way”. Vice President Carmen Calvo put it this way: “The formula of supporting the government with specific objectives is a good formula, with a lot of history in Europe.” Though they say they do not want new elections, they keep an eye on the polls, while uncertainty continues.

In Unidas Podemos, there are controversies. Pablo Iglesias insists on a coalition government. The mayor of Barcelona, ​​Ada Colau (Catalunya en Comú) said that: “A stable and progressive government is necessary, if not today, then let it be in September, elected positions cannot fail, we have to take the days that are necessary to form a government”. Lander Martínez (Podemos Euskadi) said: “It is time to reflect, heal wounds and find the best way to agree on a governmental program and the distribution of ministries”.

For Enrique Santiago (PCE-Izquierda Unida), “it is not essential to enter the Government, although it is certainly what we also prefer in IU. The first thing is to set some objectives and then the instruments to carry them out.” Anticapitalistas has expressed: “…our position has been and is to negotiate from the left a programmatic investiture agreement that we propose be based on the demands raised above in exchange for allowing the Sánchez government and position ourselves in the opposition, conditioning votes with legislative and governmental action, organizing and mobilizing society and patiently raising an alternative to liberal social hegemony”.

In this way, Unidas Podemos debates between being part of the PSOE government; not integrating it, but to facilitating its coming to power and supporting it from Parliament; and guaranteeing the presidency and then shifting to the opposition. We do not share any of these proposals that express an adaptation to the regime.

Being part of the bourgeois social-democratic government would imply crossing a class border, it would be a betrayal from which there is no return. Facilitating the investiture of the PSOE without integrating the government, both with the “Portuguese way” or with a subsequent step to the opposition, would constitute a political claudication. This is because it is known in advance that Pedro Sánchez will follow the orders of the imperialist bloc of the EU, defend the parliamentary monarchist regime and cut democratic freedoms, deny the Catalan´s right to self-determination and have no qualms about negotiating with the right when he finds it necessary.

The need to adopt some of the aforementioned steps is argued to prevent “The Colón Trio” from strengthening or with the commitment to sign “programmatic agreements”. We do not agree. The right must be defeated on the streets and in the institutions, but this will not be achieved with political fraud, nor assuming that the social democracy of bipartisanship and the regime is the “lesser evil”. If the just denunciation of the right and the ultra right does not find a consequent correlation in mobilization and politics, it will end up disappointing broad sectors of the population and in this way, open the way to those they say they fight against. It is a vicious circle that is repeated throughout the world. Reformism continues to provoke debates on the left, like with what happened in Greece or Brazil. It is currently expressed in Great Britain and the United States, among other countries, as we noted in the recent participation of the International Socialist League in the Socialism 2019 conference, held in Chicago.

The PSOE agreeing on a program, even partial and limited, does not guarantee anything. They already did this with the motion of censure and they did not comply. No trust can be placed in Pedro Sánchez and his party. On the other hand, what do those who talk about the “Portuguese way” refer to? They refer to the government of the Socialist Party, with Antonio Luis Santos da Costa as prime minister, who has the parliamentary support of the Bloque de Esquerda (coalition of left-wing and progressive expressions).

The “Portuguese way” in politics is accompanied by a promoted economic model which deserves to be explained. Portugal has had moderate growth based on tourism, real estate and foreign investments with large concessions to entrepreneurs. It is true that it partially has recovered employment and has reversed some of the toughest measures taken during the peak of the crisis. It is also true that the model was forged based on: several years of suspension of payment of bonuses, low wages, loss of labor conquests, labor reforms, the existence of precarious contracts, an increase of the VAT and tariffs, execution of privatizations and payment of debt to the IMF. The governments prior to the Costa administration did the “dirty work” from which the effort of the workers and the people allowed a reemergence from the pit of austerity. It has nothing to do with a socialist economy or model of rupture with capitalism.

Returning to the Spanish State, it is going through serious problems that linger from Franco´s time. They were not resolved by the transition and will not be routed by simply changing a president. And the situation will grow more tense if the parties and the regime continue to tire the population with austerity, corruption, lies and maneuvering. Revolutionary socialists refuse to integrate a bourgeois government, adopt the “Portuguese way” or any other that implies supporting the PSOE of Pedro Sánchez or any other variant that defends the regime and the capitalist system.

We must encourage the mass movement to break onto the scene, overturn the table like on 15M. For a general strike to be called for the immediate social and political demands of workers and the people. And fight for the calling of a Free and Sovereign Constituent Assembly, to debate and decide the fate of the country, overcoming the obsolete regime of ´78. To turn everything around, it is necessary to build a new anti-capitalist political alternative, coherently, from the left, with the strategy of a government of the workers and the people.

Ruben Tzanoff