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Spanish State

Agreement between Podemos and Izquierda Unida for the elections of 26 June

Tuesday 7 June 2016, by Andreu Coll

The agreement between Izquierda Unida and Podemos to form a coalition for the elections on 26 June is very good news, as it could cause a real shift in the political situation.

Even though it is an agreement from above, even though this policy will strengthen in the short-term the party apparatuses of Podemos and Izquierda Unida, this orientation gives hope to broad popular strata, providing a new electoral breakthrough of the bloc around Podemos and increasing the pressure on the PSOE: either make a bloc with the anti-austerity left or defend the policies of the Troika along with the PP and Ciudadanos.

Moreover, the pact between the group around Pablo Iglesias (after his break with the populist group of Errejón, supporter of a policy towards the "centre", more flexible vis-à-vis the PSOE) and the leadership of Izquierda Unida (which is also divided by the long crisis of the organization) will strengthen the Eurocommunist political culture of the apparatus; but at the same time, it will lead to a more solid and militant base in the bloc (the apparatchiks attract each other, but so do the honest militants...). This is the key to the possible dynamic: the central battle must be the building of unitary campaign committees.

The great fear

In response, the PSOE, the PP and Ciudadanos cannot hide their panic. The PP could be the main victim of the alliance, due to the nature of the Spanish electoral system, especially in less populated rural provinces where some seats in Parliament depend on a few thousand votes. As for the PSOE, it is aware that it is facing the most serious threat to its electoral hegemony on the left for 130 years. And Ciudadanos is unmasking its true reactionary nature by its attacks against the "communists", "Chavistas", etc.

In perspective

Even though, according to the polls, the breakthrough of Unidos Podemos (the new electoral name) may be very considerable, that is not enough to win the elections and beat the PP. That said, a PP-Ciudadanos bloc will not be able to have a sufficient majority and will therefore need the PSOE. In any case, what is certain is that, whatever the electoral combination to prevent the coming to power of Podemos, the new government will implement a programme of savage cuts, especially if the battle for the withdrawal of the El Khomri law fails in France and there is no second wave of anti-austerity resistance in Southern Europe.

Movement, unity, outflanking

Anticapitalistas (section of the Fourth International in the Spanish state) had supported such an agreement in the previous elections, while the leadership of Podemos (this was before the open conflict between Iglesias and Errejón) said that "the unity of the people" could not be a "cartel of left parties"... Today, our logic is to stick to the approach of breaking with the regime, with austerity and with capitalism, and to maintain the founding idea of Podemos: to be the party of the 15M, of the indignados.

All this in an approach based on the united front (no unity without movement, no movement without unity), and political independence: conduct our own campaign as part of the overall campaign, in particular in some key areas (audit and cancellation of the illegitimate debt, withdrawal of regressive labour laws, nationalization of the banks and the energy sector, revival of public services in education and health...).

Barcelona, May 19, 2016