Real Democracy and the Capture of Institutions

… The Dynamic Reorganization of the Spanish Left – Published on The Bullet, Socialist Project’s e-bulletin no 1031, by Mario Candeias, Sept 3, 2014.

It is no longer enough to win over civil society, occupy public spaces, take to the streets, carry out symbolic actions, prevent evictions, or to win plebiscites. In Spain movements for ‘real democracy’ are setting a course to capture institutions – albeit with the aim to recreate these institutions in a constitutive process in the interests of ‘real democracy’ … //

… Splintering or a Convergence of the Left? 2014:

  • Are we now witnessing a further splintering or a convergence of the Left? A few hours after the European elections Podemos offered, “all forces genuinely opposed to austerity” a process for convergence. This appeal was directed toward parties such as IU, the green party Equo, but also toward the social movements. Alberto Garzón from IU, himself one of the Indignados of 15 May, and at 28 years old the youngest member in the Spanish parliament, has no doubt that a convergence with Podemos is coming: “We agree on most positions.” He has assumed leadership of his party’s sonorous secretariat “for a constitutive process and convergence” so as to advance the rapprochement.
  • For many the United Left is still one of the traditional parties. It possesses organizational structures, committees as well as hierarchies. Though it is by far more democratically structured than the conservative Partido Popular (PP) or the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) and many regional parties, it has nevertheless not been able to seriously challenge the two-party system during the past 40 years. Indeed in several municipalities and regions the IU is also a governing partner. As a result a clear distinction with the other parties was not always apparent. In the past, cases of corruption also occurred. In the meantime however these cases have been dealt with and the people in question have left the party. And much has happened since. The party was also transformed by the dynamics of the 15M movement. A new generation is taking over, reforming the party from within and approximating the democratic forms tested in the movements.
  • This is how the IU tripled its support, in particular with those who identify with the Left and are active in the trade union movement and the corresponding Mareas – the waves of protests in the healthcare and education sectors and elsewhere – to take one example. Many disappointed supporters of the PSOE are also present. This potentially accounts for up to 20 per cent of the population.
  • “Podemos occupies a field that the plural left has not understood how to reach,” according to Garzón. Among these he includes in particular those who no longer expect anything of the political system and have turned away from the traditional parties. The structure and language of Podemos have made it possible for their voices to be heard, and to translate frustration into protest. Were it otherwise, these primarily young, urban and university educated individuals may have been lost to the Left. In contrast the IU maintains a stronger connection to the popular classes in poorer urban zones as well as in rural regions. Together the IU and Podemos could bring on the collapse of the two-party system.
  • This is also supported by polling. In a recent survey by El Pais, Podemos comes in at 15.3%, the IU at 8.2% while both the PP and PSOE register declines. If we take seriously another survey by EL Pais, unpublished most likely because of its inconvenient results, the two left-wing parties combined sit at 27.4% ahead of the PP (26.5%) and the PSOE at 17.5%.

No Absolute Majority: … //

… Local Politics:

  • It is still a long way until the elections at the end of the coming year. In contrast, the capture of institutions is already conceivable with the local elections in May 2015. The most spectacular is an initiative arising from the movements. After Ada Calou, the spokesperson of Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH, Movement against evictions), became one of the figureheads of the crisis protests in Spain, she launched a new project. She is one of the representatives of Guanyem Barcelona (Win Barcelona), a citizen initiative, which emerged at the end of June in Barcelona and which proposes a radical oppositional candidacy for the mayoral elections in 2015.
  • The initiative is broadly conceived. It is directed initially toward the unorganized majority in society, to those active neither in movements nor in parties; though its base is located in the organized neighbourhoods and movements. Guanyem also succeeded in bringing (almost) all the political organizations of the Left and the trade union confederations of CCOO and (partially) UGT on board. “We do not exclude anyone – apart from the regime parties,” says Colau.
  • PAH is already an example of such a mosaic. Activists from every type of organization have been working together here for years in a social network for mutual aid. The constitutive parts are local units in which activists do not simply discuss politics, but moreover share everyday practices. That is to say, they fight evictions, launch political initiatives, occupy banks, re-appropriate housing, organize collective childcare, etc. Yet they do not limit themselves simply to offering help, they are themselves sites of political action, organization and education.
  • Yet this does not suffice. Even the opinion poll results for Podemos and IU are not enough. Guanyem wants more. “We want to win, that is the biggest difference. And to win you have to combine efforts. Anyone who steps up alone represents an exercise in pretension,” according to Colau. “We do not aspire to a seat in the municipal council just to provide a bit of colour there. We want to win to change things and to prove that politics can be fundamentally different.”
  • The example is catching on. Not only in Catalonia. All over the country new platforms or alliances are forming to contest local and regional elections, as in Madrid and Malaga, where Podemos, IU and Equo, supported by movements such as PAH or Mareas (the protest waves) and others, develop common positions, programmes and electoral lists; and not in backrooms but in open assemblies and through innumerable discussions.
  • With this strategy the solid institutions of power, in particular the central government, are not yet reached. Yet municipal or regional governments have sufficient authority to undertake much more in housing construction and tenant rights, in the design of public spaces or in the healthcare system. They can ensure that no one falls out of the health system and can shorten waiting lists by making more resources available. They can prevent evictions or at the least make alternate housing available. They can prevent privatizations at the municipal level or even reverse them. They can promote the collective and democratic organization of social infrastructure and create institutional support for movements. And they can act where no competencies exist by breaking rules and challenging power.
  • Finally such local alliances can work against the (self-) fragmentation of the Left and create the basis for a dynamic, which with the elections for the Spanish parliament leads to the end of the two-party system and to the initiation of a constitutive process for real democracy.

(full text).

(Mario Candeias is a political economist, senior researcher at the Institute for Critical Social Analysis at Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in Berlin).

This article was originally published in german: Wirkliche Demokratie und die Eroberung der Institutionen, Dynamische Reorganisierung der Linken in Spanien, in Neues Deutschland, Sozialistische Tageszeitung, von Mario Candeias, 9. August 2014: Es genügt nicht mehr, die Zivilgesellschaft zu erobern, Plätze zu besetzen, auf die Straße zu gehen, symbolische Aktionen durchzuführen, Zwangsräumungen zu verhindern, Bürgerbegehren zu gewinnen. In Spanien nehmen die Bewegungen für »wirkliche Demokratie« Kurs auf die Eroberung der Institutionen – mit dem Ziel allerdings, diese Institutionen in einem konstitutiven Prozess neu zu begründen, im Sinne »wirklicher Demokratie« …;

some Related Links:

on en.wikipedia:

and on de.wikipedia:

… and the Revolution for our Health (I cannot resist to show this revolution also – to get the health for standing the battle):

  • Paleo Diet on en.wikipedia, including /See also, and /Archeological record: One line of evidence used to support the Stone Age diet is the decline in human health and body mass that occurred with the adoption of agriculture, at the end of the Paleolithic era.[1][118] Associated with the introduction of domesticated and processed plant foods, such as cereal grains, in the human diet, there was, in many areas, a general decrease in body stature and dentition size, and an increase in dental caries rates. There is evidence of a general decline in health in some areas; whether the decline was caused by dietary change is debated academically[6][170][171];
  • important also: A list of Acid / Alkaline Forming Foods, on … first published on Essense-of-Life;
  • Alkaline diet on en.wikipedia … describes a group of loosely related diets based on the belief that certain foods can affect the acidity and pH of bodily fluids, including the urine or blood, and can therefore be used to treat or prevent diseases …;

Paleo/Caveman/StoneAge Diet – Foodlist:

Other Links:

Fed Survey of Consumer Finances Shows Americans Are Well-Informed on Their Economic Well-Being, on naked capitalism, by David Dayen, Sept 5, 2014: The Fed’s Survey of Consumer Finances came out yesterday, and it offered a pretty good answer for why the country won’t just snap out of it and admit that Recovery Summer is here. The survey covers 2010 to 2013 and it’s stocked with interesting data, but the main point is the continued breaking away of top income earners from the rest of their counterparts …;

Diminishing the effect that financialization has on income distribution, on RWER Blog, Sept 5, 2014;

Illegal immigrants make 10% of California’s workforce, staying in US longer, on Russia Today RT, Sept 5. 2014;

Limits to Growth vindicated: World headed towards economic, environmental collapse, on Russia Today RT, Sept 5. 2014;

Germany: a triple dip? on RWER Blog, Sept 5, 2014;

Poking Russia with a Stick? NATO Approves Military “Spearhead” for Eastern Europe, on Common Dreams, by John Queally, Sept 5, 2014: Despite warnings from Russia that such a move would be interpreted as a provocation, a plan to deploy thousands of additional US and European troops closer to its border will now become a reality …;

Kiev, E. Ukraine militia agree on ceasefire starting 1500 GMT Friday, on Russia Today RT, Sept 5, 2014: … The OSCE’s Heidi Tagliavini has welcomed the agreement saying “it is good news;”
(find her also: on OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, upon request of Ukrainian President, appoints Swiss diplomat to accompany talks between Ukraine and Russia, June 8, 2014; on en.wikipedia; on World People’s Blog);

NATO to set up new force in east – chief, on The News International, Pakistan, Sept 5, 2014;

Ukraine peace plan: Withdraw military hardware, exchange POWs, open corridors, on Russia Today RT, Sept 5, 2014;

Labor Day Reflections, on Zcommentaries (first on telesur English), by Paul Street, Sept 5, 2014;

Police as Occupying Army, on ZNet (first on Frontline), by Vijay Prashad, Sept.4, 2014;

Al-Qaeda declares new branch in Indian sub-continent, on The News International, Pakistan, Sept 4, 2014: … He said the group would recognize the overarching leadership of the Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar, and be led day-to-day by senior militant Asim Umar;

Making Money from Addiction: 30 Million Americans On Antidepressants. Twenty Facts on America’s Big Pharma Nightmare, on Global, by Michael Snyder, Sept 4, 2014;

Russians at the Gate: The Barbarians Are Coming, on AntiWar, by Joshua Tartakovsky, Sept 04, 2014;

Insight – In northeast Syria, Islamic State builds a government, on Reuters, by MARIAM KAROUNY, Beirut, Sep 4, 2014;

Rethinking the Justice System? on ZNet (first on telesur English), by Nikos Raptis, September 4, 2014;

Greece and it’s Oil, on Humanitarian Texts, Sept 2, 2014;

Louisiana Judge Partially Blocks State’s New Restrictive Abortion Law, on Zcommentaries (first on Common Dreams: Set to take effect on Monday, the law could have forced abortion clinics to close throughout the state), by Nadia Prupis, Sept 2, 2014;

ISIS The Start of World War III? 19.20 min, with David Icke, uploaded by WeAreChange, June 26, 2014: In this video Luke Rudkowski talks to David Icke about his predictions with ISIS and the possible start of WWIII. David breaks down many esoteric historical writings and the current political situation that can lead to bringing in other countries to war …;

… and this:

uploaded by WelcomeBackHome,

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