Jake Bugg at Brighton Dome
Arts
32 views
32 views

Jake Bugg at Brighton Dome

Matthew Nicholls - April 19, 2018
66 Views

Podemos: Spain’s Presidential elections seen from a Spanish village

Freya Marshall Payne (in Hoyos, Caceres, Spain)

This is my first holiday home from university, and I’ve arrived back into a little Spanish mountain village of crooked tile roofs and curving white streets right in the middle of the presidential elections.

The Spanish people vote tomorrow and it feels like their choice carries far more weight than it has done in years – perhaps in all the time this fragile democracy has existed since the death of brutal Dictator General Franco in 1975.

Since the first elections in 1976, Spain has had a two-party system where the only viable options are the present PP or Partido Popular (right-wing ‘People’s Party’) and the PSOE or Partido Socialista Obrero Español (left wing ‘Party of Socialist Workers of Spain’).

Tomorrow’s elections are expected to change that: the anti-austerity party Podemos (‘We Can’) which was only founded in March 2014, is expected to shatter the two-party system, coming a close third or perhaps even second. Either way, the leading party (the PP) is only polling at 25% and it looks like Podemos will be at the negotiating table when coalition governments are discussed.

Podemos has been the parliamentary vehicle for unrest and change which people want to see in this country. Economic crises combined with the PP’s brutal programme of cuts and austerity have given way to rising misery in Spain, and with that, calls for change.

Podemos alone seems to be answering, and in big cities like Madrid and Barcelona there have been huge rallies where famous speakers like Owen Jones have offered their backing. Yesterday Jones said: “This election matters – not just for Spain, but for Europe too.”

And it does. Podemos represents not just a different type of anti-austerity politics, but a different attitude. I recently went to a rally myself, although this one was in a small town, and felt that one of the campaign videos screened told me a lot about Podemos’s attitude.

The video, which showed the successes of Podemos mayors in Madrid and Barcelona, was subtitled in English – a clear statement of looking outwards towards the rest of the world, something Spanish politics often doesn’t do, and an attempt to get a wider audience. The second thing was the smiling: the video addressed how important communication and smiling is. Contact with real people, then, is important.

Podemos started in a protest movement, the domain of cosmopolitan young people and the politically active. The rally I went to on Wednesday showed that things have changed, and a wider group of people support the party and will be voting for them tomorrow.

The Podemos rally was in Coria, the fourth biggest town in the province of Caceres, with around 11,600 inhabitants. It was a cold Wednesday and darkness was already falling at 6 o’clock when the event started. Outside, children were playing with purple balloons carrying the Podemos slogan ‘a country with you, Podemos’.

I didn’t expect many people to turn up, especially when an organiser told me that, since Podemos isn’t a traditional party, the meeting would be ‘informal’ and held in a small side room. To my surprise, over 50 people came and there was standing room only.

Podemos has already done well against the odds: starting as a development from 2011’s 15M protest movement which saw people taking to the streets calling for the end to the two-party system and wanting ‘real democracy now’, the party was only founded less than two years ago.

It swept to surprise success in the European elections in May 2014, winning 7.98% of the vote, and since then has rested at a steady 20% in the opinion polls, in fact polling higher than the PP and PSOE this summer.

Yet still, I remember a negative atmosphere about radical politics and Podemos here in the countryside…When I was 14 and at the local secondary school there were mass student protests in other areas of the country as a response to the 15M.

Although I organised my own conference with student speakers to discuss what we wanted out of our education, and a sit-in in solidarity with those in Madrid and Valencia, very few people in the village showed any sympathy towards the ‘indignados’ who occupied Madrid’s main square and started the 15M movement.

I remember people of all generations saying the 15M would achieve nothing politically, worrying that they were irreligious and that nothing would change. But something has definitely shifted since then. Podemos came out of the 15M, and in last-minute polls they’re in third place with 20.1% just below the PSOE’s 20.8%. The PP may still be in the lead with 25%.

At that recent rally in Coria, the thing I found most surprising of all was that the audience was overwhelmingly elderly. There was only one young voter: a man in his mid-twenties.

Elderly people in the rural ‘España profunda’ as it’s called – the ‘deep’, backward, agricultural Spain – are historically the most afraid to express political opinion because of their experience of dictatorship. These are the people who go to church, dressed in corduroy suits and neat dresses, every Sunday. But here they were at a Podemos meeting.

They seemed to be drawn in not only by Podemos’s big campaign ‘let’s save pensions!’ but also by the attitude Podemos represents. One woman said that she’d had a pension rise of 50 centimos since the PP government came into power in 2012. She nodded fervently when the speaker, Amaia Sanchez, a candidate for the Caceres provincial congress, said ‘we’re sick and tired of a democracy of privilege’.

This, I think, is what is winning the more traditional in Spanish society over to Podemos: the deep commitment to the ideals of democracy after 40 years of Francist repression.

Podemos’s slogan is ‘a time of clarity’ as the campaign video shown at the event in Coria illustrates: a discussion between two Podemos candidates synchronised with light falling onto people’s faces as the Podemos logo was cut from the shadows.

This sense that Podemos can lead us out of the darkness of the corruption, poverty and hopelessness which has enveloped Spain over the last few years is what will motivate a wider group of people to vote Podemos tomorrow.

 

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
Jake Bugg at Brighton Dome
Arts
32 views
32 views

Jake Bugg at Brighton Dome

Matthew Nicholls - April 19, 2018
Should Instrumental Skill Still Matter?
Arts
36 views
36 views

Should Instrumental Skill Still Matter?

Rob Smith - April 19, 2018
Sussex student takes show to Brighton Fringe
Arts
51 views
51 views

Sussex student takes show to Brighton Fringe

Georgia Grace - April 18, 2018
What’s wrong with the literary canon?
Arts
44 views
44 views

What’s wrong with the literary canon?

Shiri Reuben - April 18, 2018

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Jake Bugg at Brighton Dome
Arts
32 views
Arts
32 views

Jake Bugg at Brighton Dome

Matthew Nicholls - April 19, 2018

Following the release of his Fourth Studio album ‘Hearts that Strain’ in September 2017, Jake Bugg decided he wanted an intimate tour, and that is exactly what…

Should Instrumental Skill Still Matter?
Arts
36 views
Arts
36 views

Should Instrumental Skill Still Matter?

Rob Smith - April 19, 2018

I am not advocating that all music, no matter how little talent is required, is by default innovative. I will eagerly admit that much of the bland,…

Sussex student takes show to Brighton Fringe
Arts
51 views
Arts
51 views

Sussex student takes show to Brighton Fringe

Georgia Grace - April 18, 2018

  Final year English and Drama student Sophie Pester will be taking her original stage show A Glass Half Empty to Brighton Fringe next month. First performed…

What’s wrong with the literary canon?
Arts
44 views
Arts
44 views

What’s wrong with the literary canon?

Shiri Reuben - April 18, 2018

This elusive and slightly archaic category, 'the literary canon' seeps into what we know and what we think we know about 'good' and 'bad' literature. On a simple…

For students, where does work end and rest begin?
Features
59 views
Features
59 views

For students, where does work end and rest begin?

Lucy Pegg - April 17, 2018

Print Production Editor Lucy Pegg examines the difficult balance between work and rest for students. In an environment that blurs the line between productivity and recreation, can…

Cambridge Analytica: did Facebook share your personal data?
Science
50 views
Science
50 views

Cambridge Analytica: did Facebook share your personal data?

Luke Richards - April 14, 2018

The last couple of weeks have been tough for Facebook, as it reels from the public scrutiny it has received over its lackadaisical protection of personal data.…

Brighton Fringe comic Joseph Morpurgo on satire, Frankenstein and his fictitious nine-hour, one-man show
Arts
81 views
Arts
81 views

Brighton Fringe comic Joseph Morpurgo on satire, Frankenstein and his fictitious nine-hour, one-man show

Georgia Grace - April 13, 2018

At The Badger we sat down with multi-talented comic, three-time Chortle Award winner and Edinburgh Fringe favourite Joseph Morpurgo to discuss his show Hammerhead. Following a three-week…

Amritsar: 99 years later and still no apology
Comment
91 views
Comment
91 views

Amritsar: 99 years later and still no apology

William Singh - April 12, 2018

99 years ago on Friday, one British general marched his soldiers into an enclosed garden in the vicinity of the holy Golden Temple and sealed off the…

Talking disability, identity and inclusion through dance – Candoco preview
Arts
89 views
Arts
89 views

Talking disability, identity and inclusion through dance – Candoco preview

Georgia Grace - April 12, 2018

Candoco are a company of disabled and non-disabled dancers who, for the past 25 years, have challenged ideas about what dance can be and who gets to…

Voodoo preview
Arts
52 views
Arts
52 views

Voodoo preview

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - April 12, 2018

“[A] science fiction that addresses the desire, confusion and responsibility felt as individuals, who are also symbols of many long-persecuted people.” (Quoted from Alexandrina Hemsley and Jamila…

Interview with Chris Watson: Take a trip to No Man’s Land this spring
Lifestyle
135 views
Lifestyle
135 views

Interview with Chris Watson: Take a trip to No Man’s Land this spring

Louisa Streeting - April 6, 2018

Sound recordist, Chris Watson, spoke to The Badger about his new installation piece featured in the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts until 13 April 2018. From…

“A moving symbol of cooperation and humanity” – COAL review
Arts
174 views
Arts
174 views

“A moving symbol of cooperation and humanity” – COAL review

William Singh - March 31, 2018

“This is not a show. It’s something else”, we’re told. Gary Clarke’s dance performance of the life and decline of Britain’s mining communities is certainly something else.…

Brighton’s craft beer festival returns in April for third year
Lifestyle
172 views
Lifestyle
172 views

Brighton’s craft beer festival returns in April for third year

Louisa Streeting - March 28, 2018

Brighton will become the hub of craft beer in more than a dozen pubs from April 27-29. The Brighton Tap Takeover returns for a third year bringing…

Young blood promotes brain regeneration
Science
117 views
Science
117 views

Young blood promotes brain regeneration

Nikolaos Manesis - March 28, 2018

On the "growing old is natural" vs "it should be medically reversed" debate, vampires have crossed the picket line from the get-go and scientists have just proven…

The educational psychology of children with autism
Science
143 views
Science
143 views

The educational psychology of children with autism

Nikolaos Manesis - March 28, 2018

The scientific field of educational psychology studies the relationship between learning processes and the individual differences in cognitive development, motivation and intelligence. The majority of children are…

Stand Up & Slam review
Arts
135 views
Arts
135 views

Stand Up & Slam review

Alex Leissle - March 28, 2018

Sometimes the best experiences are those you initially question. Stand Up & Slam is one such idea, for it is a resounding triumph of an evening. Hosted…

Organisms, self-understanding and sacrifice in Rambert’s production at Theatre Royal Brighton
Arts
157 views
Arts
157 views

Organisms, self-understanding and sacrifice in Rambert’s production at Theatre Royal Brighton

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - March 24, 2018

Goat.-Rambert-Dancers-FrontCentre-Daniel-Davidson.-©-Hugo-Glendinning Rambert delivered a series of fluid performances where human bodies became elegant oscillations, much like the metallic wall used on stage to divide the dancers in…

SMuTS presents ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ review
Arts
225 views
Arts
225 views

SMuTS presents ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ review

Georgia Grace - March 23, 2018

Excitement and anticipation were running high Wednesday evening at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (ACCA) for the opening night of Sussex Musical Theatre Society’s (SMuTS’s)…

SU Election coverage – Dead Slate: all women elected for third consecutive year at Sussex
Campus News
173 views
Campus News
173 views

SU Election coverage – Dead Slate: all women elected for third consecutive year at Sussex

Jordan Wright - March 23, 2018

The results are in for this year's Students' Union election, which saw 30 candidates running to be the full-time elected representatives of the student body at Sussex.…

Academic Armchair: ‘Cinderella, you shall go to the ball”: a conversation with Ketan Jha
Features
156 views
Features
156 views

Academic Armchair: ‘Cinderella, you shall go to the ball”: a conversation with Ketan Jha

Devin Thomas - March 23, 2018

In this week’s edition of the Academic Armchair the Features team sat down with Ketan Jha, an associate tutor of Sussex Law School. Alongside his work in…