SPAIN: New political party that endorses BIG takes five seats in European Parliament

[Karl Widerquist]

Podemos, a new Spanish political party that includes unconditional basic income (UBI) as won of its main economic policy objectives, has one five seats in the European Parliament. Organized barely three months before elections for the European, the party seemed to come out of nowhere to a win nearly 8% of the vote (1.2 million votes) and finish in fourth place in the elections held on May 25, 2014.

"Podemos' leader Pablo Iglesias, centre, is applauded as he introduces the fledgling party in Madrid, Spain, earlier this year." Photograph: Andrea Comas/Reuters -via the Guardian

"Podemos' leader Pablo Iglesias, centre, is applauded as he introduces the fledgling party in Madrid, Spain, earlier this year." Photograph: Andrea Comas/Reuters -via the Guardian

Podemos (which means “we can”) grew out of the anti-austerity protest movement known as Indignados. It claims to be a party of ordinary citizens who desire a fundamental change in the political process toward greater democracy, freedom, and social protection. The Guardian quoted the Party’s leader, Pablo Iglesias, “It’s citizens doing politics. If the citizens don’t get involved in politics, others will. And that opens the door to them robbing you of democracy, your rights and your wallet.” Party leaders promise to accept a salary of no more than three times the Spanish minimum wage.

The party also supports doing away with tax havens, a maximum salary, the reduction of the working week to 35 hours, more protection for workers against dismissal, and lowering the retirement age to 60. According to GlobalVoices, “The objective [of Podemos] is to dismantle the austerity measures put in place by the different governments that have been in power. To strengthen and increase citizens’ rights to political participation, education, housing, health and the fight against corruption are the core elements of the party’s programme.”

For more on Podemos, see the following articles:

Thomas G. Clarke, “How the rise of Podemos in Spain should be an inspiration for the progressive left in the UK.Another Angry Voice. May 28, 2014

Ashifa Kassam, “Podemos hopes to cement rise of citizen politics in Spain after election success.The Guardian, 27 May 2014

Cristina Flesher Fominaya, “‘Spain is Different’: Podemos and 15-M.OpenDemocracy. 29 May 2014

Elena Arrontes. “The Rise of ‘Podemos’ in Spain, the Citizen’s Party.GlobalVoices. Translated by Kitty Garden, 1 June 2014

 Pablo Iglesias in debate, February, 2014 Demotix/Nacho Goytre. Via OpenDemocracy

Pablo Iglesias in debate, February, 2014 Demotix/Nacho Goytre. Via OpenDemocracy

Karl Widerquist

About Karl Widerquist

Karl Widerquist has written 876 articles.

Karl Widerquist is an Associate Professor at SFS-Qatar, Georgetown University. He specializes in political philosophy. His research is mostly in the area of distributive justice—the ethics of who has what. He holds two doctorates—one in Political Theory form Oxford University (2006) and one in Economics from the City University of New York (1996). Before coming to Georgetown he was lecturer in Political Theory at the University of Reading (UK) and a Murphy Fellow at Tulane University in New Orleans (LA). He has written or edited six books. He is the author of "Independence, propertylessness, and Basic Income: A Theory of Freedom as the Power to Say No" (Palgrave Macmillan 2013). He is coauthor of "Economics for Social Workers" (Columbia University Press 2002). He is coeditor of "Basic Income: An Anthology of Contemporary Research" (Wiley-Blackwell 2013), "Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend: Examining its Suitability as a Model" (Palgrave Macmillan 2012), "Exporting the Alaska Model: Adapting the Permanent Fund Dividend for Reform around the World" (Palgrave Macmillan 2012), and "the Ethics and Economics of the Basic Income Guarantee" (Ashgate 2005). He is currently under contract to author or coauthor two more books: "Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy" (Edinburgh University Press 2014) and Justice as the Pursuit of Accord (Palgrave Macmillan 2015). He was a founding editor of the journal Basic Income Studies. He edited the USBIG NewsFlash for 15 years and the BIEN NewsFlash for five years. He is one of the founding editors of Basic Income News on the basicincome.org website. He has published more than a twenty scholarly articles and book chapters. His articles have appeared in journals such as Political Studies; the Eastern Economic Journal; Politics and Society; and Politics, Philosophy, and Economics.

One comment

  • It’s great to see people willing to help the needy but it’d be even better if people could see that society has a surplus that belongs to everyone and if we shared it fairly, there’d be no need to create a basic or minimum extra income. It’s ironic that supporters propose paying this extra income but do not explore how to fund it. If they did, then they’d have to see the surplus, our common wealth, now merely funding a few private fortunes, and of course they’d call for sharing it. More at Progress.org.

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