Ahora Madrid celebrates on May 24, 2015 © Ahora Madrid | Wikimedia Commons
EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionThe Left

The 24M Elections in Spain

A new era in the regime's crisis

The local and regional elections of last May 24th arrived four years after the great social upheaval symbolized by the 15M Movement and the Indignados. The starting point of a long and deepening political crisis, the 15M was both a moment of change and a genuine foundational event within the contemporary political and social history of the Spanish State. The popular mobilizations of May and June 2011 inaugurated a cycle of social struggle that translated during 2012 and 2013 into the so-called “citizenry tides” against cutbacks, particularly those regarding public health and education. Although they had few concrete victories, the “tides” witnessed the capabilities of popular resistance and its limits vis-à-vis austerity measures. …

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Podemos logo © Podemos | Wikimedia Commons
EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

In Support of PODEMOS

One of the most appalling and discouraging outcomes of the recent European elections has been the rise and affirmation of a number of far-right, xenophobic, and populist electoral parties in East and Northern Europe and in France. This has been largely the outcome of years of austerity policies and crisis, which have deteriorated the conditions of life for millions of people across the continent. In this discouraging scenario, the most promising novelty has been, in addition to the Syriza’s electoral victory in Greece, the birth and astonishing affirmation (7.9%) of a new organization: Podemos (Spain). Podemos was created only a few months ago, in March, by leftist activists associated with the 15-M movement, and inherited the spirit and organizational methods of the Indignados movement. It opposes austerity policies and defends the welfare state and social rights from the neo-liberal attack supported by both center-left and center-right coalitions across Europe. …

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Polish Round Table Talks in Warsaw, Poland, on February 6, 1989. © Erazm Ciołek | Polska: sierpień 1980–sierpień 1989
EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

Reflections on a Revolutionary Imaginary and Round Tables

The new always appears in the guise of a miracle

This is the prepared text answering the question “What do we really know about transitions to democracy?” for  the General Seminar of The New School for Social Research, March 19, 2014.

It was a quarter of a century ago, in 1989, that a new kind of revolutionary imaginary emerged, one that promises a new beginning, and demonstrates the possibility of comprehensive systemic change without bloodshed. Velvet or otherwise un-radical, this kind of revolution has become a site of tangible hope, a site in which words have power, where people regain their dignity, and realize their agency through instruments other than weapons. Negotiated revolutionis not an oxymoron, but it is still an extraordinary event, as dictatorships are by definition opposed to any spirit of dialogue and compromise. …

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