On the crisis in Spain:
I do not intend to place too much emphasis on the statistics. In Spain, unemployment plagues 25 per cent of the population, with a 50 per cent youth unemployment rate. I want to simply highlight two statistics: the number of millionaires in Spain, since the beginning of the crisis, has risen by 36% per cent. In Spain, currently, 35 per cent of families live under the poverty line. These are the two statistics representative of the crisis. It is, in fact, not a crisis, but a massive redistribution of wealth that generates misery, exclusion, and a social majority deprived of the conditions of citizenship. Because, when a government does not guarantee a population fundamental human rights – social rights, public services, education, health, retirement – we cannot call the population a citizenry. Fear is incompatible with citizenship. If a social majority lives in constant fear of losing their homes, of losing their jobs, of not being able to retire, how can they lead public lives?
On austerity policies and the Spanish elections:
It is not a matter of choosing, every four years, between Party A and Party B. A democracy has a material base – comprised of social rights and public services. When we attack the material base of democracy, we attack democracy itself. The logic of austerity that was followed in Spain is a threat to democracy. There is a referendum in these elections; we are not simply choosing a government like in past elections. These elections call for a choice between two camps: democracy and austerity. And the majority of the Spanish people chose democracy. In November, in the general elections, we will stand up and cry: we are here, the people mobilized and spoke out: never again, a country without its people, never again!
The Podemos Hypothesis:
What is behind this movement, which began a year and a half ago, without resources, without money, without media? It is a miracle, what has happened in the past year. In three months, without appearing in the media, we won 8% of the votes in European elections in May 2014. But the night of the elections, when the country was waiting for images to emerge of celebrations and youth dancing and embracing each other in the streets. Instead, we emerged very sombre, and we announced: “tonight, we have lost the elections. Tomorrow, there will be families who lose their homes, there will be individuals waking up and going to work without knowing what will happen to their children. We are serious, we are here to change this country.” The Spanish people heard us, and they understood our task. We are serious. We continued with our effort. We created a revolution of the spirit, a certain ethic of victory. We told ourselves, the moment is now, and we will not give up. We might lose, but it will not be because of a lack of effort or will. That was the day of the local elections, but my comrades were still not happy. There was still much work to be done, they said. They are right; and such change begins with a mentality. We understood that we needed to speak to people, and people are in agreement with us. Some 45 per cent of the population is in agreement with us. The population agrees that after a long life of work, we have the right to retirement with dignity. The population agrees that after pursuing an education, we have the right to a future in our country. The population agrees that the political and economic elite endorses a logic of corruption, and that this is an act of treason.
We may be a new party, but we have a deep memory. In our blood, we have in the memory of the Spanish fighters, who were the first to fight fascism in Europe. We have a long memory, which translates into responsibility. Responsibility is not contenting ourselves with symbols, practices, and tradition. We must speak to people. And, after all, there is always an alternative.