what remains of this movement that came to change politics


Publication: Saturday, May 15, 2021 6:03 AM

Much has changed since a call that jumped from wall to wall on the Internet ended up being the germ of the social, political and institutional movement that shook our country forever, this Saturday ten years ago. It’s been a decade since 15M and, at times, everything can seem similar: the same crises, the same boredom, the same under-representation in institutions.

But we have changed a lot. Especially in the political council. The fuse of citizen indignation was lit: it crystallized in the creation of Podemos, it revolutionized the springs of the state – most of the time, only aesthetically – and ended, like any party. , with the lights on and the wreckage on the runway.

In this case, with a party that is part of the governing coalition of Spain, which holds the third vice-presidency and a few key ministries, which are seeking this week, already with Yolanda Díaz, to get closer to the origin. What they were. Yes, at 15M.

Outraged, 78 regime and caste

“The 15M was a moment at this moment of the political, institutional, representation crisis that was experienced during these years”, greets political scientist Eduardo Bayón from the other side of the phone. By the dawn of May 2011, disappointment was widespread.

The discontent, the unease, the boredom which made, after a combined march in more than 50 cities of the country, a group of demonstrators decided to spend the night in Sol until the next elections, scheduled for the 22 of the same month. They were local and autonomous. And there a new way of understanding politics was created: the assembly, the horizontal and demanding attention to the governed.

Welcome to citizens’ assemblies, responsibility. The much more horizontal distribution of power. Concepts such as “indignant”, “regime of 78”, or “caste” already well worn. It was the explosion of exhaustion in the face of an endless crisis. And, paradoxically, it is now coming back to the starting point.

A new policy: the same, but with primaries

“This is something, starting with these assumptions, shared by neighboring countries. Political parties took refuge in the state in the 80s and 90s, those in which the model of productive work was configured, and this had eroded the role of voters, ”Bayón analyzes. “We can see it very clearly in the social democratic parties: in Spain, the PSOE cared much more about the government and the parliamentary group than about militancy”.

In Spain, in fact, this representative trend exploded with the economic crisis, and, added to all the frustrated expectations of 15M, it germinated in the first Podemos. “You can drink there, but the rest of the games drink hangovers,” says the expert. “And the maximum exponent is the primaries,” he explains.

And for a sample, a button. There is no self-respecting political formation – with the exception of Vox, a young party by comparison – which does not have this method of selecting candidates. “These mechanisms are introduced, eroding their own organs and structures. In the case of the PSOE, the Federal Committee has less weight; territorial leadership too ”. The dynamics are changing. The formations become more presidential.

The same is happening with Podemos. The party’s short but very intense journey went through an assembly organization inheriting what was experienced in Sol – circles, purely horizontal areas within the formation – towards a hyper-leadership, very personal party. “Far from these participation mechanisms that they demanded”, summarizes Bayón.

Pablo Iglesias and his parallel journey

There are those who can personalize the 15M political cycle journey not only to Podemos, but also to Pablo Iglesias himself. De profesor universitario y tertuliano ocasional en los medios, a revolucionar la política española, para pasar diferentes procesos internos -Vistalegre tras Vistalegre- y acabar, en cuestión de un par meses, fuera de cualquier cargo tras haber ostentado segno de la vicepresidencia Spain.

Eduardo Bayón does not agree with this image, if the change in political tendency is concerned. “The 15M cycle ended at the latest in 2019, with the electoral results themselves,” he explains. “If you notice, the 15M and the political aspirations of the first Podemos were very transformative, of change. And they ended, since November 2019 (with the irruption of Vox), in these political spaces playing against and keeping what already existed. Almost satisfied with that ”.

However, he admits that the trajectories between movement and Iglesias are similar. “This is what happened to 15M himself: his number appears in this context, they have a meteoric rise and prominence, they become a benchmark, their demands are transformative, from ‘storming the skies’ to aspirations to completely transform Spanish politics and the country, to end up playing resistance. This was seen in Madrid ”.

What was the 15M

Today, ten years from now, the power of 15M has more cultural and significant value to a generation than something that has materially and effectively produced political transformation. In the end, beyond the very visible variations, such as the transparency exercises required of the public sphere, everything remains a little the same.

“Yes, there is a legacy, because we were in this context of crisis and now we are in another”, says Bayón. “The importance of politics in the media, in topics of conversation, is very evident.”

In his view, “other issues such as democratic regeneration or the demands of corruption cases have been further lost. As the party system transformed and new options came into play, supply and channel, yes, there was a certain shift towards the institutional. But many critics continue to suffer: for example, the opacity of the Royal House or the eternal reform of the Senate, “said the political scientist.

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