Podemos debates future party leadership, direction

Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias, during book presentation Wednesday. Photo: Javier López / EFE via El Mundo
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• Iglesias’ populism vs Errejón’s transversality in party leadership contests
• Debate continues as elections loom for party in three regions, a dozen cities

Pablo Iglesias, the co-founder and general secretary of anti-austerity party Podemos (We Can), on Wednesday clearly laid out his position for the party’s direction in the midst of leadership contests in three regions and a dozen cities, saying Podemos needs to stick to a genuine “leftwing populism” and eschew the more moderate, transversal strategy for the party’s future sustained by the party’s number-two leader, Íñigo Errejón.

Iglesias took advantage of his participation in a book presentation Wednesday to call for a Podemos that looks to the barricades and to direct action and protest in the street to defeat Spain’s elites, always ready to deal “a blow to the institutions, but to the head, the arms and another to the legs in the street.”

Iglesias also took the liberty of criticising those within Podemos who adhere to the thinking of Argentine post-Marxist theorist Ernesto Laclau, a favorite of Errejón, saying that many within his party have ni puta idea, or not the least idea of Laclau’s thinking and simply call upon Laclau’s ideas as a smokescreen to mask their opposition to the positions of others within the party.

Iglesias’s call for a more militant, leftwing Podemos is in direct contrast to the position promoted by Errejón, who has called for a less-radicalised “transversal” strategy to reach out across ideological barriers to a broader segment of civil society, playing a transformative role at all levels of government and convincing greater numbers of potential supporters of the party’s ability to effectively take on the establishment and change Spain’s economic and political direction.

► Read More in Spanish at El Mundo, La Vanguardia and Tiempo …

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