After months of tension between the leadership of Podemos’ regional Andalucía affiliate and the party’s national leadership in Madrid, the two announced an amicable parting of the ways on Wednesday in what amounts to a complete rupture between the six-year-old leftwing party’s central leadership and its radical Anticapitalistas wing.
In a joint video released via social media, Podemos Andalucía General Secretary Teresa Rodríguez and the party’s national General Secretary, Pablo Iglesias, acknowledged that the break was due to differences in strategy and the Anticaps disagreement with the decision taken by the Unidas Podemos coalition to join Spain’s current governing coalition led by the Socialist party of President Pedro Sánchez.
As part of the governing coalition agreement, Iglesias has become 2nd Vice-President in the Sánchez cabinet, which includes four other ministerial level positions for the leadership of the Unidas Podemos coalition led by Iglesias.
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The far-left Anticapitalista wing of Podemos grew out of Spain’s radical Izquierda Anticapitalista (Anti-capitalist Left) organization, itself a successor to the Trotskyist Liga Comunista Revolucionaria (LCR, or Revolutionary Communist League).
A clandestine organization actively opposed to the dictatorship in the Franco era, after Spain’s return to democracy in the 1980s the Trotskyist Izquierda Anticapitalista party had become a somewhat fringe-left movement until its incorporation into the fledgling Podemos party in 2014.
A leader of the Anticapitalistas in Andalucía, Rodríguez played an instrumental role in the formation of Podemos in 2014 and has twice run as the Podemos regional presidential candidate in Andalucía’s 2015 and 2018 parliamentary elections. In recent years, she had become increasingly outspoken over the centralization of the Podemos power structure under Iglesias’ leadership and the party’s national election and legislative strategies.
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As Podemos forged its broader Unidas Podemos coalition nationwide with Communist party-led Izquierda Unida (IU) and other forces in 2016, in Andalucía the Anticaps led by Rodríguez demanded greater autonomy from the central party and began forging their own left-wing alliance. Although still the leader of Podemos in Andalucía, Rodríguez was ultimately successful in wooing the IU-Andalucía rank-and-file membership and in 2018 she launched the regional Adelante Andalucía coalition, securing the backing of Podemos, IU-Andalucía and other leftwing parties and movements to contest the 2018 regional elections.
After Iglesias’ accepted the offer from Pedro Sánchez to join in a coalition government following last November’s elections, the Anticaps came out strongly against the decision, saying Unidas Podemos should stay in opposition and continue to fight for social change from outside the government. That may have been the last straw, as Iglesias was rumoured to be seeking an alternative to replace Rodríguez at the helm of Podemos Andalucia in upcoming internal party elections this Spring.
Wednesday’s video announcement pre-empted that possibility, with Rodríguez making clear the discrepancies with the Podemos national leadership. Saying saying she would not stand in the upcoming regional Podemos leadership selection process, Rodríguez also made clear that she will continue as the head of a now-autonomous Adelante Andalucía coalition.
Iglesias expressed remorse at the departure of Rodríguez and the Anticaps from the party, but said an amicable parting of the ways was preferable to an acrimonious split. “Among those who defend social justice, albeit with different strategies, it’s never a ‘goodbye’, it’s always hasta luego (see you later).”
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