Spain: An Open Letter from the new Leader of Izquierda Unida (United Left)

CollagePublished: 13 Feb 2015
Statement by: Alberto Garzón (Izquierda Unida)
Intro by: TSN Editor
Translation by: Erik Andersson

In recent months we have carried a number of articles about the explosive rise of Spain?s new radical party, Podemos, which according to the opinion polls is now the most popular Party in Spain. One of the many consequences of this rise has been the eclipsing of Spain?s Izquierda Unida (United Left) which has seen much of its public support swing behind Podemos. This has understandably caused a lot of soul-searching in the Party and the rise of new leaders in key areas. It would also seem to have pushed the United Left to adopt a more left-wing stance, as the Open Letter below from the new Party leaders would seem to indicate.
. . . In particular we in The Socialist Network welcome the commitment of the United Left party leader towards democratising the political system and the economy though the public ownership of the energy sector, all strategic companies and the financial system. And in the case of the latter, it ties in well with our Network?s upcoming campaign for the democratic public ownership of the banking sector which we shall be launching next week.

Open Letter from Alberto Garzón
I write this letter to ask for your support in heading a transformative left-wing project.

As you know, I presented myself in the open primaries of Izquierda Unida with the objective of being the candidate to head a new government. More than eight thousand persons were inscribed to participate in the primaries, and more than forty thousand of you have joined this process since the beginning, all a sign of the will to transform our country. In the end, I was the only candidate who gathered the required amount of support. I interpret it is a firm support from the members, which I value and feel an enormous gratitude for.

While I feel sufficiently supported by you, I also want to count on the support of all left-wing people who want a dignified future for our society. For this reason, I want to initiate a process of collecting signatures in which people on the left will be able to show their support for this candidacy. Because the left is all of us: from the committed members to the willingness to join because of an understanding that only the left have the key to open the gates to a great change.

Our country is being destroyed through a big combined crisis and scam, and us citizens have to organize ourselves to throw out the culprits and offer solutions. We know clearly what we want to do: throw out the merchants from the government palace and use our keys to liberate the institutions which have been hijacked by corrupt politicans and businessmen. We will not allow them to rob us of our present and our future anymore. We will not allow them to force us into the reign of necessity and silence us.

I presented myself as the candidate of Izquierda Unida to head the government because I think that the solution to the problems lie in the principles and values of social justice and solidarity; the values of the left. And I think our country needs a citizens rescue plan with three pillars:

Firstly, guaranteed work. A developed country cannot have people who want a job going unemployed. We propose a reasonable plan to prioritize this form of social inclusion that allows people to live with dignity. With less than 1% of GDP we could bring one million people out of unemployment. A lot less money than what the two-party system has spent on saving banks, highways and their friends.

Secondly, democratizing the economy. We have to guarantee that all essential services that allow people to be free are public and accessible. Health and education are good examples of this. But also the energy sector, the financial system and all of the strategical companies, because a dignified government cannot allow that people in our country go hungry, don´t have a home or are freezing because they cannot pay the heating.

And thirdly, a new political system which will equip us with new game rules through a constituent process to create a new country in which democracy doesn´t mean just voting every four years. Democracy and politics means active participation of the citizens in the issues that affect them. We argue for a republican restructuring of the state, for a model where referendums, popular initiatives and revoking of representatives holding public offices spread widely and where there will be no space for immunity for those who destroy the country with corruption. Every vote should represent a selection, but also a will that is reflected in the public sphere. A vote should not only be selection, but also action.

In my opinion, we need a new Izquierda Unida for a new country, conscious of being the only left-wing force that are aiming for the change that society demands. A change that involves all of us. Every one of us counts.

Therefore I thank you beforehand for your support. My commitment is with the transformation of society, with incorruptible principles and with the working people. Many of us were fighting in the general strikes, the 15-M movement (the Indignados ?real democracy? protest movement in Spain from 2011-2012 ? ed) and the movements in support of the public services. And we will continue the struggle within the institutions. To construct a new society and a new economy at the service of the people, which will bring us a better life which we all deserve.

Health, Love and Rebellion,
Alberto Garzón Espinosa
The original can be read here:

Translated by Erik Andersson 11 February 2015

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