Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Podemos revolution: how a small group of radical academics changed European politics

At first glance, Podemos’s dizzying rise looks miraculous. 
In truth, the project evolved over a long time. 
Photograph: David Ramos/Getty

Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias rails against the monsters of ‘financial totalitarianism’,
and tells the party’s followers to ‘take their dreams seriously’. 
Photograph: Dani Pozo/AFP/Getty

Link to the Article @ The Guardian


At the start of the 2008 academic year, Pablo Iglesias, a 29-year-old lecturer with a pierced eyebrow and a ponytail greeted his students at the political sciences faculty of the Complutense University in Madrid by inviting them to stand on their chairs. The idea was to re-enact a scene from the film Dead Poets Society. Iglesias’s message was simple. His students were there to study power, and the powerful can be challenged. This stunt was typical of him. Politics, Iglesias thought, was not just something to be studied. It was something you either did, or let others do to you. As a professor, he was smart, hyperactive and – as a founder of a university organisation called Counter-Power – quick to back student protest. He did not fit the classic profile of a doctrinaire intellectual from Spain’s communist-led left. But he was clear about what was to blame for the world’s ills: the unfettered, globalised capitalism that, in the wake of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, had installed itself as the developed world’s dominant ideology.

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