Politics in a Time of Crisis: Podemos and the Future of Democracy in Europe

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By the same token, the current backsliding and the rise of populism can be traced, in great part, to the decoupling of liberalism from democracy. The years after saw a profound transformation of the intellectual and political landscape.

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With the dissident and human-rights movements came a rediscovery of the ideas of civil society and the primary importance of the rule of law. He does not want to be managed; he wants to be represented.

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During the first stage of this rediscovery of liberalism, there was a deep reshaping of the intellectual landscape and of the lines of cleavage in the Polish, Czech, and Hungarian political cultures. Michnik carried forward the work with two essays that appeared almost simultaneously. Even after Solidarity was crushed in December , this political reorientation would prove favorable to liberalism.

In Czechoslovakia, the Charter 77 movement represented a cohabitation rather than a convergence between intellectual and political currents that had been opposed to each other in , but were brought back together by their joint refusal to accept defeat in the wake of The other theme of convergence had to do with the rule of law. This approach then found its counterpart among the reformers inside the system who envisaged the separation of the Hungarian Communist Party from the state.

European Integration and National Democracy

Together, these represent nothing less than the disintegration of an authoritarian and bureaucratic system and the transition toward a pluralist and democratic system. At the same time, the decomposition of the socialist economy and the failure of efforts to reform it encouraged the rediscovery of economic liberalism. Especially in Poland and Hungary, but also in Czechoslovakia, liberal economic thought was able to set itself up as an alternative to failed statism. The proper role of the state also became a point of convergence between liberal politicians coming out of the dissident movement and liberal economists coming out of think tanks.

Reading "Politics in a Time of Crisis" - A View from the Left | Portside

For the former, the question was how to safeguard human rights and to emancipate society, culture, and then the political realm from the grip of the party-state. For the latter, the question was how to free the market economy from its bonds. How to explain the antiliberal turn of recent years? In assembling the elements of a response, let us begin with a quick stock-taking. First, we must note the political eclipse of the first bearers of political liberalism in Central Europe, the former dissidents.

In , they were propelled to the forefront of the political scene by grand unified movements, but everywhere they failed in the next phase of institutionalizing pluralism—the creation of viable political parties. Havel became president, but he was the tree who hid the forest; his allies in the Civic Movement failed to enter Parliament in the elections.

The liberal economists had replaced the former dissidents. Created by promising young people you had to be under 35 who were adepts of political, economic, and social liberalism, the party pitched its appeals to the educated urban middle classes. And the ethos of Solidarity, upon which the alliance of intellectuals with workers had been based for more than a decade, fell apart. In other words, and this has a more general bearing on Central Europe, the current decoupling of democracy and liberalism has a good deal to do with the confusion or the collusion of political liberalism with economic liberalism.

The second journey of an exliberal is revelatory of another dimension of the question concerning society and culture. Where once communists were obsessed by social class, liberals are now allegedly obsessed by matters of race, gender, and sexual orientation. Yet, says Legutko, the goal remains the same—namely, the dissolution of traditional values, including the family, the Church, and the nation.

This wave laid bare the contrast between two European approaches. Political leaders in Central Europe are on guard against the dangers that the migratory influx poses for the security and the identity of the nation and of Europe.

Politics in a time of crisis : Podemos and the future of European democracy

Central European countries perceive the redistribution of migrants across national borders according to quotas established by the European Commission as an attempt to impose on them a multicultural model of society that they consider a failure. We can observe in these countries the return in a new or wayward form of a discourse about defending national culture and European civilization—today against Islamism coming from the South, as yesterday it had been against Sovietism coming from the East.

Independently of the political exploitation of this theme by ruling parties, we can see in Central Europe the affirmation of a conservative critique of liberalism. A volume bringing together a dozen Polish contributors identifies the principal themes that, according to the authors, were hidden by post liberalism.


Second, the liberalism that dominated the scene for twenty years favored the proliferation of individual rights at the expense of the collective dimension of national identity. It is no longer particular policies of successive governments that are being criticized; it is now the whole of the liberal vision underlying all these policies that is being called into question. One could stop there and rest content with our observations concerning the ex-dissident intellectuals who, after having worked for the re-discovery of political liberalism, lost the battle of ideas or repudiated their former views.

One could also try to reassure oneself that the success of populist parties from the Baltic to the Adriatic is nothing but a fit of passing fever. Learn how to enable JavaScript on your browser. NOOK Book. A manifesto for a new, democratic left: a political programme poised to transform Europe Since , Pablo Iglesias has led Podemos, a new radical left party in Spain that is reframing the nature of modern politics.

Under his guidance, the party has unmasked the ideological motives behind European austerity, revealing the true nature of this power grab conducted on behalf of elites intent on dismantling the welfare state. Here, Iglesias delineates his political vision. In that year he formed Podemos and won a seat in the European Parliament elections. The party gained , members in its first eight weeks.

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'Politics in a Time of Crisis' Brings Urgent Relevance to Current Elections Worldwide

Any condition Any condition. See all About this product Product Information A Manifesto for a new kind of democracy by the leader of Spain's Podemos party. Additional Product Features Author s. Pablo Iglesias Turrion was a university lecturer in Madrid and a TV presenter of the leading political news show until In that year he formed Podemos and stood, and won a seat, in the European Parliament elections.

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The party gained , members in its first 8 weeks.