Barcelona

Spain: Barcelona Together fights for people-first city councils

A commentator for the mainstream Barcelona daily La Vanguardia reported on May 9 on a conversation he overheard in a lift between two “executives of a certain age”.

They were talking about an opinion poll giving the radical, movement-based ticket Barcelona Together the lead in the March 24 election for Barcelona City Council.

Executive A: “Have you seen that [incumbent Barcelona mayor Xavier] Trias is losing?”

Executive B: “Yes, [lead candidate for Barcelona Together Ada] Colau is winning.”

Spain: Can Citizens save the right?

For three months, from November to February, the Spanish economic and political establishment was in a state of barely suppressed panic.

In national opinion polls, support for the “reds” - in the form of radical new force Podemos - had overtaken that for the establishment parties, the ruling People’s Party (PP) and the opposition Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE).

Spain: Ruling party shaken by ex-IMF boss's downfall

A central pillar of the Spanish economic and political establishment came crashing down on Paril 16.

Rodrigo Rato, former deputy prime minister in the 1996-2004 People’s Party (PP) government of Jose Maria Aznar and head of the International Monetary Fund from 2004 to 2007, was detained on suspicion of tax evasion, concealment of assets and fraud.

Catalan vote rocks Spanish establishment

On November 9, 2.305 million residents of Catalonia defied a November 4 Spanish Constitutional Court ruling and voted on what future political status they wanted for their country, now one of the 17 “autonomous communities” (regions) within the Spanish state.

Because of their rebellion — festive but determined — it was not just another voting day. Initiative for Catalonia-Greens (ICV) co-coordinator Joan Herrera called it “the biggest demonstration in the history of this country”.

Rebellious Catalonia moves to vote, defies Spanish court

Millions of residents of Catalonia will indicate their preference for the future political status of their country, one of the 17 “autonomous communities” (regional governments) within the Spanish state, in the November 9 Catalan “participatory process”.

The “process” will present voters with the same ballot paper as the original non-binding consultation adopted by the Catalan parliament on September 26 — which was immediately suspended by the Spanish Constitutional Court.

Its asks: “(1) Do you want Catalonia to become a state? (2) If yes, do you want that state to be independent?”

Catalonia heads towards showdown with the Spanish State

This year’s September 11 Catalan national day (Diada) demonstration, in support of the Catalan parliament’s planned November 9 popular consultation on Catalan statehood, was the biggest since the present cycle of mobilisations for Catalonia’s right to self-determination began four years ago.

Spain: Let’s Win Barcelona lays down unity challenge for left

If anyone can get the different forces of the Catalan left to unite in support of a common cause, it is Ada Colau. The spokesperson of the anti-eviction Mortgage Victims Platform (PAH) until early May, Colau is almost certainly the most popular and respected social activist in the Spanish state.

On June 26, Colau launched Let’s Win Barcelona platform for next year's May municipal elections in the Catalan capital.

Spain: Eruption of Podemos sparks turmoil on left

The five seats and 7.9% won by the new Podemos (“We Can”) ticket in the May 25 European election was an earthquake in Spanish politics.

Podemos was inspired by the indignado movement that exploded across the Spanish state in 2011 against austerity and for “real democracy”. The movement was driven by mass popular assemblies, which provided a striking counter-point to the frequently corrupt “politics as usual”.

Spain: Congress backs monarchy, exposes crisis of legitimacy

An old truism says that in periods of crisis, politics speeds up.

That is being strikingly confirmed in the Spanish state after the June 2 abdication of King Juan Carlos. So too is its corollary ― that institutions that seemed solid and long-lasting suddenly look out-of-date and fragile.

Spain: Fuse lit as king abdicates

As news spread of the abdication of the Spanish king Juan Carlos on June 2, a strange rustling sound could be heard across Barcelona. Hard to work out at first, it soon became clear what it was. It was the city — the capital of Catalonia — laughing.

In the city’s thousands of bars, people were hooting with glee at the wave of tweets that the king’s decision to abdicate in favour of his son, Felipe, was provoking. Probably the favourite in my local bar of young and old unemployed, read: “With Mariano Rajoy [Spanish prime minister] in charge, even the king gets to lose his job.”

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