Podemos - In the name of the people

Podemos: In the Name of the People

May 2016
/
ISBN: 
9781910448809
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160
pp
£10.00

‘A compelling book … this is an invaluable resource for those of us determined to build a different society.’ Owen Jones

‘This incisive and compelling analysis of the current historical conjunction is a must read for theorists, activists and anyone interested in contemporary struggles.’ 
Marina Prentoulis, Senior Lecturer in Media and Politics, University of East Anglia

Íñigo Errejón, Political Secretary of Podemos, discusses with political theorist Chantal Mouffe the political strategy that underpinned the development of Podemos in Spain, and explores the possibilities for a new left politics that might emerge out of these developments.

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The rise of Podemos in Spain is part of a wave of European left political initiatives that are putting forward new ideas for change and innovative ways of thinking about politics. The traditional left in Europe has been in difficulties for some time now: the communist tradition is a shadow of its former self, while social democracy seems unable to meet the challenge of the financial crisis. The thinkers and activists of Podemos have been at the forefront of rethinking based on moving away from orthodoxies, bringing new hope to the left.

In this book Íñigo Errejón of Podemos and political theorist Chantal Mouffe discuss the emergence of these new movements, and in particular of Podemos. They critically engage with both the older traditions and the newly emerging parties and movements. They explore new ways of creating collective identities, and building majorities, while also reflecting on the major political challenges facing the left. The conversation between them is an intervention from two people who are ideally placed to draw on the seminal earlier theoretical work of Mouffe with Ernesto Laclau, and to link it directly into the practice of the new politics.

This book is therefore important reading for those interested in the state of the contemporary European left in general, and specifically in the strategic issues facing Podemos in Spain. It makes an essential contribution towards the creation of a new left politics.

This book is a Soundings publication, and is a translation of the Spanish publication Construir Pueblo. We are grateful to the the Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust for funding the translation into English, and to Sirio Canos for her translation.

Foreword by Owen Jones
1. The Project of Hegemony and Socialist Strategy
2. Spain and the Transition to Democracy
3. Rethinking the Political
4. Gramsci
5. Hegemony and the War of Position
6. Carl Schmitt, Antagonism and Agonism
7. Consensus at the Centre and Right-Wing Populism - FREE TO VIEW
8. The 15 May Movement and the Emergence of Podemos - FREE TO VIEW
9. Latin America and Experiences of the National-Popular
10. Understanding Populism and ‘Populist Situations’
11. Charismatic Leadership and the Nature of Representation
12. Ideas of Right and Left
13. Towards a Left-Wing Populism?
14. The People/Casta Confrontation
15. Chains of Equivalence and the Construction of a People
Afterword by Íñigo Errejón 

‘The discussion between Íñigo Errejón and Chantal Mouffe is a testament to the intertwined relationship between theory and praxis, and the necessity for a dialogue between the two. Theory is never created in a political vacuum and emancipatory politics cannot proceed without a theoretical critique. This incisive and compelling analysis of the current historical conjunction is a must read for theorists, activists and anyone interested in contemporary struggles.’
Marina Prentoulis, Senior Lecturer in Media and Politics, University of East Anglia

‘When I was in Spain last winter trying to understand Podemos for a book I was writing on populism, one of the first people I met, a Podemos city councilman from the Madrid suburbs, was carrying around a book entitled Construir Pueblo that he told me I had to read in order to understand Podemos. It is a dialogue between Chantal Mouffe, who along with her late husband Ernesto Laclau, developed a new theory of post-Marxist populism, and Íñigo Errejón, the young chief strategist for Podemos, who like other founders of the party had fallen under the spell of Mouffe and Laclau. ‘In this book, which is now fortunately available in English translation, Mouffe explains their view that to defend and eventually extend the achievements of social democracy, the left has to develop a politics based on the construction of a “people” (an “us”) arrayed against an elite (an “us”) rather than relying on the obsolete formula of organizing the working class against the bourgeoisie. ‘Mouffe and Errejón by no means agree on everything. Errejón rejects a definition of populist in terms of left vs. right in favour of an entirely vertical definition between the people and the caste. Before you’re done with this book, you’re get a sense of the entire terrain on which Podemos is operating.’
John B. Judis, author of The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics 

“an insight into the views of those that inspire and lead one of the most electorally successful anti-neoliberal parties in Europe.”

Brian O’Leary, Chartist

“These two eclectic gramscians take us on an intellectual tour of a cluster of key concepts starting with the notion of hegemony.”

– Martin Yarnit, Good Europe

Podemos: In the Name of the People offers an important, historically informed, and analytically rich glimpse into the theoretical, strategic and political orientation of Spain’s leading party of the Radical Left. At only 160 pages in length, this is a short, yet surprisingly wide-ranging and informative book. It is of interest to political theorists and activists, but also accessible to those unfamiliar with Podemos or the philosophical underpinnings of their project. At its core, it is driven by the conviction that the Left must overcome stifling orthodoxies if it is to build majorities, redraw the lines of political possibility, and reinvigorate democracy.”

– James Stockman, Marx and Philosophy Review of Books

“This book … has the merit to open up the debate and to find new ways for a left-wing, progressive vision of society and political parties of the future, who want to see an end to forty years of neoliberal assault on the very essence of the social welfare state.”

– Lode Vanoost, De Wereld Morgen (translated from German)