Marking his first visit to the United States as leader of the ascendent Podemos party in Spain, Pablo Iglesias is in New York City this week to discuss the rise of leftwing populism in his country and how what began in the Spanish streets as the Indignados movement just four years ago has now become a powerful political force across his country and beyond.
Ahead of other public speaking engagements scheduled for this week, Iglesias sat down for an interview with Democracy Now‘s Amy Goodman and Aaron Maté which aired Tuesday morning. Like their European neighbors in Greece who recently elected the Syriza party to power, supporters of Podemos have signaled their commitment to the party based on its critique of austerity economics imposed from without and a leftwing platform that puts the interests of ordinary and working Spaniards ahead of the nation’s financial and political elite.
Last year, Iglesias was elected to the European Parliament by Spanish voters and currently serves as the Secretary General of Podemos, which translates as ‘We Can’ in Spanish. Recent domestic polling showed that if elections were held currently, Podemos could quite possibly win a majority in the national assembly. Last month, tens of thousands of people rallied in central Madrid to show their support for the party.
“Probably,” Iglesias said of his party, “we are the result of the disaster of these policies of austerity in Spain. And probably we are the expression of the hope now.”
Iglesias described how the Spanish people are beginning to understand that in democracy, when something is going wrong, you can activate and organize to change course. “We are a new opportunity of change in Spain,” Iglesias continued, and we are happy to be an instrument of the people for political change.”
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