The European Parliament Election is one of the most important political events in Europe. In the meanwhile, the Podemos Party in Spain does its best to become popular and win the public’s favor.
TIME CODE: 00:00_05:00
Narration: Wilhelm Steinitz, the world's first chess champion, wrote: "The pawn is the most important tool there is for victory". "Podemos" has adopted his strategy and forcefully broken into the Spanish political scene, town by town, street by street, vote by vote.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Telesur Hostess: “At this time, let's go live to Spain...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Female Speaker: “This is an image depicting the strength of change for Podemos...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Host: “A massive demonstration led by Podemos at Madrid's Puerta del Sol...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Hostess: “Celebrating just one year since the birth of the movement, with all sights set on the next general elections...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Host: “A purple wave in the centre of Madrid, with tens of thousands of people, almost 300,000 according to organizers, participating in this march of change organized by Podemos...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Host: “This is the power of organization of Podemos. Puerta del Sol is full to the brim...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Protesters (Chanting slogans): “Yes we can!”
SOUNDBITE [French] French Host: “In Spain, the party Podemos showed its spirit with a large rally in Madrid...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Female Speaker: “Take note of this march as an historic occasion, as the day that marked the start of change in 2015...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Iñigo Erejon, Protester: “A demonstration created and fought for by the will of the people and by the eagerness of citizens. For us, regardless of what happens, the objective has been met. The excitement, that founding spirit we're hearing now, it's a leap forward, we think it's a massive qualitative leap that's going to mark a democratic milestone in the history of our country.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Protesters (chanting slogans): “Yes we can! Yes we can! People united can never be beaten! People united can never be beaten! Podemos, we're from Podemos! From north to south, from east to west, the fight goes on, we will protest! Public and superb, education and healthcare, pubic and superb!”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Male Demonstrator: “It's important that now we believe we can, and we have to make a radical change in government.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Female Demonstrator: “I think everyone should be here fighting, to change things.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Protesters (chanting slogans): “Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can!”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Female Demonstrator: “I believe in their way of doing things, at least it beleaguers bipartisanship. That's all I want, to break bipartisanship.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Protesters (chanting slogans): “Closed exchange, open wounds. Watch out, watch out, watch out...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Male Demonstrator: “I want to show, along with all these other people, that we can do things another way if we want things to change, and we must, we can't keep voting for the same people.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Female Demonstrator: “Let's see if it's possible to change things and perhaps make the world more fair for everyone.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Protesters (chanting slogans): “They don't, they don't, they just don't represent us! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can!”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish]Juan Carlos Monedero: “Good morning to everyone, wherever you may be. Thank you for waking up. Thank you for being the thorn in the side of indifference. Welcome to smiles, to change, to hope.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Luis Alegre, Expert in Political Communication: “Today is an historic day. This photograph, this photo right here, is going to wind up in kids' textbooks.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Iñigo Erejon: “It doesn't matter where you come from, it doesn't matter, the only thing that matters is where we're going.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos: “We dream like Don Quixote, but we take our dreams seriously. We want to be proud of our homeland, not just display our allegiance with a pin on a lapel. A homeland is a community that allows us to dream about a better country, but believing completely in our dreams. Madrid, Europe, the 31st of January, 2015. The year of change. We can dream, we can win.”
Narration: One year before this demonstration, nobody had noticed them. A group of university professors decided to leap into politics while a terrible economic crisis ravaged Spain. The place: El Teatro del Barrio, in Lavapiés, Madrid. The date: The 17th of January, 2014. That day, Podemos drew out its roadmap: "Making a move - converting indignation into political change." That's the day the game started.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos:“We don't want to be a coalition of parties, we don't want to be a new product on the electoral market, we’re offering a new method. If I don't garner the support of 50,000 people on our website, podemos.info, I won't continue.”
TIME CODE: 05:00_10:00
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Juan Carlos Monedero: “Though it seems unlikely, we are the 90%, but it seems like we're in the minority. It seems that Spanish politics seeking change is content to wait and see what happens. This isn't a time for picking at crumbs, we have to go for the whole pie.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Iñigo Errejon: “We have to go beyond the rules of the political game, we have to change the board and the rules of the board for results to be different, so this time the pawns can win, regardless of where we come from or what preferences we've had in the past.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Teresa Rodriguez:“Fundamentally, we need to be able to tell people we can be trusted, that we won't betray them, that we're opposed to all sorts of budget cuts, no matter where they come from.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos:“Juan Carlos Monedero said it's our turn to make a move, and that's what we're going to try to do. A group of people with very different origins have said we need to take a step forward, and today I shall, by leading a candidacy for the European elections.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Miguel Urban, Co- Founder of Podemos and Eurodeputy: “We had the idea of calling a press conference. I said, "Damn it, the press conference is going to look bad," since we were doing it at the Teatro del Barrio. We'd asked them to do it there and they didn't charge us, we didn't have a cent but we liked the place, it was cool, but we thought, "Damn, there are 150 seats, it'll look bad if we can't fill them." We said we'd call some friends to fill it up and we wound up with 500 people outside who couldn't get in.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Carolina Bescansa, Secretary for Political and Social Analysis, Podemos: “When Luis called me, Luis Alegre called me to get me into this Podemos thing for the first meeting, well he called and said, "We're going to have a meeting, we're here with Pablo, we're going to start this, this is the real thing, this time it will work." The first thing I did was ask him if they had money. And he said, "No, but it will be OK." And I said, "How will it be OK? It can't, not without money, no, no." I joined in, but with little confidence in it.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Francesco Manetto,Political correspondent for El País: “It was a movement, an initiative taht at the time sought to shake things up a bit, to see what happened on the leftist terrain at that moment.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Lola Sanchez, Eurodeputy Podemos: “I was working as a waiter at a restaurant and when I got home at night, I would connect to the social networks for while on the sofa before going to bed, and that's when I heard the press conference. I automatically became drawn to the movement, I thought it was the right way to do it, it's the only way. We're tired of hitting the streets and not being listened to. This is the only way. We're going to assault the institutions with the same rules they've set, we're going o vote among ourselves and we're going to change things from the inside.”
Narration: In just one day, Podemos got the 50,000 signatures it needed to move forward. The project took off in an increasingly specific direction. The first meeting took place at the Marabunta bookstore.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Miguel Urban, Co- Founder of Podemos and Eurodeputy: “Well, all of us went to La Marabunta. I say so because we had our meetings there before Podemos was called Podemos. We were talking about it without naming it yet. All of us went there, of the 13 people that were part of La Marabunta, all of us are now part of Podemos. We were all there, some more, some less actively. I don't know, maybe a couple of us could say we played a larger role in that sense. Luis Alegre, he's now the Secretary General in Madrid for Podemos, and I was co-founder with Pablo of the movement that today we've decided to call Podemos.”
Narration: Podemos takes on the role of catalyzing people's protests. Three years earlier, the 15M movement had offered the possibility of real political change.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Miguel Urban, Co- Founder of Podemos and Eurodeputy: “Well, the 15M movement created the possibility of change. Really, 15M opened the door to change. The 15M movement is, in a sense, an intuitive challenge to the 78 Regime. How can I say it? It's like that story where the little boy dares to say the emperor has no clothes on, and even though everyone can clearly see the Emperor is naked, nobody just comes out and says it, and they're convinced he's wearing long, golden robes. Well, the 15M movement is a bit like the boy, saying "The government is naked!"”
TIME CODE: 10:00_15:00
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Francesco Manetto, Political correspondent for El País: “It was an emergence, then, in 2011. It was an organized emergence, and then we had to organize enthusiasm, indignation, anger, none of which was being channelled, into a political organization that was integral and organized, with clear objectives and goals.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Carolina Bescansa, Secretary for Political and Social Analysis, Podemos: “Perhaps it doesn't have a high capacity to propose solutions but it does have the ability to reject the existing status quo. However, this is something that happened to a lot of those that participated, to all of us that participated in the 15M project when the Popular Party won its biggest electoral victory in the democratic history of this country. It meant great frustration to many people, and was also very disconcerting. What happened? What did 15M teach us? In reality, big social mobilization, setting up large events to mobilize social change, doesn't automatically mean that they will create political change, it's not true. That's what happened in 2011. It was a painful lesson to many.”
Narration: It is during this time that the founders of the party take a step forward. Most come from the faculty of Political Science at the Madrid Complutense University.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Luis Alegre, Expert in Political Communication: “Each and every one of the founders of Podemos are political science professors, professors from the faculty where I have been an associate professor for some time. Carolina Bescansa was a colleague of mine. She did polls for the Socialist Party and has a lot of experience in the arena. We all knew Juan Carlos Monedero as well know professor at the university. Not only for his academic work, but also for the fact that he travelled frequently to Latin America, well to certain countries in Latin America, in circles that we might call "Bolivarian", or part of ALBA, where he did consulting work.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Carolina Bescansa, Secretary for Political and Social Analysis, Podemos: “The atmosphere around the faculty has always been one of intense political reflection. One reason among many is that a large part of the discourse and the construction of the policies of the Transition toward democracy in Spain were carried out at the faculty. The generation that are now 20, 30, or 40 years older than us were the leaders of political change in Spain during the 70s and 80s. They carry a lot of weight with regard to defining political thought within the faculty.”
Narration: The pawns advance and Podemos extends throughout the country in the shape of territorial assemblies. These are the so-called "circles". The leaders of the party imported the concept, as some acted as consultants for a number of Latin American associations through the Centre for Political and Social Studies. More than 800 circles span the nation with nearly 200,000 people signed up. There are over 30 outside of Spain as well.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Francesco Manetto, Political correspondent for El País: “Perhaps this method has created in Spain a before and after but it's true you can also see that it's sort of a simulation. I mean, it's like a simulation for the party. From the point of view of internal elections or proposals, you can talk about whatever you want and you can propose and vote, etcetera. But many sympathizers, many people talking at that moment, felt their mark wasn't being made, that it hasn't reaching the so-called top level that was at that time taking shape.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Luis Alegre, Expert in Political Communication: “The Socialist party has organized more open assemblies than Podemos since Podemos came into being. Truth to tell, I don't recall the last time Podemos had an open assembly, but I know that that practically every day there are 10 or 12 open assemblies run by the PSOE. People believe Podemos, though, and not the PSOE, because the PSOE has a past that's both good and bad.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Lola Sanchez, Eurodeputy Podemos: “When Podemos started, everything was spontaneous, there were no guidelines, there were no directives of any sort, back then it was all about using your imagination to try and explain what the project was. That's what we said, that's what we defended when we explained it to people. The media constantly shut their doors in our faces, so we had events in squares, on the streets; we went to street markets...”
TIME CODE: 15:00_20:00
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Miguel Urban, Co- Founder of Podemos and Eurodeputy: “If there had not been an explosion of participation, if hundreds of circles hadn't sprung up around the country, Podemos wouldn't have become what it is today. If Pablo Igelsias hadn't then provided the capacity to enter the media, Podemos wouldn't have been possible. I don't know if today we'd have Podemos without Pablo Iglesias. What I do know is that little by little, Podemos has created its own policies, which is increasingly dependent upon the leading figure that is Pablo.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos: “La Tuerka, The Screw, was our training ground. Since we'd theorized that the fundamental ideological and political battleground was television, with La Tuerka, we began to practice, though it was very amateurish, very naive, and we made a lot of mistakes at first. But we began to do politics in the media sphere with a talk show. It was a talk show that had a conventional format but a different editorial style. It let us try things out, it let us build our own audiovisual, political production space that later showed us how to deal with large scale media networks. Without La Tuerka, the televised Pablo Iglesias phenomenon wouldn't exist. The problem isn't that they're bad people, it's that they're profoundly ignorant. I think this government has a problem with democracy.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Hermann Tertsch: “...and he appears on TVs everywhere...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Host: “Pablo Iglesias comments on the topic...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Host: “Pablo Iglesias seeks to respond...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Host: “We'd like to welcome Pablo Iglesias...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Eduardo Inda: “Pablo Iglesias has cognitive problems...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos: “We can debate without me saying, "Federico, you're a fascist" and without you telling me, "Pablo, go to Cuba." In the educational system, I can give a class. When Wert takes over, people like you will give class, without having been on the honor roll or having had good grades, but they'll have money. Ms. Aguirre, say it with me: It's wrong to privatize what belongs to everyone.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Hostess: “Due to the fact he's the visible face of the whole organization, Iglesias, an adjunct professor of political science, logs many hours on TV sets, as the person responsible for the political talk show La Tuerka and as the director of Fort Apache on Hispan TV. From there, his emergence into the national networks is no coincidence. He becomes the enemy to be defeated on the most conservative media channels and becomes a prime time talk show star.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Esperanza Aguirre: “What does Pablo Iglesias think?”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Host: “OK Pablo, shall we stop here?”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos: “I brought you a little gift. It's the enrollment of one the students at my faculty.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Esperanza Aguirre: “To be clear, because I believe in debate and pluralism, I bid you farewell until next time.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Carolina Bescansa, Secretary for Political and Social Analysis, Podemos: “Pablo has racked up a large number of media credits. His presence on talk shows during 2013 allowed his public notoriety to make him the spokesperson for the discourse that raging socially but was completely invisible in the media and institutions.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Lola Sanchez, Eurodeputy Podemos: “It was the first time a person came out with the truth up front, with discourse that was completely different and without fear of telling the truth or shaming the person in front of him because he was lying.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Luis Alegre, Expert in Political Communication: “Taking on Eduardo Inda is the best training you can get. Why not? Of course it is! Not just in form, but also in the content. How do you stop a guy that's permanently at your heels?”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Eduardo Inda: “What these people want is to break, to destroy, the system of liberties that Spanish people gave themselves!”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Carolina Bescansa, Secretary for Political and Social Analysis, Podemos: “It's obvious you haven't understood …”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Eduardo Inda: “What you know is the same as what I understand about quantum physics … What you haven't understood …”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Host: “We're talking about something else …”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Eduardo Inda: “Monedero, what did you get involved with today? Afghanistan, Morocco, or Columbia? What's your poison today? His mind is closed, it's totalitarian...I'm not going to fall for this person's stupid tricks.”
Narration: This is how a leader was forged and became known to the Spanish public. Podemos made up for its lack of money with the image of Pablo Iglesias on television.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Luis Alegre, Expert in Political Communication:“It's clear he's a natural leader, shall we say, capable of speaking, attractive from the point of view of the media, very seasoned as well, he's done hundreds of hours working on TV, so from that point of view I don't see anything extraordinary. What's true is that every political party needs a leader upon which it can capitalize and in this case, it's indisputably Pablo Iglesias.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Francesco Manetto, Political correspondent for El País: “His sin is arrogance. My perception of him is perhaps too close, closer than many Podemos hardliners and sympathizers, or even the potential Podemos voters. It's curious that in a study conducted by the Izquierda Unida, the United Left, that compared the leadership of Pablo Iglesias and that of Garzón, and the primary defect that all the potential voters mentioned about Pablo Iglesias was his arrogance.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos: “Sometimes I think I can transmit too much security in myself, and that's not always good. Sometimes I get angry. I think the best thing to do is accept the criticism good-naturedly and try to improve and do things better.”
TIME CODE: 20:00_25:00
Narration: On this side of the board, not a move is made. Only three and a half months have passed since the founding of Podemos when the campaign for the European elections begins. The big parties totally ignore the new movement.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos: “Of course we can”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Luis Alegre, Expert in Political Communication: “I'm not going to make the Podemos campaign something mythical because frankly, it went unnoticed by 99% of the Spanish public. What happened is that they were capable and they were very intelligent in mobilizing a large amount of unhappiness in the European elections which had national constituencies, yielding extraordinary results in electoral terms.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Francesco Manetto, Political correspondent for El País: “Due to the fact that Podemos had no parliamentary representation yet, attention was scant in most of the media, but those of us that were political journalists watched very closely. I remember how it started in Berlin and it was, well, it drew attention.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos: “Thanks to crowdfunding, we've bought a van for the election campaign. Thanks to crowfunding, we've been able to rent an office. Thanks to crowdfunding, we've been able to organize this whole campaign.”
Narration: Podemos jumped into the electoral fray with barely any money, asking for small donations from its followers on the Internet and exploiting social networks to spread its message.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Lola Sanchez, Eurodeputy Podemos: “Without the social networks Podemos couldn't have gotten here, that's for sure. It's possible it might not have been born.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Francesco Manetto, Political correspondent for El País: “There's a bit of the Obama campaign in the first Podemos campaign. Iñigo Errejón managed it. He lived in the US, he studies in California. Sure, it wasn't just that, it was also the volunteers, the proximity, the use of social networks, the use of media channels way beyond what other parties were doing, in a way that was deft and above all professional. Sometimes people forget that the founders and primary leaders of Podemos are political scientists”
Narration: New screens to see and new terms to communicate. The movement brings to light new concepts in Spanish politics.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos: “...the political and economic caste...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Chico Rubio: “...because we don't want to substitute one caste for another...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish]Juan Carlos Monedero: “When I talk about change, I'm talking about people that can no longer stand the sadness of old politics.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos: “...that political caste…”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Luis Alegre, Expert in Political Communication: “...it's no longer just about ousting the caste …”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos: “Podemos doesn't want to appear to be, nor should it appear to be, like the caste parties …”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Luis Alegre, Expert in Political Communication: “It has the strength of an epic, the people against the powerful, that sort of simplicity.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Francesco Manetto, Political correspondent for El País: “That message took root in society. I don't know if it will just benefit Podemos, but it took root in the language of politics and in the collective consciousness, without a doubt.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Miguel Urban, Co- Founder of Podemos and Eurodeputy: “What we're saying isn't that the right and left should disappear, we just think that the way we think about politics in this country is a trap. Normally, the left is the Socialist Party and the right is the Popular Party. We were saying they were the same thing, that with regard to economics they were exactly the same. That there was no bipartisanism, that what we had was "turnism". We think it's more relevant to talk about up and down than left and right.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Luis Alegre, Expert in Political Communication: “It's a trick, a plain trick, it's unimportant, but if we're doing an objective analysis, the trick is that if I'm placed on the left, they're going to put me to the left of the PSOE and probably even to the left of United Left, and my electoral market is where the United Left is, even perhaps where the PSOE is. Of course, if I can totally take all the PSOE's votes, I'll take them all.”
Narration: The novelty, the lack of a past that takes away credibility, the new ways of communicating, and the image of Pablo Iglesias on TV talk shows, all serve to catapult Podemos on the 25th of May. For the first time, the ballot cards show the face of a candidate instead of a party's letters.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos: “Well, that was a pretty audacious move on our part because we had a very low budget for the campaign, we didn't have powerful allies, what we had as basically a guy with a pony tail that was on TV a lot. We decided to use that in the campaign.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Carolina Bescansa, Secretary for Political and Social Analysis, Podemos: “We didn't decide to use it, it's just we didn't have anything else.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Luis Alegre, Expert in Political Communication: “I don't think it was a mistake, I think it was easier to identify the face of Pablo Iglesias on the ballot card than the Podemos logo, right? It seems a bit eccentric, but I understand the eccentricity.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Miguel Urban, Co- Founder of Podemos and Eurodeputy: “We can't compete with traditional parties by being like traditional parties. Why? They're always going to have more equipment, they're always going to have more money, they'll always have more resources. Let's not compete with that. Let's just not.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Hostess: “Without a doubt, the big surprise during these elections was Podemos...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Host: “Bipartisanism has been affected. Big surprise. A movement that's only 4 months old, led by Pablo Iglesias...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Hostess: “… along with other small parties, one of which is Podemos, that managed to congeal social discontent and make itself the 4th political force here, with 5 seats...”
TIME CODE: 25:00_30:00
Narration: More than 1.2 million Spaniards gave their vote to the new movement. 128 days after introducing themselves at the Teatro del Barrio, Podemos managed to have 5 representatives in European government.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Carolina Bescansa, Secretary for Political and Social Analysis, Podemos: “That night was very exciting, an unforgettable night, sure, but a night filled with a sense of responsibility.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Miguel Urban, Co- Founder of Podemos and Eurodeputy: “I was in the management organization. I would get a call: "Here in Vallecas, we're running out of ballot forms". Damn it. What was happening? Calls kept coming in at headquarters. "In Puerto de Santa Maria, we're running out of ballot forms." Then results began to come in from districts where counting had started. Damn, we won! We're in third place, we're in second place. Wow. And you start thinking, "Damn, this is getting out of hand, we didn't think we were going to get these results."”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Luis Alegre, Expert in Political Communication: “I think all the responsibility for the appearance and rise of Podemos lies with the traditional parties. They are totally responsible, especially those on the left that were incapable of capitalizing on the anger and indignation of people at the corruption, the screwing around, the lack of equality.”
Narration: In Spain, never before had a phenomenon occurred in such little time, and with a campaign that did not exceed 139,000 Euros. The traditional parties suffered an important defeat. Podemos finally reaches Brussels. Pablo Iglesias, Pablo Echenique, Lola Sánchez, Teresa Rodríguez y Carlos Jiménez Villarejo, who is immediately substituted by Tania González. Together, they occupy 5 of these 751 seats.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Lola Sanchez, Eurodeputy Podemos: “Whenever I do anything in the European parliament, I think of the million and a quarter people that voted for us and I try and represent them the beast I can.”
Narration: The five Podemos representatives affiliate themselves with the unified left. They travel coach and together commit to accepting only three minimum wage salaries. The rest is donated to the party and NGOs.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Lola Sanchez, Eurodeputy Podemos: “What we see here is there's a big steamroller that's made up of a coalition of socio-democrats with populists, liberals, and conservatives that flatten everything. That's why things move quickly, when you work here you see the interests, you see the European Commission and the Parliament itself and this coalition. I'll give you an example, in the International Trade Commission, they talk about free trade agreements with countries around the world at breakneck speed. We barely have time to follow the proposal from when we get it from the European Commission to when it goes to a vote here in plenary. They have a lot of interest in that, sure, in opening markets up to European multinationals, etc. The European Parliament is a body that is practically there just to amend, to amend what comes from the European Commission, and little else. Not having the ability to legislate is the worst part, it takes away all your power as a legislator. in reality, were not legislators, we're co-legislators, and that only to a small degree.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Female Vioce: “...we can change things, it convinced the voters...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Female Vioce: “...it's a bad result for the Socialist Party, that's clear...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Female Vioce: “...in little under two months, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba will cease to be the Secretary General for the Socialist Party...”
Narration: The political tornado set off by the results of the European elections had just begun to spin. The traditional parties and the media channels in league with them see Podemos as a serious rival and begin to put their machine into motion.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Carolina Bescansa, Secretary for Political and Social Analysis, Podemos: “What was surprising or at least what was important happened the day after, it was a massive attack in the media, by political figures representing old politics against our movement. It left us speechless, we were amazed at the virulence, the intensity.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Mariano Rajoy: “...there are those that want to change the system, but what system do they want to change?”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish]Male TV Guest: “...a new movement doesn't mean they have new ideas...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Mariano Rajoy: “...the system that allowed them to go to university?”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Esperanza Aguirre: “...we have Errejón earning an illegal grant...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Mariano Rajoy: “...the system that gives them a grant for not showing up to the tune of 1,800 Euros a month?”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Esperanza Aguirre: “...it looks like before arriving they'd already become a caste...”
TIME CODE: 30:00_35:00
SOUNDBITE [Spanish]Male TV Guest: “...here in Madrid, we have everything. All the freaks wind up landing in Madrid...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Luis Alegre, Expert in Political Communication: “I think the arrogant attitude of the PP, which is classic, is a blunder.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Francesco Manetto, Political correspondent for El País: “I remember the Popular Party held a convention at El Escorial, or near El Escorial, where they spoke exclusively about Podemos, using terms like populist policies, messianic appeal, of the lack of proposals. Perhaps the Socialist Party was the most interested in Podemos due to their voters, because they realized the multiple attacks were doing Podemos harm.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish]Pedro Sanchez, PSOE: “I can't participate in impossible programs that can dash the hopes and expectations of many people.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish]Rafael Hernando, PP: “...we aren't people that say "podemos", meaning "we can", we're people that "do"...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Alberto Garzon, IU: “...the proposals set forth by Podemos are looking more and more like the historical ones set forth by the Socialist Party...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Rafael Hernando, PP: “...here, some people act like Mr. Clean, but when you rub some cotton on them, it comes away covered in filth, so as not to say crap, right?”
Narration: Media attention on Podemos skyrockets, and critics focus their attention on the Podemos programs for Europe and economics, calling them unfocussed and unrealistic, as well as on the relationship between some leaders and Venezuela and the use of populist political techniques…
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Lola Sanchez, Eurodeputy Podemos: “The program we used that got us represented in Europe was put together by people. We did it through social networks again and our assembly, where people came to agreement, etc. The Podemos economic program, sure, it had to be adapted to the specific reality of Spain. The economic situation we have now, and then of course, well we had to ask experts to tell us what was feasible and what wasn't”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Nacho Alvarez, Economic Secretary, Podemos: “The European programs are the very same social movements that are created collaboratively via the Internet. As such, we gather a large number of requests from different social movements that have been set on the table over the years as a result of the economic crisis and the government's management of it, and this gathers a certain hierarchy, a certain internal coherence if you like, of these different measures. I don't think it's so much about looking the other way and not considering what was in the European program, it's about seeing how we can now give these proposals a political shape and try to guarantee their coherence and do things in a way that is loyal to the spirit in which the program developed and what was originally set on the table”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Esperanza Aguirre: “...simple formulas from very old, and very, very stale communism...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Casado, PP: “It's exactly what their colleagues in Venezuela do, they threaten, they jail, and they don't respect differences in opinion.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Rosa Diez, UPyD: “Here we're used to right-wing populism, in nationalism, and now we have left-wing populism.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Felipe Gonzalez: “I think a Bolivarian alternative for Spain or for Europe would be a catastrophe without remedy.”
Narration: Things happen at a lightning pace. Rubalcaba hands off to Pedro Sánchez. The Spanish Crown no longer remains distant from generational change.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos: “If Mr. Felipe de Borbón wants to be head of state, et him enter an election, which is what democrats do. The good-natured king, the king that saved us from the coup d'état, has suddenly become a mirror of corruption, of impunity, of shabbiness, of the worst things in this country.”
Narration: Podemos keeps gathering air time and covers. The PP intensifies its criticism of Pablo Iglesias' training.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Esperanza Aguirre: “Podemos goes along with Chavism, it goes along with Castroism, it goes with ETA, everything else is lip-service.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] La Soraya: “On many TV programs we see, a lot of people are on telling the people watching what they want to hear...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Another PP guy: “...it's a left that finds itself among the Bolivarian populism of a tele-evangelist …”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] La Cospedal: “Neither the Castro regime nor the Chavez regime are references for liberty and democracy anywhere in the world.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Newscaster: “Podemos has had a big political impact the last few weeks, especially due to the supposed corruption cases affecting the big parties. This has also conceded with the Assembly, where they've begun to be a political force.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Unknown Man: “Well, we came from Seville to see the first Assembly with Podemos”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Unknown Man: “We've come from all over, I come from Barcelona for example, there are people here from towns all over.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Unknown Man: “Throw all the corrupt out, let them serve sentences, let them pay back what they stole, let's give a voice to the people, since we're the ones that really support them.”
TIME CODE: 35:00_40:00
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Carolina Bescansa, Secretary for Political and Social Analysis, Podemos: “We're amazed, we're really amazed, above all by the involvement.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos: “You don't storm heaven by consensus, you take it in an assault. Welcome to the Assembly. Yes we can: fight, create, power to the people…”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Iñaki Gabilondo: “I think that what Podemos has done until now, no matter how it turns out, deserves respect or perhaps we're mad at them for waking us up from our nap?”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Female Voice: “Podemos remains at the top according to the last poll by the CIS.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Male Voice: “The movement started by Pablo Iglesias would be consolidated as the third political force in the country if general elections were held today.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Vicente Valles: “It shows us there's the clear possibility that a drastic change in Spanish politics could happen. A third force has entered the arena that is set to break bipartisanship and may even aspire to be the party most voted for, ahead of the PP or PSOE.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Rafa Mayoral, Secretary for Relations with Civil Society, Podemos: “Polls are tendencies, nothing more. What is being clearly demonstrated is that the possibility for political change is emerging in our country.”
Narration: Political change that is led by Podemos that now has a party structure with a coordinating council and the broad strokes of an economic program. The only thing left to do is select a Secretary General. Once again; Lavapies in Madrid is the chosen site. The circle closes on the Nuevo Apolo theatre, where Pablo Iglesias will be selected to lead Podemos.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Unknown Woman: “We're all Pablo Iglesias!”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Young man: “I think he's the best leader Podemos can have and he's demonstrated it through the work he's been doing up to now.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Young woman: “I think he's the person that can best take this project forward, because he's the ideologist behind all of this and he's been working on strategy of the last 5 years.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Protesters: “Yes we can! Yes we can!”
Narration: More than 95,000 people vote for him and his team to consolidate the direction of the new political force.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos: “It's been a difficult job, but the real difficulties start now. When we win the elections in November next year, then the real difficulties will begin.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Rafa Mayoral, Secretary for Relations with Civil Society, Podemos: “Today, Pablo Iglesias is the only candidate that has the necessary firmness to confront the troika in this country.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos: “I loved giving classes, I loved being able to calmly go to a bar and have a beer. All that is finished. I accept it good-naturedly, but I admit I miss that more irreverent Pablo Iglesias, that enfant terrible of before. This Pablo Iglesias of today has a lot more political responsibility, many more obligations, but he's living an historic moment from a privileged position, it's something nice to reflect upon and to experience, maybe I'll write about it in future.”
Narration: Iglesias surrounds himself with the emerging figures of the European left, like the Greek leader of Syriza, Alexis Tsipras, which some media channels refer to as Europe's new radical left.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos: “We know it'll be hard, but we're not afraid, we're not afraid. Others are starting to fear. We value what happened in Greece, first because it's magnificent news for the Greek people and second, it's magnificent news for Europeans, for democrats, for those of us that understand the social basis of democracy that must be founded upon the existence of social rights.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos: “We can say that today, austerity policies have failed, and we think that's good news for Europe, that Greece will finally have a Greek president, not a delegate sent by Angela Merkel.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pons: “Something is happening in the European Union that should concern us all. And it has to do with the collapse of the large, centre political parties of some countries.”
Narration: In the Andalusian elections held in March, 2015, Podemos manages to obtain 15 seats and becomes the third political force. Juan Carlos Monedero becomes a target for criticism. His situation becomes the party's first major crisis.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Juan Carlos Monedero, Secretary for the Constituent Process, Podemos: “It's been a very intense month, where the 78 Regime has set its sights on me. Comments were made after the press conference for the council of ministers, with ministers commenting on private information...”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Juan Carlos Monedero, Secretary for the Constituent Process, Podemos: “Montoro, are you trying to scare me? I'm not scared of you.”
TIME CODE: 40:00_45:00
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Eduardo Inda: “This Podemos version of Barcenas can't give ethical lessons to anyone. They say it's an insult, but he's the Podemos version of Barcenas!”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Old Female Voice: “Eduardo… you can't compare them…”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos: “Well sure it affects you when they say things about your colleagues or about you, but in politics it's fundamental to be able to distance yourself. It's like when you're playing football or basketball, the insults and the shoves can affect you, but you have to keep playing and not let it rattle your nerves.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Juan Carlos Monedero, Secretary for the Constituent Process, Podemos “The government is investigating us? The government is investigating Podemos? Illegally? That's what I was telling you. They've declared war and we're going to win it if you're conscious of the fact that they've declared war.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Rafael Hernando: “Therefore, at the moment he, Mr. Pablo Iglesias, is the one that needs to offer an explanation, above all with regard to the rather nebulous activities of Mr. Monedero or "Mr. Wallet" as some call him.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos: “A few minutes ago I had a conversation with Juan Carlos Monedero where he offered his resignation from the Podemos executive team, and I have accepted it.The electoral campaign has begun, and we love campaigns...”
Narration: It is the first trial by fire Podemos faces. In May 2015, 35 million citizens are called upon to select their mayors and regional leaders in 13 autonomous communities. The elections will also measure the resistance offered by bipartisanism.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos: “This campaign offers two fundamental options: either everything stays the same or there's change. We're part of the change and it will be an honour to humbly work to make these autonomous elections a preview of the necessary change that's going to happen in this country.”
Narration: Podemos offers these 13 faces for the autonomous elections. All of them are university graduates, some with ties to socialactivism, the 15M movement, or teaching. The movement once again opts to raise funding through small donations from citizens. They do not ask for money from financial institutions. They claim that "he who pays, dictates" and they do not want to owe favours to the banks.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Francesco Manetto, Political correspondent for El País: “Podemos still hasn't demonstrated it can govern.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Lola Sanchez, Eurodeputy Podemos: “Podemos is more than ready to govern, we've demonstrated it here, haven't we?”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos: “Podemos doesn't want to create party government, we want to create a government of the best, with the most educated people in civil society, that's why we're meeting with them.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Francesco Manetto, Political correspondent for El País: “For the moment, that's a strength, but when it comes to voting, it's a weakness.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Miguel Urban, Co- Founder of Podemos and Eurodeputy: “We're not just betting on winning the elections, we're talking about doing politics, for people to do politics, to build a country, to build the power of the people, to build organization, to build participation, to support social movements. For all of that, and that's much more complex than just winning an election, right?”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos: “We're going to work to try and win. I think that as the opposition you can represent the people, but we're out to win.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Carolina Bescansa, Secretary for Political and Social Analysis, Podemos: “We always go to win, we were born to win. We haven't left our lives in order to occupy 10% of the seats in the autonomous parliaments or in the national parliament. That's not the objective, no, no, no.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Francesco Manetto, Political correspondent for El País: “It's a party that went from theory to practice, but it has to go from practice to structure, with regard to territorial organization. it has to become a party, the same party in Asturias, Andalusia, Murcia, and Madrid.”
Narration: In the municipal elections, Podemos decides not to use its name and instead joins with other progressive movements. Madrid Now, Barcelona in Common, the Atlantic Wave, and Zaragoza in Common are some of the popular candidates trying to reach the city halls of large cities.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Manuela Carmena, Candidate for City Hall, Now Madrid: “We were created from movements and we're going to continue in that fashion. I mean we're not thinking of superstructures, we're thinking of a different way of working. There's no doubt this contagion is positive and dynamic and every time we get together and speak new ideas come forth.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Ada Colau, Candidate for City Hall, Barcelona in Common: “We need to get together as many volunteers as possible to win and make reality better, It's about changing the way politics is done, opening up institutional doors, so there's real transparency and real participation...”
Narration: The electoral campaign gains intensity daily. Ciudadanos, or Citizens, another new party led by Albert Rivera, rises in the polls thanks to its message of political regeneration. The media hail them as sensible change, though they're also criticized for not clearly defining their political position. The Popular Party depends on familiar faces.
TIME CODE: 45:00_51:00
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Esperanza Aguirre: “The Popular Party and the list I am honoured to head will enjoy a clear victory, a very clear victory.”
Narration: Corruption cases continue to taint the Popular candidates. their strategy is to drum up the ghost of fear.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Mariano Rajoy: “The Popular Party is a party with a history. Friends, the only enemies are the same as always, those that want to divide the oldest nation in Europe, the extremists and the radicals. But here it is, and it will continue to offer a sure bet throughout difficult times - the Popular Party. Thanks.”
Narration: The response by Podemos is to present its electoral program. 215 measures that seek to satisfy the majority of its voters without scaring off more moderate voters.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos: “Will our program appeal to everyone? No. Our program will not appeal to people with Swiss bank accounts. It will not appeal to Mr. Rodrigo Rato or his friend Montoroor his friend De Guindos. Our program will not appeal to swindlers. It will not appeal to the Countess of Corruption, who is trying to compete with Manuela Carmena, no less. It will go badly for her, believe me.”
Narration: The main points: the fight against evictions, the struggle against energy poverty, to recover taxes from the very rich and exhaustive control over spending in public service.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Nacho Alvarez: “What Podemos has exactly proposed is a rescue plan for citizens for its first 100 days. I think it will repeal many of the unfair measures that have been established over the last few years.”
Narration:The two weeks of campaigning come to an end. The polls predict an open stage, with a lack of absolute majorities. The 24th of May, new and old politics come face to face.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Radio Host: “How are you? Good morning. 35 million people are called to vote today to elect the representatives of 8,122 city halls and 13 autonomous parliaments.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Radio Host: “Rajoy is laying it on the line because based on the results, his internal leadership may be questioned again.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Radio Hostess: “The party led by Pablo Iglesias is convinced it will celebrate a major victory throughout city halls and autonomous communities where right now they have no representation.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos: “It's an exciting day for me, voting in my neighbourhood is something really special, it's a day that people once again become the leaders of change, which doesn't happen very often in history. I think they'll talk about 2015 in the future. That's why voting here in Vallecas is very special to me. I think that tonight, there will be change in our city halls, in our autonomous communities, and there will start to be change throughout Spain.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Radio Host: “It's been three hours since the start of election day. This last hour, the Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, voted in the Madrid district of Aravaca. He hopes the rest of this 24th of May progresses as it has, with absolute normalcy.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] El Rajoy: “The only thing I want is that this tone of tranquility, of civil responsibility, of the normal exercising of the right to vote continue until the time the ballet boxes close and that after that, the counting be completely business as usual.”
Narration: More than a million and a half young people vote for the first time during these elections. Their votes could be decisive to support new movements. At 6 in the evening, two hours from the close of voting, 49.7% of voters have cast their ballots. Participation is higher than during previous elections and bipartisanism is beginning to sense disaster.
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Carlos Floriano: “We believe in properly interpreting the results of the elections. Our majority government will govern with humility. We are very conscious of the fact that the next municipal and autonomous legislature will be one of dialogue and agreements.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Radio Hostess: “Four years after elections dyed the political map blue, the blue of the Popular Party, the PP continues to be the party most voted for in municipalities, but its a far cry from the results in May, 2011. With counting practically finished, the Popular Party has lost some 3 million votes.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Radio Host: “How many votes has the Popular Party lost due to Ciudadanos and how many votes for the PSOE or IU have gone to Podemos or Madrid Now?”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Radio Hostess: “In a country where change is always news, for better or worse, there are new leaders entering institutions, and they're doing so by force.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Radio Host: “Here come the heavyweights belonging to the party led by Iglesias.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Radio Hostess: “There are happy faces there thanks to victories like Ada Calau, Carmona, Zaragoza, Cádiz, Coruña, Santiago…”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Radio Hostess: “Without a doubt, attention is now focused on the community and city hall of Madrid.”
SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General, Podemos: “The 31st, the 31st of January at Puerta del Sol, in front of hundreds of thousands of citizens we said that 2015 would be the year of change. In March in Andalusia, we took a giant step forward, tripling our votes compared to the European elections. Today we can affirm that the citizens of this country have taken another step to put an end to bipartisanism in Spain, making us...making us the leaders of historic change. Politics in Spain is no longer about two parties. Today, I tell you that this spring, change has come to Spain to stay. This spring will drive us on to November when we'll beat the Popular Party in the elections.”