Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The role of the left (or "center-left") parties in neoliberalism: Spanish edition

In the neoliberal/Washington Consensus/"free market" ideology that dominates the US and European Union countries at the moment, left parties like Spain's ruling Socialist Party (PSOE) have a role to play. After taking an incredible electoral beating in Sunday's local and provincial elections for implemening a brutal and economically destructive austerity policy demanded by the IMF and the EU in response to the speculative attacks by the bond markets on Spain's public debt, the PSOE under Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero responded by promising what the neoliberal consensus expects of them: cheerful suicide:

Pese a haber obtenido el PSOE los peores resultados de su historia, la reflexión que ha abierto el presidente del Gobierno no afectará a los elementos clave de la hoja de ruta que tenía establecida.

[Despite the PSOE's having obtained the worst results in its history, the reflexion that the Prime Minister has begun will not affect the key elements of the road map that it has established.]

- Luis R. Aizpeolea, El Gobierno no girará a la izquierda tras el 22-M El País 23.05.2011 (my emphasis in bold)
It may wreck their Party for a generation. At least they got a rhetorical pat on the head from the Financial Times, which editorialized that the conservative Partido Popular (PP) should not push for immediate elections and instead support the PSOE government's austerity program. In a partisan disparity which will be drearily familiar to American Democrats, the PP has already called for a vote of confidence in the national Parliament, which could bring down Zapatero's government and force new elections.

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