A few days ago, Diario Red, recently founded by Pablo Iglesias, published an editorial (To be or not to be in the Government) regarding the need for Pedro Sánchez to include Podemos in his next Government.

And he presents it in concrete terms, as a reasonable and serious proposal, even though the same editorial predicts that the next government coalition will be much more leaning to the right and will make policies to the liking of the economic and factual powers.

This reading of the political objectives of Iglesias and the Podemos’ leadership is generating great perplexity, first among its grassroots, which are becoming more orphaned and disoriented every day. To insist so much that Irene Montero should be a minister, after what happened, is astonishing. Is Pablo Iglesias satisfied with so little? Or will a chair in the Ministries council change the policy of a government led by Sánchez and Yolanda Díaz, whom they have rightly pointed out as the necessary executor of the burial of Podemos?

Pablo Iglesias behaves like an armchair revolutionary. And we do not say this with any desire to disqualify, but to use precise political language. When he negotiated with Iván Redondo the content and form of the Government of which he was vice president, he assured us that his participation in it would mean “a turn to the left for the PSOE.” It does not seem like that, quite the contrary. Podemos swallowed toads that were very difficult to digest, and to definitively muddy the matter, Pablo Iglesias himself made the fatal mistake of hand-picking Yolanda Díaz as his successor. The balance is known. So why insist on more of the same?

Pablo Iglesias behaves like an armchair revolutionary. He assured us that his participation in the coalition government would mean “a turn to the left for the PSOE.” The balance is known. So why insist on more of the same? 

We do not highlight this erratic strategy to poke anyone in the eye. This is not a joke. The reason is another: reflecting on the direction that Iglesias proposes and recapitulating how far his “government strategy” has taken us is key on the path of the ideological and strategic rearmament that the left needs.

We need to draw conclusions from the experience of these years, and much more so when the purple formation swings into a critical situation with the prospect of immersing itself in political insignificance, precisely because of very serious errors that are not recognized but whose importance is evident.

That Podemos is still the target of the right, and the media reaction is obvious, but that cannot hide the fact that a battle for survival is being fought here that could end in a sounding failure.

Pablo Iglesias distrusts the PSOE

Let us situate ourselves. The Diario Red editorial begins by arguing the true reasons that the PSOE has, for having taken such an abrupt turn, with the recognition of the national diversity and its languages in the Parliament. A year ago they rejected the proposal we presented with EHBildu, ERC and the PNV to use co-official languages in Parliament! – complains the Iglesias website, which accuses the socialist formation that “ the content of its agreements for the government instatement have little to do with the political convictions of the PSOE and its related media and a lot to do with its current needs.”

Of course. But that has always been Sánchez's behavior. Now, if they want to form a government, they must forget about the 155 article that they supported with so much fervor and hide the red-golden flag that presided over their rallies after October 1, 2017.

Anyone with a little experience in the militant left understands that the PSOE is not to be trusted, who has no principles or who changes them as it suits him. But Iglesias and the editorial on his website repeatedly forget a central point that explains this turn by Sánchez: in Catalonia there has been a mass uprising in defense of the Catalan republic and against Spanish nationalism and Franco's repression. Sánchez does not want anything to be repeated that is even remotely reminiscent of 1-O 2017, the historic general strike of 3-O, or the mass mobilizations against the Supreme Court's sentence on the Procés.

The possibility of an amnesty is not a triumph for Puigdemont, nor is it a triumph for Catalan, Basque and Galician to be spoken in Parliament. Puigdemont has not convinced Sánchez or changed the PSOE. This is a victory won by the force of street mobilization, despite brutal police and judicial repression. Important, Pablo: conquer in the streets and not in the government cabinet.

But that has always been Sánchez's behavior. Now, if they want to form a government, they must forget about the 155 article that they supported with so much fervor and hide the red-golden flag that presided over their rallies after October 1, 2017. 

What is Iglesias looking for in Sánchez's "docile and conservative" government?

The editorial continues, very accurately, characterizing the plans of the socialists: “It is evident that Pedro Sánchez wants to bet on a government that is as conservative and docile as possible towards the economic powers (…),” and then… Does Pablo Iglesias present his party volunteer to contribute to this task? Be careful Pablo! In this way he ends up suffering from the same “illness” that you attribute to the PSOE: we can always change our principles, or soften them as much as possible, as long as we have a cabinet ministers’ chair.

In other words: I can resort to leftist verbiage whenever necessary, but I can also hide it. The question is, why do you want a chair in a hostile cabinet of ministers that, as you point out, will be at the service of big capital?

But let us follow the path of reasoning that Iglesias and his website outline for us regarding the formation of the coalition government that now expires and that seems to be a model. “Podemos explained to the PSOE that leaving the Comunes and IU out of the Cabinet Ministers was not prudent because, surely, these political formations would demand and practice political and parliamentary autonomy if they were left out. The important thing to guarantee the stability of parliamentary support for the Government was that all parties were seated in the cabinet.

It was not prudent because it could be a source of instability for the government executive, it is understood. Better to have them committed to Sánchez's line than protesting and encouraging social mobilization? So, when Podemos entered the coalition government, was it to avoid practicing political autonomy and being faithful to the dictates of a PSOE that, according to Iglesias himself, we cannot trust?

It seems that there is no other possible reading: entering the cabinet ministers meant putting aside principles and political independence to ensure stability and social peace; stop promoting a very powerful movement born from below to assume the role of men and women of state. And Pablo Iglesias continues to vindicate this strategy even though the disaster has been huge.

In case there were any doubts about the substance of the matter, Iglesias once again insists on his offer for the current moment. That Podemos begs and crawls for a ministerial chair is “a responsible and prudent proposal, asking to be part of a Government that is going to have a limited capacity for action, when in reality it would be much more comfortable to place its five parliamentarians in the same place of parliamentary freedom to influence, on the left, the Government that Bildu, ERC and the BNG are going to occupy.”

Entering the cabinet ministers meant stopping promoting the struggle in the streets to assume the role of men and women of state. And Pablo Iglesias continues to vindicate this strategy even though the disaster has been huge. 

A responsible proposal! What language. These words are truly embarrassing for any fighter who has participated in the mass movement of these years. Give us a sit on the cabinet and we will behave! We guarantee to work for stability! No fights, no uncomfortable truths and of course no disturbing the street. But only if you give us the chair, eh!

What does this opportunism have to do with the aspirations of the millions who made the emergence of Podemos possible? This sums up the ministerial illness of Pablo Iglesias and all the armchair revolutionaries.

They want to repeat history again, but Podemos no longer has the strength to make it possible. With five representatives in the parliament and humiliated by Yolanda Díaz who is not going to give us even water, the bar of what is possible is much lower.

But the worst thing is that no lesson is being drawn from the bitter experience of his participation in the Government under the patronage of the PSOE. In exchange for the ministerial seats, Podemos has swallowed and legitimized the Government's unconditional support for NATO and the imperialist war in Ukraine, the massacres of innocents in Melilla, the riot police repressing the metal workers struggle in Cádiz, the Gag Law and the Labor Reform, the destruction of public education and health, turning their backs on the PAH and their just demands, not to mention the destruction of the Only Yes is Yes Law that they themselves promoted. Is this ministerial fury worth it in exchange for this? Is it useful? For that? For whom?

The PSOE is not to be trusted, of course not. Each poisoned apple that Podemos has bitten has caused immense joy in Ferraz, a real festival at the CEOE and by Ana Patricia Botín. The truth is hard sometimes, but you must look at it squarely. The PSOE has used Podemos in the Government to cover its left flank and keep the streets calm while the capitalists achieved record profits and the purchasing power of families collapsed. They have used “the power” of the ministries to distance them from their reason for being, from the origin of their strength until sinking them into a minimum parliamentary expression and an almost irreparable internal crisis.

It is not true, as Iglesias says, that it is “more comfortable” to use parliamentary freedom to condition the Government from the left. Actually, it is much more difficult, but more consistent and above all necessary. The seats have never been an end in themselves for those of us who aspire to the radical transformation of society, but rather a means, a loudspeaker to defend the rights of those of us who will never become ministers. In short, one more tool but not a magic button that replaces what truly changes things, which is class struggle, organization, and conscience.

Modifying the correlation of forces is neither easy nor comfortable and requires giving up the individual privileges that come with the comfortable seats of the Ministers’ Cabinet. Leaving that room to fight where it really is – on the street – is the only way to confront deprivation, the juicy housing business, sexism and patriarchy, national oppression, the misery of working-class neighborhoods, privatization of public services, the dictatorship of capital.

The answer is not stability, nor co-responsibility with the PSOE or the economic powers. The other way around! Maximum confrontation with the right, stripping the PSOE and rising on social mobilization defending a revolutionary program. 

Iglesias may accuse us “very leftists” of being ignorant people who only criticize and do not propose anything; that talking is free and then there is governing, which is very complicated. Well, we have never said that it is easy and that there are no colossal pressures to change trenches. On the contrary. But here also lies one of the fundamental differences that we maintain with him. He and his collaborators have poured everything into obtaining positions of power, under the capitalist system, and he has forgotten where the power of his party was forged.

The answer is not harmony, nor stability, nor co-responsibility with the PSOE or the economic powers. The other way around! Maximum confrontation with the right, debunk the PSOE and rising on social mobilization defending a revolutionary program.

Doing a critical review of why we have reached this point is essential. We already know what it is like to build an electoral machine obsessed and blinded by parliamentary cretinism. And what we really need is a party with roots, flesh and muscle in the labor movement and the unions, in the neighborhoods, among the youth, the feminist and LGTBI movements. And we need it to achieve real conquests and rights, to hit the table with all our might, and not to achieve positions of fictitious "power" from which to manage the crumbs of the system.

 With one, two or five ministries we will not overthrow this rotten order. And this is precisely the task of the combative left.