Madrid is an exciting place to be – not only is there a great deal of uncertainty about who will make up the government after yesterday’s election, one of the newer parties, Podemos, is responsible for having disrupted the status quo.
There’s a sense of something new having started. The old guard, the parties of the elites, have been dealt a blow, but they haven’t gone yet. It seems we are in a crucial moment between the past and the future.
Podemos, which won the third most number of seats, represents a new approach to politics that is emerging across Europe. There are many aspects to this, but what strikes me most is how positive politicians like Pablo Iglesias have been, refusing to be drawn into mud slinging, acknowledging in an interview the influence of people like Ada Colau, the Mayor of Barcelona who has encouraged him to be more collaborative and bridge-builidng in his approach. Like Greece’s Syriza party, its politicians move differently and speak a different language, a language that addresses the heart in a way that calls to the best of people’s desires, dreams and intentions.
Whatever the outcome for Podemos, they are part of something bigger that began in the cities and the activism of the people, and it’s heartening to hear that good things are happening in the Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, where left wing mayors won.
What has also emerged is a strong commitment towards collaboration and negotiation, which contributes to a much more constructive approach.
In Greece, I tussled with the question of whether it was right to hope. The disappointment with the politicians was maybe inevitable, but it also showed us the extent to which the organisation of Europe would go to resist this alternative approach.
Whatever the outcome of this election, there’s no doubt that there will be troubles ahead, but the words of the indignados still have resonance: Our dreams don’t fit in your ballot boxes. This creative, collaborative, peace seeking approach, suggests something stronger, something that will be significant in the long term.