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SPAIN: New political party that endorses BIG takes five seats in European Parliament

[Karl Widerquist]

Podemos, a new Spanish political party that includes unconditional basic income (UBI) as won of its main economic policy objectives, has one five seats in the European Parliament. Organized barely three months before elections for the European, the party seemed to come out of nowhere to a win nearly 8% of the vote (1.2 million votes) and finish in fourth place in the elections held on May 25, 2014.

"Podemos' leader Pablo Iglesias, centre, is applauded as he introduces the fledgling party in Madrid, Spain, earlier this year." Photograph: Andrea Comas/Reuters -via the Guardian

"Podemos' leader Pablo Iglesias, centre, is applauded as he introduces the fledgling party in Madrid, Spain, earlier this year." Photograph: Andrea Comas/Reuters -via the Guardian

Podemos (which means “we can”) grew out of the anti-austerity protest movement known as Indignados. It claims to be a party of ordinary citizens who desire a fundamental change in the political process toward greater democracy, freedom, and social protection. The Guardian quoted the Party’s leader, Pablo Iglesias, “It’s citizens doing politics. If the citizens don’t get involved in politics, others will. And that opens the door to them robbing you of democracy, your rights and your wallet.” Party leaders promise to accept a salary of no more than three times the Spanish minimum wage.

The party also supports doing away with tax havens, a maximum salary, the reduction of the working week to 35 hours, more protection for workers against dismissal, and lowering the retirement age to 60. According to GlobalVoices, “The objective [of Podemos] is to dismantle the austerity measures put in place by the different governments that have been in power. To strengthen and increase citizens’ rights to political participation, education, housing, health and the fight against corruption are the core elements of the party’s programme.”

For more on Podemos, see the following articles:

Thomas G. Clarke, “How the rise of Podemos in Spain should be an inspiration for the progressive left in the UK.Another Angry Voice. May 28, 2014

Ashifa Kassam, “Podemos hopes to cement rise of citizen politics in Spain after election success.The Guardian, 27 May 2014

Cristina Flesher Fominaya, “‘Spain is Different’: Podemos and 15-M.OpenDemocracy. 29 May 2014

Elena Arrontes. “The Rise of ‘Podemos’ in Spain, the Citizen’s Party.GlobalVoices. Translated by Kitty Garden, 1 June 2014

 Pablo Iglesias in debate, February, 2014 Demotix/Nacho Goytre. Via OpenDemocracy

Pablo Iglesias in debate, February, 2014 Demotix/Nacho Goytre. Via OpenDemocracy

About Karl Widerquist

Karl Widerquist has written 952 articles.

Karl Widerquist is an Associate Professor of political philosophy at SFS-Qatar, Georgetown University, specializing in distributive justice—the ethics of who has what. Much of his work involves Universal Basic Income (UBI). He is a co-founder of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network (USBIG). He served as co-chair of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) for 7 years, and now serves as vice-chair. He was the Editor of the USBIG NewsFlash for 15 years and of the BIEN NewsFlash for 4 years. He is a cofounder of BIEN’s news website, Basic Income News, the main source of just-the-facts reporting on UBI worldwide. He is a cofounder and editor of the journal Basic Income Studies, the only academic journal devoted to research on UBI. Widerquist has published several books and many articles on UBI both in academic journals and in the popular media. He has appeared on or been quoted by many major media outlets, such as NPR’s On Point, NPR’s Marketplace, PRI’s the World, CNBC, Al-Jazeera, 538, Vice, Dissent, the New York Times, Forbes, the Financial Times, and the Atlantic Monthly, which called him “a leader of the worldwide basic income movement.” Widerquist holds two doctorates—one in Political Theory form Oxford University (2006) and one in Economics from the City University of New York (1996). He has published seven books, including Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press 2017, coauthored by Grant S. McCall) and Independence, Propertylessness, and Basic Income: A Theory of Freedom as the Power to Say No (Palgrave Macmillan 2013). He has published more than a twenty scholarly articles and book chapters. Most Karl Widerquist’s writing is available on his “Selected Works” website ( More information about him is available on his BIEN profile and on Wikipedia. He writes the blog "the Indepentarian" for Basic Income News.

The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.

One comment

  • It’s great to see people willing to help the needy but it’d be even better if people could see that society has a surplus that belongs to everyone and if we shared it fairly, there’d be no need to create a basic or minimum extra income. It’s ironic that supporters propose paying this extra income but do not explore how to fund it. If they did, then they’d have to see the surplus, our common wealth, now merely funding a few private fortunes, and of course they’d call for sharing it. More at

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