[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 983 articles.

Karl Widerquist is a Professor of political philosophy at Georgetown University-Qatar. He specializes 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 a member of the BIEN EC for 14 years. 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. He is a cofounder of the journal "Basic Income Studies." 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.” Most of Karl Widerquist's academic writing is available at his research website (Widerquist.com). For more information about him, see his BIEN profile (https://basicincome.org/news/2016/12/bien-profiles-karl-widerquist-co-chair/).