A short review of the #LibroPodemos by John Muller et al…

Podemos

Okay, guys! I’ve just finished reading what could probably be described as the seminal political book of the Spanish summer, a gripping read, entitled ‘Podemos: Desconstruyendo a Pablo Iglesias‘ co-authored by a number of Spanish political journalists and thinkers, including the El Mundo journalist, John Müller.

The book gripped me for the first 6 chapters as it sought to explain the phenomenon of Podemos, including chapters on:

  1. The movement’s rise from its inception in early 2014.
  2. The impact of the academic, Verstrynge, on a number of the movement’s leading lights, including its leader, the iconic Pablo Iglesias
  3. The impact of the anti-austerity 15-M movement on the success of the left-wing formation
  4. The strategies of communication used to disseminate Podemos’ message ahead of May 2014’s European Parliament elections.
  5. Why its campaign style succeeded in attracted a ‘disinterested’ electorate
  6. Who voted for the party and why, which involved a nuanced sociological analysis of the movement’s support base

The last four chapters of the book, however, were very much what one would expect from an El Mundo journalist and right-leaning editor, with the last couple of chapters looking at:

  1. The ‘inviable’ economic programme of Podemos (which could also have been entitled ‘Why the Establishment wants you to be scared of redistribution’)
  2. A highly biased debate on the size of the state, which basically posited that actually the indignation of citizens was because they wanted a smaller state, not a bigger one… Bullcrap, but then again the guy who wrote this chapter is a STAUNCH defender of neo-liberal economics.
  3. How and why the establishment ‘failed’ to see the rise in left-wing populism.
  4. A debate on defining populism and what it meant for the future of Spanish politics (which was actually okay, if we ignore the fact that it seems to think that the establishment will be able to somehow co-opt the indignation of the citizenry).

On balance, this is very much a book of two halves: the first half can be depicted as an ‘enthralling read’ and an explanation of the complex ‘who, what, where, when, and how’ of Podemos for the metropolitan, liberal contingent of our society, whilst the second half caters to a more right-wing audience who want to stop pressing the panic button and get back to a predictable system where ‘populist’ phenomena supports the establishment’s viewpoint.

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