The most fruitful paradox of time travel, as we learned in the canonical trilogy Back to the Future (1985-1989), by Robert Zemeckis, is to meet the self of that time and not burst the space-time continuum. One is not supposed to exist twice at the same time and in the same place. But if time travel is possible, on paper it is possible to coincide with a previous self. What is already an unknown is the result. Well, exactly in that gap is the political subject previously called "space of change", in which Sumar and United We Can fight, the same reality in two different times.
Sumar has traveled to the past of Podemos. There is no need for explicit statements from Vice President Yolanda Díaz or the minister and leader of Podemos Ione Belarra to take note of what is happening and break down the process: Sumar is a reborn of Podemos, a return to the origin to rewrite it; is The Batman (2022) with Robert Pattinson pretending the events of The Dark Knight (2012), with Christian Bale's sour-milk face, never happened.
That is the health of the great cultural franchises: to pretend that nothing had happened every time the subject becomes arthritic or coughs too much, and look for a young man. So if Pierce Brosnan can't jump anymore, we give license number 007 to Daniel Craig. And start again. Because, this is the substantive thing, James Bond is bigger than all of them; even all of them together. Podemos was Andrew Garfield dressed as Spiderman making us forget the frightened face of a United Left that, like Tobey McGuire, not even painting eyeliner commanded respect. But Sumar is Tom Holland.
It is obvious that Podemos has already become a political party with all of the law, in the traditional way but without bank loans, and has been betting for months on an identity, branded line of argument, which is repeated at each council meeting. state citizen of the organization. That is why there is a constant effort to value the party's assets, which is none other than having achieved a coalition government –against all odds and sewers–, breaking an eighty-year exclusion clause. And with this, it has forced the PSOE to retrace almost three decades of neoliberal observance to bet, tepidly if you will, on social democratic reformist policies. “Only us…” is a phrase that is often heard in the last meetings of the governing body of Podemos, confirm the attendees, and in its public communication allusions are repeated to what this country has changed in “the eight years” of life of we can self esteem therapy
The conversion of Podemos into an ordinary hierarchical party and therefore susceptible to an identity position is not a strictly programmed process, although it began in the same conclave of the first Vistalegre (October 2014), when methods, internal democracy and hierarchy had to be decided. Numbers one and two, Pablo Iglesias and Íñigo Errejón, were then aware of how sweet the device they had created was for any fifth columnist –“we were heading for the stars”, in the expression of Aaron Sorkin– at a time when they headed all the surveys, so a structure with a clear verticality was sought to avoid entryism and so that it would be possible to direct it from the executive, with the plebiscitary processes as the only mechanisms of political action from the bottom up.
In the territories in a more obvious way and in the state leadership to a lesser extent –contrary to what is usually told–, each democratic process concluded more or less like the ABBA song: The winer takes it all (“The winner takes it all”). carries everything"), which with different modulations ended up expelling the defeated. It is not true that there were purges in Podemos, despite the fact that it was published repeatedly, what was very evident was an incentive for the exile of those defeated in each process.
In this way, every time there was a vote in the territories, the organization was reduced. If the vote was tight, cut it in half. That is to say, in each vote of a municipal or regional secretariat or in a primary, the party became stronger and smaller. These processes were much more evident in the territories than in the state leadership, but in a few years they decimated the population of party cadres. When the Canarian deputy Alberto Rodríguez agreed to the Secretary of Organization, in June 2019, ending these Cainist dynamics by modifying the methods of participation was one of his obsessions when working on the new statutes. Although perhaps by then it was already an irreversible process.
This course of events, to a certain extent contingent, on the one hand harmed Podemos because it eliminated its original vocation for transversality and limited its possibilities for growth, but, paradoxically, it also saved it. After years of harassment – literally, civilly and criminally – the departure of Íñigo Errejón in January 2019 seemed like a mess. However, the smaller the party became, the more dense it also became, the more attacks Pablo Iglesias received and the more he reduced his expectation of growing in votes, his militancy also became more resistant and his supporters more devoted. That individual leadership and that process of condensation of Podemos in a vertical party dependent on his charismatic figure was what allowed it to resist above 3.5 million in April 2019.
Many thought and said that the electoral repetition in November would destroy Podemos – and a group of seasoned commentators promised Íñigo Errejón that way – but then it became obvious that the adherence to Iglesias had already been reduced to bare bone and there was no room to continue. scraping on the bottom of the pan. More Country learned it the hard way. Despite the demonization of the fall, Iglesias and what was left of Podemos managed to once again exceed three million votes and enter the Government, leaving all his detractors, adversaries and enemies with two inches of nose.
Yolanda Díaz witnessed this entire process over seven years. She was one of the first deputies who warned Iglesias in 2015 of the co-optation of the party that Íñigo Errejón was carrying out and of his intention to turn him into a puppet leader. Despite not being a member of Podemos, she was always part of the group of loyalists closest to Iglesias and remained by his side during the hardships of 2019. She was at the forefront of that evolution that sclerotized the party, making it smaller at the same time and more resilient.
Although he does not say so, due to the look that the Sumar initiative has taken, it is clear that Díaz considers that this resistance process, now without Iglesias, is not giving more of itself and that Podemos cannot reverse its trajectory of these years – a speed and a direction specific – to fluff up again and expand its electoral space, not to the more than five million votes it achieved in 2015, but even to approach four million again. And what former Madrid councilor and screenwriter Guillermo Zapata calls Los 35 de Sumar, that is, the working groups created by the platform to design a country project ten years from now, is irrefutable proof that Yolanda Díaz is returning to the moment of the foundation of Podemos, when the new party attracted countless professionals, activists, academics, jurists... enraged by the idea of modernizing Spanish democracy. For various reasons, that illusion was short-lived, and between December 2015 and June 2016 almost all those who had no intention of making politics their profession had already left the project. Even before the first infighting broke out.
It is not a minor matter that many of those faces, who did not even star in schisms or debates within the party because they never got to participate in the internal organs, they simply left, today they are seen again among the public of Sumar's acts. "I'm greeting people I haven't seen since 2014," said an attendee at Sumar's debut last July. Zapata wrote this Saturday in Público that the breadth of the political arc embodied by the 35 heads of the Sumar working groups “reminds us of the first Podemos, which incorporated Judge Jiménez Villarejo for his list in the 2014 European elections, although with a difference : None of the people who participate in the coordination seem interested in being on any electoral list. In fact, their character as people-who-do-not-go-on-an-electoral-list is part of their identity”.
Yolanda Díaz is carrying out a refoundation from the very foundations of what would later become Podemos. She has returned to the beginning, to that moment when Professor Juan Carlos Monedero postulated Podemos, not as a party, but as "a tool of representation" for all those who felt that institutionalized parties were not the optimal vehicle to act on. politics. Opposite, the new management of Podemos, with Ione Belarra, Irene Montero and Lilith Verstrynge as senior management and with the voice of Pablo Iglesias sending slogans daily from the political beyond, has decided to turn the party into a political identity, a brand and flag of those who resisted all sieges. It is perceived even in the intensity of their adhesions, or in the celebration of the Via Crucis that the party experienced –once a misfortune, today a stigma of pride–, and in the hastag that they emit, in the antipodes of the initial purpose of the “tool of representation”:
Despite the usual tricks of the Madrid press, Pablo Iglesias never dealt with the game. He never cut off or pushed any territorial leadership and, of course, never ordered a political defenestration. If those things happened –and they did happen, although not very often–, they were orchestrated from the executive, but never by the secretary general himself, for whom those occupations always turned out to be secondary and tedious matters. And it was not necessary for him to take care of the party because Podemos was Pablo Iglesias and Pablo Iglesias was Podemos. It was not the half organization but he alone, in a couple of electoral debates (with the help, if you will, of his speech writer, Manu Levin) who raised the results of 2019. The concern for the fate of the party, his identity, structure and future as a political organization began in Podemos after the departure of Iglesias from the general secretariat. Not a minute before.
Although a conventional organization is essential to survive the municipal and regional elections, the general ones are above all a question of the headliner. Yolanda Díaz watched him sitting in the front row, watching Iglesias unfold in 2019. This is the politics of the 21st century in presidential elections. Today Sumar has the sympathy or the informal but clear support of the commons, IU, the PCE, CC OO, Más País, Compromís and some prominent positions of Podemos, which can be seen in Díaz's acts, and he does not hurry in design a political artifact. As if he had gone back to design another trajectory. Another timeline. another universe.
Those are the cards that, without public declarations, Podemos and Sumar have clearly put on the table. The first, vindicating his past of grievances and conquests, that is, his identity; and the second, placing himself back in the starting square, at the moment immediately before Podemos stopped being what he wanted to be, to try to do things differently this time. The two subjects, who are the same at different ages, are in the same place at the same time. Since that distant 1985 in which Back to the Future was released, many years have passed and a lot of science fiction has been produced about temporal paradoxes. We have learnt a lot. Today we already know that the encounter with a previous self (or with a future self) does not imply any rupture of the space-time continuum and in any case only opens the gap for the genesis of alternative universes.
From the movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), the modest The Adam Project (2022) or the ambitious Spider-Man: No Way Home (2022), we know that individuals who are the same but from different times or universes can collaborate for a common good. But we also saw in the extraordinary Looper (2012) – Rian Johnson's film about a temporary hit man whose mission is to assassinate his future self – that the coexistence of two out-of-sync subjects is not always possible or virtuous. That is the dilemma that Sumar y Podemos will have to elucidate in the coming months: if we are in the Spiderverse or in the Looper. With an exciting addition that science fiction viewers know well: the flow of events does not always depend on the will of its protagonists. And knowing that James Bond is bigger than all of them. Even all of them together.