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China Is Not The Enemy—It Is America’s Indispensable Economic Partner

China—along with Russia—shares the attention of an increasingly provocative United States. Confusing rhetoric regarding policy in Taiwan, unsanctioned trips from powerful American political figures to Taipei and other agitating measures point to a new chapter emerging in the relationship between China and the U.S. Author and columnist Zachary Karabell, who has extensive experience in writing about China and doing business there,  joins Scheer Intelligence to remind us of the extensive economic relationship that exists between the two world powers. He focuses on his book “Super Fusion: How China and America Became One Economy And Why The World Depends On It,” and how a souring between them could spell more trouble at home.

Podemos’ Alternative For Catalonia

By Eoghan Gilmartin for Jacobin Magazine - The stakes were increased when Regional Premier Carles Puigdemont told the BBC that Catalonia would unilaterally declare independence within “in a matter of days.” This was followed by a judgement from the Constitutional Court in Madrid suspending Monday’s session of the Catalan parliament. Radical independence party the CUP responded by demanding a session be held in defiance of the ban. However, with major corporations and banks threatening to move their legal headquarters outside the region, the conservative Puigdemont now seems less certain. Any move towards a declaration would most likely result in Mariano Rajoy’s right-wing government suspending Catalonia’s autonomy. Amidst an increasingly-polarized climate, international press coverage has tended to overlook the position of En Comú Podem, the political alliance which has won the last two general elections in Catalonia. This grouping comprising Ada Colau’s Catalonia En Comú and Unidos Podemos has tried to carve out a middle road in the current confrontation. It recognizes last Sunday’s vote as a legitimate political mobilization but doesn’t view it as a valid referendum. It also defends Catalonia’s right to decide but favors a plurinational, federal Spain.

 Where Government Is Embracing Coops, Citizen Activism, & Solar Energy

By Sebastiaan Faber and Becquer Seguin for The Nation. Barcelona, Spain—“When we moved into city hall, there were only paintings by men,” Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau tweeted in March, attaching a picture of her current office wall, which now featured portraits of eight prominent Catalan women—including the legendary anarchist leader Federica Montseny. “Redecorating the walls, that was the easy change,” Colau’s second in command, Gerardo Pisarello, joked when we spoke with him in late June. “The other ones take quite a bit longer—they are more difficult and don’t just depend on us.” Pisarello’s office, too, features black-and-white photographs: one of a woman celebrating the proclamation of Spain’s Second Republic in 1931, and another taken at the country’s first LGBT protest after dictator Francisco Franco’s death in 1975, a demonstration that, as Pisarello proudly points out, happened in Barcelona.

Newsletter: Brexit Backlash Against EU, Revolt Against Elites

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The globalized economy is not working for most people of the world. International trade agreements and new government structures like the European Union serve corporate power and put the people and planet aside to ensure profits continue to come first. They undermine democracy and national sovereignty, leaving people feeling more powerless. By pushing austerity and commodification of public services, people are now more economically insecure with less wealth and lower incomes. The response of many is anger. Some protest austerity, others blame people of a different skin color, heritage or ethnicity. The surprise vote in the UK to leave the European Union is the latest, and perhaps the biggest, example of the blowback economic and political elites are getting for their actions. Brexit shows we have our work to do to educate people that this is not about racism and anger at ethnic groups, but is really the battle between the people and the elites. It is a conflict over whether we the people will have the power to decide our futures, whether we can create a fair economy that serves more than the 1% and whether we can act in ways that are consistent with the needs of the environmental crisis we face.

Is This The World’s Most Radical Mayor?

By Dan Hancox for the Guardian. Ada Colau was there to discuss the housing crisis that had devastated Spain. Since the financial crisis, 400,000 homes had been foreclosed and a further 3.4m properties lay empty. In response, Colau had helped to set up a grassroots organisation, the Platform for Mortgage Victims (PAH), which championed the rights of citizens unable to pay their mortgages or threatened with eviction. Founded in 2009, the PAH quickly became a model for other activists, and a nationwide network of leaderless local groups emerged. Soon, people across Spain were joining together to campaign against mortgage lenders, occupy banks and physically block bailiffs from carrying out evictions. Ten minutes into Colau’s 40-minute testimony she broke from the script. Her voice cracking with emotion, she turned her attention to the previous speaker, Javier Rodriguez Pellitero, the deputy general secretary of the Spanish Banking Association: “This man is a criminal, and should be treated as such. He is not an expert. The representatives of financial institutions have caused this problem; they are the same people who have caused the problem that has ruined the entire economy of this country – and you keep calling them experts.”

Newsletter: Looking Back And Ahead

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. As we look back over 2015, we see progress and, as we look forward to 2016, we see continued challenges ahead. Overall, the strategic path of resisting harmful policies and practices and building alternative systems to replace the current dysfunctional ones, known as 'stop the machine, create a new world,' is being taken by a growing number of people. The movement continues to grow on multiple fronts and is unifying around issues, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that impact us all. We are on our way to the 3.5% of activated people necessary to defeat the plutocracy, but there is still much to do. And we must be prepared to face even more difficult times before we break through the current paradigm and transform our economic, social and political systems.

Two Party System In Spain Comes To End

By Ashifa Kassam for The Guardian. Spanish politicians are gearing up for what could be weeks of complicated negotiations after the general election resulted in a deeply fragmented parliament, with the conservative People’s party losing ground to national newcomers Podemos and Ciudadanos. Anti-austerity Podemos, barely two years old and born from the Indignado protests that saw thousands rally against a political establishment felt to be out of sync with the people, finished in third place with 69 seats and 21% of the vote, while the centre-right Ciudadanos won 40 seats and 14% of the vote. “Spain is not going to be the same anymore and we are very happy,” the Podemos leader, Pablo Iglesias, said on Sunday. “The bipartisan political system is over.” The PP and Socialists won a combined vote share of about 50%, compared with the 70-80% of past general elections.

“Occupy” Spanish-Style… Big Lessons For Us?

By Francis Moore Lappe in Huffington Post. Back from the first global conference on money in politics in Mexico City, I'm bursting with stories that might carry messages of possibility that Americans need right now. Sure worked for me. In Spain, with one-fifth of its population jobless, the Indignados movement--that paralleled our Occupy-- erupted with protests in 2011. But instead of fading from sight, by early 2014 the Indignados had set the stage for the birth of a new political party: Podemos, "We Can." In only a few months, Podemos surprised everyone by winning 8 percent of the Spanish vote for the European Parliament, giving it five of 54 Spanish seats. One year later, in coalition with other grassroots movements, Podemos won mayor's races in Barcelona, Madrid and other cities. Today it is Spain's third largest political party. "Unprecedented" declared the pundits.

Newsletter: Transformation – Elections & Movements

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance - The United States has unusual challenges for movements working in the electoral system. The two party system is deeply embedded in law and political consciousness so it is very hard for a party challenging Wall Street to be successful. Wall Street and big business are the dominant funders of both parties, the corporate media echoes their message and debates managed by the two parties through a phony “debate commission” keep out alternative views. People challenging that system have little opportunity to get their message out and be viable in the rigged US democracy. The relationship between movements and elections is complicated to navigate but to succeed we will need both an electoral and non-electoral movement that are independent of the corporate duopoly.

Podemos Madrid Mayor Halts Social Housing Evictions

By Sonya Dowsett for Reuters - The newly-elected left-wing mayor of Madrid on Tuesday overturned eviction orders for 70 families living in social housing and safeguarded more than 2,000 similar rental contracts. The move is the latest by the administration of Manuela Carmena, backed by anti-austerity party Podemos, to protect housing in a country where a property boom-and-bust has resulted in tens of thousands of families losing their homes. "There were 70 processes under way, but today those families have recovered their homes. Nobody is going to be thrown out on the street," Carmena said after meeting activists. Carmena took office in June after her Ahora Madrid ('Madrid Now') alliance of community activists formed a coalition with the opposition Socialists to end 24 years of centre-right People's Party (PP) rule in the capital.

Spain: Welcome To The Post-Party Political Era

By Bernardo Gutiérrez in Occupy - Madrid, Barcelona and other major Spanish cities are now governed by independent citizen fronts called “confluences.” Ahora Madrid, Barcelona en Comú, Zaragoza en Común and La Marea Atlántica (A Coruña) are confluences weaved together by the M15-Indignados social ecosystem. Other political parties, like Podemos and Equo, have joined these confluences while leaving political party logic at the door. The results from Spain’s latest local elections, which saw the decline of the conservative Partido Popular, have the potential of modifying the course of European politics. The municipalist effort was well underway before the Podemos tsunami – a new political party cobbled together for the European elections of May 25, 2014 – surprisingly gained five seats in European Parliament. Here's why.

Militants Who Reject The Ballot Box In Spain Form New Network

Four years ago this month, the 15-M movement, commonly referred to as the indignados, burst forth in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol. The movement united a wide variety of political factions and tendencies. It managed to gain momentum behind a widespread critique of the austerity measures of the two ruling parties (the PP and the PSOE, which many 15-M signs refer to collectively as the PPSOE) and a desire for “real democracy now!” (¡Democracia real ya!) embodied in directly democratic assemblies and a rejection of hierarchy. In May 2014, Podemos surged onto the scene as a new political party that attempted to channel the popular democracy of the 15-M into the ballot box, winning five seats in the European parliament. Although Podemos claims to be the legitimate heir to the fading 15-M movement, Left critics have argued that the new party has hastened popular demobilization by selling the notion that social ills can be simply voted away and that this new party isn’t like the ones who came before it.

Spanish Local Elections: Upstart Podemos, Ciudadanos Parties Shine

Preliminary results from Spain’s regional elections show big gains for upstart leftist and center-right parties and the Conservatives losing their majority. While receiving the most total votes, the ruling PP party may now face coalition politics. With more than 90 percent of the votes counted in Sunday’s elections, the ruling People’s Party (PP) appears to have secured most of the votes in many of Spain’s 8,122 municipalities. However, it also lost the majority in most of them. Notably in the Madrid city council, PP managed to win 21 of the 57 seats, while 20 seats went to The Madrid Now (Ahora Madrid) coalition backed by a number of left-wing movements, such as Podemos. The Socialist Party (PSOE) won 9 seats in the capital’s assembly.

Thousands Rally In Spanish Anti-Austerity Protest

Thousands of people have marched in the Spanish capital denouncing the government and calling for an end to harsh austerity measures that have deepened poverty among the worst-off. Gathering under the banner of "Dignity" in Madrid on Saturday, protesters decried government financial cuts, housing rights policies, and high unemployment rates. Carrying banners reading "Food, jobs and a roof with dignity. Working for a general strike", the protesters packed much of the city's Colon Square and Paseo de Recoletos boulevard. Dolores Cerezo, who had arrived from southern Sevilla, said the government had cut back "savagely" on public services such as education and the national health service.

The Metamorphosis Of Podemos

Since Podemos unveiled itself in January 2014 as a ‘method for participation open to the entire public’[ii], the initiative has evolved to the point that it has formalised as a political party. This constitutive process finalised on the 14th of February passed following the election of the different internal posts on a national level. However, with regards to the process of organisation, and in an electoral context where prospects are good, the debate frequently took the form of a war waged in personalised and binary terms, between fans and trolls. This internal rancour was fed in part by the establishment of a system of internal lists and voting that did not correct the existing inequalities in terms of access to media resources, but rather took advantage of these inequalities, albeit without acknowledging this openly. But it is not as simple as this.
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