In the same way that the current Right has a problem with Spain, a country that no longer understands its plurality or complexity, the Left has a problem with Madrid. If today a right-wing government in the State seems very far away, imagining a progressive government in Madrid also seems a remote objective.
The withdrawal of the right towards Madrid has displaced the Madrid left to positions increasingly remote from what we could call the ‘Madrid way of life’. A conception of life and society that the PP has been busy modeling throughout its almost three decades of government in the City Council and Community, interrupted only by the mandate of Manuela Carmena.
Those of us from progressive positions who do not resign ourselves to accept this situation must assume our weakness in the ideological battle. The mere criticism of the balls and privatizations, which undoubtedly must continue to be carried out, has proven insufficient to attract the percentage of the population necessary to form an alternative majority to the one that today has the right.
We still have time to reverse what today seems to be an inevitable conservative victory in the next electoral contest, but we must start working from now on starting from premises different from those that have brought us here.
Great progressive alliance
Despite the conflicts that preceded the municipal and regional elections of 2019, the progressive forces achieved victory, but the sum of the three rights (PP, Ciudadanos and Vox) left us out of government. This has generated a feeling of exhaustion and despondency among voters, supporters and even the militants themselves.
In our opinion, it is urgent to rebuild the bridges that have been broken and to convey the message that we have learned from the mistakes made and we are going to work together. That we will not put personal or partisan issues before the interests of the general public. Hence, the first task of Madrid’s progressive forces is none other than to regain dialogue between all of them, as an essential prior step to begin to act in a coordinated manner. And it is not only about joining the shared causes, something that is taken for granted, but establishing spaces for discussion and joint action to define and deploy a common strategy that leads to the construction of a great alliance of progress.
It is not evident that the entire left wants to join, especially those who tend to proclaim themselves as the authentic left (a recurring phenomenon for decades). There is a left that believes in work from the institutions, and another that has its space in the street, which is also very necessary. We believe that we must bring together those who are willing to join to govern, those who understand how much we would gain with a consensual progressive option, against the self-complacent in their minority demands, and the purity of not compromising in transactions with so many agents that act in our city to which public management obliges.
Imagine new platforms
The next challenge would be to find formulas that, without anyone having to renounce their initials, reduce the distrust and rejection that the current political parties generate in increasingly broad sectors of the Spanish and Madrid population. You just have to look at the position they occupy in the lists of citizen concerns to verify it.
To overcome this obstacle, we must try new forms of political intervention and relationship with society. If we get to 2023 with the current distribution of ballots, three left-wing parties (PSOE, Más Madrid and Unidas Podemos, assuming that the latter will participate this time in the municipal elections) and most likely only two right-wing parties (assuming that Ciudadanos will be absorbed by the PP before the next election), the options to regain the mayoralty are practically non-existent.
The only way to alter this scenario is to propose a candidacy capable of bringing together many and very diverse actors. It is not a question of reproducing what Now Madrid was in 2015, but of assuming that from broad platforms we will have a greater capacity to permeate social sectors that have now distanced themselves, and form a winning project capable of activating all progressive voters that they will stay home if they don’t see any real chances of wresting the government from the right.
Present a real alternative to Almeida
The third great challenge, possibly the most complicated of all, will be to build and explain an alternative to the current Almeida government that is both exciting and credible. For this, it is essential to combat the idea that the right wing systematically repeats that only they know how to manage (a mantra that, incidentally, the recent crises exacerbated by laziness or demonstrated incompetence are eroding day by day). A speech that in Madrid is reinforced by the fact that the left has been out of government for too long.
If we want to reverse this idea, we must abandon that space of comfort that consists solely of criticizing everything the right wing does and begin to dispute the management flag. Define a government project that must be specified in data, measures and, above all, examples. And there, among other references, we have the Carmena government. That government, of which we are proud and proud to have been a part, was able to manage the affairs of the capital of Spain with solvency and without sectarianism. Also to place on the agenda issues such as the fight against pollution, the promotion of citizen participation or the rights of migrants and LGTB people. Policies that were the target of the most furious attacks on the right. Obviously, it is not the only progressive management experience, but it is the closest for Madrid citizens, so we should take advantage of it to build that alternative for the future supported by experience.
Ultimately, what we intend with this appeal is not to increase the already abundant electoral offer of progressive options but to contribute to forging the alliances necessary to bring closer the objective that in 2023 our city, and hopefully also our Community, will be governed by progressive forces.
We believe that, due to our particular situation of not belonging to any political party, we have a greater margin of maneuver to speak with each other from the tranquility that comes from seeing them not as potential competitors, but as essential allies. We can help to concentrate forces to expand the scope and contribute the knowledge and experience accumulated in our stage of government to Recover Madrid.
If our city has been an example of consensus even with the reactionary right in the so-called Cibeles Pacts, we have the opportunity to once again be an example of generosity and coordination between the people and sectors of the left and progressives so that Madrid recovers the path of progress. Time is short.