The Tea Party revives in Madrid

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05/17/2020 05:00Updated: 05/17/2020 06:05

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The ‘New York Times’ published a few weeks ago a work by the researcher Lisa Graves in which he accurately described those behind the protests against the state-mandated stay-at-home obligation to fight the pandemic.

Lisa Graves is the executive director of True North Research, a nonprofit organization that for years has investigated the influence that some billionaires have in the shadows in the construction of American public opinion. Graves has investigated, above all, the Koch brothers, Charles and David (now deceased), owners of one of the largest industrial conglomerates in the US and references for Americans for Prosperity. This association is now promoting a federal campaign against what they call ‘reckless bailoutswho is doing the Trump administration to alleviate the economic effects of the coronavirus (36 million unemployed in just two months).

“Palin supported Trump, but the Tea Party’s most important triumph was to wipe out the old Republican party of Lincoln, Roosevelt or Reagan”

The Koch brothers, as is known, encouraged the birth of the Tea Party with funds from their heritage, a movement that had its moment of splendor when it opposed the former president Obama, whom he accused of wanting to impose a socialist model in the United States. At that time, the ideological fight focused on healthcare.

Many conservatives, Graves said in the New York newspaper, opposed the low-cost health care law, paradoxically promoted by the Republican. Mitt romney when he was governor of Massachusetts.

As it is also known, one of the references of the Tea Party – which refers to the legendary settler mutiny against Great Britain – was Sarah Palin, former Alaska Governor and vice president candidate. Palin, Senator McCain’s number two, lost the presidential election, but his message stuck with many Americans. In fact, Trump’s victory against the entire Republican apparatus would not be understood without the ideological contribution of the Tea Party, whose political discourse is based on confrontation and on the idea that the Democrats are, in reality, submarines of socialism. Simple, but direct messages to the chin.

The ‘Social Democrats’

Palin supported Trump in the 2016 election, but the most important triumph for Tea Party conservatives was undoubtedly to sweep away the old Republican Party of Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt or even, Reagan, who next to the new ‘neocon’ was a social democrat.

The opposition on the streets against mobility restriction measures are not the heritage of the United States. In Germany, the businessman Michael Ballweg In recent weeks, it has mobilized thousands of people against the closure of establishments. Under the motto ‘We are the people ‘, an old hose of this type of movement, thousands of Germans have organized around what Ballweg has called ‘lateral thinking ‘. Demonstrations have spread to Berlin, Stuttgart or Frankfurt.

“Madrid is the scene of an ideological battle that goes much further than a simple saucepan. And it is, probably, the birth of something new”

Something unites all these mobilizations. On the one hand, the idea that the Government has deceived them with unnecessary restrictions, and, on the other, that the movement is transversal. That is, it does not have to do with the classic axis Left Right, since it is the people who are behind. To achieve their goals, their leaders sow the ground with all sorts of conspiracy theories, including, of course, those that ooze stinking anti-Semitism.

There is less and less doubt that this speech has permeated the Community of Madrid and other Spanish cities where the protests have spread. And, in particular, in the capital that today is the scene of an ideological battle that goes much further than a simple pan in the late afternoon. And that is probably the birth of something new. The profiles of this movement will be known in the future as the economic pandemic progresses. But it would be a frivolity, and even irresponsibility, underestimate it thinking that it is a simple revolt of the wealthy idlers in the Salamanca district, where there is everything, against the socialist government. Is much more. You can sense a deep sea that has only begun to emerge today and that should not be underestimated.

Underground stream

Madrid is where the Popular Party – which has been ruling for 25 years – is being or not being. On the one hand, because Ciudadanos holds the key to governance and could co-govern with the PSOE and the party of Errejón, but, above all, because behind the saucepans you can guess a underground stream, still difficult to identify rigorously, which has to do with the weakening of the old parties – including the PP – to be replaced by more or less movements’spontaneous’ that tend to mobilize around specific objectives —for example, the coronavirus— and leaderships built from the shadows of power that will crystallize sooner or later.

The Mexican historian Enrique Krauze has called it the syndrome of “town is me “, which occurs when the leader claims to embody the will of the people as if it were a single body. Catalan independentists know a lot about it because they have always wanted to build a story in which it was the people, the new political subject, who claimed independence, when it was just the other way around. It was the elites who started the ‘procés’ clock.


news-img-figure”>Neighbors from the Madrid neighborhood of Salamanca demonstrate against the Government. (EFE)Neighbors from the Madrid neighborhood of Salamanca demonstrate against the Government. (EFE)
news-img-caption-def”>Neighbors from the Madrid neighborhood of Salamanca demonstrate against the Government. (EFE)

The overflow of the parties by movements that claim to represent the empowered people is not a minor matter. Much less new. There is less and less doubt that the world tends to be built around great leaders –Putin it will perpetuate itself in power — outside the traditional political parties. Trump, Bolsonaro and even his own Macron they have come to power in defiance of old party structures. In all cases, as representatives of movements that, in theory, go from bottom to top. That is, from the streets to the top. In most cases, powered by social networks and televisions.

The idea of ​​renewing the political system, a priori, is attractive. The old parties, in many cases, have earned their discredit due to the multiple cases of corruption, the nepotism of its leaders, and, ultimately, its inability to understand the new social demands. Not counting the waste in the use of taxpayers’ money or the control they exercise over the rest of the constitutional powers.

“‘Spontaneous’ movements often end in tragedy if they are not properly channeled through democratic structures”

There are reasons to think that ‘spontaneous’ movements or movements that emerge from ‘nothing’ often end in tragedy if they are not properly channeled through democratic structures, which are precisely the best vaccine against saviors of the fatherland and against those who have no doubts. The PP, which is a party with sound leaders, should know this. The outrageous individualism around a leader or the reactionary drift of a movement built to topple a democratically elected power has at least two consequences. First, it liquidates the classic instruments that serve to channel social conflict, the political parties, and, second, it sweeps the institutions that act as a counterweight, since it is the people, raised in assembly, who are always right.

That is why when the parties cease to be useful and are unable to articulate legitimate social demands, and even the anger of many citizens with power, magic solutions appear. And although it is true that in the short term Married can capitalize on criticism of Sánchez, undoubtedly well founded in many respects, it is likely to end up overwhelmed by events, as has happened to the Republican Party. After all, what use is a party if not to channel protests.



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