From Honduras and Chile to Europe, left-wing movements are gaining more support than ever.
By Zhivanka Morris
The sight of casually dressed politicians ambling into Parliaments across the world who are explicitly anti-status quo has become a gradually more common sight in recent years.
The rise has come due to the lack of the two-way parties to enact and effect policies that include the “common people”, which has led disaffected voters towards seemingly more exciting and fresh electoral alternatives.
Anti-capitalist parties saw a huge surge in support after the 2008 Global Recession and there is currently no sign of them slowing down, as people are enticed to support emergent left-wing parties and political movements not just because of the situation they are in but because the whole political status-quo so far has not brought any benefit for them.
Serious left-wing challenges to the status-quo have been seen in most European countries so far, but there are a few countries where the establishment has been truly sent shaking, such as the UK, Macedonia and Spain.
Worldwide, Honduras’ first female leader brings major shifts in the political system and just recently Chile got their youngest ever president, the 35 year old, left winger, Gabriel Boric.
In their last year of governance, the Tory-Lib Dem coalition government cut the funding for domestic violence services. The cuts had serious consequences on women; victims of domestic, sexual, gender, or state violence. Founded in November 2014, Sisters Uncut, a radical Feminist Direct Group, has since stayed behind the survivors in support of them, creating a safe place for them to heal, and get all the tools and help needed.
They have specific demands from the government, and apart from calling for domestic violence services to be protected from the cuts, they demand legal aid for women under domestic violence and domestic violence services for LGBTQ+ women, stating “Safety is a right not a privilege” in their manifesto.
Since 2014 they keep making headlines by holding protests; entering Southwark Council to improve the treatment of domestic abuse victims; storming the red carpet premiere of “Suffragette” in 2015 resulting in many public profile people supporting their cause.
In September 2021, they raised their voice against the police and their way of using their power over civilians, when Sarah Everard was falsely arrested, kidnapped, raped and murdered by police officer Wayne Couzens. They also launched a national training service on how to intervene in stop and searches and other violent police tactics, stating that at least 15 women have been killed by a former or serving police officer since 2009.
The Left ( Macedonian: Левица, Levica ) is a Macedonian far-left political party, led by Dimitar Apasiev. What is extraordinary about the party and why it is one of the fastest-growing left-wing political parties in Europe is the story behind its foundation and what it stands for.
It is a lesser-known fact that in 2015 when the initiative was taken to found the party, its founders did so under very difficult legislative conditions. This just showed the strength and the perseverance they have to make Macedonia a country run by civic nationalism and give the people full transparency of the same.
Successfully registered as a party in 2016, with zero funds in their account and only 10 months left until the elections, they kept hitting walls. There have been attempts to take over the party and to block their participation in the upcoming elections, through lawsuits, by people infiltrating the party who were close to now the ruling SDS (Social Democratic Union) but they successfully dealt with them.
The Left (Levica) managed to get 1.05% of the electoral votes, which meant that it received state funding.
In the next elections, in 2017, the Left (Levica) was present in 11 boroughs and managed to get just 3 council seats. That was when the party laid their roots and started to establish themselves among the Macedonian people, something the two-way party system in Macedonia was not prepared to see.
The 2020 parliamentary elections were very crucial for the party and it got them 4.13% of the vote or 2 seats in the Parliament. From that moment onwards the party grew stronger, having political branches in two thirds of the country.
After entering the parliament, the party leader Dimitar Apasiev fully stood behind his party’s policies: fighting for labour rights and social justice while opposing NATO, ethnic chauvinism in Macedonia and especially opposing the government of Zoran Zaev and his party SDSM (Social Democratic Union of Macedonia) and the Prespa agreement they signed, to change the country’s name from the Republic of Macedonia to the Republic of North Macedonia.
In the October 2021 council elections, the party won 46 seats, on what the party leader Apasiev stated in an official post-election video, “After these elections, Levica (The Left) has so much to celebrate, because the goals we set for the future are starting to come true.
By being so transparent and leading Macedonian people, as well as coming from the working class itself, the left-wing movement in Macedonia promises the very changes that the Macedonian people have been yearning for over the last 30 years.”
In 2008 the Great Spanish Depression happened. Spain was hit extremely badly financially – becoming a major participant in the European sovereign debt crisis, its inflation rate reached as high as 5% and banks were able to hide losses and earnings because the Spanish government had a very relaxed approach of supervision.
This resulted in the Spanish people being angry, disappointed and in need of political changes and new leaders, which led to the rise of left-wing populism.
Protests took place often, from which PODEMOS held the high ranks and at that time a clear message was laid by the left, which resulted positively for the party in the 2015 elections.
Following the 2019 elections, Podemos agreed to a deal which made them the junior partner in a coalition with the centre-left PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party).
The popularity of Podemos’ leftist ideology, was shown recently when the party’s leadership supported the push to change the “gag law”, which allows authorities to fine journalists and the media who distribute unauthorised images of police, and is a law that was introduced by the conservative People’s Party, six years ago.
This sends a message that even in a coalition government, Podemos holds stability and it is on a clear political path in the country.
In November 2021, Honduras held its presidential elections where the left-wing candidate Xiamara Castro won against her opponent Nasry Asfura, from the ruling right-wing National Party. Even though there was a slight hold up with announcing the results on the voting day, still Castro was leading with over 50% of the vote cast.
She is the first woman and the first left-wing President in Honduras and she is due to take office on the 27th of January 2022. She will be putting the left-back in power, 12 years after her husband, the former President Manuel Zelaya, was ousted in a coup. She has won over the Honduras people, who are tired of corruption and concentrated power.
Her promises as President are updating the Honduras Constitution, loosening the country’s current prohibition of abortion except under limited circumstances, and tackling corruption and poverty. The turnout of nearly 70% of eligible voters shows that the people of Honduras finally put an end to a turbulent time led by the Conservative National Party.
The news of the youngest ever elected president in Chile, Gabriel Boric, has shocked the world. He is the leader of Social Convergence ( Spanish: Convergencia Social ), a left-wing political party, founded in 2018. He has gained the nickname “Rebel” because he led 44 days to protest against the dean Roberto Nahum, in his student days, and he was one of the politicians negotiating the agreement for a referendum to change the Constitution.
Twice elected as a member of the Chamber of the Deputies, he is the first member not belonging to one of the two main political parties in Chile. In December 2021, he won the presidential elections, with CNN reporting he secured 55.87% of votes against his opponent Jose Antonio Cast, making him the second-youngest president in the world and the youngest ever president in the history of Chile.
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On a phone call with President Piñera he stated that: “I will be President to all the people of Chile, no matter who they vote for.” As a progressive leftist, he is walking the same political path he stood behind at the protests in 2019, seeking social justice.
He vowed to end the country’s neoliberal economic model saying that: “If Chile was the cradle of neoliberalism, it will also be its grave.”