From Willy Brandt to Pedro Sanchez: or the degenerative ellipsis of politics

Beatrice E. Rangel

By: Beatrice E. Rangel - 08/05/2024

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Since 1951, the Socialist International wrote important pages in the struggles for workers' demands and the establishment of democracy. On our continent he was key in moving the pendulum of history towards the establishment of freedom. During the long dictatorial night that was enthroned from the mid-1970s to the end of the 1990s, the Socialist International supported human rights defense organizations such as the Vicaria de la Solidaridad in Chile. It advocated for political prisoners, promoted condemnations of dictators within the European Parliament, and served as an incubator of leadership under the kind and expert guidance of Willy Brandt.

The German leader attributed special importance to leadership training. Hence his sponsorship of Felipe Gonzalez, Raul Alfonsín, Carlos Andres Perez, Guillermo Ungo and Jose Francisco Pena-Gomez. He always surrounded himself with young people eager to practice politics to follow in his footsteps, assisting them in refining their strategies. Born Herbert Ernst Karl Frahm, he adopted the pseudonym Willy Brandt so he could fight from Norway against fascism in his home country of Germany. He exposed his life in many incidents. He created Osto Politik to better deal with the reality of a Germany divided between the Soviet Union and the Western powers. And above all, like Pepe Mujica, he lived with the same standard of living as any middle class German his entire life. And although he did not live long enough to see his homeland united into a single nation, his work still accompanies many of the leaders of Eastern Europe.

Today the Socialist International is not only incapable of launching programs of democratic redemption and support for freedom but is distinguished by its irrelevance. Of the last 50 resolutions approved in its most recent congress and the annual leadership meetings, there is not a single one that articulates the basic dilemma of every political organization, which is summarized in knowing who you are with and who you are against. Consequently, the organization flirts with despots, forgets democrats and lacks political punch in all its initiatives.

In the control tower of the organization a suigéneris leader lords it. This is the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. Sanchez has distinguished himself by knowing how to improve his economic standing, sharpen disputes among Spaniards, disastrously manage the public treasury, increasing the deficit and reducing the benefits of workers who have been contributing to social service for decades. His Magna Opus “The New Spanish Economic Diplomacy ” includes texts from six people who reported plagiarism and then disappeared. The most recent episode had to do with what in every democratic nation is called separation of powers. He threatened to resign because an investigation for corrupt practices had been opened against his wife. Instead of indicating that his office would collaborate with the investigation or resign, Don Pedro Sanchez retired to meditate and then inform the Spanish sovereign that he had decided to remain in his position.

In short, the Socialist International is an institution that is marching into the sunset with a quite appropriate helmsman.

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