“Even if you no longer see junkies in the corners, they are in the bookmakers, the new heroine. “It is a stanza of Neighborhoodists, Los Chikos del Maíz, which portrays the concern in a good part of society about the phenomenon of betting on Spanish families, a business that moves 8,000 million euros a year – 98%, in sports betting -, according to data from the Directorate General for Game Management published by Cinco Días. The gaming sector as a whole in Spain moves 41,828 million a year, which represents 0.9% of GDP.
Alberto Garzón (Logroño, 1985), the leader of the United Left, will assume the Ministry of Consumption, with powers over gambling and betting houses. Their entry into the Council of Ministers not only means assuming a priority in the program of United We and a flag on the left.
The entry of Garzón – also leader of the PCE – in the Government represents an adjustment of accounts with the past, and a continuation of the red thread of history; that path that connects the struggles for human, civil and trade union rights, and those of those anti-Franco fighters who continue in the gutters, with the present – “We are the children of the verses; of the poets and the prisoners. The voice that shouts among the bones; of the ditches to wake up; al universe “, The Root sings.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zp40yUFNXqs (/ embed)
It has been eight decades since a communist leader entered the Council of Ministers – Yolanda Díaz, in charge of Labor, also militates in the PCE -; Four decades of dictatorship and another four years of democratic reinstatement have had to pass in order for Spain to reconcile with its past.
Garzón was 26 years old when he was elected deputy for the first time. It was in December of the year of 15M, 2011. Those elections in which Mariano Rajoy won the absolute majority and the United Left-The Plural Left, commanded by Cayo Lara, passed from 2 to 11 seats after an election campaign in which Pablo Iglesias, Future Vice President of the Government, had acted as political advisor.
Garzón had lived on 15M in Malaga, he was a young economist, a member of the UJCE, who toured Spain giving lectures and talks on a way out of the crisis that did not go through austerity, participated in television debates and represented a new generation of IU that it connected with the new mobilizations and also with the prototype of a scholarly and intellectual communist leader –Have published several books; the last: Who votes right? (Peninsula)-.
That young man who enjoyed programming computer games, playing football with his friends in Rincón de la Victoria (Málaga) and eating spits in front of the beach at the beach bar in Frasco, the Here I wait for you recovered the seat of Malaga for IU in December 2011 in a legislature that started after the reform of 135 and was heading towards the biggest cuts in history, executed by Mariano Rajoy in 2012, and the rescue of the bank.
Garzón participated in that legislature in the surrounds the Congress, in demonstrations, rallies and marches, and quickly gained leadership on the outside that connected him with a new political moment inherited from 15M that stirred bipartisanship and demanded new ways of doing politics and managing the economy.
But IU did not read the moment, it was not renewed inside and they pushed him to renew himself on the outside: the same Pablo Iglesias who had advised them in 2011 undressed the organization of Cayo Lara with the irruption of Podemos in 2014, culminated with five MEPs on May 25 of that year. Cayo Lara ended up assigning the electoral leadership to Garzón, who intervened in the debate of the State of the nation in 2015, while the then general secretary of the PCE, José Luis Centella, resisted giving up the spokesman of the parliamentary group to whom the candidate would be on 20D of 2015.
With a Podemos in highs that prevented the electoral confluence with IU on 20D, Alberto Garzón, with 30 years recently and a handful of new young leaders of IU – still organically commanded by Lara until June 2016 -, assumed a campaign to all or nothing in which the electoral survival of the organization that represented that red thread of history was played; of the political space of the historic PCE.
The campaign was epic, and Garzón and his people kept the flame alive with two seats and almost a million votes. Podemos and its confluences – in which IU participated in Catalonia and Galicia – achieved 70 seats: We can be the space hegemon; Garzón, that IU was still alive. Conclusion? The pact of the bottles May 2016 with a view to the elections of 26J and the birth of Unidos Podemos.
Garzón, vindicating the historical figure of Pepe Díaz, made the electoral confluence and popular unity his political strategy to overcome the United Left, attend the elections with Podemos and form a historical block of change – which is still in an incipient phase -.
With more or less tensions, with ups and downs in relations with Podemos, Garzón has achieved the survival of IU and the presence of representatives of the organization in spaces that he had not occupied for a long time.
Until entering the Government.
United Left, for its stormy historical relations with the PSOE, in which the electorate never rewarded neither the hardness nor the collaboration with the Socialists, did not finish showing enthusiasm for forcing Pedro Sánchez to the Coalition Government, to the point that after the failure of the July negotiations, the leaders of IU were more inclined to give the investiture to Sanchez than to go to the electoral repetition of 10N.
But there was an electoral repetition that led to the extreme right until the 52 deputies, and Sanchez called Iglesias to close an agreement that had been impossible six months before for a coalition government. In the negotiations, Iglesias ends up agreeing with Sanchez a vice-presidency and four ministries, one of them, the Consumer Department with powers over the game, for Alberto Garzón. And with that, the red thread of history entered the Council of Ministers with responsibility for program priorities of United Podemos.
Is the collaboration with the PSOE in 2020 a mirror of the attitude of the PCE in the Transition? “The oligarchy of our country would like to have a domesticated left that repeated the tactics of Santiago Carrillo in the first Transition,” Garzón said to reiterate:“We say that we are not going to be that domesticated left.”
The Ministry of Consumption will assume one of the challenges contained in the Government agreement signed between the PSOE and United We can: the regulation of gambling to prevent and curb gambling.
Thus, in the programmatic document, it is announced “a regulation of the advertising of gambling and betting on-line, at the state level and similar to that of tobacco products “, as well as the introduction of” information, management and limitation measures on the use of gambling in the regulatory framework of gambling and online gambling, with the objective to reinforce the player's self-awareness and autonomy in the face of healthy consumption practices and to prevent, anticipate or identify the generation of problematic game patterns. “
PSOE and United We can also commit to “promote homogeneous criteria with the autonomous communities to prevent gambling venues from opening before 22.00, and limiting their proximity to schools.”
Finally, PSOE and ONU Podemos committed to “redirect the fee for the administrative management of the game paid by online operators in order to allocate a percentage to preventive, awareness, intervention and control initiatives, as well as repair of the negative effects produced by the activity of the game. “
In-person private gambling is regulated by each autonomous community, while public and private online gambling is regulated by the State. In 2011 the game was regulated on-line, but it is pending to develop the regulation of the publicity, as much of the public game as of on-line private.
As for the other leg of the ministry, consumption, the agreement between United Podemos and PSOE established the “modification of the Food Safety Law to adapt it to contemporary requirements of protection for consumers and transparency in their action”; the reduction “of the impact of junk food, by establishing clear obligations on labeling, as well as a review of the taxation of ultra-processed or high-fat foods and sugars”; and the “improvement of the mechanisms of extrajudicial conflict resolution and the whole of the sanctioning regulations of state consumption”.
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