Basque Left

Basque Left
   The Basque Left, Euskadiko Ezkerra (EE), had its origin in ETA-PM's decision to establish a political party which would be able to make use of the opportunities for legal activity during the transition from the Franco dictatorship to a parliamentary regime. A number of ETA members transferred their activities from the armed organization to the party, EIA, which held its founding meeting in April 1977. EIA was not intended to be a substitute for ETA, which remained in existence, ready to step in with armed force when the possibilities of legal action were exhausted.
   EE was originally an electoral coalition, formed for the June 1977 elections, between EIA and the Movimiento Comunista, itself a 1960s split from ETA. The experience of parliamentary democracy persuaded EIA's leaders, and most of ETA-PM's activists, that armed struggle was counterproductive. ETA-PM disbanded in September 1982 except for a rump. When, in March 1982, EIA united with a dissident wing of the Communist Party in the Basque country, the united party took the name of Euskadiko Ezkerra. EE was intended to be active in social and cultural movements, as well as taking part in elections. In particular, it was intended to unite the national and social struggles, overcoming what was seen as the false polarization encouraged by both the PSOE and the PNV EE had some success in this endeavour, winning seats in the Madrid and Basque parliaments and obtaining 10.8 percent of the vote in the 1986 elections for the Basque parliament. However, involvement in extra-parlia-mentary activity soon petered out, while participation in coalition Basque governments drove a wedge between EE's socialist and nationalist wings, drawn towards alliances with the PSOE and PNV respectively. Instead of acting as a bridge between socialists and nationalists, EE was itself affected by the traditional divide in Basque politics. In January 1991, EE entered an all-nationalist coalition in the Autonomous Basque parliament with the PNV and Garaikotxea's Eusko Alkartasuna, thereby freeing the PNV from the need to collaborate with the PSOE. The aim of combining socialism and nationalism had, effectively, been abandoned. That move produced two organized factions at EE's conference in February 1992, where the socialist tendency won by the narrowest of margins, and took the party into a new coalition with the PNV and the PSOE. Supporters of the nationalist wing were aware that the party had won few votes from the non-nationalist community, while it retained a considerable base in Guipúzcoa, the most nationalist province. Five of the six MPs in the Basque parliament refused to accept the new coalition and were expelled by the Party's leaders. The project of a party uniting socialism and nationalism was effectively dead. The socialist faction began negotiations with the PSOE, which led to a fusion shortly before the parliamentary elections of June 1993. The nationalist faction formed an electoral alliance with EA and went into decline.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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