The purpose of this paper is to offer an overview of the current situation of the left in Spain. Our double objective is to describe the main aspects – trajectories, actors, issues and debates – of this situation, but also to offer an assessment of the possibilities, limitations and dilemmas of the Spanish experience.
The work is divided into three parts. The first part (sections 1 and 2) consists of a chronological narrative of the historical trajectory of the left. The second part (sections 3 to 8) addresses six key issues in order to provide a general picture of its current situation. These are: electoral dynamics and the reconfiguration of the party map, attempts to democratise political organisations and their ambivalent results, the emergence and retreat of various social mobilisations, the role played by the world of labour, the experience of the governments of change in the main cities, and the complex Catalan conflict. In the third and last part, we offer a brief reflection on some of the main current debates and we indicate how the Spanish experience can offer some lessons for the renewal of the left in other places.