Spain: Repudiate the debt, share the work and nationalize the Banks under workers' control

Spanish capitalism is caught in a deep crisis. The bosses want the workers and the youth to pay. The only solution is to arm the masses with a revolutionary programme. This is the Editorial article of issue 10 of the Spanish Marxist publication "Lucha de Clases" (Class Struggle)

According to the Labour Force Survey, 3,581 jobs were destroyed every day during the first quarter of 2013. Each day  over 3,000 families are pushed into the nightmare of unemployment, poverty and a bleak future. Half of the 6.2 million unemployed have no income and tens of thousands are forced to emigrate or are evicted from their homes. Workers and pensioners are losing purchasing power every year.

Official forecasts point to a worsening of the situation. GDP will fall by 1.5% and unemployment will reach 6.5 million in 2013.

A failed system

The social catastrophe caused by the capitalist economic crisis shows that this system, organized to enrich a handful of big businessmen and bankers, can exist only by spreading misery and physical and moral degradation among the workers and our families.

It is wrong to say that people are passive in this situation. There are constantly demonstrations in sectors such as health care, education and the anti-evictions campaign. This years May Day demonstrations were the largest in recent years. These are symptoms which show the instinctive desire to fight back against the enemy and not to give in, despite the unwillingness of the union leadership to organize and mobilize the workers. In fact, the significant rise of United Left (IU) in the polls - now as large as the Socialist Party (PSOE) in places such as Madrid and Galicia - indicates that growing sections of the working class and the youth are looking for a radical political alternative to their problems.

A "National Pact"?

The postponement of the public deficit reduction target of 3% of GDP until 2016 will not ease the austerity cuts. It will not restore the already cut, social spending and will not bring back jobs that have already been destroyed. To reduce the deficit from the current 7% of GDP level will involve further cuts worth 40 billion euro, 7 billion of which will have to be cut this year. Rajoy has already announced cuts of 3 billion without specifying which areas will be affected. They want to freeze pensions, increase the retirement age to 67 years and force the youth into 400-500 euro per month contracts.

The Spanish government and the bourgeoisie are in a state of anxiety. They fear, above all, the social indignation that spreads like roaring lava. For this reason they are trying to involve PSOE and trade union leaders in implementing their policy. To make matters even worse the leaders of the PSOE, the UGT and CCOO, are all calling for a "National Pact". But we saw the same "State Pacts" in Greece and Italy, maintaining and deepening the austerity policies!

Who tightens its belt?

Nothing is more false than the idea that we "all" make sacrifices. The vice President of Santander Bank, guilty of fraud but then pardoned by the Zapatero (PSOE) government, retired a few weeks ago with a pay off of 88 million euros, equivalent to the annual pension of 7,521  pensioners who receive an average pension (975 euros per month).

According to a report by CCOO, the average salary of the executives of the 35 largest companies (Ibex 35) is 83.6 times the average wage of an employee, and 70.6% of the profits of these companies go to pay dividends and are not reinvested.

Large companies pay 10% of their profits in tax, when legally corporate tax is 30%. This is because they benefit from countless tax exemption schemes and deductions. Thus, the State loses 90 billion euros per year in tax revenue. Then they turn around and tell us that the annual expenditure on pensions (100 billion euro) is unsustainable!

These are the parasites that deny us a job so we can live in dignified conditions with education, decent healthcare, a roof over our heads, and a reasonable retirement pay - all of which are concessions that we have won after years of hard work!

Given the complete inability of the bourgeoisie to continue to rule the destiny of society is more important than ever that the working class puts itself at the head of it.

Salvation and the future of the working class and our families - the largest section of society, and that which is most productive and creative - requires a radical transformation of society and an urgent action plan which should include, among others, the following measures:

Repudiate the usurious debt

Since 2008 the Spanish public debt has increased by 500 billion euro. 1% of the debt is owed to small savers and 16% to the Social Security funds. The majority is in the hands of banks, the European Central Bank and national and foreign investors. Much of it was generated to bail out the banks and corporations, by transferring their debts to the state. It is an illegitimate and fraudulent debt. It sucks the lifeblood of the Spanish economy, transferring more than 50 billion euro every year to payment of interest, to the very banks and investors who were bailed out with public money – that is the real business of Spanish public debt. It is impossible to undertake a plan of social investments in public works, in homes and hospitals, and the restoration of the social spending which has been cut, without repudiating and annulling the payment of this debt, with the exception of the 1% held by small savers.

No dismissals. Share the work without loss of pay

Since the crisis, unemployment has risen by 4 million. The 6.2 million unemployed cannot wait, let alone the 1.5 million unemployed under 30 years of age. To put the 6 million unemployed to work immediately would add 6 million working days to the ones already in existence, which would increase the country's wealth by 35%.

Work is the way to acquire means of living and to feel useful to oneself and to the community. Denying the right to work to millions of people is a crime against humanity.

A workers' socialist policy to fight unemployment starts by sharing out the work in each industry. Work less so that we can all work, without loss of wages. Wages allow us to acquire the means to live which ensure the maintenance of the worker's labour force, and his or her family, in the given social conditions. A reduction in wages means reducing, degrading and degenerating the livng conditions of the only really productive and progressive class of society. That is, by far the majority of the population. We cannot accept this.

Nationalize, under workers control companies that close down or lay off workers

If an employer wants to close down his/her company or lay off workers in order to increase profits, or because he cannot sustain the company, he acknowledges his failure as a progressive social factor. Such a company must be handed over to the state, under the control of its workers, without compensation and without a single layoff. In every factory threatened by closure, the workers should occupy it, take control of production and demand the nationalization under workers' control. This should be spread by mobilizing the community, the neighbourhood and the working class as a whole and its organizations to support them.

Nationalize the banks and monopolies under workers' control

A plan of production is needed to pull the country out of crisis, to undertake a bold plan of public works and to centralise and plan the distribution of credit and resources to meet the most pressing social and productive needs. But this again requires the control of the fundamental levers of the economy by the working class, beginning with the nationalization of the banking system, compensating only small savers and small shareholders. Faced with the threat of economic boycott or capital flight, workers must occupy the affected enterprises and monopolies, introducing workers' control and demand the nationalization without compensation. The same should apply to large land estates in the countryside.

Fighting is not enough

This should be our plan of "adjustment," the one we need. Big business and the government have declared war on the working class. We must propose an alternative program that shows the same determination and energy as they do when they defend their parasitical class interests. We must challenge our union leaders to fight and organize workers for this program. Similarly, if we want United Left to emerge as a decisive political force of the working, our leaders should agitate for this program also proposing a common front of struggle to the unions, the anti-cuts campaigns (Mareas), the movement of those affected by mortgages and foreclosures, and other platforms of struggle and social organizations.

It is not enough to fight; we must do it for a specific purpose, for a clear program and for an alternative society that prevents us to slide into the barbarism of poverty and misery that capitalism leads us to; to put the power of society in the hands of the suffering and working majority, the working people, the working class.