Spain

Hundreds of thousands marched in Spain on February 29 in student and trade union demonstrations against austerity cuts and in protest at brutal police repression against students in Valencia. The trade union leaders, under pressure from a very angry mood form below, are now openly talking about calling a general strike, possibly on March 29.

The results of the Spanish elections on Sunday November 20 represented a massive defeat for the Socialist Party (PSOE) which had introduced austerity measures to make the workers pay for the capitalist crisis, rather than a victory for the right wing Popular Party (PP) which will now have to introduce even more savage austerity cuts in the face of the acute crisis of Spanish capitalism.

Hundreds of thousands of people, certainly well over a million, took to the streets of Spain on October 15 to express, once again, their indignation at the crisis of capitalism and the austerity plans which are being introduced to make working people pay for it.

Surpassing all expectations, hundreds of thousands of people once again took to the streets of cities and towns across Spain on June 19 in the largest demonstrations so far of the movement which started on May 15. What started as an expression of general anger against politicians and bankers, and the attempt to make ordinary working people pay for the economic crisis, has become a mass movement which is becoming more overtly political and orienting to the working class.

It leaps across frontiers, defying all barriers, it laughs at the threats and curses of the ruling class and it sweeps aside the forces of the state. It cannot be halted. The mass protests that are spreading from one country to another have caught all the forces of the old society by surprise. They do not know how to react. If they do nothing, the movement grows, but if they attempt to crush it, it will grow much more rapidly.

First it was Tunis, then Cairo, then Wisconsin, and now Spain. The crisis of capitalism has set in motion a tsunami that is impossible to control. All the representatives of the old order have combined to halt it: politicians and police, judges and trade union bureaucrats, the hired press and the television, priests and “intellectuals”. But the tsunami of revolt rolls on from one country to another, from one continent to another.

In Spain the workers responded massively to the unions’ call of for a general strike on September 29. In addition to the two main trade union confederations, the UGT and CCOO, the strike was supported by many smaller unions: CGT, SOC / SAT (Andalusia), IGC (Galicia), CSI (Asturias), STEs (teachers) and others. Many members of Left parties, especially the Communist Parties and United Left participated actively in many areas of Spain. [The following report has been compiled from reports sent from Spain]

The recent financial meltdown and the recession that is following it have exposed the hollowness of the economic predictions of the bourgeois economists. Now the world economic crisis poses the question of socialism point blank. The ruling class is “tobogganing toward catastrophe with its eyes closed”. As Alan Woods explains in this introduction to a new Spanish edition of the Transitional Programme, these words of Leon Trotsky in 1938 might have been written yesterday.

Despite the fact that the leaders of the Spanish unions are still trying to maintain social peace at all costs and despite the psychological impact of the economic crisis, the whole social environment is heating up very fast, such that a sudden entry onto the stage of the Spanish working class as a whole is being prepared.

Yesterday the Spanish Student Union, Sindicato de Estudiantes, called a student general strike involving school and university students. The turnout as massive, with hundreds of thousands coming out to protest against cuts in education and privatisation.

Thousands of students took to the streets in Spain on Wednesday 22nd to protest against plans to privatise university education and also opposing any plans to make workers pay for the capitalist crisis through cuts in education, health and other public services.

On July 10, to coincide with the start of the trial of the neo-nazi Óscar Colino Damián, the Gasteiz Antifascist Platform organised a demonstration at 11am in front of the court. The demonstration which attracted more than 40 workers and young people was organised by the Gasteiz Antifascist Platform with the participation of various trade unions, associations, left parties, student unions and left and progressive collectives.

On Monday over one hundred people crowded into the CAUM Centre in Madrid to hear Alan give a speech launching his latest book, which is an in-depth reply to the reformist ideas of Heinz Dieterich, who has been providing a theoretical back-up to the bureaucracy within the Bolivarian movement which is attempting to slow down the pace of the revolution. If listened to, these reformist ideas would lead to the derailing of the revolution.

After six months of struggle, 18 days of strike action and on the first day of their all out strike for a reduction in working hours, the bus drivers of Barcelona have achieved an important victory. And they won as a result of their united mobilisation, based on mass workers' assemblies taking all decisions, and coordinated through an elected committee.

The PP controlled Guadalajara council has denied the Frederick Engels Foundation a stall at the Guadalajara Book Fair. Please sign and send a letter of protest against this attack on the freedom of expression.