By Clase contra Clase (Spanish state), Josefina Martinez
Thursday, October 11, 2012
On Sunday, October 7, a new day of protest took place in the Spanish state against the cuts, with the participation of thousands of demonstrators in 57 cities. This demonstration is the second one called by the Social Summit (made up of the CCOO and UGT union federations, next to dozens of small union organizations, some NGO’s and other groups), that already mobilized massively on September 15, having the support of leaders of the PSOE also.
After the September 15 demonstrations, those of September 25 (“Surround the Congress”) followed, that, although less massive, had a big impact, because they questioned very discredited institutions, like the Congress of Deputies. That day, the picture of the riot police distributing whacks along the platforms of the Atocha station, generated a lot of repudiation and again occupied the press of the entire world. On the following day, trying to conceal this climate of social discontent, that is constantly intensifying, Prime Minister Rajoy made statements against the thousands that are protesting in the streets, at the same time that he asked for “recognition of the majority of Spaniards who are not demonstrating, who do not go out on the front pages of the press and do not open the television news. They are invisible to the press, but they are there; they are the majority of the 47 million people who live in Spain.” However, he was quickly refuted, since, as a Metroscopía poll indicates, “Up to 77%, three out of every four citizens, share the arguments of the September 25 demonstrators in the vicinity of the Congress.” At the same time, “91% of those surveyed state that soon there will be frequent massive demonstrations, and 79% see violent civil protests soon” (El País, October 6).
If, on October 7, the demonstrations were not as massive as could have been expected, it was not because discontent and a mood of protest were lacking, but because the call from the Social Summit was not convincing. The unions’ bureaucratic leadership has been subordinating the mobilization to the aim of getting a referendum on the cuts, a proposal that leads to demobilization and a dead end. Toxo and Méndez announced that in case that “referendum” is not called, they would call a general strike in November (probably on November 14, to coincide with the general strike in Portugal), but, instead of preparing for the strike now, they continue trying to prevent it and betting on the trap of the referendum.
Meanwhile, social discontent is increasing, big struggles by groups are taking place, as in education, tough but isolated struggles, like the UMINSA miners, and the fissures within the regime are growing, with the awakening of the sentiment for independence in Catalonia. Faced with the increasingly harsh cuts and the preparations for a new “bailout” that we, all the workers and the people, will go on paying for, in a situation of acute social crisis, like the one we are living through, in which 1,737,000 Spanish households have no income, and one of every two young people is unemployed, a widespread response is needed, by preparing the general strike and a plan of sustained and united struggle by all the workers, to stop the cuts and successfully impose a workers’ emergency plan against the crisis, so that those who caused the crisis, the bankers and the capitalists, will pay for it.