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Spanish Government Ramps Up Military Spending Despite Widespread Opposition

A recent survey shows the majority of Spaniards reject the increase in military spending. The Spanish State’s warmongering and collaboration with NATO must be opposed.

Ivan Vela

April 18, 2022
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Sanchez meets with NATO troops
Photo: Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la Bellacasa

For years, NATO, through its most powerful member, the United States, has been demanding increased defense spending from its imperialist partners. Since President Trump’s term in office, the organization has demanded an investment of at least two percent of member states’ GDP. 

The Spanish government has long supported this request. Although the previous regime of Mariano Rajoy did not specify a timeline for ramping up its military spending, the war in Ukraine means that the ruling PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party) and UP (Unidas Podemos) coalition government is aiming to meet the two percent target within the next few years, according to Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. 

The Spanish State is currently the second smallest contributor to NATO military aid, ahead only of Luxembourg. When Sánchez took power, military spending was around 1.25 percent of GDP, compared to 1.4 percent currently. The government has thus already begun to ramp up military spending, and it will now exponentially increase its efforts while other imperialist countries like Germany do the same. 

In this context, a recent poll commissioned by the El Diario newspaper shows that 48.7 percent of Spaniards disapprove of this increase in military spending, compared to just 42 percent in favor. 

PSOE voters are divided, while around 77 percent of UP voters are “mostly opposed” and less than four percent are in favor. This finding comes in stark contrast to the UP’s warmongering actions as part of the coalition government. 

Following elections in neighboring France and the upcoming runoff election between Macron and Le Pen, there are calls from the French reformist Left — La France Soumise, the Socialists, and others — to vote for Macron as the lesser evil. Some sectors in the Spanish State are making similar calls after Vox’s entry into the regional government of Castilla y León last month. These sectors are calling for these kinds of tactical voting in order to create a buffer against the far Right. 

But since taking power in 2018, the Sánchez government has implemented reactionary policies which have fueled the growth of the far Right. Beyond ramping up its military spending in response to NATO requests, the Spanish State has harshly repressed workers as well as migrants. In other words, it is implementing the very same policies that the far Right is advocating. Viewed through this lens, discussions of buffers and tactical voting are a tool employed by the “extreme center” to stay in power. 

Workers in the Spanish State need to mobilize against these reactionary policies and not fall into the lesser evil trap. The alternative is an independent, anti-capitalist program that fights for the working class and oppressed — one that fully rejects warmongering, militarization, and NATO’s imperialism. 

Originally published in Spanish on April 13 in La Izquierda Diario.

Translation by Paul Ginestà

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