In Spain the signs are unmistakable: a “hot autumn” of political and social conflict is brewing in the run-up to the November 20 general election. Polling night will reveal how much the growing social resistance, brought onto the streets since May largely by the 15-M movement of “indignants”, has shaken up the political scene. As things stand, the most likely result is a repeat of the wipe-out suffered by the governing Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) at the May elections for local council and regional governments (known as “autonomous communities”).
The euro will survive for now — but only because working people in Greece and other European countries face greater suffering. That’s the not-so-hidden agenda behind the new US$227 billion bailout of Greece organised by the most powerful countries of the European Union, mainly France and Germany. The rescue comes little more than a year after a $155 billion rescue that was supposed to stop the debt crisis. See also: United States: the nonsense battle over debt
Huge demonstrations of the anti-austerity M-15 movement in 97 Spanish cities and towns brought at least 250,000 people onto the streets on June 19. This vast and peaceful turnout marked a new phase in the rising struggle against the austerity policies of the country’s “parties of government” ― the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), the People’s Party (PP) and the Catalan nationalist Convergence and Union (CiU) ― as well as against the recently adopted Euro stability pact.
Pity the stressful life of police ministers in Spain and its autonomous communities (states). For weeks, the central plazas of big cities and towns across Spain have been the site of the camps of the “outraged” (los indiganados) of the M-15 movement — so-called after the large May 15 national protests that sparked the movement. The movement, which opposes the savage austerity imposed on ordinary people to pay for the crisis and the undemocratic nature of the political system, is now spreading into the suburbs of the larger cities and out into smaller regional towns.
In late April, the progressive Spanish daily Publico asked why there was so little resistance to the economic crisis, despite the country’s 5 million jobless and rising misery. The union and social movement leaders and left academics interviewed pointed to the numbing impact of mass unemployment, the casualisation of work, the bureaucratisation of organised labour, widespread scepticism that striking could achieve anything, and the economic cushion provided by Spain's extended families.
In a contribution to the magazine Viento Sur, Real Democracy Now! activist Nacho Álvarez looked at the challenges facing the Real Democracy Now! movement three weeks after May 15. Excerpts of the article are published below. * * * Collective reflection about what to do, how to channel people’s anger and how to structure a sustained and massive protest movement now grips the streets and squares of hundreds of Spanish cities.
There's a huge anti-capitalist movement rocking Spain. If you're on Twitter the hashtag to follow is #spanishrevolution. We at Green Left Weekly have enthusiastically covered the events and the protesters known as “the indignants”. The movement has exploded into the streets; the central squares of cities and towns across the country have been taken over by a people crying out “the system is the problem”.
Pictures of Madrid's central plaza known as Puerta del Sol bear an uncanny resemblance to Tahrir Square in Cairo following more than a week of demonstrations and an ongoing encampment in protest of the devastating effects of the economic crisis and the Spanish state's collaboration with bankers and business interests to impose austerity.
The central plazas of dozens of cities and towns across Spain bear an uncanny resemblance to Tahrir Square in Cairo. They have been taken over by thousands of demonstrators demanding a "new system". As of May 29, dozens of other central plazas in Spanish cities and towns look the same — taken over by thousands of ordinary people demanding “a new system”. The movement, known as "#spanishrevolution" after the Twitter hashtag used to spread news, pictures and footage of the revolt, began with an internet call for a May 15 protest to demand “Real Democracy Now!”.
In Spain’s local elections on May 22, a tsunami of popular rage against the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero spread across this country of five million jobless. The punishment came amid widespread suffering caused by the economic crisis, worsened by the austerity imposed by Zapatero's government to pay for the billions of euros spent bailing out big banks. PSOE bastions since the fall of the Franco dictatorship were swept away.