Spain: corruption and social struggle

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 225 February/March 2012

Mariano Rajoy - Prime Minister of Spain

On 21 December 2011 Mariano Rajoy was sworn in as the new Spanish President. The success of his conservative Popular Party exposed the decay of the social democratic Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party and their worn-out popularity. It took no more than nine days for Rajoy’s government to raise taxes, although during his election campaign he repeatedly stated that he was determined not to do so. From the start of his presidency, Rajoy made it very clear that he would impose the austerity policies demanded by France and Germany. Yet despite this, the IMF predicts a new recession in 2012. JJ RIVAS reports.

 

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Spain: On the march against austerity

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 224 December 2011/January 2012

On 20 November, exactly 36 years after the death of the fascist General Franco, the conservative People’s Party (PP) won a landslide victory in the Spanish general election. This was expected: there was massive disaffection with the previous Socialist Party (PSOE) government because of the austerity measures it adopted in the face of Spain’s economic crisis. Throughout the electoral campaign, the PP and its leader Mariano Rajoy were intentionally vague about what they intended to do that would be different; however, Rajoy has said that the key to recovery is ‘increasing trust and confidence’, reducing public debt via cuts in social expenditure and ‘fulfilling demands from the EU’. Juanjo Rivas reports.

 

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Spain: revolt of the outraged

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 221 June/July 2011

‘My voice is broken, body exhausted but heart full of hope. After long years of frustration, collective dreams are on the march...How to begin to describe the Syrian man who couldn’t continue on the mic and burst into tears when thousands shouted ‘Long live the struggle of the Syrian people’?...Or the Colombian brothers agitating and embraced by us, the extraordinary moment as thousands raised their arms in a silence full of wrath, the unemployed sobbing and explaining how they can’t afford dental assistance? This is the closest thing to May 1968 I could have ever imagined. You can sense solidarity and anger in the air.’

 

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Spain Workers pay for the crisis

FRFI 215 June /July 2010

On 12 May Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced a package of economic measures aimed at reducing the country’s deficit. This will involve severe cuts in social spending, pay and benefits – something Zapatero had for months declared himself unwilling to do. He also announced the imminent reform of the labour market. This

U-turn follows pressure from the EU and Washington, desperate to prevent the ‘Greek situation’ from spreading and dragging the euro down.

The mass media praised this ‘brave’ move that will save the state €5 billion  in 2010 and €10 billion in 2011. The civil servants whose wages will be slashed by an average 5%, retired pensioners whose income will be frozen, or those with disabled relatives no longer entitled to benefits, have a very different perspective. The social democratic PSOE government has once again revealed its true colours: protecting the bosses and making the poor pay for a crisis that others caused.

 

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Spanish people oppose war, terrorism and lies

FRFI 178 April / May 2004

March has been a month of death, grief, rage, social unrest and political punishment in Spain. On 11 March, exactly 911 days after the 11 September 2001 attacks in New York, 12 bombs went off in Madrid, leaving 202 people dead and 1,500 injured. The effect on the population has been a reinvigoration of disgust at the war on Iraq, which was opposed by 90% of Spaniards. There was also immense anger at the government’s handling of the crisis, which took place just three days before the general elections. The authoritarianism and blatant lies told by Aznar’s People’s Party (PP) led to them being voted out and to the completely unexpected victory of the social democratic Labour Party (PSOE), who won almost three million more votes than in 2000.

Despite its name, the PP is a bourgeois right-wing party. Most of its leading members have economic, ideological and family ties to the national-Catholic dictatorship of General Franco. Eight years of conservative government have deepened the process of total privatisation begun by the social democrats in the early 1990s. The remains of the public sector have been dismantled; there has been speculation on the housing market and regressive tax reforms. Two Basque newspapers have been closed down and the Basque party Batasuna banned. There have been cuts in social expenditure, protest has been criminalised and the rate of growth has been sustained by poverty pay at home and aggressive economic interventionism abroad.

 

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