Spain

Nursing homes are one of the most critical areas of care in the coronavirus pandemic, making them one of the most dramatic points of struggle in the current period. The situation in Madrid is especially dire, revealing the magnitude of the problem with absolute clarity. As of 26 March (the day on which the latest data was released), 50 percent of the 2,090 deaths registered in Madrid came from nursing homes. This compelled the army to intervene, which at once began to search for corpses abandoned in these homes. Today, La Sexta cited a shocking report according to which 3,000 of the 10,000 deceased in the entire country are old people coming from said residences. We interviewed Nuria,

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On March 29, David Rey, head of the Spanish section of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT), Lucha de Clases, spoke to our Brazilian comrades about the health crisis in his country and how Marxists are facing the situation.

The declaration of the state of emergency is unprecedented in Spain, except in the brief period of the air traffic controllers’ strike 10 years ago. It is true that this declaration currently has overwhelming support among the population. This is understandable. The seriousness of the situation and the uncertainty that accompanies it makes people trust "authority" as the only reliable source of protection available, at least as long as that trust lasts. So what is the position of Marxists on this?

The Spanish government has proven itself powerless to deal with the spread of the coronavirus. It urges the population to “prepare for hard times”, a forecast which data from the Ministry of Health confirms. On the other hand, the right wing lacks alternatives and simply engages in demagoguery. In fact, their austerity and privatising policies under Rajoy have, for decades, largely been responsible for the pitiful state of public health in the Community of Madrid, as well as in other regions.

The global coronavirus epidemic and the declaration of the state of emergency have caused the most drastic change in the life of the Spanish population since the first days and weeks of the 2008-2009 crisis. Millions of people remain secluded in their homes and it was announced that more than a million will, temporarily or permanently, lose their job. We agree with the need to take bold and vigorous measures against this. But is the plan approved by the government the most effective way to fight the epidemic and ensure the employment and living conditions of working families, or is it just "bread for today"?

The 10 November Spanish elections have left a more unstable situation than the 28 April elections. Although the right has been defeated again, the PSOE leadership failed in its political calculation that it would emerge strengthened, and the tactics of the UP leadership – to ruin Sanchez's investiture and risk new elections – were also an error that lost them votes and seats. Political polarisation, agitated by the Catalan national question, is reflected in the strengthening of the extreme right, of Catalan independence parties, and Basque and Galician nationalism.

Yesterday's general strike marked a qualitative leap in the political situation in Catalonia. For the past four days, mass peaceful demonstrations for the release of the political prisoners have been brutally attacked by Spanish and Catalan police. On Thursday, protesters were also attacked by neo-Nazis protected by police, who brutally beat up an anti-fascist militant. The youth have retaliated setting up barricades.

Today there is a general strike planned in Catalonia and a massive mobilisation, with five columns marching throughout Catalonia to converge in Barcelona. This day of action is organised under slogans rejecting the judgement of "Procés", and calling for the freedom of the Catalan political prisoners and the right to self-determination. The International Marxist Tendency in the Spanish State, Lucha de Clases, unconditionally supports this day of struggle.

"Barcelona has seen more barricade fighting than any other city in the world", wrote Engels in 1873. Yesterday, Barcelona stood by this reputation. Various republican and democratic organisations called peaceful vigils across Catalonia to protest against the sentences faced by the political prisoners. In Barcelona, as well as in other localities, the demonstrators – including families, elderly people, and children – were attacked by Spanish and Catalan riot police, charging at them with truncheons, rubber bullets, and stun devices.

Yesterday, the Spanish Supreme Court issued sentences against twelve Catalan political prisoners involved in the October 2017 referendum, including nine former ministers, the speaker of the Catalan parliament, and two popular civil society leaders. The proceedings went on for almost two years, during which nine of them were held in pre-trial detention. As expected, the sentences were harsh: between nine and 13 years in jail for the nine held on remand, and fines and disqualification from public office for the other three.

Nine Catalan political prisoners, who have been held in remand for almost two years, have been given lengthy jail sentences of between 9 and 13 years by the Spanish Supreme Court for sedition and misuse of public funds. And what was their “crime?” The organisation of the Catalan independence referendum on 1 October 2017. This is a scandalous, undemocratic ruling that reveals the rottenness of the Spanish 1978 regime. The International Marxist Tendency rejects these outrageous sentences and calls on the labour, socialist and democratic forces of the world to mobilise against them with all their might.