Yesterday evening [Monday] hundreds of massive demonstrations and rallies took place in a semi-spontaneous manner across Spain to celebrate the abdication of King Juan Carlos and to call for a republic. The central slogan was the demand for a referendum for the people to decide whether they want a monarchy or a republic.
An impressive rally was held in Edinburgh on Monday only hours after King Juan Carlos announced his abdication thousands of miles away in Spain. The protest of upto 150 people was called to coincide with mass demonstrations in cities all across Spain and amongst Spanish communities abroad. Edinburgh has a very large community of young Spaniards and they now constitute one of the largest groups in the city. They have come in their thousands after being driven into economic exile by the failures of the capitalist economy in Spain to provide even a basic living and hope for the future.
The abdication of King Juan Carlos is an attempt to rein in the crisis of the post-1978 regime, which has been widely discredited in the eyes of the people in the midst of the greatest economic and social crisis that the Spanish state has undergone in decades.
The major student organizations and unions in Spain called a national university strike on the 26th and 27th of March. I joined the picket lines in the University of Alicante, in the Valencian region. The strike was called to fight the austerity policies of the current PP (right-wing) government that are destroying public education in Spain. Tuition fees have rocketed throughout the country, the number of scholarships has plummeted, classes are overcrowded, certain modules and even whole degrees are being scrapped…
Sunday March 22 was another milestone in the struggle against cuts and austerity in Spain. Hundreds of thousands, probably over a million marched in Madrid on Saturday 22, in the final stage of the Dignity Marches which have walked from all over the country to the capital over the last few weeks. Their demands "Bread, Jobs and Housing" cannot be contained within the limits of capitalism.
On Saturday, 22 March, Madrid will witness one of the main social and political mobilisations of the year, the March for Dignity. The aim is to gather hundreds of thousands of people in Madrid, from around the country in order to show opposition to the anti-working class and anti-social policies of the past few years. The demonstration will march under the slogans "Do not pay the public debt", for a "Basic income to all those without resources", "No more cuts", "Bread, Housing and Jobs for all" and "Down with the Troika Governments."
In the State of the Nation debate, Spanish president Rajoy announced that 2014 will be "the year of recovery." Before this bombastic statement, the government had frozen the meagre minimum wage (€ 645.3 per month), raised the price of transportation by 1.9% and consolidated the huge rise in electricity prices of recent years.
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