Spain

The left has suffered a harsh defeat in Madrid. If anyone was singled out these past years by the reaction as public enemy number one of the regime, it was Pablo Iglesias. He has resigned all of the political posts that he held under this pressure. The right will be celebrating in style and its arrogance will be augmented. The rank–and–file of the left must learn the lessons from all this. As the philosopher Spinoza said, ours is not to laugh nor to cry, but to understand.

The leader of left-wing party Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, (who recently resigned as vice president in the Spanish coalition government to stand as a candidate for the Madrid Regional Assembly) received a letter yesterday containing a death threat against him and his family and four bullets. The Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska and the Director of the Civil Guard received similar envelopes with threats and bullets. One of them is signed: "Civil Guard. National Police." These threats should be taken seriously. 

On the anniversary of the 1981, '23-F' coup attempt in Spain, we republish a 1981 article by Alan Woods, political editor of Nuevo Claridad. This article was later translated and re-released in the Militant(UK), along with an editorial comment (also republished). Alan provides a new introduction explaining the circumstances surrounding the article's publication. First republished 23 Feb 2018.

For a whole week, demonstrations have taken place across Catalonia and Spain in protest at the jailing of Communist rapper Pablo Hasél, who was arrested on Tuesday 16 February in Lleida for political opinions expressed in his lyrics and tweets. His jailing has unleashed a groundswell of anger, particularly amongst young people, who have met vicious repression at the hands of the state.

The crisis that began in 2008 exposed capitalism. It started a process in which millions of young people and workers began to challenge, not just so-called ‘neoliberalism’, but capitalism itself. Yet this crisis of capitalism, rather than propelling the left to power, has pushed the left into crisis. Superficially, this is a contradiction, but if we look beyond the surface, we see it flows from the limitations of reformist politics in a period such as the one we are living through.

On Friday 18 September, the President of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso of the right-wing PP (Popular Party), announced a “selective confinement” of 37 zones in the southern districts and towns on the outskirts of the capital. These are home to some of the poorest neighbourhoods and also those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. This discriminatory and ineffective measure, implemented on Monday 21 September, sparked immediate outrage amongst the residents of these working-class neighbourhoods who have come out in a series of protests.

On Sunday 2 August, former King Juan Carlos I left Spain for a sumptuous retirement in the Dominican Republic. This drastic move was avowedly motivated by an avalanche of revelations about the outrageous corruption and criminality in which he had been involved for decades. Juan Carlos’ flight was concocted with the current King Felipe VI and the government, led by the PSOE Social Democrats.

In December, left-wing party Unidas Podemos (UP) entered the Spanish government as junior partners of the Social Democratic PSOE. This coalition rested on a slim and shaky parliamentary majority comprising a motley assortment of nationalist and regionalist forces. Two years of rudderless Spanish politics after the fall of Mariano Rajoy thus came to an end. Pablo Iglesias, the leader of UP, hailed this coalition as “the most-progressive government” in recent Spanish history. Yet recent events have dispelled this euphoria. Spain gazes into the abyss

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After several weeks of tug-of-war, a precarious agreement was reached on aid to EU member countries that need extra financing to deal with the economic crisis triggered by the coronavirus epidemic. The states will get up to 540,000 million euros, but under what conditions? What does this have to do with the Marshall Plan for Europe that Pedro Sánchez demands? Is this viable?

The Spanish government has decided to continue "non-essential" economic activity as of last week, disregarding the scientific opinion of expert epidemiologists as well as the sentiment of most of the affected workers. The government has thus yielded to employers, condemning thousands of working families to the risk of contagion and losing loved ones.

Spanish royal household is entering one of the greatest crises it has had to face since the coronation of Juan Carlos I in November 1975. The findings of the Swiss public prosecutor's office of irregular accounts and trust funds in tax havens, which have transferred more than 100 million dollars in the last decade, in the name of Juan Carlos I and Felipe VI, has sparked popular outrage.

After this article was written, the Procavi has stepped up its anti-trade union harassment. Comrade Nadia Garcia, the SAT shop steward at Procavi, has received a formal complaint from management which threatens her with disciplinary action for the distribution of leaflets as the company alleges this could potentially “spread the coronavirus”!

Lucha de Clases has interviewed Jesús Suárez and Pedro García, members of the Fertiberia-Avilés factory committee within the Trade Union Confederation of Workers’ Commissions (CCOO), on the current COVID-19 crisis and how it is affecting the worker and business activity. Fertiberia manufactures fertilizers and industrial chemicals.