|Written by International/ Spain|
|Tuesday, 07 June 2011 21:22|
|Since May 15, Madrid’s main square – Puerta del Sol Square – is occupied by students and workers. The protest showed the enormous popular discontent with the government, and culminated in a series of demonstrations and streets occupations in the major cities. The protest gained momentum as autonomic and municipal elections were approaching. The results of the elections of May 22 marked a resounding defeat of President Luis Zapatero and his party, the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers Party). Read below the article of CorrienteRoja on the demonstrations that rocked Spain.
On Saturday, the 21st of May, was the “day of reflection” on the grounds that the elections would be held the next day. The court prohibited the occupation of Puerta del Sol Square in Madrid and other squares in the country. However this prohibition did not reach its goal, since protesters crowded the squares.
It is difficult to say how many people had been to Puerta del Sol Square during the whole day. The square was overflowing from the night of Friday to early Saturday and stayed totally busy on Sunday, the Election Day. Throughout the day, the elderly, young people, mothers with children, unemployed workers, and retirees came to the Square. It seemed as if half of Madrid population passed through it at different times during the day. At the end of the day, a huge banner where it read “Down with the regime, the people without fear”, was hung in a building and greeted by protesters. Everyone was yelling its main slogan: “lo llaman democracia y no lo és… Oe, Oe, Oe…lo llaman democracia y no lo és” (they call it democracy, but it is not).
On Saturday afternoon, a column of Corriente Roja’s militants, and the Cobas unions and activists who oppose the union bureaucracy of CCOO and UGT [major unions of the country], set fire to the Puerta del Sol with other slogan: “aquí hace falta ya una huelga, una huelga, aquí hace falta una huelga general” (ageneral strike is lacking here just now).
The occupation will continue
An assembly decided to continue camping for another week at least, until the continuity of the movement is organized and a plan of action is established. Continuity had already been voted at Cataluña Square in Barcelona.
The Sunday’s election results express a great defeat of the PSOE and the president Zapatero. It was a protest vote which highlights the tremendous dissatisfaction with the situation. The truth is that the government, the IMF and the European Union threw the crisis upon the workers and youth, causing unemployment, destruction of social rights, attack on Social Security, while benefiting the bankers and capitalists.
The youth went ahead…
The May 15 actions were built through the Internet social networks, calling a demonstration under the motto“Real Democracy, Now. We are not goods in the hands of politicians and bankers”.
The organizers got surprised by the movement dimensions, which had its epicenter in Madrid, where 40 to 50 thousand people, mostly youth, took the Puerta del Sol Square. Demonstrations erupted also in other 50 cities such as Barcelona and Seville, which gathered respectively 15.000 and 6.000 people.
Thus, all attendees showed their anger with the government, the regime, the PP, the PSOE, the Monarchy, the union bureaucracy of CCOO and UGT, the capitalist system, and especially with the bankers.
Protesters continued yelling restlessly: “PSOE and PP. Both are the same shit”; “bankers behind bars”, “be the crisis paid by the bankers and the capitalists”, “where are CCOO y UGT, why aren’t they seen in here?”, and “Television manipulation”.
… And the people joined the fight
Government started repression to the movement and arrested 24 demonstrators. However an opposite effect followed. On May 16, at the evening, the square was taken by thousands of demonstrators. The people went to Puerta del Sol Square to defend the youth, joining the movement and expressing their outrage. In the following days, the camping was consolidated and gained political prominence over the coming elections once the news about it took longer time and space in the newspapers pages and on TV stations than the coming elections. The camping turned to be the main theme in all cafés, neighborhoods, and conversations among neighbors, workplaces and schools.
Of high importance and very progressive are the impulse for self-determination, the willingness to fight, the anti-bureaucratic mood, and the clearly anti-capitalist trends of the movement. Very positive are also the points of the program which have been voted in the assemblies, such as the defense of employment for all; 35-hour week without loss of pay and allowance to the unemployed indefinitely while not guaranteeing employment, housing for all; public education, defense of Public Social Security and suspension of debt payments; nationalization of the financial system, end of the Monarchy and of the politicians’ privileges.
But we must move forward to achieve unity with the workers. To do this, and to incorporate those organizations that want to fight, it is necessary to plan a unified struggle. On May 28, meetings will be held in districts and towns of Madrid. Surely it will be something that is expected to grow. But, as has defined the Barcelona meeting, a day of demonstration must be set in order to take back the streets, including the current sectors in struggle as well as the labor movement.
It is crucial to highlight that all and every movement may converge in a general strike to defeat the economic adjustment plans and to enforce the movement’s claims such as employment, housing, health, education and also in relation to democratic demands.
Employees may, with their action, stop the capital and defeat these anti-workers plans, the regime and the governments. That is why the bureaucracy of the UGT and CCOO made a pact to help the government, the PSOE and the PP [Popular Party – right-wing opposition] to bring the crisis onto the workers’ shoulders.
In order to break the shackles of bureaucracy and fight, the workers need organizations, democracy and unity. Therefore, for workers’ struggles to join the movement it is needed the unity of all who want to fight, that is, all organizations that call the fight should not only participate and defend their ideas, but also must be called to add up the movement.