An obscene discourse and a reality of impoverishment and death

18 December, 2020

1 388 dead one day, 181 the next. The killing does not ease up and threatens to escalate again. Medical doctors see a third wave coming. The most important things become invisible. Not only is it difficult to find the death figures in the press, but everything is placed under individual responsibility, when the evolution of contagion depends on social conditions that are decided politically, not on individual behavior. But the Spanish government’s discourse is that it all depends on us. In other words, they are not going to do anything significant to stop it. And all the opposition is complaining about is merkelian crocodile tears.

2 The reality: the same covid death figures underestimate the disaster we are experiencing. Only the estimation of excess mortality can, post-hoc, provide a glimpse of what is happening. And what it shows is 58% more deaths. The reason: with the hospitals saturated by covid, only in the first six months of the pandemic and only in Madrid, almost 100,000 surgeries and almost two million consultations were not carried out. And we haven’t got out of this situation yet.

PSOE and Podemos Deputies celebrate the euthanasia law at the door of Congress.

3 But cynicism can always be outdone. The capacity for obscenity of these people seems to have no limits. While nurseries are again suffering the full brunt of covid, they have no better idea than approving a law on euthanasia that turns state-sponsored murder into a right. But the reality of euthanasia is not that of an individual decision but of social conditions.

The social conditions of euthanasia are what make it a free choice or not. And what are those today? The care and nursing home system is going to be devastated by the pandemic, Social Security is covering less and less of the expenses associated with chronic diseases, pensions are already beginning to be cut and working families have less and less savings left, in fact, one third of the population arrived to the pandemic with less than 2,200 euros saved. It does not take a forecasting genius to realize that with such a social context euthanasia means that many older people with chronic diseases will choose to stop being a burden to their families.

4 Meanwhile, big capital is celebrating. The green deal has begun inflating the renewables bubble. Over $12 billion in purchases in record time. Even Repsol abandons oil after seeing where the juiciest possibilities of accumulation are… which we will then pay, and in fact we have already begun to pay. The state is not doing badly either: public debt in October has been cut by more than 2 billion and the Catalan branch of the Spanish bourgeoisie is urging everyone to forget about the independence process and focus on the driving projects of the European funds, a real piñata in which the government releases from bureaucracy, that is, from its own control, billions of euros for the exclusive use of big enterprises and capital.

5 Under the optimism and excitement of capital there is, as could not be otherwise, a transfer of workers’ incomes to capital. The figures speak of the fact that there has already been a drop in labor income of 10% which is furthermore concentrated in the lower wage segments, which suffer it up to 5 times over. A fall in the total income of the workers, which is also partially hidden by the rise in the highest wages, those of the bourgeoisie -high management- and petty bourgeoisie -cadre and bosses- of the big companies, which apparently keep rising. Any massive transfer of income from labor to capital increases income inequality because the bourgeois classes participate in one way or another in the increase of capital’s profits while workers only count on the income from their labor. And this is not only through the distribution between profits and different groups of wages, the increases in the price of electricity and the recovery of the housing market points already to what is coming: losses of real purchasing power.

6 The global picture speaks of a capital that is concentrated and centralized beyond banking, to the point of seriously considering the partial nationalization of small and medium enterprises in view of the deterioration of their solvency; which has resolutely undertaken a process of suctioning off income from labor; but which politically hopes to tiptoe through the social changes it is promoting in order to recompose itself.

In the immediate future, the entire political agenda will revolve around what will permit the strengthening of the leadership of the two institutional parties over their respective voting base. The obscenity of the euthanasia law will be followed by a law of democratic memory no less obscene that intends to turn the 1930s into what both the right and the left and the independentists would have liked them to be by undertaking the systematic erasure of all traces or acknowledgements of the existence of a Spanish Revolution which, as far as can be seen, continues to torment them. The noisier the media debate becomes, the more protected their strategic movements will be.

Trade union-led demonstration urging the government to guarantee preferential electricity prices to the company’s investors.

7 But the champions of obscenity are, as always, the trade unions. We have already seen them in Alcoa presenting themselves as defenders at all costs of the company’s capital… more committed to profits than investors themselves, fighting for lower electricity costs and preparing the way for new sacrifices from the workers to avoid closures. In Bilbao’s Port presenting the absence of dialogue as the problem and calling for mediation from the Basque government while exhausting the workers with inconsequential mobilizations due to their isolation and poor planning. Or in the automobile industry, hand in hand with the employers association asking for rents for investors on account of the green deal funds. But the important thing is yet to come. The PSOE’s own economists say unequivocally that the debate on raising the minimum wage is a meaningless decoy and that the bulk of the new labor reform and the attack on pensions is just around the corner. So they recommend that by 2021 they should avoid being too blunt at the risk of being overwhelmed as their peers are beginning to be in so many other places, from India to France.

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