Predictably, xenophobia is growing with the war and is now also affecting Ukrainian refugees themselves. What is fueling the fear and rejection of refugees?
Macron burst into the proceedings of the “Conference on the Future of Europe” yesterday with a proposal to reform the EU’s constituent treaties which immediately divided the states into two sides. It is the response to a US strategy in Ukraine which, irrespective of its effects on Russia, is increasingly undermining the power enjoyed by the Franco-German-Italian axis within the EU.
Germany’s famous economic powerhouse flounders. Rising rates push the US into recession. Central banks start to look warily at the housing market again. And the “new austerity” is taken for granted so naturally in France and Spain that its implementation depends only on the timetable of the elections.
The “trade union celebration” has left its messages: support for the war and celebration of the war capitalism that is being imposed on us and that is beginning with a direct attack on the purchasing power of wages.
The war in Ukraine is at a standstill. Not so the count of deaths and atrocities committed by both sides. And yet, the US bet, according to its leaders, is to prolong the war until Russia collapses and the whole South and East of Ukraine become nothing more than a gigantic wreck. But the war and its consequences are not confined to the Ukrainian borders. A great snowball of contradictory imperialist interests is underway. And only we workers have a real interest in stopping it.
Macron has been re-elected president with a wide margin. But there is no triumph in his victory. The sword of Damocles of a “third round”, not only electorally but above all of struggles and strikes tarnishes the Republican ceremonial.
Will Russia end up using nuclear weapons in Ukraine? Can the Ukrainian war end in a nuclear confrontation? Is NATO banking on it?
The so-called “railroad war” is not limited to actions of workers in the Russian bloc or even railroad workers: trains and planes loaded with tanks and arms shipments have been stopped by workers in the US bloc…. Although naturally the European press has reported only marginally about it.
Scholz asserts that Germany will stop importing gas from Russia “very soon,” but he is careful not to assume the 2024 target that the U.S. and Britain are trying to impose. No wonder. The consequences of a European blockade of Russian gas imports would be devastating. And not only for Germany and Europe.
Our assessment of the first round of the French presidential 2022.
After the acceleration towards militarism which accompanied the first stages of the war in Ukraine and the first steps towards a war economy, the imperialist map of Europe is revealing itself to be much more contradictory and explosive than intended from Brussels. Never before has it been so urgent for the workers to build their own organizational framework both to confront immediately the consequences of militarism and to confront its horizon: generalized war.
A few days before the first round of a presidential election turned into a war rage contest, the “consulting firms scandal” seems to be consolidating as the big election campaign issue. On March 17, the French Senate published a report denouncing the massive use of consulting firms -especially the US firm McKinsey- during the 5 years of Macron’s government.
The European summit and its declaration of Spain and Portugal as an “energy island”, clearly expresses the kind of contradictions stirred up among the imperialist interests of its members by the development of the EU. Contradictions that are fueled both by the growing role of Brussels in the booming war economy, and by the ever greater and more explicit weight of the U.S. in defining its policies. For the bourgeoisies of the European South, a stage of vindication of their “exceptionalities” and the hope of an insularization which will multiply rather than palliate their attack on the basic conditions of the workers is opening up.
What the propaganda is hiding from you about the Ukrainian war
Overnight, Spain has made a U-turn on the Sahara. Sánchez has committed to Spanish support for the Moroccan occupation of the former Spanish colony. A new impossible balance of Spanish imperialism in the Maghreb dangerously inflaming the tensions which keep Algeria and Morocco permanently on the brink of war.
The economic emergency situation we are experiencing -general price inflation, escalating energy and basic food prices, reduction of real wages and purchasing power- is an accelerated version of what the government and the Spanish ruling class expected from the Green Deal. What is coming now is the fall of economic activity and an “income pact” that, in order to stop inflation -which was not caused by wages but by the exaggerated margins of the electricity companies, the Ukrainian disaster and the blockade of Russia- is going to consume almost 20% of the purchasing power of a typical wage.
The press welcomes the “radical change” brought about by the invasion of Ukraine in the treatment of refugees by the European Union. Even the most xenophobic governments are giving refugee status and facilities of all kinds. But has anything more than outward appearances really changed?
“Food security” is moving to the forefront of the priorities of European states. The agrarian war economy that shaped the EU in the Cold War is back on the immediate agenda. Far beyond sunflower and grains, globally there will come a famine and a new international division of agri-food production; and in Europe a regression of social relations in the countryside and a new push towards the most harmful elements of the agri-food industry. Agri-food production is on the way to becoming war production.
The media continue to broadcast patriotic scenes of the war in Ukraine. One of the latest is the “John Deere Brigade”, a supposedly heartwarming scene where Ukrainian farmers are resisting the invasion by towing abandoned Russian armored vehicles towards Ukrainian forces. All of this while turning the brand new green John Deere tractors into a patriotic “symbol” garnished with light blue-yellow backgrounds and flags. But the war does not mean the same thing to the different social classes.
The tsunami brought about by the emergence of militarism and the evolution from economic war to a war economy is not going to stop. Least of all with regard to the workers in all the states of Europe, from the Azores to Yakutia. We are at the first moment of a massive impoverishment which will inevitably be accompanied by a strengthening of state totalitarianism. And only struggles, strikes and an increasingly frank confrontation with the ruling militarism will be able to stop and reverse it.
The ban on purchases of Russian hydrocarbons by the USA and Great Britain, the plan to reduce by 2/3 the consumption of Russian gas by the EU and the imminent response from Moscow, are leading to the immediate and general transformation of the economic war into a war economy in the whole of Europe, from Yakutia to the Azores. Already in sight is an impoverishment of the whole continent’s workers of a speed and violence not seen since the last imperialist world war.
The anti-militarist movement in Russia is proving capable of mobilizing hundreds of thousands of people across the country. Its adherents are showing true heroism in the face of an increasingly brutal repression. But its citizenist approaches condemn Russian anti-militarism, as it is today, to political impotence. And yet…
The invisibilization of resistance against war and militarism on both sides of the front, as well as the media support for the Ukrainian “international legion”, clearly shows what the “internationalism” of the ruling classes and their spokesmen all over the world is all about.
That is where we come in: “sharing the effort and sacrifice” of “paying the price of peace” means renouncing basic needs, accepting worse working conditions and a poverty that will inevitably grow.
The capitalist war is, on the ground, an industrial competition whose primary product is the mass production of corpses from the same workers it employs. A “circular industry” indeed.
A bombastic war propaganda based on the old lies of defensism and anti-fascism is attempting to silence the cruel reality of the forced conscription of young people in both Russia and Ukraine.
In a matter of hours a new Europe is being sketched before our eyes. Germany is rearming en masse by endowing its army with an extraordinary fund of 100 billion euros. Sanctions are already hitting millions in Russia and are driving at least 30 million workers to starvation. Putin resumes the offensive in Ukraine and aims his nuclear forces at Europe. The EU surrenders to militarism. And in the face of the ongoing barbarism and in spite of the invisibilization caused by the war propaganda of both sides, the first sparks of resistance against militarism appear: mothers of soldiers, young people, deserters… a spark waiting to ignite among the workers.
1,700 arrested in different parts of Russia is the provisional balance of the anti-war demonstrations that broke out yesterday afternoon and early evening.
Emancipation Statement on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its consequences.
The Russian army announced the staggered end of the ongoing maneuvers from the Mediterranean to Belarus. But according to the American press, the invasion of Ukraine is still imminent while tension keeps growing, in fact there would be 7,000 more Russian troops on the ground and therefore the NATO deployment would have to be reinforced and extended. But France and Germany are already doing something else, openly contradicting this discourse, incorporating China and placing themselves at the antipodes of US propaganda whose real objectives seem to be to “save Private Biden” within the US and to forcefully change the European energy matrix.
Last week, Macron took the lead in talks with Russia to the chagrin of Putin as much as Biden; Scholz went in person to Washington to stage his resistance to the closure of NordStream 2 at the White House itself; and on his return, both co-opted and negotiated the Polish position, finally allowing the EU to break NATO’s monolithic stance. Biden, plummeting in the US polls, responded by raising the tone and asserting the imminence of a Russian invasion. But a glance at the world press makes it clear that outside AUKUS, the US is encountering increasing resistance from its former allies around the world, from South Africa to Argentina.
The Falklands/Malvinas is definitely a new flashpoint in the global imperialist conflict. While Britain is forcibly militarizing the islands and Argentina is hastily reinforcing defenses, China is pressing against the British, South America is splitting in two, and the EU, encouraged by Spain and Germany, is increasingly tempted to open a new diplomatic front against London.
The tenser the situation with Russia, as the US tries to mark its hegemony over Europe, the more France and Germany respond against the US… and the more the seams within the EU itself between the Franco-German core and the countries closer to Washington are coming apart. The real battlefield in the “phantom war” of these weeks is the EU, subjected to Putin’s and Biden’s double attack.
Russia is tdeploying troops, fighter planes and S-400 missiles to Belarus and bringing amphibious units to the Baltic. The German press is pushing its government to organize conscription if war breaks out. And while a new meeting of US and Russian foreign ministers is being prepared for Friday in Geneva, US discourse insists on presenting the invasion of Ukraine as imminent. Are we just a few days away from a new imperialist war in Europe?
A huge teaching strike has been going on in France since yesterday. It covers elementary schools and middle plus high schools, with both teaching and service staffs taking part together.
After a year of intense inter-country political battles and between industrial lobbyists and environmentalists, leaked documents from the European Commission now reveal that the proposed “taxonomy of sustainable investments” will include gas and nuclear power as “green energies”. At once Germany, Austria and Spain take a stand against nuclear power – while dodging the gas issue – while France and the 10 countries of the “nuclear bloc” rejoice. What is the real battle underneath all this? What is at stake and how will the outcome affect workers all over Europe?
The lessons to be learned from the end of the strike in Cadiz are fundamental for the struggles to come. No, better conditions did not bring about an agreement between the bosses and the unions which the workers then accepted. Rather, the union leadership of the strike has prevented the workers from taking control of the struggle by inevitably ensuring that the conditions offered by the bosses would be accepted.
The metalworkers’ strike in Cádiz shows us that we need to fight in a different way. And that means, from now on, to take control of the assemblies today monopolized by the unions. And to do so in order to extend the struggles, open the assemblies and make joint demands that go beyond all the divisions by sector, province, region or contract type.
Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, has been talking about “a new kind of war” for days. The Baltic governments speak of “the biggest security threat in the last 30 years.” EU Council President Michel calls the arrival of a few hundred migrants a “brutal, hybrid, violent and undignified attack.” And the most enthusiastic European press echoes him today: “We are facing a hybrid attack from a clearly hostile neighbor” editorialized El País. But are we really facing a “hybrid war” action? Are a few hundred refugees a threat? To whom?
A thousand refugees and migrants at the border may seem commonplace in Mediterranean countries. But on the eastern borders of the EU this means a full-fledged refugee crisis mobilizing the army and serving as the basis for a brutal nationalist and racist campaign. In a perverse game between the dictator of Belarus and the rulers of Poland, Lithuania, Hungary and Greece, it is serving as a means of ending the few remaining guarantees for refugees and migrants in Europe. “The right of asylum, as laid down in European law, no longer exists throughout Europe,” sentenced Spiegel yesterday.
From the Maghreb to Bosnia via the Horn of Africa and Syria, a loop of simmering armed conflict is reactivating around Europe as the bulk of the U.S. imperialist effort shifts to Asia.
What is the problem between the EU and Poland? Is the authoritarian drift of Hungary and Poland real or just an excuse? Do the Polish arguments have any basis? Does the PiS (Polish ruling party) want a “Polexit”? Why is this battle so important and why is the European Commission being so blunt now?
The 2021 German elections tested Merkel’s strategy to revamp the political apparatus, to contain the revolt of the angry petty bourgeoisie which had uplifted the far-right (AfD) but also to prepare the apparatus to promote the Green Deal and a strengthened EU centralized around the interests of German capital.
Supply crisis in Britain, closed gas stations, empty shelves, electricity sector bankruptcies, meat sector on the brink of collapse. Waste and unnecessary shortages are rampant everywhere as the contradictions of capital become exacerbated.
The electricity companies, the CEOE employers’ association, the banks… the corporate bourgeoisie is radicalizing, at least apparently: it is charging against the lukewarm palliative measures on electricity prices, against a rise in the minimum wage below inflation and even against the distribution of the recovery funds being decided by the government. What is happening? Why is the ruling class threatening to abandon Sánchez and take the wheel itself?
Elections in Russia are held with unemployment on the rise and the Covid in full force -to the point of surrounding Putin. Predictable and contested results which, although deformed by fraud and the very nature of electoral processes in general, show the erosion of the political apparatus of the Russian bourgeoisie. What the European and Anglo-Saxon press does not tell openly is that the system lives in permanent and brutal war against the workers and that the economic bases of Russian capitalism see their expectations improving thanks to an unexpected ally: the USA.
Australia breaking its naval contract with France as part of the birth of AUKUS, is just “the tip of the iceberg” according to a senior British Foreign Office official. It is the culmination of President Obama’s “pivot to Asia,” as asserted by the US, recalling that “no matter how much one pretends otherwise it is impossible to pivot to Asia without turning away from other places.” The European ruling classes translate this as the end of a historical period in which they could rely – not without contradictions – on the US to defend their own imperialist interests. The future of Europe is changing.
Yesterday the European Parliament held the State of the Union 2021 debate. In her speech, Ursula von der Leyen skipped central issues and tensions between countries in order to emphasize the constituent tone with which the Commission tries to curtail the memory of the many social disasters it drives and coordinates: from its infamous border and migration policy to the vaccination campaign via the impact of the Green Deal on the electricity bill.
A week after the publication of the law establishing the new vocational training, the public news media promise us that “for the first time in history vocational training will no longer be the poor relative” and the government hypocritically repeats that the new training will create jobs. This is not true. But they leave workers no other option. The new vocational training transforms the entire labor market and no worker is going to be able to stay out of it. That is why enrollment applications have grown by 51% and it is already clear that in many autonomous communities there will not be enough places this year. Not by miscalculation, but by design. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Britain is militarizing the Falklands/Malvinas at full speed. Argentina is building its largest military base in Ushuaia and its senate is preparing to create a new crime of opinion: doubting or belittling Argentina’s claims to sovereignty over the islands. And in case the increase in tension was not enough, Chile is unilaterally extending its southern borders, calling into question the already tense balance in the control of the Mar de Hoces/Drake Passage that separates South America from Antarctica. Why are this dance of positions and this apparently gratuitous increase in tension as well as the most crass nationalism happening right now?
In an interview on TVE this Monday, Spanish Economy Minister Nadia Calviño guaranteed that the minimum wage increase in 2021 will be approved this October and will not have retroactive effects. Yesterday, Tuesday, newspapers opened with the angry complaints of the doctrinaire petty bourgeoisie who, together with the employers’ association flatly refuse any rise in the lowest wages given the lower profitability of their own capital. Meanwhile, the labor minister promised that she would “bring employers and unions together” during September. What lies beneath the fuss, and what real impact will it have on wages?
The policy on Afghan refugees puts feminism back in the spotlight. After the Taliban conquest of Kabul, the main EU countries made it clear that they would only provide shelter for a few direct collaborators and the upper echelons of the Afghan bourgeoisie. However, a clear message soon began to become hegemonic among politicians: even within the fortunate group of local elites there would be differences based on gender.
After putting all its diplomatic weight on the table, the Spanish government managed to get Spain out of the British government’s latest round of travel restrictions. An oxygen balloon for tourism, a sector that has been the mainstay of accumulation in Spain since the 1960s and for whose results there have been precipitous restriction de-escalations which caused new pandemic waves. But this time, a year and a half later, it seems that “normality” is further away than ever. A good part of the tourism jobs will not come back anymore.
Over the past month EU countries such as Denmark and Lithuania have unabashedly espoused new inhumane, if not criminal, policies towards migrants and refugees seeking asylum. Spiegel’s revelations and the European Parliament’s investigation have shown the involvement of border police in Italy, Malta, Greece and the head of Frontex, an EU agency, in real crimes against humanity. But this time there is no crisis or problem. The true face of an EU that routinely uses “Rule of Law” and “Human Rights” as imperialist propaganda is made visible.
The European Commission presented this week “Fit for 55”, a package of measures aimed at developing the European Climate Law. The stated aim is to reduce by 2030 emissions in the EU countries as a whole to 55% of what they were in 1990. The media linger on the end of cheap flights and the ban on the sale of cars with combustion engines by 2035. But first and foremost it is a way to inflate the speculative emissions market at the cost of higher fuel, heating, transport, food and construction prices.
Today’s news alone makes it clear that the EU is coming apart at the seams in the East… both among its members and with those aspiring countries in the Western Balkans. Tensions from which China, Turkey and Russia are far from being alien. But France and Germany are looking for more than just public works markets. They seek to create a low-wage region in order to shorten their production chains, increase margins and become less dependent on Asia.
On June 16, the Greek Parliament passed a bill that allows and legalizesthe ten-hour workday. The new labor reform in Greece also introduces a digital work card in order to monitor employees in real time Spanish-style, as well as increasing the maximum overtime to 150 hours per year. In addition, the new law aims to impose new minimum services in public services in case of strike and sanctions in case of service interruption.
French regional elections 2021: a massive abstention was expected of almost 60%… but in the end it seems that not even a third of the voters showed up to vote. The République is in danger! The minister of the interior, the editorials of the right and Mélenchon scream in unison. Libération says that the problem is a lack of supply, they would like an even wider panply of coourful parties, Le Figaro says that taking Le Pen to the second rounds in order to mobilize the vote under the guise of an electoral anti-fascism no longer works. Those of Le Pen, with their star Mariani at the head point out that they were the main victims of the massive abstention. But what does all of this really mean?
Spain now has the most expensive electricity in Europe. The labor income-sucking mechanism called Green Deal is now running at full speed… and with a bonus: Spanish imperialism is recouping its European failures through the electric power bill
The G7 summit kicked off in Cornwall with Biden warning the EU and Britain: “Don’t jeopardize peace in Northern Ireland”. Is he exaggerating? Not so much: the European Commission says it has “little patience” left with the British government and openly threatens a trade war. Meanwhile, the British services whip up the ultra unionist groups and use the media apparatus of the very US Democratic Party to sow discord between Dublin and Brussels.Welcome to the “sausage wars”, a supposedly amusing name for an imperialist feud that may well claim lives this summer.
The impact of the Green Deal on European cities has begun. In Germany, the development of new terraced housing estates is halted in the midst of a general price hike. In Spain, a new ideological campaign charges against urban upgrading projects (“PAU” in Spanish). The EU speaks of a “New European Bauhaus”, but in reality this is the need to accompany the Green Deal in the cities with measures to ensure the profitability of new logistics and energy macro-investments.
The Green Deal, the rising cost of household electricity bills and the lack of profitable applications for capital are concentrating investment back into housing speculation and construction, transforming homes, neighborhoods and urban structures.
After the departure of the self-proclaimed Saharawi president by the hand of the Algerian and Spanish secret services, we can only expect a cold war with Morocco… which, like all cold wars, will not only have consequences for the capital invested in Africa by the ruling class, but also for the security and lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
Last night [in Spain -TN], the new electricity bill came into force. Although the Green Deal is already being felt in the general price increase, this is the first direct move that ties the energy transition to the loss of workers’ purchasing power. It is sold to us as a price drop made possible by renewables. In reality it is quite the opposite.
These past few days the Russian press has been talking about an epidemic of strikes in Georgia, a country in the Caucasus where for decades working class protests have been swamped by nationalism. What is going on and what is driving the strikes in Georgia?
The Italian superminister for climate change began his mandate by going against meat and dairy consumption; the Spanish government in its 2050 plan, presented yesterday, endorses Greenpeace’s doctrine and proposes to halve consumption by raising prices; in Germany ending cheap meat is one of the main proposals of the Green party, which is likely to head the next government. Meat, dairy and other high-quality protein foods are well on their way to becoming luxury products. With the Green Deal, the diet of the working class is once again the terrain of class struggle.
After almost 36 hours of crisis with Morocco and after a general mobilization of the Spanish state, everything is apparently back to normal… but only after the National Court reopened a case for genocide against the Polisario leader clandestinely sheltered by Spain, and it became clear that the European support would not go beyond statements and after the USA supported Morocco and disregarded Sánchez. A full-fledged triumph of the Moroccan simulacrum that was enough to bring about a state crisis and highlight the international isolation of Spanish capital. Now a good part of the Spanish interests call for a “Perejil moment” from Sánchez, a change of course in Spanish imperialism.
The unfolding events we are seeing in Ceuta are not a “migratory crisis” [originally posted on May 18th]. It is an event encouraged and organized by the Moroccan state. We are not facing a refugee tragedy but a happening serving as political pressure in the context of the imperialist conflict between Spain and Morocco. A conflict that is becoming increasingly dangerous.
The German Green Deal has a new rallying cry: end cheap flights to Majorca. At the same time, the Biden government’s new shoe tariffs threaten the Spanish consumer goods export flagship. And if that were not enough, the increased tension with Morocco is pushing towards the closure of companies and factories relocated there by Spanish capital over the last few decades. The Spanish imperialist model is in a state of crisis and is dragging down the industry. Spanish imperialism looks again to Argentina and Mexico looking for the first time not only for markets, but also for capitals to which it offers a beachhead in the EU.
The EU’s Porto Social Summit unveils, decades later, its long-promised “social pillar” program. The “Porto Social Commitment” has been triumphantly presented as a shift towards employment and workers, a return to the welfare discourse that would definitively close the door to more precariousness and “austerity”. Nothing could be further from the truth. The commitment will be austerity’s banner.
Germany is raising its climate targets. It changes its Climate Law by committing to a 65% reduction in emissions by 2030. The formal cause, a Constitutional Court ruling. The real cause: competition with the US. The important thing: each push of the Green Deal increases economic contradictions, weighs down production and imposes an increasingly dark horizon on living and working conditions. In the increased competition, the state centralizes and looks for new ways to turn broken private companies into state-owned enterprises. There is nothing progressive about this. We are not closer to socialism, but to a war economy.
France and Germany jointly unveiled their recovery plans yesterday. Italy and Spain did not join the ceremony but had agreed on the date with Berlin and Paris and presented them on their own. They were in a hurry.
Yesterday, the EU reached a provisional agreement on the European Climate Law. In case there were any doubts, the objectives are explicit: To provide predictability to investors and to ensure that the transformations generated by the Green Deal in industries and capital markets are irreversible. Moreover, in concrete terms, the European Climate Law represents an acceleration in the speed of change. No one is unaware of the reason behind the rush: U.S. and China at odds for virtually everything else, are about to turn the Biden summit into the staging of a two-way split of the capital markets they hope to revive.
Russia mobilizes its troops on the Ukrainian border and launches with the US and EU a new exchange of armed threats. Meanwhile, strikes break out in the Donbass on both sides of the front. The only real alternative to a new slaughter will not come from a Putin-Biden deal to share out plunder, but from extending and uniting struggles across borders and armed fronts. Strikes in the Donbass lead the the way.
Boris Johnson unveiled before the British Parliament his Global Britain strategy. A true militarist nonsense which increases the UK nuclear weapons arsenal by 40%, bares its imperialist teeth at such tenuous threats such as Spain and Argentina, will fill sea trade routes with nuclear warheads and openly plans to destabilize South America and Asia in order to gain weight in the trade war. All in a context in which its American and European allies are fueling a new conflict in Northern Ireland.
Is Europe moving towards outlawing the extreme right wing? In Germany, the state’s counterinsurgency services have begun a process in the middle of an election year that could well lead to the dissolution of AfD, currently the main opposition party. In France, the government has dissolved one of the most powerful far-right wing youth groups. In Austria they are following the same path. But… Are they trying to take the far right off the board, or are they trying to do something else?
There seems to be no way out of the crisis in sight. Official statistics are dire and unemployment is close to an all-time high. The Spanish government and the European Union are suggesting a Keynesian way out through recovery funds, digitalization and, above all, the Green Deal. Could it work?
IWD and Covid will be linked for a long time in Spain. One year ago now, prioritizing the liturgy of IWD over the emerging Covid epidemic meant the acceleration of a slaughter that we are still far from getting rid of today and about which we are still being shrouded with dangerous half-truths.
40th anniversary of the February 23rd coup attempt (23F): the Spanish monarchy and the Congress celebrates its commemoration as if it were a national holiday and the TV news start again with the images of Tejero and a young King Juan Carlos. The state wants to revitalize the myth that legitimized the 1978 regime and the monarchy. The media strive to find new scoops and the radio and public television stations focus on producing new content. But what was 23F really about? What were its historical consequences? What did it mean for the workers?
Catalan Elections. Needing to redirect the territorial rebellion and at the same time dependent on its parliamentary expressions in order to pass its budgets, the Spanish bourgeoisie barely manages to strengthen its institutional parties (PP and PSOE), but it cannot get out of this groundhog day. Operation Illa is the last example of the shortness of their ambitions and the inadequacy of their achievements. Ahead lie new episodes of institutional crisis and new fractures in the state.
The more contradictory the national interests within the EU, the more incentive Brussels has to try to counter them with more outward protectionism – which inevitably triggers its trade rivals – and new moves forward – such as vaccine centralization – that put the Commission and the interests it represents in a weaker position in the face of interference from those same rival states.
European Commissioner for External Action Josep Borrell landed in Moscow today. The eastern countries and France, but especially the US, are pushing Germany to halt the final section of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline works and see the opportunity for the Commission to mutualize the decision by dressing it up as retaliation against Russia. For now, the visit is providing evidence that tensions within the EU and NATO are not smaller than those pitting Germany against Russia.
Mortgage signings are falling, funds are hitting record numbers of rental properties, and construction is reviving with their requests: they want properties because they believe that a good portion of workers will be living in rented housing from now on. The recession and hedge funds are shaping your life and your city for decades to come. Both your life and your city will be more precarious and will offer less room for you.
New protests of farmers and livestock breeders. Two new issues at the forefront: the consequences for the countryside of the Green Deal and the alleged colonial status of Spain’s southern regions.
When we read the business press, capital seems happy. According to Oxfam, the global bourgeoisie has already made up for its wealth losses. The Swiss bank has doubled its profits. And listed companies are heading for a dividend recovery.
EU politicians are right about one thing: delaying vaccination hurts capital and its businesses and above all -even if they try to render it invisible- it costs the lives of workers and the general population. If, as they point out and appears likely, this delay is partly due to a narrow choice of main supplier to create a biotechnological champion, the EU would have shown to what extent the peaceful and civilized European project is capable of the worst crimes to serve the interests of German capital.
The large snowfall has done more to stop the Covid massacre than the intentionally limited measures of the regions and the government. However, the council of ministers is sucking up as if a country paralized by a non-exceptionally dramatic snowfall for days was the most normal thing in the world. Under the ice lies the sad truth of Spanish capital normalizing the unacceptable.
The horizons of Spanish capital are shrinking. And with them, its political borders – in the Americas and in Brussels – and even physical ones – in Gibraltar and Africa – are beginning to be called into question.
The Spanish government closes 2020 by charging head-on against the status of retirees and permanent workers. It is a warning of what is coming in 2021 and what they mean when they talk about reforms.
While the government renounce stopping the third wave of Covid sells a law of euthanasia whose social context is really obscene, capital is centralizing, concentrating and assaulting our incomes, which are falling sharply. While the ideological noise covers the changes in the background, the unions “reserve” themselves. For what?
The big industrial companies have been relieved of paying their share and the electricity oligopoly gets some competitive advantage. Both are winners. Among those of us who will bear the cost in our household bills, the workers, especially precarious ones, and large families, will feel it more in our total budgets. Welcome to the first act of the Green Deal and what it is going to mean for us.
Anyone following the Spanish media would be led to believe that the situation of the political regime is one of true decomposition. And yet…
According to what the televisions and newspapers tell us, the expansion of the pandemic, presented as a natural disaster, would not be the result of the success or failure of politic decisions, of the sufficiency or insufficiency of public measures that is, of social conditions, but of the individual behavior of those who in the end are victims of the disease.
The so-called locomotives of the EU, France and Germany, are increasingly divided and confronted with each other. Their attempts to give momentum end up being counterproductive, separating sometimes the East, sometimes the South. At this point it is undeniable that the pandemic and the recession have accelerated the process of implosion of the EU. And there is no let up and no respite.
It is enough to collect the headlines of the week to see clearly that both the public health policy and reduction of infections, as well as labor legislation, retirement coverage and distribution of income and revenue are bent to the desire to improve the immediate results of investments in companies. What capital demands in order to recover profitability takes precedence over the most basic and urgent needs of the workers, who are systematically made invisible.
The macronite response to the wave of strikes and its synchronization with Brussels, Germany and the Netherlands in increasing the repressive capacities of the states, comes at a time when the most basic contradictions of the system are becoming increasingly violent. It is clear to us that the rules of confrontation of the ruling class and the state are already set: against the affirmation of universal needs, use nationalism; against protests, use repression and impunity.
The permanent ceasefire agreement in Nagorno-Karabakh leaves winners and losers. But these do not always coincide with the military outcome of the contest.
The pandemic is once again out of control for the European states, which are once again declaring themselves surprised… but are taking only limited and insufficient measures. Why don’t they learn? How can the slaughter be stopped? Is it true that there will be a vaccine in a few months?
The General State Budget confirms that the promised “social turn” will not come. The faster the government tries to flee forward, the harder it treads on ice that is barely holding up.
Tens of thousands of people have already been sacrificed. The Spanish ruling class is willing to sacrifice whatever and whoever is necessary until they recover profitability. As Roig says, they are not going to “deviate from their path” just for anyone’s health and life.
The media are beginning to reflect the real humanitarian crisis in the Canary Islands and Melilla. What they don’t tell us is why there is now a wave of arrivals of people willing to risk their lives in order to reach continental European Spain, why the overcrowding and what is under the protests of the neighbors of the neighborhoods where refugees and migrants are now badly settled.
What lies beneath all this debate about the “rule of law”? Why does it appear precisely in Hungary, Poland and now Spain? Where does it lead to an EU that is only in the early stages of a new recession?
Spanish ruling class is worried, they are in solidarity with the florist, the shopkeeper, the hotelier, the small guesthouse and even the nightclub.. But nobody should think that they will share the state’s booty with the small fry, the massive subsidies or the big projects financed with European funds. One thing is to be supportive and another to lose volume of income. No, big capital is “sympathetic” with its small SME brothers in its own way: for its own benefit and putting the lives of the workers under fire.
Capitalism mobilizes more and more resources into making us poorer in relative terms. But when crisis devalues capital, it impoverishes us in absolute terms in order to regain momentum. And since in every cycle capital finds it increasingly difficult to recover, we have been suffering from precarization and impoverishment for more than ten years without ever recovering. All the plans for the recovery of capital are plans to worsen the global situation of the workers.
The so-called recovery fund is becoming not only a way to accelerate the transfer of income from labor to capital throughout the continent, aggravating the conditions of exploitation of the vast majority of workers, but also is becoming the way in which Germany conditions the development of Europe.
The Spanish bourgeoisie does not want to try to relegitimize the state by relying on the anger and desperation of the petty bourgeoisie, it only wants to tame it and dilute its expressions in the institutional parties in the way that Merkel seems to be achieving in Germany.
The pandemic is growing again in Spain. But the governments do not want us to fear it, or even to see it. They just want us to think about what they want the crisis to mean for us, their crisis. Capitalism no longer liberates Humanity from old fears of Nature. Now it competes to create even more fear of its impoverishing reflexes, of its destructive capacity.
A short FAQ with maps to understand the dimensions and danger of the clashes that broke out yesterday in the Caucasus.
The right wing in Madrid has shown its most criminal cynicism, but together with it, and with no less cynicism, the left has been the first to take a stand for the needs of profitability of investments against the universal needs of the workers, the first of them being not to be infected or to become an infection source.
Now we have a rising epidemic and an accelerated crisis. Will they see in the situation of the workers a human need to be satisfied or will they see in it the forces of scarcity preparing the way for us to «freely» accept the «reforms» that they have been trying to impose for years?
So what’s going on with the Brexit? Is the bluffing between Brussels and London getting out of hand? Underlying the debate about the future of the Irish border there is actually a struggle over the conditions to sell on the European market. But there are consequences that go far beyond that and a risk… that goes even further.
The Spanish government reported yesterday 156 covid deaths in the last 24 hours. primary care is already overwhelmed. This autumn a fundamental factor will be that the discontent that is beginning to emerge in the educational strikes shall become undeniable, shall be openly manifested and shall set out the firm ground of universal human needs. It is fundamental to stop the upward spiral of slaughter. Fundamental to confront the [[pauperization|mass impoverishment of the workers]] they are demanding in order to revive national capital, its enterprises and its finances.
The merger, announced today, of Bankia and Caixabank, marks the ways in which Spanish capital will reorganize itself in the face of the crisis, points out its consequences for the workers and advances changes in its imperialist orientation and even in the face of Catalan independence.
In a few days, the government parties in Germany went from the scandal of the last denialist demonstration to the celebration of Merkel as the restorer of the post-war political apparatus. In Spain, meanwhile, the German echo is felt.
The news of the day in Spain is an event organized by the government to which the heavy weights of the bourgeoisie and the Spanish political apparatus are expected to attend. It does not really have a name but rather a slogan: Spain can do it. A whole confession of the atmosphere that reigns in the ruling class: impotence. And it is no wonder.
When you double a bet and at the same time you double the insurance with which you cover your losses, one cannot say that the foreseeable result is the same. In case the bet is lost, the result will be even more catastrophic.
With infections on the rise and an increasing number of occupied beds and ICU patients, things are already approaching the level of early March. The opening of schools in September threatens to trigger a new phase of mass community transmission. And the only thing made clear by the Spanish bourgeoisie and state is a red line: “no more lockdowns, we lose revenues and taxes”. Only a strong strike movement can force the state or the bourgeoisie to put lives, our lives, ahead of their profits.
The workers will not gain any advantage from marching with Lukashenko, but neither will they gain any advantage from marching under the flags of the opposition. It is precisely the social and economic slogans -and not those of the opposition and its proposal for a general strike- that can enable the struggle in the Belarusian plants to be carried on and extended to the private sector again
The workers have finally appeared on the scene in Belarus, with their own concerns and not under the initial calls of the opposition. They are now presenting themselves as a force during this crisis, but the outcome is not yet decided. Will they be caught up in the incipient popular revolt as the opposition wants, or will they advance their own struggle as a class by adding their own slogans to their own budding movement?
The world’s news programmes depict the elections and protests in Belarus in a completely contradictory way. While the Spanish TV links the electoral fraud to Russia, the BBC recalls the background of recent clashes between the two regimes and the German TV highlights the joint statement of Poland and Lithuania lukewarmly calling for further talks. What lies beneath the political crisis in Belarus?
King Juan Carlos I is leaving Spain. Are we facing an institutional crisis? What forces are precipitating it? What are the bourgeoisie and the Spanish state reacting to, and with what outlook?
The low volume of the “recovery” funds turns them into a mere cover of the “austerity” promoted by the EU, with all that it means for the workers as a forced reduction of the general exploitation costs of the labor power: less healthcare services, education, social cohesion, etc. But this “austerity”would remain a mere appetizer for the general offensive against workers’ conditions implied by the “reforms” aimed at by this “recovery fund”.
For the workers of the countries that have been affected, the credits really are cutbacks and the direct aid that they receive will only serve to accelerate the transfer of income from labor to capital. And in the case anyone had hoped that the European Council could serve to prevent the escalation of war in the Mediterranean and the horizon of barbarism that it opens, they were deeply mistaken.
The EU, one of the most contradictory imperialist projects both among its partners and in the global imperialist arena, will probably be one step closer to imploding.
The end of the stage of confluences around Podemos is the end of the possibilities of a fit of petty-bourgeois revolt in the political apparatus of the state. The form that remains open points to a regime crisis.
Today, the Spanish Minister of Economy, Nadia Calviño, has published a document to convince large capital funds to invest in state debt. In other words, she explains why betting on the overall result of national capital is a good investment. The set allows to understand well the continuity of the “road map” of the Spanish bourgeoisie and what it considers its “achievements”. Achievements that, of course, the PSOE-IU-Podemos government makes its own and intends to carry “further”.
The distribution of offices speaks of a recomposition and electoral rise of the left in which the Socialist Party leaves the leadership to the Greens. But this official story remains very lame and incomplete.
Yet another generation of students has been let down. But what exactly are they denouncing? Where is this denunciation pointing to? Are they looking forward or backwards?
The Spanish capital will be one of the most punished in the world in 2020. The “solutions” provided by capital managers and trade unions cannot produce any hope.
A general disbelief towards democracy and its supposed ability to represent the interests of the workers, clearly emerges. 60% of those Europeans asked say that systemic parties do not care about “people like me”.
While the right wing brings out for a walk their doberman wrapped in the red and yellow flag and the left wing enjoys discussing children’s sex and the future of princesses, the reality of the workers has already initiated the “adjustment”.
Amidst repression, torture and militarization, the situation in the Donbass mines remains unsettled but an extension and a move towards mass strike cannot be excluded.
EU gave a perfect opportunity to present the Sánchez strategy for attacking pensions, the greatest direct attack in more than a decade on workers’ working and retirement conditions, as if it were a European imposition.
Germany is getting ready toend off, via taxes, cheap meat. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Under the “green deal” comes an accelerated transformation towards “bio” livestock and agriculture that, at least temporarily, would entail non-tariff barriers to imports from outside the EU and a way to attract capital to the countryside. A trend is beginning that will end the era of cheap meat.
Sanchism needs Rajoy’s labor reform to do its alchemy so that, for example, each rise in the minimum wage reduces the total wage bill received by the workers. And if he were to repeal it, it would be in order to re-enunciate it under a different name… and with the same substance.
Germany wants an empire that will buy its overproduction and generate applications of capital, with a currency subordinated to its logic of accumulation, a Central Bank subordinated to its courts and a well-controlled nuclear army… but also wants to organize everything at a bargain price. No, the scaffolding does not seem to be solid enough for this historic era of economic, political and social tornadoes and hurricanes. But is there anything to be regretted? Are we workers losing something important with the collapse of the “European perspective”?
Along with the recession, a period of direct attacks on our working, retirement and general living conditions is opening up. Wages, pensions and working conditions will be in the front line. It is more important than ever not to fall into the traps that attempt to make us support the production of dividends at the expense of our vital needs, be it in the name of “reconstruction”, “social justice” or “climate change”.
This evening Macron and Merkel will be presenting their “salvation of the EU”. But in today’s historical conditions, every step forward is one step closer to a zombie structure.
In the historical period in which we are living, the mobilizations of the petty bourgeoisie, regardless of their ideological expression, cannot converge with those of the workers. On the contrary, they will be increasingly in conflict with the universal needs that the workers’ struggles assert. Worker’s struggles will have to overcome any nationalist temptation, any “popular” approach in order to advance. From day one.
It is more urgent and necessary than ever to affirm the needs of the workers, which are universal human needs, for what is coming is a dogfight in which we are wanted as offal.
For Spanish capital, the fall in tourism is not a “social problem”… it is losing a leg and going headlong into a deficit in the trade balance that will accelerate the trend towards its devaluation, as happened in 2009.
The fact that “de-escalation” is possible without overwhelming the health system is not the same as saying that de-confinement will not produce more infections and deaths, nor that it is advisable from a health point of view.
The EU cannot resolve its contradictions, only by raising them again and again to a higher level, in the hope that the developing global environment of “economic warfare” will be enough, as external pressure, to precariously hold the structure together.
Neither Dutch, Danish or German nordism nor Spanish anti-EU pro-sovereignty narratives fall from the sky. But in order to understand them, one must first discover the particular place of Spanish imperialism between Europe and Latin America.
We have to stand up in the workplaces and demand the closure of all non-essential production as long as transport and workplace safety cannot be ensured.
Even if an agreement on debt mutualization were reached today or in the next few days, what would follow would be a struggle to change rules, protect national sector-based markets and reduce the interdependence among national bourgeoisies. And so the EU would also dry up and the old reactionary dream of the United States of Europe would come to an end, not with a bang but with a whimpe
What unites the strategy of the Spanish bourgeoisie then and now is the aim of transferring income from labor to capital in order to revive profitability and the fear that the unions, on their own, will not be able to impose sufficient discipline in the workplaces and – above all – in the streets, in order to make a new wave of precarization.
The massacre of the residences is a very clear expression of how the objectives and incentives of[accumulation are opposed to the most basic human needs. The result is a bloody incompetence from the point of view of something as basic as the protection of human lives, but in reality, it has been “exemplary” from the point of view of the placement of capital and its profitability. Covid has spread and swept through them precisely because they were efficient for the purposes for which they were created.
Winners and losers of the inter-imperialist brawls in the EU have a common objective: “recovery”, in other words, organizing a brutal transfer of income from labor to capital. Once again, as always, as in any imperialist conflict, the main enemy is within the country itself.
Italy closes non-essential production under the pressure of strikes. The governments of Spain, Portugal, France, Germany… are resisting. Not only they want to impose the criterion of saving investments over saving lives. They know the shape of the post-crisis will depend on the outcome of today’s struggles.
The epidemic will not only change the competitive place and access to markets of European big business. It will also change the correlation of forces within the EU. It is now doubtful whether Italy, Portugal, Spain and even Greece would again support the adoption of “defensive measures” against China from Brussels. In a few weeks, when the health and economic crises further exacerbate the brutal instincts of the German bourgeoisie, it is more than possible that Germany and France, not China, will be the ones in an uncomfortable position on the European imperialist map.
The “shock plan” is a two-handed movement – one hand being the Spanish government and the other the European Central Bank – aimed at achieving the lowest possible devaluation of Spanish capital. To this end, it articulates a massive transfer of income from labor to capital that is “compensated” with minimum social coverage.
If anyone ever believed that the European Union could serve to moderate the appetites of national capitals and put the most basic universal human needs first, they can see their hopes refuted today, once again, with absolute clarity. On the other hand, those who doubted the ability of the working class to stand up to the barbarity of capital across national borders have a palpable demonstration these days of how the working class not only exists as a universal class but that its struggle is the only one capable of affirming the primacy of human needs effectively and across borders.
Too late and too little is the political formula for this epidemic to decimate workers and their families. We have to stop all non-essential production for confinement to serve any purpose. And we have to stop layoffs disguised as “emergency measures”.
Four lies and half truths that disarm us and in front of Coronavirus, and some important lessons for the workers as a class.
Europe is at war… against refugees, migrants… against all of us.
How the fear of some and the discontent of others led the islanders as a whole to join into the struggle by making the migrants’ demands their own
Since 21 October, workers at the railway maintenance centre in Châtillon, the high-speed rail network’s linchpin in western France, have been on strike without prior notice independently of the unions. They stand up against the appalling working conditions and union control that led to the disastrous strike of 2018.