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.