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?
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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?
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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”.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.