What are the elections of 23J about?
The PSOE would "better serve" the Spanish bourgeoisie by moving to the opposition.
One week before the elections, all analysts -and party structures- take for granted the end of Sanchismo in a framework in which:
A new austerity is being prepared, starting with the reform of pensions in installments, a new push to dismantle the health and education systems.
«Will 2023 be the end of Sanchismo?», 18/12/2022
The idea that seems to be already a consensus in the circles of the ruling class is that a defeat -if possible not very overwhelming- of the de facto coalition between PSOE and Sumar, would improve governability because it would avoid institutional attrition. To put it clearly: it would allow to present, once again, the acceleration of attacks on the living conditions of the workers imposed by the development of the crisis and the war as the product of a neo-liberal right wing while the left is being remade as a false alternative.
A PP-Vox government, convinced of the need to make adjustments and obliged to do so, may encounter a double social animosity, in material and cultural terms, which will be difficult to manage. In addition, there would be striking effects, because taxes would defraud the expectations of their own voters: direct and indirect taxes would have to be raised, new ways to collect would be found (and there is already talk of highway tolls) that would harm those middle classes that are electorally betting on the right.
It would be, therefore, a suitable scenario for a left that has just lost the elections to recompose itself from the combat with that right wing that returns to austerity and that applies the formula of the 2011 crisis once more. It would even seem beneficial for the left not to govern, and for the right wing to be the one to face the hard times.
What the whole political world is thinking about J-23 (and what they are not saying), Esteban Hernández en El Confidencial
In short: in the new stage of austerity and public cuts that is opening up, the PSOE is more useful to Spanish capital by presenting itself as an alternative to austerity rather than by imposing it.
State parties regain solid control of the Parliament
The Spanish bourgeoisie was dragging a long crisis of its political apparatus that reached its hight point in the fake proclamation of the Catalan independence. The electoral revolt of the petty bourgeoisie (independentism, localisms, rise of Podemos and Vox) translated that crisis into unstable parliaments and unprecedented alliances that the 2019 elections did not manage to overcome.
Since then, PSOE and PP, the parties of state, divided the work to lead the parliaments towards a return to order. Sanchismo, seems to have successfully given Podemos the "bear hug" by leaving them "hanging from the government with nowhere to put their feet". The regional electoral results of 2020, which ended the confluences and the Madrid elections of 2021, with the sorpasso of Errejón and the immolation without honors of Iglesias, opened the way to the enthronement of Yolanda Díaz and the conversion of the left of the government into a crutch easily integrated by the PSOE.
For its part, the PP, which in those elections seemed to find a path to get rid of the Vox burden, and after an outburst not exempt of dangers for the Spanish bourgeoisie, found its way through the via Feijoo and endorsed it in the Andalusian elections of 2022. It was the critical moment.
The right wing has shown that the Feijoo strategy can serve to achieve what the ruling class understands as a "return to normality": a bipartisanship of state parties with enough strength not to need any of the expressions of petty-bourgeois revolt in the national parliament. Neither Vox, nor Catalan or Basque independentists.
The PP seems to have finally managed to capitalize on the growing -and logical- fear of the petty bourgeoisie in the face of the crisis and the productive chaos, promising them that "tranquility" and "serenity" will magically produce "prosperity". At least in Andalusia it seems to have worked, so yesterday's electoral result opens the road to the Moncloa for Núñez Feijoo, but above all it lays the foundations for a reconstitution of the political apparatus of the Spanish bourgeoisie around the two big state parties.
Because, with the electoral result in hand, the Spanish ruling class begins to see the Feijoo path as a way to recover its political agenda and to put together a parliament which will allow it to face the coming recession without the petty bourgeoisie hindering the execution of strategic measures or giving it scares such as the secessionist attempt in Catalonia.
Andalusian Elections 2022, 20/6/2022
In these elections, if the polls are confirmed, Podemos will disappear as an independent force and Sumar will end up with around 25 deputies (a new floor after the 35 of UP + the 3 of Más País/Compromís of the legislature that is closing). And on the right, Vox will go from the current 52 to something close to 30, which would leave it as the party with the most seats lost. Its incorporation into regional governments and, if it comes to that, into the central government is too similar to what the Sánchez government did with Podemos to be considered an ascension. From the point of view of the Spanish ruling class, we are one step away from total normalization.
Sanchismo has imposed the new productive model that the Spanish bourgeoisie wanted through the back door.
To top it off, the government that arrives after these elections would find that the essential part of the reforms agenda that constituted the pending roadmap of the Spanish ruling class has already been completed by Sánchez and Díaz. Fundamentally:
- A new productive model based on energy, the military industry and the Green Deal that guarantees refuge from crisis for large national capitals.
- A massive reduction of real wages by mechanisms that have already been automated -with the collaboration of the trade unions- making possible the continuity of the transfer of income from labor to capital.
- The incorporation of the corporate (in big business) and intellectual (via identity politics) petty bourgeoisie into the distribution of what is part of the income of labor that is being transferred to capital, creating a type of "cushion" of consensus among the "urban classes" and, in the case of the university and creative petty bourgeoisie, is the basis of the turn from podemism to yolandism.
- The normalization of a social cohesion policy focused more and more exclusively on "the most disadvantaged", preparing the end of the universality of the education and health systems, etc.
That is why today, regardless of whether PSOE-Sumar or PP-Vox governs, the objective shared by all forces is basically the same:
- A productive model whose basis for reviving accumulation amounts to a lower share of wages in the national income and working class wages concentrated around the minimum wage.
- The implementation of a War Economy in a permanent "income pact"...
- ...which will inevitably consolidate working class poverty and the income "rift" between workers and the petty bourgeoisie
- And the end of universal social services and policies and their replacement with "policies for the vulnerable" in the framework of a new austerity. Austerity delayed only temporarily by policies against the impact of Covid on investments and the war against Russia.
But hasn't the government improved conditions for "the middle and working class"?
Let's take a brief look at the list of conquests presented by Sánchez and Díaz:
- SMI (Minimum Wage). The government used the rise of the minimum wage in conjunction with the cheapness of layoffs to accelerate the rejuvenation of workforces, replacing workers with average wages with those of lower wages. Subsequently, with the impact of the war, inflation of basic foodstuffs and housing brought the life of a family earning two minimum wages to a world of working class poverty.
- Labor reform and the end of precarity. The reality of Yolanda Díaz's "amazing things": statistical illusions, unemployment without benefits, greater power for companies and lower hourly wages for workers. Even the OECD pulls Sánchez's ears for excessively disguising temporary workers as "discontinuous permanent workers".
- New jobs. In reality, not really. 77% of the employment created are "legalizations" of migrant workers that the law of Sánchez and Díaz has made free. The bulk of the remaining "new jobs" is the result of more contracts for fewer contracted hours, lower hourly wages, accelerated staff turnover and some public employment.
- Housing. Day after day the news indicate that the law has not only failed to achieve its stated objective but has exacerbated the problems of access to the rental market, making it so that it is not possible to lead a decent life (rent, food, and basic vital supplies) with the minimum wage. However, the great success of the government has been to consolidate as an industrial sector the "big holders" of rental apartments, funds and banks, so that what were once empty or half-built homes, become a possible and profitable destination for speculative capital.
- Environmental policies. At this point, as demonstrated by record emissions and all the world's flirtations with Repsol, the objective of the Green Deal becomes clear: to transfer income from labor to capital. We cannot forget that the electricity bill escalated wildly before the war in Ukraine. We also cannot forget about the power that was gained by the electricity companies: there are oceans of solar panels that reduce arable land massively while food inflation continues in double digits; and if there were any remaining doubts, everyone takes for granted that nuclear will have financial and regulatory support in the next legislature. And what about climate change adaptation policies? At least 11,000 people died last summer from the heat. Spain is the EU country with the highest number of deaths. The root cause is no mystery: the lack of air conditioning in many buildings in Spain and, above all, the high cost of electricity. This is the just transition that the most progressive government in history has in store for us.
- In Education, the new dual FP (vocational training system) and "competency-based education". In the FP it means less costs for the companies that will have workers trained for specific tasks of the companies themselves without caring that the training of tailor-made workers reduces employability and multiplies underemployment while simultaneously failing to address precariousness or even worsening it with students in internships. In secondary and high school, "competency-based education" means instrumentalizing knowledge to disarm students' personal autonomy and their possibilities of personal development.
Elections: between religious ceremony and buffoonish circus
No wonder that according to the polls the electoral participation of those under 24 will not reach 55%. Sociologists say that they "perceive an unbalanced and disordered world, and to manage in it they prefer to focus on the day-to-day, on what affects them", rather than on politicians that they perceive as "unconnected to their reality".
But the fact is that the politicians, in their own twisted way, are in the field of make-up, of sleight of hand, of magic, that field that fills the TV talk shows with coarse words, lies and disqualifications, as we already saw in the debate between Feijoó and Sánchez. Meanwhile, national capital continues to do its thing and our living conditions are eroded month after month.
An election will not change the road map of Spanish capital. Capitalism will not change its nature because there is one government or another, nor will it cease to be more devastating every day because there are some parties or others in parliament. This is not about who is the driver of the steamroller or the way he wants to drive it. This is about the fact that it is a steamroller, it has no reverse gear and it is already treading on us. No change of driver is going to save us from being crushed. Standing by and watching it run over us is not an option either. We can only face it.