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Spain

Spain: We must mobilise! It affects us all, says union

By Cándido Méndez

On October 7, we have to speak out to tell the government that enough is enough! Of an economic policy that comprises only cuts to social and labour rights and involves more recession and unemployment. An erroneous and unfair policy, written across the 2013 State Budget, which weighs into the social majority and does not share out the sacrifices, injecting public money to banks, while cutting the public sector, unemployment benefits, education, health, social services and investment. A policy that contains no stimuli, or an equitable distribution of the tax burden, shifting most of the effort to families, who can barely make ends meet. A policy that, as a first step, imposed a labour reform that makes it easier to fire workers, undermines collective bargaining and leaves workers at the mercy of corporate power.

On October 7, we have to mobilize to demand that the Government informs the public what is being negotiated with the European Union, the new conditions of austerity and adjustment that will result in more cuts. Although all national and international analysts talk of a bailout for Spain, the Government plays the game of ambiguity. It seems to be prioritising electoral considerations, waiting until the regional elections in Galicia and the Basque country have occurred before reporting on issues that directly affect society. The lack of information from the government is shown by the constant absence of the Prime Minister in the Congress of Deputies.

Citizens have the right to know what further cuts the Government is going to impose, pensioners are entitled to know the truth and know that behind the announcement of the 1% increase in their pensions in 2013, is another story: that they will lose purchasing power and that the value of their pensions will not be maintained in line with  the cost of living.

The government denies us the right to information and its supposed commitment to transparency is worthless. It avoids consensus and decides alone, justifying this with repetitive statements: ‘This is what is good for Spain and this is what I have to do but I do not like it.’ It treats us as if we were children and uses  an absolute majority won with a manifesto that said the opposite of what it is doing. Therefore, we demand a referendum in which citizens can express clearly what they think of these policies of cuts that, of course, were not mentioned in the electoral campaign.

On October 7, we have to mobilize against the attempts of the Prime Minister and his team to criminalize those who express discontent on the street. And of course, we do not share Rajoy biased reading that those who do not attend the mobilization  support the actions of the Executive. The impact of the cuts is something that affects us all and to try to associate protests with violence or to  ‘modulate’ the right to protest has overtones that are more reflective of authoritarian than democratic regimes. Moreover, diverting attention with continuous news of violent incidents does not hide the reality: people take to the streets because they are tired of so many years of austerity that deepen the crisis, further impoverish  the population and increase social inequality.

So, on October 7 we have to mobilize. And because austerity policies affect not only Spain, but all European citizens, especially those in the South, we must unite our voices to defend a Europe where the social aspect is not devalued.

Cándido Méndez is general secretary of Workers Commissions

nuevatribuna.es  October 6, 2012

Translation by Revolting Europe

See also report on Sunday 7 Oct protests

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope

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