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Politics, Spain

Spain: No Country for Old Men

By Nacho Goberna

Spain is no country for old men. Maybe it was before, when today’s older generation were young, when shoulder to shoulder, with hope, they participated in building this society that we now share with them, or perhaps it will be again in the future when the time comes to leave behind the alienating neo-liberal spending cuts, but by then, and for them, our old people, it will be too late.

Spain is no country for sick people. Maybe it was before, when access to  free, universal, quality, public healthcare, was a right being constructed and not destroyed, or perhaps it will be again be in the future, when we succeed in reversing the viral process of commodification of pain being pursued by our ever so so liberal government and its no less liberal political satellites. But by then, for many, it will be too late.

With pensions awaiting further ‘liberal’ reforms, public health in the process of breaking up in order to be served hot, cheap and handsomely profitable to [private health investors] Capios and Cias, and social services for the elderly and infirm buried under tonnes of government ignominy, tax exemptions and publicly funded bank rescues, as huge as they are absurd, Spain, as I said, is no country for the old or the sick. It is only a country for the rich who can afford the luxury of getting old or sick.

Spain is no country for young men. Maybe it was before, when today’s youth were children playing in their homes and in the streets, or perhaps it will be again in the future when eventually, hopefully, the consequences of neoliberal austerity – as delusional it is self-interested. But by then, for our dilapidated youth, for them, our young contemporaries, it will be too late.

Spain is no country for workers. Maybe it was before, when it didn’t involve workers accepting the concept of helplessness as an intrinsic part of an employment contract, and the God of morbid profits, the sole benchmark to follow in labour relations, or perhaps it will be again in the future, once they sweep from our labour laws the anachronistic echoes that sound more like vassalage that a relationship between peers, of parasitism rather than symbiosis. But by then, and for millions, it will be too late.

With public education undergoing a structural hollowing out, starved of resources, perfectly designed to strengthen religious and private provision, as against state schools, with university, as well as asphyxiation by cuts, being forced to hike fees to weed out the less fortunate in society, regardless of merit, and a labour market left wide open, where there is no concern for the balance to protect both parties, and not just one side, those who hired as well as those who hire, Spain, as I said, is no country for young men and for workers. It is a country solely for the rich who can afford the luxury of raising their own youth, cultivating their studies and working without being treated like neo-slaves.

And no, Spain is no country for liberal political dissidents, for agnostics, republicans, environmentalists, artists, scientists, creatives, thinkers, self-employed, the abused, migrants without a credit card, the disadvantaged.

This liberal Spain, which is leaving so many of us breathless, that buries rights, condemns equilibrium, removes dignity and promotes, with the complacent indifference of a leadership sect, its own agenda, the end of modern welfare and the return to a state based on charity, of forced migration, based on inequality and privileges, stamped with name and title.

No, it is not a country for all, not even for many, only a country for some, for them, the wealthy, experts at keeping their riches at the expense of an entire community, and who do not seem to tire ever of advertising, of saying with a big mouth and small heart, that they are ‘liberals’ and ‘democrats’ although regarding freedom, social justice and democracy, in reality, I fear that if they are doing anything, it is in an illiterate fashion, taking control of that which belongs to all of society, like moral superiors, and misappropriating the hopes of an entire country.

It is impossible, in short, for me to conclude that this ever so ‘liberal’ Spain is a country for all. It is just a country for them.

Nacho Goberna is a composer

nuevatribuna.es  May 7, 2013

Translation by Revolting Europe

About revoltingeurope

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

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