Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 10 June 2009

General strike in Basque country

Spanish capitalism suffering deep crisis

ON 21 May, a general strike took place in the Basque country and nearby Spanish province of Navarra. Organised by Basque trade unions, which organise a significant majority of trade union members in the region, the day was a resounding success, despite the failure of the main Spanish unions, UGT and CCOO, to back the strike.

Danny Byrne, CWI, Spain

Tens of thousands attended demonstrations in the region's main cities of Bilbao, Vittoria and San Sebastian. Chants and banners decried the vicious effects of the capitalists' economic crisis on the living standards of working class and young people.

With unemployment soaring towards 20% and over 35% of young people out of work, the depth of the current crisis of Spanish capitalism, and the attempt to make workers pay for it, are proving to be ingredients for the development of major class battles in the period ahead.

The action of Basque and Navarran workers on 21 May, in the Spanish state's most industrialised region, represents a powerful initial response to this situation, but also offers a glimpse into the certain future - of Spanish workers and youth moving into sustained struggle against the capitalists and their representatives.

Basque political crisis

In the Basque country, Spanish capitalism is currently embroiled in a political crisis. After decades of power in the 'autonomous' Basque parliament, the right-wing PNV (Basque Nationalist Party) lost power to a "grand coalition" of the two main parties of Spanish capitalism, PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers Party) and the PP (People's Party), headed by Paxti Lopez of PSOE.

However, their election victory was only made possible through undemocratic repression and 'illegalisation' of a number of pro-independence parties.

In the March elections, over 100,000 voters cast blank ballots in opposition to this repression. This political crisis formed an important backdrop to the events of the strike, as workers raged against the effects of the crisis, but also against the actions of the anti-democratic PP-PSOE government, united behind capitalism and its attempts to make workers pay for the crisis.

Unite the fightback

The strike exposed the absolute bankruptcy of the leadership of the main Spanish trade union federations, the UGT and CCOO, who not only refused to back the strike, but actively came out in opposition to it.

Their refusal to prepare for a general strike, to send a message to the government showing the power of workers to struggle and force back the attacks of the bosses, is becoming more and more ridiculous as the crisis deepens.

For many, the fact that with over four million unemployed, the government is now negotiating with the bosses on the implementation of a labour law reform which would make sackings easier, was the last straw.

On this year's May Day celebrations the mass demand for a general strike was palpable (see previous article on by Nick Auvache). The strike in the Basque country and Navarra, which has helped to put the idea of a general srike firmly on the agenda, will undoubtedly prove a thorn in the side of the union leaders. A 24-hour general strike would be a vital way to unite the opposition to the attacks and could serve as a step in the development of a united struggle of workers and youth against the crisis and government.

Socialist solutions

The response by the main political parties to the crisis leaves us in no doubt as to whom they represent. In particular, PSOE, once seen by many workers and trade unionists as 'their party', who in national government have bailed out bankers to the tune of billions, alongside billions in public spending cutbacks, have earned the disgust and contempt of Spanish workers.

In the fight against the crisis, the question of political representation for workers and youth will inevitably arise. There is a crying need for a new mass political party that could galvanise the anti-government mood in society and present itself as a workers' alternative to the bosses' parties.

In Spain, the living standards of workers and the futures of young people will not be protected by the capitalists and their parties and many now recognise the necessity of fighting back.

If real lasting gains are to be won, this fightback must be linked to the fight for an end to the dictatorship of big business and the market and for a new society where workers and young people control how wealth is used.

The need to build support for the ideas of genuine socialism throughout the Spanish state is more urgent now than ever.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 10 June 2009:

Step up the fight for a new workers' party

A socialist MEP Joe Higgins elected in Ireland

'The best fighter that money can't buy'

STOP PRESS: BNP feel the anger

Youth Fight against Racism

Socialist Party election campaign analysis

No2EU: a step towards a workers' political voice

Socialist Party workplace news

Reinstate Rob Williams now! Support Linamar strikers

London Underground: Solidarity with strike over jobs and pay

Glasgow council street cleaners start workers' fightback

Bristol bins strike threat brings new conditions offer

Unison NEC elections bring gains for Socialist Party

Another DWP minister resigns

Engineering construction workers ballot: End 'race to the bottom'

Come to NSSN conference

News in brief

Socialist Party publication

The Masses Arise: The French revolution and today's struggles

International socialist news and analysis

European parliament elections 2009: Europe on the edge

General strike in Basque country

Brazil: "Liberty, Socialism and Revolution" is born

Youth fight for jobs

CWU conference backs Youth Fight for Jobs campaign

No to cuts at Kings

Liverpool Community College strike


Home   |   The Socialist 10 June 2009   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleEditorial of the Socialist, issue 968

triangleMass student strike rocks Spanish state

triangleEurope and the workers' movement after Brexit

triangleNo government majority as Podemos partially recovers


triangle110 years ago: massacre at Santa Maria school in Chile - commemorate 21 December 1907

triangleThe Socialist's 2017 quiz

triangleNewham anti-academies strikes

triangleDriving examiners walkout hits first day of new test


triangleTrump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict

triangleA world in crisis, ripe for revolution

triangleThem & Us


triangleSpain: Madrid rally celebrates October revolution

triangleCatalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't





Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict



A world in crisis, ripe for revolution



Trump's tax plan: Robin Hood in reverse



Irish capitalist state: rotten to the core



Fighting sexism, violence and capitalism - an international struggle



Trump's tax attacks



Australia: massive yes vote for marriage equality



Zimbabwe: Mugabe gone - but his regime remains in power



USA: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis



US: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis



Sweden: 'Revolution2017' success



Spain: Madrid rally celebrates October revolution



US: Minneapolis Socialist chimes with voters



Ireland: rail workers demand share of 'recovery'



Ireland: dangerous ideas for the ruling class

triangleMore International articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

triangle13 Dec Labour 'purge' furore really just democracy

EU parliament, Strasbourg

triangle13 Dec Brexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice