Spain: Class struggle erupts

After marching for 19 days striking coal miners from Asturias and Leon arrived in Madrid on 11 July to demand that the right wing Popular Party government of prime minister Mariano Rajoy reverses his decision to slash subsidies to the industry and protect jobs. On arriving, the miners were greeted by thousands of supporters, trade unionists and anti-austerity protesters. True to form, Spanish police attacked the rally firing rubber bullets and making arrests.

Last month Rajoy boasted that the European Union bailout of Spain’s banks meant avoiding making further budget cuts to the economy. However, in a volte face he announced to parliament a new raft of austerity measures and tax increases amounting to €65 billion. This included ending the Christmas pay bonus to civil servants, whose main trade union threatened strike action.

Unemployment is already at 25% (over 50% youth unemployment) and one in four Spaniards have been pushed into poverty by the recession and cutbacks.

The depth of the economic crisis has ushered in the most intense period of working class struggle in recent months. The bank bailouts and austerity measures will do nothing to solve the problems of Spanish capitalism. On the contrary, they can only deepen the recession.

Only a working class government, on the basis of socialist policies, is capable of charting a way out of this impasse.