Spain

(Updated Oct. 19) Occupy Wall Street inspires global protests against the '1%' (activist reports, videos, pics)


Occupy Sydney, October 15, 2011. Photos by Kate Ausburn.

October 16 , 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- According to http://15october.net, protests and actions -- inspired by the Occupy Wall Street mass movement across the United States -- were to take place in more than 950 cities in more than 80 countries on October 15. Actions had already begun in some parts of the world before that.

Spain: 'Hot' autumn of protest brews

Protest in Madrid against austerity and constitutional changes, September 6.

By Dick Nichols, Barcelona

September 11, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In Spain the signs are unmistakable: a “hot autumn” of political and social conflict is brewing in the run-up to the November 20, 2011, general election. Polling night will reveal how much the growing social resistance, brought onto the streets since May largely by the 15-M movement of “indignants”, has shaken up the political scene.

As things stand, the most likely result is a repeat of the wipe-out suffered by the governing social-democratic Spanish  Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) at the May elections for local council and regional governments (known as “autonomous communities”).\

A September 7 the Barometro Cope opinion poll has the right-wing opposition Popular Party (PP) winning  45.1% of the vote and 51.1% of seats.It would trounce the PSOE, which is widely blamed for Spain’s 5 million unemployed. The poll shows the PSOE would win only 31.1% of votes and 36.6% of seats.

Movie: Ken Loach's 'Land and Freedom' (104 minutes)


British director Ken Loach's drama about the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39.

Six days that shook Spain

June 19 brought out entire new sections of Spanish society in protest against a massive, cruel and destructive crisis from which those who were responsible are gaining, while ordinary people suffer -- in evictions, in cuts to child and aged care, in health and education.

By Dick Nichols, Barcelona

June 23, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renwal -- On June 19, huge demonstrations of the M-15 [May 15] movement in 97 Spanish cities and towns brought at least 250,000 people onto the streets. This vast and peaceful turnout marked a new phase in the rising struggle against the austerity policies of the country's "parties of government" -- the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), the People's Party (PP) and the Catalan nationalist Convergence and Union (CiU) -- as well as against the recently adopted Euro stability pact.

Spanish local elections: PSOE rout boosts right and left

Basques celebrate the 25.5% vote for the new Basque nationalist alliance, Bildu, on the evening of May 22, 2011. Photo by www.eitb.com.

By Dick Nichols

May 31, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, an earlier version of this article appeared at Green Left Weekly -- On May 22, in Spain’s local elections, a tsunami of popular rage with the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government of José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero spead across this country of 5 million jobless. It swept away PSOE bastions held since the end of Francoism—scores of “faithfully left-wing” cities and regions surrendered to the right.

Spain: The 'indignant' beat back authorities; 'Nothing will be as it was before'

Demonstrators in Madrid's famous Puerta del Sol protest against politicians, bankers and authorities' handling of the economic crisis on May 19, 2011. Photo by Pedro Armestre/AFP/Getty Images, via The Atlantic, which has more graphic photos.

By Dick Nichols, Barcelona

May 29, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- The central plazas of dozens of cities and towns across Spain bear an uncanny resemblance to Tahrir Square in Cairo. They have been taken over by thousands of demonstrators demanding a "new system". As of May 29, dozens of other central plazas in Spanish cities and towns look the same — taken over by thousands of ordinary people demanding “a new system”.

Spain: The 'indignant’ and the Paris Commune

By Atilio A. Boron

May 24, 2011 – AtilioBoron.com, translated by the tlaxcala-int.org website, via the Bullet -- Perhaps it's one of history's surprises that the popular uprising surging through Spain (and which is beginning to reverberate throughout the rest of Europe) was sparked on the 140th anniversary of the Paris Commune, a heroic moment in which the fundamental demand was also that of democracy. But a democracy conceived as a government by, for, and of the people, and not as a regime serving the interests of patronage and in which the people's interests are inexorably subordinate to the imperative of business profits.

Behind the upsurge in Spain: ‘Revolutions arrive too late or too early, but always when they’re not expected’

“There are many Joses here, I’m not sure if its my turn or another Jose”, said Jose, a middle-aged man standing on the outer rim of a grupo de trabajo (work group) called at midnight on an adjacent street to Sol, the plaza known as point zero, in the heart of Madrid. The plaza has been occupied, as have dozens around Spain, since the huge protests on May 15 that brought hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets to demand “real democracy now!” and an end to austerity measures... That the protesters are mostly young is no surprise in a country where youth unemployment is about 40% and university graduates consider themselves lucky to secure a job at a fast food outlet. The overwhelming sentiment is that corrupt politicians must be banned from re-election and the electoral laws must be reformed so that they are more representative.

Western Sahara: `We want to go back to our country. Nothing will stop us wanting our rights'

Tagiyou Aslama. Photo by Alan Bain.

Tony Iltis interviews Tagiyou Aslama

March 20, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- Western Sahara is the last country in Africa awaiting decolonisation. Invaded by Spain in the late 19th century, in the early 1970s mass mobilisations heralded the birth of the modern independence movement. In 1973, Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro (Polisario Front) was established to wage an armed independence struggle.

By 1975, the dying days of the Franco dictatorship, the Spain had been fought to a standstill. However, rather than allow independence, Spain made an agreement with neighbouring countries, Morocco and Mauritania, whereby these countries would occupy Western Sahara while Madrid would retain access to its maritime resources.

Many Saharawi fled to refugee camps on the border with Algeria. However, most of the men returned to fight for independence. On February 27, 1976, the Polisario Front declared the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).

The European workers' movement: dangers and challenges

In Portugal, November 2010 general strike called by the Communist Party-led CGTP and the Socialist Party-led UGT was massively supported, with 3 million strikers out of a workforce of 4.7 million.

By Murray Smith

March 6, 2011 -- New Socialist -- With the onset of the world economic crisis, the European workers' movement finds itself in a new phase, one that is replete with dangers and challenges. It is important to underline that we are in fact in a new situation and not just a continuation of the previous period.

Mondragon: A path to 21st century socialism?

By Louis Proyect

October 11, 2010 -- On day five of Carl Davidson's visit to Mondragon, he alludes to a transition to a "Third Wave" future by the Basque cooperative. The Fagor pressure cookers might be phased out in favour of "the high-design and high-touch products of a third wave future in a knowledge economy". In order to succeed in this new business, Mondragon would have to develop "new entrepreneurs", according to Isabel Uriberen Tesia, a Mexican on the Mondragon staff.

Davidson has been committed to the Third Wave since 1997 when he launched an online magazine (now defunct) called cy.Rev. Back then I took exception (http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/mydocs/computers/cyrev.htm) to some of its major themes, especially the idea of a "third wave" popularised by futurists Alvin and Heidi Toffler, as well as Republican Party leader Newt Gingrich. I summarised the Third Wave as follows:

The Mondragon diaries: `If labour has the power, then capital ... becomes our tool'

Carl Davidson, national co-chair of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, recently spent five days learning about the renowned Mondragon workers' cooperatives in the Basque Country. Here is his diary of the tour, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with his permission.

Day 1 -- Why humanity comes first at work: learning about bridges to 21st century socialism

“This is not paradise and we are not angels”. --  Mikel Lezamiz, director of cooperative dissemination, Mondragon Cooperative Corporation

After a short bus ride through the stone cobbled streets of Arrasate-Mondragon and up the winding roads of this humanly scaled industrial town in Spain's Basque Country on a sunny autumn morning, taking in the birch- and pine-covered mountains, and the higher ones with magnificent stony peaks, I raised an eyebrow at the first part of Mikel's statement.

The area was breathtakingly beautiful, and if it wasn't paradise, it came close enough.

Basque Country: Armed struggle ends, mass struggle continues

Basque trade unionists protest against the capitalist crisis.

By Jack Ferguson

September 8, 2010 -- Scottish Socialist Youth -- On September 5, 2010, the Basque armed group Euskadi Ta Azkatasuna (Basque Homeland and Freedom, ETA), which has fought an armed struggle for Basque freedom for decades, released a video declaring that several months ago it had decided to stop armed actions, and announced a ceasefire.

In its statement, ETA said:

Why Catalonia stood up on July 10

By Dick Nichols

July 12, 2010 -- When up to 1.5 million people flooded the streets of Barcelona on July 10, 2010, in an enormous demonstration -- behind a lead banner proclaiming, “We are a nation, we decide” -- the most optimistic forecasts were exceeded. The huge protest was against the Constitutional Court’s rejection of the  constitutionality of Catalonia’s Statute of Autonomy. Even the most conservative and Spanish-nationalist media had to admit that this was one of the biggest demonstrations since the end of the Franco dictatorship, and the most important in the history of Catalan nationalism.

The demonstration was endorsed by more than 500 groups, including the parties that make up 88% of the Catalan parliament, Catalan trade union organisations large and small, the Peasants Union,and scores of migrant, community and cultural organisations.

The only parties that opposed the demonstration were the right-wing Popular Party (PP), formerly in power in the Spanish state but only the fourth-largest parliamentary force in Catalonia, and Citizens, a movement of Castilian (Spanish) speakers resentful of pro-Catalan language policy.

Claudio Katz on Latin America, the right and imperialism: `The solution to the crisis of capitalism has to be political'

Claudio Katz.

Claudio Katz interviewed by Fernando Arellano Ortiz. Translated by John Mage for IIRE.

July 10, 2009 -- The exit from the systemic crisis of capitalism needs to be political and "a socialist project can mature in this turbulence". So says the Argentine economist, philosopher and sociologist Claudio Katz, who also warns that the "global economic situation is very serious and is going to have to hit bottom, and now we are but in the first moment of crisis".

Spain: Anti-apartheid protesters disrupt Israeli basketball team's game

Barcelona, February 5, 2009 -- Protesters opposed to Israel's apartheid policies and its atrocities in Gaza chanted slogans and waved Palestinian flags during a basketball match between Maccabi Tel Aviv and Barcelona on Thursday, February 5, 2009. Despite tight police security, protesters managed to disrupt the game by running onto the court before being dragged away by aggressive cops and security guards. Tel Aviv was thrashed 85-65 by Barcelona.

Boicot del partit de bàsquet Barça -- Maccabi de Tel Aviv. Palau Blaugrana. 5 de febrer de 2009. Boicot a Israel. Solidaritat amb Palestina!!

A brief history of the Western Saharan people’s struggle for freedom

A Saharawi fighter on May 20, 2008, at a parade
to mark 35th anniversary of the Polisario Front. Photo by EPA/MOHAMED MESSARA.

By Margarita Windisch

[Read more on the Western Saharan people's struggle HERE.]

Spain colonised Western Sahara and its mostly nomadic people in 1884 claiming it as a protectorate of the Spanish Crown. Spanish rule over Western Sahara was codified in Berlin in 1885, where Africa was carved up among the European powers. The period of Spanish rule was marked by ongoing resistance, revolts and armed clashes with the indigenous population, with its liberation movements being brutally repressed by the Spanish authorities.

A 1966 UN resolution called for Saharawi people’s right to self-determination to be exercised via a referendum which never eventuated. The lack of political developments led to the formation of Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro (the Polisario Front) in 1973. Polisario was conceived as a nationalist front with the aim of achieving independence, and encompassed all Saharawi political trends.

Statement of the POR, Spanish state: `We welcome an independent Kosovo!'

Executive Committee of the Revolutionary Workers Party, Spanish state (POR)

February 19, 2008 -- The independence of Kosovo was necessary. This independence has come after 1989, when Milosevic suppressed the autonomy of the region, and after 1999, when Milosevic started a war of ethnic cleansing. When Serbia lost the last Balkans war, it was a fact that the people of Kosovo would fight to get ride of the Serbian boot.

Before all that, there was an idea of some sort of Democratic Republic of the Balkans, but this idea was wiped out by the reactionary, militarist pan-nationalism of Milosevic's Great Serbia, supported by Russia. Also, Germany and the NATO favoured the dismantling of the Yugoslavian Republic into Slovenia and Croatia. The European powers created this ``balkanisation'' to bring the Balkan peoples into conflict.

The legal and official side of this independence gets sealed now. But the POR welcomed that independence in 1999, and does it again. Long life to a free and independent Kosovo!

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