Spanish youth shake Zapatero government


The Spanish municipal and regional elections that were held on Sunday took place under unprecedented conditions as thousands of youth and workers defied the law and the police and continued their occupation of main squares in cities throughout the country.

Openly acknowledging the revolutionary uprisings  in the Arab world as their inspiration, Spanish youth began to occupy public squares in Madrid one week ago. They were protesting about the ‘austerity’ measures forced on them by the European Central Bank and willingly accepted by the ruling Socialist government following the collapse of the EU’s fourth largest economy in the face of the worldwide capitalist crisis.

This austerity plan dictated by the bankers involves the government attempting to cut £13 billion out of public expenditure and reduce the country’s deficit of 11% of GDP to 6% in one year.

These savage cuts involved slashing public sector salaries by 5%.

The result of these cuts has been to drive unemployment in Spain to over 21%, double the average unemployment rate in the EU, while youth unemployment stands at a staggering 45%!

One million of these unemployed workers receive no benefit at all.

Before last week, bourgeois commentators were congratulating themselves on the apparent acceptance of these vicious attacks by workers and youth, praising their ‘stoicism’ in the face of unemployment and poverty.

This was exploded in their faces when thousands occupied the main square in Madrid.

By last Friday, six days after their protests started, this had risen to hundreds of thousands occupying in city squares throughout the country, with 60,000 arriving in Madrid in defiance of a court order declaring the occupation illegal.

Faced with an insurrectionary mood from the youth who led the occupations and the unemployed who joined with them, the Socialist government was unable to unleash the police against them and the occupations are set to continue way beyond Sunday’s election.

With regard to the elections which took place, the message from the occupiers was quite simple: they denounced both the ruling Socialists and the right-wing opposition Popular Party and called on voters to spoil their ballot papers.

This call was clearly heeded and one quarter of the votes cast were spoiled, while the Socialist Party received its worst ever drubbing in an election, losing out even in its working class heartlands.

What is clearly signalled by these revolutionary developments is that revolution will not be confined to any one region, just as the crisis of capitalism is driving every capitalist nation to declare war on its own working class and poor, so the crisis is driving forward the world socialist revolution.

From the Middle East to North Africa, into Europe and beyond, the working class and masses, led by the youth, are declaring in practice that they cannot and will not passively accept unemployment and poverty as the price to be paid for keeping the capitalist system and its banks afloat.

Everywhere the mass of working people are breaking with the discredited and bankrupt policies of the social democratic and Stalinist parties who are nothing more than the handmaidens of capitalism, willing and eager to accept and implement the diktats of the world bankers.

What is urgently required is the building in all countries of new, revolutionary parties that can give leadership to this mass spontaneous movement that is sweeping the world, and take it forward to the overthrow of the capitalist system and forward to socialism.

This means the building of sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International and transforming it into the World Party of the coming world socialist revolution.