Italy, Austria, Belgium - Spanish general strike: massive following and huge demonstrations - what next?
- There were also demo's in Scotland, London, Portugal,Greece and others.
Italy: November 14 general strike marks turn in the
Written by Roberto Sarti, FalceMartello Editorial boardThursday, 15
The November 14 (14N)day of action in Italy saw a general strike and
massive demonstrations the length and breadth of the country. There was a
large turn out of students in particular and the day was also marked by
sever police brutality, with many peaceful demontsrators attacked
senselessly by the police. This is a clear sign of the new period we have
entered in Italy, one of growing class conflict as workers and youth begin
to react against the draconina auterity measures being imposed on them.
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14N in Austria � Trade union leaders are not up to the
Written by our correspondent in ViennaThursday, 15 November 2012
While in many countries the call by the ETUC for an European-wide day of
action against austerity and in solidarity with the Greek people led to
significant protests and even strike action, the Austrian TUC (�GB) did not
take up this initiative in a serious way. For weeks it has not been clear
whether the �GB is going to answer this call at all. Eventually, just one
week before 14N, the website of the �GB published an article where a
collection of signatures in Vienna was announced.
Belgium: European day of action - fighting mood of workers but disarray of
Written by Erik DemeesterThursday, 15 November 2012
[image: Belgium: European day of action - fighting mood of workers but
disarray of union tops. Photo: vinciane convens]The bourgeois in Europe
noted that while the response to yesterday�s day of action called by the
European trade unions was mainly concentrated in the South (Portugal,
Spain, Italy and Greece) there was one exception in the north, Belgium,
which saw significant mobilisations, particularly in French speaking
to read more:
Spanish general strike: massive following and huge demonstrations - what
Written by Jorge Mart�nThursday, 15 November 2012
The general strike in Spain against austerity policies of the right-wing
government of Mariano Rajoy (PP) had a massive turn-out and culminated in
huge demonstrations in all major cities.
[image: 14 November, Madrid. Photo: Jos�
November, Madrid. Photo: Jos� Cam� <http://www.josecamo.com/>The strike
turn-out was complete in large industry, public transport, wholesale
distribution, garbage collection, education and health care, and sizeable
in public administration and other sectors. Tens of thousands of workers
and youth participated in pickets who walked the streets in industrial
areas of big cities on the night of 13th and all day on the 14. The city
centres of all major provincial capitals were taken over by activists of
the working class and also significantly the youth.
The demonstrations, which in most cities were held in the afternoon, were
again massive, sometimes unprecedented in size. Unions put the
participation atone millionin Madridand also in Barcelona .In both cases
the protesters covered the entire route of the march before the scheduled
start. Other cities were also the sceneof huge demonstrations: 70,000 in
Mallorca (and another 10,000 in Mahon, 5,000 in Ibiza and 2,500 in
Ciutadella), 150,000 in Sevilla, M�laga 150,000 and a similar number in
Granada, C�rdoba 45,000, 180,000 in Vigo (and a total of half a million in
Galicia as a whole), 350,000 in Valencia, 135,000 in Alacant, Castell�n
50,000, 200,000 in Zaragoza, Tarragona 30,000, 200,000 in Murcia (and an
additional 35,000 in Cartagena), and many more.
In the Basque Country the strike and participation in the demonstrations
was much lower because the two main nationalist unions (ELA and LAB) did
not join in.
There were many instances of brutal police action in against union pickets
and demonstrations. In Murcia, Malaga, Granada, Madrid and Barcelona the
police charged the demonstrations and workers and youth were arrested and
injured. In Tarragona a thirteen year old youth had to receive surgical
care after being beaten in the head by riot police.
The 24 hour general strike of November 14 was the result of a build-up of
pressure which finally forced theunion leaders to channel it. The general
strike on 29 March this year, against the labour reform of the PP
government, was also massive, and yet failed to change the course of
government policy. In the months following, the policy of austerity, cuts
and attacks on public services and the rights of the working class
deepened. The arrival of the miners� march in Madrid in July channelled all
this discontent into a huge demonstration of hundreds of thousands. The
very next day the government announced a new package of cuts. Civil
servants immediately took to the streets and blocked roads in
asemi-spontaneousmovementthat forced union leaders to call for mass
demonstrations on July 19.The government responded to this by presenting a
tough budget for 2013 with new, more brutal cuts.
The national march on Madrid called by unions on September 15, while
bringing together tens of thousands of activists and union delegates from
across the country, was much smaller than the protests of July. Clearly,
for many, yet another day of demonstrations made no sense, particularly
because it was not part of a sustained plan struggle.
The mobilization of September 25 to �surround the Congress� of Deputies, in
which tens of thousands, mostly youth, participated, and which had the
support of more than 70% of the population, reflected the enormous social
discontent which was accumulating. Finally, the union leaders were forced
to name a day for the general strike on November 14.
The date was chosen to coincide with the general strike in Portugal, and
was later supported by the European Trade Union Confederation which called
for a European day of struggle and solidarity against austerity policies.
This is a very important step. We saw for the first time general strikes
called in more than one country simultaneously. In Italy and Greece the
unions called partial strikes (4 and 3 hours, respectively), while in other
countries protest demonstrations were held.
[image: 14 November, Madrid. Photo: Jos�
Photo: Jos� Cam� <http://www.josecamo.com/>There is a growing awareness
among broad layers of the population, especially in the countries most
affected by the crisis, that this is not something that affects one country
or another in isolation, but is a general crisis of European capitalism.
Millions have followed the development of the crisis in Greece and have
realized that the austerity policies, in addition to being harmful to the
working class and destroying public services, do not even have the effect
of promoting a recovery in the economy. The contraction of the economy in
Greece has reached 23% in the past five years and shows no signs of
Austerity leads to contraction in private consumption, paralyzes the
economy, decreases tax revenues and increases the deficit increases, which
then leads to more cuts in a downward spiral that seems to have no end.
The IMF forecasts a contraction this year for the economy of the European
Union (EU) of 0.4%. The countries most affected are in southern Europe.
Spain will contract 1.5%, Italy 2.3%, Portugal 3%, Cyprus 1.3% and Greece
5.2%. But even seemingly stronger economies such as the United Kingdom will
contract by 0.6%. Germany and France remain virtually stagnant with GDP
growth of 0.9% and 0.1%, respectively.The unemployment rate has reached
11.4% in the EU,with records of 25.1% in Spain, 24.4% in Greece and 16% in
Portugal. In these three countries, youth unemployment is above 50%
All this is having a major impact on the consciousness of millions of
workers and youth. There is a growing questioning of those governments and
parties that apply austerity policies (either �social democratic� or right
wing) and a growth to varying degrees indifferent countries, of those
parties that are more consistent in their opposition to these policies, to
the left of social democracy. So the Coalition of the Radical Left
(SYRIZA), which has its origin in a sector of the communist movement in
Greece, has gone in just two years from 4.5% to 30% of the vote, and is now
the first party of the working class and the country.
Beyond the growth of left alternatives, there is a widespread ferment and
questioning of the capitalist system and all its institutions (political
parties, banks and the wealthy, parliament, justice, etc.).
The general strike in Spain was preceded by the suicide of a Ega�a Amaia, a
woman of 53 years in the working class the town of Barakaldoin Bilbao. She
jumped out the window of her flat, on the fourth floor, the day that she
was to be evicted for non-payment of the mortgage. Since the beginning of
the crisis in Spain there have been more than 350,000 home repossessions
(510 each day), in which the banks take the houses of families who cannot
pay their mortgages (many entered into through deception and with unfair
and abusive conditions at the height of the housing bubble). At the same
time, these same banks receive billions of euros of public money in the
form of bail out packages and amass assets of hundreds of thousands of
empty new homes that bankrupt developers could never sell. This is an
example of anarchy of the capitalist system that condemns millions to
inactivity while there are pressing social needs to attend to.
The demonstrations which ended the general strike gave the Spanish working
class a sense of strength, a feeling of excitement that was reflected in
the slogan �Yes we can�. But the next day the government vowed to continue
with the same policy. The question is: what next? The Marxists of*Lucha de
Clases* (Class Struggle), within United Left, have advocated for the need
to continue this fight with a steady and growing plan of mobilization that
aims to overthrow the government of the PP.
It is also necessary to build a political force that can provide an answer
to the central question: what is the alternative to austerity policies?
Within the framework of capitalism there is no alternative. These policies
are dictated by the crisis of the system. We must recognize this fact and
raise clearly that the only solution is to nationalize big business and
monopolies under workers� control in order to be able to establish a
democratic plan of the economy for the benefit of the majority of the
population. In the discussions leading to the Federal Assembly of United
Left in December, the Marxists of Class Struggle will defend this point of
PCE Andaluc�a #14N@*pcandalucia* <https://twitter.com/pcandalucia>
Imagen del mitin final en
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MAREA HUMANA EN OVIEDO | Sin duda, protesta multitudinaria en esta ciudad.
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