Thursday, June 24, 2010

[olympiaworkers] CNT: Make Spain’s general strike indefinite Jun 23 2010

EU Threat: How the CNT newspaper illustrated the EU austerity measures threat

As a general strike is mooted to coincide with Europe-wide action, the
anarcho-syndicalist CNT union is warning that one day outings will not be
enough to deter deep public sector cuts

Spain's fifth general strike hasbeen set for September 29th amidst massive
public sector cuts and attacks on job security passed by the ruling
Socialist Party - and the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo is calling
for it to be made indefinite.

Following a one day public-sector strike earlier this month the union is
warning that "gesture strikes" will not be enough to force the government
to change course.

In a statement after the June 8th event they said: "The government's plans
to stabilise the economy through reducing the public deficit by 11% have
placed the cost of the economic crisis on the shoulders of the

"It is evident that the proposals are designed to satisfy banks and
employers by compromising with the neoliberal designs that prevail in the

"If there had been earlier mobilisations the government would not have
dared to present the measures announced and would have had to cut
elsewhere. It would have had to seek income where the money really is – on
the bench, through corporate taxes, inheritance, hedge funds etc.

"We believe it is a mistake to continue 'negotiating' labour reform, which
is simply a concession to employers. The only possiblility for correcting
this situation is to fight this economic aggression through social
confrontation, to continue and expand protests to all sectors."

"These great evils can only be treated with great remedies, and such
remedies do not include, of course, a 24-hour general strike which,
assuming that UGT and CCOO (the two major reformist unions in Spain) dared
to actually convene one, would act only as a giant safety valve for
employee discontent.

"An indefinite general strike paralysing the country until the government
withdraws anti-worker and anti-social actions would by contrast act as a
binder for workers to recover their class consciousness and act together,
with an eye to the destruction of the capitalist system through social
revolution which is the only truly effective medicine against congenital
diseases of the system.

Larger TUC-style unions called the public-sector strike on June 8th, which
the left claimed got 75% of public sector workers out (state sources put
it 16%) and saw tens of thousands of people on the streets in protest. The
public sector accounts for around 2.5 million jobs in Spain. However the
measure has made little impact on narrowly-passed plans to slash 5% from
public sector pay, part of a 15 billion euro package of austerity measures
being implemented in the next few years.

Other measures include the uncoupling of pension payments from inflation,
an end to tax breaks for new parents and cuts in public investment and
development aid of up to 6 billion euros. The Party is also taking the
opportunity to "free up the labour market" by making it easier to hire and
fire workers, a measure which would be likely to help drive a general
strike outside the public sector.

Its actions, taken as Spain is threatened by international markets over
its debt ratio, are widely seen as a betrayal of the electoral promises
which put the Socialist Party (PSOE) and Jose Zapatero into power in 2004
on the back of widespread discontent with the right, though anarchist
groups in the country have pointed to the situation as emblematic of party
politicians' inability to represent working people.

In an editorial for the periodical CNT, the union noted: "Economic crises
are inherent in the capitalist system and will, unfortunately for
humanity, regularly occur as long as the system exists.

"At the end of the day, the problem lies in the balance of power between
two social classes with conflicting interests - the bourgeois class, which
holds exclusive ownership of the means of production and distribution, and
the proletarian class, which has no more than their manual and
intellectual labour to sell as dearly as possible. The salary of the
employee, and therefore the worker himself, is just another cost of
production like machinery, electrical power or fuel.

"And when the worker is considered this way, not as a human being but as a
cost to be cut without a second thought, you can do with them what you
will, without remorse. That is neither more nor less than what capitalists
do with us now.

"We can not remain silent before these measures announced by the
government, which will result in yet more desecration of labour right to
add to a long list of infamies imposed since this pompously-named
"democracy" came into existence. Lowering the salaries of officials and
freezing or eliminating pensions, among other measures, are not
appropriate ways to solve the so-called crisis, and will have the
determined opposition of the CNT."

- Discussion thread on

- An edited version of this article first appeared in Freedom anarchist

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