THE SPANISH MASSES VOTED FOR A GOVERNMENT OF THE LEFT: The General Elections of the 28 April occurred in a context of polarisation and tension against the neo-liberal policies imposed by the European Union.

The experience of the Tripartite right-wing organisation that had started in Andalusia galvanised the population in its refusal to have such a thing repeated at State level.

Demonstration of pensioners in Bilbao 2019
Demonstration of pensioners in Bilbao

With practically 75% of participation – one of the highest to date – the workers’ movement, the social movements, the students, the Women and the Youth put all their weight and determination into having new vistas opened, as far away as possible from the policies of the Partido Popular (PP) which did them so much harm.

The masses went to vote with the will to contain the parties of the right, and to stop Vox – this new ultra-right-wing formation with its Francoist programme – from getting into parliament with any force.

If you compare the results of this election with those obtained in the general elections of 26 June 2016, you will see that the votes that had gone to the PP (Conservative Party) in the past have now gone to Ciudadanos and Vox. And votes previously for Unidos Podemos have now gone to the Socialist Party. The latter has recovered, through the tactical vote, a part of what it had lost in 2016.

Due to discontent regarding programmatic retreats, the opinion polls had predicted for Podemos less votes than it actually gained. Podemos has included transformative proposals in its electoral campaign, winning in this way the means to recover, and obtain 41 MPs; these are going to be important in any Left Government.

Vox campaigned for the revocation of the Gender Violence Law, and the Law which protects the collective of LGTBI (Lesbians, Gays, etc.).  Vox  named as ‘illegal’ the Immigration laws and wants the Law of Historic Memory revoked as well. It defends the legacy of Franco and wants all payments stopped that compensate people for the crimes committed under Franco.

On the 8th of March this year, the right wing had clubbed together to condemn the Women’s General Strike. Its argument was that this was anti-capitalist and with too much ‘class’ about it. In their overwhelming response, the Women Collectives created a level of participation that played a very important part in the results of these general elections.

Various factors explain the irruption of Vox on the electoral scene. One must remember that not all aspects of Franco’s apparatus were plucked up during the Transition [1].  Many such aspects stayed under the PP’s umbrella, and in recent times, the rise of an extreme right-wing in Europe gave them an important boost. This gauges the weakness of the Spanish bourgeoisie and the disintegration of the tendencies that the PP’s leadership no longer centralises.

The perspective that opens up in the wake of these elections is one of a possible Government of the Left. On the whole, this will depend on the determination of the Socialist leadership and the popular mobilisations.

Now the Socialist Party (PSOE) must cope with the 15% unemployment level in the country, in conditions where 12.3% of those socially excluded are people at work – working, and still unable to pay the basic bills. In the country, 2.1% of the population lives in serious poverty.

For the Spanish workers, the fundamental problem is a precariousness where 23.6% of them live a life of social exclusion on short-term contracts.  A rise in the minimum wage brought it up to 900 Euros. This was important, but it does not keep up with the cost of living.

Other stats show that  Spain has not left the crisis behind. The 25.3% of the children live on the edge, and 630,000 of them are in homes with severe poverty going.  To face up to this, the Socialist Party is going to have to take measures that transform society and the economy .

You cannot develop the country without the nationalisation of the strategic sectors and control over the services for communication, transport and public services. There has to be a change in the economic model, because otherwise, one has no access to the means to solve the basic problems of the population: jobs, health, education, housing.

Even the economists of different ideologies agree that a country cannot grow if its debt is as large as its GDP. There has to be an immediate study regarding how to re-structure the debt so that the interests, presently paid to the European banks, go to serve the population and its social necessities.

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To implement such a programme, there has to be the organisation and participation of the Trade Unions, of the social movements, those in the popular areas, the students’ movements, the feminist organisations and the whole of the Left, to impel the political debate and the mobilisation necessary to impose this solution on the crisis of capitalism.

Portugal shows that the Left is capable of reaching agreements, and that the policies of making cuts are not necessary.

All that these policies do is cripple the working class and the marginalised sectors.

Posadistas Hoy – 25.5.2019

[1] The ‘Transition’ in Spain is the historic period between 20 November 1975 when the military dictatorship of Francisco Franco ceased to exist, and in 1982, the Socialist Party won the first elections called since Franco’s death. Historians do not all agree with this definition. Editorial.

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