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Indignados For Victory

Last Thursday, 29 March, Spain saw the biggest protests since the start of the ‘Indignados’ movement. In response to the announcement of the harshest budget in the Eurozone, hundreds of thousands invaded the streets in a general strike called by the major trade union, General Workers Union and Workers Commission.

A massive turnout led to the almost complete stop of heavy industry and transports throughout Spain, thus transforming this strike into a real heavyweight. For instance, in Madrid only 6 of the 2500 city cleaners appeared for work. There were large numbers of strikers in at least 111 cities and towns including in Galicia and Navarra, and in the Basque country 95% of the population went on strike. In addition to the economy, the strike hit hard in the media as major television stations in Andalucia, Madrid and Catalonia were off the air.

Several incidents took place and at least 58 people were arrested. In Madrid and Barcelona there were many street fires and blocked roads. Violence was at its peak in Barcelona with the use of tear gas and rubber bullets in Plaza Catalunya. From the protesters side there was plenty of rock-throwing and vandalism of bank branches.

Regardless of the population anger, with a massive 23% rate of unemployment, the conservative government in Spain has been proving to be one of the toughest. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has presented the hardest budget in Europe aiming for a 27 billion euro adjustment on spending cuts and tax rises. The EU has put immense pressure on Spain – due to the significance of its economy, which is twice the size of Greece, Portugal and Ireland put together.

Other neoliberal measures are being implemented. In order to encourage companies to downsize and reduce costs it will now be much easier to fire employees, a huge insult to the population carrying the highest unemployment rate in Europe. The Spanish government refrained from raising corporate taxes and sales taxes in order to not damage consumer spending. What is being asked of the Spaniards is unreal as the current government steals jobs and still expects people to consume to keep the economy going.

When governments are the threat it will inevitably bring unity among the various sectors of the society. Spaniards have been true leaders in the resistance against the neoliberal transformations occurring in Europe and thus much is expected from them. Both the worker’s unions and the ‘Indignados’ movement plan to strike again and it continues to go from strength to strength.

No one really knows if the anger in the streets can be converted to a genuine change at the top – what happened in the Middle East can hardly be compared to what might happen in Europe. Here, in the supposedly free world, power is even more entrenched, though this power only exists because the general populous allow it to – if this state of affairs changes,anything is possible.

There are 2 comments on this story...
Added By: Anarchiste. - 3rd April 2012 @ 8:11 PM
No future for the E.U. Break the politburo down.
Added By: Gildas - 1st May 2012 @ 6:15 PM
You're the one with the brains here. I'm watchnig for your posts.
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