Socialist Worker

Million march against austerity across Spain

by Luke Stobart, Uzma Hussain and Andy Durgan
Issue No. 2257

Over 250,000 marched through Barcelona last Sunday against austerity	  (Pic: Uzma Hussain)

Over 250,000 marched through Barcelona last Sunday against austerity (Pic: Uzma Hussain)


Around one million people took part in 50 demonstrations all over Spain against austerity, the bankers and the political system last Sunday.

The protests were called by the new “indignados” (outraged) movement, that began occupying city squares across Spain in May.

In Madrid around 150,000 people marched shouting “Politicians don’t represent us” and calling for a general strike.

Another slogan was “There is not enough bread for so much chorizo”. Chorizo means both sausage and crook.

The radical protest in Barcelona, in which 250,000 took part, was significant. The regional parliament voted to slash public spending by 16 percent on Wednesday of last week.

The night before thousands of indignados camped outside.

Exaggerated

The media exaggerated a number of minor incidents to try to and discredit the movement. Catalan president Artur Mas promised “the legitimate use of violence” against any similar protests.

However, the movement’s massive support, and images of plainclothes police officers infiltrating the picket and provoking incidents, meant the media and right wing campaign backfired.

This is one reason why the Barcelona demonstration was the largest, and dominated by denunciations of the police and media. People also called for the resignation of the Catalan interior minister.

The movement initially emerged outside the unions, but things are starting to change.

In Barcelona and Madrid local sections of the large CCOO union federation called on its members to join the protests. Barcelona bus drivers gave out leaflets urging people to protest.

Workers at large factories facing closure, who have been visited by delegations of indignados, also joined the Barcelona march.

Most of the protest camps have ended, but the movement has shifted into neighbourhood assemblies. This was clear in Barcelona and Madrid on Sunday, as massive columns of protesters descended on the city centre from the outskirts.

The assemblies have also led to a wide range of local protests. In the last week in Madrid eight families have been successfully defended against eviction.

The government is pushing ahead with attacks on union bargaining and other workers’ rights. As the political crisis continues the word “revolution” is on the lips and placards of many people.

Luke Stobart, Uzma Hussain and Andy Durgan are members of the En Lucha socialist group in Spain


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