Socialist Worker

The madness of Spain's rulers

by Luke Stobart in Barcelona
Issue No. 2312

The 63 percent cut in mining subsidies and attacks on workers has been implemented by a right-wing Popular Party (PP) government that despises working class people.

But intensifying the PP’s savagery is the semi-invisible hand of the EU. A memo leaked from the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) states that the government will be instructed to cut even more.

It’s no coincidence that the £50 billion cuts announced last week of were almost identical to the aid the Spanish government requested for its toxic banks. That “aid” is to be paid in instalments to ensure that Spain complies with its “duties”.

The slashing of mining subsidies was the result of a very similar process. Banks in the “peripheral” countries were given low-interest loans from the newly created EFSF.

At the same time, chancellor Merkel and her supporters pushed eurozone states to slash spending. Effectively Europe had adopted a system of indirect or hidden bailouts.

This was to avoid the political backlash that developed in Greece and because of the importance of Spain’s economy.

It encouraged ever-faithful prime minister Mariano Rajoy to announce new reforms “every Friday”—reforms that included destroying mining.

Since harsh austerity was adopted more than half a million people have lost their jobs and Spain has entered a second recession.

Even the Daily Telegraph has warned that the new cuts and VAT hikes will create “a downward spiral into a full depression”.

Increased public debt and deficit will make it harder for the state to borrow money on the markets, making a Greek-style “rescue” almost inevitable. The fight by the miners and public sector workers offers the chance of resisting this utter market madness.

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