Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2406

Joy at left’s victory in Spain must translate into action

The morale of left activists in the Spanish state has skyrocketed since last week’s European elections. 

The votes of the ruling right wing People’s Party (PP) plunged 16 percent compared to 2009. 

Even more striking is that the opposition PSOE (Labour-type Party) suffered equal losses—their leader has now thrown in the towel and resigned.

But the surprising success of Podemos (We can), which gained 8 percent nationally and five MEPs, now dominates discussion. 

Podemos is only four months old but is now the fourth party on a national level. En Lucha, the SWP’s sister organisation, has been building Podemos from the start.  

It unites militants from the anti-capitalist left with people from the traditional left that are uncomfortable with the compromising stance of the Communist Party-led United Left. 

Podemos has organised through local “circles” involving thousands of people in political discussion to shape the party’s programme and elect its candidates. 

In Madrid and Seville Podemos came third ahead of United Left. Contrary to arguments that Podemos would divide the left vote, United Left also gained in the elections, taking 10 percent of the vote.

This is a turning point for the movement in Spain. The huge 15M “Indignados” movement in 2011 was supposed to signify a historic break from political parties. 

But the movement in Spain has become more politicised. 

It has scored important victories blocking education reforms in the Balearic Islands and stopping the privatisation of hospitals in Madrid.

In March, over a million people joined protests in Madrid demanding “bread, jobs and housing”. Some were initially pessimistic at Podemos’ chances but this has now changed to euphoria. 

Our challenge now is to incorporate the massive new wave of activists who feel they have finally found a political home in Podemos and turn this boost in morale into action in the streets and the workplaces.

Nikos LoudosSevilla, Spain

Is Scotland different?

The election results show a frustration against the political elite and their neoliberal policies.

After four years of the Tories, Labour should be doing much better. They must confront Ukip’s racism and put a radical manifesto for working people. 

It is argued that Ukip winning a seat in Scotland shows that voters there are no different from in England. 

But Ukip were first in England and fourth in Scotland, showing the widening gap in voting patterns between Scotland and England.

I believe this difference will give a slight edge to the Yes campaign but we need to engage with undecided and No voters.

Bob Thomson, Glasgow

Nationality’s a distraction 

Ukip’s Euro elections vote shows how the question of nationality is becoming a focus in politics.

The problems in our economy centre on the capitalist system. A focus on national boundaries deflects from that.

Britain retreating from Europe would bring immense risks to human rights, EU investment, trading and social funding.

Devolution doesn’t offer a solution for Wales or Scotland. In a country as small as this it is more progressive for them to be part of Britain.

Surely it’s healthier to focus on capitalism and on building an economy more centred on humane values?

Name and address supplied

Watchdog figures show cost of care profiteers 

A recent local government social care watchdog report details a 130 percent increase in adult social care complaints since 2009, when it took responsibility for registered private providers.

My colleagues and I were transferred from the public to private sector. It brought massive changes to the way we work and huge pay cuts. 

Many have now left the care sector. They can no longer give any more to a role that is now so demanding it simply cannot be done well.

Agency workers are at full stretch, covering permanent staff off work with stress. The effect of this on service users is already causing concern for staff.

How many more of our vulnerable citizens are these employers and this government prepared to sacrifice before they listen?

Alison Lewis, South Wales

Care UK strikers fight for us all

a Care UK striker visited us recently. It inspired members of Protect Our NHS, a Bristol campaign against NHS privatisation, to protest outside the local Care UK-run treatment centre.

We went in scrubs with signs supporting the strikers and asked to speak to the union rep. A manager stopped us at the door. “We don’t have a union here,” she told us, “just a staff association”.

This lets us know what Care UK would no doubt like to impose on all their workers, including those in Doncaster if they get half a chance.

The Doncaster strikers show us the right way to stop vultures like Care UK who prey on the NHS at our expense. 

Every week the strikers stay out is a blow for the NHS and against privatisation.

Lin Clark, Bristol

A&E in crisis—who cares?

Yes the NHS is in crisis. Recently I spent over four hours in A&E. 

The place was packed with queues out the door. 

The staff were working hard to manage things—but they were struggling.

But when you see the appalling lack of funding and how understaffed they are you ask yourself, “Which political party is going to look after our health service?”

Who cares about the health of the people? 

Cheryl Partridge, Bedfordshire

Marikana—keep up fight

I was sickened by the Marikana Massacre in South Africa, and aghast that the multinationals are ready to do it again.

But it was a pleasure to read the quotes from Rehad Desai (Socialist Worker, 17 May).

I enclose a solidarity cheque and ask you to kindly forward it on.

Nigel Coward, West London

Immigration control: racist?

I don’t think imposing immigration limits is racist in itself. However, I think 90 percent of the time that is where it comes from.

Lindy-Lou Nicholson, on Facebook

It is racist to impose limits on immigration when immigration has nothing to do with the reason we are in this economic global crisis.

Alex Salamone, on Facebook

it’s much easier for capitalist governments to take the heat off the rich by inciting us all to bite at one another’s throats.

Alison Withers, on Facebook

Capitalism is the problem

Michael asked how socialism would tackle inequality (Letters, 31 May). Society would be geared towards producing what people need, not towards profit. Public services would be motivated by the needs of the majority.

For a more detailed debate I’d recommend:

Lewis Nielsen, Sussex

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Article information

Tue 3 Jun 2014, 17:56 BST
Issue No. 2406
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