Spanish vote amid mass protests

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Spanish vote amid mass protests

Post by Isakenaz on Sun May 22, 2011 2:27 pm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13488385

Spain is voting in regional elections as thousands of young protesters remain camped out in squares across the country.

Demonstrators are angry at the government's economic policies and Spain's high youth unemployment rate.

Their numbers have swelled despite a ban on political protests ahead of elections.

The governing Socialists are expected to suffer major losses in voting for city councils and regional governments.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's government is struggling to overcome recession and create jobs.

In the capital Madrid, about 30,000 people have occupied the central Puerta del Sol square.

Similar protests, popularly known as 15-M, have sprung up in many other cities including Barcelona, Valencia, Seville and Bilbao.
Continue reading the main story

At the scene

The protest camp gets more organised, more permanent looking by the day. It's now like a mini-town under tarpaulin, sprawling across the whole of Sol square. Food donations are still flooding in from supporters.

There's a kindergarten decorated with bright coloured paintings and balloons, a library - and even a vegetable patch.

There is no-one in charge here. The camp's run by committees with decisions voted on with a wave of both hands, at mass assemblies. The protestors call this real democracy in action. They always planned to stay here until today's local and regional elections. What happens next is still the subject of much discussion.

"I'm happy that they're finally protesting. It was about time," said Maria, an elderly woman visiting her grandson in the Puerta del Sol.

Protest organisers have urged those taking part not to confront the police, and have tried to discourage the distribution of alcohol.

"It's a revolution, not a drinking party," read one sign.

Brooms donated by supporters are being used to keep the square clean, witnesses say.

The BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Madrid says there is also a creche, a kitchen area and even a vegetable patch.

One protester, Alejandro, said: "I hope this changes our situation. We have a right to regular jobs, a future and a decent salary, to more opportunities in life, the chance to get a house, to pay for that house without being enslaved, but especially a better quality of life."

The protesters are urging people not to vote for either of Spain's two main parties - the governing Socialists or the centre-right opposition.
Rallies 'may continue'

Analysts say that despite the strength of the protests, they are unlikely to affect the outcome of Sunday's elections, other than to worsen the Socialists' defeat.

The Socialists are predicted to lose control of strongholds such as Barcelona, Seville and the Castilla-La Mancha region.

Spanish law forbids political rallies on the day before elections to allow for a "day of reflection".

But as the ban came into effect, the crowds stayed put and police did not try to disperse them.

Organisers say the protests may continue after the elections.


Protester Ana Cavero: "We don't feel politicians are representing us"

The demonstrations began a week ago in Madrid as a spontaneous sit-in by young people frustrated at 45% youth unemployment.

Spain's overall jobless rate soared to 21% in the first quarter of this year, the highest in the industrialised world.

Dubbed "los indignados" [the indignant], the protesters are demanding jobs, better living standards, a fairer system of democracy and changes to the government's austerity plans.

Prime Minister Zapatero had urged protesters to respect the day of reflection but also said he was sensitive to their concerns and praised their "peaceful manner".

This video is about the protests too.
http://uk.news.yahoo.com/video/paevents-8024092/protestors-camp-in-madrid-25308260.html
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Re: Spanish vote amid mass protests

Post by Admin on Sun May 22, 2011 3:56 pm





Let's hope the people of Spain stand firm in their conviction and this momentum spreads to other parts of Europe and manifests itself into something that actually threatens the Western bourgeois establishment.
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Re: Spanish vote amid mass protests

Post by AlbertCurtis on Sun May 22, 2011 5:09 pm

Nothing like a bit of suffering to bring clarity to a nations mental domain. The circuses only work when there is bread after all.

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Re: Spanish vote amid mass protests

Post by Isakenaz on Mon May 23, 2011 10:16 am

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13496038

Spain's governing Socialist party has suffered heavy losses in local and regional elections.

With municipal votes counted, the centre-right Popular Party (PP) had a 10-percentage point lead, winning in virtually all 13 regions up for grabs.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero conceded defeat but ruled out early general elections.

Voting took place amid mass protests against high unemployment and the government's handling of the economy.

Young demonstrators holding sit-ins in Madrid and other cities said rallies would continue for another week.

Mr Zapatero said three years of economic crisis had taken their toll.

"It destroyed thousands of jobs. It is a crisis that had profound effects on citizens' morale. I know that many Spaniards suffer great hardship and fear for their futures," he said.

"Today, without doubt, they expressed their discontent," he added.

However, he vowed to pursue job-creating reforms until the end of his mandate. At this point, a general election must be held by March of next year.

Bastions fall

Jubilant PP supporters celebrated outside their party headquarters in Madrid as the final votes were being counted.

The party headed to victory in virtually all 13 regional governments up for grabs, including Castilla-La Mancha where the Socialists have always held power.

In municipal elections, the PP won by about two million votes, compared to its victory margin of 150,000 in 2007.

The Socialist party also lost bastions such as the town halls in Barcelona and Seville.

Prime Minister Zapatero's government has been struggling to overcome recession and create jobs.

Spain's overall jobless rate soared to 21% in the first quarter of this year, the highest in the industrialised world. Youth unemployment stands at 45%.

Meanwhile, thousands of young protesters remain camped out in squares across the country.

What began as a sit-in in Madrid's central Puerta del Sol square a week ago has turned into a national protest movement popularly known as 15-M.

About 30,000 people were estimated to have occupied the central square in the run-up to the vote.

The protests, which have also taken place in cities including Barcelona, Valencia, Seville and Bilbao, have so far been peaceful.

Demonstrators defied a government ban on political protests on the eve of the election.

On Sunday, protesters in Puerta del Sol voted to stay in the square until at least 29 May.

"Our zeal to press on is at maximum level," said spokesman Francisco Minarro, 32.
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Re: Spanish vote amid mass protests

Post by Isakenaz on Mon May 23, 2011 4:21 pm

Over on Revleft (that bastion of social fairness) there is a lot of information on the Spanish situation and other protests in other Countries in support. It would seem that there is a protest gathering in Portugal it is reported that some 200 + are gathering in Rossio in central Lisbon, it seems they intend to camp until June 5th when the elections are due. Please search all media outlets and keep the members of this forum up with events. The Rev left thread is http://www.revleft.com/vb/spanish-youth-take-t154865/index.html

How sad that the idiots at Revleft have up to date information before us.
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Re: Spanish vote amid mass protests

Post by Coach on Mon May 23, 2011 8:12 pm

Got to hand it to RevLeft for getting this informationa out. Credit where cridit is due. You ain't hearing about this shit in the bourgeois mainstream press, especially not in the USA.

Read the very last few posts on the RevLeft thread. Poster Lius Henrique over there is making an important point. I'd even go further, and say that Lius (and any revolutionary socialist involved) needs to start using the method, general strategy and tactics of the Transitional Program (the one written by Trotsky which we're currently studying in our book study group). So, what would that actually mean for those revolutionary socialists in these Spanish protests to apply TODAY what can be learned from that Transitional Program, comrades?









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Re: Spanish vote amid mass protests

Post by Isakenaz on Tue May 24, 2011 12:40 pm

From: http://fifthinternational.org/content/youth-uprising-madrid

Youth uprising in Madrid
Spanish Correspondant Thu, 19/05/2011 - 17:45


Thousands of people have begun protests across Spain in the run up to the elections, a camp modelled on Tahrir square has been set up in Madrid's city centre. So who are the protesters and what do they want?

Something is moving in Spain. After the unemployment rate reached a new peak of 21.3% in the first months of 2011 (more than 4.9 million people) due to the current crisis and the stagnation of the real estate market which, together with tourism, was the engine which drove the economy, it seemed nothing could make the Spanish population revolt against this situation.

This is despite the reality of the 45% unemployment rate among young people (up to 25 years old). The negotiators of the major unions (UGT, CCOO) and the employer’s organization (CEOE) were on the verge of reaching a new agreement to sacrifice yet more workers’ rights to the god of the economic crisis and the big political parties were quarrelling over who could gain more approval from the IMF to return us to some financial paradise, so life was going on much as before.

But outside of the traditional channels of popular opinion the restlessness was growing. As in the cases of Tunisia, Egypt and other countries, the internet and social media like Facebook and Twitter, have served as channels to call people to the action. With the proximity of local elections next weekend (to the governments of cities and autonomous communities), a citizens’ platform called a protest against the current situation.

On May 15th demonstrations were held in almost 60 locations, including the major cities of Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Valencia and Bilbao, and it is estimated than 130,000 people took part in them, a big number considering that the organization defines itself as “apolitical” and was not supported by any political party nor by workers’ organizations.

In Madrid, the peaceful march ended with the police charging against allegedly “violent radicals”. But that same night, and outside of the original call, a spontaneous assembly of people formed in the Puerta del Sol, the most famous of Madrid’s squares. During the next day, more and more people joined them with the intention of continuing the protest by camping in the square at least until the day of the elections (next Sunday 22nd) or even longer. In the early hours of Tuesday 17th they were evicted by the police but, that same night, they were back again, ready to resist. And they are still there, resisting even the rain that has fallen on Madrid this last night.

Who are they?

Not just young people but “indignados” - people outraged by the current economic situation and by the lack of humanity of the measures imposed by the credit rating agencies, the IMF, the World Bank and the European Union to make common people pay for the banks’ excesses and implemented by the political parties that effectively control the Spanish political arena. “Indignados” because they see that the “democracies” are in fact governed by the financial institutions.

In the manifesto published yesterday, they state: “We do not represent any party or association. We are united in the desire for change. We are here for dignity and solidarity with those who cannot be here.” Assemblies and work groups have been formed to solve questions like food, water and the disposal of waste.

What do they want?

“We are here because we want a new society that prioritizes life over economic and political interests. We advocate a change in society and social consciousness. To show that society is not asleep and that we will continue to fight for what we deserve by peaceful means.[…]We want it all, we want it now”.

The movement has taken the political parties by surprise. Both the social-democratic PSOE, in the government, and the liberal-conservative People’s Party, say that they “understand” the feelings of the protesters, and call for a vote for their respective parties, despite the fact that the hopelessness they represent is the main cause of the protests!

Izquierda Unida (IU, the coalition of left parties that includes the Communist Party (PCE) and has been the third national party in the past decades) has showed its support for the movement and Cayo Lara, the general coordinator, even joined the protest on May 15th. The impression is that, even if the demonstrators do not want to say it aloud because it would force the police to intervene using the pretext of the electoral law, an ascent of IU could be one of the outcomes of the demonstrations.

One of the main demands of the movement is the modification of the electoral law to get a “participatory democracy”, something that somewhat coincides with the “one person, one vote” which Izquierda Unida has been campaigning for for a long time, since the current law gives more weight to the major parties or small parties (mainly nationalists) that receive concentrated votes in some districts, to the detriment of the minority parties like IU that get a good number of votes but split across many districts.

The main unknown factor is whether the protests will continue after next Sunday’s elections? We’ll see.

Out of date report, but better than nothing.
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Re: Spanish vote amid mass protests

Post by Isakenaz on Tue May 24, 2011 6:37 pm



Last edited by Isakenaz on Tue May 24, 2011 6:54 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Removal and addition of text.)
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Re: Spanish vote amid mass protests

Post by Isakenaz on Sun May 29, 2011 2:10 am

Here are the Spanish demands translated into English:

1. ELIMINATION OF THE PRIVILEGES OF THE POLITICAL CLASS:

Strict control of absenteeism in their respective elected positions. Specific penalties for dereliction of duties.
Removal of privileges in paying taxes, the years of contribution and the amount of pensions. Equalization of wages of the average wage elected Spanish more dietary needs necessary for the exercise of their functions.
Elimination of charge associated immunity. Applicability of the crimes of corruption.
Mandatory disclosure of assets of all public offices.
Reduction of charges may be appointed.


2. AGAINST UNEMPLOYMENT:

Encouraging job sharing and reduced working hours labor conciliation to end the structural unemployment (ie, until unemployment falls below 5%).
Retirement at 65 and any increase in retirement age to eliminate youth unemployment.
Subsidies for companies with less than 10% of temporary contracts.
Job security: the impossibility of collective dismissals for objective reasons in large companies while there are benefits to big business controls to ensure that temporary workers are not covered with jobs that could be fixed.
Restoration of the grant of 426 € for all long-term unemployed.


3. RIGHT TO HOUSING:

Expropriation by the state of housing stock built in that have not been sold for placement on the market for rent protected.
Rent subsidies for young people and all those poor people.
To allow payment in kind to cancel housing mortgages.


4. QUALITY PUBLIC SERVICES:

Deleting unnecessary costs on government and establishment of independent monitoring of budgets and expenditures.
Recruitment of health personnel to eliminate waiting lists.
Recruitment of teachers to ensure the ratio of students per classroom, groups of unfolding and support groups.
Reducing the cost of tuition at any university education, matching the price of the grade graduate.
Public funding of research to ensure its independence.
Cheap public transport, quality and environmentally sustainable restoration of trains are being replaced by the AVE with the original prices, cheaper bus passes, restricting private car traffic in city centers, construction of bicycle lanes.
Local social resources: effective implementation of the Law Unit, municipal local carers networks, local mediation services and mentoring.


5. CONTROL OF BANKS:

Prohibition of any kind of bailout or capital injection to banks: those companies in difficulty should fail or be nationalized to form a public bank under social control.
Tax increases to the bench in direct proportion to social spending caused by the crisis caused by mismanagement.
Return to public coffers by banks all provided public capital.
Ban on investment of Spanish banks in tax havens.
Regulation of sanctions on speculation and banking malpractice.


6. TAXATION:

Increase the tax rate on large fortunes and banks.
Elimination of the fund.
Tax refund Heritage.
Real and effective control of tax evasion and capital flight to tax havens.
International promotion of the adoption of a tax on international transactions (Tobin tax).


7. Liberties and Participatory Democracy:

Not control the Internet. Sinde Abolition Act.
Protection of freedom of information and investigative journalism.
Referendums mandatory and binding on the wide-ranging issues that change the lives of citizens.
Mandatory referendums for any introduction of measures taken by the European Union.
Amendment of Electoral Act to ensure a truly representative system that does not discriminate and proportional to any political or social will, where the white vote and vote no also have representation in the legislature.
Independence of the judiciary, reform of the Prosecution Office to ensure their independence, the appointment of members of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Judicial Council by the Executive.
Establishment of effective mechanisms to ensure internal democracy in political parties.


8. REDUCING MILITARY SPENDING
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Re: Spanish vote amid mass protests

Post by Rev Scare on Sun May 29, 2011 2:19 am

Isakenaz wrote:Here are the Spanish demands translated into English:

1. ELIMINATION OF THE PRIVILEGES OF THE POLITICAL CLASS:

Strict control of absenteeism in their respective elected positions. Specific penalties for dereliction of duties.
Removal of privileges in paying taxes, the years of contribution and the amount of pensions. Equalization of wages of the average wage elected Spanish more dietary needs necessary for the exercise of their functions.
Elimination of charge associated immunity. Applicability of the crimes of corruption.
Mandatory disclosure of assets of all public offices.
Reduction of charges may be appointed.


2. AGAINST UNEMPLOYMENT:

Encouraging job sharing and reduced working hours labor conciliation to end the structural unemployment (ie, until unemployment falls below 5%).
Retirement at 65 and any increase in retirement age to eliminate youth unemployment.
Subsidies for companies with less than 10% of temporary contracts.
Job security: the impossibility of collective dismissals for objective reasons in large companies while there are benefits to big business controls to ensure that temporary workers are not covered with jobs that could be fixed.
Restoration of the grant of 426 € for all long-term unemployed.


3. RIGHT TO HOUSING:

Expropriation by the state of housing stock built in that have not been sold for placement on the market for rent protected.
Rent subsidies for young people and all those poor people.
To allow payment in kind to cancel housing mortgages.


4. QUALITY PUBLIC SERVICES:

Deleting unnecessary costs on government and establishment of independent monitoring of budgets and expenditures.
Recruitment of health personnel to eliminate waiting lists.
Recruitment of teachers to ensure the ratio of students per classroom, groups of unfolding and support groups.
Reducing the cost of tuition at any university education, matching the price of the grade graduate.
Public funding of research to ensure its independence.
Cheap public transport, quality and environmentally sustainable restoration of trains are being replaced by the AVE with the original prices, cheaper bus passes, restricting private car traffic in city centers, construction of bicycle lanes.
Local social resources: effective implementation of the Law Unit, municipal local carers networks, local mediation services and mentoring.


5. CONTROL OF BANKS:

Prohibition of any kind of bailout or capital injection to banks: those companies in difficulty should fail or be nationalized to form a public bank under social control.
Tax increases to the bench in direct proportion to social spending caused by the crisis caused by mismanagement.
Return to public coffers by banks all provided public capital.
Ban on investment of Spanish banks in tax havens.
Regulation of sanctions on speculation and banking malpractice.


6. TAXATION:

Increase the tax rate on large fortunes and banks.
Elimination of the fund.
Tax refund Heritage.
Real and effective control of tax evasion and capital flight to tax havens.
International promotion of the adoption of a tax on international transactions (Tobin tax).


7. Liberties and Participatory Democracy:

Not control the Internet. Sinde Abolition Act.
Protection of freedom of information and investigative journalism.
Referendums mandatory and binding on the wide-ranging issues that change the lives of citizens.
Mandatory referendums for any introduction of measures taken by the European Union.
Amendment of Electoral Act to ensure a truly representative system that does not discriminate and proportional to any political or social will, where the white vote and vote no also have representation in the legislature.
Independence of the judiciary, reform of the Prosecution Office to ensure their independence, the appointment of members of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Judicial Council by the Executive.
Establishment of effective mechanisms to ensure internal democracy in political parties.


8. REDUCING MILITARY SPENDING

It seems that these protestors are merely protesting the symptoms of capitalism rather than indicting the institution of capitalism itself. We stand to gain from it even so, but as I have anticipated, these protests are simply the manifestations of public indignation and inflammation over the crisis of capitalism rather than outrage stemming from any class conscious decision on the part of the working classes. Regardless, these actions facilitate the potential of future working class movements.

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