The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

A “Progressive” Government ... Progresses toward War

May 6, 2024

This article is translated from the April 19, 2024 issue #2907 of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the Trotskyist group of that name active in France.

In March, NATO began using Spain’s Mahón/Maó naval base on Menorca in the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean. The station is now NATO’s third military base in Spain, after those in Rota on the Atlantic coast and Cartagena on the Mediterranean.

Pedro Sanchez, the Socialist Party president of Spain, has tried to present a somewhat different attitude from other Western leaders. At the last European summit, he asked his allies to tone down their hawkish talk. In November, he was among the first politicians to criticize Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. He even talks about recognizing a Palestinian state later this summer.

With these declarations, Sanchez is trying not to cut himself off from left-wing Spaniards. Anti-war and anti-NATO traditions date back to the 1980s. The Socialist Party first refused entry into NATO and then campaigned for entry a few years later. In 2003, protests against the Iraq War gathered millions of people. This gave new life to the United Left electoral coalition linked to the Spanish Communist Party—several of whose members are in office today, such as the Labor Minister Yolanda Diaz. So Sanchez is passing the buck and the role of warmonger to fellow Socialist and Defense Minister Margarita Robles. In March, she declared that “the threat of war in Europe is real, but society “is not aware of it.”

In fact, the Spanish government stands solidly on imperialist ground. In addition to the new island base—which American destroyers will use for operations in the Mediterranean—2,400 Spanish soldiers are occupying Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Spanish warships accompanied the American aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean last October. And last year, the government passed a military budget of 27 billion dollars, Spain’s largest in recent history. Spain is the 15th biggest economy in the world but the 7th biggest arms exporter. Israel ranks among its clients.

In the 1950s, the United States affiliated fascist dictator Francisco Franco’s Spain with NATO. Ever since then, successive Spanish governments have toed the line. This is more than ever the case today with the Socialist Party and its allies in the so-called radical left.