The Spark

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

Millions against the war and against Aznar

Mar 3, 2003

The following article first appeared in Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle); the newspaper of our comrades in France.

In Spain the demonstrations on Saturday, February 15 were the most important that have taking place in this country for 25 years. They occurred in all the big cities, but also in very small ones. There were several million people who marched or who remained stationary for hours when it was impossible to march, as in Madrid, where it was impossible to take the planned route. The government didn't even try to debate the figures, given how much the demonstrations exceeded predictions. Five% of the entire population was involved in these demonstrations.

These demonstrations were called by the left parties among others and were supported by numerous artists. They certainly expressed the opposition of the population to the Spanish government, as it falls in behind U.S. leaders in a warlike adventure against Iraq.

But the size of the demonstrations also reflects the discontent that the Spanish government's policy has provoked in working class layers. This had already been expressed in giant demonstrations, as for example, against the reform of labor legislation which caused millions of workers to descend into the street, or the demonstrations in Galicia, which showed the extent of the population's anger at the indifference and inertia of national and regional leaders in the wake of the catastrophic breakup of the oil tanker Prestige.

With only a few months before the next elections, the parties standing in opposition to Aznar's Popular Party, which is currently in power, are certainly going to ride this discontent. But the extent of the mobilization is also an encouragement for all those who feel it's necessary to continue the struggle.