The Spark

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

A Big Day of Protest by the Spanish Movement of the “Indignant Ones”

Oct 31, 2011

On October 15th, many thousands of Spaniards participated in the movement of the “Indignados” (the Indignant Ones). It was part of an international day of protest against the policies of governments and bankers who are making the populations everywhere pay for the crisis.

Several hundred thousand people demonstrated in more than 60 cities throughout Spain. There were some 50,000 demonstrating in Madrid and even more in Barcelona. There were 40,000 in Seville and San Sebastian.

Some carried signs with the slogan, “No, they don’t represent us,” aimed at the representatives of the Socialist Workers Party of Spain (PSOE), which has been in power in recent years and has carried out an anti-worker austerity policy. The PSOE is expected to lose in the national elections on November 20th. The protest was also aimed at the right wing party Popular Party (PP), which is expected to win.

Demonstrators expressed their anger at unemployment and economic insecurity and all the austerity measures that have multiplied in recent months. There have been repeated attacks, cutting education and public services, dismantling medical facilities in workers’ neighborhoods (especially in Catalonia, where half the health centers are threatened with closure), and cutting government workers’ pay.

Anger has grown over these problems. Recent changes in the law on layoffs led to higher unemployment. The managers of government agencies and public sector businesses don’t even hide their desire to lay off workers and cut wages. When the credit rating agencies lower the ratings of Spanish banks, politicians of the right and left use it as a pretext to extort still more sacrifices from the population.

Fortunately, the movement of the “Indignados” in Spain, which developed six months ago, continues to denounce the disgusting policies of the capitalists, the bankers and the politicians who serve them. But, under the pretext of not introducing divisions in their movement, those who organize the “Indignados” insist that politics can’t be discussed, wanting in fact to silence those who dare to call themselves communists or anarchists. The unending, confused debates of the last general assembly in Madrid, which was organized after the October 15 demonstrations, shows the impasse of this pretended apolitical stance, which is hypocritical. It aims at leaving the political field open for those who would be “indignant,” but who don’t want to put in question the capitalist system.

The May 15th Movement, as it is called, has the merit of encouraging protest and above all of having brought hundreds of thousands of people out to protest, among them the young, the inhabitants of workers’ neighborhoods, the unemployed, the economically insecure and workers of every kind – showing that they don’t want to leave the bankers, the capitalists and the politicians free to do as they want.

They need more – to find objectives for themselves for the struggles of tomorrow and, more precisely, a political perspective.