The Spark

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

Spain:
Anger at Outrageous Foreclosures

Jan 7, 2013

Early in November, thousands of people in Spain demonstrated against foreclosures. Many demonstrated in Madrid, Murcia and the Basque area, denouncing the “banker murderers.”

The anger was all the greater since two weeks before, two people facing eviction killed themselves, just before being thrown onto the street. The right-wing government of Rajoy, in accord with the Socialist Party, admits today that the procedures need to be revised. But what they’re speaking of is only a slight tap of the brakes. What needs to be imposed is an abrupt halt: evictions must be prohibited.

Since the beginning of the crisis in 2008, some 400,000 families have been struck by foreclosures: 300,000 when the Socialist Party under Zapatero was in power and 100,000 since Rajoy took power in December 2011. In 2012, there was a 20.6% increase compared to the year before, more than 500 evictions per day!

In fact, the income of working people is constantly going down. Unemployment is at 25%. Change in the labor law has made layoffs easier and less costly for the bosses, in both the private and public sectors. Wages are being cut and prices increased.

But the problem for those who have lost their home isn’t just the bank seizure of their homes. The interest on their loans continues and families have to pay for something they no longer have. It’s often a lifetime sentence, which plunges them still more into despair.

Since evictions are widespread, solidarity of neighbors and the population has developed, in particular thanks to the mobilization aroused by the 15-M movement of the “indignant” ones, which began in May of 2011. Dozens of evictions have been prevented or postponed. There are daily tragedies and revolts which confront these attacks on the population.

The banks, like Bankia, for example, received billions of dollars from the State to cover their speculative operations, especially in real estate, which otherwise would have caused them to go bankrupt. On the one hand, they pocket State money from taxpayers, and on the other hand, they make their victims pay by skirting the legalities of mortgage agreements. It’s getting worse and worse. Many judges are denouncing the law’s inhumanity and the main policeman’s union warned that it would defend its members who refused to take part in evictions.

In addition, the European Court of Justice seized on the abusive procedures of unpaid loans and a moratorium could be decided on. All of a sudden, the administration and the Socialist Party speak of an eventual revision of the law, which would permit, not the elimination of debt, but allowing families to stay in their homes by paying rent, on a case by case basis. But at this time of crisis, the minimum should be that all families keep their homes.