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General strikes and the struggle against austerity in Spain

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Samotnaf
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Sep 9 2010 02:59

Interesting developments.
There was a union official on one of the youtube videos talking to the cameras about the motorway blockade. My Spanish is very rusty. Was he supporting the blockade, or keeping neutral or what? Any idea how much of this is initiated by the local unions in the mines? Do you know anything about how the local unions of the miners function? (are they a bit like some of the NUM in the 80s? - ie some of the local officials working alongside the miners, but getting facility time for meetings etc.?). Is this movement having any influence so far on any other movements in Spain? And the 14 miners who are occupying the mine - do you know if they're underground or on the surface barricading the entrance or what?
Always here with the easy questions - but the answers to them are important imo, if we're to get an idea about how such a movement could develop.

incontrolado
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Sep 10 2010 12:03

Valeriano Orobó...
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Sep 9 2010 12:37
Samotnaf wrote:
Interesting developments.
There was a union official on one of the youtube videos talking to the cameras about the motorway blockade. My Spanish is very rusty. Was he supporting the blockade, or keeping neutral or what? Any idea how much of this is initiated by the local unions in the mines? Do you know anything about how the local unions of the miners function? (are they a bit like some of the NUM in the 80s? - ie some of the local officials working alongside the miners, but getting facility time for meetings etc.?). Is this movement having any influence so far on any other movements in Spain? And the 14 miners who are occupying the mine - do you know if they're underground or on the surface barricading the entrance or what?
Always here with the easy questions - but the answers to them are important imo, if we're to get an idea about how such a movement could develop.

I don't know which youtube you are refering to. The action was apparently initiated by the local ccoo branch. The miners haven't received wages for the last two months. They are underground, in the 6th cellar. I don't know if the movement is having any influence so far.

Samotnaf
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Sep 9 2010 14:22

Valeriano Orobó:
I don't know which youtube you are refering to.
Sorry - this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeRbpyTsisY&feature=player_embedded

incontrolado
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Sep 9 2010 16:11

VIDEO OF THIS MORNING

http://www.antena3.com/noticias/economia/mineros-bierzo-cortan-senal-protesta_2010090900066.html

Valeriano Orobó...
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Sep 9 2010 16:31
Samotnaf wrote:
Valeriano Orobó:
I don't know which youtube you are refering to.
Sorry - this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeRbpyTsisY&feature=player_embedded

Well, actually he and the journalist are justifying the action. While the official condemns the police charge at the same time he is warning that with such measures the conflict will only escalate and that it's better to keep moods cool.

The unions are gonna face a tough time in the future cos the reform threatens its very existence since collective agreement is spain's capital new target. I doubt that showing off and empty threats, the only thing they have done recently, will do in the near future.

The very problem with the reform is that is only aimed for capital's profitability in order to pay the debt. That means that not only unemployment is gonna skyrocket and consum sinking with it, the problem is that the dole is being brutally reduced. The reform too aims to easy the redundancies of 50-60 year old workers, the ones that use to have a better contract and bigger compensations in case of lay offs. If those people find themselves on the dole they are simply not gonna find a job. For many young people is the money that their better paid dads can lend them, what keeps them slightly above of the poverty line. If there is not such money anymore we'll have half the country sinking in utter poverty. Unless we do something about it we are heading to a third world like society.

Valeriano Orobó...
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Sep 9 2010 17:37
revol68 wrote:
Your point about heading to a third world country is interesting because watching those videos in Leon reminded me of scenes from Bolivia, when I was travelling through Leon about five years ago I didn't couldn't imagine such scenes being played out, which just shows how quickly things move.

Well actually it's not the first time that that happens in Leon or many other places in Spain. I've seen this happening in andalucía, basque country, asturias, galicia and many other places. I was refering to the fact that the distribution of wealth in spain in a few years is gonna be, taking your example, the one in bolivia.

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fingers malone
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Sep 9 2010 17:47

When the shipyards were closed in Gijon and other areas in the north there were massive riots, Cadiz was similar.

Samotnaf
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Sep 10 2010 10:44

Valeriano Orobó - thanks for the translation.

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Alf
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Sep 13 2010 09:02

We finally got round to an English version of the article on the metro workers strike mentioned earlier on. Also, the letter of solidarity was not by passengers but by a group of Madrid postal workers:

http://en.internationalism.org/wr/337/solidarity-madrid-metro-workers

We also published a text by a student collective on the strike: http://en.internationalism.org/icconline/2010/09/lessons-madrid-metro-struggle

The campaign against the metro workers was very intensive given that it was a very militant and indefinite strike, but similar arguments will be used against the tube workers here

Samotnaf
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Sep 13 2010 09:59

fingers malone:

Quote:
When the shipyards were closed in Gijon and other areas in the north there were massive riots, Cadiz was similar.

Haven't read the whole of this thread, so not sure if you're referring to something mentioned here - but weren't these riots ages ago (ie last century)? - or when?

Valeriano Orobó...
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Sep 13 2010 12:59
Samotnaf wrote:
fingers malone:
Quote:
When the shipyards were closed in Gijon and other areas in the north there were massive riots, Cadiz was similar.

Haven't read the whole of this thread, so not sure if you're referring to something mentioned here - but weren't these riots ages ago (ie last century)? - or when?

Not quite, mate.

2009:

http://www.elpais.com/articulo/economia/Enfrentamientos/Policia/prejubilados/Naval/Gijon/elpepueco/20090518elpepueco_4/Tes

Samotnaf
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Sep 13 2010 15:02

Obviously missed that.

Samotnaf
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Sep 14 2010 14:58

I confused the Gijon riot with things that happened in 1987 in Spain - see this, from "Modern Times":

Quote:
Dockerworkers and students strikes in January. High school students in almost daily clashes with the cops in Madrid. Students in Mallorca block railway lines after 4-day boycott of classes in demand for free access to university. As in France, conflicts sometimes involve clashes between moderate students and combative youths. In March, railway and construction workers begin stoppages.
11/3: Steelworkers in Reinosa, N.Spain, faced with widespread redundancies, kidnap the outgoing chairman of the plant and hold him hostage. On the following day during fights with the cops involving most of the town, the Civil Guard are surrounded, stripped naked, beaten up and marched out of the town.
27/3: 370,000 transport and health workers join the students on strike.
1/4: Hotel, airline and shipworkers go on strike followed the next day by Madrid Metro workers.
8/4: Medical students, council workers and teachers block traffic during demonstrations in Madrid. In Leon 6,000 miners go on strike.
15/4: 24 hour strike by air, sea and rail workers over a pay claim.
A mass demonstration in Seville organised by the workers of the Sevilla, Puerta Real and Huelva shipyards protesting against the introduction of new technology is brutally put down by the cops.
20/4. Rioting in Guernica.
During April and May there are a series of clashes between dockworkers and cops in the Cadiz region- dockworkers there are facing big redundancies. Also there’s more rioting in Reinosa in May when a steelworker dies of injuries inflicted by the cops in April.
3/7: About 120 prisoners mutiny and seize 16 prison workers as hostages. The mutiny starts in Badaoz jail after 2 prisoners armed with pistols demand an escape van.

23 years later, and what's happening now has not developed further than 23 years ago. If nothing else, this shows that we (I include especially myself) should be wary of being over-hopeful that every sign of opposition means that we're on the brink of a turnaround in the class war.

MT
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Sep 14 2010 15:43

Just two links regarding Cadiz (2004):
http://www.red-star-research.org.uk/rpm/huelga%20reports01.html
http://www.red-star-research.org.uk/rpm/huelga%20reports02.html

Valeriano Orobó...
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Sep 14 2010 17:40
Samotnaf wrote:
I confused the Gijon riot with things that happened in 1987 in Spain - see this, from "Modern Times":
Quote:
Dockerworkers and students strikes in January. High school students in almost daily clashes with the cops in Madrid. Students in Mallorca block railway lines after 4-day boycott of classes in demand for free access to university. As in France, conflicts sometimes involve clashes between moderate students and combative youths. In March, railway and construction workers begin stoppages.
11/3: Steelworkers in Reinosa, N.Spain, faced with widespread redundancies, kidnap the outgoing chairman of the plant and hold him hostage. On the following day during fights with the cops involving most of the town, the Civil Guard are surrounded, stripped naked, beaten up and marched out of the town.
27/3: 370,000 transport and health workers join the students on strike.
1/4: Hotel, airline and shipworkers go on strike followed the next day by Madrid Metro workers.
8/4: Medical students, council workers and teachers block traffic during demonstrations in Madrid. In Leon 6,000 miners go on strike.
15/4: 24 hour strike by air, sea and rail workers over a pay claim.
A mass demonstration in Seville organised by the workers of the Sevilla, Puerta Real and Huelva shipyards protesting against the introduction of new technology is brutally put down by the cops.
20/4. Rioting in Guernica.
During April and May there are a series of clashes between dockworkers and cops in the Cadiz region- dockworkers there are facing big redundancies. Also there’s more rioting in Reinosa in May when a steelworker dies of injuries inflicted by the cops in April.
3/7: About 120 prisoners mutiny and seize 16 prison workers as hostages. The mutiny starts in Badaoz jail after 2 prisoners armed with pistols demand an escape van.

23 years later, and what's happening now has not developed further than 23 years ago. If nothing else, this shows that we (I include especially myself) should be wary of being over-hopeful that every sign of opposition means that we're on the brink of a turnaround in the class war.

I was in those student riots (betraying my age here, i was still in highschool tho lol) Nothing much relevant happened in my town back then tho, except that a savings bank in the campus was held up.

Of course the last fight is not round the corner but it's about time of striking back. Here people tho is scared as fuck.

Samotnaf
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Sep 14 2010 18:27

Everywhere people are scared as fuck - but things can only get worse - submission to fear is worse than confronting its material basis: I know, it's easier said than done, but better to die on our feet than die on our knees - and that, basically, is the only choice (sure the nuance is in the "basically": but let's face it, life without risk is no life at all).

Valeriano Orobó...
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Sep 14 2010 18:49

You don't have to tell me, i'm with you.

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fingers malone
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Sep 29 2010 21:12

http://www.antena3.com/videos-online/noticias/economia/huelga-general/antidisturbios-ensanan-universitarios-sevilla_2010092900052.html

Sorry I´m not writing but I´ve been up since 4:30!
Tommorow, ok?

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Alf
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Sep 29 2010 22:05

Leaflet produced for today's general strike, signed by the ICC along with a student collective and a healthworkers' group (Colectivo Revolucionario Espartaquista Estudiantil: luchaestUS@hotmail.com and Red de Solidaridad de los trabajadores de AFEMA-Alicante: ptssproleta@yahoo.es)


¡Trabajadores! Ante la pantomima del 29-S, ¡organicemos las luchas por nosotros mismos!

Which I guess means - 'Faced with the pantomime of 29 September, we need to organise the struggle ourselves'

http://es.internationalism.org/node/2960

Boris Badenov
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Sep 30 2010 01:23

I saw some footage of workers confronting police in Madrid today on the news; there was a CNT banner visible in the crowd.

Caiman del Barrio
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Sep 30 2010 01:37
fingers malone wrote:
http://www.antena3.com/videos-online/noticias/economia/huelga-general/antidisturbios-ensanan-universitarios-sevilla_2010092900052.html

Sorry I´m not writing but I´ve been up since 4:30!
Tommorow, ok?

Isn't Universidad de Sevilla autonoma? Why are those fucking cops there?

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sabot
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Sep 30 2010 09:20
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fingers malone
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Sep 30 2010 10:52

Ok here we go...

My day started distressingly early at 4:30 but some pickets started at midnight, to block deliveries that come in at night like to the big wholesale markets. Carrefour supermarket at San Pablo- about 90 pickets. Only 30% of staff went in. Lot of cars turned up, saw number of pickets and turned away. Security guards pushing and shoving pickets to stop them talking to people crossing picket line.
Motorways blocked, at important access points to the city: highway to Malaga, highway to Huelva, some others. Industrial poligonos on the edge of the city: strike is very strong, pickets block access roads to poligonos so plants have to close.
In my building, two people went to work, but at the moment in my building only two people have jobs, so that´s a 100% scab rate. One person went because the management coerced her, and she is a single mum hotel cleaner, so everybody understands, the other guy went in because he is a tosser.
Went to university, lot of bars are open for breakfast, lot more than last general strike (2002). Buses running. At Uni more than a hundred pickets, SAT, UGT, Comisiones, students and assorted nogoodniks. Got into grounds, people pulled up fences, used the fences to block the gates by chaining them over the gates. All gates blocked except one, but riot police turned up in force kept this gate open (by hitting people). Some professors and students going in, pickets give full and frank expression of feelings about this. Police start escorting some teachers in to the building one by one. TV cameras run around filming it. Police start pushing people around. We make a sitdown cordon elbow to elbow with pickets standing right behind us. This works, quite difficult to get through. So police charge, beat pickets with batons, I´m sitting down, police jump over me batons whistle over my head, I get up, two police are beating one guy on the floor. Other people try to help, get beaten with batons. I´m afraid of batons, don´t get too close, later feel bad. Guy dragged out by hair and arrested. Police have no numbers, have taken them off in advance. Scabs start leaving university as no classes are on.
From university go in a march down calle Sierpes, main posh shopping street. "Encourage" shops to close, they close. Pass a multinational chain where I worked aged 17. Grab microphone, gabble encoherently about teenage exploitation, compulsory overtime and three pounds an hour as shop pulls down grills, nice moment. Then close down posh clothes shop, people shouting "the size 38 squeezes my fanny"!! (size 38 is maybe size 8 in England.) Go to Corte Ingles, few hundred people picketing, riot police keeping people away from doors. People try to go to a bar which has an ongoing labour despute, to have a big breakfast & then dine´n´dash, but owner takes one look at them & says "Pay in advance!" so no go. Lots of little demos roaming around or people picketing shops. Then on to big demo, big demo is big, fucking really big. Huge. Massive. Plaza Nueva full, spilling over into square next to it, road full all past Cathedral, full up to Archivo de Indias. Huge. Strike must be pretty successful as all these people obviously not at work. See contingent of baffled Japanese tourists trying to go through demo next to cathedral just as it starts moving, very funny.
End of demo, food & beer in park, then go to court to wait for arrested picket. About 200, mostly anarchists but a lot of strikers have come from all different unions, talk to some bus drivers, has a bus driver been arrested today on a picket line? No we´re here because some kid was arrested at the university today. Oh, thanks for coming that´s really nice, and they tell me all about their new precarious contracts. And say they went to London and they like the buses there a lot. I agree, that yes the London buses have no equals.
Go to bus station to use toilet, one ticket window open, "servicios minimos" about two forlorn travellers and a line of very stationary buses. So long distance transport strike is very good. Sit outside court for FIVE HOURS everybody totally exhausted, but chanting, banging on road sign with stones, clapping, making as much noise as possible. Dwindles mostly to friends and some pickets from the SAT who stick it out to the bitter end. Group of gypsy women waiting the same time for their relatives, one man is released, tells us he has seen our friend, talked to him, he hasn´t been beaten up, we say thanks, eventually second guy comes out, same, says they won´t give him food or water and they are treating him badly but he´s ok, then gypsy family applaud us and go home, shake fists in air and we applaud them, nice moment. Guy is finally released, we all stagger home.

Jason Cortez
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Sep 30 2010 10:41

Nice one for reporting this stuff. Hope your neighbour has recovered from the ordeal.

Valeriano Orobó...
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Sep 30 2010 10:43

Nice summary. I'll make mine when i have the time. Not that much to tell tho.

Salvoechea
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Sep 30 2010 10:57

I'll make a short summary about Barcelona.

By the way, the biggest anarchist demos I've seen in my live: CNT-AIT attracted 2000 people, and the CGT block was of 8000-10000, amazing. And also riots all around the town center. This has been the day squatters discovered class struggle. smile I'm very satisfied about all day. In fact all the organisations in the left of CCOO and UGT have ended quite reinforced.

There were autonomous pickets (= anarchists + squatters + punks + catalan left independentists + communists + trots + individuals) all around barcelona. Mine one was based in Sants and attracted more than 200 people (500 when we arrived to Plaça Catalunya). It was a real demo, instead of a picket. We were closing all shops we found open. We suffered 3 arrested people.

In whole there are 43 people arrested.

In all Spain, CNT and CGT numbers are amazing (biggest in 20 years):

Madrid: 4000 with CNT / 7000 with CGT in a 15000 demo (it was called by a numer of organisations)
Zaragoza: 500 with CNT

etc:
you can read it here:

http://www.alasbarricadas.org/noticias/?q=node/15213

akai
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Sep 30 2010 11:20

There is a good summary of CNT demos on the KRAS page:
www.aitrus.info

incontrolado
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Sep 30 2010 12:36

Barcelona:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8J-qRZQZ4ys&feature=player_embedded

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fingers malone
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Sep 30 2010 13:47

I got this information mostly from the Diario de Sevilla.

The city buses, airport, high speed trains, local trains tram & metro were all running servicios minimos. Schools, hospitals & courts were also running. Most people working for the council and city government went to work. Most shops opened, although a lot of shops closed in the barrios.

Like the rest of Spain things went much better in the factories, in the industrial poligonos hardly any factories were running, Renault factory didn´t produce one single part, the Mercasevilla (where the fresh food supplies come in at night) was successfully blocked by huge pickets of more than a thousand people and the lorries were turned away and there were a lot of blockades early in the morning, the SE- 30 was blocked in a couple of places and three highways were blocked with burning barricades. Two pickets got arrested for blockading the A-92. The long distance buses were hardly running at all due to pickets, the paper says the strike was most effective in Plaza de Armas, but I went in the other bus station and it was dead as a dodo too. The University of Seville was 80% on strike. (hah!) A lot of shops opened, closed when people came to picket them, then opened again when the pickets had gone. 90% of taxis didn´t run.

Looks like in the whole country the most successful strikes were in industry especially the car factories which were almost 100% closed, http://www.antena3.com/videos-online/noticias/economia/huelga-general/tension-fabricas-automoviles_2010092900097.html construction I think was fairly good, transport varies a lot from city to city, public sector was shit, most people went to work, bars and shops were nearly all open and so were banks. The proportion of people on strike was highest in the Basque country and Asturias, Barcelona had the best rioting by far. More than 50 arrests across the whole country.

http://www.antena3.com/videos-online/noticias/economia/huelga-general/incidentes-huelga-general_2010092900157.html

I suppose you couldn´t say it was a success, but at least it didn´t feel like a washout.

Val & Jason, thanks, the guy who was arrested is ok, but they are throwing the book at him sad
and another guy was arrested for ´coercion´ ie for intimidation on the picket line.

There is a rumour going round that someone was hit by a scab lorry in Madrid or Barcelona and is in a coma, does anyone know anything about this?