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General strikes and the struggle against austerity in Spain

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Valeriano Orobó...
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Jan 18 2011 23:13

As i said previously i'm no member of CNT. In the official site they claim to support general strike in Galicia too apart of what was said previously, nothing else: no state campaign, no strike in other places.

http://www.cnt.es/

Loads of information about local actions. No intention, apparently, of launching a state campaign.

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jan 19 2011 00:06
Mark. wrote:
The decisions to support callouts are being made by local and regional unions rather than nationally. As these regions have various left nationalist unions with significant membership there's maybe a view that a general strike without backing from the CCOO and UGT will have more of a real effect there.

That's correct. But it's still a problem if the different local unions don't feel the need to launch a joint effort, cos the dispersion of efforts it's still a FUCKING HUGE PROBLEM. You are not gonna challenge CCOO and UGT on a regional basis, no way. The state as a whole is backing them for fucks shake!

Mark.
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Jan 19 2011 00:47

Valeriano - do you think this is because there are disagreements within the CNT about working with the other unions at all?

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jan 19 2011 06:33

That's probably one of the reasons, yes. The federal type of organization is an obstacle too, but that's no excuse. Obviously we don't want to change it in a centralized one, so the federal one MUST be improved. If i were a member it would be unacceptable to me if i was told "we cannot do this because it depends on the agreement of all federations". And i think unfortunately routine plays a role here too. I just can't remember when the cnt launched a national campaign. I think they feel comfortable in local conflicts (where they are probably the best) and these kind of broader fights are probably already too "political" for them. I think they smell "reformists" and "communists" far too often.

Salvoechea
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Jan 19 2011 08:56

I don't agree with you Valeriano. CNT by the way is suffering a big internal change of mind, in that respect. With the last changes towards a "syndicalist" union they have realised they should collaborate with other unions if they want to achieve something. In the last 30 years the only open relationship they had with other unions was insults (everyone was a reformist or an agent of the state).

The problem with this strike is that it is only in Galicia and the Basque Country where it is has been calle by majoritarian unions (CIG in Galicia, and ELA, LAB, Stee-Eilas, Hiru,etc in the Basque country). In Catalonia, CGT has called for a general strike without having any chance of stopping the production. They are like 1/10 of the size of CCOO in Catalonia. And the rest of the unions that call for the strike are abount 1000 members in all. CNT says: "fucking hell, now that we have some membership in some companies, are we going to risk their safety (they will be sacked for sure, if they strike) for this strike called without chances to win?" If you call for a general strike all your membership should follow it. If someone doesn't followed should be expelled from the union. That's how it works. Now, some CGT unions in catalonia says that they don't want the strike and they won't do anything for it. I haven't seen any poster in the streets of Barcelona one week before the strike. There's no information to workers in companies... and so on. Unfortunatelly this is a mock strike called for the social movements (to which CGT belongs).

Things in Basque country or Galicia will be very different to things in Catalonia. In Catalonia will have for sure, plenty of arrested, and probably important clashes with police. There won't be any mercy with pickets trying to close shops and companies, trying to stop transport. Anyway. Someone must do it, and that someone is us (given to CCOO and UGT are not going to call for any strike).

Salvoechea
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Jan 19 2011 09:04

In the rest of Spain, needless to say, there's no strike, because of the radical unions feel even weaker. In Catalonia, CCOO and UGT has more than 150,000 members each; CGT is around 15,000 and another 1,000 from the rest.

In the Basque country ELA is the biggest union, with about 100,000 members (population is lesser than Catalonia) and LAB about 40,000 (and the rest of the striking unions can add some thousands more; CCOO and UGT has around 40-60,000, each, and some more thousands in Navarre).

In Galicia CIG has around 60,000 members (CCOO and UGT 50,000 to 60,000 each), and CGT-CUT, CNT about 2-3,000 among the three....

However, in Spain there's the possibility that things can go for an unexpected way. in Murcia (with a right-wing govern) things are going wild among stateworkers.

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fingers malone
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Jan 19 2011 11:19

Hiya, here in Andalucia the CGT and the SAT are talking about doing ´something´ on the 27th January but I don´t think they are planning a strike, I think it´s more likely to be a demo or something. The SAT sometimes call regional strikes on their own but in a small area, not for the whole of Andalucia as far as I know.

Salvoechea
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Jan 19 2011 12:35

http://www.laconfederacion.es/index.php/articulos-de-opinion/402-temen-que-los-sucesos-de-murcia-se-propaguen-a-otros-lugares.html

Quote:
Los recortes sociales llevados a cabo por el Gobierno murciano que preside el señor Valcárcel, han desencadenado una fuerte respuesta de la población que, en el mes de diciembre, llegó a marchar en manifestación espontánea hasta su domicilio particular donde arrojaron huevos y, según Valcárcel, golpearon a una hija suya. Sí fueron increpados y zarandeados algunos cargos del PP.
Pero la agresión sufrida el sábado pasado por el consejero de cultura, han disparado las alarmas. Valcárcel la relaciona con intereses partidistas y señala que los culpables están entre sus socios del PSOE; sin embargo tertulianos radiales y televisivos, comienzan a mostrarse alarmados, citan a grupos antisistemas y hablan de que en las redes sociales se están haciendo llamamientos “a la revolución”.En definitiva, temen que lo que surgió como un enfrentamiento por la poltrona, se convierta en algo más.
Todo apunta a que están inquietos ante la posibilidad de que Murcia se convierta en una especie de pequeña Túnez, y punta de lanza que propague el descontento generalizado a otras regiones del Estado; por tanto claman que Madrid actúe con mano dura ante lo sucedido. Saben que en esa Comunidad existen grupos de ciudadanos que empiezan a organizarse en plataformas para defenderse de los desmanes de banqueros, políticos y rateros de guante blanco que han esquilmado las arcas públicas.
Por esa razón el ministro de la Presidencia, el “socialista” Ramón Jáuregui, ha condenado la agresión contra el consejero diciendo que "nunca nada justifica que nadie agreda a nadie, y menos a un cargo público". Es decir, quienes no sean cargos públicos son ciudadanos de segunda y, en consecuencia, sujetos de la represión “democrática”. Más claro, agua.

In short:In Murcia state workers began a couple of months ago a serial of protests, meeting a great support from workers. It rose from 4000 ppl in the first demo to the 30,000 in the last one. A councilor (culture) of the regional government has been seriously beaten by someone. Some reports that the agressor is a leftist radical, or an angry worker. And, of course, all the political parties fears are about this situation being repeated in all Spain.

--

Another interesting case, has happened on a Catalan 'banlieu' of Salt (+50% immigrated population, most part from Maghreb), where the marginal youth has exploted by burning cars and attacking police. This has brought the complains of the right-wing nuts and the fascists parties who are asking for the expulsion from spain of those youths.

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jan 19 2011 20:28
Salvoechea wrote:
I don't agree with you Valeriano. CNT by the way is suffering a big internal change of mind, in that respect. With the last changes towards a "syndicalist" union they have realised they should collaborate with other unions if they want to achieve something. In the last 30 years the only open relationship they had with other unions was insults (everyone was a reformist or an agent of the state).

The problem with this strike is that it is only in Galicia and the Basque Country where it is has been calle by majoritarian unions (CIG in Galicia, and ELA, LAB, Stee-Eilas, Hiru,etc in the Basque country). In Catalonia, CGT has called for a general strike without having any chance of stopping the production. They are like 1/10 of the size of CCOO in Catalonia. And the rest of the unions that call for the strike are abount 1000 members in all. CNT says: "fucking hell, now that we have some membership in some companies, are we going to risk their safety (they will be sacked for sure, if they strike) for this strike called without chances to win?" If you call for a general strike all your membership should follow it. If someone doesn't followed should be expelled from the union. That's how it works. Now, some CGT unions in catalonia says that they don't want the strike and they won't do anything for it. I haven't seen any poster in the streets of Barcelona one week before the strike. There's no information to workers in companies... and so on. Unfortunatelly this is a mock strike called for the social movements (to which CGT belongs).

Things in Basque country or Galicia will be very different to things in Catalonia. In Catalonia will have for sure, plenty of arrested, and probably important clashes with police. There won't be any mercy with pickets trying to close shops and companies, trying to stop transport. Anyway. Someone must do it, and that someone is us (given to CCOO and UGT are not going to call for any strike).

I'm very glad to hear that and i don't have any reason to doubt what salvoechea says (he's inside, i'm not) If you say that you all are willing to prepare a strike count with me, i'll help in my place as much as i can. Glad to hear as well the change in cnt's position. I too understand and support your decission of not leaving your members "con el culo al aire", as we say here (exposed) It's a wise position. However i still hope the different federations understand the need of a joint action (and good lawyers wink. Anyway, fantastic news!

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jan 19 2011 20:48
Salvoechea wrote:

In short:In Murcia state workers began a couple of months ago a serial of protests, meeting a great support from workers. It rose from 4000 ppl in the first demo to the 30,000 in the last one. A councilor (culture) of the regional government has been seriously beaten by someone. Some reports that the agressor is a leftist radical, or an angry worker. And, of course, all the political parties fears are about this situation being repeated in all Spain.

--

Another interesting case, has happened on a Catalan 'banlieu' of Salt (+50% immigrated population, most part from Maghreb), where the marginal youth has exploted by burning cars and attacking police. This has brought the complains of the right-wing nuts and the fascists parties who are asking for the expulsion from spain of those youths.

On this: of course there's gonna be riots, late and quite crazy ones but riots anyway. However i very much doubt that the aggressor of that politico was a leftist. In fact today he was fred and more than likely in the future they will have to drop charges against him. I've seen on the net the suggestion that probably the actual target of the attack was a bigger shot, the region's president and the instigators, the real state maffias that have been operating in our coasts who are targeting the president for some dodgy unpaid debt. That seems to me more likely in this fucking mess of a country we live in.

Which of course it's not to say that people are not angry, they are big time.

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fingers malone
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Jan 23 2011 18:38

There were 50 000 people on a demo against privatisation of local government in Andalucia yesterday, was pretty noisy.

Don´t think there´s going to be anything here on the 27th except some solidarity demos.

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fingers malone
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Jan 23 2011 18:41

(edit) the UGT and Comisiones didn´t attend, as they have made an agreement with the Junta. The biggest union block was CSI-F, a kind of quite right wing corporatist civil servants union. But the demo was pretty good I think, loads of hospital workers and so on.

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Steven.
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Jan 23 2011 19:27

Thanks for these updates, I don't feel I can add much to the discussion but I have been reading them with interest!

Salvoechea
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Jan 24 2011 11:05

In Barcelona, 3-4000 people marched in an anticapitalist demo against retirement pension cuts. At the end of the demo an old cinema was squatted (it had been squatted 3 days before, but it showed off for the demo). Police went into it and 420 people were inside when they entered.

http://www.kaosenlared.net/noticia/barcelona-puig-conseller-derecha-regionalista-desaloja-cines-identific

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ylamf-liVo&feature=player_embedded

In Valladolid a demo called by CNT, CGT and the Workers Bloc (mainly communists) was followed by 2000 people.

http://www.rojoynegro.info/2004/spip.php?article33027

About 1000 people at the Canary Islands

http://www.rojoynegro.info/2004/spip.php?article33026

And other numbers in Catalan towns:

300 in Reus
100 in Cornella and another 100 in Girona
100 in Lleida,. 100 in Terrassa...

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Hasek
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Jan 25 2011 01:38

I don't know how is it going to be the 27th. For sure there is going to be less people than if done by the principal unions, CCOO and UGT. The general strike has had a low broadcasting, and the mass media is totally ignoring it. When it was done the 29th, we had three months of a total attack to the biggest unions for their passivity, for the demovilization of the workers. But when it is done by CGT, CNT and others it is totally dissappeared from the media. I think that there are going to be big demos in the Basque Country, and probably in Barcelona. Last general strike, the 29th, the Assemblea de Barcelona did its own demonstration, with the huge support of CNT, En Lluita, Revolta Global and others, and it amounted like 5.000 people. If the occupation remained, for sure it was going to have a big support, because it had a political intention, but now I don't know what to say. The police is doing a huge attack to revolutionaries and other kind of people who reject "social peace".

PD: By the way, hello to each other. Sorry for my bad english, but you have another guy from Spain for informing yourselves. See ya.

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jan 27 2011 15:21

How do i post a slideshow? anyone knows?

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Steven.
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Jan 27 2011 15:24

What do you mean a slideshow? You could just post a link to it if it is on another website

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fingers malone
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Jan 27 2011 15:30

Hello Hasek, which bit of Spain are you in?

There was a small protest this morning about the pension reform and to coincide with the general strikes in the north, but at the start of the protest we got given a legal notice saying that we weren´t allowed to carry out the protest. We carried on anyway, but there is a bigger demo planned for this evening, and that isn´t allowed either.

A few days ago the 18 people arrested in the general strike had to go to court for the first time, there was a big picket outside the court. I think some of the charges might be reduced (at the moment everybody is charged with agresion al autoridad, and some people with other charges as well) but it isn´t very clear at the moment.

And Seville got robbed last night in the semi finals.

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jan 27 2011 15:38
Steven. wrote:
What do you mean a slideshow? You could just post a link to it if it is on another website

Ok:

http://www.slideshare.net/mrafundazioa/reforma-de-las-pensiones

It's about the retirement reform,done by the basque nationalist union, ela. Quite good (except for the music)

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Hasek
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Jan 27 2011 20:02

I am from Barcelona, the Rose of Fire! CGT has just said that there were like 10.000 people in the unitary demo of this evening where I was. There were some political parties, mostly trots and other leninist stuff, the unions that improved the strike, like CGT and CNT, and small groups of nationalists. It was a very low-followed general strike, most people did not have knowledge about it, but in the transports sector, like 50% according to CGT details had done the strike. Most students did not follow it because we are in exams season -I went anyway, but I am still thinking about the exam that I have tomorrow!-. The CNT demo started at 19:00. In the unitary one there were more people than in the one of the 24th, when we occuppied the abandoned cinemas of a central part of Barcelona and the cops kicked us out. If anyone has a doubt please tell me.

incontrolado
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Jan 28 2011 07:52

Madrid:

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jan 28 2011 16:56

The pics with the cops fighting the people has to be puerta del sol and malasaña. I've read that they went there with the obvious intention to intimidate. On wednesday 26th i was in the demo in my town: some thousands what, considering how bad it was organised, it's ok but the mood was that of a funeral. Today ccoo and ugt have sold us once again: now it's gonna be 38.5 years to be paid if you want to get a retirement (before, 35), the retirement you are gonna get it's gonna be calculated on your last 25 years of work (before, 15). I hope next years Saint-Just comes out of his grave to help us and we can recreate nice 1793 again.

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jan 28 2011 17:01

On a nicer note: a ancient gaol turned into a squat in my place was brutally vacated the 20th. On the 23rd an illegal demo was called to protest aginst it. It was massively attended and the place was squatted again.

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fingers malone
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Jan 28 2011 22:46

From Madrid

Police charges near the Congreso.
The police have charged against a demonstration called by different social movements and base unions against the pension reform.
When the demonstration got to Puerta del Sol, the demonstrators started to shout "To the Congreso, to the Congreso" echoing a callout which had gone on all day via text messages, calling for a cacerolada (pots and pans demo) with the slogan "We won´t negotiate the pensions, I won´t sign this agreement." (tr: Comisiones and UGT signed an agreement about the raising of the pension age to 67 yesterday.)
Around the congreso, large numbers of police prevented people from carrying out their legitimate right to protest. After a few minutes of tension, the police began to harrass people, pushing them back to Puerta del Sol, where violent police charges were taking place. Some reports say two people have been arrested, some say four.

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fingers malone
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Jan 28 2011 22:55

I can´t see any of the photos on incontrolado´s post, only little red exes. sad

To expand on what Val is saying about the pension reform: in Spain you don´t really get means tested benefits much, the dole and so on mostly depends of what you have "cotizado" ie the contributions you have paid. However as so much work here is a) sporadic and b) wholly or partially off the books, it is difficult for people to cotizar as much as they need to to be able to get the dole. Now for the pensions it is the same, to qualify for your full pension you need to have 38.5 years cotizado, which is going to be really difficult to achieve for a lot of people.

You squatted a gaol?? That´s just showing off.

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fingers malone
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Jan 28 2011 22:59

I can see the photos now, joder. Parece bastante fuerte.

How many people do you think were on the demo? It looks big.
What union is AST?

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fingers malone
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Jan 29 2011 20:05

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2awYYoykAwY&feature=player_embedded

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klJWa3_ORpc&feature=player_embedded

http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/942287/0/manifestacion/pensiones/madrid/

From Incontrolado in Madrid

People are saying there were between 10000 and 20000 people. Taking part were some sections of Madrid CNT but not all of them, and also the CGT, Solidaridad Obrera, and a long list of base unions and social movements. You could say it is the biggest demo against the cuts and the crisis which hasn´t been called by Comisiones Obreras and the UGT.

Mark.
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Jan 29 2011 20:32

Have there been any joint demos by the CNT, the CGT and SO in Madrid before?

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jan 30 2011 11:41
fingers malone wrote:
You squatted a gaol?? That´s just showing off.

lol It's a 1928 deserted building...What is important is that the demo to squat it again was illegal, however it was massively attended and achieved its goal.

Dannny
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Feb 20 2012 22:37

I don't know if people have been following what's going on in Valencia. Protests of predominantly school children against cuts were violently attacked by police last week and since then there have been ongoing protests against police brutality that have met with similarly brutal responses. Parts of the university are under occupation at the moment.
Videos and Spanish reportage here:
http://www.publico.es/espana/423041/la-policia-vuelve-a-cargar-contra-los-estudiantes-en-valencia