By Wjard van Leeuwen
About five hundred Spanish students, workers and international supporters spontaneously demonstrated yesterday (21 May 2011) in Amsterdam’s Dam Square, in solidarity with the massive (banned) demonstrations against unemployment and austerity-politics in Madrid, Barcelona and other cities in Spain. The high-spirited protests continued today (22 May) at the Spanish consulate and Dam Square, as the governing Socialist Party braces for heavy losses in local and regional elections (22 May). Protests will continue alongside those in Spain until at least 29 May.
|Several hundred workers and students demonstrate in sympathy with Spanish protesters at Dam Square, 21 May 2011. Picture by Wjard van Leeuwen.|
The protests in Spain, and sympathetic protests in European capitals, were spontaneously organised (largely through facebook) following an apparently stoic quietude as the government steadily undermined living standards. Whilst clear demands have not emerged from ongoing discussion and debate, what is clear is that demonstrators are protesting the establishment’s politics and corruption. The mainstream political parties that paved the way for the economic crisis, and the Spanish media that cheerled, were not welcomed at the demonstrations.
While mainstream economists now say the Spanish economy is no longer in recession – defined as two quarters of negative growth – the number of unemployed continues to skyrocket. Spain’s official unemployment rate recently hit 21.19%, and 44.6% for young workers, recalling Depression-era social catastrophes. The number of jobless doubled in the year after the property bubble burst, when about two million people lost their jobs. The prospect of a ‘jobless recovery’ hangs like a spectre over the southern Europe.
|Puerta del Sol (BBC)|
The Socialist Alternief (Nederland) supports the struggles of Spanish workers and students. We argue for a program (in Spanish) that does away with the capitalist system – and the establishment that supports it – that prioritises the profits of the few over needs of the many. See “what we stand for.”
There are also good analyses by the CWI on the spanish protests here. This article is also published in Dutch here.
To keep up with events in Nederland click here.