CPGB-ML » Posts for tag 'Spain'

Spanish workers take the initiative against austerity

This article is part of the industrial report that was presented at the 21 October meeting of the CPGB-ML central committee.

In Andalucia, where over 30 percent of workers are unemployed and austerity is becoming a euphemism for semi-starvation, the SAT union has responded by organising ‘expropriations’ of supermarkets, with liberated basic foodstuffs distributed amongst the poor.

According to Bloomberg Business Week, 30 union activists in Ecija stormed Carrefour and Mercadona on 7 August, piled the trolleys high with cooking oil, salt, sugar, pasta and rice, and wheeled them out.

Another raid in Cadiz stalled when staff locked the activists inside the store. A compromise was then negotiated: 12 carts of unpaid-for food and permission to leave for all. And when Angela Merkel came to Spain, activists marked the occasion by occupying Lidl.

Lacking the guidance of our brave TUC, these activists did not think to preface their actions with an Early Day Motion asking for shoplifting to be made lawful.

Anti-Franco judge targeted by Spanish fascists

From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 4 March.

The well-known Spanish judge, Baltasar Garzon, has been targeted by fascist sympathisers as a result of his attempts to reopen cases of human rights abuses committed during the Franco era. Various right-wingers have brought no fewer than three criminal prosecutions against him, alleging various kinds of misconduct, and decisions have now been made in all three cases.

The most serious charge was a charge of corruption, arising out of the fact that the Santander Bank financed a university course on which Garzon was hired to lecture. That case was thrown out and Garzon found to be innocent.

The second case involved the accusation that Garzon illegally ordered wiretaps on confidential discussions between accused persons and their legal representatives. This he was found guilty of and was disbarred for 11 years, effectively ending his professional career as a judge. His purpose had been to ensure that proceeds of crime were not spirited out of the country, but this did not apparently excuse his breach of lawyer-client confidentiality.

Finally, he was accused of improperly taking action against suspected perpetrators of human rights abuses during the Franco era. The impropriety of this arises from the fact that all those guilty of such abuses were given immunity against prosecution by law, a law by which Garzon is bound. Garzon’s argument is that such a law is illegal under international law and he was therefore not bound by it.

The Spanish court, however, decided that Garzon was bound by it, but that he had not committed any offence as he had acted in good faith.

It is probable that these various cases will be appealed to the European Court of Human Rights.

Euro on the verge of collapse

From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 3 December

There is a real threat that the euro is going to collapse as a currency. This is because everybody is trying to get rid of their euro holdings. The reason this is happening is that it has become clear that Greece is not going to avoid defaulting on its debt, with the general consensus being that its lenders are going to have to take a 50 percent ‘haircut’.

At the same time, Portugal’s debt has been reduced to junk status by credit rating agencies, and borrowing costs for Italy and Spain have soared above the affordability mark, with even German bonds suffering increased borrowing costs. Now France is under threat as it is likely to need to bail out its banks as a result of their losses on their Greek debts, etc.

Attempts to put together a firewall that will enable European countries to continue to borrow at affordable rates of interest are floundering, and the Germans are resisting attempts to have the European Central Bank step in to perform this service, because they make the largest contribution to this bank and don’t want to throw good money after bad and then find themselves in financial trouble.

There is some suggestion that Germany would be willing to be more accommodating if the European countries would agree to greater fiscal integration, which of course implies a surrender of sovereignty to the EU which in turn is very much dominated by Germany and France. They of course can be expected to use that control for their national benefit at the expense of other EU countries.

In the meantime, the elected leaders of Greece and Italy have both been forced to resign, to be replaced by unelected ‘technocrats’ with close links to Goldman Sachs (which in turn was intimately involved with the repackaging of subprime debts as high quality by camouflaging them in complex ‘derivatives’). The new head of the ECB is also a former Goldman Sachs man.

The UK and the US are said to be making contingency plans for the chaos that will certainly ensue if the euro does in fact collapse. More detail in this month’s issue of Proletarian.

Crisis finally forces Spanish government into Basque peace process

From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 5 November

The Financial Times of 21 October reported that: “The militant Basque separatist group Eta has announced the ‘definitive cessation of its military activity’ after more than 50 years of violence, in a move likely to herald the end of the only remaining sustained armed conflict in western Europe.

Eta has in fact been calling for dialogue to end the conflict for several years, but clearly the Spanish government has now decided to abandon its traditional stance of refusing to negotiate with ‘terrorists’ and has actually welcomed Eta’s statement. The declaration followed an appeal put out by a group of informal peace negotiators, which included Kofi Annan, the former secretary general of the United Nations; Gro Harlem Brundtland, a former Norwegian prime minister; Gerry Adams, the leader of Sinn Fein, which has long had ties to Basque nationalist party Herri Batasuna, and Tony Blair.

With such impeccable support for a peace process, how could the Spanish government refuse? It would seem that the European authorities have decided that for the Spanish government to be spending millions of euros a year at a time of crisis merely to continue harassing an old enemy is a luxury no longer to be indulged, which all goes to prove that every cloud really does have a silver lining.