A boost for peaceful direct action in Spain
by Jim Handley
Mon 3rd Sep 2012
In a country where life’s necessities often cost more than in Northern Europe, many single elderly Spaniards must try to get by on a pension of 300 Euros per calendar month (500 Euros for a couple) from which they must meet all their bills.
Furthermore, they are now obliged to pay for their previously state subsidised medical prescriptions. This means that a week’s supply of asthma inhalant can cost 16 Euros. There is a rumour that pensioners will eventually be reimbursed for paying the full cost of their medications but it is not clear whether all or simply part of their money will be refunded. Nor is it known how long this process will take. Therefore, it seems that pensioners are not only condemned to an existence of abject poverty but must make interest free loans to a government which commits billions to resuscitate the moribund careers of its inept and corrupt bankers.
Frankly, I foresee a real possibility of severe civil unrest in Spain. Anarchists recently entered two supermarkets owned by a French multinational and, in the ‘name of the proletariat’, pacifically expropriated a quantity of basic goods and foodstuffs, which they subsequently distributed to the families of unemployed agricultural workers and other ‘needy comrades’. These two incursions met some half-hearted resistance from the supermarkets’ servile staff but the police merely stood by. There have also been a number peaceful sit-ins at banks, on aristocrats’ palatial estates and at underutilised military installations. These incidents were eventually non-violently resolved by negotiations between the protesters and the police.
It seems that no Anarchist demonstrators implicated in these ‘ illegal acts’ will be prosecuted and some judges have publicly spoken out in justification of such direct action. Presumably Spain’s centre-right national government has decided to keep its head down and make sure that there is sufficient football on television, in order not to inflame passions further. But this display of officialdom’s benign tolerance of the plebs’ increasing misery has merely given the Anarchists and their allies an incentive to augment their efforts. Their regional groups are now using social media to organise a nationally participative occupation of the central government’s parliamentary chamber in Madrid on the 25thof September.
Unsurprisingly, the establishment controlled Spanish media appear reluctant to publish the details of recent activity or of any future Anarchist inspired action.
I was born in 1932 and was a schoolboy during WWII. My enlightened teachers made me well aware of the international events that preceded that last global conflagration, which so terribly took the lives of millions of its innocent victims and whose aftermath rapaciously ruined the legitimate aspirations of so many of its survivors, simply to serve the egocentric vanity of two competing ideologies.In this context, one must remember that the postwar increase of Western working class prosperity was largely fuelled by the merciless oppression and exploitation of workers in third world countries, a tainted phenomenon to which most Western so-called democrats, including our Trades’ Union leaders, turned a blind eye.
So to sum up, given the present international turmoil I reckon we are just about due for another bout of déjà vu .