SPAIN (Press release from IU) Just a year ago, when the world's leaders were intoning a 'mea culpa' about the crisis and talking about re-defining capitalism, nobody believed what was about to happen to us. Salary cuts, pension freezes, cheaper redundancies, postponement of retirement age, weakening of collective negotiations, co-payment of public services, attacks on unions ... it resembles a financial adjustment by the 'Chicago Boys' as applied by Reagan, Thatcher or Pinochet from a governemnt that still calls itself 'socialist. The fact is that Zapatero is applying the Right's economic plan, point by point, in a version that is even harder than that of the rest of Europe. We are confronted by a 'change in civilization' that is very far from the fundamental principles of a democratic, social State. The advances conquered by decades of struggle in terms of social and working rights have now become anathemised as the 'priviliges' of a minority to be exterminated in the name of 'modernization'; the aim is to end the 'dualization of the labour market' by making us all equal in the precariousness of our work. Indeed, the very essence of democracy is in question when Zapatero bows to Wall Street or the Financial Times before he bows to Parliament, following the dictates of the market instead of the manifesto his voters trusted him to follow.
Almost no-one dares deny the evidence: labour reform is centered mainly on making redundancies easier, cheaper and subsidised. The term today is 'de-contracting'. Even the Minister of Labour recognizes that the changes will not create a single job. The changes come as follows: first, salary cuts and pension freezes, after that later retirement. They are meant to satisfy those who have speculated with the country's debt. In practice, we are hostages to those who caused the recession: those who, having become richer through speculation, were rescued by public funds and now set a pace that only favours them directly. With the above in mind, the workers have the need -and the moral obligation- to respond, to stop our children from losing the benefits their parents fought so hard to obtain. A General Strike can be the only possible response, given that Parliament answers not to the people's will but to the dictates of the PSOE and PP party disciplines, that shares the financial recipes of neo-liberalism. General Strikes have happened before for fewer reasons, and this country's working class was able to stop other labour reforms. If we could put a stop to Aznar's, we can do the same with Zapatero's. "The only fight that is lost, is that that is abandoned."