12 thoughts on “Massive Spanish anti-austerity protest

  1. Be careful when you use the word ‘austerity’

    Sometimes, as socialists, we have to be careful about using words with a hidden class bias.

    A case in point is the word “austerity”. As it has become more and more frequently used, I have got more and more angered by it. It pretends to be class neutral, but it’s not.

    We all know that for the top 1 percent “austerity” is just a word they use to justify an acceleration of their plundering and vandalism.

    For the next 10 percent, austerity means, at worst, slight adjustments in their lifestyle or consumption patterns as in the dictionary definition: “a reduced availability of luxuries, the state or quality of being austere”.

    But for the majority of us austerity has a very different meaning—the struggle for a decent life, impossible choices, and the cancellation of cherished hopes and aspirations.

    It means an unremitting life or death struggle for those on low or no income.

    For the vast majority government “austerity” does not involve us adopting a slightly more austere lifestyle.

    It causes hardship, sacrifice, suffering, privation, impoverishment and even destitution.

    Rather than “austerity”, we should constantly use these words to describe government attacks on our class.

    John Murphy, Chair, North West Region UCU



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  4. Hundreds of thousands protest across Spain

    Hundreds of thousands demonstrated across Spain Sunday against labour reforms introduced by the Popular Party government.

    A general strike has been called for March 29.

    Unions said rallies took place in 60 cities and towns across the country, including in the capital Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Seville. They estimated up to 500,000 demonstrators in Madrid, with another 450,000 in Barcelona.

    Before a rally in Madrid’s Puerta de Alcala square, protesters held a minute’s silence in memory of the victims of the March 11, 2004 bombing of Madrid commuter trains that killed 191 people.

    Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government cut maximum severance pay liable by private-sector employers from 45 to 33 days salary for each year worked, for a maximum working-time of 24 years. The government has also announced spending cuts of €8.9 billion (US$11.5 billion) that include a public sector wage freeze, and higher taxes on income, savings and property.

    Spain has only had five general strikes since the death of Francisco Franco and the end of his fascist regime in 1975.

    The country’s unemployment rate is the highest in the developed world at nearly 23 percent, with the rate at almost 50 percent for workers aged under 25.



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