Spain: the movement of the “outraged youth”
Corruption, political bureaucracy, unemployment,..., are inevitable under capitalism.
It is only possible to put an end to this system by returning to the proletarian class struggle, anti-democratic, anti-legalist and anti-pacifist.
(«Proletarian»;Nr. 7; Summer 2011)
On May 15, seven days before the municipal and regional elections were scheduled to take place throughout almost all the Spanish State, thousands of youths, unemployed, underemployed and students began to meet in Madrid in the “Puerta del Sol” square with the intention of setting up an encampment in protest against the “two-party system”, behind the slogan “real democracy now!”. After being ousted in the early morning, they returned the following days in increasing numbers.
In the midst of one of the most intense election campaigns in recent years that ended with a resounding victory of the Popular Party, including in the traditional strongholds of the Socialist Party in power, these demonstrations, continuing up until today have launched a series of proclamations focused on broad institutional reforms, in order to allow effective popular participation in the system of government.
Two years of crisis has inflicted a terrible worsening of living conditions on the proletarian class, rising unemployment, rising commodity prices, intensifying work rates, lower wages ... And this offensive of the bourgeoisie against the working class has found in the yellow, collaborationist unions, a guarantee of maintaining social peace, by tying workers to the belief that the only way to improve their situation is to respond to attacks by systematic compromise with the authorities. The collaborationist influence of the so-called workers’ parties and unions has allowed them to keep control of the situation not only in general, by refusing any major national or regional manifestations, but also on the most elementary level, refusing on principle any recourse to strikes, including in isolated factories and enterprises, faced with any boss’s decision to attack the working conditions of the proletarians.
But the effects of the aggravation of the material situation of the proletariat in the world could not be contained everywhere by the levees erected by political opportunism and trade-union collaborationism to dam up the natural reaction of proletarians.
Since late last year, the disproportionate increase in the cost of living, scarcity of essential commodities, etc., led the proletariat in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, etc., to engage in revolts that led to the downfall of Ben Ali, and Mubarak who ruled with the support of the imperialist countries, wallowing in corruption, theft and violence perpetrated against the poor masses. The suicide of a street vendor in Sidi Bouzid, a small town in Tunisia, has sparked an large scale uprising involving huge masses of proletarians who demanded the improvement of their living conditions. The petit bourgeoisie, social class excluded from power in the bourgeois world, hit by the crisis and outraged by the despotism of the rulers, and pushed into the struggle through panicked fear of proletarianization, joined up with the spontaneous struggles of the proletarian masses, a struggle without clear objectives and inevitably confused because of the absence of an anti-capitalist direction, and this absence is the result of decades of permanent counter-revolution which has witnessed the coalescence of the local bourgeoisies, the imperialisms of the more developed Western countries and various opposition factions, nationalist or religious.
The slogans of “democracy”, “political freedom”, etc., express the aspirations of the petit-bourgeoisie, which placed itself at the head of the struggle and which guides the movement of the proletariat and the
proletarianized masses towards interclassist, nationalist objectives of social cohesion finalized towards the development of the country. The normal proletarian response to a situation of serious crisis, which begins to endanger physical survival, leads for this reason to a movement that can accelerate the return to the classist struggle of the proletariat, but cannot do so automatically because it is still contained by the terrible weight of bourgeois influence, within the democratic struggle.
In Spain the consequences of the economic crisis on the proletariat was not as devastating as in the countries of the capitalist periphery, due to the persistence of social buffers conceded by the bourgeoisie during the decades of economic growth to alleviate social tensions. This fact, linked to the action within the proletarian ranks of the agents of the bourgeoisie which are the forces of workers’ opportunism and yellow unionism to guarantee the realization of all anti-working class measures necessary to capitalism (acting as veritable social-firemen and organizing workers passivity at all levels), allows the maintenance of social peace, despite the rapid deterioration of living and working conditions across ever-more numerous sectors of the proletariat.
However, social tensions have inevitably increased in recent years, slowly but inexorably, in spite of all individual or collective outcomes offered by the capitalist system.
The “Movement of May 15” which is responsible for the demonstrations in the Puerta del Sol square, is a reflection of these social tensions. The essentially petit-bourgeois composition of the movement does not prevent it from expressing a general malaise in all sectors of society who are watching their situation deteriorate gradually. In fact, it is the petit-bourgeoisie which is the most impoverished, composed as it is of young graduates without a professional future given the extreme precariousness of employment, the liberal professions, etc., and which, in a situation like the present, may be the first to start moving, because at times it is harder hit than by the blows of the capitalist system than the proletariat (which still receives welfare benefits, subsidies, etc.).
But quite unlike the countries on the southern Mediterranean where the revolt of the proletariat and poor peasants ended up under the direction of a petit-bourgeoisie undoubtedly more affected by the crisis than in Spain, the protest in Madrid (the center of events) was born in the total absence of workers’ struggles, whether generalized or localized. Manifestations of the “outraged youth” took aim at “autocracy”, the “degeneration of democracy”, etc., in trying to regenerate a system that actually does not ensure the “future” of the intermediate classes, which does not promise well-paid jobs for graduates, in a word which threatens the petit-bourgeoisie with impoverishment and proletarianization.
The general demand that gives the movement its name, “true democracy now!” perfectly sums up these aspirations. Democracy is the system of government used preferentially by the bourgeoisie since its revolutionary period. It is the system that is based, at least in theory, on the equality of citizens to govern public affairs. But the natural conditions of capitalism imply that the society that develops from this base is divided into two opposing classes, the class that owns the means of production, the bourgeois class and the class of “have-nots”, the impoverished who can only live by selling their labor power, the proletarian class. These two classes are always opposed right down to the smallest aspects of everyday life because the social domination of the bourgeoisie depends on the increasing exploitation of the proletariat, from whom is extracted the surplus value that guarantees its survival as a ruling class. For their part, the workers are forced to fight against this growing exploitation and, at certain moments of great social tension, against the domination of the bourgeoisie itself. Democracy appears as the system of government used by the bourgeoisie to obtain the consensus of the proletariat by inculcating them continually with the poison of interclassism, of the supreme national interest in whose name it must accept any concessions.
More democracy, therefore, inevitably means more capitalism.
The demand of “real democracy now!” Is the demand of the petit bourgeoisie; who also suffer from the consequences of the despotic government of the bourgeois class, of the monopolies; to be included in the governing of society, not to be plunged into the ranks of the proletariat by the ravages of competition. Competition is inevitable in the capitalist system that breeds corruption, trafficking and the two party political system, competition is the source of all ills afflicting the petit-bourgeois, but which its class nature prevents it in reality from combatting. Democracy that exists today in the imperialist countries as it exists in the peripheral capitalist countries, is the only one that can exist, the only real democracy.
The proletariat can definitely not be indifferent to this type of movement. Firstly because it is itself infected with the democratic virus and sees in these protests reflected its belief in social justice promised by the bourgeoisie. But also because its situation as an exploited class in the absence of a serious and real prospect of the resumption of the anti-capitalist struggle, cannot but find in the struggle for an “authentic” democracy a substitute for its class struggle: this type of movement can be mistaken as a substitute for the immediate struggles of the working class to defend their living and working conditions.
But in reality the demands expressed by this movement are entirely foreign to the requirements that the working class must express as a class antagonistic to the entire capitalist world.
In fact, given the lack of a credible reformist political trade unionism on the terrain of defense – even merely verbal – of workers’ interests, movements like “May 15” may act as a reformist alternative where reformism has lost its traditional influence in the wake of its long history of collaboration with the bourgeoisie.
The proletariat must fight to defend its conditions of resistance faced with attack by the bourgeoisie, with all of its ensemble of prevarications, etc. But it has nothing to expect from the reformist “democratic” struggle, which claims to offer solutions within the framework of capitalist exploitation and of its political system codified in electioneering, pacifism and legalism.
To carry out its class struggle, the proletariat will inevitably return to the path of direct confrontation with the bourgeoisie and its allies, for the uncompromising defense of its living conditions, work, housing, etc.. This struggle necessarily involves the formation of classist organizations fighting on the immediate terrain regardless of the economic interests of the enterprise, the region or the country. But this struggle itself can only limit or mitigate the consequences of capitalism if it does not raise itself to the level of the political struggle. And in this regard the proletariat needs to find its class party, the revolutionary communist party, internationalist and international, absolutely foreign to any interest that is not the historical interest of the proletariat: the destruction of bourgeois political power, democratic or dictatorial according to the needs of the ruling class, the introduction by violent and illegal means of its class dictatorship, despotism and terrorism against its enemies, a necessary step in moving towards a socialist transformation of society, towards a world without private property, without wage labor ... to the society of the human race.
When the proletarians feel in their flesh the burning need for Communism and they see the possibility of its practical realization, then the hypocritical and religious feeling of indignation harbored today by the petit-bourgeoisie as an expression of its shopkeeper mentality will give way to the healthy feeling of mortal hatred against the bourgeoisie and its lackeys, with the imperious need for violence against its defenders. So resignation will finally disappear and hope in a future without exploitation will be reborn
For the intransigent defense of the conditions of life and struggle of the proletariat!
Against democracy, the system of government of the bourgeoisie which imprisons the proletariat in social peace!
Against any concession to bourgeois ideology!
For the constitution of the World Communist Party!
For the society of the human species, with no class divisions nor exploitation of man by man, for communism!
May 22, 2011
International Communist Party