From The Internation Journal of Socialist Renewal.
By Dick Nichols, Barcelona
April 1, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Since the global economic crisis broke out in 2008, the many-sided protest movement against neoliberal austerity has yet to gain enough strength to force any real retreats from governments doing the bidding of capitalism’s ruling elites.
But the March 29 general strike against the new labour law in Spain — hugely supported and backed by often vast demonstrations in 111 cities and towns — could well point to a turning of the tide. It lifted social resistance in Europe to a new height and gave millions of people a glimpse of how they might finally make the country’s corrupt and arrogant powers-that-be pay for their crisis.
The right-wing media screamed “flop”, but the behaviour of the finance markets told the real story: on strike day the Madrid stock exchange lost nearly 1% (its eighth straight day of losses) and the premium on Spanish public debt rose further over the Italian debt premium that only recently exceeded it.
The Popular Party (PP) government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is trying to appear calm and above the turmoil. Rajoy commented that, while his government respected the right of citizens to protest, he has no choice but to carry on with the grim duty of implementing the tough policies needed to rescue Spain’s economy. He then introduced into parliament the most brutal budget since the Franco dictatorship ended in the late 1970s. The Madrid stock exchange rose 1.23%
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