Filed under: International Coverage
Class War: Not just two words, representing the political and economic war of the 1% and their army of politicians, bureaucrats and the police forces against the rest of the socio-economic classes, but an actual reality as depicted in the video below from the southern city of Cadiz in Spain, where a tank was deployed on Monday 22 November 2021, in the working-class neighborhood of Río de San Pedro de Puerto Real.
For 8 days since Tuesday 16 of November 2021, thousands of metalworkers have been on an indefinite strike in the southern Spanish province demanding wage increases, in line with the country’s surging inflation rate. While inflation spikes, their salaries stay the same.
But it is not just the metalworkers. The whole province of Cádiz went on strike in solidarity with the metalworkers’ struggle yesterday, on the 23d of November, also joined by the city’s student union. The strike is widely supported in the region, which has the highest unemployment rate in Spain, with 23% unemployment and over 40% among youth. The trade unions report that 98% of workers are striking as anger surges across the region.
And it’s not just Cadiz. The street unrest is spreading all over Spain. Truck drivers have called a 3-day strike over Christmas due to the rising diesel prices, while workers in the auto sector called for a protest in Madrid over factory shutdowns caused by car chip shortages. Also, consumer associations have already organized several marches against rising electricity bills, and even hairdressers have been staging sit-ins to demand lower value-added tax rates. What connects them all is the rising cost of living.
At the same time, rural Spain is up in arms again over the low prices that intermediaries pay for their products, as well as the rising production costs, so farmers are planning their protests too. According to El Pais over the past year, the cost of electricity has gone up by 270%, tractor diesel by 73%, fertilizer by 48%, water by 33% and seeds by 20%.
Back to Cadiz, a city of 116,000 located on the coast near the Strait of Gibraltar. The metalworkers struggle has rapidly developed into a rebellion against the union bureaucracies and a clash with Spain’s government coalition, made up of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) and the Podemos party. According to wsws.org, the unions initially called one-day protests to try to blow off steam, with one called on November 10 gathering 4,000 protesters in Cádiz and 2,000 in Algeciras. With CCOO and the UGT [two major Spanish unions] having recently agreed to close an Airbus factory in Cádiz, however, they felt obliged to call an indefinite strike, fearing that they would lose control as anger surged among workers. Now, union executives are openly admitting that they have lost control of the situation and do not know how to order workers to end the strike and accept wage cuts and job losses.
And then it is the police fueling the tense situation with their violent attempts to crush the strike: cops marching to the occupied plants and assaulting workers, not just with batons and teargas, but even with rubber bullets and armored vehicles. Despite their violent attacks, the workers of Cadiz hold the line, with flaming barricades all over the city to block the access routes, roads and bridges to the refineries. The cops have been thrown back time and again, unable to retake the plants from the workers for the 8th straight day.
— Mario Vila💛💙 (@Mario_1012) November 23, 2021