Below we publish a solidarity appeal, followed by the translated text of a declaration made by Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Spain) following the events in Valencia last week
In the Spanish city of Valencia, a concerted campaign of brutal police repression was visited on students, including many minors, between 15 and 20 February. As the magnificent struggle of second and third level students against cuts and the degradation of the public education system continued apace, websites and TV screens were filled with brutal images of bloodied protesters, set upon by scores of riot police.
Demo in valencia following repression
However, this barbarism, at the behest of the PP regional and central governments, proved to be a tragic miscalculation for them. Rather than snuff out the movement, their provocation was met with an outpouring of further resistance, as tens of thousands filled the streets of Valencia the following day, denouncing the repression, and with an even stronger cry in favour of the demands of the students, against the cuts and for the resignation of the officials responsible for the police attacks. Magnificently, in a manner reminiscent of the spread of the ‘indignados’ movement in May 2011, solidarity demonstrations spread around the country, with thousands protesting in all key cities in the Spanish state, filling up town squares and engaging in road blockades.
Members of Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Spain) have been active in these protests. They stress the need for their escalation, along with the need for uniting the movement with the power of the working class, in struggle against the Rajoy government, which is servile to the markets and EU and implementing austerity measures at their behest. As our comrades have demanded, a general strike of students has been called for 29 February by various student organisations, when workers will also take to the streets as part of the ETUC European day of action. This has the potential to be a powerful expression of the joint power and energy of the youth and the working class.
The student general strike, which must be followed by further escalated action. is also capable of sending a powerful message to the workers’ movement. It can assist rank and file trade unionists in fighting their right-wing leaderships attempts to avoid mobilising for a general strike, following the demonstrations of up to 2 million people last Sunday 19 February. The next student strike should be accompanied by a general strike against the austerity, labour reforms, police brutality and for alternative policies to the dictatorship of the markets. Such a strike could bring the economy to a halt for one day, as a step towards further action, and show the power of the working class.
Messages of solidarity with this magnificent movement, dubbed “the Valencian spring”, are needed. These can give important strength and determination to activists, but also indicate the potential for an international struggle, against cuts and the rule of the speculators and big business across Europe and beyond. Spanish capitalist politicians incredibly responded to the events in Valencia, saying that protesting students were “the enemy”! International solidarity and struggle can show the youth and workers of Spain, Greece, Portugal and beyond that we understand who the real enemy is – the capitalist elite who are determined to drive our living standards into the ground to pay for the debts and try to “solve” the crisis of the super rich!
Text of declaration produced by Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Spain) following the events
Capitalism in crisis has begun to throw away its mask, demonstrating its true repressive face. A week ago, Valencian students marched in Lluis Vives Secondary Institute, against Titanic cuts to in public education, carried out by Valencian government of PP ‘neo-cons’, which left many schools without basic central heating! They decided to block the road in protest. In answer, Valencian government sent the “security” forces who, following orders from above, broke the demonstration with batons, with unprecedented brutal violence, resembling that used on demonstrations against the Bologna Process several years ago. In available images, we can see how police forces take people by the hair, carrying them to their van to be interrogated and arrested, or baton charges against boys of 14 years of age. After a second bout of repression, police barged into the institute using tear gas and rubber bullets. As a consequence of this, 500 students decided to close themselves into the Faculty of History in the University of Blasco Ibáñez, occupying the building and writing a manifesto of protest. After deciding to remain there with some teachers and parents, the police tried to dissolve the occupation through the use force. During the whole day and part of night, clashes have occurred on the streets. After further repression the following day, the Valencian police chief, in a public press conference with the Valencia Government Delegate, said of the protestors: “They are the enemy”.
As the unemployment crisis, social cuts and anti-worker politics go on hitting us, the capitalist State uses all kinds of repressive tactics to scare the population of any form of social protest. We must not forget what they are defending with their batons. These anti-social policies lower living standards of the working class, step by step: they make it easier for employers to exploit workers, to lower wages, to lengthen the working day and making jobs more precarious. As we know, the current labour reform, makes it cheaper and easier to fire someone, making it harder to get a job. Besides, the latest cuts in education and health worsen quality of social services, serving as a step towards them being privatized. This necessarily generates an unavoidable increase in social protests.
But despite this, central government and local administrations make use of repressive means, by imposing these policies. They want to make us believe that democracy consists in voting every 4 years for some parliamentarian from big parties, giving them the license to pass laws against the interests of workers. They thus try to legalise any kind of anti-social policies, demanded by the IMF and banks, and to legitmise these policies towards the public, while at the same time cracking down on those who try to resist.
We must tell them: “enough is enough!”. It’s imperative that the people go out onto the street to protest against repressive tactics of governments. To protest against profoundly anti-democratic character of the capitalist institutions, and to denounce this system for what it actually is: a totalitarian dictatorship of banks and big business which little by little bleeds society dry for the profit of the rich few.
Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Spain) calls on you not to just cross your arms and watch from your seat while they attack your sons, your neighbours, and your comrades. We should go out to street and mobilise! We call on all workers to organize, with the means and tools their disposal, from combative unions, networks of assemblies in neighbourhoods and towns, strike committees in the workplaces, neighbourhood associations, anti-capitalist political parties and organizations, and social movements. To remain at home is not an option when ruling class thinks it can justify repression against the people!
- Stop police repression against the youth!
- Immediate freedom for students unfairly arrested!
- No to cuts!
- Defend public education!
- Let us call for a general strike of students in the whole Spanish State!
- Unity of workers and students!
- Stop the sacking of teachers!
- Public resources for public education, now!