During the evening of Thursday 16 May, the opposition youth movement that is developing in Spain brought out 150,000 protesters to occupy squares in 57 towns and cities.
The youth movement – ‘Real Democracy Now’ – is continuing and spreading. Despite the attempts of the PSOE government to ban the protests, this coming weekend is expected to see a further growth of this youth rebellion.
This movement is now the dominant issue of conversation throughout the country.
Local elections take place throughout Spain next Sunday and one of the youth movement’s main demands is, “Don’t vote for them” – by which the youth mean the so-called ‘socialist’ PSOE and the opposition right wing PP.
The outlook of the protesting youth is strongly anti-banker and anti-rich; a powerful sentiment against the system and the market. Banners on protests proclaim, “We are not commodities to be bought and sold” and “I do not want to be a slave to this system”.
All of the youth involved identify with the general idea of “revolution”, without a clear concept of what is meant by this. Some call for a “change” to the “system”, while others have a clearer idea of opposing capitalism – but there is no clarity about what to replace capitalism with.
In Madrid, the PSOE party planned to hold its end of election rally in the square “La Puerta del Sol”, but as youth are occupying the square the PSOE organisers had to hold their rally away from the city centre. The PSOE government again banned the youth protests and said that the La Puerta del Sol must be cleared.
Although this is a youth movement, many older workers turn up to the protests to show solidarity. In Madrid, there are reports that hundreds of workers turned up last night to support the youth. The youth are friendly towards the workers. But youth are also strongly alienated from and even hostility towards the unions, following the holding back role of the majority of the unions’ leaders. Many workers also share this view.
The CWI in Spain is striving for the maximum unity between workers and youth, calling for a general strike and the formation of committees of struggle involving workers and young people. We demand the non-payment of the national debts, the nationalisation of the banks and major industries, under workers’ control and management, and we put forward a socialist programme to transform society.