A brief wildcat strike takes the Spanish skies by storm
Not so long ago, the Spanish economy was, together with the Irish one, the model of European capitalism. Today, after the bust of the real estate bubble, like in many other countries in the world, workers are paying for the crisis of the system. In spite of having 4 millions unemployed (public statistics office INE), that is the highest rate proportionally in Europe with 20,7 % of workers and 43,2 % of young people under 25 as of October 2010 (Eurostat), and of an increasing precariousness, the ''socialist'' government did not hesitate to impose series of austerity measures in order to ''calm down'' the financial markets and to to transfer more wealth from the worker to the boss.
Among the latest counter-reforms, we find the ones presented by the government on Wednesday December 1st : the end of a subsidy for long-term unemployed and the privatization of 49 % of the airport authority AENA1, among other neoliberal attacks. The first response from workers did not take long.
During the afternoon of Friday December 3rd, 2 400 air controllers decided to go on strike without previous announcement and in the midst of long weekend of 5 days, putting an end to airplanes traffic. The movement was against privatization and changes in the management model and in the timetables. Beyond this conflict, the government had been reducing the ''privileges'' of these workers for a year now, counting on a tremendous support from the mass media (for example, the news agency AFP is not afraid of using the government's own rhetoric) to divide the Spanish working class.
In reaction to this strong strike, the government, with the backing of the right-wing opposition, declared the state of alarm in the morning of Saturday December 4th. The royal decree (BOE 295), hence, assimilates the air controllers to military employees, forcing them to go back to work and imposing civil aviation under the army's rule. Freedom of speech, of meeting and labor struggle are very limited or canceled. Had the strike gone on, the workers could have been found guilty of disobedience by a martial court and sentenced up to 8 years of imprisonment. In the afternoon, they returned to work.
Ever since, the government's arrogance found its own eco in the mainstream media as its unique limit. On top of the shameful ''lesson'', threats from the vice-president and the minister of Promotion followed because it was now time to make ''justice'', since ''it can not be that every now and then arm wrestling is done with the State without letting the State respond''. Without any further ado, AENA established 442 disciplinary files against the strikers.
What justice? How is it possible to justify this method, never employed since the end of franquism, not even after the failed coup on February 23rd 1981 nor after the terrorist attacks of March 11th 2004 in Madrid (191 dead and 1 856 wounded people) ? What is behind this other than class struggle ?
The government can continue claiming social justice and democracy but neither its policies or its measure can make us forget how illegal the latter was. As explained by Controladoresaereos.org ( http://www.controladoresaereos.org/?p=6661), the state of alarm was illegal since, as it is stated in the organic law 4/1981, in order to issue this type of decree there has to be a catastrophe, a sanitarian crisis, a situation in which first necessities products are not available and – reason invoked by the State – the halt of public services as long as ''one of the other situations detailed in the present article exists at the same time'', that is one of the other three case scenarios. This did not happen.
The decree sets forth that the state of alert will last 15 days but the government already said that it could continue it in order to prevent another strike during the Christmas holidays. The aggression can, thus, continue under the fake bourgeois democracy. The latter always exists as long as the worker accepts to be under control but it becomes a joke whenever s/he puts her or himself in motion.
This state violence for a simple strike should be seen from a general perspective. Europe, not just Spain, is being submitted to austerity plans so that us, the working class, will pay for the capitalist crisis. We already saw an increase in the official violence during the movements in France some weeks ago, now we see another limit being crossed in the Iberian peninsula. Mass strike, that is a political and an economical strike, based on the unity of all, would allow us to stop the sacrifices of our standards of living for the worship of the god of capitalist gain. For this reason, we owe all of our solidarity to the air controllers, since we know that we are all attacked with these measures.
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A brief wildcat strike takes the Spanish skies by storm
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