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(en) [Spain] From the "Cayetanos" to the neighborhood of workers | In defense of mutual support in times of pandemic By ANA (pt) [machine translation]

Date Sat, 30 May 2020 08:01:24 +0300

At the end of the third week of May 2020, a series of protests against the current PSOE and Vamos government began in Nuñez de Balboa Street, in the Goya district of the Salamanca district (one of the highest-income districts in the capital). Over the days, there have been attempts to extend these protests to other districts of Madrid and other cities in the state without a clear objective, in addition to manifesting itself "while confinement lasts". ---- These manifestations, far from his discourse of "apolitical citizens irritated" by restrictive government policies that try to make us believe, have a deep class background. They take to the streets to defend their privileges of class and power, encouraged by the political parties that represent their interests. These mobilizations are mostly attended by entrepreneurs and people who live off the exploitation of private property, which is a parasite that lives off the work and money of others. You will never see them in any mobilization that has to do with a social or labor claim. Many are part of various economic lobbies, so the government legislates in their favor, and they benefit from anti-worker policies promoted by political and economic powers.

The government gives them carte blanche to do whatever they want, so that the Government Delegation does not act in accordance with this type of mobilization. They are unlikely to be stopped, do not ask for cards, do not impose sanctions and do not require that the safety distance be maintained because of the state of alarm. They know that they have impunity to do what they want, as any kind of economic sanction will not affect their income at all, and they act accordingly.

In addition, one of the most important things they have is the support of the media, which covers and whitens their mobilizations, always with praise for their "peaceful and democratic" status. Meanwhile, neighborhood workers have no choice but to remain silent in the face of their arbitrariness.

The situation is very different in the low-income neighborhoods of the city of Madrid and those most affected by the pandemic of the COVID-19 virus and the health crisis due to the years of constant privatization and dismantling of the health system. Just look at how emergency centers and many primary and specialized care centers remained closed, forcing hospitals to become overcrowded.

Even before the pandemic, there were a large number of unemployed people in the poorest neighborhoods in the capital at risk of social exclusion. The last EPA of 2019 gave a percentage of unemployed 10% of the population, which hides the extremely high rate of precarious workers, job destruction and people who work mainly in hiding without contributing to Social Security. Now, hundreds of families are affected by the Temporary Labor Regulation (ERTE) procedures. The State socializes employers' losses and pays only 70% of the salary that the company was supposed to pay during the first six months and, of course, late and badly, suffocating hundreds of families. How many will be affected by layoffs, losing their jobs. All of this with a horizon that threatens with new social and labor cuts,

The Social Services of the city of Madrid, far from being able to provide a quality service, already saturated until the arrival of the pandemic, are unable to cope with the lack of public investment, with the constant externalizations and privatizations they have suffered, as well as with health and other basic services.

The police action has been totally contrary to that of the Salamanca district. A plethora of situations of abuse of authority have been made public on social media and alternative media while the official media has been silenced. We had to witness the special racist harassment against migrant workers. Sanctions in poor neighborhoods have been much higher than in any high-income district in the capital.

The media's attitude, contrary to the treatment given to the "peaceful democrats" of the District of Salamanca, has been of constant criminalization and demonization against the population of the poor neighborhoods, especially against Vallekas, Carabanchel, Villaverde or Centro.

In social networks and in the media, we are bombarded with messages for and against the government, strengthening the hegemonic discourse that favors representative institutions, political powers and, ultimately, an economic power that will benefit from the next cuts in labor rights and social.

This dominant discourse silences and hides the multiplicity of self-organization and mutual support initiatives being carried out by neighbors and various independent groups in the districts most criminalized by the media and most punished by the pandemic. These initiatives seek to support the people most affected by the crisis and to create a social fabric. In addition, they are filling in the gaps that, in theory, should be addressed by state institutions and the City of Madrid through Social Services. The creation and development of these networks are what have stood out to achieve improvements for the population in the periods when the crises of the capitalist economic system led to a greater offensive against workers' rights.

It is clear that we workers can expect absolutely nothing from the institutions or from those who hold political and economic power. The "revolt" of the "Cayetans¹" is an example of how the class struggle is intensifying and of a new offensive against workers' rights.

Solidarity is intrinsic to the nature of the human being and its implementation is increasingly necessary. The collective and organized against privatization and individualism. The practice of self-organization and mutual support will make us break with the dominant hegemonic discourse and with the capitalist economic system that suffocates and suffocates us.

For anarchy!

Grupo Tierra


[1]Cayetanos is an expression used in this context to identify people of high economic status who have demonstrated against social isolation in Spain.

Translation> Liberto

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