In Spain, ‘The people should rule — that would be Dignity’

On March 22, 2014, more than a million people from all over the Spanish state marched in Madrid for ‘Dignity’ against austerity.

On March 22, 2014,
more than a million
people from all over
the Spanish state
marched in Madrid for ‘Dignity’ against austerity.

The following is a statement of the organization Red Network in Spain to the Dignity marches of March 21, a year after a similar march brought 1.5 million people to Madrid to protest austerity measures.

We once again demand that those who caused the crisis be made to pay for it.

An unpayable debt is crushing us, we who suffer every day from unbearable job insecurity, dismantling and privatization of health and education, increasing retirement age, the disappearance of aid for dependents, and our millions of unemployed people who are worth less than nothing to those in power. … The austerity measures and cuts are only being used to pay for a debt created to rescue the gang of bankers, big business people and their servants in the National Assembly, who are playing chess with our lives. Besides using our suffering to line their pockets, they expect us to hang our heads and die in silence. That we refuse to do.

Regarding this, we are nowhere near satisfied with hearing only about “restructuring” or “audits” of that debt. We cannot stop at half-measures when our lives are at stake, when there can be no doubt that this debt is responsible for the criminal foreclosures, the endless unemployment and for the disappearance of even the modest steps taken against domestic violence that condemns many women to terror, suffering and death. It is not a technical problem to say, “NO DEBT PAYMENT.” It is a punch that the people can throw to demand control of their own lives.

In these times, it is understandable that there are illusions that an election can bring “victory,” that we can “throw out the PP” [the rightist Popular Party] or “get rid of the wealthy strata.” But more is needed. No one involved in the new electoral initiatives is speaking about the national and European laws that impose the payment of that illegitimate and criminal debt before anything else. Good will is not enough; neither is honesty. Proof of this is the victory of Syriza in Greece, which has not pushed back by even one step the measures the Troika [the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank] had taken against the Greek people. It has become clear who rules Greece: It’s the EU dictatorship. Democracy is an illusion.

Moreover, even this demonstration, though necessary, is insufficient. It is not enough to come together to demand “Bread, Work and Housing” (things that would only be possible after we refuse to pay the debt), or to have a great demonstration of dignity. As seen in Greece and as we see every day in our streets, bankers and big business are not going to give up lining their pockets out of good will.

We need to unite, to organize neighborhoods, towns, businesses and schools, and strike a blow together, all at one time. Only through the unification of our struggles, only if the people who are working and suffering get organized, can we bring about policies that work in our own favor.

The vote is not enough. The people need to organize. The people need to rule.

That would be Dignity.

Red Network, March 21, 2015.

Translated by WW managing editor John Catalinotto.