Eyewitness from the anti-austerity struggle in the Spanish state

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Something is changing in Spain. On Thursday 19th July, hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people took to the streets against the greatest attack on Spain's welfare state in its history, in the form of cutbacks announced by the Partido Popular government. Public servants, trade unions, left wing political parties, worker organisations and unemployed people marched in 83 cities across Spain. A WSM member who returned on a visit to Toledo during Friday's protests reports on the struggle.

Spain is burning, and you could hear the anger in chants like ¨the social peace is going to finish¨, ¨Politicians cut your salaries, not ours¨ , ¨Rajoy: Resign¨, among many others.

In Toledo there was a huge turnout of workers of Teletech (Vodafone Spain), where 1.500 workers were fired in Toledo and Valencia last week without any compensation.

The presence of police and the firemen joining such demonstrations for the first time, was eye-catching. The firemen, who have affected by the public sector cuts too, demonstrated outside the Regional President's office in Toledo, climbing onto the building's second floor with a banner that read ¨We rescue people, not banks¨.

The CGT held banners accusing the goverment of being the culprits of the situation and UGT and CCOO ( the main unions) of being its accomplices. Meanwhile the CNT banner read ¨Politicians and bankers, now it's our turn to make the cuts¨. (The CGT and CNT are two of the anarcho-synidcalist unions in the Spanish state with tens of thousands of members between them.)

The 19th of July marked the 76th anniversary of the Spanish Revolution of 1936. 76 years on from that summer in which workers took to the streets, not only to defend themselves against the fascist-backed coup d'état, but to struggle for a future that was theirs, in which they could glimpse a different society based on equality, solidarity and mutual assistance. Despite the time that has elapsed, we can highlight two major similarities and one fundamental difference between that era and the present one.

Today, just as then, the government remains a puppet for the interests of the powerful.

Because despite all the mechanisms of control, society is beginning to fill the streets and squares once again. Today, the same as yesterday, we have to continue our task without ceding an inch either in our ideas or in practice, assured that it is through perserverance and honest and loyal effort that the consciousness of the working class will be awakened and that spirit of the people will be revived.

More photos from Toledo can be found in the WSM photo album on Fscebook

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