Demonstrations have exploded in Spain following Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's July 11 announcement of a stunning austerity package slashing public sector wages and services, sharply increasing value-added taxes, eliminating social welfare and labor laws, etc., at the behest of the infamous Troika. All this is preventable, but should Europe's present course not be overturned by a Glass-Steagall credit system policy, Spain is plunging towards a blow-up.
Demonstrations began the next day, and have not stopped. Thousands of public sector employees marched in the streets of Madrid on yesterday; hundreds came out again today, led once again by firemen in their fire helmets and firefighting gear. Daily, at 11 a.m., public sector workers are now pouring out of their offices in Madrid, to demonstrate their rage at, among other things, the cancellation of the "extra" month's pay which makes up their annual salaries. Among the most popular chants is, "They Sink the Worker, Bail Out the Bankers."
A major demonstration has been called by three national trade union federations (the UGT, CCOO and CSI-F) for Thursday, July 19. The railway workers unions announced they will also participate, and will hold a 24-hour strike on August 3, when the greatest movement of people leaving for summer vacation occurs, against Rajoy's privatization of the railways. Air traffic unions are discussing a similar strike for August.
The Socialist Party (PSOE) whose chief initially promised his party would act "responsibly" and proposed to negotiate a "pact" with the ruling PP party, has found it expedient to reverse itself today, promising to organize for the protests. Even a mayor of a town in the Madrid area from the ruling PP party led a demo against municipal workers wage cuts today.
Actions by two sectors, in particular, epitomize just how dangerous a situation the government now faces. The three trade unions representing the military and public security forces have announced their support for the mobilizations against the austerity. Mariano Casado, Secretary General of the Unified Association of Spanish Military Personnel (AUME), told "20minutes.es" that they do not rule out a military protest action to express the "deep and generalized unrest" within the Army against cuts which "could drive many families into a truly dramatic situation," and create "veritable chaos." The Unified Civil Guard Association (AUGC) called on its members to demonstrate, because "they are not going to tolerate" being used as "scapegoats to pay for the economic outrages of others." The Unified Police Union (SUP), whose members are already participating in the demonstrations, today called on their members to work "according to what they pay you" (that is, their pay cut, they work less).
For its part, the Secretary General of the Union of Students announced that they intend to put the youth of Spain "on a war-footing," to stop the de facto takedown of public education announced. The announcement came as Marco Pena, president of the Economic and Social Council of Spain, issued an urgent warning that the 450,000 youth of Spain who today are neither working nor studying constitute "a timebomb."