Spain

Strikes, independence and indignados

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Rafel Sanchis and Estelle Cooch spoke to David Fernández, an MP for the Catalan parliament, about the origins and politics of the anti-capitalist coalition, CUP, and its relationship to the wider movement

An important feature of the crisis in Europe has been the rise of radical left political formations in Greece, France and elsewhere. In last November's elections to the Catalan parliament, an anti-capitalist and pro-independence coalition, the CUP (Candidatura d'Unitat Popular, or Popular Unity Candidates), got three MPs elected.

The 2012 elections were the first time that the CUP has decided to run for Catalan parliamentary elections. Why was this?

Barcelona's hospital occupations

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Health workers in Barcelona have occupied their hospital in protest against cuts.
Jonathan Collier reports

Health workers at the Sant Pau Hospital in Barcelona have been in occupation since 28 November.

The action at Sant Pau has been the catalyst for developing anti-cuts movements, involving neighbourhood and other activist groups, at hospitals throughout Catalunya. Occupations have sprung up at the region's biggest hospital, Vall d'Hebrón, and the Clínic Hospital.

Regime crisis in Spain

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Spain has seen increasing calls for independence for Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia, alongside strikes and protests. Joel Sans Molas argues that economic turmoil and austerity are creating the biggest political crisis in the country since the overthrow of Franco's regime 35 years ago

The economic crisis in the Spanish state continues to deepen, intertwined with a political crisis of ever greater dimensions. The conservative Popular Party (PP) government is under pressure on all fronts: economic, political and social.

Spain: a spiral of crisis, cuts and indignacion

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In March 2011 several regular Guardian columnists analysed the crisis in the Spanish state and the response to "austerity" by the population. All agreed that young people were "apathetic" and even "docile".

Two months later that same youth led tens of thousands to occupy city squares and a million to demonstrate across the country - the movement of "the outraged" ("los indignados" in Spanish). Actually the journalists were not wholly wrong: at the time of writing there had been a limited fightback and the consensus across Spain was that people were apathetic.

Revolt reigns in Spain

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On Friday 20 May there were at least 160 camps in cities and towns all over Spain following demonstrations the previous Sunday "against bankers and politicians" and for "real democracy". In solidarity there have also been pickets outside Spanish embassies all over Europe.

The "15 May Movement", as it has become known, was organised principally through social networks and by non-aligned collectives, some already active over housing or against the banks. Although the camps involve mainly young people, they have received widespread support from people of all ages. The movement coincided with local elections and when the camps were declared illegal by the Central Electoral Board - they were deemed as interfering with the voting process - tens of thousands flocked to their defence and the authorities were forced to retreat.

Medicine not working

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Portugal became the third of the Eurozone "PIGS" (Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain) to apply for a bailout from the European Central Bank (ECB) last month.

For several months we've been told that the bailouts of Ireland and Greece had solved the Eurozone's problems once and for all. A Portuguese bailout was out of the question because measures had been taken to get the economy back on track. But jittery investors and credit ratings agencies have forced the decision.

Portugal's prime minister Jose Socrates failed to get parliament to accept his austerity package, amid anger and strikes from trade unions. His resignation triggered panic in the bond markets at the prospect of political limbo and social unrest.

Resistance across Europe

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Italy - Germany - Portugal - Spain

Italy: Italian finance minister Giulio Tremonti's attempts to drive through £22 billion in cuts are facing an updraft of resistance. On 16 October up to a million students and workers took to the streets in Rome against the austerity measures in a protest called by the metal workers' Fiom union. Fiom leader Maurizio Landini told workers that the next step was to plan a general strike.

Spanish imposition

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Eurozone crisis: Spainish imposition

Throughout the economic crisis of the last two years Spain's Socialist Party (PSOE) prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, insisted, "My government will never make workers pay the consequences of this crisis."

But on 12 May he announced government spending cuts. Unemployment has already been climbing. It has officially reached 5 million (20 percent), the highest figure in the European Union (EU), with some areas even higher (30 percent in Andalusia).

Letter from Spain

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In the wake of controversial proposals by the Spanish government, Tamara Ruiz reports on the fight for abortion rights

Controversial proposals by Spain's Socialist Party (PSOE) government to modify the country's abortion legislation have led to waves of protest both by the right, which wants them withdrawn altogether, and by a revitalised women's movement which points to their severe limitations.

Job massacre in Spain

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This January, as unemployment in Spain reached 3 million, the Minister of Labour, Celestino Corbacho announced, "The worst is over. We will not reach 4 million." The April figures place unemployment at 4,010,700 - 17.36 percent of the labour force and the highest figure in Spain's history. 766,000 jobs were destroyed in January, February and March.

These figures, the highest in the European Union, reflect the destruction of Spain's construction industry. In 2006 total building in Spain was equal to building in France, Germany and Britain combined. For several decades Spain's economy has depended on construction, as anyone who has holidayed on the ruined Mediterranean coast can testify.

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