November 24, 2019
The PSOE and UP (Unidas Podemos) have reached a preliminary deal to establish a “progressive coalition government.” After Sanchez’s electoral fiasco, UP’s plummeting and the far-right Vox’s increase, what seemed “impossible” for six months has come true in 36 hours.
By Corriente Roja
In a few days, we’ll know if they get a parliamentary endorsement from other parties at the investiture vote, the government program and who will form it. For now, we have the basis of the pre-agreement, which is already very clear; and we also know that Iglesias will occupy a “social vice presidency”, together with Carmen Calvo (political vice presidency) and Nadia Calviño, the EU delegate in the government, as the economic vice president.
After the parties reached a pre-deal, many social fighters have breathed easy. They think that a PSOE-UP government will stop the far-right growth and trust that it will make social concessions to the working people and that it will open paths for a democratic solution to the Catalan problem. They are going to feel a painful disappointment.
Undoubtedly, the EU and the big businessmen of the Ibex 35 would prefer a PSOE-PP government, but they have quickly adapted to the circumstances. The newspaper El País announces that “Brussels welcomes the political unlocking in Spain” (El País 11/12/19). The Catalan employer Association utters in similar terms: “The government pre-agreement offers a message of responsibility of the political forces.”
And, indeed, we are not facing the PSOE radicalization or a government that would lean to the left. On the contrary, we are watching the UP falling into the hands of the PSOE. The UP expressly admits the PSOE’s political and economic direction of the government and assumes it with “government loyalty and solidarity.” The UP will be limited, supervised by Nadia Calviño, to manage “social ministries.” This is the price for the coveted vice presidency of Iglesias and a few ministerial chairs.
Sánchez and Iglesias boast in the pre-agreement that their future government will be “a reference for the protection of social rights in Europe,” but the EU is not worried about high-sounding phrases: “The economic front does not seem to worry too much in Brussels after the coalition government deal subjected future social measures ‘to the fiscal responsibility agreements of Spain with Europe‘.”
Submission to the European Union
Submission to the EU is one of the key points of the coalition agreement: everything will be done under the dictates of the EU, Europe of multinationals, banks and investment funds. For the EU, “the continuity of Nadia Calviño as Minister of Economy would be the greatest guarantee that Spain will keep on the same budget path as before.” (El País )
It is very significant that the pre-agreement does not mention the repeal of Rajoy’s labor reform (let alone Zapatero’s), something that Nadia Calviño had already ruled out months ago. In fact, the PSOE has recently committed to the EU to go further, implementing the so-called “Austrian backpack.”
Of course, the preliminary deal keeps intact the article 135 of the Constitution, voted by PSOE and PP, and that sets the state’s “absolute priority” to service the Public Debt to banks and investment funds beyond any social priority.
The pre-agreement misleads about pensions when it talks about its “shielding.” it mentions the “adapting pensions according to the cost of living” (often promised by Sanchez but never embodied in law), it is, in fact, posing a new counter-reform in the name of “sustainability.”
Together against Catalonia
The other key point of the government agreement is Catalonia. The price for Iglesias’ vice presidency is selling out Catalonia. Iglesias had already admitted that if he entered a coalition government, he would loyally accept Sanchez imposition of article 155 (against self-determination). Before the election campaign, he had also renounced the defense of an agreed referendum. Now, in the pre-agreement, UP directly assumes PSOE’s point of view. IT will no longer question the threats and repression by Sánchez and Marlaska nor the resounding refusal of the PSOE to recognize the right to self-determination to Catalonia. Now, also for UP, the problem is “surviving in Catalonia.”
But they will not get it easily because the Catalan people are not going to give up, despite many of its political leaders. It was shown in the response to the brutal ruling of the Supreme Court and even in the elections, where independentist candidates have achieved their best results in a general election.
This is not the way to fight the far-right
The great UP argument to justify the coalition with the PSOE is the need to curb the far-right. But if Vox has reached where it is, it is not only because the PP and C’s have given it a “citizenship chart.” The PSOE has contributed decisively by its fierce competition with PP and C’s on what party would be more brutal against Catalonia. In this race, only Vox could win, demanding Torra’s arresting, the illegalization of the independentist parties, the state of exception, the radical elimination of Catalan autonomy and an end to the “state of autonomy regions.” Vox has made a xenophobic and racist campaign against immigrants without being confronted by the PSOE or UP, which have only played the scaremongers on the far-right.
Abascal (Vox) has collected votes mainly among the Francoists and the lords of the rich neighborhoods, but also among the most socially punished sectors. These sectors have been contaminated by the poisonous discourse that blames immigrants for the social ruin caused by big capital and its governments. Podemos appeared as an anti-system force and was able to stop the extreme right. But its full integration in the “1978 regime,” turning into an auxiliary force for the PSOE, has only allowed the strengthening of Vox. Unless we raise an alternative confronted with the government, it will appear as the only political force opposed to the coalition government.
It doesn’t matter the government, rights must be defended
The PSOE-UP task is stabilizing the political situation at the service of the Monarchy and managing the economic slowdown and the probable recession ahead, according to the dictates of the EU and the Ibex 35. In return, they will approve some partial measures to justify the unjustifiable and a lot of showcase policy. But the upsurge in Catalonia will deepen instability and, after some time, social mobilization will be resumed, this time against the PSOE-UP government, despite the complicity of the CCOO-UGT [trade union] bureaucracy and its attempts to “tame” unitary organizations such as the Coordination for the Defense of the Public Pension System.
As we said at the beginning, there are working-class fighters who look with confidence, even if it not unconditional, at the new coalition government. Life will deliver and take away reasons for it, but all of us, together, want to stop Vox’s feet; to repeal labor reforms and end precariousness; to turn pensions linked to the budget and not less than 1,084 euros; that the Catalan political prisoners be amnestied, the repression is over and Catalonia can freely decide its future; that CIEs [detention centers] be closed and immigrant rights are recognized; that there are deeds, not words, to combat sexist violence and the judicial apparatus be cleaned from corruption. We will continue to demand these claims, no matter the government.
Faced with the situation that lies ahead:
- extend and strengthen solidarity with the Catalonian people.
- denounce and systematically face the Vox far-right.
- prepare to resume the massive struggle against the aggressions that will come from the new government and organize a left opposition.
This is the Corriente Roja’s commitment, in its struggle to build a revolutionary party, to which we invite you to work together. Chile and Ecuador show us the way!