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Spanish General Strike

by Chris Tuesday, Jun. 25, 2002 at 1:48 PM

news from Madrid

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E



The reformist trade unions, CCOO and UGT, called the strike a victory, with

84% of the workforce stopping. Meanwhile, the PP, conservative party in

power, called it a "fracaso," with just 14% taking part.

The government admitted that the demand for electricity had fallen 20%,

somewhat below the drop experienced during other General Strikes, and

especially the 1988 Strike (which took place in December, a month with

little demand for air-conditioning). Unions replied that at 1.30 p.m.,

demand was 5% below that of the same time on a Sunday (1.30 is "prime"

working time in Spain, with lunch not starting until 2.00 or 3.00).

Any casual observer, in Madrid at least, could see that the few busses on

the streets (part of the minimal services negotiated by the reformist

unions, which the anarchosyndicalist organisations tried to but were unable

to stop) were nearly empty, even during rush hour, and that the traffic was

similar to that of a Sunday.

The weak part of the strike was in commerce and services, where it was

followed irregularly. The smell of uncollected rubbish sitting on the

streets under the heat of a 40 degree sun, indicated that rubbish collectors

were firm in their convictions to follow the strike.

Bearing in mind the effect of "violent contracts" (the day before the

General Strike saw lots of managers threatening workers with non-renewal of

contracts), and the fact that minimal services in transport were allowed

(thus meaning that anyone who wanted to scab could get to the workplace),

the strike was clearly a success.

The CCOO and UGT demonstration in Madrid, in the evening of the General

Strike, had 500,000 participants, according to the organisers, and a mere

40,000 for the government. An independent source, analysing the aerial

photographs that showed that the demo was full from start (Cibeles) to

finish (Sol), reported between 250,000 to 300,000 demonstrators, showing

that the government perceives about 15% of reality whereas the reformist

trade reunions see it double. In other words, they all lie, but some lie

more than others.

Where truth was respected, was in the joint CNT-CGT-SO demo also called for

the evening of June 20th in Madrid. Here, 10,150 active militants in these

anarchosyndicalist organisations marched from Atocha de Benavente, chanting

among other things:

-The Labour Reform for nuns and priests.

-President Aznar, apply the reform to yourself.

-Syndical Unity? Yes, but to fight!

-Apply the Foreigners' Law to the Monarchy.

-The Solution? Revolution!

This joint red-and-black demo is encouraging as it is the largest so far in

the capital of Spain (as a Madrid event, there have been larger demos, but

they were on a national level), and is indicative that the

anarchosyndicalist organisations in Spain are learning to fight together.

The demo ended with a theatrical performance by the squatters of Laboratorio

III, under threat of eviction.

For photos of the strike in different parts of Spain:


For news in general about the strike (all in Spanish):





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english & spanish & catalan x Tuesday, Jun. 25, 2002 at 2:02 PM

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