Crisis or fraud? Spain: “They call it crisis, we call it Capitalism”

[Today we are pleased to welcome Chamo, a good friend, colleague and long-time activist in Freegan Kolektiva zine. He is from Spain but has lived in many different countries; he is going to share his knowledge and passion for eco-social change.]

In contrast with the austerity which is imposed on Spanish people, presented as the only way possible out of the crisis, more and more intellectuals argue that “There are alternatives.” People in Spain, as in other European countries, are waking up.

The mantra reproduced constantly by the Spanish conservative party Partido Popular (PP), which is currently ruling the country, is that the only way to get out of the crisis is more budget cuts on public expenditure. They have recently introduced a reform of the labour market that makes it easier to put workers out of their jobs, a reform that cannot create jobs rather destroys them and forces Spain back to the conditions of 1870.

This is a coup to the Spanish democracy and they (bankers, firm managers and conservatives) want to convince citizens that this is the only way out of the crisis – they are totally lost. Well, this is not new: Spain never became really modern, because the ruling elite was never able to modernize the country. Spanish leaders only learned how to spend their time lying down waiting for the next day to come. Now that the wind blows hard they do not want to lose their privileges accumulated during these 500 years of oppressing the people, but their time is coming to the end as people are waking up.

This is a video of ‘flamenco activists’ in a bank in Barcelona. The action is against eviction (From the movement ‘Stop desahucios’ which means ‘stop evictions’). They are singing “this is not crisis, it is called capitalism”:

Fortunately, in Spain there are people with brilliant ideas. It is a breath of fresh air to listen to the words of professor Vicenç Navarro [1], the ‘heterodox’ economist, to university professor Juan Torres [2] and to Alberto Garzon [3], a young economist and deputee from the left party Izquierda Unida (IU). Together they have recently written a book called “There are alternatives” (Spanish: “Hay alternativas”, download it here) where they show with a lot of data  how the answer to the crisis is not to reduce public expenditure but to increase it in order to create more public jobs. When the Spanish conservatives want to emulate Sweden about ‘clean accounts’ (the prime minister claimed so after the reforms), they should remember that while in Sweden one of every four people works in the public sector, this is the case for only for one out of ten in Spain.

The main argument of their book that it is possible to find the money to create these jobs for everyone. So they propose to start persecuting the fiscal fraud, which is estimated to be around €40.000 million in Spain. This amount is almost enough to cover the Spanish deficit of the current year. Secondly they show that if the Spanish state would tax the richest people (as in Sweden), the state could collect €200.000 million, which is enough money to create 5 million jobs. A number of jobs that is almost the same as the number of unemployed people in Spain at present.

So are we talking of crisis or just of fraud?

– Chamo

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Read also: Repression in Spain: nothing looks like democracy anymore

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Notes:

[1] Vicenç Navarro http://www.vnavarro.org/index.php?lang=en

Vicenç Navarro was born in Barcelona, Spain. He graduated in Medicine at the University of Barcelona. He had to leave Spain for political reasons due to his active participation in the Spanish anti-fascist underground.

He studied political economy at the International Institute of Economic Studies, Social Policy in the London School of Economics, Health Administration at Edinburgh University and Public Policy at the Johns Hopkins University.

In Spain, he has been an Extraordinary Professor of Economics in the Competence University in Madrid, a Professor of Economics at the Barcelona University and a Professor of Political and Social Sciences at the Pompeu Fabra University, where he directs the Public Policy Program jointly sponsored by the Pompeu Fabra University and the Johns Hopkins University. He is Professor of Health and Social Policy at the Johns Hopkins University. He is also the director of the Observatorio Social de España.

[2] Juan Torres Lopez http://www.juantorreslopez.com/

[3] Alberto Garzon http://www.agarzon.net/

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