Spain:Historic student general strike

More tspainstudentshan 200,000 students fill the streets against Francoist “revalidations”

We publish below a translation of the Spanish School Students union (Sindicato de Estudiantes)’s first report of the historic general strike of students throughout the Spanish state on 26 October. The CWI fully backed this strike and organised active solidarity and support in over 20 countries worldwide.

It was a real tsunami. The general strike called by the Sindicato de Estudiantes (SE) was a historic success. Close to two million students from schools throughout the state emptied the classrooms. However, it was not only a huge strike, which was over 90% solid. More than 60 demonstrations called by the SE were all massively successful. More than 200,000 students marched up and down the country. The figures are extraordinary.

In the Basque country, more than 10,000 marched in Bilbao, 5,000 in Donostia and thousands more in Vitoria/Gasteiz and Iruña. In Catalonia, more than 50,000 filled the streets of Barcelona, with thousands more in Tarragona and Girona and dozens of other towns. Almost 10,000 marched in Valencia, with thousands more in Alicante. The Madrid demonstration – 60,000 strong – was the biggest student demonstration in years. In Galicia: 5,000 in A Coruña, 3.000 in Ferrol and thousands more in other towns. 5,000 in Zaragoza. In Andalucia it was spectacular: 15,000 in Granada, 10,000 in Sevilla, 7,000 in Malaga, 2,000 in Cadiz and over 1,000 in Almeria and Huelva. Thousands also marched in Extremadura, the Canary Islands, and the Balearic Islands, in Murcia, Castilla y León, Castilla La Mancha, and Cantabria.

This strike has been a solid success, and a show of strength which has brutaly exposed the PP government, and Ministry of Education. The youth have clearly demanded the immediate scrapping of the Francoist “revalidations”, and LOMCE (previous austerity and anti-democratic education bill), both of which are wholly unacceptable The SE demands the IMMEDIATE resignation of the “caretaker” Education Minister, Iñigo Méndez de Vigo. But we go further: we demand the scrapping of LOMCE and all the other austerity decrees, the reversal of all cuts and a drastic increase in the public education budget, and the readmission of the thousands of teachers sacked in the last years.

The right-wing PP government declared war on public education. In this context, we consider it totally shameful that the PSOE (“Socialist” Party) leadership has capitulated before it, and will, in a cowardly manner, abstain in parliament to hand power back to Rajoy. These leaders have turned their backs on their social base, on their voters, on the millions of workers and youth, on the education movement and all those who struggle in defence of public education. We will never forget their vote, which will be responsible for more years of government by the party of corruption and cuts

The strike also had the support of CEAPA (national parent’s association) which was very important. Unfortunately, the attitude of the leadership of the CCOO, UGT and STE unions was not the same. Only in Madrid did they call a full strike of teachers, as well as in Andalucia in the case of the STE. The attitude of the union leaders had no justification. Why did they not call teachers out on strike alongside students and parents? Don’t teachers also suffer from the same attacks? The union leaders must urgently rectify and listen to the clamour of their rank and file, they must fight with all their might, not only make declarations to the gallery or release statements of support on paper.

We want to say loud and clear that the struggle has not finished. Today was a great success but WE WILL NOT STOP UNTIL THE LOMCE AND “REVALIDATIONS” ARE SCRAPPED. Our all-Spain strike committee will meet immediately. If the caretaker government has not scrapped these attacks by 31 October we will call another strike – bigger and stronger – in the following weeks, calling on all teachers’ unions and the parents organised in CEAPA to come together.

Finally, we want to thank the thousands of SE activists throughout the state for making this great strike possible. More than 100,000 leaflets were distributed in schools and tens of thousands of posters were put up. We also want to salute the over 2,000 new SE members who joined us in the last weeks. Together we are building the biggest, most determined and consequent student organisation, which will not scab on any strike or seek to divide the student movement along national or sectarian lines. We believe in our own strength and the capacity of the youth to struggle against the PP and its cuts, and against the system which generates the social injustice which we face: capitalism.