Intervention Koldo Saenz LAB Basque Country

Dear comrades

First of all we would like to thank PAME for the invitation to participate in this seminar and for the opportunity to be with all of you today, sharing the reality we are living today in the Basque Country and our vision of how we have to face the future.

The pandemic has exposed the true face of this capitalist system; a capitalist system incapable of sustaining life and which condemns the working class and all of humanity to an increasingly precarious future, to ever greater social inequalities and the destruction of the planet. All this with the only aim of satisfying the voracity of economic and political elites who only seek to accumulate more and more capital.

We are living a period of acceleration and intensification of the previous systemic crisis. The working class is suffering the consequences of the previous crisis and we are immersed in a new crisis that will bring a change of period. A capitalist, hetero- patriarchal and ecocide system, which destroys people and planet.

This system is neither socially nor ecologically sustainable. Change is inevitable, both internationally and in the Basque Country. What is at stake is what the direction of that change is going to be and who is going to lead the change.

In order to move towards a new economic and social model, we demand an eco- socialist and feminist transition. In this sense, the socio-economic programme and the proposal for a new labour code and social security and protection system that we have recently made public contain our proposals and on the basis of them we want to build consensus and alliances.

This new crisis is not the same as the previous one, and not entirely the same recipes are being put forward. However, life is not at the centre. The European Funds and at another level the budgetary moment has marked the response of the economic elites and the systemic aspects that aim to guarantee the survival and perpetuation of the capitalist system:

  • The institutions have been indebted but there is no choice for tax reform. Thus, there will be further cuts.
  • There is no commitment to strengthen public services. No steps are being taken to build a public, community-based care system, nor are there any decisions to promote publicification processes and put an end to the care business.
  • There is no decision to guarantee a job, and a decent pension. The Spanish government does not repeal the labour reform, and workers are abandoned in the face of job destruction, the spread of poverty and precariousness. Also a new pension reform is
  • More public money is going to private hands, without political and social control over the economy, and without any conditions. In many cases, in the name of energy transition, large amounts of public money are pumped into multinational energy companies to further deepen green

As I have said before, we are in a period of dispute between economic elites who want to take advantage of this structural crisis to carry out some reforms but without touching the model, and between those of us who say that this model cannot guarantee a decent job and a decent life and that it is necessary to build a new model that puts life at the centre.

In this sense, economic power has the stron support by national and international structures that ensure the interests of capitalist power. The policies adopted by state governments and the European Union are a reflection of the extent to which these institutions are at the service of the economic elites.

The Spanish state is a state that as a regime was born after Franco’s dictatorship, after a great national agreement between the forces inherited from the dictatorship, the social-democracy, the national bourgeoisies of the stateless nations and the betrayal of the communist party. All this with the approval of the big trade unions UGT and CCOO who joined the party in exchange for the perks of the system.

These big agreements took place in a context in which the dispute was between those who were in favour of a break with the dictatorship’s regime and those who were in favour of superficial reforms. The only aim of this political reform was to bring about certain reforms in the Spanish state that would homologate the Spanish state as a formal democracy within Europe, and above all, that the class domination based on the national domination of the stateless nations would remain intact. As the dictator told the King of Spain, do everything necessary to be done but without touching the national unity of the Spanish state. The power knows very well that without the liberation of the peoples there can not be social liberation, and therefore by keeping the domination over the peoples, class domination is guaranteed. This betrayal has led to a conflict in the Basque Country that has not yet been resolved and for which the Basque people have paid too high a price.

Today we are in a similar context, a context between those who say that the Spanish state as a project of the economic elites is exhausted and has no democratic offer and those who would have us believe that the Spanish state can be reformed democratically. The images of the more than 1000 people injured in Catalonia when in a referendum they were only trying to vote reflect that the Spanish state cannot be democratised and that it is therefore urgent to activate processes of liberation and transformation based on the right to self-determination of the people.

I want to finish by denouncing that today at least 6 militants of the LAB have been arrested by the Spanish police for protest actions in the context of the 8th of March International Women’s Day and for actions related to the struggle for a fair agreement in the cleaning sector. This is another example of the Spanish state tries to impose its national and class project by force, trying to ignore the desire for freedom of the people and the working class. But as we said in 1936, we say it again, No pasarán!