What is going on in Spain?
The 1st February, a demostration took place in Amsterdam against the new Spanish law on abortion. The demo was called by Casa Kliniek and attended by around 200 people. This text was distributed by Spanish activists organised in the indignados movement in Amsterdam.
Assembly of Spaniards in Amsterdam
Under a new law proposed by the Popular Party (PP) government of Spain, abortion would only be allowed if two medical or psychiatric reports state that the health of the pregnant woman is at risk. This suppresses all freedom of women to decide about their pregnancy, even in cases of rape or fetal malformation. If the law is passed, Spain would become one of the last European countries in terms of reproductive rights.
According to polls around 80% of Spaniards (and even 60% of PP voters) oppose this reform. With this law, the PP seeks to satisfy the small ultra-Catholic minority that is one of their stalwarts. They are the same people who demonstrate against the legalization of gay marriage. Under the guise of defending “life” and “family”, they seek to impose a traditional and conservative morality, inspired by fundamentalist Catholicism.
The Popular Party is able to impose this reform because it has an absolute majority in parliament (186 MPs out of 350), even though they received only 44% of the vote (with a total turn-out of 68%). Spanish electoral law is not proportional, making it easy for a single party to gain absolute power.
The government takes advantage of this situation, disregarding public opinion and without negotiating with other organizations. In addition, their attitude towards social mobilizations has ranged from disdain to criminalization. With the new Public Safety Law, nicknamed “#LeyAnti15m”, photographing a policeman while doing his work, participating in an unauthorized demonstration, or installing a tent on the street, are crimes with fines of up to 600,000 euros. Thus the government is pushing towards an authoritarian and increasingly undemocratic state.
Only in this way can the government continue to impose austerity, social cuts, and the privatization of public services. Their aim is to defend the financial system above all, even at the cost of sinking a large part of the population into poverty. The major parties, PP and PSOE have even amended the Constitution – without any popular consultation – so that the payment of the public debt has priority over any other budget item.
In the recent years, Spain has become the most unequal country in the euro zone according to the Gini index, with over nine million people under the poverty line. In 2013 unemployment in Spain reached a record high of 27%, after four years of being above 20%. For those under 25, unemployment is 57.6 %, also the highest in Europe. All this has led to the departure of hundreds of thousands of workers, many of them young, looking for a job and unable to plan a life in our own country.
To all of this we can add the innumerable cases of corruption involving PP leaders from the summit of the party to the regional presidents. Other cases of corruption have involved the PSOE, the major unions and even the Royal Family, which has received blatantly preferential treatment from the justice courts.
We, Spanish immigrants in the Netherlands, are organized in solidarity with the movement in Spain to denounce and combat this enormous social regression and to fight for a real change in the economic and political system, which we think is wrecked.
We are part of the 15-M/indignados movement (started on May 15, 2011) and the Maroon Tide (network of assemblies of Spanish emigrants). We believe that international pressure against the Spanish government, and international solidarity with the protest movements in Spain, can be effective in stopping reforms such as the Abortion Act.Finally, we are concerned that the setbacks that are happening in Spain may be the vanguard of what is to come in the rest of Europe if we do not rise up together to stop it in time.