Teachers in Spain went on strike this week to protest billions in spending cuts enacted as part of an austerity drive. Students are also involved in the strike, unprecedented in that all levels of the education system — from elementary school to universities — are taking part simultaneously.
A communique from the Confederacion National del Trabajo (National Confederation of Labour), released on the eve of the strike has been reproduced below:
There are enough reasons not to end our struggle. The brutal attacks lead by the privatizing and classist vanguard that embodies the Government of Madrid will be deepened and perfected even more by the State provoking the reduction of educational and developmental opportunitiesfor the children of the working class to the minimal level. In addition, there are the mass dismissals of educational workers which impedes the possibility that those who keep their jobs work in decent conditions. The current generation will be doomed to ignorance, failure, poverty and the precarization of their lives and more manipulation by those with power.
The Strike is the only effective tool that we workers have to struggle in defense of our rights, to win new ones or maintain those that haven’t already been taken away. But not just any strike: the call for a strike has to come decided by and endorsed by workers organized in assemblies. However, the current strike has not been called with the previous support of the workers that the organizers say they represent. The self-defined “five representative unions for public education” have made this call from the top down just now, when previously it did not want to call any strikes at the national level. If not even their own members participated in the decision, even fewer went to listen to the educational workers’ assemblies that take place in Madrid and have been organized in a continual mobilization over the last 10 months. These organizations forced the assmblies to repeat votes one after another until they achieved the watering down of the greatest participative, creative and combative movement we have seen in years. An action which neither has an explicit goal or strategic framework was proposed. This is more an effort of the teachers of Madrid, discontent with the lack of transparency and the compliance with the compromises of the board of the sector with the assemblies, but it is met paradoxically with the hypothesis that the strike can give continuity to the struggle, connecting it with the rest of the country. Therefore, while our members have the complete freedom to endorse the strike, we will not call for this, in disagreement with its vertical nature.
– The CNT maintains its position that it will provide legal support to those strikes and mobilizations that the workers decide to call in an assembly. We maintain that the only way to win this conflict is through an indefinite strike that would paralyse the educational centers with the purpose of not implementing the cuts. We understand the attrition of the Madrid teachers, so we must organize and develop means to allow a continued resistence aimed at paralysing the public educational centers until decent conditions are achieved. The demands of the CNT-AIT are clear and continue to be the same clara: – Repeal all the instructions and laws enacted since 2009 which affect public education in Madrid in order to go back to the situation before this date – Repeal the decrees on infant education – No to any form of privatization Long live the Strike! The Union of Education and Social Intervention of the CNT-AIT Madrid is calling for an assembly on May 22 in Sol at 19:30