Esther vivas in berlin

Which party do the workers and youth in the Spanish state need??

Esther Vivas in Berlin

// Which party do the workers and youth need in the Spanish state? //

On 25. Abril spoke Esther Vivas, activist from Barcelona, in Berlin. Vivas is a member of Izquierda Anticapitalista (IA) / Revolta Global (part of the United Secretariat of the Fourth International, VS). The New Anti-Capitalist Organization (NAO) invited about 35 participants to the public event.

Vivas spoke of the effects of the capitalist crisis in the Spanish state: today there are six million unemployed and about 400.000 people have left the country in recent years, many for Germany. Every day there are 532 forced evictions, while millions of homes remain empty.

On 15. May 2011 the "15M" movement broke out. Organizers called for "Real Democracy Now". The occupations of public places expressed all the anger of the youth without work and without future. Vivas spoke of the 15M's "two daughters," the Platform of Mortgage Affected People (PAH), which organizes resistance to evictions, and the "mareas" (floods), or the various social movements that united in a mass demonstration on 22. March of this year.

Vivas argued that the various social movements against the effects of the crisis need a political expression – in this sense, Vivas presented PODEMOS, an electoral project for the European elections founded by IA together with left reformist intellectuals such as TV presenter Pablo Iglesias.

We from RIO (German section of FT-CI), participated in the event, together with Josefina MartInez from our sister organization in the Spanish state Clase contra Clase, who visited Berlin on the occasion of an event on Marxism and Gender.

In the discussion we have talked about the hard labor struggles such as those at Panrico and Coca-Cola, which have developed in the last year as the first expression of a new militancy of the working class. At the demonstration of the 22M, it was these workers who, together with other collectives and platforms, formed a "red tide".

But we also presented a critical vision about PODEMOS. Their program, drafted by a "commission of experts" and edited over the Internet, is completely reformist. It makes no mention of the working class or the capitalist system. Instead, it relies on "citizens" and "democracy", with demands such as support for small and medium enterprises, without any orientation towards the working class or its struggles. In this way, groups like IA participate in the European elections with a program that is far from anti-capitalism.

In the debates that followed, the comrades of the NAO took sides with PODEMOS. Although the project stands for election with a reformist program, it is "not yet defined," and therefore must be supported by revolutionaries. With the same logic, one should also support Izquierda Unida, which is just as reformist, bigger and older. In fact, the formation of PODEMOS was an attempt to push IA to form joint lists.

At the same time, the comrades of the NAO have criticized an orientation toward labor struggles as "economism". They claimed that Clase contra Clase and RIO "believe that a revolutionary party can emerge linearly from strikes" and that, on the other hand, it is necessary to "go to the masses" who are supposedly active in PODEMOS.

Unfortunately, the comrades ignore that these militant sectors of the workers' movement are not only fighting for economic demands, but also for political ones. In the case of Panrico, they are having an accelerated experience with the Generalitat (the government of Catalonia), the trade union bureaucracy and different political currents. They also ignore that the workers of Panrico and Coca Cola have taken concrete steps in coordinating workers and building an alliance of workers with masses, taking up the demands of other social movements as their own. For example, they go to the demonstrations for abortion rights, to the rallies of the students, to the demos on 22M or to the protests against forced evictions. And from both Panrico and Coca Cola, the demand is made to unite the struggles to impose a general strike against all layoffs and cuts.

On the other hand, our lack of "linear construction of a revolutionary party" is shown in our numerous proposals to other left forces for the creation of a front of the anti-capitalist and revolutionary left. This is also done following the example of the FIT in Argentina, which won in the last elections 000 votes.

We in the FT-CI believe that revolutionaries must stand for the broadest unity in struggles. But this does not mean supporting reformist political projects like PODEMOS. For Marxists, the united front should be accompanied in the streets and in the struggles, on the basis of political independence from the reformists.

The PODEMOS project, with its program and leaders, does not try to strengthen the unity and anti-capitalist consciousness of the workers. On the contrary, it calls them to believe in the reformability of capitalism and "build democracy" within the framework of this social system of exploitation and oppression. Many honest activists have illusions that this new project could help to confront the regime and the two-party system. We believe that they will only experience new disappointments and our task is not to fuel these illusions anymore.

It is necessary to fight against reformist parties and ideologies that present the capitalist system as something eternal or want to "democratize the EU". Likewise, it is necessary to argue against centrist currents that want to reconcile reformists and revolutionaries.

It is regrettable that the comrades of the League for the Fifth International (LFI), who a few years ago had a very critical vision of centrism of Trotskyist origin, do not formulate any criticism of IA and the VS nowadays. This is result of the NAO, a small regrouping between the LFI and sectors of the VS in Germany, on the basis of a centrist program. We hope to continue the debate on the attitude of revolutionaries to reformist projects.

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