Sunday, 22 May 2011

Spain - not a revolution just democracy!


A great deal of gushing left-wing excitement is littering the web as assorted commentators, bloggers and tweeters get all “oooh, gosh, revolution” about some protests in Madrid. Protests that coincide with today’s municipal elections across the country.

The demonstrators have had enough of a political system that fails to represent them, one that restricts their power to expressing a preference every few years for one identikit professional politician or another. This is a far more radical politics. This is a crisis of confidence in democracy under capitalism when the failure of the free-markets is being used as an excuse to extend their poisonous reach.

Well maybe they have but, in truth, there aren’t very many of them are there! A bit like UK Uncut we get a lot of froth and noise, a bit of wanton destruction and some ace sloganising – all of which zooms past the ordinary voter more bothered about their job, the kids’ education and the level of crime. At their peak with a social media whirlwind of promotion and support the protester mustered about 30,000 in Madrid and similar protests in other Spanish cities brought out barely 10,000.

Meanwhile the Spanish voters are setting about visiting the worst defeat on the Socialists since the return of democracy – exit polls are suggesting the PSOE has lost control of Barcelona for the first time in 32 years and this indicates that it will be a pretty dire night for the Spanish left.  And the winners will not be strange coalitions of protesting pseudo-anarchists, bored students or green agitators but the opposition parties – the centre-right, Partido Popular and the assortment of separatist and regionalist groups that make up Spanish politics.

Some 12 million or so Spaniards have taken part in real democracy today – electing councillors, mayors and regional assemblies. Tens of thousands of Spaniards have actively campaigned in support of favoured candidates, thousands have put their name forward for election and millions have discussed and debated what should happen. The people protesting in Madrid are put a small part of this debate – it isn’t a revolution, it’s just the untidiness of democracy in action.


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