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Vol. 75/No. 22      June 6, 2011

Spain: workers, youth
protest joblessness, cuts

Some 30,000 demonstrate in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol plaza May 21 to protest high unemployment and government austerity measures. Tens of thousands have been protesting daily in cities throughout Spain since May 15, leading up to the country’s May 22 regional and municipal elections. Official unemployment in Spain is more than 21 percent, the highest in the European Union. Unemployment for 18- to 25-year-olds is 45 percent. The demonstrations represent the largest protests yet against policies of socialist prime minister José Zapatero, whose party suffered unprecedented defeats in the elections.

Capitalist rulers in the United States and Europe are concerned about the ability of the Spanish and Italian governments to continue spending cuts and pay down debt, causing a rise in yields on Spanish and Italian bonds. They’re nervously watching Greece, whose economy continues to spiral downward following a $146 billion bailout by the European Union and International Monetary Fund, steep government spending cuts, layoffs, and tax hikes. Spain is the fourth largest economy in Europe. Government officials there have repeatedly declared that a bailout is out of the question.


Related articles:
Illinois coal miners vote UMWA, fight for contract
Democratic-led county council in Maryland cuts workers’ benefits
Higher taxes or layoffs of teachers? A fake trade-off
Union officials deal blow to solidarity  
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