Tides Movement in Spain In Defense of Public Services

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José Luis Carretero Miramar on Movements in defense of public services (the “Tides”):

"The social cuts suffered as a result of austerity policies imposed by Europe have largely centered on implementing an ever-accelerating process of dismantling of State public utilities. Settings like education or health, therefore, have become the center stage for social conflict.

Starting from the experience of earlier citizen and union movements (like the anti-privatization Health Coordinator of Madrid), revived by obvious aggression by autonomic governments and fed by new participation by sectors that traditionally had stayed out of protests because of their situations of relative economic well-being (like specialist doctors), the movements have worked on the creation of a recognizable image (the green T-shirts of teachers and white for health workers in Madrid, for example) and of the promotion of mass activities like demonstrations, sectoral strikes, workplace closures, performances, or occupations of public places.

An example of that was the secondary education strike in Madrid during the last months of 2011, which motivated the beginning of classes on the street, by teachers, as well as the emergence of assembly organization mechanisms (the so-called Green Network) or the use of practices like blocking central city streets or occupying schools.

However, their dispersion, the often times ambivalent attitude of the major unions, and their inability to converge at the same time and place have meant that, while they are far from being defeated, they have been slowing down “separately” and “in turn” in different Autonomous Communities (let’s remember that in the Spanish State, certain public utilities, like Education or Health, are the responsibility of the autonomy communities [regions], which establish different regulations, though equally neoliberal, concerning the personnel they have hired)." (http://level.interpreters.coop/the-worker-economy-1/the-spanish-state-new-resistance-and-self-management-in-the-heart-of-the-crisis/)