Conditions for Spanish workers were never good. In the last decades, there have been periods of several years in a row where unemployment was a terrible level. Since the 1980s, official unemployment rates have reached peaks of over 20% three times: 1985, 1995, and 2013, at a whopping 26.3%. Right now, in 2017, only 58% of the working age population is employed, according to the state (EPA 2017 first trimester, INE).
But a new study says that not only is unemployment terrible, but so are workers’ incomes. In 2007, 39.9% of workers earned below 1000€ monthly. Now it’s 47%. Back then, there were 193,796 executives. Now it’s 136,502. The average income of these executives was 129,852€. Now it’s 152,223€! (nuevatribuna.es, May 6) Every time, the workers have it worse and the capitalists have it better. Both the so-called “Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party” (PSOE) and the so-called “People’s Party” (PP) governments have been ravaging the workers in favor of the capitalists.
These trends parallel what occurs elsewhere, such as in the U.S. Here are a few graphs to illustrate the problem there:
Large productivity increases have coincided with declining or stagnant real (inflation-adjusted) wages for workers, while CEOs earn massive incomes, hundreds of times what workers do. In capitalism, technology is used to increase the wealth of the capitalist class instead of lessening the burden of the working class.
Of course, there is a massive problem. How does, then, one explain that none of the major newspapers constantly report on this, and merely pretend that everything is fine, and if it’s not, it’s because a new war of aggression needs to be launched against, say, North Korea or somewhere else? Because this is a problem for the working class, and not the capitalist class, and these newspapers are part of the superstructure of capitalist society.
The only way to fight the terrible oppression faced by workers in capitalism is through the workers’ struggle. No capitalist candidate will come from heaven to fix it. What do the workers have to lose by fighting against these conditions? Nothing. They have everything to gain by forging a revolutionary workers’ party. The international nature of the problem implies that workers have to be internationally associated to fight capitalism.
This revolutionary struggle is built on the basis of a constant fight in the now to improve workers’ living conditions, which can only be done through workers’ own struggles, by linking up demands like solving unemployment on the basis of a shorter work week at same pay with a class-based perspective and looking in the long-term towards the abolition of private property through socialist revolution.
These demands and struggles make it possible to build a class party, with a class-based program, which is able to win the working class over to its program, and therefore to radically re-structure society on the basis of that class program. There is no shortcut to socialism but the road of struggle.