Liberal forces in Europe have been quick to support Sánchez, arguing that the Socialists can provide stability and manage the economy in much the same way that the current Portugese government is doing. These liberal forces also want a counterweight to the right-wing parties trying to form a government in Italy and evidently stumbling as they do so, causing some economic and political upsets. There is also a feeling that a united European response to Trump and to his trade and military threats is needed. The Socialists are unlikely to live up to these liberal goals, but continued governing by the right-wing in untenable and the liberals are seeking to contain class and national struggles.
Sánchez has so far not disappointed his liberal backers. The Socialists have apparently accepted the present state budget without much dissent and have sent calming signals to the European Union. This is an interim government, but one capable of making changes if the Socialists break with their past and lean left and do the right thing in relation to Catalonia and to the Basque struggle for independence. One Basque politician put it well when he said to the Socialists that “Your government will be very complicated, weak and difficult.”
Sánchez did shake things up when he took the oath to protect Spain's constitution without a bible or crucifix. This was a first in Spain's history.
Some socialists in the U.S. will celebrate the Socialist advance in Spain and not look deeper. We want to urge our comrades to study the situation in Spain carefully and not not jump on the liberal bandwagon. To that end we are offering the following statement from the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) regarding the current situation there. The tone and content of the PCE's statement provides us with some guidelines on unity against the far-right which we would be wise to adopt in the U.S.
On the election of Pedro Sanchez as Prime Minister of Spain
The PCE has supported the vote of no confidence that has expelled the PP from the government of Spain after 7 years of budget cuts and corruption and has elected the PSOE's secretary general, Pedro Sánchez, as Prime Minister. We have done it for reasons that we think, are shared and understood by the majority of Spanish society: the need to expel the party of corruption and looting from the government.
The vote of no confidence has ended the situation we tried to avoid after the last general elections, working then to constitute a government of progress that prevented the PP to continue ruling Spain and ensure respect for democracy. Then it was not possible then, and Spain has paid a very high price: the increase in neoliberal measures that have worsened the living conditions of workers, a territorial crisis out of control and the backward step in fundamental freedoms and the increase in repression. We salute that now we have the opportunity to reverse the tragic consequences of the PP government, although Spain has lost two years ruled by the most corrupt party in Europe.
In the years of government of the PP corruption has been usual and structural - Gürtel, Punica, Barcenas, etc -, the looting of public funds to finance the party and to profit of its leaders, the manipulation of judges and prosecutors - to protect themselves and try to guarantee the impunity of the corrupt - and the manipulation of the public media to cover and distract attention, fortunately without fully achieving it.
It was necessary to expel the PP for all these corruptions and we have obtained them thanks to the work of denunciation and investigation of journalists, peoples’ prosecution, of many prosecutors and judges, of Police and Civil Guard officers. Thanks to his work, the truth is known, and we move forward so that justice is made for the crimes committed by the political elites of the country, causing damages that are now essential to repair.
The PP had to be expelled for its economic policies of budget cuts and dismantling of the Welfare State with tragic consequences for the working class and for its cuts and constant attack on democratic freedoms.
We have achieved it those who fill the streets and squares to fight against cutbacks in public services and labour and social rights, against precariousness and corruption, against sexist violence, in defence of public pensions, against evictions and for the right to the housing, who said "no" to this government on the streets, showing that society had said: enough is enough. Today we have achieved a victory, we must celebrate it.
We have succeeded thanks to the 67 seats of Unidos Podemos, largely the result of all these popular struggles, as are also the municipalities taken from the bipartisanship, the new institutions created from popular mobilization and since the confluence.
The deputies of Unidos Podemos have been key to the success of the vote of no confidence and are the guarantee that the new government undertakes the tasks that make it possible to call general elections in a climate of democratic normality.
We believe that the essential tasks that the new government must address are:
- Close this stage of corruption: end corrupt practices from the public powers, guarantee the conditions and means for justice to act impartially and guarantee that there is no impunity for crimes of corruption.
- Regenerate justice and guarantee the full enjoyment of civil and political rights. End limitations on freedom of expression and demonstration and ensure the impartiality of public media.
- Repeal PP reactionary measures such as the labour reform, the education reform, the pension reform and the gag law, guarantee access to housing and modify the mortgage legislation and implement emergency measures against unemployment and exploitation and increasing precariousness to recover part of the rights taken.
- Normalize the situation in Catalonia by initiating a broad dialogue to reach political agreements that reconstruct the coexistence in which we will defend a model of republican and federal state.
This government can be worth to repair what was destroyed by the PP. But we do not believe that a PSOE government is in any position to implement the new policies of change to build a fairer society, neither for its limited parliamentary support nor for its political program. It is a provisional government, perhaps useful to address the most urgent tasks that we have pointed out, but which can hardly address the great transformations that our country needs in the political, economic and social fields. Our support for PM Sánchez will depend on the adoption by his Government of the urgent measures we have outlined to regenerate the democracy and to improve substantially the living conditions of our people.
Pedro Sanchez must not forget, he is PM two years after the general elections, for his mistake in trusting Ciudadanos, a party that considers "terrible" to expel the corrupt government. "Terrible" comes from terror and it seems that Albert Rivera lets out through his mouth, unconsciously, the terror that democracy causes to the bankers and rich of our country, whom he represents so well; the terror of losing the status that these have fabricated him; the terror to follow the path that Rajoy has already taken. The fear over which fascism grows, which also develops from the ignorance promoted by the media behind which the bankers and employers hide.
Fear, in fact, is changing sides and with his words, Rivera shows fear of those "Spaniards" of whom he speaks so much. Citizens are afraid because they know that their Falangist and patriarchal speech, xenophobic and exclusive, their unconditional support for the most corrupt party in Europe, the PP, is becoming clearer. It is becoming clear that Ciudadanos is the same as the People’s Party, with a greater dose of opportunism if possible, a danger for Spain.
Likewise, we note that while the majority of the Spanish people celebrate the expulsion of the PP or in any case, accept it as a democratic act, the media, behind which the banks hide, speak of "chaos" and "catastrophe”. Others who are afraid of "the Spanish and the Spanish". In this new situation, we reaffirm ourselves in the need to strengthen the popular unity and the confluence of the forces of the left, to strengthen the organization people’s and of the working class to continue in the struggle, as the only guarantee to achieve the changes we aspire, that should open the constituent process towards the Third Republic of the workers of all the Peoples of Spain. Our imminent challenge will be the upcoming municipal and regional elections and especially the upcoming legislative elections that the PCE understands should be held as soon as possible, once decontaminated institutions of the immense damage caused by the Popular Party.
Today we celebrate having expelled the PP with the struggle and with the votes.