Spain: VOX Union, a Child of the Ultra-Right

Against the bureaucratic disasters, no fascists! We need a new union model is needed.

By Rubén Tzanoff

On September 14, VOX leader Santiago Abascal presented the union “Solidaridad” in Madrid, with the following characteristics: “It is the first patriotic and anti-separatist union in Spain, the first anti-communist union and the first union against corrupt oligarchies,” against the current coalition government, the bosses, the UGT and the CCOO.

Among the 12 measures they will focus on are: prioritizing workers residing in Spain for access to jobs, “limiting illegal immigration to the real needs of the labor market and immigrants´ capacity for cultural adaptation;” “facilitate the repatriation of immigrants who cannot find employment;” end subsidies for unions, demand an increase in the SMI (Minimum Inter-professional Salary) and measures against globalist interests. Finally, Abascal, denounced that “right-wing workers have been insulted,” “kidnapped by socialist and communist unions,” which have brought “poverty, ruin and lack of freedom.” What is VOX looking for with the creation of Solidaridad? Vox has been contesting votes from the right and the extreme right from supporters of the PP and Ciudadanos. With this political move, it intends to acquire better conditions to vie for the support of workers more linked to independent, social democratic and center-left expressions. Some who are disappointed by the course of Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesia´s government, others that have been dissatisfied for a long time. The objective will be in the so-called electoral “red bands” of the big cities.

A new union model must be forged from below, in the demonstrations and strikes…

In Europe there are recent antecedents. Marine Le Pen’s party in France, the National Front, had already done this to contest in France´s “red fishing grounds,” as they call the areas related to the communists. The Alternative for Germany created the group ¡Alarm! presenting itself as “an alternative employee association” and the far-right organization, Zentrum Automobil has the support of a working-class sector. Beyond anti-globalization protectionism, they are all united by a discourse as simple to assimilate as it is false, which blames immigrant workers as the cause of the suffering of workers of national origin, while raising support for the political and union extreme right as the only solution for their protection.

As VOX is an admirer and defender of Franco’s ideology, it is impossible not to refer to the dictator’s policy regarding the organization of workers. Franco created the Spanish Trade Union Organization (OSE), known as Sindicato Vertical, the only legally authorized union in Spain between 1940 and 1977, as an appendix to the dictatorship. Workers and the bosses, both called “producers,” were required by law to join the Union, while the CNT and UGT were banned.

The “Progressive Coalition” PSOE-UP criticizes VOX, but it does so only for electoral purposes, to extend its reach and direct the popular vote towards the “lesser evil.” The government, as well as the monarchical-parliamentary regime and some mass media, have given VOX coverage and laid a red carpet down for them to enter the institutions. The opposite of what they do with the mobilizations and democratic, social and anti-fascist struggles that cross the country. That is why the fascists now also want to get into the trade union field.

…the working class must determine itself in every sense, so that it breaks onto the political scene, debates, decides and governs with its own institutions.

Reformist political leaders and bureaucratic unions are two sides of the same coin, with an old union model that is exhausted. Those who run the major centrals of UGT and CCOO do so bureaucratically, they are the transmission belt of the austerity policies of the European Union, of the governments of the day and they carry on their shoulders the loss of workers’ conquests and the imposition of the labor reform, which has lowered the quality of employment to unbearable levels. There was recently an example of how they act in NISSAN, where they accepted a deferred closure to December 2021, “bread for today, hunger for tomorrow,” leaving ACCIONA workers alone in their fight for a source of work. However, no confidence must be placed in the answer to this reality coming from the fascists, or from recycled bureaucrats.

The class forces have to foster a common intelligence to promote the organization and a new leadership. This will be key for ongoing struggles and for those to come as a result of the crisis in the world capitalist economy. A new trade union model must be forged from below, in mobilizations and strikes, with the emergence of militant, democratic activists who carry out a workers’ program, with gender perspective and autonomy from the employers and the State. Starting by putting into practice that “the rank-and-file decide everything,” holding democratic and sovereign assemblies, with elected struggle committees when the statutory bodies are overrun by the mobilization. A new union model will find a key pillar in coordination with different sectors, to win the struggles. It is not only a trade union exercise, but also a political one, in order for the working class to determine itself in every sense, to burst onto the political scene, debate, decide and govern with its own institutions.

In short, no expectations must be placed in the VOX union, nor fear, because the fascists are mostly repudiated by society. Yes, we must block them and defeat them in all areas: the street, the institutions and the unions, opposing a new union model to the current bureaucratic practices.