Spanish State: State of Alarm II. From “New Normal” to Prolonged Nightmare

The second wave is not only attributable to the virus. The EU and European governments are also responsible for the repetition of the health and social disaster.

The PSOE-UP government has decreed a new state of alarm in the Spanish State, considering the incidents of the pandemic at a very high risk level. The decree is valid for 15 days, but states that the measure will be in force until May 9, 2021, its extension will depend on the approval of Congress. The main measures already in force are: the application of the night curfew from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., the limitation of meetings, public or private, to six people and the possibility of limiting, conditioning or prohibiting demonstrations “when in prior communication presented by the promoters, the personal distance necessary to prevent contagion is not guaranteed.” The mobility exceptions will be allowed to go to work, buy medicines, basic necessities and other specified actions, while bars, restaurants and nightlife venues will remain closed. Autonomic governments may partially or totally confine the territory and limit both entry and exit from it. If the measures do not work, the next step may be total confinement, that is, home confinement.

A large part of the autonomous governments pressed for these measures to be adopted and are implementing them. In general, they consider them “proportionate to the extreme gravity of the situation” and affirm that “they do not imply the suspension of any fundamental right.” Spain is once again facing a serious health situation, among the worst in Europe, on the verge of hospitals collapsing, with an increasing number of infections that has already exceeded one million people and hundreds of deaths a day. If the danger of reaching this situation had already been expressly announced, then why has it occurred? It is because they warned of the risks, but did not act on them. Of course we reject that once again the blame in being placed on people´s individual responsibility, fundamentally of workers, immigrants and young people. Of course, individual care is important, but what is central is the responsibility of government efforts.

When the consequences of the spread of the virus around the world began to be felt, the authorities said they had no experience “because it is something new for everyone.” With false excuses they tried to justify the insufficient, unjust and authoritarian measures that they adopted during the first wave, which are now being repeated in the second wave, aggravated by action or omission in the time elapsed between one and another.

They rushed to decree the beginning of a false “new normal” to uphold the obligation to attend work, recover business profits and receive tourists. The number of active contact trackers was derisory compared to those needed to control the epidemic, the performance of the PCR test was irregular and was far from reaching the level necessary to be decisive. Neither was a qualitative investment made in hospitals or CAPs, despite the fact that it proved indispensable due to the lack of supplies, facilities and infrastructure. The claims of health workers regarding the precariousness and labor injustices they faced on the front line were not addressed, nor were the cuts or privatizations carried out by governments for decades.

The employment situation and precariousness worsened, as did the living conditions of the most vulnerable, of workers, young people, women, immigrants, pensioners and all the people. What there is, is more unemployment, more social inequality, more poverty and uncertainty. The main responsibility lies with the government of the “progressive coalition” PSOE-UP, whose officials affirm that “the fundamental thing is to take sanitary measures affecting the economy as little as possible”, that is, business profits that continued to prioritize over life among the first and second waves.

Nor can the regional governments evade their responsibilities, including the Catalan executive, which in this case acted to justify the state of alarm in Spain. For this reason, we agree with the CUP when it states that “The Government is making up for the lack of public resources to deal with Covid-19 with limitations on fundamental rights and holding the population responsible” and we support both the measures it proposes and the call to mobilize.

It should be noted that the EU once again acted as disastrously as in the first wave, leaving each country to its own devices against the virus. The actions were not taken as a whole, they are insufficient and even contradictory from state to state. In the richest continent on earth, cuts in public health, lack of investment and the advance of privatizations have caused a social disaster. Capitalism and its defenders systematically lead us towards disaster.

For these reasons, we insist on proposing the health and social measures that we have already put into consideration from the International Socialist League for a single, public, universal and free health system, while pointing out that there is no pandemic that implies cutting rights social and deepening authoritarianism, but rather, quite the opposite: it is at times of crisis where it is most necessary to appeal to the population and put all public resources at the service of meeting the needs of the great majority. Let’s not let them normalize the health disaster, social inequalities, authoritarianism and impose fear and resignation. The mobilization and the organization mark the way so that we are not the workers and the peoples who pay the costs of the crisis, neither with our lives, nor with hunger, misery and unemployment.