In Spain there has been a trial going on of two union leaders, Juan Manuel Martínez Morala and Cándido González Carnero, who led a desperate but doomed struggle of Spanish shipbuilders to keep Asturian shipyards open.
This heroic struggle has been immortalised in the film Los Lunes al Sol (Mondays in the Sun), which shows how once-proud skilled workers with a massive contribution to make to the economy were humiliated as they were almost literally relegated to the scrap heap when they were deprived of their jobs simply because it was more profitable to build luxury sea-front homes on their former shipyard than to continue with the productive business of building ships.
Subsequently, the CSI union, under the leadership of these comrades, held massive weekly demonstrations of the unemployed to protest against their dismissal between October 2004 and March 2005.
At a demonstration that took place on 10 March 2005, some £3,000 worth of damage was allegedly done to a traffic light and a parked van. Nobody knows who did the damage, but criminal proceedings were brought against those who led the demonstration, with demands for prison sentences totalling over six years each!
Note that these proceedings, although originally initiated by Spain’s conservative Partido Popular, are being continued by the Socialist Party government.
In the event, the men were convicted and sentenced to three years in prison. However, this term has been commuted to an ‘open penitentiary regime’, which saw them released after serving only 19 days of their sentence.
It is a measure of how frightened the traditional Spanish ruling class is of the Spanish working masses that it invariably responds to any sign of even the slightest resistance to ruling-class edicts with totally disproportionate acts of repression.
The release of these men from prison is also a sign that a new liberal bourgeoisie is also powerful in Spain and realises that disproportionate violence of the kind shown to these union leaders can only endanger bourgeois rule by forcing the masses to defend their own.