The recent kick in the face and groping of a young Ecuadorean immigrant by a racist thug on a commuter train here revealed the extent of racism in Spain. This racist attack became worldwide news because it was filmed by a train’s videocamera. The young girl (a minor) was so traumatized and fearful that she refused to leave her house and denounce the attack until it became public. But the young punk is out on bail and now claims he was “drunk” and “doesn’t remember a thing.”
Such attacks are not isolated. They occur daily throughout Spain. Local authorities and politicians in some areas openly support these racist gangs. But the biggest racist attack immigrant workers suffer is the super-exploitation of their labor, with miserable wages and in many cases semi-slave-like working conditions.
The union hacks and the official “left” refuse to fight racism but openly collaborate with the bosses’ attacks on the entire working class — selling out strikes and militant actions by rank-and-file workers. This has prevented some young workers from seeing that unity with all workers — not joining racist neo-Nazi gangs — is the only way out of the alienation and misery of capitalism.
Leaders of immigrant workers’ organizations are also partly to blame. They prefer to separate themselves from all workers in Spain in order to get some public crumbs (grants, etc.) from the authorities.
The fragmentation of the working class here is a big problem — strengthened by the division of workers into different regional areas (Basques, Catalonians, Galicians, etc.). The racist and national oppression under capitalism can only be fought with the multi-racial and multi-national unity of Spain’s entire working class. This unity is now more crucial than ever since the subprime and other crises hitting world capitalism (real estate speculation was huge here, as in the U.S., the UK, Ireland, etc.) are causing Spain’s economy to reel.
Racism is a universal aspect of capitalism, from Jena, Louisiana, to Barcelona. We must fight it with an internationalist ideology and anti-racist unity of the working class. That has been the politics PLP and CHALLENGE have fought for since its beginning.