Critical balance sheet of the 2011 Indignados movement in Spain

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Ten years on, what lessons can we draw from the Indignados movement? Understanding past struggles with a critical analysis, while looking to the future, is a source of strength and encouragement for the proletariat in a historical situation that is deteriorating over time at all levels: pandemic, economic crisis, barbaric wars, environmental destruction, moral collapse...

The strength of the proletariat lies in its ability to learn from a struggle of over three centuries of historical experience. Due to this ability, it can develop its class consciousness in order to fight for the liberation of humanity from the yoke of capitalism.

The proletariat needs constantly to look back at its past struggles, not to fall into nostalgia, on the contrary, but to relentlessly examine its weaknesses, its limits, its mistakes, its weak points, in order to extract a treasure trove of lessons that will serve it in its revolutionary struggle.

Looking back at the 2011 Indignados movement is necessary to reaffirm its proletarian nature but also to understand its enormous limits and weaknesses. Only in this way can we draw on its lessons for the period ahead.

The entry into struggle of the new generations of the working class

Any proletarian movement must be analysed in its historical and global context. The May 15th movement occurred in 2011 within a cycle of struggles that developed over the period 2003-2011.

In 1989-91, the collapse of the USSR and its satellite regimes allowed the global bourgeoisie to launch a damning anti-communist campaign that relentlessly hammered home these three slogans: “End of communism”, “Bankruptcy of Marxism” and “Political disappearance of the working class”. This succeeded in causing a marked withdrawal in workers’ combativity and consciousness[1].

Since then, the majority of workers no longer recognise themselves as such. Rather they see themselves, for some, as a more fortunate minority, the “middle class”, and for others as “those at the bottom”, “the precarious”, “the losers in life”, etc. Faced with the notion of class, scientific, unifying, universal and with a perspective of the future, the bourgeoisie propagates to its great joy the reactionary, dividing vision of “social categories” through its army of servants (parties, unions, ideologues, “influencers”) who constantly shout from the rooftops - from the Internet to the universities, through parliament and the media - that the working class does not exist, that it is an “outdated” concept and that there are only “citizens” of the “national community”.

The retreat in class struggle was also expressed through the return in force of democratic, trade unionist, humanist and reformist ideologies which proclaim the “end of history”. There is no other world possible than capitalism and the best we can do is to “improve” it so that everyone can find their “place” within it.

Any attempt to change capitalism would lead to much worse situations, borne out by what had happened in the USSR or what we see in North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, etc. This supposedly demonstrates that the historical dilemma formulated by Engels at the end of the 19th century, Communism or Barbarism, is false because “Communism is also barbarism”.

Despite this enormous burden, 2003 saw a certain revival of workers’ struggles. There were significant strikes such as the New York underground strike (2005), the Vigo strike in Spain (2006), the strikes in northern Egypt (2007), the protests of young workers in Greece (2008). But the two most important movements were the struggle against the CPE[2] in France (2006) and the Indignados movement in Spain (2011)[3].

“These two massive movements of proletarian youth spontaneously rediscovered the methods of struggle of the working class, including the culture of debate in massive general assemblies open to all.

These movements were also characterised by solidarity between generations (whereas the student movement of the late 1960s, very strongly marked by the weight of the petty bourgeoisie, had often seen themselves as being in opposition to the generations which had been mobilised for war) .If, in the movement against the CPE, the vast majority of students fighting against the prospect of unemployment and precariousness, had recognised themselves as part of the working class, the Indignados in Spain (although their movement had spread internationally through social networks) did not have a clear awareness of belonging to the exploited class.

While the massive movement against the CPE was a proletarian response to an economic attack (which forced the bourgeoisie to retreat by withdrawing the CPE), the Indignados movement was essentially marked by a global reflection on the bankruptcy of capitalism and the need for another society”[4]

Despite these contributions, these movements did not succeed in overcoming the retreat of consciousness and combativity of 1989 and were very much marked not only by its effects, but also by the process of social and ideological decomposition that has been evident in capitalism since the 1980s[5].

Their most important limitations were that they failed to mobilise the whole working class and occurred in a limited number of countries. They were limited to the new generation of workers. “Workers in the major industrial centres remained passive and their struggles sporadic (fear of unemployment being a central element of such inhibition). There was no unified and massive mobilisation of the working class, but only of a part of it, the youngest[6].

The young workers went on strike (many of them were still students), most of them affected by precariousness, unemployment, totally individualised and isolated work, linked to small companies, most of them not having a head office. In such conditions, to the asphyxiating weight of the historical backwardness explained above, was added inexperience, the total absence of a previous collective life, and terrible social dispersion.

The loss of class identity

The struggle of the Indignados was faced with a wall that it could not overcome: the loss of class identity that has persisted since 1989.

This loss of identity meant that the vast majority of participants in the movement did not recognise themselves as part of the working class.

Many were still students or in higher education[7]. Those who were still studying worked sporadically to pay for their studies and many of those in precarious, low-paid jobs thought that this was a transitory situation, hoping to get a job in line with their level of education. In short, many participants believed that their membership of the working class was circumstantial, a kind of purgatory before finally arriving in the ‘paradise’ of the ‘middle class’.

Another factor that prevented them from identifying themselves as working class was that they constantly changed companies or jobs, with the majority working in small companies or subcontractors operating in factories or distribution, trade or service centres[8].

Many of them work alone, barely seeing their colleagues, locked away at home, working online or participating in the so-called “uberisation” of work

By using an internet platform to find a job, Uberisation disguises the sale of labour power to a boss as a form of "individual enterprise", while reinforcing the impoverishment and precariousness of these "entrepreneurs". The ‘Uberisation’ of individual work is a key factor in enforcing atomisation, and increasing the difficulty of going on strike, because the self-exploitation of these workers considerably hinders their ability to fight collectively and develop solidarity against capitalist exploitation”. (op cit note 4)

Although they expressed sympathy for the working class, the majority did not feel that they belonged to it. They saw themselves as a sum of atomised individuals, frustrated and outraged by an increasingly distressing situation of misery, instability and lack of a future.

The context of unemployment accompanies the young working-class generations like an anguished shadow. They live trapped in a spiral of precarious jobs that alternate with more-or-less prolonged phases of unemployment, many of them falling into a situation of long-term unemployment. This has the effect of what we announced 30 years ago in our Theses on Decomposition:

“Clearly, one factor that aggravates this situation is the fact that a large proportion of young working class generations are subjected to the full weight of unemployment even before they have had the opportunity to experience in the workplace, in the company of comrades in work and struggle, the collective life of the working class. In fact, although unemployment (which is a direct result of the economic crisis) is not in itself an expression of decomposition, its effects make it an important element of this decomposition. While in general terms it may help to reveal capitalism’s inability to secure a future for the workers, it is nonetheless today a powerful factor in the ‘lumpenisation’ of certain sectors of the class, especially of young workers, which therefore weakens the class’ present and future political capacities” (op cit, note 5)

THEY ARE PART OF THE WORKING CLASS but subjectively they do not recognise themselves in it. This meant that the 2011 movement did not cut the umbilical cord of the deceptive “national community”[9]. For example, the slogan “‘we are the 99%, they are the 1%’, so popular in the Occupy movement in the US, does not express a vision of society divided into classes but rather the typically democratic vision so often repeated by leftism, of the ‘people’, the ‘grassroots citizens’ versus the 1% of ‘plutocrats’ and ‘oligarchs’ who ‘betray’ the nation. In this view, classes do not exist but rather a sum of individuals divided between a majority of ‘losers’ and an elite of ‘winners’. Thus, the participants in the movement had enormous difficulty in understanding that ‘society is divided into classes, a capitalist class that owns everything and produces nothing and an exploited class, the proletariat, that produces everything and owns less and less. The engine of social evolution is not the democratic game of the decision of a majority of 'citizens' (this game is rather the mask that covers and legitimises the dictatorship of the ruling class) but the class struggle’.” (see note 2).

The illusion of democratic reform.

Deprived of the strength and perspective that comes from recognising themselves as members of a historical class that represents the only future for humanity, the young Indignados were terribly vulnerable to the illusion of a “renewal of the democratic game”.

All over the world, the democratic state is a decoy that covers the dictatorship of capital. However, given the dominance of the ideology that “communism has failed” or “communism is the nightmare we see in Cuba, Venezuela or North Korea”, the participants in the 15 May movement clung to the chimera of “renewing democracy” following that old mystification so often repeated by politicians: “democracy is the lesser evil of all regimes”.

With this slogan, they want to enrol us in the “struggle for a real democracy”. So the bourgeois group that accompanied and controlled the movement in Spain was called Democracia Real Ya (Real Democracy Now, DRY)[10]. They tell us “OK, democracy is not perfect, it carries the heavy burden of politicians, of corruption, of complacency towards the financial and corporate powers”, therefore the question is not to fight for utopias that lead to the sinister barbarism of North Korea, Cuba or Venezuela but rather to “purify democracy” to create a “democracy at the service of all”.

This is the real reactionary utopia, because democracy is what it is and it cannot be “reformed” or “improved”. New constitutions, referendums, the end of the two-party system, participatory democracy, etc. are the patches that change absolutely nothing and whose sole purpose is to hand us over, tied hand and foot, to the dictatorship of capital in its democratic guise.

The most widespread slogan in the Assemblies of 15 May was “They call it democracy, but it's not”. This was a trap, a very dangerous mystification that undermined the movement from within and prevented it from spreading. The bourgeois states are that: democracy. They call it democracy and IT IS democracy, in other words, the democratic disguise of the totalitarian state of capitalist decadence.

As argued in the “Theses on Bourgeois Democracy and Proletarian Dictatorship”, adopted by the 1st Congress of the Communist International in 1919, there is not and never will be a democracy that is good, pure, participatory, humane, at the “service of all”: “the most democratic of bourgeois republics cannot be anything other than a machine for oppressing the working class, putting the mass of workers at the mercy of the bourgeoisie and a handful of capitalists[11].

We do not live in a society of “free and equal citizens”, we live in a society DIVIDED INTO CLASSES. And therefore, the state is not a neutral organ at the service of the citizens but represents the DICTATORSHIP of the ruling class, of capital, which orients society not towards the satisfaction of the needs of the “citizens” but towards the ACCUMULATION OF CAPITAL, the profit of the companies and the national interest.

Capital dominates society in the name of the interest of the Nation, which would be a supposed “community of free and equal citizens”; and it barricades itself in the State which, in order to keep the appearance of “representing the majority”, organises a ritual of elections, rights, consultations, oppositions, “balances of power”, “alternation”, etc.

A still-timid criticism of the democratic trap emerges in small minorities within the assemblies. There were those who “completed” the cant of “they call it democracy, but it's not” with another instruction “it's a dictatorship but you can't see it”. There was a beginning of awareness here. They call it democracy BUT it's a dictatorship, the dictatorship of capital.

The dictatorship which, instead of a single party or a military autocracy, has a constellation of parties and unions which express themselves differently but all tend towards the same goal: the defence of national capital. The dictatorship that does not have a great and irremovable dictator but changes dictator every 4 years through the game of elections, a game that the state organises and controls to ensure that the result is always the majority option for the defence of national capital[12].

The dictatorship which, instead of the threats and blatant despotism of authoritarian regimes, hides virtuously and hypocritically behind fine words about solidarity, the interest of all, the will of the majority, etc.

The dictatorship which, instead of openly stealing for the benefit of the minority, takes the disguise of “social justice”, of “taking care of the poorest”, of “nobody is left behind”, and other nonsense.

The dictatorship that instead of shamelessly repressing or denying any kind of right or organisation, locks us into “rights” that deprive us of everything and into “organisations” that divide and disorganise us as a class.

This beginning of understanding (“it's a dictatorship but you can't see it”) was very much in the minority: what dominated the assemblies was the illusion of a “democratic renewal”[13].

Ten years later, what does the “democratic renewal” that many young people in the assemblies were hoping for consist of? Well, we can see it. The two big parties (PP and PSOE) are now accompanied by new sharks: Vox, Ciudadanos and Podemos. These “renovators” have amply demonstrated that they are IDENTICAL to the others. The same deceptions, the same unconditional service to Spanish capital, the same insatiable thirst for power, the same clientelism[14]... Democracy has not been renewed, it has strengthened the state machine against the workers and against the whole population.

The democratic virus led to an ineffectiveness of the struggle in the face of police repression, because “despite some solidarity responses based on massive action against police violence, it was the 'struggle' conceived as peaceful and citizen pressure on capitalist institutions that brought the movement very easily to a dead end” (see note 2).

With the democratic lie, the Spanish bourgeoisie managed to ensure that the May 15 movement was not “articulated around the struggle of the main exploited class that collectively produces the bulk of wealth and ensures the functioning of social life: the factories, hospitals, schools, universities, ports, works, post office...” (op.cit. note 2) but that it was diluted in a totally impotent interclass indignation. Despite some timid attempts to extend it to the work centres, this failed and the movement remained increasingly confined to the public squares. The regroupment and common action of minorities who expressed a “proletarian fringe” in the face of the dominant confusion in the assemblies did not succeed. For this reason, the movement, despite the sympathies it aroused, lost strength until it was reduced to an ever more desperately activist minority.

The impasse of 'indignation'

The slogan of the movement was “indignation”. Indignation is different from revenge, hatred, revenge, compensation and other moral manifestations of the bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie. In this, indignation is more in line with proletarian morality than with these deeply reactionary and destructive sentiments. However, indignation, legitimate as it was, expressed more impotence than strength, more perplexity than certainty. Indignation is a very primary feeling in the class struggle of the proletariat and as such it lacks the capacity to assert, even at an elementary level, the strength, identity and consciousness of our class.

The workers are indignant because of the dismissal of a comrade, because of the manoeuvres of the unions, because of the arrogance and sense of superiority of the bosses and foremen, because of the accidents at work which suddenly take a human life or condemn a comrade to invalidity... However, indignation in and of itself does not define the class terrain of the proletariat if it is not linked to the political autonomy of the class, to its demands and its search for its own perspective; indignation appears as an undifferentiated “human” feeling that any individual of any class can feel and that can be part of any bourgeois or petty-bourgeois struggle. When indignation rises as an independent and absolute category, the proletarian class terrain disappears.[15]

The fact that the mobilised proletarians in Spain adopted the very name “Indignant” as a sign of recognition underlined the obvious difficulty they had in finding the proletarian class path to which they belonged. It was an expression of their impotence and contained the danger of being diverted into a bourgeois, democratic, “popular protest” terrain, totally inter-classist. Indignation is by nature passive and purely moral. It can correspond to an embryonic stage of awareness which must necessarily be overcome by the affirmation of a class terrain, posing the alternative for communism. If it remains the slogan of the movement, the door remains open to its extinction; or if it attempts a more direct confrontation, the result is necessarily its recuperation on a bourgeois terrain, a defeat for the proletariat.

We clearly observed this danger during the mobilisations in the United States against the police killing of George Floyd. The indignation was channelled into a demand for a “more humane” police force that acted “democratically”, i.e. a radically bourgeois terrain of defence of the democratic state and its repressive apparatus.

The young workers who occupied the squares and celebrated the daily mass assemblies needed to put aside this initial conception of “indignation”. The failure to do this and to light the fuse of struggle in the work centres lost the movement.

A mistaken view of the capitalist crisis

While the Indignados movement was a response to the severe capitalist crisis of 2008, the participants stubbornly saw the successive financial collapses, the violent budget cuts that governments were implementing, the brutal austerity they were promoting not as a crisis but rather as a “scam”. The budget cuts, the misery, the precariousness were seen as the result of corruption ("”here is not enough money for all these thieves” was one of the most repeated phrases in the assemblies) and not as a result of the convulsions and the historical impasse of capitalism.

“With the bankruptcy of the Lehman Brothers bank and the financial crisis of 2008, the bourgeoisie was able to push one more wedge into the consciousness of the proletariat by developing a new ideological campaign on a global scale, aimed at instilling the idea (put forward by the left-wing parties) that it is the ‘crooked bankers’ who are responsible for this crisis, while making it appear that capitalism is personified by traders and the power of money.

The ruling class was thus able to hide the roots of the failure of its system. On the one hand, it sought to pull the working class into defending the ‘protective’ state, since bank rescue measures were supposed to protect small savers. On the other hand, this bank rescue policy has also been used, particularly by the left, to point the finger at governments seeking to defend bankers and the financial world.

But beyond these mystifications, the impact of this campaign on the working class has been to reinforce its powerlessness in the face of an impersonal economic system whose general laws appear to be natural laws that cannot be controlled or modified”. (op cit, note 4)

The majority of participants saw as responsible for their suffering “a handful of 'bad guys' (unscrupulous financiers, ruthless dictators) whereas Capital is a complex network of social relations that must be attacked in its totality and not dispersed by pursuing its multiple and varied expressions (finance, speculation, corruption of political-economic powers)”. (see note 2).

This terrible weakness gave the bourgeoisie an enormous margin of manoeuvre to confuse the movement in all sorts of mystifications, each more demobilising and demoralising than the last.

In the first place, there is no recognition of the historical obsolescence of capitalism and the imperative need to destroy it, but rather it is seen as a system that could be “reformed and improved”.

Secondly, capitalism is not seen as a social relationship but rather as a sum of individuals, companies or sectors (financial, industrial, etc.). This reasoning leaves the door open to the idea that there are ‘better and progressive’ factions of capital while others are ‘worse and reactionary’. The evils of capitalism are not identified with the very nature of a system composed of a set of nations fighting to the death for profit and imperialist domination, but rather with 'bad' individuals, 'finance', 'speculators', etc. That is to say, the way is clear for frontism, i.e for regrouping behind this or that faction of the bourgeoisie considered “less bad” against another fraction stamped as “the worst”. The way is clear for all the traps with which the bourgeoisie has led the proletariat into the barbarism of war and the sacrifice of its living conditions: choosing between democracy and fascism, between dictatorship and democracy, between the lesser evil and the greater evil[16].

Finally, the “fight against corruption” hides the reality that the underlying theft is in the surplus value that capital extracts from the workers in a legal and consensual way through a “labour contract” supposedly signed by equal partners . Corruption is at the basis of the production of surplus value which is legally and structurally extorted from the workers and, therefore, the problem is not corruption but surplus value. The slogan “there's not enough money for all these thieves” hides the reality of capitalist exploitation, the exploitation of the proletariat by the whole of capital.

So, this false vision of the crisis, this campaign against “evil financiers” and “corruption”, undermined the political autonomy of the proletariat, denied capitalist exploitation and the existence of classes and linked proletarians to the idea of frontism and to choosing one's dish from the poisoned menu of capitalist options.

The presence of the radicalised petty bourgeoisie

The assemblies were filled with petty bourgeois radicalised by the effects of the crisis and faced with these elements, the lack of confidence of the young workers in their own strength meant that they allowed themselves to be taken in by the fine words of those sectors, dominated by verbiage, incoherence, cretinism, constant oscillations, empiricism and immediatism.

All genuine movements of the proletariat have been accompanied by layers of the petty bourgeoisie, by non-exploitative social layers. The Russian Revolution of 1917 was able to win peasants and soldiers to its cause. It is necessary to understand the nature of the proletariat and the nature of the petty bourgeoisie and other non-exploitative layers.

Of all the classes which stand face to face with the bourgeoisie today, the proletariat alone is a truly revolutionary class. The other classes decay and finally disappear in the face of modern industry; the proletariat is its special and essential product” says the Communist Manifesto.

The lower classes, the small manufacturers, the shopkeeper, the artisan, the peasants, all these fight against bourgeoisie to save from extinction their existence as fractions of the middle class. They are therefore not revolutionary, but conservative; more than that, they are reactionary: they seek to roll back the wheel of history.”

Does this mean that the proletariat must consider the petty bourgeoisie as its enemy? No. What it must do is to fight with all its might against the harmful and destructive influence of the petty bourgeoisie, especially of petty bourgeois ideology. However, it must impose its own class terrain, its political autonomy as a class, its demands, and from this position of strength, win over at least part of the petty bourgeoisie to its cause, given that:

1/ “All historical movements have so far been accomplished by minorities. The proletarian movement is the spontaneous movement of the immense majority for the benefit of the immense majority” (ibid)

2/ The petty bourgeoisie and the non-exploiting strata “if they are revolutionary, it is in consideration of their imminent passage to the proletariat: they then defend their future interests and not their present interests; they abandon their point of view to rally to that of the proletariat” (ibid)

The serious weakness of the May 15 movement was not the presence of layers of the radicalised petty bourgeoisie. The problem was that the young workers, the resolutely proletarian minorities, were not capable of defending the assemblies and getting them to assume their class positions, demands and perspectives. Instead, individualist, citizen approaches, “solutions” such as cooperatives, urban gardens, etc., dominated, i.e. after the first efforts of reflection and intuitions on a class terrain, it was the slide towards petty-bourgeois illusions that ended up predominating so that the game was won for the bourgeoisie.

The contributions of the movement

This ruthless critique of the weaknesses and deviations from which the Indignados movement suffered does not invalidate its proletarian class character and its contributions to future struggles. The proletariat is an exploited and revolutionary class at the same time. Its main strength comes not from a succession of victories but the ability to learn from its defeats.

In her last article, “Order prevails in Berlin”, Rosa Luxemburg, on the eve of her assassination by the henchmen of social democracy, states: “What does the entire history of socialism and of all modern revolutions show us? The first spark of class struggle in Europe, the revolt of the silk weavers in Lyon in 1831, ended with a heavy defeat; the Chartist movement in Britain ended in defeat; the uprising of the Parisian proletariat in the June days of 1848 ended with a crushing defeat; and the Paris commune ended with a terrible defeat. The whole road of socialism – so far as revolutionary struggles are concerned – is paved with nothing but thunderous defeats. Yet, at the same time, history marches inexorably, step by step, toward final victory! Where would we be today without those ‘defeats,’ from which we draw historical experience, understanding, power and idealism? Today, as we advance into the final battle of the proletarian class war, we stand on the foundation of those very defeats; and we can do without any of them, because each one contributes to our strength and understanding[17]

The terrible lessons we have just outlined are part of the directions that future struggles must follow. However, the struggle of 2011 brings us a series of very important positive elements.

The article we quoted earlier, “The 15 May Movement Five Years Later, summarises these gains (see note 6). We will highlight some of them.

The general assemblies

The emancipation of the workers will be the work of the workers themselves or it will not be, the First International affirmed. Massive general assemblies, open to all workers, are the concrete response to this necessity. In general assemblies, workers discuss, think, decide and implement agreements TOGETHER. A participant in the 15 May movement exclaimed: "It's marvellous that 10,000 strangers could get together!”

The assemblies are the heart and the brain of workers’ struggles.

The heart: they are a mixture of solidarity, comradeship, unity and fraternity. The brain: because they must be the collective and unitary organ of direction of the movement, analysing the obstacles and dangers that threaten it and proposing the way forward.

But the general assemblies were also a concrete response to the problem we analysed at the beginning: the majority of young workers find themselves atomised and dispersed by working from home, “uber” jobs, small businesses, unemployment situations, etc. By uniting in assemblies, by occupying squares (the movement's slogan was “Occupy the public squares”), they succeeded in creating a place for regrouping, building unity, organising the struggle.

It's not a question of glorifying the assemblies, we've seen how within them, the confusions which plagued the participants, the influx of the petty bourgeoisie and ESPECIALLY the undermining work of the bourgeoisie and specifically of the DRY, ended up removing all strength from them. To borrow a metaphor from the Bible, we could say that these Solomons succeeded in shaving the skull of the proletarian Samson. Faced with this, future assemblies will have to strengthen themselves with a critical assessment of the weaknesses that have appeared:

  • If the central core of the assemblies must be the city general assembly, occupying squares and public buildings, it must be nourished by the activity of a wide network of assemblies in factories and workplaces mainly.
  • The commissions (of coordination, culture, activities, etc.) must be under the strict control of the general assembly to which they must be scrupulously accountable. We must avoid what happened to the May 15 movement where the commissions became instruments of control and sabotage of the assemblies manipulated by groups behind the scenes such as DRY (Democracia Real Ya)


Capitalist society secretes through all its pores, “marginalisation, the atomisation of the individual, the destruction of family relationships, the exclusion of old people from social life, the annihilation of love and affection”, that is to say “the destruction of the very principle of collective life in a society devoid of the slightest project or perspective, even in the short term, and however illusory” (op cit, note 5)

In the face of all this, the May 15th movement has sown the first seeds: “there were demonstrations in Madrid to demand the release of detainees or to prevent the police from arresting migrants; massive actions against house evictions in Spain, Greece or the United States; in Oakland, ‘the assembly of strikers has decided to send out pickets or occupy any company or school that punishes employees or students in any way because they participated in the general strike of November 2nd’.

The movement also showed a search for solidarity between different generations of the working class, for example, young workers welcomed the presence of pensioners who brought their own demands.

However, it was a first step, still timid, undermined by the loss of class identity, and situated more on a terrain of “solidarity in general” than on the universal and liberating terrain of PROLETARIAN CLASS SOLIDARITY. For this, the populist wave that has shaken the central countries (Brexit, Trump...) has eclipsed these attempts, imposing xenophobia and hatred of migrants. The proletariat must regain the terrain of its class solidarity. The General Assemblies must be conceived as an instrument of the whole class, open to workers from all companies, precarious workers, “uberized" workers, the unemployed, pensioners..." 

The struggle must extend by breaking down the barriers of the enterprise, region, nationality, category, race, with the proletariat asserting itself as the class forming a melting pot in which the true humanity unified in communism is revealed. Any struggle must be conceived as part of the struggle of the WHOLE WORKING CLASS, giving as its first priority THE EXTENSION AND UNIFICATION OF THE FIGHTS.

With the weapon of class solidarity, we must fight to the death the FALSE SOLIDARITY propagated by the bourgeoisie, its unions and its parties: “citizen solidarity”, “national solidarity”, charity collections which humiliate the workers by turning them into beggars.

The culture of debate

Today's society condemns us to meaningless work, to consumption, to the reproduction of models of success that cause millions of failures, to the repetition of alienating stereotypes that do nothing but amplify what the dominant ideology repeats. In the face of all this, and as false answers that lead ever further into social and moral putrefaction, there appears “the profusion of sects, the renewal of the religious spirit including in the advanced countries, the rejection of rational, coherent thought even amongst certain ‘scientists’; a phenomenon which dominates the media with their idiotic shows and mind-numbing advertising; the invasion of the same media by the spectacle of violence, horror, blood, massacres, even in programmes designed for children; the vacuity and venality of all ‘artistic’ production: literature, music, painting, architecture, are unable to express anything but anxiety, despair, the breakdown of coherent thought, the void” (op cit note 5)

In the face of this, during the first weeks of the movement in Spain, a lively, massive debate developed, addressing a multitude of issues that reflected concern not only for the present situation but also for the future; not only economic, social or political problems but also moral and cultural issues. The importance of this effort, however timid and burdened by democratic weaknesses and petty-bourgeois approximations, is obvious. Any revolutionary movement of the proletariat always arises from a gigantic mass debate. For example, the backbone of the Russian Revolution of 1917 lay in mass debate and culture. In Ten Days that Shook the World John Reed recalls that “the long-suppressed thirst for education with the revolution took the form of a veritable delirium. From the Smolny Institute alone for the first six months, trains and carriages loaded with literature poured out daily to saturate the country. Russia, insatiable, absorbed all printed matter as hot sand absorbs water. And it was not fables, falsified history, diluted religion and cheap corrupting novels - but social and economic theories, philosophy, the works of Tolstoy, Gogol and Gorky[18]

This development of the culture of debate is a weapon for the future, because it allows all proletarians to forge their conviction, their enthusiasm, their capacity for struggle, as Marx and Engels put it in The German Ideology : "this revolution is necessary, therefore, not only because the ruling class cannot be overthrown in any other way, but also because the class overthrowing it can only in a revolution succeed in ridding itself of all the muck of ages and become fitted to found society anew”.

In concrete terms, the culture of debate allows the proletariat to face three fundamental necessities:

  • To assert itself as a class, providing a framework within which it can win over the non-exploiting social strata to its cause;
  • To acquire a clear consciousness of the objectives and concrete means of its struggle;
  • To fight until it is fully liberated from the weight of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois ideology.

C. Mir 27-12-21


[2]  CPE : Contrat Première Embauche, a measure by the French government aimed at legalising precariousness on the pretext of providing young people with employment opportunities.

[5] See our Theses on Decomposition, International Review 107: Theses on decomposition | International Communist Current (

[7] Since the 1960s, capitalism has been obliged, for its reproduction needs, to generalise university education to a majority of the population. Not out of charity, but with the aim of increasing labour productivity.

[8] At the different levels of big enterprises, for example, in car production, you not only have the direct employees of the factory but also a whole number of auxiliary enterprises where there may be different collective contracts, different working conditions, wages, hours, separate canteens, etc

[9] Nationalism was a dead weight on the Indignados movement in Greece where national flags appeared in the demonstrations and assemblies. In Spain, while there were not many Spanish flags in the demonstrations, many young people who had participated in the assemblies in Barcelona let themselves be drawn into the repulsive movement “for Catalan independence” after 2012. See Spain and Catalonia: two countries to enforce the same misery | International Communist Current (
[10] For a denunciation of this outfit, see Movimiento ciudadano ¡Democracia Real Ya!: dictadura del Estado contra las asambleas masivas | Corriente Comunista Internacional ( It should be pointed out that many of those who took part in DRY later on joined the political enterprise of hypocrisy and fraud known as Podemos.

[12]With the development of the political and ideological decomposition of capitalism, the bourgeoisie in the central countries is tending to lose control of the electoral game. From this emerges the populist factions who are ardent defenders of national capital but who work in a chaotic and undisciplined manner, defending imperialist, economic, and other policies that are not in line with the general interests of the capitalist state.

[13] Despite the resistance against DRY’s efforts to impose a “Democratic Ten Commandments” 

[15] For an analysis of the meaning and limitations of indignation see the section on this point in International Review 167 :  Report on the international class struggle to the 24th ICC Congress | International Communist Current ( See also the our denunciation of the work of  Stéphane Hessel: S’indigner, oui ! contre l’exploitation capitaliste ! (à propos des livres de Stéphane Hessel « Indignez-vous ! » et « Engagez vous !")



Lessons of the workers' movement