Jule Goikoetxea – Spain: The Coalition Government, TINA, and the Wolf

From certain sectors of the left, the coalition agreement has been presented as the only alternative to fascism, breathing life into everything that it had previously criticized so much: the neoliberal regime of 1978.

Jule Goikoetxea is a Basque political philosopher, writer and feminist activist

Cross-posted from El Salto Diario

Editor’s note: TINA78 refers to the idea that There Is No Alternative to the Spanish Regime that began in 1978 (after the Dictatorship of Franco). This regime is made up of diverse parties, corporations, and elites, with well-established structures, resources, and strategies of capital accumulation, who run the country in a neo-liberal authoritative regimen.

Translated and edited by BRAVE NEW EUROPE

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Remember Margaret Thatcher’s TINA? It’s short for “There Is No Alternative”.

I bring it up because it is the message that has made possible a Coalition Government for the first time in the post-Franco Spanish State. Thatcher’s TINA did not mean that there was no alternative to capitalism, but that the alternative was communism (i.e. hell). Similarly, the messages that have led to a Coalition Government do not deny that there can be an alternative to the 78 regime (let’s call it TINA78), they only say that the alternative to TINA78 is fascism (hell).

And what about self-determination? Leaving Spain is a second alternative, but one usually ends up in jail or tortured. This is what TINA78 is, a state apparatus (they have their justice, ergo, their punitive system, their educational system, their economic system, their institutions, their weapons, their police, their media and their journalists) to survive generation after generation, making people believe that indeed there is no alternative to this post-Franco Spain. No, woman, no cry, cos TINA78 will remain.

The new Coalition Government, to show its progress, has mixed vanilla-cream feminists (non-communists) and communists (non-feminists) with strawberry capitalists. We have Carme Artigas, CEO of Synergic Partners, of Telefónica, as Secretary of State for Digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence; Arancha González Laya, promoter of neoliberal policies from the WTO and the EU, as Minister of Foreign Affairs; and José Luis Escrivá in Social Security and Migration. We have the perfect sponge cake, capitalist, progressive, and not nationalist. They have made a great effort to ensure that the majority of the Government is from Madrid, because that is where the largest percentage of cosmopolitans in the State, perhaps in the world, are concentrated, and they will continue to govern together with Sareb, Telefónica, BlackRock, Blackstone, BBVA, Santander, Iberdrola, Repsol, Endesa, all of which are controlled by investment funds, which, as everyone knows, are among the most cosmopolitan in the global panorama.

It should be borne in mind that in the 1980s after Franco’s death (in bed) the pillars of the transition from a semi-peripheral Fordism to a semi-peripheral form of post-Fordism was established. It is in this context that the “regime of ’78” developed, which is a set of structures, agents, technologies of power and strategies of capital accumulation that have determined the process of state de-democratization and the development of the Spanish nation over the rest of the nations (see constitution, law of parties, etc.). The Spanish regime of accumulation and its neoliberal State project, carried out by the political party establishment that was formed during the 80s and 90s, and of which the PP and the PSOE are pillars, will establish a type of economic and social structure where banking, real estate and speculative groups were placed at the top of the hierarchy, as well as corporate bodies and agents linked to corporations, multinationals, technocrats and various State executives; banking and real estate groups that were reinforced after the industrial and agrarian dismantling that took place when the country joined the European Union. No, woman, no cry.

Whether it was the social-democratic PSOE or the conservative Partido Popular (PP), imposing a competitive Schumpeterian regime has been the main objective, which has been carried out through liberalisation, deregulation and privatisation, among other mechanisms. This process includes the concentration of the financial sector; the privatisation of public sector companies; the absence of state support for the manufacturing sector; the adoption of a political system along corporate lines where Parliament loses its functions and powers, and where a process of administrative decentralisation is carried out with the creation of multilevel governments: all neo-liberal technologies of power to make the population more precarious and impoverish it.

It is obvious that the Spanish state project prioritises the interests of global capital over national capital (because they are cosmopolitan), Spanish national capital over other types of capital (because they sometimes forget that they are citizens of the world) and the interests of capital over those of labour (because the PSOE is socialist behind closed doors). And this is TINA78.

We cannot foresee the future, but we can remember the past in order to interpret the present, and based on the first actions and decisions taken by the Coalition Government, I believe that it will continue with the strategy of capital accumulation through privatisation, which has not only reduced the political capacities of the Spanish State itself to intervene and act in accordance with the preferences of its population, but has reduced, neutralized I would say, the political capacities of all governments, whether at the municipal level, or at the level of the autonomous regions and the entire working class, to govern themselves (hence the Catalan independence process and the demands for self-determination by other peoples included in Spain).

During the 2000s, TINA78 (with PSOE and PP), invested an average of 19.7% of GDP in social benefits compared to 26.9% in the EU-15 countries and only 6% of the adult population worked in social services compared to the average of 11% in the EU-15. It was Zapatero who used decree-laws to take austerity measures such as the reduction of the public deficit, which encouraged the reduction of salaries of civil servants, the freezing of the increases of pensions or the suppression of important aspects of the Dependency Law. During the decade of 2010 to date, the PP and the PSOE have imposed labour reform, the new Article 135 of the constitution (giving the State power to force the regional governments to meet the deficit and debt limits, resulting from the EU Treaty of Maastricht and the Stability and Growth Pact)., Bologna, regressive education policy, the Gag Law, Article 155 (the article the Spanish government triggered to suspend Catalonia’s self-rule/home-rule), the privatisation of health, education, public services, energy, natural resources, and local administrations, savings banks, authority, systems, mechanisms and public structures, in short, everything (little) that the population had to govern itself according to its own decisions. All this was led by TINA78, to which the Basque Nationalist Party elite and the rest of the political elites of the Spanish State also belong, who (like the organised Spanish left) do not want to hear about any of the nations within Spain leaving. Why? Because to leave Spain is to leave TINA78.

United Podemos, by entering into a Coalition Government with the Social Democrats, one of the pillars of TINA78 , legitimises it (whether it wants to or not, although after overthrowing with its votes the CUP’s proposal for the King to appear before the Spanish Congress with regard to arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the former more than the latter). I don’t think that was the aim of those who voted for Podemos, but if we add to this the fact that the organised Spanish left (not only in political parties but also in newspapers, editorials and with money, voice, and vote, coming from the regime itself) accuses people who do NOT want to conform to TINA78, of being fascist, ethnicist, or elitist, the result is a wonderful whitewash of TINA78. I understand that they have no alternative, because according to this argument the Spanish left is not Spanish, it is cosmopolitan, and whoever does not position himself in favour of the cosmic left, is not of the left, since there is no other left in the whole galaxy. In other words, either you defend the unity of Spain, or you are from the right. I understand, the Spanish left cannot leave Spain, it is not an option, and if I cannot leave Spain, neither can the rest . No, woman, no cry, TINA78 will remain.

This Coalition Government will continue to be structured by a strong and centralised executive, characterised by a weak parliamentarianism and a pre-eminent position of the Ministry of Economy in the initiation and coordination of policies as dictated by neoliberal authoritarianism. That is why they have appointed Nadia Calviño as minister. Because if you don’t vote for left-wing Spanish neoliberalism, you will have right-wing Spanish neoliberalism.

I have decided to use a structural rather than a short-term analysis because the ultimatum proposed between TINA78 (Coalition Government) or fascism is due precisely to structural problems that are not solved by changing ministers and cabinets, nor by commenting wearily on current events (imposed by the regime itself) in the networks, but by changing structures. Mental and economic structures. State and national structures. What is commonly referred to as “killing the father”. I am in favour of weakening the father with everything we can, including public and institutional policies, and I understand that part of Podemos has that objective. Because the other option is to disappear from institutional politics. That is, instead of killing the father, hide from him. And as unsustainable as it is for any left-wing party to work today on the institutional framework of patriarchal and racist neo-liberalism, I agree that disappearing from political institutions (which include not only town halls, parliaments and governments, but also the heteronormative family, trade unions, schools, public health system, parties, etc.) does not open the door for you to disappear from economic institutions, for example, from the market, since the working class has to make ends meet, so there is no other option than to try to kill the father (too) from within. But I think it is necessary to criticize the fact that the message that is sent to the population throughout the state when it is stated that the option is either Coalition Government or fascism, must be rethought: “TINA78 or fascism. Or self-determination”.

The self-determination of the peoples of the State would break the regimen of 1978. It would not break world capitalism, nor global patriarchy, nor neoliberal colonialism. But it would break the structures of the State and of the nation. What we cannot do is ask the world to be quiet and still at work, in the neighbourhood, in the family and in the State they have to live in, while world patriarchal capitalism does not fall, by the hand of the Spanish proletarians, by magic and without breaking Spain.

When certain collectives opt for what they think is less bad (self-determination of Spain, i.e. leaving TINA78) among the bad (staying in Spain, i.e. in TINA78), they are insulted by being called fascist, primitive, bourgeois, ethnical; but when they (those who have a state while not allowing you to have yours) support or sustain the Coalition Government because they believe it is the least bad among the bad (fascism), then they are democrats, enlightened people who fight for the cosmic proletariat.

And when these proletarians form part of the new Council of Ministers, the first thing they do is to lodge an appeal with the Constitutional Court against a rule approved unanimously by the Parliament of Navarre. Because listening to the people of Navarre and their representatives is bourgeois. And too Navarrese for a cosmopolitan government.

The systematic tortures (greetings to the new Minister of the Interior), the precarisation of life, imprisonment for ideology, economic, cultural and social subordination, the impossibility of living in your language, the clandestinity of migrants, the marginalization and impoverishment of the working class in general, the disqualifications, the illegalisation, the exile, the discrimination for diversity, the political repression and the exploitation have been happening during the 40 years of TINA78. Also when the wolf of fascism did not exist.

Over the last 40 years, the wolf has been the Basques, the Catalans, the seasonal workers, the terrorists, the independents, the feminists, the illegal street vendors, the rappers, the vagrants, the lumpen, the precarious, the domestic workers, the prostitutes, and a long etc.

So with the wolf story it’s better that you go to other Little Red Riding Hoods, who are more enlightened, more cosmopolitan and, if possible, without history or genealogy.

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