First Egypt ... Now Spain? → Washingtons Blog
First Egypt ... Now Spain? - Washingtons Blog

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

First Egypt ... Now Spain?

Gerald Celente predicted in February that the Middle Eastern and North African protests would spread to Europe:

It is not solely the Middle East that is destined to experience episodes of violent upheaval. What is transpiring in the Arab world will spread throughout many European states. While the call to arms will be spoken in different tongues, the underlying causes will be the same.

In December 2010 (before Tunisia made the headlines) we issued a Trend Alert titled, “Off With Their Heads!” in which we predicted a “long war between the people and the ruling classes.” We noted that, “Anyone questioning the intensity of the people’s seething anger is either out of touch or in denial.”

It wasn’t Arab anger that led us to that forecast – it was the student and worker revolts spilling into the streets of Europe. The imposition of draconian austerity measures – higher taxes, tuition hikes, lost benefits, curtailed services, public sector job cuts – had young and old raging against a rigged system that paved the way for the privileged and punished the proles.

Though millions marched through the streets of Athens, Brussels, Dublin, Lisbon, London and Madrid, when the protests ended, the governments were barely shaken, let alone toppled. Unlike the autocratic Arab regimes, where the tight grip of repression could only be broken by violence, in the “democratic” West the illusion of representation and placating government promises mitigated the violence.

Both the press and politicians assumed the protests would run their course, people would accept their fate, and, like it or not, suffer the consequences. The protests, however, have not run their course. The economic toll of austerity and unemployment continues to ravage the lower and middle classes. As we wrote in the Winter 2011 Trends Journal, “It will only be a matter of time before a series of final-straw events breaks the public’s back, setting off uncontrollable uprisings, coups (bloodless and/or military), riots and revolts throughout the financially battered world.”
Indeed, the protests in Madrid, Spain are eerily similar - if smaller and shorter - to Tahir Square, Egypt:



As I wrote in December 2008:
Housing bubbles are now bursting in China, France, Spain, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Eastern Europe, and many other regions.
I noted in 2009:

Citigroup is projecting that unemployment in Spain will rise from its current 17.9% to 22% next year.

Spain's unemployment is largely driven by the bursting of its housing bubble.

I warned last year that - because the Spanish government had taken on the debt of its giant banks - it was in line as one of the dominoes to fall from the European debt crisis.

Instead of helping the Spanish people and small businesses, the government has bailed out its big banks and then implemented austerity measures to try to dig its way out of its fiscal hole.

That's why people are protesting.

As I wrote last November:

Niall Ferguson, Marc Faber, and SocGen's Edwards and Grice predicted 9 months ago that the European debt crisis would eventually spread to America.

But the question of what country the "contagion" might spread to next is really the wrong question altogether.

The real question is whether the wealth of the people around the world will continue to be shoveled into the bottomless pit of debts held by the big banks, or whether the people will prevail and the giant banks and bondholders will be forced to take a haircut. See this, this and this.


  1. I don't think it is directly comparable (even if it has some similitudes). As one of the protesters in Madrid said, the repression that they suffer in North Africa is quite worse than in Spain - and that has also pushed for much stronger movements, that anyhow have only achieved so much yet.

    But it is clear that there is massive discontent in Spain (and Portugal and Greece and let's not forget Italy, France or the UK - that have also witnessed large protests through the last not so many months). And it cannot be otherwise with 21% unemployment (and rising) and much of the remaining jobs being underemployment with ridiculous "salaries" and painful conditions. Not to mention that in Spain there's almost no welfare other than healthcare, pensions and a very brief unemployment subsidy. Most unemployed or underemployed are therefore in horrible situations.

    Add to that the cost of life, which is similar to much wealthier parts of Europe and the cost of housing, which is more expensive than in Northern Europe (because of speculation essentially).

    The situation is therefore explosive and if it has not exploded yet it is because the major unions are totally sheepish and have signed brutal concessions with not even symbolic fight, just because they depend on what the state pays them - for that there is always money, as there is for the military or for the crazy salaries of political officers, elect or appointed.

    But the Spanish political system is designed, like most Western "democracies" to produce a fake alternation between nearly identical twin parties and that way impede any real challenge to the status quo. That is why he protesters had (have?) "true democracy now!" as one of their central slogans, because the perception is that the citizens are not really able to influence a political scene that is designed as a bunker of bipartisanship.

    It was a legitimate criticism of the USSR that they had a single party but the two party system of the West is not really much better, specially as both parties are nearly identical except in token cause celebres like abortion or gay rights (not that these are not important but they are not the central issue most of the time).

  2. Thanks George for bringing the subject up. But there’s much more to this than just unemployed youth. It’s much more sophisticated than that.

    The rallying cry for this movement is “Real Democracy Now”. Like in all western countries, we have found that our democratic governments are subservient to the markets. We have lost our sovereignty!

    Thirty years ago, after the death of Franco, this country went through a Transition to Democracy. Now we find that “democracy” means bailing out the banks and slashing social services, such as the rights to a decent education and public health —the pillars of any civilised society.

    Furthermore, we now have people standing for election who are being investigated for corruption, big corruption. But the judiciary is politicised and doesn’t have the balls to do anything about it. We forgot to clean up the judiciary in our Transition to Democracy, and you can’t have “Democracy” without a fair judiciary.

    And then there’s the banks, their dodgy mortgages and excessive housing prices.

    Still, we’re a stubborn people and have dealt with worse before.

    Meanwhile: #spanishrevolution is spreading like wild fire and the Italians are picking up on it, plus the French, Brits and other, I just read.

    It just goes to prove: you don’t have to be Arab to enjoy the Spring!


    PS. Oh, and this is going on is Madrid and fifty other cities. Here’s some photos:

  3. Admiting that there are clear and legitim reasons for the protest, let's not forget that the current socialist government has been two year denying the economic crisis, and spending the fortune that is now forcing the strong austerity mesures in ineficient economic stimulus and bailing out the politiced savings banks (important: not a single proffesionaly managed bank has received state funds).

    In Spain families are also heavily indebted, who is guilty, just the banks?, the banks for lending and the families for accepting the lends? or these two parties and the government with populists statements like Spain is in the Champions leage of the economy. Isn`t there some demagogy making the banks the only one guilty

    When an inefficient government is supported by a conservative party, the solution is changing the government; when a bad government is supported by a socialist party, the solution is changing the system. Isn`t it suspicious?

    Why this is happening just now, few days before the elections? Who is benefited?

  4. Look, Jesus:

    1. there are no jobs (>21% uneployment, most of the rest is junk jobs)

    2. housing is extremely expensive, even for decently paid workers

    3. this government and the next one (there's only a cosmetic difference) only care about house prices remaining high (for the banks and speculators to keep their ripoff profits, in Madrid as in Berlin), forces bankrupt people to remain indebted for life (not even in India anymore!), forces people to work for salaries that cannot even pay housing...

    It may not be a problem of only Spain but Spain is quite archetypal, even in an exaggerated way, of the problems of the Western World and the Capitalist economy. The problems that nobody within the system is willing to face because that would mean "betraying" their masters: the bankers of the World.

    What they need to do is, even at a European level, to go socialist heavy handedly and to get the banks spanked and intervened by the states/EU. But that's taboo, that's breaking the essence of the decadent bourgeois system... So we are bound to have a revolution: this is just the entrances.

    And it's not something that can be controlled: labor unions kiss the boots of the bankers and IMF and try to prevent this kind of things... but that only gets them out of play. Self-organization surges anew from any corner and crystallizes in this kind of stuff.

    Now it's a bunch of angry educated un-/underemployed youths, tomorrow a surprise general strike, then pickets in the airports or major roads... you never know how can this evolve but what is clear is that leaders or rulers are expected to deliver and, when they do not, people get truly angry.

    And as I say it's not a problem of just Spain: the USA is not that different. It's all NATOland which is exploding as we talk. What will happen? I can't say but I can say that people won't settle for less than dignified jobs and homes (and a decent health/environment, let's not forget Fukushima, DWH, Garoña, etc.)

  5. do take note of this video recorded before any of the governments were toppled..

    this is all a build up to something prophetic..

    spain and other europe states are mentioned in it..

  6. Representative Democracy is the scam...


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