On Saturday 16th November, about thirty young Spaniards in Edinburgh gathered outside the Spanish Consulate in Castle Street to protest against the Madrid government’s cuts in financial support for students studying abroad under the Erasmus Scholarship scheme. The cuts are one more attack the big business government is making on the living standards of Spanish workers.
Most of the students demonstrating were Spanish, but there were also a few from other parts of Europe showing solidarity. In addition, I met some unemployed Spanish youth who had come all this way north to find any work because of the dire levels of unemployment in Spain. A manifesto denouncing the Erasmus cuts was read out.
The Spanish youth present were surprised that I had heard of the rally and were pleased that I’d attended. I explained that Socialist Appeal supports workers wherever they stand up and fight for a decent life. Marxists are internationalists, and it doesn’t matter about the country or the language of the protest.
I had a report with me by the Spanish Marxists of Lucha de Clases on the protest and attached it to the Socialist Appeal paper, which attracted some interest. This was the third time in two years I’d protested at the Consulate, first for the Real Democracy Now movement, and last year for the Spanish coal miners. It’s all the same battle and I expect I’ll be back again.
Like their counterparts in Spain, these young people are not docilely taking the attacks of capitalism. They are organising to fight back both in Spain and wherever they find themselves living. The solidarity of the 1930s between workers in Spain and internationally lives on with the action of these students protesting in the cool twilight in Edinburgh’s New Town.