Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators defended the public health service

Photo credit: AP – Manu Fernandez

This Sunday, November 13, a true “white tide” invaded the streets of Madrid to defend the public health system in the Madrid region. According to the organizers, at the call of several associations, trade unions and user groups, 650,000 people marched behind the slogan: ” Madrid is coming together to show support against the plan to destroy the public health system “.

The mass demonstration is a direct response to the Madrid regional government, led by the Popular Party (PP), a party of the traditional Spanish right, which is trying to impose privatization of health services through a forced march. More specifically, the demonstrators denounce the “emergency plan” of the Ayuso government [présidente de la fédération du PP de la communauté de Madrid] This led to the reopening of non-hospital emergency centers without hiring staff, which worsened working conditions, exhausted hospital staff and hindered access to emergency services.

PP continues to dismantle the public hospital through reform aimed at reorganizing the regional health service by combining partnerships with the private sector. Already, last May, the regional government set up the “Oferta Publica de Empleo” platform, which established a competition for health workers, even if they had been working for several years. In early April, Ayuso and his government fired more than 6,000 caregivers who were among agents hired to bolster Madrid’s health system during the pandemic.

Referring to the hospital staff, Ayuso’s last words were ” privileged and interesting encouraged medical workers and users to go further in their struggle by calling for such strikes and demonstrations. At the call of the “White Tide” movement, the first demonstration was held on October 22, and the emergency departments of the Santa Sofia hospital began an indefinite strike on October 26. A new strike has been organized in children’s emergency services on 21 November, with this Sunday’s impressive mobilization to protest against worsening working conditions, notably by 5,000 doctors, demonstrating the sector’s capacity to embrace health. A public hospital that defends itself with the broad support of the people.

But as Lucia Nistal writes Corriente de los Trabajadorxsister organization Permanent Revolution : ” We must continue to mobilize in the streets, but not only: we must force the union bureaucracies to stop bargaining with the government, get off the couch and call a general strike for the entire Madrid health system. . Health protection and wage increases, against inflation, against increasing the military budget, etc. it is necessary to coordinate the struggle.

Because there are forces that turn to the right side, cuts, attacks, privatizations? We saw on Sunday that yes, but not if we allow them to isolate struggles, to deprive us of our strongest methods of struggle, to direct us to vote for the lesser evil.(…) The solution will not come from that. those who present themselves as an alternative but don’t even touch the private sector while in government in the middle of a pandemic, nor those who present themselves as an alternative in Madrid but are unwilling to question a point. the rules of the game.

(…) What we need is a plan to deal with emergency measures against their attacks: confiscate the private sector that picks our pockets at our expense during the pandemic, raise wages to the level of the consumer price index, end the uncertainty of medical workers, not for military budgets, grab more funds for health. »

While neoliberal policies in France continue to destroy the public hospital and strikes appear regularly in many health services, it is also urgent to develop a battle plan for the emergence of general mobilization.

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