Capitalism is a
• Interview with Communist
Party of Spain’s General Secretary
THE Spanish political activist, José
Luis Centella, is far from the stereotypical figure
at the podium. He speaks deliberately, exemplifying
the adage that there is no need to shout when
speaking the truth.
The party he has led since 2009 has
a 90-year history of struggle, beginning with the
defense of the Republic against fascism through the
difficult times around the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Centella is aware that the party is facing a new
challenge today, given the economic and social
crisis which is gripping Europe and especially Spain.
"For a period of 15 or 20 years,
capitalism appeared to provide answers to Spain’s
problems. There was employment, economic growth and
a certain level of general well-being. And the
socialist camp had disappeared. Even then, we said
that was all fraudulent and based on speculation,"
the leader said in an interview with Granma.
"In Spain today we have an
unemployment rate of 24%, while one of every two
youth is without work. In regions such as Andalusia,
where I come from, the figures are even worse. All
of this added to a level of poverty which has
increased five times over, in just a few years.
"That other capitalism was, in
reality, a fraud. And now people are in a state of
uncertainty, leading to expressions of rebellion.
"Given this situation," Centella
affirms, "the PCE (Communist Party of Spain) appears
as an instrument which can organize those affected
by the crisis, to give the workers an instrument of
"At this time we are recovering the
party’s strength. One of the keys to this has been
reinitiating a clearly anti-capitalist and
revolutionary discourse. Previously we went through
a very difficult stage during which we lost our
social base and strength, but in the last two
congresses we have committed ourselves to
strengthening our organization, to the displeasure
of those who were rubbing their hands in glee,
thinking that we were going to disappear."
In the midst of a serious social and
economic crisis, channeling discontent along a
revolutionary path is crucial, since as Centella
said, "The danger exists that this [discontent]
could be used by fascists."
"What fascism attempts to do is to
identify the immigrant, your neighbor, as the enemy,
to leave capitalism unscathed. The role of our party
is to show who the real enemy is: a system which has
plundered Spain, as it has many other countries."
The nature of the struggle in which
they are immersed has obliged revolutionary
movements in Europe to seek unity. Thus Centella
spoke of the alliances the PCE has made within the
United Left (IU).
"The party is participating in
elections through this alliance, but maintaining its
independence and structure in the rest of its work.
The other groups within it are not all communists,
but they are anti-capitalist, nationalist or
environmentalist. The Spanish left, as is the case
in the rest of Europe, faces the challenge of
showing that there are alternatives to capitalism.
Doing this requires learning from all previous
historical processes, but not copying them.
Centella believes that today Latin
America is leading the confrontation with capitalism,
where Marxism is in the streets, and said, "What is
at stake in the coming elections in Venezuela is not
whether Chávez or Capriles will be President, but
rather whether socialism will be constructed or the
previous system returned.
"The European left must be conscious
that at this time in history, Europe is in the
rearguard in this confrontation with capitalism.
Today we have to learn, as opposed to teach."
I FEEL AT HOME HERE
With respect to attempts by certain
forces on the Spanish right to push a more
aggressive anti-Cuban policy, Centella commented, "There
is one fact which they have never been able to
change. The Spanish people feel a great deal of
solidarity for the Cuban people; despite many
attempts, the right wing has never been capable of
building anti-Cuba sentiment. They have never
mobilized more than a couple of gusanos."
What is increasing every day is
solidarity with Cuba. Centella said, "In Spain, the
case of the Five is increasingly known, it is no
longer taboo. This is an issue that must be made
known; it shows the injustice of a country which
boasts about democracy and combating terrorism."
"The movement in solidarity with the
Five is very solid and many people have even been
drawn closer to Cuba and its history after learning
about these anti-terrorist fighters.
"The PCE has also waged a battle
around the issue of the U.S. blockade of Cuba.
Through an intervention in Congress, we were
recently able to get the Spanish government to issue
a statement condemning the blockade. It is very
difficult to justify when faced with direct
relationship with Cuba has even turned him into a
baseball fan. His team? Industriales. But his
affection for the country goes much farther and he
doesn’t hesitate to say, "I feel very much at home