Tuesday, March 11, 2008

On the Spanish Elections

The victory of Zapatero's Socialist party in Spain can not be interpretted as a full-fledged endorsement of his radical social policies. Writing in today's WSJ, Ramon Perez-Maura argues that Zapatero's victory has more to do with his siphoning off enough regionalist votes in different regions to cobble together a national victory.
Over the last four years, the ruling Socialist Party played two dangerous cards. It chose to hold negotiations with the Basque terrorist group ETA and it supported a new autonomy statute for Catalonia. ...Mr. Zapatero was able to scrape away enough votes in Catalonia and the Basque country to hold on to power.

At the same time, the international editor of the WSJ argues that
While his 3.6 percentage point victory over the conservative opposition Popular Party was convincing, Mr. Zapatero would be wrong to interpret Sunday's results as an unequivocal endorsement of his policies, or to minimize the challenges ahead. The next four years will arguably prove more difficult than his first tour in office.

A once booming economy is cooling. Spaniards are turning against immigrants. Mr. Zapatero's social and regional policies have polarized the country. Catalan separatism and Basque terrorism call into question the country's future as a unified state.

So, now that Zapatero has mortgaged the country by selling out regions of the country to separatists in order to secure his power, what will he do with his power? It is interesting to me that he has not "undone his predecessor's market reforms," as the WSJ mentions. He is leaving the market more or less alone. Instead, the focus of his attention has been the social issues, which as the WSJ puts it:
Alas, Mr. Zapatero gives no sign of wishing to temper his zeal on social policy. His aggressive efforts to push through gay marriage, fast-track divorce and adoption rights for homosexuals raised tensions with the Catholic Church -- whose views are shared by a bulk of the population.

I have argued elsewhere that undoing marriage has been as important Socialist objective as nationalizing property and centralizing the economy. Now that the Socialist economic agenda has been proven counter-productive and down-right destructive to the vast majority of citizens, the focus turns increasingly to the Socialist social agenda of destabilizing marriage. Gender is not a biological category, but a political category. The social relationship of marriage presents a special case of class conflict, which is as oppressive as the economic systems of private property and capitalism.
As Engels put it over a century ago:
Within the family, the husband is the bourgeois, and the wife represents the proletariat. ... The first condition for the liberation of the wife is to bring the whole female sex back into public industry. This in turn demands that the characteristic of the monogamous family as the economic unit of society be abolished.

It is very revealing that the Socialist government of Spain is not trying to win on the old economic issues. I predict that their policies for the destabilization of marriage will prove every bit as destructive as their policies for destabilizing private property and capitalism.

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