Spain’s Pabloite Anticapitalistas diverts anger over Gaza genocide in “Vote Uncommitted” campaign

The emergence of a global movement of mass protests of workers and youth against the Israeli genocide in Gaza marks a historic turning point in the class struggle. Across the US, mass protests have erupted on campuses and now faces a massive, nationwide police crackdown orchestrated by the Biden administration. In Europe, hundreds of thousands have flooded the streets in London, Berlin, Dublin, Madrid, Barcelona, Geneva and Paris, demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and calling on their governments to stop arming and supporting the Israeli genocide.

Spain’s petty-bourgeois Anticapitalistas party aims to divert mass anger over the genocide by calling on workers and youth “not to vote for pro-genocide parties.” This is a dead end and a trap for youth and workers opposed to the genocide. The unanimous support for the genocide of capitalist ruling parties of all stripes—from Biden’s Democrats in the US to the British Conservatives and the German or Spanish social democrats—makes one point very clear: one cannot halt the genocide with a vote. The working class must be mobilized against pro-genocide governments.

Anticapitalistas, however, promotes illusions that Spain’s Socialist Party (PSOE)-Sumar government can be shifted through pressure from below from their policies of austerity, war, militarism, even as it continues to sell and buy weapons from the Zionist regime. This is the character of the article posted on El Salto, titled “Not a vote for genocide against the Palestinian people” penned by Germán Montañés, a member of Anticapitalistas and its youth wing, Abrir Brecha (Break New Gound).

Montañés first claims that since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, “The international consensus has shifted even further in favor of Zionism.” Today, he notes, “we have a ‘progressive’ government made up of PSOE-Sumar. … However, neither in Spain’s nor in the European political agenda has discussion of the imposition of sanctions on Israel appeared in recent months.”

Anticapitalistas helped build the Podemos party, which ruled on an agenda of austerity and militarism from 2020 to 2023 in alliance with the PSOE, and from which Sumar was founded. Montañés makes what is, in effect, a devastating admission of the reactionary role and political bankruptcy of the organizations his tendency has helped to build. He writes:

“In Spain, a PSOE and Sumar government continues to buy and sell weapons to the Israeli state, while promising a peace conference in the future, once all Gazans have been murdered or are in refugee camps. In the United States, Biden continues to send weapons to Israel while establishing himself as the great defense against Trump’s threat.”

He then endorses the “Uncommitted” campaign of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) earlier this year as the way forward. He states:

To show discontent with the Biden administration’s support for Israel, campaigns have been raised in several states to vote “non-committed” in the primaries. In Michigan, while 618,000 voters voted for Biden as the Democratic candidate, more than 100,000 chose “uncommitted.” This campaign, which has been reproduced in other states such as Minnesota (20% of Democrats voted “not committed”), North Carolina or Colorado, is supported by anti-Zionist Jewish organizations such as “Jewish Voice for Peace Action” or socialists such as the “Democratic Socialist of America.”

Montañes calls not to “endorse those political parties that actively or passively support Zionism. In addition to effectively contributing to the struggle of the Palestinian people, this campaign would also be a way to promote ideas in our own societies that reject the postulates of the extreme right.”

As the WSWS has warned, however, the “Uncommitted” campaign in the US is a cynical political maneuver launched by the DSA and other pseudo-left forces. Presented as a way to put pressure on the Biden Administration to abandon its support for genocide, in reality it aims to rescue Biden’s campaign for this year’s Presidential elections and channel disaffected workers and youth back behind the Democrats. It is backed by leading sections of the Democratic Party and was heavily promoted on cable television and from the New York Times.

Anticapitalistas, terrified at mounting opposition to the left of the PSOE-Sumar government over its support to Israel, hopes to launch this campaign in Spain. Montañes writes:

What is happening in Palestine must be clearly named: genocide, ethnic cleansing, apartheid, colonialism. If ‘progressivism’, continuing with its policy of resignation, is not even capable of establishing a red line in the face of this barbarism, it should be the target of our most ruthless criticism. Especially regrettable is the position of the “left wing” of the Government, Sumar. … Sumar—and the entire left wing of parliament—refused to raise the issue of arms sales to Israel as a key demand in Pedro Sánchez’s inauguration negotiations in November.

This falsifies the nature of the “ruthless criticism” of Sumar, Podemos and Anticapitalistas that is needed. Mass opposition among workers and youth must be unified in an international, socialist anti-war movement to stop the genocide. This requires building a Trotskyist revolutionary leadership in the working class against to pseudo-left parties such as the DSA and Anticapitalistas, which are deeply implicated in the imperialist powers’ support for the Gaza genocide.

The DSA, which is leading the campaign for “Uncommitted,” is not a socialist party. Like Anticapitalistas, it is a party of capitalist government hostile to socialism and the working class. Its political function is to disorient and confuse workers and youth looking for a genuine socialist alternative and tie them to the capitalist political establishment. It is staffed with petty-bourgeois careerists, dedicated above all to the preservation, under capitalism, of the privileges of the affluent middle class layer they represent.

DSA is a faction of the Democratic Party, one of the two major capitalist parties in the United States. In 2022, it played a critical role in passing enormous war spending and banning a national strike of railroad workers. Last month, its representatives in the US Congress voted another $60 billion for NATO’s proxy war against Russia in Ukraine, and $8.1 billion in funding to the Indo-Pacific region for war preparations against China.

In Spain, Anticapitalistas has worked to politically strangle the working class for decades, demanding that workers subordinate themselves to imperialist parties like the social democratic PSOE, Spain’s main party of capitalist government. In 2014, Anticapitalistas founded Podemos with Stalinist professors with an explicit orientation to the PSOE.

Six years later, it entered into government with the PSOE, leaving Podemos and the government afterwards. It left Podemos not because it opposed any of the government’s signature policies: its war, the back-to-work order amid the COVID-19 pandemic which led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, austerity, and its police-state measures. In fact, as it left the government, it pledged to “support all the gains made within this [PSOE-Podemos government] framework,” adding, “there is no doubt that we will find ourselves in many common struggles with the people of Podemos.”

At the time, the WSWS warned that Anticapitalistas’ departure was a maneuver to preserve the ability of Anticapitalistas to intervene in social struggles to block working class opposition. These warnings have been fully confirmed.

From its mayorship of Cádiz, Anticapitalistas demanded 22,000 striking metalworkers in the city respect a union sell-out in November 2021, as the PSOE-Podemos government sent riot police and armoured vehicles against strikers. After war erupted in the Ukraine in February 2022, it defended NATO’s proxy war in the Ukraine, as Podemos armed the Ukrainian regime. Fearing an electoral debacle of Podemos after three years of austerity and militarist policies, it called for a vote for Podemos’ offshoot, Sumar, in last year’s elections.

Montañés’ call for an “uncommitted” vote still plays the same essential role of suppressing the class struggle and tying workers and youth to imperialist parties.

He is calling to “not vote” for pro-genocide parties, but general elections are not expected until 2027. In the meantime, workers are to be left to march in anti-genocide protests controlled by Anticapitalistas and the Stalinist Communist Party of Spain, which is in the Sumar government and part of the Solidarity Network against the Palestinian Occupation (Red Solidaria contra la Ocupación de Palestina, RESCOP). In these protests, they promote illusions that if enough pressure is placed on the PSOE-Sumar government, the ruling class will “change course.”

At the same time, Anticapitalistas will continue working to support the PSOE-Sumar government, by promoting other capitalist parties that back the government in parliament. During last February’s elections in the region of Galicia, Anticapitalistas called for a vote for the Galician Nationalist Bloc (Bloque Nacionalista Galego – BNG). For the elections in the Basque Country held last month, Anticapitalistas called for a vote for the Basque nationalist EH Bildu. These two parties play a central role in providing the PSOE-Sumar government with a parliamentary majority.

One of EH Bildu’s lawmakers Jon Inarritu, is a Zionist who signed a manifesto against the boycott of Israel, hailing it “as a reference for the peoples who fight for their sovereignty” and boasting about Basque companies’ business ties to Israel.

There is no “Uncommitted” path to stop war and genocide. The Biden administration and the PSOE-Sumar government aim to continue to supply the genocidal Zionist regime with all the political, military and economic support it needs.

Ending the genocide of Palestinians and opposing the expanding war waged by the NATO powers and their proxies in Ukraine against Russia and across the Middle East demands the building of a global, socialist anti-war movement in the working class. This poses as an urgent task building a political leadership in the working class, based on the perspective of world socialist revolution. This means building of sections of the ICFI in Spain and in countries across Europe.