Madrid Students to Hold a Referendum on the Spanish Monarchy

The Spanish State has been a constitutional monarchy since 1978. Now students are demanding a right to decide about an anachronistic, anti-democratic, corrupt and patriarchal institution.

October 26, 2018

Photo: The kings Felipe VI, Juan Carlos I, Letizia and Sofia during the Military Easter. EFE

The monarchy – yes or no? That is the question. On November 29, a referendum
will be held at the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM), one of the top universities in the Spanish State. All students as well as academic and non-academic personnel are invited to participate.

The campaign "Reférendum UAM" has been formed by students from different departments. Their goal is "to make young people’s opinions heard regarding an anachronistic, corrupt institution which is linked to the Franco regime."

Younger generations have been questioning the Crown more than ever before. "We young people are sick and tired of hearing about the inviolability of a constitution which was approved long before we were born," said Marcos, a history student and activist of the youth group Contracorriente.

Lucía Nistal, an academic researcher and spokesperson of the feminist group Pan y Rosas, added: "While the king raises his salary, they are cutting the budgets for education. It’s time they let us decide if we want to keep maintaining this absolutely anti-democratic and patriarchal institution."

Regime of ’78

The Spanish monarchy ended in 1931 with the abdication of Alfonso XIII. and the proclamation of the Second Republic. General Francisco Franco organized a coup against the republic in 1936 and won the civil war three years later. Franco ruled Spain as a military dictator for almost four decades, and then hand-picked Alfonso’s grandson, Juan Carlos, as his successor. A constitutional monarchy was established in 1978. This constitution created the "regime of ’78", with the support of the Social Democrats and the Stalinists, which exists to this day.

Now, Juan Carlos’ son Felipe VI is on the throne. Felipe is the successor of the successor of a murderous fascist dictator. The monarchy has entered into a deepening crisis in recent years – not just because of endless corruption scandals, but also because of Felipe’s firm rejection of the rights of the Catalan people to any form of self-determination.

This year there have been a number of symbolic referenda about the monarchy in universities and working-class neighborhoods. The planned referendum at the UAM has gotten lots of attention in the mass media due to the institution’s role in the intellectual life in the country.

The Revolutionary Workers’ Current (CRT), the section of the Trotskyist Fraction in the Spanish State, has been at the forefront of these campaigns, As Marxists, they combine radical democratic demands with a program for the expropriation of capital. This referendum is not limited to the question of the monarchy – it is about questioning the entire regime of the Spanish State.


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