Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the poems emergency lettersby Benedetti, which includes the poem Let’s go together, emblem of the workers struggle for freedom and social transformation. In Spain, the leading role of the working class in the democratic recovery and its influence on the content of the Constitution of 1978 is evident. What is not so evident is its active presence, in its labor and professional diversity, where decisions are debated and decided. laws for social change, in parliaments and councils of ministers. It could be said that in these years those who can are some, and those who want, because they need it and they are the great majority, social transformation, continue to be others.
Michael Sandel, in his book The Tyranny of Merit highlights how at the beginning of the new millennium, in the Congress, Senate and cabinets there is an overwhelming presence of university graduates and a practical absence of presence, in relation to work or professional activity, of the two thirds of US citizens who lack university studies. The virtual absence of people without university degrees in parliaments or councils of ministers is certainly characteristic of this meritocratic era, but it is not an unprecedented phenomenon. In fact, it causes more than slight concern to see that this is a return to the situation that prevailed before the right to vote began to be extended to the majority of the population. In other words, universal suffrage has been a success in terms of the participation of all social classes in the vote, but those eligible do not reproduce the universe of professional or labor diversity of the population.
In Spain the situation is similar. The information published on the professional profile of our deputies is overwhelmingly university-based, I think there is only one deputy who self-identifies as a factory employee, and one deputy linked to professional training. At present, it is clear that, fortunately, the gender variant has a lot of incidence, but the variants of academic qualifications and social class, in the parties of the left, of course not those of the right, are not contemplated.
A few years ago, I was no longer responsible for UGT-E, I was invited to a dinner at the Barcelona Equestrian Circle, by an association of young university graduates. That was a dinner with the desserts choked by sincerity. I received a barrage of criticism, almost none benevolent and quite a few with reason, about the role of the unions and therefore, about my more than 20 years of experience at the head of the UGT-E. My interest was not so much to counteract criticism, but to accept it, but to know what their employment situation was. And I found that the majority were from consultancies, banks, funds, etc. There was just someone from a start-up company, I think teleco, who made a living from tangible things. They all had problems with salary, but above all with schedules, and almost none of them were satisfied.
This year I received an invitation to visit an educational center in a working-class neighborhood, from the Padre Llanos Foundation. The most important thing for me was the meeting with girls and boys, around 16 years old and of different nationalities, all Spanish, Vocational Training students, who asked me a series of questions, very thoughtful and quite sharp. I remember the questions, but not the bleakness of my answers. Later, the directors of the center invited me to eat at the catering school, and I was able to delve, pondering, into why these situations are not visible. And I came to the conclusion, weeks later, that what I heard a good journalist talking about the problems of farmers and their difficulties in making it known what was happening to them in this food crisis and in relation to climate change, was applicable these teenagers because they are not, and probably will not be, visible. After this experience I told myself, these girls and boys who are here in secondary education or Vocational Training have to be decisive in building the future of Spain, and they have a democratic right to represent their hopes and their ways of life, beyond the networks social, as I thought of those of the Equestrian Circle of Barcelona, although they have many more possibilities of accessing positions of democratic representation, due to their qualifications.
In Spain and in the EU, where the extreme right is quite successful among new voters and the left has difficulty connecting in a stable way with the social majority, I think that the aspect of the composition of the lists must be considered. Is its composition going to continue to be university students and the priority, to be more aware of what the leaders who make the lists think, than of what those who vote think and feel? Is there no room in the representation for digital professionals, waiters, car specialists, construction professionals?, to name a few professions. Is this not a de facto restriction of universal suffrage, thanks to which everyone, from the legal age, has the right to elect and be elected? The President of the Government insists on his messages in recent times that his policies are aimed at the working middle classes, totally true; then it would be reasonable that the recipients of said policies have more legislative participation and in its execution, as of this electoral cycle.