As the king of Spain chose to resign, western media was quick to determine that the next king was ready to take over and that the monarchy would survive. Russian RT and Venezuelan Telesur, both at media war with western media were the first ones reporting on pro-Republican protest. The coverage of these early protests and preparations for protests may very well have been what created the larger protests that happened in Spain today.
The average couch potato may wonder: Why would anyone care about who is king of Spain and whether it’s a monarchy or a republic, given that there is no noticeable difference in what the average human being has to say in western European monarchies and republics? The average leftist/progressive may wonder why anyone would bother trying to install another king, if a monarch has no practical purpose, not even for the running of a capitalist country.
I believe what is happening now and the reaction by western media is not just coincidence. And indeed their behavior does make sense if one looks at the wider picture: Europe has seen no dramatic, sudden and uncontrolled progressive change for at least a quarter of a century. Even before that, at least since WWII, countries were more and more locked into whatever form they had (while more and more decision making was done in a cloud of international politicians and bureaucrats).
— Hilda Salas (@HsalasteleSUR) 2. Juni 2014
The reason for this is not that a monarchy in itself is better or worse for how a capitalist system works. It doesn’t really matter what government form a country has anyway. The problem is more likely that if a change of a country were to occur, it would show that certain things that are generally portrayed as being unchangeable indeed can be change and that any decisions humans have made at some point can be overturned at a later date.
They fear a snowball effect, and that’s where the real problem would start. What if after the Third Spanish Republic is founded, the people think that the change shouldn’t just be symbolic, but that it should mean that they should have a real share in the decision making? And what is to say that a 19th century style republic is the most adequate form of government? If one can change from a monarchy to a republic, one can surely also switch from a republic to a new type of system in which citizens have to be consulted on all kinds of things (for example via internet voting mechanisms)? And if Spain could do that, why not France, why not Germany or the UK?
The concept that everything has been and will be forever is a myth, and it is one that needs to be actively maintained to not disappear. Right now that takes the form of western media claiming that holding a referendum on the monarchy would violate the constitution, while “forgetting” that article 57, part 5 of the constitution only says that in the case of a king resigning, a law has to be written to figure out what to do, but doesn’t say what that laws is supposed to say. And of course more importantly: The western media, supposedly representing ideals of democracy and equality act as if a constitution voted for by less than 16 million Spaniards in 1978, many of which were likely still shocked by the dictatorship that had just ended three years earlier, is a sacred document that 42 million people who now live in Spain have to follow whether they want it or not.
In short: None of the European countries have a form of government that is adequate for the time of the internet, and everyone knows it if they think for two seconds. Different from other parts of the world, Europe can’t really argue that it’s underdeveloped or lacks the resources to do so. The current system in each country is much more top-down and gives room for all kinds of direct and indirect corruption of the decision making process. One of the few reasons this isn’t changed is that there is a myth that change is impossibly difficult so that therefore we need to stay with our current system from now and until the end of time.