Spanish revolution

Posted: May 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

Update 19/05/2011: List of active camps: http://acampadas15m.blogspot.com/2011/05/acampadas.html Right now there are 99 camps listed and growing. There are camps in cities like Paris, Lisbon, London, Budapest, Rome, Estambul…

Probably you have recently read some pieces of news about the Spanish strikes and demonstrations. You were luckier than us. But, I don’t know if you know the whole story so let me tell you my impressions from the front line.

Everything started with The Crisis. I think everyone in this planet is now affected somehow by this global crisis, but in Spain is was worse. We had our own local bubble that exploded at the same time as the global bubble. So, we end up suffering two financial crisis at once. Furthermore, a “socialist” party in the Government was giving for free -not selling- to big corporations the small parts of country that still public owned. Airports, trains, copyright management, lottery, even the health system! Add to that the housing bubble with prices 10 times higher that just 5 years before and 3 millions unemployed.

The solution from the Government, supported by the other mayor party and labor unions was -just few examples-

  • Extend the retirement age from 65 to 67.
  • Reduce the cost of dismissal to almost free even for permanent contracts. Result: 5 millions unemployed.
  • Create a plan to expend billions of Euros to promote terrain and building speculation through the creation of unnecessary public constructions.
  • Create a plan to save the banks with credits of very low interest rate. The difference with other countries is that the credit has been translated to public debt that has been bought by the same banks, which are giving a higher interest rate to the Government. Simple math: free money.

Just to remind you, in Spain there are around 23 millions of economically active population. That means almost 25% of unemployment. One out of four persons are unemployed right now!

There has been some strikes before, but were promoted by the same unions and parties that were supporting those “solutions”. So, nobody showed up. Furthermore, most of the heads and candidates or those unions and parties are involved in corruption plots.

Again, let’s put some numbers. This Sunday it’s elections day. Well, there are 123 candidates are now being investigated for corruption. That is more than 50% of the candidate list from PP and 35% from PSOE, the two major parties in Spain. And this time is only regional and local elections.

Furthermore, they started to blame young people for not being active. They called us the “no-no” generation. “No work, no studies”.

Through that growing corrupted system, media was controlled, banks were controlled, they even tried to control Internet. There promoted a law that states that a committee can close a webpage based on a link to illegal material. It doesn’t even need a judge to check if the material is actually illegal or the content at the other side of the link has changed, etc. The committee can take any arbitrary decision. It was called the Sinde law. By the way, one of the emails exposed by Wikileaks showed that the law was created ad-hoc based on a petition from the major audiovisual corporations and RIAA.

Thankfully, they were late and some political movements were created on Internet. The main difference with previous movements is that they were created by individuals, with no organization or backup support. Only citizens. The first one was #nolesvotes (donotvotethem), which appeared in Twitter as a reaction to the Sinde law, as a way to promote a vote against the mayor parties. The concepts are:

  • Do not vote the promoters of the Sinde law (PP, PSOE, CiU).
  • But you need to vote, because, with the current election system, that promotes a two-party system, a blank vote or an abstention help those parties.

This concept was automatically adopted by many people that were agains corruption and a two-party system, where both parties are the two sides of the same coin.

Almost in parallel, some guys decided to create the Democracia Real Ya (Real Democracy Now) movement to promote a demonstration on May 15th in Madrid. I guess the idea was similar to the “Geração À Rasca” in Portugal. The claims: think about your vote, don’t give it for granted, don’t let the corporations and bankers be puppeteers, read more…

The idea propagated only through Internet: facebook, twitter, email, etc. Again, it was promoted just by citizens. No support from media was given. However, it made it to the public. Soon, many other citizens were promoting a parallel demonstration in their own city. On May 15th, there were more than 50 cities all around Spain supporting that. One was already forbidden.

I was there and it was huge. Remember that it was only promoted through Internet, just like our fellows from Egypt and Portugal were doing some months ago. In Madrid, there were more than 100.000 people. In Barcelona, almost the same. In Zaragoza, were I was, thousands. more than half a million in total. I wasn’t expecting that. Nobody was expecting that…

In fact, the first reaction from the media came from… The Washington Post. There were a complete blackout from Spanish media. The next day, the first pieces of news were appearing, but most of them were biased and trying to manipulate the message. Some journals said it was a movement from the extreme right, others claim it was from the extreme left. In Zaragoza they said we were dozens. Yes, about 500 dozens!

Every demonstration was peaceful and quiet. Only in Madrid, there were some violent scenes that were repressed by policemen even more violently. Some pictures taken during the fights prove that there were some policemen infiltrated as the violent group.

As a reaction, some random people in Madrid, unrelated to the organizers of the demonstration, decided to stay there and camp in the middle of Madrid as a quiet protest. Again, it was promoted in Internet and soon became a great success. Right now, there are more than 50 camps in the major cities all around Spain. You can find more news in twitter with the hashtags #acampadasol, #yeswecamp, #spanishrevolution, etc. Even in London, Amsterdam and Berlin there are camps!

It was great and people make them huge, there were even more support than during the previous demonstration. Hundreds or thousands even in the smaller cities. Twitter is boiling. I get like hundreds of retweets every hour about the topic

At 5pm during the first night in the camp at Madrid, the police enter and disbanded everyone. It was declared illegal, although the Constitution says it can’t be. So, people came back the next day with a legal form. In some other cities it has been the same fight. In some cities, the policemen said that they were not only let the camp be, but they were also supporting the demonstration. In Valencia, the major, one of the candidates directly involved in oneof the biggest corruption plot in Spain, has declared that to avoid dirt in the camp area, they need to use high pressure hose every 2 hours.

Media are starting to react to the movement thanks to the social pressure, but still, only foreign journals have the strike in front page. Political parties are trying to manipulate the message in their favor, but it is too late. In the subway in Madrid, the speakers are saying that “people should not go to the camp” in a pure 1984 style. They even tried to promote laws against gatherings like back in the dictatorship days.

Now, the camp in Madrid and 3 other cities has been declared illegal because, and I quote: “…asking for a responsible vote can affect the electoral campaign.

Some people say that the camps are just a “bunch of hippies“. Check it out:

Advertisements
Comments
  1. weirdyetcool says:

    Anda, has retomado el blog. Perdón por el offtopic 🙂

    Está bien que lo expliques, porque a pesar de que si, la prensa internacional se está haciendo más y mejor eco del asunto, hablando con amigos de diferentes partes de Europa algunos no habían oído hablar del movimiento o me han comentado que solo se puede acceder a notas de prensa muy breves. ¿Es miedo quizás a lo que huele en los gobiernos de la UE? =)

  2. WurmD says:

    Good one Ruben,
    bem explanado, siga votar nos pequeninos só por votar (já q se o s pequeninos ganharem, logo se tornam grandes e corruptos tb – problema estrutural), enquanto o ppl não fica todo consciente e não evoluímos para um outro sistema sem partidos.

    Abraço,
    Dario

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s