To some of you, Spaniards or not, that don’t know ‘at all’ what’s going on lately in the Spanish streets (because this has been for many days one of these ‘non-highest topics of mass media) I’ll try to summarize and concentrate some of the core issues that has motivated the biggest social mobilization (is not a demonstration) in the history of Spain and probably in Europe too.
Against all of those who are trying to give an ideological connotation to this movement, the fact is that part of its success, precisely, routs on the aim of the organizers and supporters of going away of any political sign. Furthermore, what really surprised me and makes me so proud, is this capacity of thousands and thousands of citizens that have been able to leave apart their ideologies, because they are pursuing a common aim, one that is beyond any political color: a REAL DEMOCRACY NOW.
Exactly that was the name (“Democracia Real Ya”) of the Facebook group that has triggered what today –after defying the Election’s Committee ban and the Government’s tries of clearing the squares— it turned to be named as the ‘Movimiento 15-M’. It sounds like Spain has managed to have its own May Revolution yet saving the distances, since: this is a civic and pacific revolution, and it’s not supported just by lefty’s student yet by all kind of youngsters sharing the same dreadful economical and social situation. But, in a very basic level, something is present in both historical social reactions: the total dissatisfaction with the political class and a radical outrage to the (inter)national economic system that rules our societies.
It all started around three months ago on the Social Media, where lot of outraged youngsters (many of them part of this 40% of the Spanish university graduate jobless) getting concrete with a demonstration in Madrid and simultaneous other ones in over hundred cities all around the country, last 15thof May. Just that demonstration was a great and unexpected success because of the high participation. But the History was going to start to be written after the demonstration, when a bunch of 40 guys decided not to go home with the satisfactory feeling as the work had been done; they pitched their tents up in ‘Puerta de Sol’ square (traditionally known as the 0km of Spain) and stayed there the night.
The next morning, they were not alone; spontaneously more and more people (both individual citizens and collectives) started joining them, day and night, day after day, more and more people. Till the time that Sol became like a city itself, ruled by committees that (by real democratic decisions, following an horizontal decision system) were in charge of organizing popular assemblies and watching over the well running of the community (providing information to those presents, preventing form any possible disturbance, keeping cleaned the area, providing food and baby-sitting services,…).
I’m talking in past because it is not clear yet, what will happen with Camp Sol. Today the assembly members have decided that the camp will remain at least one week more. Afterwards, the idea is (probably) to allocate it by districts in the city, so all the proposals of changes and meeting points will still alive and closer to citizens’ homes.
Today is the elections day, there are not yet definitive figures neither of voting rates nor of winner or loser political parties; and there’s no agreement on whether those results will be a reflex of last weeks’ demands or it will influence the future of the Movement. Beside these facts, what it happened is a proof that we were not asleep as our parents said till one week ago. We were probably alienated due to years and years of manipulation –being forced to assume that we belong to that unwilling generation, without future and without possibilities, and forced to fit in and follow a given system that we won’t be able to change. That’s what they thought! But we have reacted and acted! And now all that political class that in Spain just had hopeless words and plans to us, are now doing as we were just some ‘rebel’ kids throwing a tantrum.
Although, what Sol has done is simply to give real voice to citizens –as it was done in the Greek agoras (where, let’s remind, all this thing of the Democracy started), so now they see they system begin to teeter and there are simply speechless. Some have tried to deny us, some others tried to despicably ‘join’ us getting hold of our demands; they don’t get it! Because this is against a whole political system and the politics, an electoral system based in Spain in the bipartidism, the opacity and corruption of our politics, and their millionaire salaries; against their passivity with 5 million of jobless Spaniards and a youth jobless rate of 40% (who are the idles here?!), against the working and pension’s reforms; against Government’s rescues to hard-up banks to the detriment of Social politics; against the impossibility of having access to a house; and so on.
Besides these demands of the original Manifesto, the important thing is what is coming up from the open Assemblies not just in Madrid, but in other dozens of camps in cities all around Spain like Barcelona, Valencia, Santiago de Compostela or Sevilla, among others. All these proposals will, hopefully, channeled into concrete points soon.
Here you have some pictures of yesterday’s support demonstration in Hamburg (Germany). We gathered more than 150 people at the Spanish Consulate doors. Armed with paella pans, a loudspeaker and some witty slogans, we were making some noise –actually we should have been pretty loud, since someone in the Consulate was constantly sneaking a look at us through the balcony’s door. Then we went to one of the most crowded areas in the city center (Jungfernstieg) where we kept with the protest, spreading around some Manifests translated into German and had our own assembly.
The 15-M Movement is not happening just in Spanish territory; many expatriates in cities from all around the World are organizing events, not just to get rid of the powerlessness for not being there, but to make it hearable abroad. Because, as a German’s banner pointed out: “This is not just about Spain”.
Some more info for Spanish speakers: