miércoles, 20 de julio de 2011

On the Spanish Revolution II

Dear all,
I made this very long e-mail in the hope that you can take some time during your week to know about what's happening in the world, besides the crisis and our politicians messages that "the measures we are adopting are the only possible measures". Did you hear that in your country too?

I write all of this because of how difficult it is to follow the many news and revolts happening in the north of Africa, in Europe, and in some other countries, with the hope of making it easier to know about how it is in Spain, and to gain some international consciousness, because according to United Nations experts "the Greek austerity measures could violate human rights" http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=38901&Cr=austerity&Cr1=. And, if as nobel prize in economics Joseph Stiglitz puts it, "European Union is not rescuing Greece, but German banks", it's a good moment to stop and think if we feel closer to other human being or to institutions such as banks, churches or governments, and if we're still gonna wait for those to solve our situation, or are we gonna take action and reclaim our lives back. [ http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.elpais.com%2Fespecial%2F35-aniversario%2Feconomia%2F_la_union_europea_no_esta_rescatando_a_grecia_sino_a_los_bancos_alemanes_.html
Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel, European Commission President Manuel Barroso and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, smiling as one.

It's been 2 months and some days since that May 15th on which we first went out to the streets, to complain about how our politicians are dealing with the crisis:
that was the most visible reason of a movement that is actually aiming to a total regeneration of the representative democracy we have been using in Western countries for 2 centuries, and that has been making civil population less and less able each time to participate in the decisions taken by their governments. We believe in democracy -otherwise we wouldn't be asking for a Real Democracy Now!- but we also believe it needs a regeneration both in Spain and internationally.

The huge demonstrations that took place in Spain in May 15th were the biggest, with those that happened during the Spanish Transition (to democracy from Franco's dictatorship) and the demonstrations against the Iraq war. For a whole week after the demonstrations our mass media tried to ignore the massive claim for a change in our system that makes democracy more participative, and that take power away from big corporations (Spanish, international or transnational), banks, and "representatives of the people" who, in many countries and even in the European Parliament (as in the US Congress) represent mainly not the people but two parties not so different from each other (say Republicans and Democrats, say SPD and CDU, say PS and UMP, etc).

We sing "PP and PSOE are the same shit", which doesn't sound kind but expresses our frustration with the similarities of our main parties, supposedly based in the different traditional divisions of left and right. I believe this is happening in other countries: if we take Germany, the 2010 agenda of Schroeder, the "socialist" who went to work for big energetic companies after leaving the chancellorship, might serve as prove of the "move toward the right" that SPD took. United Kingdom's Blair's third way is the most blatant example of a supposedly left leader embracing some of the ideas put in circulation by Thatcher. Privatizations didn't start in France with Chirac either. We're not obviously aiming towards more right-wing governments or more extreme privatizations in Europe, and our movement is pro-integration so we believe to be counter-balancing extreme-right tendenceies, but it feels like if the older than a century classification between left and right wasn't good anymore: it's a lot easier to know where we are if we distinguish between exploiters and exploitees.

We got to read first about the success of the demonstrations on The Washington Post. We twittered and made public in facebook and through e-mails that mass media were manipulating, lying for example about the goals of the demonstrations. So we stayed on the central squares (city hall squares) of hundreds of cities in Spain to make our demands unavoidable. Press started to inform but they kept repeating the critiques that "professional politicians" made to the now called 15M (May 15th) movement: "they don't know what they're asking for, it's message is not coherent, etc". But during the first month, politicians kept also trying to "find the spokesperson of the movement" so to negotiate.

2 months that, from within, seem like a year. During this time, after the regional elections and before the next presidential elections, "professional politicians" have started to debate in Parliament many of the "incoherent" requests of the 15M movement: for example, a change on the mortgage law in Spain, that allows the bank to take you home while you keep the debt with them. Also, open lists, meaning that we wouldn't vote for a party, but for independent representatives, although affiliated to a party. After the elections, the small left party Izquierda Unida had the power to chose in Extremadura between the conservative representative, or the representative of the "left" party actually governing Spain: what they did was starting popular referendums to know what the people of Extremadura wanted, instead of following instructions from above that urged them to pact with the ruling party.

The 15M movement (that can be followed in twitter through the hashtag #15M and that is also called "los indignados", "the indignant", "les indignés") has been functioning since the beginning based on consensus and assemblies. One of its more important vindications is to take power from the banks, aiming too to the Mortgage Law: some of the actions that it undertook more successfully have been stopping evictions from homes practicing non-violent civil disobedience, simply by gathering a small multitude in front of the soon-to-be-foreclosed home and so not allowing the cops to take the owners out.

It's been a time of gathering and putting ideas together. Of meeting much more people than we thought shared our ideas and our tiredness of this system. Really, how comes that a crisis that was produced by the dangerous gambling of US banks have to be solved by giving money to those banks by taking it from the people and the public and social services of this people? How can we accept that our countries have seen their ability to spend so limited, while banks and rating agencies keep having benefits -along with a lot of our enterprises, in Spain, and all over the world? How can we take for good a president of a country or region saying that "the markets" are taking the decisions that most affect our lives...? Did we vote for those markets? Are they representing us?


These are some of the questions we keep asking ourselves and trying to give answers to. We see Iceland and Greece as referents of what we want to get and to avoid and we feel our struggle was ignited by the Arab Spring; we, as them, want to take away an old enough cast of Rulers. We want to re-write our constitution (as Iceland, that is doing it with popular assistance and direction), want to have a say on our fundamental laws, want to change decade-old regulations and want that countries, or regions, or global institutions, represent the people that inhabit and form them and are not ruled by that minimal percentage of people who got to have the money.


In this time we have seen that the failed attempt to manipulate our revolt by Spanish media has been repeated by the international press, talking of this big movement with many heads (so many as people working in assemblies, and through the internet) as "demonstrations against the unemployment". We have seen our revolt so minimized as the Iceland revolution, and as the many revolutionary actions taken in Greece, and those in some Arab countries whose revolts don't benefit the first world countries.


It's not easy to get organized, but we keep trying. The camping sites that stayed for a month in many cities have moved to smaller assemblies of towns-neighbourhoods-and universities. In the city of Valencia, for example, there are twenty-something active assemblies, that are at the same time a practice on different political ways of ruling, and great places to study alternatives: we talk a lot, for example, on what's behind the European bail-out of Greece and what is to be of a country that doesn't own anything (except its language). This is our own in small little Russafa neighbourhood of Valencia: http://15mrussafa.org/

Asamblea Russafa 20J

During these looooong weeks we have seen official manipulation working at its best. I, for example, have been in some of the demonstrations that became violent in Valencia, and have so seen cops acting violent without any provocation. It was during the formation of the new regional government: we complained in front of Valencian parliament about the new government "representing" all of the people of Valencia in spite of counting only with less than a third of the votes (votes in blank would be the huge majority). Outside of the Parliament we were peaceful but noisy; suddenly, we were hit. Coincidentally, while all the protesters gathered to help the attacked, the president of Valencia could leave the Parliament without his picture being taken with protesters in the background. The small celebration of the formation of the new government consisted on some jamón and wines and cost 18.000 euros. Luckily, we have them (the official politicians and media) confused, and luckily there's the web. The information insisting on the violence of the demonstrators lasted only for a couple of hours; after the twittering and retwittering had happened, linking personal opinions to pictures and video, and accusing the media of manipulating, the news were given as they were. The process was repeated again a week later, in Barcelona, when politicians were forced to get to the Parliament in helicopters; after the violence -this time- from the 2 sides -demonstrators and cops- pictures and videos of cops dressed like "anti-system" flooded the web (really, how much more anti-system can you get than being Lagarde, new IMF director, and raising up your salary 11% your first day of work while cutting out all social services in Greece?)

Spanish PEOPLE OF EUROPE, RISE UP: Revolution, it begins, come on europe get up! (GREAT VID)

Luckily, amongst all of this miss-information, there's the web, there's new tools, and there's the will of lots of people working on the street, on the neighborhoods and villages, to inform about what we complain. This way we also got to know about the birth of the same movement in Ireland, and about the demonstrations in England, and about how many other cities in Europe are getting organized: first, thanks to Spaniards abroad who joined the movement in cities all across the world, then by nationals of these other countries who realized our demands are theirs. We got to know about the Day of Rage in the United States (set for October), about the sprouting protests in China, about the Adbuster's call to take Wallstreet on September (the 17th, bring your tent!!!) and we are aiming for a Global Demonstration in October 15th . DO NOT LOOK AT US: JOIN US!

The public debate in Spain has grown more interesting since May: people talk about politics wanting to be an active part of it now, not just having a beer, weeping about how bad everything is and then saying, "well, there's nothing we can do 'bout it". We're talking talking talking. And acting. Since 3 weeks ago now people from all over Spain left their cities by foot to gather in Madrid next 23th. You won't read about it in your newspapers, owned probably by your bank, which is participated by your government, so try and get to know about it by yourself.

I attach below some links to sites that, mostly in a rapid glimpse, will let you know more about the so called Spanish Revolution, about the movements we learned from, links to other national movements starting right now, and info about some of the reasons of our (your) actions and resources. It is, somehow, a way to break the informative blockage, and to celebrate that last week (Sunday, July the 10th) there was a huge international meeting of "indignants" in Lisbon. They had a very interesting program that included the participation of Gunnar Sigurdsson (starter of the Iceland Revolution, from the Open Civic Forum of Iceland) and representatives from the popular assemblies of Syntagma Square in Greece, Asamblea of Salamanca in Spain, and the camps of Brussels and Brighton and they discussed NEW WAYS OF DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION and STRATEGIES OF PROTEST (from http://acampadalisboa.wordpress.com/ ):

All the best to you, thanks for reading and circulating this info.

[Valencia, Spain, mid July]

I call this series THE CHAIN OF FAVORS:

A video message from Gaza:

Very well updated info on Egypt (Tahrir Square) http://www.arabawy.org/blog/
Facebook group on the Tunisian Spring (french and arabic) : http://es-la.facebook.com/pages/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AB%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D9%88%D9%86%D8%B3%D9%8A%D8%A9-La-R%C3%A9volution-Tunisienne-The-Tunisian-Revolution/155308487863113
and a good twitter user to follow: @Voiceoftunisia

NEWS ABOUT THE GLOBAL REVOLUTION IN FRENCH and in France:http://paper.li/revolution_info/1305976684 and http://www.french-revolution.fr/
[you can read about organizations, learn about actions, and explore linked themes like ""11 députés pour voter un fichage généralisé. Démocratie représentative ?""
Les « indignés » espagnols poursuivent le combat dans des comités de quartiers at http://www.french-revolution.fr/2011/07/frenchrevolution-les-indignes-espagnols-poursuivent-le-combat-dans-des-comites-de-quartiers/

And this site from Belgium: http://www.scoop.it/t/belgian-revolution
"Si vous ne nous laissez pas rêver, nous ne vous laisserons pas dormir"

check the similarity of these headlines http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2011/06/19/quelques-milliers-d-indignes-manifestent-a-athenes-contre-l-austerite_1538056_3214.html#ens_id=1508090 : http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2011/06/19/quelques-milliers-d-indignes-manifestent-a-athenes-contre-l-austerite_1538056_3214.html#ens_id=1508090 & http://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2011/06/19/des-milliers-de-manifestants-a-casablanca-pour-des-reformes_1538061_3212.html#ens_id=1537678

NEWS ABOUT THE GLOBAL REVOLUTION IN ITALIAN and in Italy: http://paper.li/anonops_live/1305876316

facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/italianrevolution
map of the camps for a change in Italy: http://www.ikimap.com/map/XCYF

NEWS ABOUT THE REVOLUTION IN PORTUGUESE and in Portugal: http://acampadalisboa.wordpress.com/

NEWS ABOUT THE REVOLUTION IN GERMAN (facebook group) http://de-de.facebook.com/pages/Echte-Demokratie-jetzt/210471548985466?sk=wall

INFO IN ENGLISH ABOUT SPAIN (sol Square): http://www.europeanrevolution.net/?p=785
Spanish activists block foreclosuress at http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8270162&mch=snlink&cmp=art_8270162http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8270162&mch=snlink&cmp=art_8270162
About our huge protest last month, against the Euro Pact and claiming for A TRUE DEMOCRACY IN EUROPE NOW: http://channel6newsonline.com/2011/06/thousands-protest-against-euro-pact-in-spain/ and and a thorough explanation of the "Euro Plus Pact" by a Spanish senior professor in economy: http://realdemocracynowireland.wordpress.com/2011/06/15/19-j-against-the-euro-pact-real-democracy-in-europe-now/


This is a really very good site of analysis on the different Revolts happening right now: http://roarmag.org/
http://www.europeanrevolution.net/ There's info of the union revolts in United Kingdom and about the rage in Brussels, the 2 days demonstrations held for 2 days (June 22 and 23) and heavily repressed by authorities. Also, they refer to the death of European Democracy after the bail-out of Greece.
and also check this out http://takethesquare.net/



US DAY OF RAGE: they aim to occupy all congresses and senates in the beginning of October, it's aim: stop the influence of corporativism in politics, and the moto "1 citizen 1 vote": http://www.usdayofrage.org/
New York (Bloombergville) citizens revolt in http://bloombergvillenow.org/ (They want their own Tahrir Square: http://bloombergvillenow.org/2011/06/19/stephen-soldz-tahrir-square-in-manhattan/ )
ANALYSIS ON THE NEW SHOCK DOCTRINE (the selling of our states) by an official mass medium http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/jul/01/indebted-european-countries-privatisation-assets


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