Sometimes I have a feeling that it is all a game. Take yesterday for example. Together with a comrade that I met in the library, who speaks better French than I do, we were writing a comunicado to our comrades on Place de la Bastille.
“Salut Paris! Ici Madrid! How is the battle coming along? Are you in control of the Bastille? Here at Puerta del Sol the first General Popular Assembly is in session!”
Is this real? Are we taking ourselves seriously?
Me, not completely. Life is a game. If you can not live it with a twist, then there’s something you just didn’t quite understand.
Evening falls. The General Assembly is convened. We must decide whether we stay or not. Repeatedly the debate is interrupted by the latest news. “Tens of thousands of people are on the streets in Athens!” The square explodes. But moments later it’s dead quiet. The connection comrade is on the phone with Paris. “The police have begun the evacuation of the Bastille.” People hold their breath. “Tear gas is used.”
That tear gas is definitely real.
After the initial shockwave, the square picks up courage again. Last words from Paris: “We’ll be back!” Applause. The square chants: “Paris is not alone! Paris is not alone!”
What the big wigs do not seem to realise is that the use of force against peaceful demonstrators only strengthens our movement. It goes to show who is on the civilised side, and who isn’t. We are increasingly convinced that this battle must be fought, unyieldingly and without fear, with flowers instead of clubs. One of the speakers sums it up: “Greece is in revolt. In Paris and various French cities the squares are being taken. There are reports of occupations in England as well. All of them, they look at us. Puerta del Sol is an example to the world. And here we are, asking ourselves whether we should lift our tents?”
At the end of the Assembly the proposal to stay is adopted by a sea of waving hands. We go on.
I walk back to Communications. There is a report of people demonstrating in front of the French Embassy. I go.
Comrades, our movement continues to amaze me. At the word ‘demonstration’ you usually think of a group of angry people yelling slogans. But when I arrive I find nothing of the sort. There is no one who organises it, but the silence is complete. A few hundred people stand in front of the embassy with their hands up. Just to say, our will is stronger than your weapons.
Then somewhere a set of keys goes up into the air, and another, and another. ‘Ting! Ting! Ting!’ It gets louder and louder. There are two police vans protecting the embassy. I wonder if these cops ever witnessed a protest that was anything like this.
The tinkling dies away. Without a word, people turn their backs on the embassy. They sit down in reflective silence. Lightning flickers over the city. All of a sudden the stone lions on the roof of the embassy emerge fearsomely from darkness. The people stand up. For the first time you hear a very soft whisper going around. “In three minutes, a scream. Pass it on.”
Three minutes later, the crowd burst into cheers, overwhelmingly. Lightning cuts the sky. Then people turn around, they go back to Puerta del Sol, singing the Marseillaise.
It’s late when I return. I report about what happened in Communications and I walk over to Infrastructure to get a blanket. I have decided to sleep in the nursery tonight, because the Moroccan neighbourhood where I found shelter these last few days has turned into a mess. I spread out a beautifully clean piece of cardboard between the toys and the snoring comrades. And just as I finally put myself to rest, the downpour bursts loose. The canvases we use for shelter can’t deal with it. Everything and everyone is flushed awake. The cardboard turns into porridge, the blankets get wet. People run back and forth to drain the water from the canvases and prevent them from collapsing. But when it finally stops, a bursting cheer rises up from the camp.
Also against the elements.
All the best,
Puerta del Sol, 29 Mai 2011
Ici Madrid, la section de ‘Communication’ de Puerta del Sol.
Hier, les differentes assemblées des quartiers et des villages madrilens ont eu un grand succes. Ce matin, les representants des assemblées se sont reunis dans la première Assemblée Populaire Génerale, célébrée à la Puerta del Sol.
Le mouvement est entrain de se répandre, et nous avons su qu’à la Place de La Bastille vous avez montré votre solidarité pour notre mouvement. Nous vous en remercions enormement et nous aimerions savoir comment se deroule la situation a Paris.
Avez-vous occupée la place? Quelles sont vos revendications? Savez-vous si d’autres villes de la France ont suivi votre exemple?
Nous vous souhaitons beaucoup du courage dans cette lutte.
Menons-la tous unis,
Hasta la Victoria!