postvirtual

Respect!

In Acampada Sol, Madrid, Spain on 10 June 2011 at 15:30

“Yo! Yo! Yo! Check it out y’all!”

Carlos, the black rapper from Respect comes hip-hopping into the Communications office. He wants to show us a video about his neighbourhood, Lavapiès, the one I told you people about. The video’s cool. See it at
Carlos swings back out into the open air again: “I am not from Respect no more, we are all Respect now!”

People,

Valencia has been confirmed. I’ve seen pictures. People being towed away by their hair. It seems it all started when the police asked a backpacker for his papers. According to the protesters he was not properly treated.

The message of the movement is clear. We demand to be treated with the same respect with which we treat others. And if you touch one of us, you touch us all. After the images from Valencia, I see peaceful images from Madrid, live. I’m in a bar, I realise that what I’m seeing is happening right down the street. So I go.

Indeed, late at night after the General Assembly there’s another festive demonstration in front of parliament. This time out of solidarity with the comrades in Valencia. The police had fenced it all off tonight, yesterday’s fading border has once again been firmly reestablished. I look around for a while, I see people rolling joints, completely relaxed, with a couple of dozen armed police officers behind them. Everything is fine. I leave things for what they are tonight. This weekend, the real fun starts.

It was the end of a beautiful day, one of international solidarity and exchange of ideas. Delegates from France and Tahrir Square have spoken in the General Assembly. Delegations and journalists have arrived from Colombia and Peru. And though usually I only speak to foreign journalists, this time I also let myself be interviewed by a Spanish TV station. Above all, I was honoured to see that my daily report on the Revolution has been so inspiring to you, my faithful readers, that my comrade Ronaldo from Rotterdam suddenly appeared on the doorstep of the Communications commission. He had to see for himself what’s happening on Puerta del Sol.

Ronaldo is a libertarian. He does not believe in government. The government is an entity that takes money from you by force and makes decisions that affect your live without asking whether you agree with it. We can do without government. We can build a society of free individuals in which people respect each other’s lives and property, and in which they give shape to the common good together, on a voluntary basis.

Mehmet is an anarchist. He believes that everything should be collectively owned by the people and that the people are perfectly capable of managing the means of production without there being any leaders.

Ronaldo and Mehmet are very close in terms of ideas. From the left or from right, they almost arrive at the same point. The problem is not the politicians, the problem is the state as such. There doesn’t exist a ‘social contract’. There is no reason why people should be forced to tolerate an authority that they have not voluntarily chosen. Fine rhetorical quotes come bubbling up. “Man is born free but everywhere he is in chains,” you know who I’m talking about. Politics has been reduced to a shelf of the supermarket, where you can choose from two, sometimes three, or if you’re lucky four different brands of the same canned tomatoes. And now suddenly people seem to remember that there exists something called fresh tomatoes as well. We don’t need the supermarket any more than we need the state. All bets are off. We can start thinking again about what we really want, without limits. And the whole world can join in.

We are accompanied by a comrade from Toledo, a girl who studies in Madrid. Her participation in the movement is completely ‘clandestine’, because her father is a member of one of the major parties.

“Why have you joined the revolution?” Ronaldo asks.

“Because it’s the first time that I believe in something,” she says. “And because it’s the first time I believe in myself.”

All the best,
Oscar

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