Spain is like a bull fighting arena. The people are the bull, authorities are the torero, and the financial world is on the stands yelling: ‘¡Olé!’
All the while the fury of the people keeps mounting. Instead of acknowledging public outrage, the delegate of the government in Madrid is waving a red piece of cloth by proposing to change the law in order to limit the people’s right of demonstration. Apparently she attaches more importance to the motorists’ sacred right to drive by the Prado Museum at any given hour.
In these days we seem to have found an ally in part of the international press. Especially the New York Times has been very critical of the Spanish government’s handling of the crisis. Last week they published an article called ‘Hunger on the rise in Spain’. It gave the dramatic image of young people who recently turned homeless, searching through the garbage in the city of Girona.
Girona is one of the richest cities of Spain. Most of its revenues come from tourism. According to the article the town council decided to lock the dumpsters to keep up appearances towards visitors from abroad.
A few days later, under the unequivocable title ‘Europe’s Austerity Madness’, op-ed columnist Paul Krugman suggested that ‘far too many Very Serious People have been taken in by the cult of austerity, by the belief that budget deficits, not mass unemployment, are the clear and present danger.’ He adds that this cult stems from a widespread North-European view wherein certain virtuous countries know how to balance their budget, while certain others are more dedicated to making fiesta with money they don’t have. According to Krugman, further austerity comes down to ‘inflicting pain for the sake of inflicting pain’ and is actually hurting the Spanish capacity of economic recovery.
Resistance against all this austerity is spreading into sectors that may seriously threaten the Spanish government’s security. In bull fighting, the torero has six aides who can help distract the bull in case of danger. Today, these aides went on strike.
In occasion of the ‘day of the police’, members of five police unions demonstrated in front of the interior ministry, and in front of government buildings throughout the country. They accuse the government of ‘hiding behind police interventions to avoid giving explanations to society.’
‘The politicians who keep cutting our salaries are the same ones that exploit our work for personal benefit in the face of the general public.’ They go on to accuse certain politicians of lying, of not keeping their promises, and of resorting to actions ‘of doubtful legality’.
Two of the police unions have announced they will organise the ‘biggest demonstration of security forces in history’. The appointment is for November 17, here in Madrid. I wonder who the government will send in to guarantee law and order…