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Archive for the ‘Spain’ Category

Summer Picknick

In #GlobalRevolution, Istanbul, Madrid, Occupy Gezi, Spain, Turkey on 30 May 2013 at 19:56
Police tear gassing people at Gezi Park Istanbul, via @_ElifYilmaz_

Police tear gassing people at Gezi Park Istanbul, via @_ElifYilmaz_

The Monsanto March added a touch of global that had been missing in this #GlobalMay. On Facebook, an appointment was already launched for 2014, but for many people it wasn’t soon enough. A new march has now been planned for as early as October. In Istanbul protesters gathered near Taksim Square yesterday to demonstrate against the shoppingmallization of the city and in particular the idea to plant a mall in a nearby park.

People occupied the park and camped. This morning they were brutally dispersed by police. Tents were burned, teargas was employed. In the afternoon people have returned to claim the park by the thousands. (LIVE)

Next June starts will start on a high note. The Citizen Wave keeps growing. The latest wave of indignation is the purple one which unites the increasing amount of Spanish emigrados. Next June 1, the waves will march united against the Troika, in Spain and in dozens of other cities in Europe.

Also in Spain, a first timid attempt at mortgage strike was launched for June. The call is to delay mortgage payments a few days up to three months. Just to scare the banks.

I’m sceptic about it’s effectiveness for a few reasons. One, it wasn’t thoroughly prepared. People don’t know the initiative. Two, it seems you have to pay 66 eurocents for every day you postpone your payments. So the bank would even end up making money from this action. A serious mortgage strike could be done, but you need time to publicise and coordinate the action. You need neighbourhood solidarity, and a lot of determined people.

In America, determination is on the rise again. On June 1 an event called ‘Occupy Homecoming’ is planned in New York. The objective: Zuccotti Park.

So tune in to Global Revolution. We will be live.

May 23 Memo

In Madrid, Spain on 23 May 2013 at 21:18
Demo for Press Freedom, May23, "We are not afraid."

Demo for Press Freedom, May23, “We are not afraid.”

Yesterday two photographers who regularly cover demonstrations in Madrid, were arrested at home, accused of defamation via social networks. Earlier today they were released with charges and this evening there was a solidarity protest outside the office of the Delegate of the Government in Madrid. Citizen press brandished their cameras and smartphones shouting ‘these are our weapons’ and ‘freedom of information’.

I also met comrades from the marches, with whom I have a bond that was forged over hundreds, even thousands of kilometres on the road. I have been a bit  out of contact with most, so I was shocked to hear the news. Comrade Abdelatif, battlename Abdullah, has died three weeks ago. He was a veteran and an icon of the Acampada Logroño, of the Northern Column and of the March to Brussels. He was over sixty years old when he marched all the way from Madrid to the heart of Europe, and apparently he was already sick.

Abdelatif’s past was shrouded in stories of a thousand and one night. Nobody really know who he was, where he came from. What we do know is that his family had him buried in Algeria. Some people say Abdelatif was as old as Methusalem. They say he is still alive, just like Elvis, just like Andreotti. Maybe they’re right, I don’t know. Otherwise, may he rest in peace. It was an honour and a pleasure to march with him.

Comrade Abdullah

Comrade Abdullah, augustus 2011.

‘Domenica delle Salme’

In #GlobalRevolution, Madrid, Spain on 21 May 2013 at 17:06
Economia Sol, Sunday 19 May 2013

Economia Sol, Sunday 19 May 2013

Madrid, May 21

Dear people,

Last Sunday’s triumphant performance of ‘Twilight of the Bricks’ didn’t only represent a brief history of the Spanish economic crisis. It was also, symbolically, a last tribute to the 15M movement. The revolution is over. We can all go home.

Really? Yes, we can. But don’t despair, resistance continues. It’s just not going to be the way it was. I’ll try to explain.

Over the past few days I bumped into a lot of people I know from all layers of the movement. Their stories and comments confirmed an image that was already pretty clear. There is no 15M, not no more. It became obvious when I witnessed the  meetings that were organised on the squares around Puerta del Sol on Saturday. Different assemblies on debt, education, the future, the past, the struggle, etc. Nobody really cared. And who can blame them? Two years have past, and we’re still here, talking about the very same shit, without any conclusions. Next time, we’ll start all over again. The only difference is that there will be even less people present.

Those who are left are the nostalgics. They lament the loss of the initial ideological purity of the movement, the assemblary Utopia that existed in the first few weeks – maybe just in our imaginations – characterized by the principles of horizontality, inclusiveness and consensus. A handful of them have entrenched themselves in the few working groups and commissions that remained after the end of the acampada, and they erected themselves as guardians of the spirit of 15M. They started to exclude people by accusing them of not being inclusive. They engaged in powerplay to preserve horizontality. They took personal decisions and presented them as consensus. In short, they forgot about the revolution, and so the revolution left them behind.

A few dozen people attend the closing assembly of the day. This is it. And so I ask myself, what the hell am I doing here? I spent two years of my life living like a bum in order to document the #SpanishRevolution for the benefit of all posterity, and now it turns out this whole revolution thing was merely a fashion? Screw you guys, I’m going home!

So there I am, the next day, ready to go. In Puerta del Sol I encounter my long term comrades from Global Revolution TV, streaming live. The Economy commission has just illustrated a list of practical proposals. They are also gathering proof for criminal prosecution of the big bankers. Then there is a rumble coming from Alacalà, and growing louder.

“Don’t go yet, it’s about to start.”

Five minutes, and well over ten thousand people of the ‘White Wave’ are flooding the Puerta del Sol, shouting their one demand: “Public Health Care.” There are doctors, nurses, patients, sympathizers. And the unions. The wave has full support of the big unions. But this is not a demonstration that was planned a long time ago. No, this is happening every single Sunday. And it’s massive. In the square, I even notice the first timid signs of political parties.

White Wave arriving in Sol. "You don't sell health care, you defend it."

White Wave arriving in Sol. “You don’t sell health care, you defend it.”

The hard core nostalgics of 15M are snobbing the waves, simply because they are supported by the unions. They keep dreaming of horizontal participatory democracy without flags and logos, but they are completely out of touch with the people. The 15M revolution has consumed itself. The people are in the waves. They are moving on.

So what remains of 15M?

In the first place, the indignation. It’s still the same indignation that made people take the streets and occupy the squares of Spain and abroad, two years ago. Eighty percent of the population still supports what 15M stood for, according to a recent poll.

In the second place, the awareness the movement raised. The empowerment of single persons coming together for the common good. But the most important thing that remains, is the method.

Most of the original working groups may have been wrecked by personal conflicts, but many neighbourhood assemblies are still regularly active and functioning. Plus, it is infecting the rest of society as well. In schools, universities, hospitals, working places, in the unions, in politics, people are organizing themselves in assemblies where everyone has a voice. It works locally, and it works online, where you can organize assemblies on whatever subject or action in the same way as you do in the square. And the beautiful thing about this method is that it is self regenerating. If one collective doesn’t work anymore, it will simply vanish, and new assemblies will sprout up to engage different issues, or to engage the same issues in a different way.

This is the heritage of 15M. It inspired men and women, young and old, all over the world. It made us conscious that we, the people, have the power to make a difference, if only we have the patience to pursue.

Assembly during Acampada Sol. Photo by Juan M. Plaza, via fotospanishrevolution.org

Assembly during Acampada Sol. Photo by Juan M. Plaza, via fotospanishrevolution.org

Twilight of the Bricks

In #GlobalRevolution, Madrid, Spain on 20 May 2013 at 00:50
The stage

The stage

Madrid, May 19

Dear people,

The Belgian uprising against the Dutch started in a theatre in 1830. Three decades later, the Italians were roused by Verdi’s operas to throw off the yoke of the Austrians. Today, after an amazing performance, it was once again from a theatrical stage that people were invited to rise up.

It took months of preparation. The scenes, the costumes, the music, the songs. Over 150 people took part in the production. The premiere was tonight in the grand hall of Tabacalera Social Centre, a 15M operetta in one act, 45 minutes, accompanied by the Solfonica orchestra. ‘El Crepuscolo del Ladrillo‘, or: ‘The Twilight of the Bricks’.

I was lucky I got in with the press, because the line of people waiting outside went all around the block. There were two shows planned initially, but to satisfy the popular demand, a third show was performed late in the evening. It was a triumph. I couldn’t have hoped for a more stylish return to Madrid.

Basically, the operetta is a very concise history of Spain over the last few decades, culminating in economic crisis and revolt. The libretto was written by José Manuel Naredo, with clear foresight, over twenty years ago. It was adapted and performed in a scenery that represented Acampada Sol.

The Solfonica during the repetitions.

The Solfonica during the repetitions.

For me, who had the privilege to have been there in those days, it was a wonderful déja vu. Not just to see stage pieces painted with the clock tower of Puerta del Sol and the crowded square, but also the cardboard reproductions of the most symbolic slogans and banners. Most famously, the enormous image of Heinrich Himmler with Mickey Mouse ears and a euro logo on his forehead, which dominated the occupied square for weeks. Art was evanescent in the Acampada Sol, and to find it reproduced was a testimony to its value.

The Solfonica starts to play and the stage is filled with happy people. Definitely I’m not the only one with goosebumps. The scene is bucolic, full of love and peace. And backwardness, poverty, or so it seems. But the government officials have the answer. Speculation, privatisation, cement, cement, cement. With the benediction of the church, because frugality is sinful, and investment is good, be it in gold or cement or indulgences.

People flock to the cities, to the factories, the days of old come to an end, and nobody cares for as long as money keeps flowing. Then crisis strikes. People are depressed, the government doesn’t know what to do, so an expert is hired to come up with a solution. This includes a lot of lofty phrases, and comes down to new technologies, communication sciences, services, networks, etc. Eurocrats and economists start to implement the measures. Efficiency is the key. But when the economy collapses once more, the only solution is austerity, discipline, control.

At that point it’s the dream fairy who inspires people to wake up, to recuperate their freedom, their music, their happiness, their love for life. And to overthrow their government, to take the stage, all together, for the grand finale.

During the thunderous applause that followed, a banner was raised by the actors, with a simple message. ‘Rebellion’.

The performance of the Twilight of the Bricks was one night only. But you might be lucky. According to rumours the show will go on tour. If you don’t catch it, you can find the stream of the live broadcast here…

http://www.livestream.com/spanishrevolutionsol/video?clipId=pla_99ed1bc9-aa44-4684-8aa3-4b7d28f9e41a

The Basque 8

In Spain on 20 April 2013 at 12:19

Basque8_large

Sofia, April 20

Dear people,

If this had happened in Iran, China, Russia or Nigeria we would have the liberal press jumping on it. We would have human rights organizations starting campaigns of solidarity. Politicians would complacently point out how much more ‘civilized’ our western democracy is.

Alas, it’s happening in the Basque Country, right here in western Europe. Eight left wing activists have been sentenced to six years in prison for being members of the revolutionary pro-independence movement Segi. According to the Spanish authorities Segi is a terrorist organization, related to ETA. Which makes everyone who can be linked to the organization in any way a legitimate target for political persecution. Even if they are only distributing flyers. Spain is no better than Russia or China.

None of these people have ever set off a bomb. None of them have ever engaged in violent struggle. And yet, they are treated as terrorists.

I remember a long talk I had with a Basque comrade when we were marching to Brussels. According to him, the objective of the Spanish authorities is to stamp out left wing opposition in the Basque country by linking every radical party to ETA. This is what they are doing, with tacit consent of the right wing Basque nationalists.

The day before yesterday, in San Sebastian / Donostia, hundreds of people succesfully rallied around the Basque 8 to prevent them from being arrested. Yesterday, the ‘Ertzaintza’ – the mercenary Basque police at the service of the Spanish state – returned in massive numbers. It took them hours to tear down the human wall, before they could finally take the eight into custody.

Today, hundreds of people laid siege to the prison were the eight are held.

The Basque Eight are not terrorists. They are political prisoners. They should be released immediately.

At the moment, this story is running wild on the social media (#Basque8), but most information is still limited to the Basque language, which is not right. The Basques on the scene should swallow their pride and report on this in Spanish and English as well.

Their struggle is our struggle. We need to know. Injustice concerns us all.

 

Check out more info in English here

(Police action against human wall in San Sebastian, April 19)

 

Check also (in Basque):

http://irutxulo.hitza.info/2013/04/20/ekaitz-iberok-martuteneko-espetxetik-agurtu-du-herri-harresia/

http://paperekoa.berria.info/agenda/2013-04-20/034/002/albistegien_inapetentzia.htm

In English:

http://sonsofmalcolm.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/our-basque-country-revolutionary-family.html

¿Dónde están? No se ven…

In #GlobalRevolution, Madrid, Spain on 12 March 2013 at 00:02
"They leave us without future" photo via @jozusu

“They leave us without future” photo via @jozusu

Dear people,

Protests keep rocking Spain. This time it was the unions. They demanded a change in economic policy, in Spain and in Europe.

The event was largely ignored by the indignant networks, and when it wasn’t it was just to show that “our demonstration was bigger than yours.”

This is the reason. Many people in Spain, especially the indignados, don’t like the big unions. I suppose it’s for the same reason why unions are disliked in many other countries. They tend to sell out for self interest. They tend to lack commitment to real change.

Last Sunday’s protest was organised by UGT and Comisiones Obreras. In 15M demonstrations it’s customary for people to chant about these two particular unions, in resentment. “Where are they? We can’t see them…”

Well here they were, in sixty Spanish cities. They brought tens of thousands of people to the street in Madrid alone. I wonder how many of the hardcore indignados were present.

That’s it from Holland for now. I’m leaving soon. See you all out in the streets this spring.

Opening Salvo

In #GlobalRevolution, Madrid, Spain on 24 February 2013 at 10:37
23F Demonstration in Valencia. Photo via @acampadavlc

23F Demonstration in Valencia. Photo via @acampadavlc

Dear people,

The start of the revolutionary season has become a success. Yesterday, February 23, people all over Spain massively demonstrated against the ‘coup d’état of the markets’.

The date was symbolic. The demos came exactly 32 years after the latest attempt of coup d’état. Some of you may remember the pythonesque images of army officers storming into parliament without knowing what to do next.

Yesterday, all the different waves have united. Students, teachers, miners, doctors, nurses, firefighters, the 15M movement, the platforms against mortgage foreclosures, etc. etc.

In Madrid there were over a 100.000 people, in Barcelona over 40.000. In every other big city in Spain there have been demonstrations, as well as abroad. Solidarity actions were organised in Brussels, London, Paris and Amsterdam.

This time, I haven’t witnessed it in person. But it has been all the more impressive to see the images of the crowds coming in via livestream.

At the Spanish parliament, after the demo, there were speeches by representatives of all the waves, and a concert of the Solfonica orchestra. All the while, in the crowd, someone walked around with a cardboard guillotine…

After the demo there were reports of police firing rubber bullets and charging protesters near Atocha railway station. Over thirty people were arrested.

Police hooligans arresting girl after demo in Madrid. Photo via @Jogueteroto

Police hooligans arresting girl after demo in Madrid. Photo via @Jogueteroto

 

23F Demo in Madrid. Photo @15MBcn_int

23F Demo in Madrid. Photo via @15MBcn_int

 

 

Madrid, aerial view of Neptuno. Photo via @Juanmi_News

Madrid, aerial view of Neptuno. Photo via @Juanmi_News

 

23F in Las Palmas. Photo via @BySanso

23F in Las Palmas. Photo via @BySanso

 

23F Oviedo. Photo via @lvatanax

23F Oviedo. Photo via @lvatanax

 

23F Barcelona. Photo via @15MBcn_int

23F Barcelona. Photo via @15MBcn_int

 

 

 

Citizens’ Wave Rising

In Madrid, Spain on 23 February 2013 at 11:12
Manifesto via Madrilonia.org

Manifesto via Madrilonia.org

February 23, noon.

Dear people,

I’m so excited. Today is the Grand Opening of the Revolutionary Season 2013! Everybody is going to be there. The white wave, the green wave, the red wave the blue wave. Wow. It’s going to be rainbow, it’s going to be everywhere, and it’s just the beginning.

The Puerta del Sol continues to be occupied. Police may harass, police may evict, but they can’t refrain people from returning to their square, over and over again. Notwithstanding the cold, notwithstanding the rain.

People are fed up. They demand that the government resigns, they demand that the economic system serves them, the people, and not the financial and political elites.

In particular, people demand free education, universal health care, decent affordable housing, an end to political corruption, an end to the discrimination of women, gays, coloured people etc. etc. In short, people demand a human society. Today will be the opening salvo. It’s going to be big.

We might not achieve this ambitious yet reasonable goal today, or tomorrow. Not even this year. But we’ll be back, for as long as necessary. We are the people.

The waves will converge on parliament. The building will be stormed. Check out the marches and tonight’s aftermath on SpanishRevolution.TV and on GlobalRevolution.TV.

Me, I’m in the studio for a change. If all goes well with the connection, I’ll be doing comment and translation live on GlobalRev.

Good day, and good luck!

#16F

In Madrid, Spain on 16 February 2013 at 20:00
#16F Demonstration in Valladolid, photo via @15mvalladolid

#16F Demonstration in Valladolid, photo via @15mvalladolid

Dear people,

Today was #16F. A nationwide demonstration for the constitutional right to decent housing. It is ongoing. First estimates say that 80.000 people marched in Barcelona alone. Many thousands more marched in dozens of other cities. The people demand that parliament votes a popular bill against foreclosures into law. And that the government resigns.

Tomorrow, more demonstrations. This time for the right to universal health care.

Stay tuned.

Sol Evicted, Doesn’t Cede

In Madrid, Spain on 11 February 2013 at 18:49
Eviction of Sol this morning. Photo via @LuuNekoNyu

Eviction of Sol this morning. Photo via @LuuNekoNyu

February 11

Dear people,

After a massive demo on Saturday, people in Murcia took the square in solidarity with Sol. This morning, while a growing share of the Spanish population demands that the government steps down and that a popular bill against foreclosures is adopted, both the camps have been evicted by police.

The move comes after a cold and rainy night. Defiant occupiers were holding the square for the eighth night in a row, making an appeal through Twitter for more blankets, canvases and something warm to eat. It took little time before the call was heeded. ‘Start gathering some cups,’ somebody tweeted, ‘I will be down with a pan of soup in 15 mins.’

Since this morning’s eviction police do not even allow for a backpack to be placed on the ground. People have been protesting and holding signs in the square all day. They vow to keep occupying the square one way or another. Tonight, there will be demos in Sol and throughout Spain.

The objective is to bring down the government. Because a government that ignores the just reclamations of the citizens, or that responds to peaceful protests with force, does not have any legitimacy. Especially if it is involved in a corruption scandal that permeates the entire governing party apparatus.

There is only one occupation of public space that needs to be evicted right now. The Moncloa.

Continued resistance at Sol. Photo via @InviernosAlSol

Continued resistance at Sol. Photo via @InviernosAlSol