frederic neyrat on Sat, 21 May 2011 13:40:15 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Fwd: [multitudes_colred] Place de la Puerta del Sol, Espagne

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Date : 19 mai 2011 18:45
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 Un article sur le mouvement ?crit par des copains de l'Universidad N?mada.


*On 15thMay 2011, around 150,000 people took to the streets in 60 Spanish
towns and cities to demand ?Real Democracy Now?, marching under the slogan
?We are not commodities in the hands of bankers and politicians?. The
protest was organised through web-based social networks without the
involvement of any major unions or political parties. At the end of the
march some people decided to stay the night at the Plaza del Sol in Madrid.
They were forcefully evacuated by the police in the early hours of the
morning. This, in turn, generated a mass call for everyone to occupy his or
her local squares that thousands all over Spain took up. As we write, 65
public squares are being occupied, with support protests taking place in
Spanish Embassies from Buenos Aires to Vienna and, indeed, London. You
probably have not have read about it in the British press, but it is
certainly happening. Try *#spanishrevolution*, #*yeswecamp,#nonosvamos*or #*
acampadasol*on Twitter and see for yourself. What follows is a text by
Emmanuel Rodr?guez and Tom?s Herreros from the Spanish collective*Universidad


*15**TH**May, from Outrage to Hope*

There is no doubt that Sunday 15thMay 2011 has come to mark a turning point:
from the web to the street, from conversations around the kitchen table to
mass mobilisations, but more than anything else, from outrage to hope. Tens
of thousands of people, ordinary citizens responding to a call that started
and spread on the internet, have taken the streets with a clear and
promising demand: they want a real democracy, a democracy no longer tailored
to the greed of the few, but to the needs of the people. They have been
unequivocal in their denunciation of a political class that, since the
beginning of the crisis, has run the country by turning away from them and
obeying the dictates of the euphemistically called ?markets?.

We will have to watch over the next weeks and months to see how this demand
for *real democracy now*takes shape and develops. But everything seems to
point to a movement that will grow even stronger. The clearest sign of its
future strength comes from the taking over of public squares and the
impromptu camping sites that have appeared in pretty much every major
Spanish town and city. Today??four days after the first march??social
networks are bursting with support for the movement, a virtual support that
is bolstered by its resonance in the streets and squares. While forecasting
where this will take us is still too difficult, it is already possible to
advance some questions thatthis movementhas put on the table.

Firstly, the criticisms that have been raised by the 15thMay Movement are
spot on. A growing sector of the population is outraged by parliamentary
politics as we have come to known them, as our political parties are
implementing it today??by making the weakest sectors of society pay for the
crisis. In the last few years we have witnessed with a growing sense of
disbelief how the big banks received millions in bail-outs, while cuts in
social provision, brutal assaults on basic rights and covert privatisations
ate away at an already skeletal Spanish welfare state. Today, none doubts
that these politics are a danger to our present and our immediate future.
This outrage is made even more explicit when it is confronted by the
cowardice of politicians, unable to put an end to the rule of the financial
world. Where did all those promises to give capitalism a human face made in
the wake of the sub-prime crisis go? What happened to the idea of abolishing
tax havens? What became of the proclamation that the financial system would
be brought under control? What of the plans to tax speculative gains and the
promise to stop tax benefits for the highest earners?

Secondly, the 15thMay Movement is a lot more than a warning to the so-called
Left. It is possible (in fact it is quite probable) that on 22ndMay, when
local and regional elections take place in Spain, the left will suffer a
catastrophic defeat. If that were the case, it would be only be a preamble
to what would happen in the general elections. What can be said today
without hesitation is that the institutional left (parties and major unions)
is the target of a generalised political disaffection due to its sheer
inability come up with novel solutions to this crisis. This is where the
two-fold explanation of its predicted electoral defeat lies. On the one
hand, its policies are unable to step outside a completely tendentious way
of reading the crisis that, to this day, accepts that the problem lies in
the scarcity of our resources. Let?s say it loud and clear: no such a
problem exists, there is no lack of resources, the real problem is the
extremely uneven way in which wealth is distributed, and financial
?discipline? is making this problem even more acute every passing day. Where
are the infinite benefits of the real estate bubble today? Where are the
returns of such ridiculous projects as the airports in Castell?n or Lleida,
to name but a few? Who is benefiting from the gigantic mountain of debt
crippling so many families and individuals? The institutional left has been
unable to stand on the side of, and work with, the many emerging movements
that are calling for freedom and democracy. Who can forgive Zapatero?s words
when the proposal to accept the *daci?n de
rejected by parliament on the basis that it could ?jeopardise the solvency
of the Spanish financial system?? Who was he addressing with these words?
The millions of people enslaved by their mortgages or the interests of major
banks? And what can we say of their indecent law of intellectual property,
the infamous Ley Sinde? Was he standing with those who have given shape to
the web or with those who plan to make money out of it, as if culture was
just another commodity? If the institutional left continues to ignore social
movements, if it refuses to break away from a script written by the
financial and economic elites and fails to come out with a plan B that could
lead us out of the crisis, it will stay in opposition for a very long time.
There is no time for more deferrals: either they change or they will lose
whatever social legitimation they still have to represent the values they
claim to stand for.

Thirdly, the 15thMay Movement reveals that far from being the passive agents
that so many analysts take them to be, citizens have been able to organise
themselves in the midst of a profound crisis of political representation and
institutional abandonment. The new generations have learnt how to shape the
web, creating new ways of ?being together?, without taking recourse to
ideological clich?s, armed with a savvy pragmatism, escaping from
pre-conceived political categories and big bureaucratic apparatuses. We are
witnessing the emergence of new ?majority minorities? that demand democracy
in the face of a war ?of all against all? and the idiotic atomisation
promoted by neoliberalism, one that demands social rights against the logic
of privatisation and cuts imposed by the economical powers. And it is quite
possible that at this juncture old political goals will be of little or no
use. Hoping for an impossible return to the fold of Estate, or aiming for
full employment??like the whole spectrum of the Spanish parliamentary left
seems to be doing??is a pointless task. Reinventing democracy requires, at
the very least, pointing to new ways of distributing wealth, to citizenship
rights for all regardless of where they were born (something in keeping with
this globalised times), to the defence of common goods (environmental
resources, yes, but also knowledge, education, the internet and health) and
to different forms of self-governance that can leave behind the corruption
of current ones.

Finally, it is important to remember that the 15thMay Movement is linked to
a wider current of European protests triggered as a reaction to so-called
?austerity? measures. These protests are shaking up the desert of the real,
leaving behind the image of a formless and silent mass of European citizens
that so befits the interests of political and economical elites. We are
talking here of campaigns like the British *UKUncut*against Cameron?s
policies, of the mass mobilisations of *Gera?ao a Rasca*in Portugal, or
indeed of what took place in Iceland after the people decided not to bail
out the bankers. And, of course, inspiration is found above all in the Arab
Uprising, the democratic revolts in Egypt and Tunisia who managed to
overthrow their corrupt leaders.

Needless to say, we have no idea what the ultimate fate of the 15thMay
Movement will be. But we can definitely state something at this stage, now
we have at least two different routes out of this crisis: implementing yet
more cuts or constructing a real democracy. We know what the first one has
delivered so far: not only has it failed to bring back any semblance of
economic ?normality?, it has created an atmosphere of ?everyman for
himself?, a war of all against all. The second one promises an absolute and
constituent democracy, all we can say about it is that it has just begun and
that is starting to lay down its path. But the choice seems clear to us, it
is down this path that we would like to go.

Tom?s Herreros and Emmanuel Rodr?guez (Universidad N?mada)

(hurriedly translated by Yaiza Hern?ndez Vel?zquez)

please feel free to distribute, copy, quote...

1 <#13009270aa1ab38e_sdfootnote1anc> Dation in payment or *datio in
solutionem*, the possibility of handing in the keys to a property in lieu of
paying the debt accrued on its mortgage.


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