How one of the many social protests occurring today sprang up seemingly almost overnight. The history of #spanishrevolution. As with all articles of this type, it entirely leaves out any reference to the impact of the rising light energies on the planet. Thanks to Davy.
15-M movement shakes the system
by Jérôme E. Roos, Roar Magazine, May 24, 2011
A reporter for El País spent a week at the heart of the #spanishrevolution, and wrote this incredible piece, translated into English for the first time here.
Jon Aguirre Such gave a hug through clenched teeth. He could not contain his excitement, the accumulated anger, the shared indignation. He was living a dream. A dream that has come true. The dream of many. This articulate and well-spoken young man, a 26-year old architecture student, and now a spokesman for Real Democracy Now, was hugging tightly and angrily. It happened on Tuesday the 17th. Magic Tuesday. At eight o’clock in the afternoon. In the Puerta del Sol.
Yes, because Tuesday revealed the magic of spontaneity. The miracle of communication. The power of spreading the message through social networks. The strength of a new generation.
The drowning feeling of indignation burst at the seams.
Jon had already been moved on Sunday, while leading the demonstration on May 15th. Arriving at the height of the Círculo de Bellas Artes, in Alcalá Street in Madrid, he looked back: it was full of people all the way to Cibeles. ”I almost started to cry. I looked at everyone in amazement: ‘It is possible!”. Jon tells his story with pride, with passion: “We just wrote history. There is no going back.”
Jon Aguirre Such, with its flowered shirt and black jacket, with his thin mustache and his neat black boots, does not obey the classic profile of the antisistema. Neither did the overwhelming majority of those who spontaneously joined the protest, which devoured the political campaigns and transformed all electoral marketing into plastic.
Act fun in sun / Christopher Manuel
People. Lots of people. Colorful people. Of all colors. This is how they are portrayed by El Roto, the teacher. Carrying a large white banner: “The young people took to the streets and suddenly all the political parties got old…”. It’s difficult to express more with less. It’s difficult to better summarize the desire and common feeling of indignation. The cartoon was published on Wednesday, May 18th, in El País. The next day was Magical Tuesday. The indignados made it theirs. That same night, they jumped, reaching out for the streetlights of the Puerta del Sol.
Who was going to tell Carlos, Carlos III, the Statesman, that with an unmoved expression on his face, astride his horse, he would ever lead an army of protesters draped in a long blue skirt and surrounded by colorful balloons? Under his egregious statue a revolt was being cooked, the Acampada del Sol, the demonstration born out of 15-M, which generated mirror movements in Barcelona, Valencia and Vigo, in Brussels, London and New York.
The eyes of young people around the world are all watching the unusual warriors of Don Carlos.
Tuesday the 17th was magical. Magical because nothing had been prepared. Fed by social networks, a spontaneous demonstration bloomed into existence. The 15-M protests, by contrast, had been the fruit of conscious and conscientious labor. Three months of preparation. Tuesday was something else. Something new. Something different.
For Fabio Gándara, the most visible face of Real Democracy Now, it was clear from the beginning, back in December. In the Facebook group in which the 15-M Movement was starting to be born, he was a rush to hold demonstrations. “Some said, ‘Let’s wait. Organizing a protest like this is difficult. Civil society is asleep. Let’s wait three months, let’s work on it.”
Civil society has woken up. Or rather, a part of it. With the youngest at the front. With those who want to be the present and not the future. The millions of unemployed, those who can’t find work, those whose mortgages are on the verge of foreclosure, those who have to fear the arrival of each new bill, those affected by the cuts, disappointed by the poverty of political discourse, outraged by the electoral marketing. A well-educated generation, grown-up in the shadow of San Google, has decided to take to the streets.
How is it possible that such a rude awakening occurred in so little time? Some of those from the ‘analogue world’ have trouble understanding the dynamics of networks. Instantaneous propagation and viral messages. Feedback, the contagion effect, the multiplier effect. Some of those from the analogue world have difficulty understanding how it is possible to operate a flat structure, without leaders or hierarchy. Where everyone contributes. Where everyone feels included.
The Puerta del Sol, on Sunday morning. / CHRISTOPHER MANUEL
Well, as you see, it works.
“They are assemblies of 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” explains Olmo Gálvez, one of the social media wizzkids of Real Democracy Now. “The information is updated, the ideas are added, in a chaotic kind of way, but it works, it yields results. It is as if the network has its own thinking brain. Proposals are made, we reach an agreement and we work.” Olmo Galvez, a 30-year old from Granada working for technological companies, had never attended a demonstration so far. He went to an Opus Dei school and studied business at the ICADE. He is now a part of Democracia Real Ya — or DRY, for those in the know, pronounced the English way. ”I never understood taking to the streets just for the kick of it. The important thing is that the demonstrations are about meeting and connecting with people, and from there things will move forward.”
Things, it turns out, have already begun to move forward.
Tuesday the 17th was magical. Magical because nothing had been prepared.
“About 18 or 20 dudes with a budget of $1,000.” Thus it all started, says Chema Ruiz, spokesman for Madrid’s Platform for those Affected by their Mortgage (PAH), with half a smile on his face. His organization joined DRY two months ago. “We found an assembly-like movement without leaders, a heterogeneous group of people, hopeful of changing things.” So it went.
Fabio Gándara, the man at the origin of it all, a 26-year old lawyer, started the social mobilization project with two friends: Eric Perez and another person who prefers to remain anonymous. In early December there were already about ten people with the same idea. They looked to Iceland. To a society with a strong democratic commitment that had been capable of imprisoning some of those responsible for the crisis, of promoting constitutional reforms. “We saw that the public could change things,” he says, his eyes alert — this young man who came to Madrid from Santiago de Compostela to study law and political science. They looked to the Arab world and watched dysfunctional societies articulating protests through social media. They created a Facebook group, Youth in Action, and a blog.
In January, the base expanded and was opened to social organizations. Its proposal was flattened out a bit further. A new Facebook group was created and inconcisely baptized the ‘Platform for the Coordination of Groups for Citizen Mobilization’. Spontaneously, bloggers were added, as well as members of the citizens’ movement State of Discontent, the Don’t Vote for Them platform — that advocates not to vote for parties that supported the Act Sinde… The list was growing, growing, growing.
The debate between the networks led to the sharing of a number of ideas: outrage at the citizens being forgotten in the crisis, the perversion of the democratic system leading to a bipartisan model, markets imposing antisocial cuts. Bottom line? ”There are two main culprits: the politicians, our supposed representatives, acting in collusion with the major economic powers, and the economic powers themselves, which influence the major political parties, impose a framework of deregulation and speculate on the country bonds,” sums up Gándara. And that’s how they got to their slogan, one of the keys to embracing so many different viewpoints: “Real Democracy Now: we are not goods in the hands of politicians and bankers.”
The slogan quickly became the name of the platform.
A website was created. The movement decentralized. The list of organizations supporting the initiative was getting fatter every day. Everything was being cooked on the Net.
In mid-March, the first local assemblies were convened. The Granada House was the place where the first meeting in Madrid was held. ”There were moments of great enthusiasm. It was rare to meet face to face. All this has turned into something real,” says Gándara. ”We found that people were very different but we agreed on the basics.”
On May 2nd, a meeting was held in the Retiro. 300 people showed up. Priorities were set, anyone who wanted to could talk. ”It was like the speaker’s corner,” Merche Negro – DRY collaborator in communication and head of the audiovisual platform Vudeo.org citizen – recalls, referring to the famous London space for free expression.
Youth Without A Future, the Association of the Unemployed, ADESORG, Don’t Vote for Them, and the ATTAC platform transformed themselves into the engines of the movement. Oxfam and bloggers like Enrique Dans also appeared in the long list of adherents. A multitude of websites stamped their URL’s on the DRY platform.
A week after the demonstration, the vibrations could not be better. The pieces were starting to add up, miraculously, like a game of Tetris. If you needed a sign, someone would show up with one. And as such it arose on May 15, 2011, a date that will go down in history as one of the great successes of citizen mobilization outside of the established political parties and trade unions. More than 80,000 indignados took to the streets all over Spain.
One of the people who came to Puera del Sol hugged one of the policemen deployed there. / LUIS SEVILLANO
The movement became a reality on foot.
Juan Cobo, a 26-year old photographer, returns home that night with a smile from ear to ear. What he has just gone through is unbelievable. He listened to the people of Real Democracy Now and recognized his own voice. When he gets home and hears about the riots, he has moment of huge disappointment. Well, once again, business as usual. But no, this has not been business as usual. This has been something new. Something different.
It’s four in the morning. Juan Cobo is so restless that he decides to return to the Puerta del Sol to thank those who have stayed there overnight. Thank them for enduring.
He arrives at the square and there are about 35 people there. They’re sleeping, they’re getting organized. As they have been doing every night of the week. Working when others sleep. Discussing, agreeing, taking action.
He can’t move away from this. He has never been associated with any social movements. But this is something unique. There is dialog, people listen. There are no leaders, one can truly feel part of the process. The Acampada Sol is being born.
(Continued in Part 2.)