Peripherals Revolt: Spanish Square Occupation Movement Challenges Austerity and Worthless Elections

Date:

Since the demonstrations called last Sunday, the central squares of cities all across Spain have been occupied by camps of protestors, furious at austerity and the uselessness of all the existing politicians and the pointlessness of this coming Sunday's local elections.

The movement consists mainly of young people, both students and unemployed or precarious young workers calling themselves by names such as Juventud Sin Futuro (Youth Without Future) and #DemocraciaRealYa (Real Democracy Now!). Bypassing existing organisations, whether political parties or trade unions, the participants have organised themselves via Facebook and Twitter, in the manner of the Tunisian and Egyptian activists of the Arab Spring.

The camp in Madrid's central Puerta del Sol square was cleared out by brutal police attack on the first night of the occupation, last Sunday. But this only provoked greater numbers to come out and retake the square the following day. The movement, now calling itself the May 15th movement - after last Sunday's beginning - has camps in squares across Spain, including in Barcelona, Grenada, Seville, Valencia and many other cities.

After the failure of the police assault on the Madrid camp, the state has responded with further threats of repression. Last night the electoral commission ruled that the occupations were illegal in light of the local elections on Sunday, and people should leave at once. The news, when announced late last night was met by boos and defiance by the assembled protesters who refuse to be silenced and treated like cattle, expected to suffer in silence the economic desolation of their lives and communities for the profits of the banks and the Euro bosses.

Furious at the burgeoning unemployment and a political system that offers them nothing but two main parties who only compete to out do each other in the savagery of the cuts they propose, the protesters have called for a boycott of both main political parties at the elections. For the rest they are creating their agenda by means of mass assembly meetings, using horizontal and grassroots democratic methods. The corporate media is completely unnerved by their inablility to find any leaders or figureheads amongst the movements and the wildest of conspiracy theories about who might be "behind it all" circulate in their reports. But the protesters themselves are completely united on their determination to express themselves and participate in creating change directly, without need for representatives or intermediaries.

Solidarity demonstrations have taken place in other parts of Europe, in Italy and in Berlin.  Today Spanish people living in Ireland announce to RTÉ that they will meet at The Spire on Dublin's O'Connell Street at 2pm tomorrow to join a silent protest in support of the demands of the May 15th movement.

edit: Protests have now also been called for Cork, Grand Parade from 12pm tomorrow, and Galway, 2pm Spanish Arch. A map of the current campmaps is at http://www.thetechnoant.info/campmap/

edit 2: here's the FB link for the Dublin protest which has a brief manifesto and a load of decent links - http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=202503726457580

Like what you're reading?
Find out when we publish more via the
WSM Facebook
& WSM Twitter