Summary of the Spanish Uprising
There is a real lack of awareness in the anglo world about what's been happening here in Spain. �The Arab revolutions are more easily reduced to a simple and often flattering narrative 1) people vs. dictatorship 2) they want to have governments like ours. �The social revolution in Spain doesn't condense to such an easy story. It's about the decadence and malfunction of our modern democracies, about the influence of capital and finance over government that has left us impotent to shape our societies. Spain's elections last sunday saw 33% abstention: a third of the electorate actively refusing to vote. That number doesn't include the half a million people who went to polls only to �submit a blank protest ballot, a world record. Beginning on May 15th Spaniards, inspired by Egypt's Tahrir Square.�occupied their plazas with camps. This is no just in Madrid and Barcelona, �here is a list of over one hundred plaza camps. �The numbers range from tens of �people �in little towns to tens of �thousands in the bigger cities. The common goal here is deep political and economic change, call it democracy 2.0, post-capitalism, the possibilities are many. This is a movement with it's head floating in utopia but it's feet firmly on the ground. Vamos despacio porque vamos lejos = we go slowly because we are going far. �Here is a brief�manifesto in english. I've spent a lot of time these last two weeks in Plaza Catalunya, which is a large public space at the very heart of Barcelona. Think Trafalgar or Times Square.�This plaza is now a parallel universe, a commerce-free micro-world. A potlatch culture of sharing, plus improvised architecture of tents and cables, make it feel like a politicized urban version Burning Man. You can find libraries, gardens!, health clinics and kitchens, 24-hour debates and an overdose of information. The activities of the camp are carefully organized. Throughout the day there are commissions, meetings, and working groups. In the evening the numbers swell until about 9pm, when, for precisely one hour, everyone makes a hellacious racket, banging on pots and pans, shaking their keys, blowing horns and beating drums. This is followed by a general assembly at 10pm, where the days commissions report their proposals or decisions. Mass votes are taken by consensus using hand gestures. Closing out the evening is an open-mic, where people have three minutes to speak their minds. Yesterday, 27 May, at 7am,� riot police violently evicted the Barcelona camp, they hauled away thirty garbage trucks of stuff, nearly all of the camp's�infrastructure (tents, tarps, sound system, kitchen). By afternoon the plaza was retaken by sheer numbers. Last night the people couldn't� fit in the plaza, spilling into the bordering streets and effectively shutting down the heart of the city's transportation. Their eviction plan backfired spectacularly. Nobody knows where this is going, but it has already accomplished much- a giant collective shedding of apathy and cynicism, and a defiance of every stereotype about disorganized mediterraneans. On a personal note, I have never been more confident in my decision to immigrate to spain than in the last few weeks.