The 15-M Movement or the Spanish “outraged” will keep on camping in the streets of Spain after the regional and municipal elections, being held today. At 20.00h, the polls will be closed, and by midnight the counting of votes will provide the elected politicians and parties, and therefore, the outcome of the pools will present the effect of the Spanish revolution. The assembly of the concentration in Plaza del Sol, the emblem of the revolution in Madrid, has come to the agreement to keep on camping until next Saturday at least, when popular assemblies in the neighbourhoods of Madrid will be held for every citizen to express their proposals, to debate, and to reflect. They will decide then how to move forward. The Commission of ‘Permanence’ has been created to keep the demands alive, fighting for a true democracy. Meanwhile, the masses in Barcelona have also decided to not dismantle the camps, which previously has aroused the flame of the uprising. The decisions within each assembly in Spain, reached as well within the committees created by expats in different countries, may vary, but all agree to keep on protesting to reinforce their demands for change, and to prevent that this beautifully cohesive movement of outraged people disperses.
Evolution of the Spanish revolution
The protests started on April, 7, with a demonstration in the Spanish capital convened by the Platform “Youth Without Future” and would extend until May, 15, when every single citizen was summoned to take the streets under the theme: “We are not goods in the hands of politicians and bankers”. These uprisings were initiated by the civilian digital Platform “Real Democracy Now”, independent from political parties and syndicates, which sheds light on the social character of the protests. The mobilizations are stunningly of a large scale nature, gathering over 130.000 people across dozens of cities that day. The most emblematic square in the capital, Plaza del Sol, has become the new Tahrir Square since the protests began- the square where to stand out freely for their rights, the square where a homogeneous call for a change within the political system is being launched. The Spanish revolution, also referred to as 15-M Movement appears close to the municipal elections to be held on May 22.
The protests are carried out by a population that is fed up with the two-party system which people do not feel represented by. They regard these two main parties as lions merely struggling for the executive power, tarnishing their promises with lies, rather than faithful political parties committed to their citizens’ demands and to strive for measures that would overcome the dark statistics that blur the development of Spain. Furthermore, these protests appear at a time where the youth unemployment rate raises up to 43%, the highest in Europe.
For a more participatory democracy
Regardless of the multiple and heterogeneous voices within the demonstrators, this movement is featured by the generalized annoyance of the Spanish population, their disenchantment and disillusion, resulting in a shared demand of a radical change of Spanish politics. We are observing how people from different ages, political ideologies or social class are coming together, building a strong and cohesive body of pressure; a revolt of united people with a common rejection against Spanish politicians, the two-party system between PSOE and PP and political corruption. The mass of youngsters, parents and children, students and workers, the jobless and the pensioners that are packing the squares and camping there, are joining forces in order to make the political and economical powers understand that the Spanish population is sick and tired of their dirty game and selfish interests that are darkening the present and the future of Spanish people. At the same time, they are standing for basic rights such as rights to have a home, to work, access to culture, to health or to education.
The basic demands focus on three main points:
1. Reform of the Electoral System so that every Spanish citizen’s vote counts the same in the distribution of seats, regardless the region they come from.
2. True separation of powers: independence of the judiciary from the executive, and reform of the Senate so that it abandons its virtual power, by acting just as a mere process to the Congress.
3. Political regeneration: Open lists, suppression of the public funding of political parties, perpetual disqualification for the public charges condemned for corruption, suppression of the unwarranted privileges that go hand in hand with public offices, publication of their personal assets before and during their functions.
“If you don’t let us dream, we won’t let you sleep”
These are one of the first massive demonstrations in the history of Spanish democracy where the political differences amongst the protesters have been put aside for a common good, for a common cause driven by a shared outraging. This is not a Spain divided in two, but thousands of individuals that by exercising their freedom of expression are building a strong civil society, providing a unique message to Europe that the Spanish population has woken up from the lethargy to actively exhibit their claims. Thousands of protesters show their fury reciting slogans such as “they call it democracy, but it is not”, “if you don’t let us dream, we won’t let you sleep” and holding or hanging posters and banners to make their vindications visible. A crowd of protesters that emerged spontaneously and turned out to be a cohesive and organized group of “outraged” that holds meetings and arranges committees and assemblies to better set up the needs for the demonstrations and communicate with the media. In the end, the Spanish revolution is a large number of committed and thoughtful citizens seeking for change, looking forward to recover a dignity that has been lost through the passive eye of the political system.
“The voice is our weapon”
All demonstrations are taking place under the ethics of pacific reunions to show the world that the people’s voice is the only weapon used to stand for their rights, to struggle against the stubbornness of the political system, mercenary of financial lobbies and economical interests. The peaceful nature of the protests contrasts with the violence used by the security forces to smother them. Indeed, a video issued proves the presence of infiltrator police officers to provoke disturbances and provide a joker card to the politicians to support their unjustified actions, as for instance, the statement issued by the President of the Regional Electoral Committee of Madrid last Wednesday declaring the protests illegal because “calls for a responsible vote can change the results of the elections”. However, this decision did only encourage more protesters to take the streets who defended “the right to assemble peacefully and unarmed. The exercise of this right shall not require prior authorization” –as it is provisioned by the Article 21.1 of the Constitution-.
This is a historic moment of a civil society committed to struggle together, regardless of their political ideology, their faith, believes or their social position. The resulted trending topic on Twitter, #spanishrevolution, #acampadasol or even #europerevolution is not a movement guided by trends, but instead a beautiful movement driven by an unsustainable, desperate and terrible situation that has been weighing down the hopes of the citizens for a bright present. This revolution is the portrait of a civil society unable to foresee any future for themselves, their children or their grown-ups; and the voice of the people dreaming the future of their country is different from that of the current forecast.
The Spanish Revolution goes beyond borders
The flame of the Spanish revolution has also crossed the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and even the Pacific lighted by the outraging and nonconformity of the population. As with the Arab spring, the domino effect was expected to arrive, spreading beyond Spanish borders and reaching The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Portugal, France, Germany or United Kingdom, where expats and affiliates to the protesters’ claims from different nationalities started demonstrating on May, 15, following the generalized call from the platform “Real Democracy Now”, aiming to Europeanize the movement. From New York to Japan, fervent supporters of the Spanish people unite forces to join the outraged. Inspired by the Spanish mobilizations, Italians and Mexicans have taken the streets to protest against the corruption and the impunity that surrounds it and that push their society into economical, political and social misery. So whether they are demonstrations convened by the Spanish people abroad or a copy of the revolts taking place Spain, a “spring of frustration” spreads all over the world.
For all the above, as Platform “Real Democracy Now” states in its Manifesto:
I am outraged.
I think I can change it.
I think I can help.
I know that together we can.