It’s great. I feel like this party tent with folding chairs and makeshift tables has become the centre of the world. I talk to comrades from Brazil, from Sicily, from the Czech Republic and from Turkey who are here gathering and disseminating information 22 hours a day. I dictate letters to beautiful women who write them down in correct Spanish and send them out in all directions. I collect information coming in through social media and alternative news sites. Just outside our office there’s a map of Spain, one of Europe and one of the world, speckled with red dots. They are increasing every day. There is an unconfirmed report of a square being occupied in Cologne. On the other side of the table a comrade starts to laugh. He has lived in Germany for a year. “That’s bound to fail. Germans can’t improvise. If they miss their bus, they panic.” He a likeable guy. He is neatly trimmed and shaved, and he walks around in suit and tie with a big smile. His motto: “The revolution must be conducted with elegance.”
Messages keep coming in. Beware, comrades, the movement is starting to spread to the north. It seems it has already arrived in Liege, where there has been the first reported case of a mayor giving permission for an occupation! Also our neighbours in Portugal have started to occupy squares in the big cities. But the biggest news comes from America. In Los Angeles, people are camping on the beach, there is talk of concentrations in Milwaukee and Maryland. There is even said to be a public meeting on Washington Square in New York!
The movement that was born here in Madrid is starting to take a global shape, whether you know it or not. The antiquated media, just like the politicians, do not seem to understand what is going on, or maybe they don’t want to. But that does not matter. They will soon be redundant. People who can organise themselves – and my god, they’ve shown here that they can! – no longer need them. Just like they don’t need banks and other fictitious institutions. We are accustomed to think that the world is the way it is, because this is the way it should be and otherwise it wouldn’t work. This is not only nonsense, it’s an insult to human intelligence and creativity.
History teaches us that people are able to organise themselves in countless ways, and the future will show that they still are. For people are not crazy! Sure, if all people lead their own little lives in their own little homes, absorbing the same vulgar trash all together, it may appear that they’re crazy. But when the artificial walls are torn down and people start to reason collectively, you will see: it will be fireworks! This is the miracle of Puerta del Sol. People no longer think in terms of ‘I’, but in terms of ‘we’. If we want it, if we really really want it, then our destiny lies in our own hands. And if we want to remain slaves of a system that transforms everything, humans and their environment, into waste, then we can do that as well. But even then, Puerta del Sol will have been a victory, if only because we have given ourselves and the rest of the world a taste of freedom.
I take my ragged white bag, I put on my discoloured cap and I step outside. I need to get out for a moment. It’s night time, I walk through the park to have some space, some peace and some green around me, and time to try to process all of today’s impressions. When I want to go back the gate of the park is closed. And the next one is too. I walk around the park, it takes half an hour before I finally find the only exit that is still open.
I am in a neighbourhood of Madrid which is unknown to me, and I want to return to Sol. Which way is it? It beats me. On a corner I see that there’s is small occupation going on. But those people are not protesters, it’s a family that lives out on the square because they could not pay their mortgage. They show me the way, I wish them luck. Their struggle is our struggle. Then I come across a drifter. Once he begins to rattle, like many people who spend their days and nights in loneliness on the streets, he doesn’t stop. He tells me about the immigrants from Latin America, he tells me that companies prefer a ‘clandestine’ from Ecuador at two euros per hour over a ‘legal’ Spaniard for five. He tells me that many immigrants are cramped into small apartments by the dozens, and that landlords exploit them even more than they do with the natives. I take note of it.
When I return to Sol I read a poster of a desperate mother who has lost her son. He was a construction worker. To save money, the safety regulations on the yard where not observed by the contractor. If they had given the boy a helmet he would have lived. He was 22 years old. His mother wants justice. Not only for her son but also for the other two people who were killed in the same fashion a year later.
I have been asked to explain why people in Spain have rebelled. My detailed analysis of this will take some time coming. But you will agree with me, comrades, that each of the aforementioned reasons is enough to rebel against this inhuman system.
Hasta la Victoria,
Sometimes I have a feeling that it is all a game. Take yesterday for example. Together with a comrade that I met in the library, who speaks better French than I do, we were writing a comunicado to our comrades on Place de la Bastille.
“Salut Paris! Ici Madrid! How is the battle coming along? Are you in control of the Bastille? Here at Puerta del Sol the first General Popular Assembly is in session!”
Is this real? Are we taking ourselves seriously?
Me, not completely. Life is a game. If you can not live it with a twist, then there’s something you just didn’t quite understand.
Evening falls. The General Assembly is convened. We must decide whether we stay or not. Repeatedly the debate is interrupted by the latest news. “Tens of thousands of people are on the streets in Athens!” The square explodes. But moments later it’s dead quiet. The connection comrade is on the phone with Paris. “The police have begun the evacuation of the Bastille.” People hold their breath. “Tear gas is used.”
That tear gas is definitely real.
After the initial shockwave, the square picks up courage again. Last words from Paris: “We’ll be back!” Applause. The square chants: “Paris is not alone! Paris is not alone!”
What the big wigs do not seem to realise is that the use of force against peaceful demonstrators only strengthens our movement. It goes to show who is on the civilised side, and who isn’t. We are increasingly convinced that this battle must be fought, unyieldingly and without fear, with flowers instead of clubs. One of the speakers sums it up: “Greece is in revolt. In Paris and various French cities the squares are being taken. There are reports of occupations in England as well. All of them, they look at us. Puerta del Sol is an example to the world. And here we are, asking ourselves whether we should lift our tents?”
At the end of the Assembly the proposal to stay is adopted by a sea of waving hands. We go on.
I walk back to Communications. There is a report of people demonstrating in front of the French Embassy. I go.
Comrades, our movement continues to amaze me. At the word ‘demonstration’ you usually think of a group of angry people yelling slogans. But when I arrive I find nothing of the sort. There is no one who organises it, but the silence is complete. A few hundred people stand in front of the embassy with their hands up. Just to say, our will is stronger than your weapons.
Then somewhere a set of keys goes up into the air, and another, and another. ‘Ting! Ting! Ting!’ It gets louder and louder. There are two police vans protecting the embassy. I wonder if these cops ever witnessed a protest that was anything like this.
The tinkling dies away. Without a word, people turn their backs on the embassy. They sit down in reflective silence. Lightning flickers over the city. All of a sudden the stone lions on the roof of the embassy emerge fearsomely from darkness. The people stand up. For the first time you hear a very soft whisper going around. “In three minutes, a scream. Pass it on.”
Three minutes later, the crowd burst into cheers, overwhelmingly. Lightning cuts the sky. Then people turn around, they go back to Puerta del Sol, singing the Marseillaise.
It’s late when I return. I report about what happened in Communications and I walk over to Infrastructure to get a blanket. I have decided to sleep in the nursery tonight, because the Moroccan neighbourhood where I found shelter these last few days has turned into a mess. I spread out a beautifully clean piece of cardboard between the toys and the snoring comrades. And just as I finally put myself to rest, the downpour bursts loose. The canvases we use for shelter can’t deal with it. Everything and everyone is flushed awake. The cardboard turns into porridge, the blankets get wet. People run back and forth to drain the water from the canvases and prevent them from collapsing. But when it finally stops, a bursting cheer rises up from the camp.
Also against the elements.
All the best,
Puerta del Sol, 29 Mai 2011
Ici Madrid, la section de ‘Communication’ de Puerta del Sol.
Hier, les differentes assemblées des quartiers et des villages madrilens ont eu un grand succes. Ce matin, les representants des assemblées se sont reunis dans la première Assemblée Populaire Génerale, célébrée à la Puerta del Sol.
Le mouvement est entrain de se répandre, et nous avons su qu’à la Place de La Bastille vous avez montré votre solidarité pour notre mouvement. Nous vous en remercions enormement et nous aimerions savoir comment se deroule la situation a Paris.
Avez-vous occupée la place? Quelles sont vos revendications? Savez-vous si d’autres villes de la France ont suivi votre exemple?
Nous vous souhaitons beaucoup du courage dans cette lutte.
Menons-la tous unis,
Hasta la Victoria!
Yesterday was a great day. For a week they have been working on it at Extension. It was the day that ‘Sol’ would spread out over all neighbourhoods of Madrid and the surrounding towns and villages. Or not. The future of this movement was at stake.
We bet it all, and we won. The expansion has become a huge success. Popular assemblies have been organised in more than a hundreds villages and neighbourhoods, where hundreds to sometimes thousands of people attended. And best of all, it was not just the young. There were mostly elderly and families with children present. The people from the neighbourhood.
Our model of direct democracy has struck a cord. It finally gives people a voice. No longer does it end up on the bottom of a ballot every four years, no, it is heard.
The assemblies operate as follows. A moderator and a secretary are elected. These functions rotate, so nobody gets the opportunity to step up. The moderator ensures that everyone who has something to say gets his speaking turn in the order in which it is requested and within the subject that is currently being treated. The secretary is responsible for the minutes that are to be published at the end of each assembly or working group meeting.
Also, each working group sends a spokesman to the General Assembly to report on what the group is doing. Like any other function, spokespersons are rotative.
Voting in favour is done by waving both hands. Opposition to a proposal is expressed by crossing ones arms over ones head. If a large majority is in favour of a proposal, there is always asked if anyone categorically opposes it. If so, that person will get the floor to explain his or her reasons. It is not a dictatorship of the majority. People look for consensus through collective reasoning. If a significant minority continues to have objections a compromise is looked for that is acceptable to all.
The success of the neighbourhood assemblies is so big that most of them have already decided to convene on a regular basis. Then their spokespersons will bring the decisions of the neighbourhoods and villages to the General Popular Assembly at Puerta del Sol.
At the time of writing, Sunday May 29 2011, at a quarter past two in the afternoon, the first General Popular Assembly is convened at Puerta del Sol. The square isn’t large enough for all. The atmosphere you breathe is one that I’ve never felt before, one that I never even thought possible. We are working on something very big. We are making history. ‘Democracy’ is no longer an empty phrase, apropriated by a small group of politicians. It has become a reality.
Sometimes I have trouble comprehending it all. I almost become emotional. I think of the Agora of Athens. I think of the Founding Fathers of the United States. I think of the images of the mass demonstrations in East Germany in November 1989.
“Wir sind das Volk!”
I don’t sleep much, but I have energy to spare. I wish I could be everywhere at the same time, on all the squares, in all the working groups. I wish I could absorb all the information that is going around our movement. But I’m just me. A single neuron in a huge brain that is becoming aware of its own collective intelligence. I‘m doing what I can. I need to document this.
Sometimes the feeling of euphoria can turn into a kind of despair when our spontaneous organisation suddenly grinds to a halt. There I am, writing a piece in the Communications office whilst messages which have to be published are coming in from all sides. But the internet is down again, and the guys of Web are nowhere to be found. At such times it’s very frustrating not to be in touch with what’s happening in the cities and villages, and in all the countries that have seen the light of Puerta del Sol shining in the distance. And yet, when I ask the Megaphone to announce that we need information technicians, then they show up on the doorstep right away to re-establish our contact with the world.
This morning I was translating a manifesto of our comrades in Paris into English, see below. The tone is truly revolutionary, and I cannot help but feel a certain pride when I read that people in the capital of Revolution – on Place de la Bastille! – are inspired by what is happening at Puerta del Sol!
Comrades, take the squares and take the streets! They are yours! Once you have tasted a piece of real democracy, you’ll never want something else again!
Hasta la victoria,
Real Democracy Now!!!!
After the current financial crisis began in 2008 our democratically elected representatives have decided to make us, the citizens, pay the price for it, instead of those who are responsible: the banks. The European democracies have been hijacked by the international financial markets. Citizens are being strangled by the austerity plans that are being imposed all over Europe. Unemployment has skyrocketed and has plunged millions of people into precarious conditions and even misery. This crisis affects everybody. While the value of the French stock exchange has doubled, unemployment has reached 25% among young people. In Spain the unemployment rate for people under 35 has even gone up to 40 percent.
Faced with this situation, the people of Spain have risen up. As from the 15th of May tens of thousands of people are occupying public spaces day and night. The Real Democracy Now! movement is rooted in two fundamental demands: democratic regeneration and the defense of social rather than economic policies. It has sprung up as a truly spontaneous civil movement, completely independent and self administered.
As a result of recent demonstrations of solidarity organised by the Spanish community in France, we, French citizens, have come to identify ourselves with the aspirations of the Spanish people. We call on all people to become an active part of this dynamic movement for change. The Arab uprisings have crossed the Mediterranean Sea. The Spanish awakening sends a message to all people of Europe to seize this opportunity.
Faced with a political oligarchy which has monopolised democratic institutions, we demand the formation of Constituent Assemblies to remind our representatives that sovereignty should be exercised by the people.
Faced with a fistful of the ultra rich parasiting on society we demand a redistribution of wealth.
We call on everybody to organize peaceful occupations of public squares. By taking possession of our public space we will proceed to decide together our goals (civil, political, cultural and artistic), and the means with which to achieve them.
Exploitation will only be confined by our resistance!
Voted by the General Assembly in Paris,
Place de la Bastille, Sunday 22 May 2011
General Assembly every night at 7 PM in Place de la Bastille
Popular gathering out of solidarity with the Spanish uprising on Sunday 29 May at 2 P.M.
It’s quiet in Communications at noon, so quiet that I’m extremely busy. I haven’t got a moment of time to look at the international papers and the independent media. From all sides people want to drop their communications with me. One message must be forwarded to the working group, another has to be announced by the Megaphone, and yet another has to be uploaded onto the web. But the internet is down, and the comrades from Web have vanished. However efficient our spontaneous organisation may seem from the outside, on the inside things are not always going smoothly.
Then there are the people who come up to the desk to be informed. We have seen a lot of different nationalities dropping by. Even a Dutch anthropologist who came here to study the New Human. But thus far I hadn’t yet encountered a girl from China.
She wants to know exactly what’s going on. Her English is well disciplined and slow, you can see her thinking at every word she pronounces.
“So the people want their money back?” she asks.
I honestly thought that I had misunderstood. “Excuse me?”
She repeats the question literally. I scratch myself under my cap, and I realise that some explanation is in order.
“It’s a little bit more complicated than that …”
I try to explain it simply and synthetically. I tell her about the banks. About people who borrow money to pay for a house. About high housing prices and low incomes. About unemployment, speculation, vacancy. About converging political and economic interests.
She nods to show she understands. She looks at me with wide open eyes. At the end she says: “But… that sounds exactly like what is happening in China!” I get an acute sense of planetary brotherhood. She offers to help us translate our manifesto into Chinese.
“By all means, comrade! Come in, sit down, here’s a pen, here’s a paper, and here is a copy of the manifesto in English. If there’s something you don’t know, just ask.”
Well, comrades, I’ve learned something today about the way the English language is taught in China. The first word was still easy. “What is a ‘concentration’?”
“In this case it means a gathering of people.”
“Okay.” She goes on translating. Then she asks the next word. She repeats it twice but I don’t understand her. Then she points it out in the manifesto. The word is ‘dignity’.
I take a deep breath. Try explaining a word like that in English so that someone from China knows exactly what you’re saying. I didn’t succeed. We did not come any further than ‘human rights’, and that isn’t quite the same thing.
“Wait here,” I say, “this is important.” Internet still isn’t working, so I walk over to the Library. It keeps growing fast every day. Now we even have a twenty volume encyclopaedia at our disposal. But no English-English dictionary yet. I ask around if anyone can help us restore the connection. “Es muy urgente, compañeros. We need to give a comrade from China an accurate description of the concept of dignidad.” Eventually we manage to get the web working. “Here,” I say, “now I can also show you what Wikipedia is.”
“Dignity is a term used in moral, ethical, and political discussions to signify that a being has an innate right to respect and ethical treatment.” Whether it’s enough, I do not know, she still seems to be processing the words one at a time. Luckily, a comrade comes along who has looked up the Chinese translation on her smartphone. Two elegant characters. A broad smile appears on her face. She knows exactly what we’re talking about.
It would not be the last word she didn’t know. “What is ‘solidarity’?” she asks later on. “What is a ‘volunteer’?”
Ronald Reagan once claimed that the Russians do not even have a word for freedom. They have three. How many words the Chinese use for the concepts of human dignity and solidarity, I can’t say, but each time she nodded with a smile, I knew we got a hold of one.
When she finishes, she is happy and content. She stands up. “There you go.” The Chinese translation of our manifesto in latin characters. “The only way for us to resist in China is by spreading information clandestinely over the internet”, she says. But even that is risky. For her it’s unconceivable that we have the opportunity to protest like this here in the west. “If we were to try this in China, we would suffer the consequences on our skin.”
I think I understand what she is referring to.
“Good luck!” she says when she is about to return to the busy streets of our global village.
“Good luck to you, comrade. You need it more than we do.”
Puerta del Sol is the heart of Madrid. In the monumental buildings around the square the big economic giants have set up their offices or opened their fast food subsidiaries. McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, the Spanish equivalent of the Woolworth’s and the banks. After more than ten days of occupation there still hasn’t appeared any graffiti on them. They are all open like normal, and no-one who enters or exits will be harassed in any way by protesters.
After this morning’s events in Barcelona, it is clear who is on the side of civilisation. And I’m not talking about the policemen who evicted protesters from the Plaça de Catalunya, destroying their camp. Ninety-nine wounded. By now, the square is again firmly in the hands of the demonstrators. For the 15M Movement today has been a great moral victory.
Tonight at seven o’clock there was a mass rally in solidarity with the comrades from Barcelona here in Puerta del Sol. People had brought flowers. Over their heads it’s a sea of colours. “These are our weapons! These are our weapons!” is chanted, and the people are happy to jump. They feel strong. They are getting stronger.
At two hundred meters from Puerta del Sol there is parliament. The road to it was blocked during the event. For the first time riot police have appeared in the streets of Madrid. But as yet it doesn’t seem to be very threatening. Some thirty policemen with shields, helmets and billy clubs. In the surrounding streets I have counted a dozen police vans with reinforcements.
In these cases I like to stand in the front line and observe the faces behind the helmets one by one. I want to see the similarities between those boys in uniform and our comrades here in the square, I want to see if they can keep a straight face when the protesters are shouting to them from a civilised distance: “You have a mortgage as well! / You have a mortgage as well!” Just to say, you are slaves of the banks like us.
They keep their cool, and they are relaxed. If it weren’t for all their attributes, they wouldn’t radiate any aggressiveness. Unlike Barcelona, the police here has behaved pretty well until now. It’s typical, when the demonstrators eventually return to the square, a couple of comrades from Respect (the commission responsible for safety) have a little talk with the commander. His taut face melts. Suddenly things seem to be pretty friendly.
Today’s moral victory and the strong solidarity shown by Spain’s occupied squares has given the movement new impetus. To build on this, manifestos were being distributed tonight. The movement is aimed at everyone, old and young, workers, entrepreneurs and unemployed. It presents itself as heterogeneous, left wing and right wing, religious and not. What unites the movement is the feeling that the current political-economic class does not represent us.
Today the movement also presented a document consisting of ten points, the first practical demands. Immediate dissolution of parliament is one them. Followed by the formation of a Constituent assembly which should pave the way for real, just and direct democracy.”
Yesterday I was visiting the Legal working group, and I took a look at the Spanish Constitution. It was striking. Many of the things the protesters demand are literally present in the Constitution. Serious separation of powers, serious separation of church and state. Social equality, employment, right to proper housing, private enterprises subordinate to the public interest, etc.
What the demonstrators in Madrid and throughout Spain essentially want is that the Spanish Constitution is put into practice.
From the press center of the revolution, dear comrades, I salute thee!
I have officially joined ‘Communications’ to be able to contribute to the dissemination of news about the unprecedented events going on here in Spain. Just now I have been talking to a journalist from Poland who had come to Madrid specifically to report on Acampada Sol.
This morning, the police have evacuated Plaça de Catalunya in Barcelona by force. One hundred people were injured. The protesters have reoccupied the square immediately. I’ve been translating the press release about it into English. It has now been sent out into the world. See attachment.
I’ll keep you informed.
Today 27 May at 7 AM riot police have proceeded to evacuate the peaceful gathering of citizens demanding a society in which human values prevail over economical and political interests. The evacuations took place in the Catalan cities of Barcelona, Lleida and Badalona.
The evacuation of Plaça de Catalunya in Barcelona was perpetrated with unprovoked brutality by police forces. From the Acampada Sol gathering in Madrid we firmly codemn the way with which police units have acted. They have disgracefully violated the citizens’ freedoms of expression, demonstration and peaceful gathering which are fundamental human rights guaranteed by the Constitution. We call on all the other occupied squares in Spain to join us in this condemnation.
The people camped in Barcelona’s Plaça de Catalunya have responded to the brutal actions of riot police through peaceful resistance. At least 99 citizens are reported to have been wounded in the unprovoked attack.
After the evacuation of the camp, police forces have taken away computers with which citizens’ opinions have been collected, furniture, and food that has been voluntarily donated by the citizens of Barcelona. Immediately after police forces had lifted the cordon around the square the Plaza de Catalunya has once again been occupied by thousands of protesters who had remained in the surroundings. We can confirm that at 3 PM today over 3000 people had begun rebuilding the camp.
From the Barcelona encampment three major gatherings have been called for today:
– At 5 PM: Gathering at the statue of Columbus.
– At 7 PM: Massive gathering in the Plaça de Catalunya
– At 9 PM: Pan bashing in Plaça de Catalunya
We confirm that also in Lleida there have been confrontations following the evacuation of the encampment in Plaza Ricard Vinyes at 7 AM this morning. As a result of this two people have been arrested. Both have been released shortly after. A new gathering has been called for in the same square at 7 PM this evening. The Plaça de la Vila in Badalona has also been evacuated.
Confronted with these evacuations, the Acampada Sol has called for a manifestation of soldarity to be held in the Puerta del Sol square this evening at 7 PM.
It has just turned Wednesday. I have found a corner in the ‘Politics’ working group to bring you a report on what is going on here. It’s too much for words, so I will be limited to a series of rough sketches. The rest is up to your imagination.
The comrades around me are discussing excitedly. They have just returned from a three-hour assembly of ‘Politics’ on one of the squares behind Sol, and now they cheerfully keep going on. It’s a constant buzz, all the time, all around. And you can always hear the sound of a guitar or a tambourine, and sometimes a violin or a harp to accompany the buzz. It only stops when the companion of Internal Coordination asks for it through the megaphone: “Por favor, a minute of silence at the stroke of midnight out of solidarity with our comrades in Syria.” Then the square, filled with over 25.000 people, is dead silent. Afterwards, applause. “Madrid stands as one with all peoples who are fighting for their freedom!” Cheers.
What am I doing here at the Politics working group? I do not know, they were looking for volunteers, so I signed up. I have to help them run the place because all the other comrades are in assembly. It doesn’t matter that my Spanish is not that good. You just have to talk, then one way or another you will understand each other. Someone from ‘Culture’ comes along, he asks if we can better synchronise our schedules, because today ‘Culture’ and ‘Politics’ gathered at the same time at the same square, which led to some interference. So they kindly request us to adapt and pass it on to Internal Coordination.
In Internal Coordination you will find a large scheme with all the cultural activities and the meetings of the working groups. ‘Economy’, ‘Art’, ‘Immigration’, ‘Education’, ‘Environment’, ‘Legal’, ‘Thinking’, ‘Action’, ‘Music’, ‘Theatre’, ‘Spirituality’. Every day new groups are born. ‘Extension’ is very popular these last few days. For next weekend they are organising assemblies in all the neighbourhoods and all villages and towns around Madrid. They are collaborating intimately with ‘Communications’ on this.
On the tourist maps of the acampada which you can get at ‘Information’ you will not only find the working groups, but also the commissions that form the backbone of the camp’s practical organisation. ‘Nutrition’ I, II and III, ‘Respect’ I and II, ‘First Aid’ I and II, ‘Kindergarten’, ‘Library’, ‘Toilets’, ‘Waste’. Along the fountain a little Vegetable Garden was set up yesterday. From today all plastic, paper, organical and other waste is collected separately.
As you will understand, the Library is my favourite place. I like to withdraw there from the heat at noon to read through the daily papers. On a table at the entrance you will find the major national and international press. There are benches and chairs, there are carpets and mattresses, everything is covered from the sun. The library space is separated from the streets that cross our camp by the bookcases. They are full and they are growing. The books are neatly divided into themes, and have recently been stickered: ‘Literature’, ‘Politics’, ‘Economy’, ‘Sociology’, ‘Philosophy’, ‘Comics’ etc. People are reading or studying. I’m in between there, writing. Next to me people are playing chess.
Today was my fourth day in the camp. I sleep in the Rest zone next to the fountain on a piece of cardboard with one of the blankets distributed by ‘Infrastructure’, I use my bag as a pillow. I’ve been seriously in need of a shower and clean clothes lately.
The debate never stops, and neither does the music. It goes on all night. But when you’re tired you’ll sleep through it anyway, even on the stones.
When I wake up in the morning, around eight o’clock, the comrades of ‘Nutrition’ are already serving breakfast. Coffee, tea, juices, hot chocolate, cookies and muffins. Everything is donated by sympathisers.
I stretch my legs, I leave the square and I go into town to look for a bar where I can visit a bathroom and plug in my computer to make my translation.
In a few hours I’m done with it. When I walk out onto the streets and I find myself among the tourists, the bars, the shops, the people in suit and tie, the banks, the advertising, it all seems very unreal to me. Hopelessly old fashioned in a certain sense. I return to the acampada.
“Ask not for whom the sun shines. It shines for thee!” Every time new notes and poetic thoughts have appeared. Every time the camp seems to be expanding. It is also becoming more permanent. In ‘Information’ the wooden planks have already been replaced by a real ‘front desk’. All of that as well, the material, is donated. If it goes on like this there will be log cabins here soon, and then the masons and the cranes will arrive…
But in the course of the morning the sea of tents that covers the square and the adjacent streets largely disappears. Room has to be made for the General Assembly which is celebrated once or twice a day.
I have my cup of water filled by one of the comrades from ‘Nutricion’, who are walking around to provide people with fruit and water. I want to do something. I want to take part. So I walk over to ‘Participation’ to ask if they still need people. It isn’t easy. Everyone wants to participate. Whenever a volunteering opportunity is offered, the position is immediately taken. You need to be lucky. I drop in at ‘Communications’. “Comrades, do you need a translator? English, Dutch, Italian. No problem.”
“Come on in. We are still looking for someone to translate our manifesto into Dutch.”
So there I am, in the nerve center, I open my laptop, and I start translating. Opposite to me sits an Italian, next to me a Frenchwoman and the ‘Translations’ coordinator. Further down behind their computers are the comrades of ‘Web’, ‘Social Networks’ and ‘Documentation’, sending out the Good News into the world. Behind us the generator hums along to make it all possible. Messages about events across the country are coming on, we are receiving solidarity from around the world. Everyone is with ‘Sol’.
So that’s us, ‘Sun’.
What will happen with this movement in the future I do not know, but the micro society that has spontaneously sprung up here in the present will definitely go down in history.
Sweet Dreams, comrades!