Catalonia Is Not AlonePosted: May 27, 2011
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!