Extending the Field of BattlePosted: May 31, 2011
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,