Leviathan and the coffee ladyPosted: June 18, 2011
I’m back at Puerta del Sol. Last night I slept in the permanent information point that the movement has left behind in the square. It’s an amazing structure, a bit reminiscent of the iron cathedrals of the great nineteenth century railway stations. Only just a wee bit smaller, and made of wood. The vault is an almost perfect arch, made of pallets bolted together and covered with a green camouflage army cloth.
The building was designed by a 21-year-old student in sustainable architecture. Someone who would normally be educated to become one of the unemployed here in Spain. Or, if he would have the ‘privilege’ of a paid job he’d spend his days as a gopher for an established architect.
The revolution has changed all this. Whoever knows how to do something can just do it. Without permission, without procedures, without recommendations. Do you have an idea? Just throw it into the group! Good ideas will naturally come to the surface. And there are always people willing to help you realise them, without a quid pro quo. Because real good ideas don’t benefit yourself, they benefit us all.
These days I’m like a pinball going back and forth between the television studio in the social center Tabacalera, the secret lair where Audiovisuales is mounting their footage and the Patio de Maravillas squat, where most committees have found their space and hold their meetings. In the middle of it all there’s Puerta del Sol, where I always pass by to pick up the latest news.
Yesterday was one of those days when the adrenalin starts flowing, and when all the neurons of our movement come together. The news about police infiltration in Barcelona and the ensuing violence made us realise whom we are up against. Leviathan. A three-headed monster. The banks, politicians and the media. It also made us realise that they are afraid of us.
The strategy of the bigwigs is clear. By pretending it’s not them but us who have resorted to violence, they’re to trying to contain next Sunday’s turnout as much as possible. By showing images of aggressive protesters they hope the families and the elderly will stay home. If they can also cause some disturbances then next week they will have sufficient motives to talk and keep talking about ‘radical groups’, about ‘hooligans’, and if necessary about ‘terrorists’.
But fortunately it has become clear that people are not crazy. During the last four weeks they have noticed the peaceful way with which we have organised ourselves. They will not yield to intimidation. Everything will be documented. Infiltrators will be exposed. I have volunteered with Audiovisuales to help cover one of the marches tomorrow. Furthermore, anyone with a camera in his phone is called upon to film. In the secret Audiovisual cave all footage will then be put together and broadcasted by our faithful comrades.
Still, people, the real revolutionaries are not the comrades with the cameras, nor the comrades communicating behind the screens. The true face of the revolution is that of the sweet little lady that cleans the spaces of Audiovisuales. It is the same lady who received the letters in the Documentation Commission on Puerta del Sol. She is middle-aged, she has graying hair, a natural smile, and an uplifting word for all of us.
“Anybody want some coffee?” Or: “Have you read this, Oscar?” and she shows me an article by one of Spain’s most prominent journalists who makes a serious attempt to understand the underlying social implications of our movement. “Very interesting. And read this too…” She shows me an interview in which the richest woman in Spain expresses her support of the indignados. She pours coffee for me, then she picks up the broom and starts sweeping the editing room.
Comrades, as long as we have people like her on our side, we need not fear. Thanks to these people the revolution will prevail.
All the best,
P.S. Just so you know. Our channel for tomorrow’s demonstration is http://www.livestream.com/spanishrevolutionsol