The Map Room

Malaga Column. Village Assembly, July 2.


The bunker has closed down. Audiovisuals has scattered. I have changed headquarters to the offices of the 15M-News, our weekly magazine. It’s in the Patio Maravillas squat, and it’s a very strategic place to be in. We have the ministry of Extension right down the corridor.

I had already established some contacts at Extension, mainly because I’m very interested in the popular marches coming in. People here have arranged for the columns to send foto’s and links directly to me so that I can distribute them to our communications channels. From the South they are beginning to arrive. It’s great to see people marching. But there’s one thing I’m missing. A general overview.

So today I turned one of the offices into a map room, and I had great fun in doing so. I took a large map of Spain and from all the information that is being constantly gathered here I started tracing the routes to see where exactly the marches are at this moment.

When I was done I looked at it, and I couldn’t believe it. This is not just me drawing on a map, this is really happening. All these lines flowing together from every corner of the country, towards Madrid. It’s all the more amazing when you realise that Spain is a country subject to very strong centrifugal forces. But at this moment people from Catalunya, from the Basque country and from many other places are walking all the way to Madrid, to be here in the center of the center, at Puerta del Sol.

So what is situation at the moment? I can’t reproduce the map here, but to the benefit of the strategists among you I’ll give a brief description.

1. The Northwestern Column. This one is divided into two main branches. Galicia and Asturias. The Galician column incorporates people who started their march in Vigo, Coruña and Santiago de Compostela among other cities. These marches have joined together a couple of days ago, they have now crossed the mountains and entered the old Castilia. In a few days they will merge with the column from Asturias which comes from cities like Gijón and Oviedo. The Asturian column has crossed the Cantabrian mountains and has arrived today in León.

2. The Northern Column. Also knows as the ‘Basque Column’. This one has two branches, one is coming from Pamplona and the other one, the basque proper, is coming from Bilbao. The Bilbao column started of with a circle around the city before it passed on through the infamous village of Guernica and the basque capital of Vitoria/Gasteiz. The Pamplona column came passing by Logroño, through the vineyards of the Rioja, and is supposed to join with the Bilbao column tomorrow, in Burgos.

3. The Zaragoza column is about to depart tomorrow.

4. The Northeastern Column, better known as the Barcelona column. This one has been marching at a steady pace for twelve days now. They have been following the coast for a bit before continuing inland, in a straight line to Madrid. It took the people from Barcelona just over a week to leave Catalunya. They are now camping in the small village of Calanda, Aragón.

5. The Eastern Column, ‘Valencia’. They were the first to depart, on the midsummernight. They have described a large circle through the Valencian hinterland, they have picked up people from another subcolumn and together they have ascended the central highland of la Mancha, home of Don Quichote. Today the column has arrived, on schedule, in Albacete.

6. The Murcia Column. This one is very curious. If all my information is correct the Murcia column has been zigzagging through the Southeast of Spain for weeks and they don’t seem to be any further than a hundred kilometres from where they started. I do hope they have a map with them.

7. The Southern Column, also known as ‘Málaga’. They have reached Granada last week and reinforced themselves. They are marching north through the Andalucian hills. I know more or less where they are walking. It’s the place where I found a meaningful occupation as a goat sheperd before the revolution broke out. The column has reached Jaén tonight, the only place in the world where I have ever encountered a franchise of Krusty Burger.

8. The Southwestern Column, also from Andalucia, is known as ‘Sevilla’, even though the march started in Cádiz. It was the second to depart. From near Palos, where Columbus set sail, the column is following the river Guadálquivir passing through cities like Jeréz de la Frontera, famous for its sherry. The column reached Sevilla six days ago and is continuing through the river valley at a good pace. They are supposed to reach Córdoba tomorrow.

9. The Western column, or the ‘Extremeña/Portuguese’. The march from the deserted inland of Extremadura. This one has vanished. We lost all contact with them. The last message dates from three days ago. It’s not known if they are still on the march.

The people from Extension come take a look at the map. The columns will incorporate many more affluents in the days to come. They will swell. At this moment Extension is working hard on the practical problem of how to coordinate all the marches when they arrive in Madrid. A city map is overlaid on the big map. Thick black lines are drawn from all incoming roads towards Puerta del Sol. ‘Let’s see if we can organise this movida.’

On the morning of the 23rd the marches will simultaneously enter the capital. They will be welcomed by the various neighbourhoods. There will be room for rest and joy and celebration all day long. Then, at the beginning of the evening, the neighbourhoods will join the columns for the last leg. The Basks will march over Passeo de la Castellana, Barcelona will march over Cibeles, the Andalucian columns over Plaza Mayor and the Galician column over the Gran Vía. From all directions, from all the neighbourhoods, from all of Spain, on the evening of the 23rd, people will come to Sol. And I promise you, it’s going to be a hell of a party.



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