Global Noise

Global Noise on Times Square, NYC. Photo via @icicommence

October 14

Dear people,

I’ve been looking at the pictures coming in via Twitter from many a corner of the planet. I love it, the feeling of unity without borders, from timezone to timezone. This is us, a globalised public opinion that is fed up with a globalised system of exploitation.

On the other hand, it was but a mere reflection of last year’s unprecedented demonstrations of tens of millions of people in a thousand cities worldwide.

Back then it spewed forth waves of occupations, actions, consciousness. This year it was an anniversary happening. And I agree with a comrade from OWS when he told me that these things don’t make a lot of sense. ‘We’re still here’, seems to be the message.

But as far as Global Noise went, debt was another message. In Tokyo people gathered to protest against a meeting of the International Monetary Fund. Other concentrations that I know of took place in New Zealand, Australia, Berlin, Frankfurt, Budapest, Rome, Venice, Amsterdam, London, Stockholm, Paris, Spain and Portugal, New York, Mexico and the West Coast.

Global Noise London. Photo via @15mLondon

I witnessed the parade in Madrid. It was probably one of the biggest. But there was nothing much to say about it. Three words sum it up pretty well. Loud, civilised, boring.

There were about ten to twenty thousand people banging on drums and pans. The opening banner was ‘We don’t owe, we don’t pay’. While moving over the Paseo de la Castellana, people neatly keep to one side of the boulevard, leaving the other open for traffic.

Police presence was insignificant. There were far less lecheras and officers to control this crowd than there had been the day before to evict sixty people from Casablanca Social Centre.

In a few hours, the march arrives in Sol. People make some more noise, and then they disperse into the Saturday evening movida without leaving a trace. I take a walk, and I’m sad. At first sight, nothing seems to be wrong. Bars are filled, people are showing off. The only visible stain on this happy panorama are the men and women sleeping in the entrances of the shops. I have a feeling their numbers are growing and growing.

And while there are ever more people living on the streets, authorities keep evicting their citizens from abandoned buildings. Yesterday I witnessed how the masons, under police protection, walled up the entrance of Casablanca.

It’s not going to be the end of it. Already I can read the writings on the wall… “La lucha es el unico camino

‘Struggle is the only way.’

Madrid, Puerta del Sol. Photo via @kokekun


2 Comments on “Global Noise”

  1. Oscar says:

    Dear friend, I must agree with your chronicle of past 13O. Specially the three-word description you make. And the underground melancholy that inspires your description was felt by me, as well.
    One year ago today, we filled Madrid with literally half a million of people willing to express their discontent with the giant fraud we’re suffering. And after that incredible and global demonstration of muscle… nothing. It seemed to fade.
    A month later, Popular Party won the elections, Socialists were kicked in the ass, and the same train that cost them a government was put full-speed towards the same cliff of social destruction.
    Now, after the attempt to make something different with the “Rodea el Congreso” initiative, I can’t but feel a sadness inside that insidiously whispers in my ear: “give up, retreat to your home, enjoy the few joys of life you keep, along with those that you re-discovered with a pocket emptied by this fucking crisis, take some rest, and wait until there’s a better plan that really promises a chance that you can join”.
    Then, I snap myself on the face and shout to myself: there’s no saving plan that I deserve to receive, unless I’m up to help make it myself. Nobody’s gonna bring for free what we need. It’s us who’ll make it, or we’ll lose.
    So, tired but not exhausted, I take a brief rest, and commit myself to this pursue. Maybe, in the end, it’s unsuccesful. But I’d never forgive me not to have tried.
    See you around, man.

  2. Dear Oscar,
    Thanks for your wonderful reaction. I know the feeling. A year and a half ago, I think we all got carried away by the sudden overwhelming sense of unity and solidarity. I remember one of the slogans we sung during the final days of the acampada, when we went to Congress by surprise.
    “¡Qué bonitos tiempos estamos viviendo!”
    I never heard that slogan since.
    Now, some of us argue that the whole acampada season was just a social curiosity. There had been movements before, and there had been movements after. And in both cases, there had been more division than unity. So people get disenchanted. The great multitude came to Sol and to the assemblies because it was something new, because it was ‘trending topic’.
    So we are volatile, susceptible to ups and downs. Last year there were half a million people demanding a change, this year there were ten thousand people on a saturday evening carnival parade. Yet, last month there were over a hundred thousand people surrounding Congress twice in one week. Crowds come and go. The important thing is that we don’t get disillusioned. This is also the positive thing I noticed. The great majority of all the people I met in the commissions in Sol and during the marches to Brussels and Athens, continue to be active in the movement. After 6 months, after a year, after a year and a half. No matter if the tide is high or low, they are still there.

    We are like a little kid from a fairy tale. What we are doing, day after day, is demonstrating that the emperor wears no clothes. Only if we keep doing this, will we be able to convince people.

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