A History of Acampada Sol

Acampada Sol in the third week

Dear people,

I have been emptying my summer jacket’s right inside pocket, the one that I marked as ‘archive’. A whole lot of material from the Acampada Sol came out of it, including the original maps.

I also went through some of my oldest dispatches. I have been covering the 15M movement since the beginning, but until after the end of the acampada I was exclusively reporting in Dutch.

So I translated my initial reports. It’s a first hand history of what happened in Sol. If you want the guided tour of the place, be sure to check out the June 11 entry: Acampada Soul.

Soon I’ll be back on revolutionary road. And if I find anything interesting, you will be sure to hear from me.

Oscar

*

May 21 – “The Key is in Sol”

About a goat sheperd who suddenly finds himself in the midst of a revolution.

May 25 – Portrait of an Acampada

General sketch after ten days of occupation.

May 27 – Comisión Comunicación

Your truly walks into the Communications office. He never left since.

May 27 – Catalonia is not Alone

Police clears the square in Barcelona by force to make room for football celebrations.

May 28 – A Visit from the East

A girl from China comes by at Communications. We discover we have more in common than we think, if only we found the right words for it.

May 29 – La Bastille

The movement expands into the neighbourhoods and villages. The first General Popular Assembly of Madrid convenes in Puerta del Sol.

May 30 – “¡Sol Resiste!

Our comrades in Paris have been evicted from the Bastille. We march in solidarity to the French embassy. There’s a tempest in the air.

May 31 – Extending the Field of Battle

At Extension the echoes of our movement are coming in from all over the world.

June 1 – The Times of Puerta del Sol

Trying to capture a day of acampada, and to make a newspaper out it.

June 1 – Ye Olde Clocke

A homage to Puerta del Sol.

June 2 – 21st Century Revolution

On audiovisuals and contemporary urban guerilla. Sol is under threat of eviction.

June 2 – The Summer of 2011

On the daily business of revolution. On Walt Disney.

June 3 – Web 3.0

On social media and liberty of action.

June 4 – Democracy from the Bottom Up

The interacampadas or National Assembly convenes in Sol.

June 5 – Murcia Mon Amour

On the press. On alternative roads to democracy, the Murcia case.

June 6 – Buy Tear Gas!

On sedition. Some free investment advice.

June 7 – Angel of the Revolution

On discouragement. On a girl with a camera who saves the day.

June 8 – The End of the Beginning

The assembly decides on lifting the acampada on June 12 with a great happening.

June 9 – “To Parliament!”

Parliament is besieged by surprise. It turns into a happy celebration.

June 10 – Respect!

A friend of mine comes to visit the acampada from Holland. On libertarianism and anarchism. On reasons for joining the revolution.

June 11 – Acampada Soul

A guided tour of the acampada, the day before it disappears, ‘for the history books’. Original maps included.

June 12 – Darth Vader

The new city council is sworn in. And we don’t let it pass by without making some noise.

June 13 – Brand New Day

On the final day of the acampada, and the day after. On a square that is polished to shine.


Brand New Day

People,

Yesterday we cleared the square of our own accord. On the one hand it was a very melancholic affair, and on the other hand it was yet another touching display of civilization. The people of Puerta del Sol have made a point of honour out of leaving the square cleaner than how they have found it when they started their acampada. And so you could see people scrubbing all day long. Pieces of paper and cardboard carrying slogans were removed, stickers have been scraped off, and everything – from the subway exits and the billboards to the pavement – has been polished to shine. The symbol of Madrid, the bear and the tree, has never been blinking like it did on the day that the Sol broke up.

All in all it was a victory celebration. People were tired but happy and satisfied, ready to continue the movement. The comrades of the Library had organised public readings of poetry, and the comrades of Love and Spirituality had turned the tent of the General Assembly into a cathedral for the ocassion. It was crowded with people in a spiral holding hands and listening to a mass of unity, with each other and with the earth.

In the afternoon there was an informative General Assembly where all working groups and Commissions explained what they have achieved and how they intend to go on. It was announced where they will settle and when they will meet. Communication will come to sit in a squat in the center.

At the end of the afternoon the people from all the neighbourhoods came to Sol. All over the square and the surrounding streets you could see them sitting in circles discussing, and by nightfall they all reported to the General Assembly. The space was too small for everyone to participate, despite the scorching heat.

So Sol has become a success, there´s no doubt about it. We have beaten roots and now it’s time to grow. A recent poll shows that two thirds of the Spanish people bear sympathy for the indignados. Of course you shouldn’t trust these figures, but rest assured that the bigwigs have taken notice of it!

At the end of the evening, when a cool breeze finally descends upon us, the square is packed with people. They stand silently with their arms up while the twelve strokes of midnight resound. Then the crowd explodes into overwhelming cheers. “We’re not leaving, we’re transferring ourselves to your consciousness” is the slogan hung up over the equestrian statue.

I come across the comrades of Communications. It´s like a hot bath. These people have been my family in recent weeks, and they still are. We met each other out here and we discovered that we have a common goal to which to which we can apply all of our abilities and enthusiasm.

The crowd starts moving. We walk along, clapping and singing through the streets and over the boulevards. We take the Gran Via, Madrid’s central artery, we walk again to Cibeles to occupy the roundabout and then on to parliament. Neither tonight police will get a good night’s rest. All roads to the Cortes are blocked by police officers. As always people address them with sungs of praise, invitating them to join. But all they seem to long for is their bed.

So do I. After three weeks my stuff comes out of the luggage depot of the acampada untouched. I moved it to a hostel. The coming days I plan to rest, to shower, to wash clothes and reorganise. I think I’ll be staying in Madrid for at least another week, until after the big demonstration on June 19. Then I’d like to start travelling through the country, chasing the revolution in a tent. I’d like to report on how the movement is developing in the rest of Spain, and I’d like to continue to make my contribution disseminating ideas.

The sun rises over a brand new day. I still have not slept enough, but it will. On Sol there is the permanent information center left by the movement. It’s a structure in the form of a half cylinder, eight meters long and three meters high, built of wooden pallets. The square is still ours, that’s the message. And the authorities know very well that everyone will come back here with a vengeance if they dare to touch it.

Food II still stands, even if they are closed. There is a number of tents from unyielding campers around. The General Assembly has decided to find creative solutions for them by a setting up a ‘traveling Acampada’, which is supposed to move from one neighbourhood of Madrid to the other. It promises to be a revolutionary circus.

Comrades, here I sit writing in the information center on Puerta del Sol. I had only just arrived this morning when I was interviewed by yet another Spanish TV station to explain what we intend to do next, and who I am.

Soy Oscar Italo-Holandés.

“And why are you here?”

Folks, it’s really funny, television. It’s perfectly adapted for rhetorical statements. For soundbites.

“I’m here because I think of it as a moral duty to carry out the revolution.”

I will continue to do so, dear comrades. As long as there’s revolution, I’ll be there to report to you.

Hasta la victoria,
Oscar


Darth Vader

Dear friends,

I wrote my previous report in the middle of the biggest roundabout in the center of Madrid. Not a single car drove by. People had formed a huge circle to close off the square, and while I was wandering in my mind through the streets of our village, they danced around me singing.

So what happened yesterday, Saturday? It was the day the new city council was sworn in, and we wouldn’t let this occasion pass by quietly. “Everyone to Plaza de Villa with pots and pans!”

The police was well prepared this time. They sealed off almost an entire neighbourhood. We couldn’t enter the square. But I’m sure they heard us. All entrances were blocked by groups of people banging their spoons on pots and pans. And I can tell you, it makes a lovely noise.

After a short walk through the multicultural neighbourhood with my friend Ronaldo I come back to Puerta del Sol. The megaphone announces that police is charging.

“Where?” I ask someone.

“Calle Bailen.”

“Here in Madrid?”

“Yes. At the town hall. “

It’s happening, and dammit I’m not there. I walk over to Communications. “Vamonos! Vamonos! Everyone to city hall! It’s going down!”

Off we go. With a megaphone and a healthy pace. Whoever stays behind looks up the images from the livestream.

“Why are we going anyway?” Mehmet asks. “There’s nothing we can do at this point.”

“Of course there is! When there’s a charge you should be there. First of all, you must witness it, so you’ll be able to testify. Second, you should be there to create mass. Our only weapon against violence is our number.”

We arrive at the spot, we ask around. We reap conflicting messages. Yes, the police have dragged people away. But real violence has not been used. They wanted to create an escape route for the lords of the municipality. The inauguration in the old city hall is over at this point. Now they are on their way to the new city hall in the Plaza de Cibeles, to have lunch.

“Everyone to Cibeles!”

On the way there I pop in at Communications. The livestream is working. We see a line of police officers with helmets marching through a narrow street. There’s people all around. They’re humming the sinister march of Darth Vader from Star Wars.

Adrenaline starts flowing. The masses are taking possession of the boulevards. It’s fantastic. Each day every single one of us has to play by the rules. Those rules are not ours. But when you’re all together, you can play your own game. And then you can decide the rules yourself.

We walk over the boulevard of Alcalà, singing, up until the roundabout of Cibeles. There is an enormous cream pie palace over there, all topped off by towers and frills. It’s the old post office. The little bigwigs of Madrid have appropriated it. They know no humility. We will teach them. I arrive with the first group. But we’re not enough to block all the traffic. Two police officers make a brave attempt to guide the cars along the crowd. Then we see the next group coming towards us from a distance. Critical mass. We hug each other like brothers and we sit down on the roundabout.

But then what? Sometimes the spontaneity of our movement is bordering on naivety. It’s noon, it’s hot on the asphalt in the sun. So what do we do?

We dance around. I’m cooling off with my feet in the fountain, writing, while the people of the movement are hopping around me in a wide circle, singing.

All the best,

Oscar

 


Acampada Soul

Acampada Sol at the end of the first week.

Dear people,

Before our village disappears, I would like to take you on a final tour. Visually, it has all been recorded many times. I will therefore try with words.

Puerta del Sol is shaped like a half moon. On the straight end there’s the main street and the palace with the famous clock. The area is defined by two fountains, the Eastern and Western one. Right in the middle there’s an equestrian statue.
Around the base of the statue there’s a fence. The inside is home to ‘Megafonia’, the voice of Puerta del Sol. Under the horse’s ass there’s Communications. When you look over the counter from the outside, you will see two tables, archives, computers, and printers. And people communicating. Until recently, the roof was formed by two party tents, but since a few days, there are broad pillars of chipboard with bars that hold up the canvas.

Internal Coordination sits right next to us. We are connected through a little window. Occasionally, someone leans in or out to pass on a message. Manifestos, records, comunicados, and whatever else needs to be conjured up. Right behind us, there’s Documentation, our memory, where mail and copies of all documents are stored, both digitally and on paper. Also, all the footage and photos that have been collected are safely stored there. What took place in Puerta del Sol will not be forgotten.

I step outside. Across from us, there’s Expansion, with our world map covered by red dots. The last one, to Mehmet’s delight, is Istanbul. There’s an office table for the comrades who are spreading the word, and there’s a sofa for the delegates that have been sent to Madrid from the other squares to report.

I take a right and I end up at the intersection with First Avenue, right by the horse. To the left, there’s Food I. It has a long bar, there are tables behind it, around it there are cupboards with cans and jars, underneath the tables you see pots and tubs. In the mornings, coffee and hot chocolate are served here with cookies and churros. In the afternoons and evenings, sandwiches are prepared here, or they cook in enormous pans. Pasta, rice, lentils, couscous. Our chief cook, the sailor, always comes up with something good. On the other side of the intersection, there’s the Neighbourhoods commission. You can see a large map of Madrid there, and a long list of squares where assemblies are held every weekend, when and at what time. To the left, by the Eastern Fountain, we find the main working groups. Politics is in the middle, divided into the Long Term Politics and Short Term Politics groups. Around it, on the one side, there’s Culture and Music, and on the other side we find Economics and the sympathetic comrades of Thinking, who have provided our village with a philosophical foundation.

I walk on until I bump into Information and Infrastructure on Second Avenue. The latter has a small carpentry workshop on the side of the street, and a storage depot for cardboard, blankets and clothing. I walk to the left to take the long road around the Eastern Fountain. Here our garden has been installed near the water. Tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, basil, a little bit of everything. Until recently, there was also a nice weed plant. It was good to see, and at the same time surreal to realise: these are all plants, but that one in particular is not ‘allowed’. We have alienated to such an extent that we’ve started applying our concept of “illegality” to plants, animals and even humans. But comrades, whichever way you look at it, that is simply impossible!

Further along the fountain, there’s some habitation. A few tents and a square. After that, you arrive at the General Assembly. The subway exit, shaped like a glass sneaker, is the soundboard. The blue tarp that covers our parliament has been attached to it. It sways softly in the breeze. These are the winds of change.

The eastern end of our village is marked by El Madroño, the statue of the bear and the tree that has changed into the Speaker’s Corner. The other day, there was a group of oldies protesting against the amnesty for the Francoists, and for reparations for the victims of the civil war. They waved the red, yellow and purple flag of the Spanish Republic. It was a beautiful emotion.

I walk back along the other side of the fountain. Right here, there’s Food II. The gypsies and the homeless start their morning rounds here. They pass along all three of the Food stalls, they are fed everywhere and they rarely say ‘thank you’. A little further, between the fountain and the metro station, there was once the Moroccan neighbourhood, where I used to live at the beginning. I witnessed the place steadily deteriorate. So I was not surprised when the entire area was washed away during the recent rains. The survivors have found accommodation a little further, in front of the Chief Commission of Respect. On the other side of the subway entrance is the embassy of the Western Sahara.

The Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, is a piece of desert occupied by Morocco. But that claim is recognised by no one, nor is the independence of the area. Officially it’s a ‘non-state’. It’s only recognised here at Sol.

The Acampada Sol during the second week.

Through the alleyway behind the Head Commission, I find myself back at the horse. I walk the other way, towards the West Side. At the next intersection, there’s the Library on your left hand side. Both spatially and spiritually, this is the center. Outside there’s a table with newspapers. Inside, there’s a number of sofas and chairs, a coffee table with three chess boards, and the delightful sight of bulging bookcases all around it.

To the right of the Library, there’s the Action Committee, where protests are planned, and the First Aid Post, where there’s always some suncream ready at hand on hot days. At the edge, there’s the commission of Proposals. Ten thousand have been received. In total, we collected half a million signatures from supporters. In the alleys around, there’s a small residential area. There’s a tent, painted in bright colours. Perhaps this is the artists’ district? I wouldn’t know.

Back towards the ring road is the Immigration Committee and the Embassy of free Syria. The Syrians are incredible. In whatever language you address them, French, English, Spanish or Italian, they are always willing to fluently inform you about the horrors of the regime. I turn right on Second Avenue, and behind the Library I end up at the workshop of the Arts Commission, where people are drawing, painting and sculpting. Anything is being made, from expressionism to socialist realism, plus banners and slogans. The Kindergarten is on the left, with every imaginable game for the little ones. Behind it reside the comrades of Audiovisuals. Ever since this week’s rains, they outsourced a large part of their activities to a secret location in the outside world.

Then I find myself on the open space around the Western Fountain. They usually make music or give performances here. There’s a good atmosphere. Only at night it has a slightly less positive reputation. There’s a lot of drinking going on, which sometimes leads to aggression. But that’s quickly brought to an end. In individualist society, people prefer to look the other way. Not here. Here, it’s everyone’s business, because “everyone is Respect.” When there are tensions, the crowd makes sure that people are separated, allowing them to relax, and to make peace.

On the other side of the fountain is our shrine, the Temple of Love and Spirituality, and the soup kitchen of Food III. That’s where we pitched our tent for now. Behind it, the suburbs begin.

The funny thing about the large residential area is that it undergoes a constant urban transformation. Roughly speaking, there are two major roads that cut through the neighbourhood, but the location of these roads may change by the day. Sometimes they are straight, sometimes diagonal, sometimes they zigzag in all directions. The district is divided into four neighbourhoods. Each one of them consists of a number of tents around a central square. In those squares, people have put down chairs, tables and camping equipment. Almost all neighbourhoods have their own canvas for a roof. Most of the time you can hear the sound of drums and a guitar. These are the people who have found their place here, and who are not planning to leave on Sunday.

I walk out of our village. Towards the outside, a white cloth is hung up and a projector put down every evening. ”CineSol”, our own outdoor cinema.

The definite map of Acampada Sol during the third and fourth week.

People, I have lived in the most stunning places in the Beautiful Land. Everywhere I am at home. In Catania underneath the Etna, in Florence along the Arno, in the hills of Tuscany and in the dark alleyways of Genoa. But the most beautiful place I’ve ever lived in is right here, between the utopian favelas of Puerta del Sol.

Greetings,
Oscar.

**

translation by Jerome Roos and yours truly


Respect!

“Yo! Yo! Yo! Check it out y’all!”

Carlos, the black rapper from Respect comes hip-hopping into the Communications office. He wants to show us a video about his neighbourhood, Lavapiès, the one I told you people about. The video’s cool. See it at
Carlos swings back out into the open air again: “I am not from Respect no more, we are all Respect now!”

People,

Valencia has been confirmed. I’ve seen pictures. People being towed away by their hair. It seems it all started when the police asked a backpacker for his papers. According to the protesters he was not properly treated.

The message of the movement is clear. We demand to be treated with the same respect with which we treat others. And if you touch one of us, you touch us all. After the images from Valencia, I see peaceful images from Madrid, live. I’m in a bar, I realise that what I’m seeing is happening right down the street. So I go.

Indeed, late at night after the General Assembly there’s another festive demonstration in front of parliament. This time out of solidarity with the comrades in Valencia. The police had fenced it all off tonight, yesterday’s fading border has once again been firmly reestablished. I look around for a while, I see people rolling joints, completely relaxed, with a couple of dozen armed police officers behind them. Everything is fine. I leave things for what they are tonight. This weekend, the real fun starts.

It was the end of a beautiful day, one of international solidarity and exchange of ideas. Delegates from France and Tahrir Square have spoken in the General Assembly. Delegations and journalists have arrived from Colombia and Peru. And though usually I only speak to foreign journalists, this time I also let myself be interviewed by a Spanish TV station. Above all, I was honoured to see that my daily report on the Revolution has been so inspiring to you, my faithful readers, that my comrade Ronaldo from Rotterdam suddenly appeared on the doorstep of the Communications commission. He had to see for himself what’s happening on Puerta del Sol.

Ronaldo is a libertarian. He does not believe in government. The government is an entity that takes money from you by force and makes decisions that affect your live without asking whether you agree with it. We can do without government. We can build a society of free individuals in which people respect each other’s lives and property, and in which they give shape to the common good together, on a voluntary basis.

Mehmet is an anarchist. He believes that everything should be collectively owned by the people and that the people are perfectly capable of managing the means of production without there being any leaders.

Ronaldo and Mehmet are very close in terms of ideas. From the left or from right, they almost arrive at the same point. The problem is not the politicians, the problem is the state as such. There doesn’t exist a ‘social contract’. There is no reason why people should be forced to tolerate an authority that they have not voluntarily chosen. Fine rhetorical quotes come bubbling up. “Man is born free but everywhere he is in chains,” you know who I’m talking about. Politics has been reduced to a shelf of the supermarket, where you can choose from two, sometimes three, or if you’re lucky four different brands of the same canned tomatoes. And now suddenly people seem to remember that there exists something called fresh tomatoes as well. We don’t need the supermarket any more than we need the state. All bets are off. We can start thinking again about what we really want, without limits. And the whole world can join in.

We are accompanied by a comrade from Toledo, a girl who studies in Madrid. Her participation in the movement is completely ‘clandestine’, because her father is a member of one of the major parties.

“Why have you joined the revolution?” Ronaldo asks.

“Because it’s the first time that I believe in something,” she says. “And because it’s the first time I believe in myself.”

All the best,
Oscar


“To Parliament!”

People,

The spirit that animates our village is very different from the one that houses in the mastodontic buildings all around us. Yet, we too have our languid daily routine. We live like brothers, we do what we need to do, or we lie lazy in the sun. Only at nightfall things can become truly magical. Yesterday I came back from a walk to the royal palace when I saw how the camp was boiling with revolutionary fervour. People came gleefully pounding out into the streets. “To parliament! To parliament!”

The police probably hadn’t been keeping an eye on our friend Robert’s “twitter thermometer”, because they were caught completely unprepared. There are no officers in sight as we parade past the luxury stores towards the Cortes. Not so long ago they were here in full riot gear to block a small group of demonstrators. Now we are a swelling crowd and we can keep walking as we please. “How far wil they let us come?” I wonder. Parliament is already down the street.

Police are lining up at the corner of the modern extension of the Cortes. They have barely covered the side entrance. When we come marching towards them there’s only a handful of officers. Behind them a few vans with reinforcements are only just arriving. Slogans are thundering through the streets. “Revolution with joy!” people chant. The mass only comes to a halt when people touch the toes of the six policemen forming the first line.

I have a certain admiration for those guys when I see how they rigorously maintain their cool in these moments. In particular the commanding officer, a graying gentleman in his fifties with a serious pair of glasses and an equally serious grimace on his face. He has everything under control. He inspires confidence, both to his men and to the protestors. People take their time to sing to the police, face to face, then they sit down and the singing goes on. This is the mass, it’s happy to be united. It bears a grudge against politicians and bankers, but not against the police. Those are our brothers. If someone tries to shout intimidations or insults, then he or she receives immediate disapproval of the crowd.

But the mass remains a beast. “We want to pass! We want to pass! Tonight Assembly in Parliament!” it shouts. And if the enthusiasm rises and something starts to move in the crowd, it goes. The officers put on their helmets. The police chain is put under heavy pressure, and at that point the crowd suddenly seems to realise collectively what could happen, and if that is consistent with its peaceful principles. It contains itself, it retreats, people sit down again.

It would go on to become a festive evening. More and more people keep arriving, the comrades of Audiovisuals take care of the livestream. The normal General Assembly is cancelled because everyone is at parliament, protesting. Instead, a makeshift assembly is celebrated, consisting of slogans and singing and the occasional passionate speech. One of those stood out as symbolic, a speech given by a man who was subsequently known as the grandfather of the Revolution. It was the same man who had encouraged his comrades in the Emergency Assembly held under the rain, to go on. Now he does so again.

“This all started in ’39! It’s still Franco’s men who are occupying the institutions! They must go! We must support the struggles of the youth!” The crowd goes wild. “United, the people will never be defeated!” and “United, the people don’t need politicians!”

There are always two interpreters who translate speeches into sign language. It is wonderful to see them dancing with their arms and their whole bodies as they translate the slogans.

The police are completely at ease by now. A tidal wave of cheers rises when they receive the order to take off their helmets. “Without your helmets / You are a lot more handsome!” the crowd sings. The cops break formation. They start whispering among themselves and laughing. “You are with us! And you know it!”

It’s in the air. It’s possible. Maybe not tonight. But it’s possible. “This is just the beginning!” We can break down the last wall that remains. Not with violence, but by being civilised.

The true heroes of the evening are the comrades of the Kitchen. They run to and fro between Sol and parliament with water and boxes full of sandwiches, cakes and fruit. They have even prepared a salad. Next to me someone puts his hands to his mouth:

“Can anyone pass me the salad please!”

No problem. There it comes. Over all those heads the salad bowl is flowing in our direction.

“Thank you, comrades!”

It’s a magical evening in Madrid. And I’m glad to come across Alicia later on in the first line. She has dutifully captured it all. But she can’t keep on filming until the end. She must be home before midnight. “Tomorrow I have school.”

At midnight, a minute of silence is observed. Another demonstration of strength and discipline. At the end, people cheering and chanting: “The police joined in as well!”

I salute you. This morning’s news is that a demonstration in front of the Valencian Congress was charged by police. There is talk of 15 arrests and four minor injuries.

More later.

Regards,
Oscar


The End of the Beginning

It’s a sunny morning. We got a hot cup of coffee from Food II and we have placed two seats under the colonna maestra of our parliament building. It’s time for a political discussion about democracy.

Historically, democracy is not a very stable form of government. Both in ancient Greece, in the city states of the Renaissance and in the modern West, it tends to degenerate into tyranny or be monopolised by a small clique. Additionally, you may wonder whether the historical examples of democracy have ever been truly democratic. In Antiquity participation was limited to the native proprietary classes. In the Middle Ages it was controlled by the great mercantile families, and in modern times it was the industrial bourgeoisie which controlled the ‘public thing’.

Nowadays almost everyone has the right to vote, but that doesn’t mean to say that we are finally living in democracy. Policy, structural policy, is being elaborated by faceless bureaucrats in Brussels under the influence of corporate lobbies. On the surface, everything has changed over the centuries, but under ground it’s still the same water that flows to sea.

Also ‘Sol’ itself is not new. But to find a relevant comparison of this type of democratic self-organisation one must go far back. Maybe – mutatis mutandis, of course! – to the Neolithic villages of prehistory.

Yesterday an assembly had to be held, whatever happened. All day long rain hung in the air, and more than once it came down. The guys from Infrastructure spent the entire afternoon sowing canvases together and trying to raise columns. Wires are strung from the lamp posts to the roof of the subway exit. Once the central pillar is pushed up as if it were the American flag on Iwo Jima, cameras are flashing and cheers rise up from the square. The megaphone announces that the entire populace is welcome to help with the tightening of the canvas. Everyone wants to hold a corner of it and little by little it is pulled over the ropes. We have created space.

The assembly was about whether we should continue the acampada, and if so, until when. From the start it was clear that the commissions and the working groups want to lift the tents on Sunday. The Legal commission had drawn up a proposal in this sense. The camp is not an end in itself, it said, but a means. Or rather, the camp has already achieved its goal. A movement is born, the idea of ​​self-determination is spreading over the world. This will not stop if we break up our camp. We will continue to create contacts, to coordinate protests, and to celebrate assemblies. All working groups will continue to meet in public, and everyone will be able to participate. There will be a permanent information point left behind in Puerta del Sol, we will leave the place clean after a grand party and we reserve the right to return here whenever we want.

Most people agree. But there is a significant hard core that wishes to continue the occupation.

Sol is a symbol for the world, the public space is ours, and we must demonstrate that, as long as necessary, they say.

We are witnessing a first split in the movement. On the issue of staying or going there is no consensus possible. The commissions and working groups will look for permanent accommodation, but some campers will stay behind. The final decision of the evening is that we respect each other. We will stand by the people who decide to stay and vice versa. We have a common goal.

But when I walk around at night, eavesdropping in the neighbourhoods of our village to feel the pulse of the common people, I already hear the first signs of resentment.

Here and there the idea has taken root of ‘we’, the ‘real indignados’, against ‘they’, the gentlemen of the Assembly.

Crowd dynamics are a fascinating phenomenon. And even more so when you see how it develops from the very beginning. I’m witnessing the birth of a social movement with enormous potential, for better or worse.

Next sunday the prologue of the relovution will be concluded with a grand celebration in Puerta del Sol. Regardless of whether I agree with the end of the occupation or not, it opens new paths of freedom for me. Whether I stay here in Madrid I do not know. Maybe I’ll grab my backpack and I’ll go travelling through the country to report to you from the province. I am curious to see how the revolution has been developing in other towns and villages in Spain. There is already some talk going around about possible ‘revolutionary marches’. And several data have been picked for large, internationally coordinated protests. So be prepared. The revolution is coming your way this summer!

Regards,
Oscar