Revolution Awakens Spain
By CONCHA MATEOS
Something that looked impossible is happening.
Not a miracle: there is no God acting, no divine intervention. Only human will and the crowd.
Thousands of people were there, with the same ideas, the same objectives, the same desire for change. They lived in different places and cities and countries, but they were in reality at the same Puerta del Sol, although none of them did know.
One day of May 2011 they happened to gather together driven by the same and only cause.
Have you ever taken a decision together with thousands of people in which each person’s opinion is heard and treated equally?
Thousands of people were there, in the same ideas, in the same objectives, in the same need of changes, in the same Puerta del Sol, but they didn´t know it. The unknowed companions have meet together. Have you ever taken a decision with thousands of people considering them all the same?
The square, whatever square, has become a school in democracy – pure, radical, real, and effective democracy. (Democracia real ya – real democracy now – is the name of one of the groups making up the movement.) While corporations try everyday to captivate audiences sat in front of the TV, swallowing garbage TV entertainments, the protest is in the form of an acampada (camp) in the squares. There you have people listening to each other sitting on the ground taking and sharing the floor. The sun assembly shines every night at Puerta del Sol.
We build agreement where politicians want rivalry. We look for solutions where politicians want oppression. We don’t fight: we resist, we protest creatively. Consent, participation, respect (for one another, for animals, for the environment), dialogue are our methodology. We raise our hands and shout: these are our weapons. And work hard and patiently to reach agreement.
After thousands of years of human civilization, one system of production has appeared in the last period and managed to oppress more people and destroy more resources than ever before.
Beyond its plastic face, capitalism has brought ruin to the way of life of millions of human beings, as well as those regarded as sub- human, the immigrants trying to survive within the sub-democracy, without rights, a place to live or the entitlement to vote, living on a pittance, a dishonor for them but a cause of shame for the rest of us.
The welfare state is being destroyed, huge areas of the planet are condemned never to become part of it.
Another system is possible. Stop lying with your corporate media.
This Spanish revolution is a revolution because people have been changed in the process. That is the first and the main step forward in any protest, the transformation it brings about within the individual.
We were angry at the beginning. Capitalism has wasted four centuries spreading out reasons for the protest, barriers we have climb over to get a job, to get a house, to get an education, to get healthcare, to win political, social and cultural rights, real rights, to defend our dignity.
Corruption, privilege, politicians paid by corporations to manipulate the economic system, putty in corporate hands, TV entertainment offered us instead of participation. Capitalism planted the seeds of the anger of the indignados. But outrage is not our goal. We are not doing this to remain angry.
The indignation we felt was identified a long time ago. But who were “we”? Nobody knew. But we do now. We discovered this “we” in Puerta del Sol on 15th May, 15th, we discovered that our indignation is wide spread, we are thousands of people, a booming process of collective conscience.
A new political subject has emerged. We are the first to be transformed. That is because this is a revolution.
We have rescued that word from TV and cultural theory. We are giving back its meaning to the people, ordinary people throughout Madrid’s various neighborhoods made their voices heard in meetings held last Saturday (May 28). Hundreds of local assemblies held throughout Spain, with women, men, mothers, grandfathers, students, professors, workers, immigrants, real people living a real democracy taking shape in their local areas for the first time in their lives.
Indignation became joy. And now that joy is seeing us through to organizing.
Anger plus joy produces strength. Strength plus organization is the start of structural change.
Yes, we camp. We have camped and we will camp into the future.
The Puerta del Sol camp is not going to fade away; it is going to explode, to set up camp deep in the thinking of people. No police force or government can remove it from the mind of the new political subject that has burst onto the stage shouting Democracia real ya.
Remove the current electoral system, get rid of the economic privileges the political class has allowed itself, make the corporations responsible for the crisis pay for the crisis, stop the economic reforms dictated by international economic power, and let our reason govern our world, not the capitalist reason. Claim, support and defend all this through democratic meetings, horizontally, and peacefully. It is happening, and it is not a miracle. It is something more powerful, a lot of people have experienced the pleasure of recovering the political sense of our lives. Debate and decide in assembly.
We held two general assemblies yesterday, May 29. The assembly of local committees in the morning and the general one at night, lasting more than four hours each. The need and the plan and the dream of restructuring the camp at Puerta del Sol, a camp that is a symbol and reference point for so many people. We connected live with companions in Athens and Paris. We condemned the police actions against them.
Have you ever taken a decision with thousands of people in a public square? Have you ever experienced the energy of that collective will and responsibility?
It is hard work. To turn anger into joy, and joy into agreement for action. Truly hard labor, but the only one that can give us back our dignity.
Concha Mateos has a Ph D. in Social Communication and is on the faculty at one public university in Madrid.