You think that only a football match can get thousands into the street in Spain?
Nope. Finally, the frustrated Spanish youth has hit the streets. That is a photo of Madrid’s main plaza last night.
The middle east protests have spread to Spain. Same crap, different pile: a powerless, social media-armed youth, sick of being disenfranchised from society.
Unemployment in Spain is at 20 percent. Youth unemployment is 43 percent. Anyone with skills is fleeing to Germany. Banks are posting profits after an expensive bailout financed by the middle class. Rogelio had to take a 7 percent pay cut last year. But with over 30 percent unemployment in our area, he’s lucky to even have a job.
The protests are being called “trans-political”, “post-political” and other empty terms that mean that analysts don’t know what to make of this. The protesters aren’t for or against any party. Spain’s polarized political establishment doesn’t leave room for choice. People fear the right, but have been disappointed by the left. Both parties, especially at the local level, are corrupt and out of touch.
Tomorrow we have local elections. The protests have changed the scene, but not the options. However, with federal elections looming for next year, and frustration morphing into energy, there is hope for real change.
Spanish law states that no political campaigning can be done on “The Day of Reflection” the 24 hours before any election. 25,000 people are camped out in Madrid’s main plaza, defying authority. 69 other cities have protests in process, including Algeciras. That puts the government in a hard place. The far right is shrieking that protesters must be removed by force, because they don’t have to do it. The ruling left is trying to avoid political suicide, and must accept looking the fool, unable to uphold its own laws and save face.
Spanish commentary suggests the international press has not yet appreciated the importance of this movement. But it is spreading to Italy and other parts of Europe. Even Canada. This is a supporting protest in Vancouver.
They want jobs. They want reasonable wages. They want politicians charged with corruption to be banned from running again. Perhaps this seems radical in Syria, but it should be logical here in the western first world. Shouldn’t it?
I guess we will find out.
Real Democracy Now.