Hello from Barcelona,
this is the weekly newsletter that will inform you about the activities of 15M movement in Barcelona, Catalonia and occasionally the main events in Spain. If you do not wish to receive it anymore, please say so.
1) #OCCUPYMORDOR: A VINDICATION WHERE IT HURTS THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM MOST
On May 15, as part of the actions of 12M15M, a group of people performed a popular trial on La Caixa Bank, at the door of their headquarters on Avenida Diagonal in Barcelona.
In the trial, testimonies of those affected by La Caixa were collected, both those concerned with the Preference shares and the Platform of People Affected (PAH) by Mortgages. There were also some groups outlining where this entity invests and how it loans money.
La Caixa was accused of:
1. Fooling working people, pensioners or unemployed with savings products (preference shares, subordinated debt and other “toxic” products).
2. Evicting thousands of people from their homes.
3. Investing in the arms industry.
4. Forgiving the debt of political parties in exchange for concessions, among other things.
The popular verdict was that La Caixa was guilty.
A camp was set up that day in what has been called #occupymordor, remembering the evil axis described in the book The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. Despite the police eviction of the #occupymordor camp around 00:45 on May 17th, the action has carried on every day from 5pm to 8pm in the form of a potbanging called #caixarolada and a car horn called #pitódromo in front of La Caixa headquarters, followed by an assembly.
On Thursday 17th senior managers from La Caixa called newspapers, radio and television stations in order to impose a media blackout on the action #occupymordor. La Caixa has withdrawn its advertising from those who had talked about #occupymordor.
Some of the initiatives taken by #labancaesMordor assembly are:
Write clear messages on the banknotes referring to the economically-financial dictatorship.
Remove misleading advertising from banks existing in the streets.
Involve drivers passing every day and honking in a more active way.
Action #occupyMordor has ensured that drivers passing by the headquarters of La Caixa honking even if you have not started the potbanging. It has always been respected car traffic on the Diagonal. When the traffic light turns red are displayed banners referring to the abuses of La Caixa in particular and banking in general.
This action demonstrates that Tolkien literature had probably more influence than Hessel one in what has been called the movement of “indignados”, in spite of what journalists try to claim from the very beginning.
Call out: http://youtu.be/5SxEHmSFrL4
http://www.unfotografo.es/2012/15m-bancos-crisis-la-caixa http://groundpress.org/indignadoscaixa/ http://groundpress.org/pitadaindginada/ http://groundpress.org/isidre-faine-culpable/ http://instagr.am/p/K116FeIo-J/ http://instagr.am/p/K179q6oo_W/ http://instagr.am/p/K1xVjOoo9B/ http://groundpress.org/caixadesalojo/
Articles on this issue:
2) EDUCATION ALL OVER SPAIN STRIKES AGAINST THE AUSTERITY MEASURES
The recent announcement by the government regarding budget cuts of 7 thousand million more affecting the Educational system has caused all Educational institutions to react with a call to strike next May 22nd. The strike will involve teachers, lecturers, professors, students and parents all over the country and from all levels- from 0 to 99 years of age. It is the first time in Spain that the entire Educational system will go on strike. Demonstrations in Barcelona will start at 12h and will finish in a huge assembly including all educational collectives in which they are going to decide the next steps. Some of the proposals include protesting in front of the Parliament and going on indefinite strike.
The government claims that these austerity measures are necessary to make the system more efficient and that there is not going to be any reduction in quality but these measures mean a decrease in human and material resources as well as an increase in the cost of education for the citizens:
- Childcare: increase by 25% of the costs, decrease in services in Barcelona
- Primary and secondary school: Increase of the student ratio in the classrooms that will make the task of educators in attending all students and their needs more difficult. Increase in the working hours for teachers, and worsening conditions for workers. As there is a significant decrease in public employment, for example, there are going to be no substitutions for illness until after the second week. Budget cuts for services (such as electricity, materials). And in Catalonia, Profesional training is going to cost each student around 300€ /year . This may be considered to be an underhand first step towards privatization of the system.
- University: 66% Increase in taxes which is going to make access to university more difficult for students. Besides this, the extreme budget cuts in research, an area that was already in a critical state before the recession, mean not only stopping many research projects but also firing lots of lecturers. Furthermore, the new structure of the university that has been announced is going to get rid of some degrees claimed to be “unproductive” by the government. This will have consequences for the employment of teachers and researchers as well. Examining this model of productivity is one of the points of several platforms in defense of the public university manifestos.
Some universities in Barcelona have already begun an indefinite strike in different faculties, as has happened recently in Canada, as a means of pressure. Some others will decide to join this indefinite strike on the 25th.
PUDUP (United Platform on the Defense of Public University) Blog: http://reconstruimlapublica.wordpress.com/ (CAT)
Assemblea groga (secondary school platform): http://assembleagroga.blogspot.com.es/ (CAT)
PBressols indignats blog: http://escolesbressolindignades.wordpress.com/ (CAT)
Platafroma 03 BCN blog: http://plataforma03bcn.blogspot.com.es/ (CAT)
CAMPS AND OCCUPATIONS:
Mundet es mou (Mundet is moving) FB page:
@Mundetesmou @campusmundet @sepc_ubmundet
UAB:Camp on the main square of the campus (plaça cívica):
UPC: Rectorship occupied: http://saveupc.wordpress.com/
UPF: Camp on the ciutadella campus https://www.facebook.com/events/233179970129353/
#22M, #vagaunivers, #nopucpagar #sosedu22m, #22Mvaga
Articles on this issue:
3) WHO OWNS BANKIA? THE LATEST SPANISH FINANCIAL SCANDAL
Last week Girona’s PAH (Platform of those Affected by Mortgages) entered an office in the city asking for a space to set up and stay in order to resolve the problem of evictions together(More than 70% of the evictions are made by Bankia in this area) as it seems that the bank is now owned by the citizens, as 45% has been nationalized.
Their spokeperson requested an urgent meeting with the director of the office and asked him to reconsider his responsibility and his job. He asked him to reflect on the actions of the bank and he expressed his indignation to the director in a constructive and proactive way. As you can see and hear in the video (link below) the act was absolutely peaceful. People entered wearing colourful clothing and flowers in their hair, closing the protest with a dance performance outside the bank, called Flower PAH Power.
It was not just the Catalan town ofGironathat was against Bankia last week: all aroundSpainpeople were withdrawing money and closing their accounts. InMadridon the 14th the queue lasted hours, and the police were asking citizens for their identity. InBarcelonathis happened on the 15th.
Bankia is a Spanish bank which was created by merging several saving banks.
It was a risky and forced operation contrived by the government to give credibility to a financial system that the financial market did not believe to be profitable anymore. This lack of trust was due to its substantial real estate exposure. And this operation failed as was widely predicted.
The name of the person responsible for this umpteenth financial disaster is Rodrigo Rato. He had to resign once it became obvious that it was impossible to save his masterpiece without state intervention of 10 million euros.
People withdrawing their money, the lack of foreign or Spanish investors: at this very moment this entity is in a coma that could be reversed by state-purchased bonds, which simply means more public help to the banks. This time the rescue has been called “nationalization”
Former advertising of Bankia said: “quiero ser bankero” (I want to be banker). Well, here we are.
- PAH Girona blog: http://pahgirona.blogspot.com.es/2012/05/pahwer-flower.html
- Video of the act in Girona: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=os-Et5d-2HU&feature=youtu.be
Articles on this issue:
- http://www.lavanguardia.com/economia/20120514/54293889854/nacionalizacion-bankia-atrapa-pequenos-inversores.html (ES)
- http://www.europapress.es/sociedad/noticia-15m-indignados-encadenan-oficina-bancaria-girona-20120515162222.html (ES)
- http://elpais.com/elpais/2012/05/17/inenglish/1337254012_723820.html (EN)
- http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/may/10/spanish-government-rescues-fourth-largest-bank-bankia (EN)
- http://www.sinpermiso.info/textos/index.php?id=4968 (ES)
- Article on #cierrabankia trend topic: http://storyful.com/stories/28945 (EN)
4) AGORABCN: WHERE PEOPLE MEET
From the 7th July 2011, AgoraBCN remains active as an open space for debate, meeting and construction where everyone is welcome in the heart of Plaça de Catalunya ofBarcelona.
As such, AgoraBCN began on that same date and is the direct outcome of what emerged after the massive demonstration of the 15th May 2011. Following this, from the 16th May, a camp, the core axis of which was to serve as a setting to meet and discuss where all sorts of people could exchange opinions, was organized in Plaça de Catalunya.
The Camp (Acampada, both in Catalan and Spanish) was extended to the 30th of June, the date on which it ended, after reaching an agreement to maintain an information point in Plaça de Catalunya. In the end this agreement wasn’t implemented but later, on the 7th July, the AgoraBCN activity started, thus giving visibility to everything that arose from the action of that day.
Since then AgoraBCN have actively participated in the demonstrations taking place in the city. Also in the preparation of assemblies in the same square and 12M15M organization.
On the anniversary of 15M emerged spontaneously an assembly in the space of AgoraBCN where gathered hundreds of people. The images of this assembly were streaming through the AgoraBCN channel (link below) and also other mobilizations where the group remain active.
5) THE XES ( SUPPORTIVE ECONOMY NETWORK): AN ALTERNATIVE ECONOMY IN PROGRESS
The xarxa d’economia solidaria (supportive economy network) began 20 years ago, as a link between Catalan and Brasilian cooperatives.
This supportive economy as a new way of producing, distributing and consuming, is proposed as a viable and sustainable alternative to meeting the needs of humanity. That means that the economy is subordinated to the objective of providing – in a sustainable manner – the material basis of the personal, social and environmental development of the human being. Its central value is human work, so the economic efficiency is not limited just to profit, but defined by the quality of life and the happiness of society as a global system.
The 50+ members of this network satisfied the following basic criteria: to promote emancipatory work and not engage in labour exploitation; to preserve the equilibrium of ecosystems, with respect to initiatives that are not ecologically sustainable; to share part of their surplus time, money or goods, for the expansion of such economy;
to organize themselves in a democratic and participatory way; and to have managerial independence from the government.
The members provide a vast diversity in their business sectors, providing, with this diversity a wide range of products and services. Maximizing mutual cooperation to strengthen ties between members and create synergies that will benefit their business activities and affect positively what is offered to customers.
In their daily work they are organized in a horizontal and democratic way, with several commissions such as: Permanent Comunication; International; Books; Social Balance; Alternatives to the crisis; Mutual Cooperation; Social Market.
From 2011 membership of individuals, not just entities, is allowed.
The XES and its memebers are aware that there are permanent risks of marginalization or integration into an economy based on commodities, as there is the possibility of lapsing into conformity, reproducing new hierarchies and inequalities. Therefore social balance, a collection of books on social economics, mutual cooperation, the creation of a social market and the link with social movements as strategic tools are all promoted.
On their web site we can read: the supportive economy is not the panacea that will solve all evil, but without this kind of economy there will be no way out or escape from the social and ecological catastrophe of capitalism.
Their admirable strength and hard work is intended to demonstrate that it is up to us to build a different and better world.
XES web site: http://www.xes.cat/ (CAT)
XES Manifesto: http://www.xes.cat/docs/XS51002.pdf (CAT)
XES Directory: http://www.xes.cat/docs/XS51017.pdf (CAT)
Subscription form: http://www.xes.cat/docs/XS0001.pdf (CAT)
+ INFO on Supportive Economy:
- Supportive Economy web site: http://www.economiasolidaria.org/ (ES)
- Former documentary about supportive economy realities:
- the web of the network: http://www.transitionnetwork.org/transition-2 (EN)
- the documentary: http://www.intransitionmovie.com/ (several languages)
- Web of a canadian town based on supportive economy: http://www.bridgewater.ca/sustainability/green-self-supportive-local-economy.html (EN)