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.
It’s hot and several members of the International Comission are on the road the next few weeks, so our next newsletter will be the last week of August. Meanwhile,you can check our previous newsletters here: http://bit.ly/GAE2qs
1.The people against Bankia – round II – game is not over!
2.Science in danger from budget cuts
3.The rescued rescue rescue
4. The unemployed march to Madrid
1. THE PEOPLE AGAINST BANKIA – ROUND II – GAME IS NOT OVER!
On June 14th the lawsuit carried out by the plataform 15MpaRato was filed. As we already explained in several articles (NL18, 2, NL 14, NL 17, 1 ) this can be considered as a trial of the people against a bank: Bankia, its former executives and specially Rodrigo Rato, its ex-president. These people have proven responsabilities in the bankrupcy of this bank, which could be considered 100% fraudulent.
The lawsuit asked for a judicial take over of Bankia: if it were admitted, Bankia would not receive the money of the Spanish financial rescue assigned to this bank - 4,465 million euros – . The judge, obviously, received a lot of pressure in order to deny a takeover that could change the meaning of the rescue itself, or even cancel it. An open letter was written to the judge Fernando Andreu to express him solidarity and support.
The FROB suddenly appeared in court, asking to guarantee for Bankia and finally, on July 30th, the judge accepted it, rejecting the proposal by 15MpaRato and its lawsuit.
In the meantime – on July 26th – Rodrigo Rato asked to talk and reply to questions at the congress. He said clearly that he had done everything well and in the right way. A hashtag was immediately created by the QuerellaPaRato community – #PreguntasPaRato – and deputies from the left wing asked Rato several of the questions coming through twitter.
The @15mPaRato twitter account gained 12,000 followers in 2 months – an amazing record – and all the numerous hashtags created during this time have been trending topics: this confirms the force of web activism and his potentiality.
What now? we can use a tweet by @15MPaRato to reply : “The culprits will pay for his crimes. With or without takeover. Keep going with the lawsuit”
- The People agaist Bankia, NL18, 2 [EN]
- Who own Bankia? The latest spanish financial scandal NL 14, 3 [EN]
- How much pressure can a bank sopport? Bankia receives massive attackes NL 16,1 [EN]
- United we sue: crowdfounding pa Rato NL 17, 1 [EN]
Twitter: @15mPaRato #PreguntasPaRato
2. SCIENCE IN DANGER FROM BUDGET CUTS
Science in Spain was one of the first areas affected by budget cuts, before people even started reading about economics and when the recession seemed an exageration. Almost three years ago, scientific bloggers in Spain started a campaign known as La ciencia española no necesita tijeras (Spanish science needs no scissors). But now, with the current austerity plans and the ill choices when prioritising, science is in real danger.
The CSIC (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas), the biggest scientific institution in Spain and the thirdone in Europe, has been declared insolvent and is not buying materials for labs and experiments. Researchers there have their salaries assured only for the next two months, while other research institutions have announced they are not sure if they can pay researchers. Many less projects have been granted since 2009, and some projects are being cancelled half way through. Projects funded by the Spanish government often have no money assigned to contracts… Meanwhile, science secretary in the Spanish government, Carmen Vela, is writing articles saying the lower budgets in science can be beneficial. According to Vela, ¨Strict funding cuts mean that the country’s research system must renew its focus on quality rather than quantity¨.
On July 27th 400 scientists from one of the CSIC centers in Barcelona and from the neighbouring Barcelona Biomedical Research Park took to the streets asking for a better future for science, and this is only the beginning of their protests… Other centers have been blocking streets and informing newspapers of the situation,and in the next few months scientists shall be heard because, as stated on their poster…without science there is NO future!
- Call for the demo, Science Meets Society blog [EN]
- Poster in English [EN]
- Photos of the demo by @SantiDemajo: part 1 | part 2|
- Interviews in English by @okokitsme: scientists before the demo [EN]
- Streaming of the demo by @okokitsme and jairstream 1 | 2 | [SP]
- Turn Spain’s budget crisis into an opportunity -article by Spain’s science secretary Carmen Vela [EN]
- CSIC, the vanguard in Spanish science,stops paying bills to be able to pay salaries [SP]
- CSIC in temporary receivership[SP]
- Call for 2009′s campaign La ciencia española no necesita tijeras (Spanish science needs no scissors) [SP]
3. THE RESCUED RESCUE
On July 24th Catalonia asked Spain for a financial rescue. It seems that the Catalan government’s safe is empty: its debt is of 42,000 millon euros, and during the next months they will have to pay debts for 5,755 million. The rescue would be to cover the payments they have to do during the next few months, specially outsourced Health, Education and Social services.
During July, the Catalan Government (the Generalitat) has been unable to pay bills for their privately managed hospitals, old people’s homes and disabled centres. Some 700 privately managed, but state-funded, schools are also waiting for the Catalan government to pay for July, though salaries have not been affected yet. Unlike other sectors…
The sector that will suffer it is the 3rd one: The NGOs have already started actions due to the 84% budget cut in cooperation (see NL #20,1 ). About 100.000 people working at social services for the disabled, care-dependents, and the elderly will not be payed this month. Due to this, and to the budget cuts in general, hundreds of daycare centers and services for elderly, the disabled, mental health centers and other social services are about to collapse. This will probably mean a joint lawsuit against the Catalan government, for unpayed bills and non-compliance of contracts.
When questioned about this problem, the Generalitat blames Spain’s central government for its financial problems. While the Spanish government is considering the conditions for this rescue, Catalonia is discussing how to manage its own tax system without the central state’s control.
The irony of this situation is clear: Spain has to rescue Catalonia while Spain itself is being rescued by the European comunity!
- The Government won’t pay, the NGOs occupy NL 20, 1 [EN]
- Catalonia unable to fund its social services [EN]
- Catalonia, going down for the debt, ask for a rescue [CAT]
- Catalonia as well asks for the rescue [SP]
4 .THE UNEMPLOYED MARCH TO MADRID
One month ago a group of unemployed people left Barcelona, marching towards Madrid. They were one of the several branches from many cities in Spain that marched demanding a better share of work among citizens. All these groups converged in Madrid on July 21st.
At their arrival in Madrid they went to the work ministry to protest, and after eating together and sharing experiences they all joined the multitudinay demo that went across the center of the city, though without passing by the Congress as expected: it is now permanently protected by fences and police. The demo ended in Plaza del Sol, whit a big assembly where people talked about their experience while marching through Spain.
The spirit of the 15M marches is alive in many people, spilling out to protests which are not originated in the 15M movement.