BARCELONA #15M Newsletter nr 33

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. November 14th: European Day of Action
2. Public abandoned plot of land claimed for new uses 
3. A different proposal on fiscal disobedience: skiping the middleman

1. NOVEMBER 14TH: EUROPEAN DAY OF ACTION

November the 14th Europe rose up again against social cuts, governmental lies, the illegitimate debt, foreclosures, the increasing pauperty, the increasing repression, and fighting for democracy and labor rights.

Many unions had called for a strike in Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy. Soon solidarity actions started in other European countries, transforming November 14th into a European Global Day of Action.  Even some unions from South America joined too.

Barcelona woke up early in a very cloudy and silent day, the piquets had started at midnight and were increased at dawn in every district of the city [Map of pickets and actions]. Many main streets were blocked. Parades and informers took the streets to convince the shops to close, even two baby parades in Sarria-Sant Gervasi and Poble Sec, where parents, armed with their baby carriages, went to shops and markets trying to stop their comercial activity. Several neighbourhoods joined the education picket in front of the Education Department, where a group of teachers and students where concentrating for several hours.
Some univerisities were occupied during the night and there was no class during the day.

Around 12pm the Iaioflautas (Elder activists – NL#2,3 ) joined the PAH (Platform of the Affected by Mortgages – NL#19,4 ) and occupied a BBVA bank office inPaseo de Gracia (a boulevard with high-end shops downtown Barcelona) to demand the bank to cease in evicting a blind couple with 2 children. And they were successful!

At the same hour, taxi drivers took the centre of the town with their cars protesting against their working situation and supporting the general strike. Moreover, the Taxi Anarquia association (Anarchist Taxi) was offering free taxi service for strikers from the previous night until the morning.

Feminist piquets took 2 supermarkets expropiating food for destitute women and inmigrants [FemBlock video ]. All around, in many cities and villages of Catalunya, people were protesing: blocked streets, pickets, closed factories, occupied banks and Town Halls, demos and minor clashes with the police.

At 6pm a grassroots movements demostration left Gracia neighbourhood down to the center of the city.The call was to prove that most people no longer support the main unions, who were demonstrating at another point downtown with more flags than members. A big police operation stood all time surrounding the people and blocking streets in the demo’s route, to force the march through other streets in order to avoid them getting close to Catalunya Sq., the 15M movement’s symbol in Barcelona but also commercial heart of the city and place where a private icerink is being built.

Europe, despite the Nobel Prize for Peace this year, was showing a not-so-peaceful attitude in the streets of Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon, Milan and Rome among others: police charging and beating people indiscriminately and using undercover police as agents provocateurs to foster rage and violent reactions among demonstrators. 41 people were arrested only in Barcelona (62 in Spain) and 34 injured.

One of these injured citizens was a 13 year old boy who was participating in a peaceful picket in Tarragona (Catalonia), who was beaten on the head. Early in the night a woman lost her eye due to the impact of a rubber bullet while she was leaving the demonstration in Barcelona with many other people. Both cases of police brutality spread immediatelly through social networks and caused a huge reaction against police brutality and the blatant lies in the official versions by the infamous Felip Puig, who is held responsible for the brutality with which the Catalan riot police act ever since he became the Home councillor. Lawsuits are taking place for these two cases and Stop Bales de Goma (Stop Rubber Bullets NL #2,5) reminded us all it’s the 7th citizen losing an eye in Catalonia in the last 3 years. Just 10 days before the Catalan elections this might affect the results for the ruling party.

Agencia29 (a work group formed  as a Mashup of independent media from Catalonia) was updating and informing via twitter, website and radio all day long, collecting information from the people on the streets and going on air live with their free radio (http://agencia29.net/-radio-en-directe ). Four other mediacenters were set up in Barcelona as our motto is BE the media: PeoplewitnessInternational CommissionBarcelona’s 15M social networks commission and other work groups spent the whole strike informing from the streets, taking pictures, tweeting, phoning with detailed info and streaming while the mediacenters were connecting cities and countries and broadcasting live through their own oneline channels.

LINKS:

Articles

Video

Pics

Twitter
@acampadabcn_int @agencia_29  @tomalahuelga @taxisllibertat
#14N #14nBCN #14NalaCalle #14nRiseUp #14Nbcn

2. PUBLIC ABANDONED PLOT OF LAND CLAIMED FOR NEW USES

In the heart of Barcelona, within the Eixample Esquerra district, there is an abandonded plot of land that the neighbours claim for social activities.

The story
The ancient convent of the Germanetes dels pobres (Sisters of the poor, similar to the Sisters of Mercy) was closed down in 2000 and sold to the Hospital Clinic, a public hospital. During the 2000-2001 schoolyear a participative process was opened to decide the future of the convent’s grounds: the 12 year old students from 4 local schools had to plan new uses for this space, mainly turning the convent’s gardens into a new green space for the neighbourhood. The project of a park that most people supported was ignored. In 2004 the convent was demolished and the Council became the owner of the plot of land, and in 2006 it announced what is going to be built in it: a high school, a kindergarten, a home for the elderly, a block of flats to rent to young people and a nursery, plus a block of private apartments. 6 years after, the project has appeared in many official plans but the site is still empty and unused except for the debris and materials that have accumulated. Only one thing has been carried out from the whole plan: the private apartments. In the meantime,babies and elder citizens increase  in the district and schools, kindergatens, homes for ethe lderly and green spaces are needed.

The project – Recreant Cruïlles (Rebuilding Crossroads)
The citizen collective Recreant Cruïlles, started by the15M disctrict Assembly (Assemblea de l’Esquerra de l’Eixample i Sant Antoniin collaboration with previously existing neighbours associations, asks the Council to stick to the promised project, but due to the evident lack of will to accomplish it they claim the space for themselves, to be taken and selfmanaged.

The first step is to spread the information about the situation: a blog has been created and latele.cat (an indipendent on line tv channel) has started to collaborate closely with the project doing a documentary and a close follow-up of all the actions and initatives taken by the group. On May12th  a parade and a popular lunch took place to present the space and the open project to all the neighbours.

Workshops and informative talks have been organized to express and share the concern about the situation of this space, given the lack of structures in the area.

Besides  this, the City Council has a project called buits (empty) which  offers citizens the possibility of using temporarily empty spaces in the city  for  social projects. So, they have started to write a plan using collaborative intelligence: Everybody can bring ideas and proposals to build the project.
In fact, Recreant Cruilles’ blog  has a page dedicated to follow up this work in progress.

LINKS:

Videos

Twitter
@okupemlesones (la tele.cat);  @barrisantantoni ; @ASSEsqEixample; #assbarris

3. A DIFFERENT PROPOSAL ON FISCAL DISOBEDIENCE: SKIPPING THE 
MIDDLEMAN

As the Government owes the NGOs in Spain 15 million euro and doesn’t seem likey to pay this year, some of them started to have big problems to carry out their work and had to quit several programs and to fire some of their workers (See NL#20, 1 )
Pau is an autonomous worker who has decided he’s not going to pay his taxes to the government but directly to the NGOs. He states that it’s not fair that the government gives money to banks while denying to pay what was budgeted for developing programs of the social associations.
The mechanism is quite simple. He wrote a letter to the tax office, stating he is not going to pay until the government pays the NGOs. Meanwhile, his money will go directly to the associations as he thinks the middleman, i.e., the Government, is not doing his job well. He sent as well the contract he made with the NGO and a receipt for the money he had given. For some months he can stay without paying, having only to pay an extra percentage later for the delay.
Once the NGOs get paid, they will give Pau his money back and he will pay the taxes plus the surcharge for the delay, expense which will be shared with the NGO.
It is true that it’s only €1,125 for three months, but he intends to spread the idea and find more people who want to join this initiative, eventually forcing the government to fullfill its promises towards the social associations, so they can keep developing all their wellfare and sustainability projects.
Initiatives of fiscal disobedience are becoming more usual . This is just another proposal which opens a new way for people to press their Governments to accomplish their duties.

LINKS:

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