BARCELONA #15M Newsletter nr 39

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. Spanish people took the street to defend the PAH’s Popular Legislative Initiative
2. Higher prices in public transports, higher disobedience
3. Mas Franch and the free education movement

1. SPANISH PEOPLE TOOK THE STREET TO DEFEND THE PAH’S POPULAR LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVE

On February 16th people from more than 50 cities in Spain (see map) took to the streets to protest against the plague of evictions that is starting to be known all around the world.

The PAH (Platform of those affected by the mortgage, see NL#19, 4 ) made a national call (see NL#36, 1  ) to pressure Spanish MPs to address the issue and ratify the bill as a law: the ILP (Popular Legislative InitiativeNL#12, 2 ) is not negotiable at all!  The answer was massive: thousands of people (around 60,000 in Barcelona) marched yelling, banging drums, blowing horns, wearing their famous green t-shirts, and waving banners and STOP desahucios signs. Foreign press from the whole world gave a great echo to the protest (see our links below).

Up to this very moment the PAH has managed to stop 576 evictions. A small, but powerful drop in the ocean of evictions in Spain, with around 500 homes evicted every day in 2012. The platform empowers victims to make them become activists against their own problem and supporting fellow citizens in danger of eviction, and its system of physically blocking the entrance to buildings and occupying banks to demand solutions for specific cases has become the strongest weapon against media silencing: by now a really high percentage of the Spainsh population has seen some action or another by the PAH, making everyone aware of how this drama is reaching neighbours close to their homes.

The Spanish Congress was supposed to vote the ILP on March 7th, but it has been postponed to April. The AEB (Spain’s Association of Banks) is against the assignment in payment and the ruling party (PP – Popular Party) is preparing an alternative proposal so as not  to damage the banks. Meanwhile, even people who voted PP in the last elections are supporting PAH’s initiative, seeing how the unemployment rate is growing and people simply can’t be losing their homes in such large numbers. Newspapers are  finally addressing the problem seriously: the  number of suicides by people being driven to despair at the prospect of being evicted has increased alarmingly these last few months, and it is no longer easy to silence.

On the other hand, after two firemen of A Coruña (Galicia) were reported by the police for  refusing to help evicting a 85 year old woman recently, also firemen from Catalunya, Madrid, and Mallorca declare that they are not going to help evict people anymore. Firemen’s disobedience adds up to the locksmiths’ one previously announced.

If the ILP is not entirely ratified it seems the PAH is ready to promote a massive “escrache” or stalking (See NL#38, 1 ) against politicians and bankers who are responsible of the non approval of this initiative.

In Spain it seems that civil disobedience is on its way. The latest slogan says “PAH is #imPAHrable.” Social justice is #unSTOPpable.

LINKS

Articles

Last NL articles 

Videos, pictures & streaming

Twitter
Accounts: @LA_PAH @PAH_BCN
HT: #16F  #16fBcn #16fMad #Razones16f #imPAHrables #LaILPnoSeNegocia #ILPoEscrache

2. HIGHER PRICES IN PUBLIC TRANSPORTS, HIGHER DISOBEDIENCE

Earlier this year a new platform was formed to denounce the high rates of urban transportation in Barcelona. The platform No Paguem (We Don’t Pay) was presented on January 5th when a group of 25 people carried out the first act of disobedience with a symbolic action, occupying for several minutes a touristic bus in Barcelona. As they said “This action has been done in a tour  bus to protest the city model we have to bear, facing tourists and business interests over the neighbors’ priorities”.

No Paguem notes that “In the process of impoverishment and dispossession suffered by all the workers and popular sectors, we will be hit by TMB (Barcelona metropolitan transport) with a renewed increase in public transport fares” which this year has been between 3.5 and 4%.

Following the increase, the platform stated that “Public transport is a fundamental right of all workers and we must stop this new process of spoliation that we are suffering.”

They also said that those who take decisions and are responsible of an unjustified rise in public transport “are promoted by all political parties.”

Thereby the platform issued a manifesto to denounce the use of public money to finance private companies that provide transportation services (TRAM Baix, Tram Besòs, Bicing, etc.) while their directors are still getting economic benefits.

Their proposals are:

  • a) Free transportation for people affected by unemployment and poverty.
  • b) Social Rates for pensioners, students and children.
  • c) No increase of transport fares under any circumstances.
  • d) Retrieval of public management of all transportation companies.
  • e) No dismissal or salary reduction for Subway workers.
  • f) Readmittance of Andreu De Cabo, TMB worker fired for denouncing misappropriation by TMB managers. (Note: In fact, the employee Andreu De Cabo has just been readmitted after a trial that has recognized his allegations are fair.)

Since the beginning, the platform has performed several different actions. The most visible ones have been civil disobedience actions in the subway, reading manifestos and opening the barriers for a while. At first these activities took place in a metro station. Soon, in order to be most effective, these actions have become decentralized in different metro stations, on the same day, at different hours.

The initiative has expanded to many neighbourhood assemblies and collectives and even to Mallorca, where a group of people synchronized an action with Barcelona.

Civil disobedience platforms have proliferated. The #nopaguem Initiative is another example of social dissent against austerity measures.

LINKS

Articles

Videos

Twitter
Account: @nopaguem HT #NoPaguem

Contact: nopaguem@gmail.com

3. MAS FRANCH AND THE FREE EDUCATION MOVEMENT

Mas  Franch is a self-managed project located in La Garrotxa, in the north of Catalunya, which is  focused on promoting a sustainable life style. They practise new construction methods, building with natural materials (adobe, logs and adobe) and always keeping in mind how to minimize the needs of energy for lighting and heating. As other similar degrowth iniciatives in Catalunya, they  carry out workshops in order to promote personal commitment and development in a transformative learning and education as a basis for social change, and  they run a cooperative which  is a “non-profit, social and an ecological project which is managed  collectively and horizontally by its ten full-time  members” and tries to cover the needs of the place. Mas Franch also holds courses and conferences, such as the one on Free Education held the first weekend of Feburary.

Free Education is an alternative way to educate children. It considers that the kid’s will for learning is natural and teachers should only help and accompany the process. Several methodologies and pedagogical points of view can be applied, such as Waldorf, Freire and Montessori. The emotional part of the child is a very important issue in these methods, as well as the family’s collaboration in the whole process and with the school as well.

A work group on free education was created from XELL (Xarxa d’Educació Lliure, Free Education Network ) -the education office at the CIC (Cooperativa Integral Catalana, Catalan Integral Cooperative)- and individual projects such as small free schools, in order to create a working network to facilitate the stability and spreading of this kind of projects. Their first meeting was held in Mas Franch on February 2nd and 3rd. One of the objectives of this 2-day meeting was to discuss the self-managing, mutual support and ways of funding the different projects, as at the moment they are paid by the economical contribution of families, which leaves the schools in a very unstable situation. People interested in starting new projects on free education also attended the meeting.

During the first session on Saturday several schools were presented, to introduce a debate on the resources they have, both human and economic. In  the afternoon some common projects were discussed, such as the creation of a resistance box, a social coin, communication tools, the CIS (Sistema de Intercambio en ComunidadCommunity Exchange System ), a cooperation project to dynamise the schools not only during teaching hours but also by giving workshops for the whole community, and initiatives to facilitate job finding around free education projects. To discuss this further in depth, they divided into small groups depending on people’s preferences. As usual, a convergence  session summed up what the groups had worked on. They all slept at Mas Franch and the next day there was another workshop to discuss ideas on how to make free education available for families which can’t pay the contribution.

All in all, February started at Mas Franch with two days of hard work on how to spread free education and make it available to everyone, so it is not called  anymore “alternative education”.

LINKS

NL articles 

Alternative education: 

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