Hello from Barcelona,
This is the (almost) 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. Markets over people: The Health Care Apartheid
2. #WeAreGezi, Even in Barcelona
3. In Barcelona justice is judged for the second time
4. A Pyrenees’ project to save sheep and their wool
1. MARKETS OVER PEOPLE: THE HEALTH CARE APARTHEID
In a move that benefits only the economic elite, the right to an universal health care is over in Spain. On September 1st, 2012 the Royal Decree-Law 16/2012 was implemented, leaving thousands of people with no primary health care. Althought the law has considered certain exceptions, ie: medical emergency, pregnancy and assistance to minors, they are not being granted in actual practice.
The RDL is applied in different ways throughtout Spain. The most serious cases of denial of assistance are the regions of Madrid, Valencia or Balearic Islands which are following the legislation scrupulously. This has led to the death of a woman in Valencia and a young man in Mallorca after being rejected several times by the Emergency Room for being considerated “illegal” immigrants. Some cases of denial of the Right to be medically attended during pregnancy for women under 18 have also been denounced.
In other Regions, for instance Catalunya, the RDL is applied in a less restrictive way, although all unregistered residents or those registered in a Catalan home less than 3 months ago are still excluded. If they need a specialist, they must wait to be registered for a whole year or they will be billed for all medical attention. If they are unable to pay, they become State debtors, with all the legal consequences such as non renewal or difficulty to achieve their permits.
However bleak the situation appears, there is a solution to this violation of human rights: professionals and users from everywhere have started campaigns to denounce, disobey and defy these laws. Thousands of professionals are supporting this campaign, called “Right to cure”, which started off by Médicos del Mundo (Doctors of the World) . The platform Yo, Sí Sanidad Universal (I, Yes to Universal Health Care) , in Madrid, has created affinity groups to provide support to those excluded from health care benefits all over the state. In Catalunya, several associations and assemblies are programming a workshop for June 15th and 16th, 2013 to organize and spread these groups throughout Barcelona’s neighbourhoods. Furthermore, some Health Care Centers have gone one step further and launched a disobedience campaign to adress professionals http://desobeeix.wordpress.com/ Several pro-human rights associations and citizen collectives have joined them to start a Platform aimed at collecting and denouncing cases that violate the right to assistance. The name of the platform is Sanitat per tothom (Health Care to everyone).
There is still much work to do, as this RDL is an enormous attack on the fundamental right to health care assistance, but citizens are starting to defend themselves and stand together creating better solutions.
- Defensem la sanitat publica website [CAT]
- Yo, Si Sanidad Universal website [SP]
- Sanitat per tothom website [CAT]
- Spain: Austerity cuts are prompting medical “apartheid” (2012) [EN]
- At the brink of a medical apartheid, after 25 years in Spain (2012) [EN]
- Twitter account @15MbcnSalut @YoSiSanidadUniv HT #ApartheidSanitari
- FB pages: Yo, Si Sanidad Universal ; Defendem la sanitat publica
2. #WEAREGEZI, EVEN IN BARCELONA
Since Saturday June 1st Turkey is the scene of an emerging “revolution”. It began as a protest against the decision to destroy the now famous Gezi Park in Instambul and in it’s place build a shopping mall. The police tried to evict the protesters’ camp by brutally attacking them with violence and spraying clouds of tear gas throughout the whole area, resulting in thousands of Turks joining the protesters at Gezi demanding an end to police brutality. What initially started as an action taken by a coalition against the destruction of a public park in central Istanbul has spread to more than 60 cities and provinces, bringing several million people out onto the streets in a widespread protest against the increasingly repressive ruling of the AKP-run government. The Turkish government has periodically jammed communications, shut off surveillance cameras, and used its influence over the national media to suppress knowledge of both the scale of the uprising and the brutality of the police response.
The Turkish community worldwide started immediatly to show its support to their people. At the same time many non-turkish people from all over the world spontaneously began to express solidarity. The social networks such as twitter detonated and the HT #OccupyGezi has been TT during many of the last few days.
In Barcelona the support group held a protest on June 1st at the popular Ciutadella park, which they compare to Gezi asking the Catalans “What if they wanted to demolish Ciutadella Park?”. In the afternoon they joined the demonstration against the Troika
(see NL# 46,1 ), getting to know some of the local activists, starting the path of cooperation they would improve during the following days.
On June 2nd the Occupy Gezi Barcelona group started a daily concentration at 19h in front of the Turkish Consulate in Barcelona, located in Passeig de Gracia, the most glamorous street in Barcelona . Each day they bring pictures, banners, handouts with manifestos and written messages of support to show the Catalans and tourists in the area, while singing slogans asking for freedom, for the end of violence and for the resignation of Erdogan. These messages don’t stay just in Barcelona: they cross borders through the social networks and livestreams which are spread throughout the world. The Turkish community living in Barcelona, for instance, may have members who struggle with understanding Spanish or Catalan, but they have begun to organise assemblies where they can decide their next steps and involve everyone to a greater extent.
Now they are building bridges with other social movements and activists to start an information campaign through talks in neighbourhoods, universities, social and cultural centers and other areas so the that Catalan population can be aware of what is happening in Turkey and offer their solidarity and support. And every day a dozen or two of local activists join their daily protests, convinced that #WeAreGezi in Barcelona, too!
- International solidarity with the resistance in Taksim Gezi Park blog [EN]
- What is happening in Instambul Website [EN]
- Taksim Solidarity Press Release [EN]
- Turkish Democracy Needs You! (Call for support in 45 languages)
- Barcelona protests supporting Occupy Gezi [SP]
- UN rights office urges probe into Turkey crackdown [EN]
- Occupy Gezi Barcelona protests at the Consulate, photos by @Fotomovimiento: June the 1st - the 2nd - the 3rd - the 4th - the 6th - the 7th - the 8th
- Tumblr of the Catalan Turkish community, with Occupy Gezi Barcelona actions
Video and Streamings
- Occupy Gezi Barcelona messages of support on June 1st protest at Ciutadella Park: In English - In Greek - In German - In Portuguese - in Turkish - In Catalan
- Streaming by @okokitsme: Protest at the Consulate [EN, CAT, SP]; Occupy Gezi block at Barcelona’s June 1st demo
- VIDEO: The first week of resistence in Instabul [EN]
- Streamings from Diren Turkiye: GeziParkiCanli
- Twitter Account @occupyGezi_bcn HT #OccupyGezi #DirenGeziPark #DirenAnkara
- Facebook account: Estambul Resiste, Turquía Resiste
- Facebook event for June 6th
3. IN BARCELONA JUSTICE IS JUDGED FOR THE SECOND TIME
On Thursday May 30th the Justice Workers’ Assembly protested against cuts imposed jointly by the Spanish and Catalan Government.
This was the second action aimed at the Justice Alliance, a symbolic act to remind people of the past 20 months of protests. The first action was exactly one year ago (See NL#16, 2 ). Activists from different platforms gave speeches. Several collectives accused the Justice Alliance of having “two speeds, one for the rich and another for the poor”. Albert Sales, professor of Sociology at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, explained how the gradual disappearance of the welfare state “increases the vulnerability of large segments of society. It is a punitive policy copied from the United States, which has led Spain to have the highest prison population in Europe, with 160 prisoners for every 100,000 inhabitants.”
The economic crisis has proved the perfect excuse for them to minimize our rights and implement the long-planned agenda of neoliberalism. Now we are witnessing a clash between legality and legitimacy, where the Government seeks to criminalize protests and silence dissent, but fortunately is not suceeding in creating their desired effect.
Videos and pictures
- Account @acciointerina HT #judicialajusticia #30m
4. A PYRENEES’ PROJECT TO SAVE THE SHEEP AND THEIR WOOL
Obrador Xisqueta (Xisqueta workshop - after a race of pyreneen sheeps) is an association for local development located in Pallars Sobirá (a town in the catalan Pyrenees), a spin off of the association Projecte Gripia that works on the dinamization of the primary sector of the economy in the Pyrenees and the rural world in general.
The ovine sector in general is in crisis, mainly due to an increasing devaluation of its products, such as meat and wool. The wool especially hardly has any value in Spain, and is considered a waste material. So a pilot project in Catalunya is engaging shepherds, artisans and citizens, using wool as its central point: the aim of the project is to pay a fair price for the wool of the xisqueta sheep, bringing to knowledge the work shepherds and artisans do while teaching those skills, and to sell the products (autonomy-quality-sustainability). The association works with 25 farming families and part of the ACOXI – (Association of breeders of xisqueta sheep in Catalunya)
The main sponsor of the association is the National Park of Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici .
Also Artesania de Catalunya (Catalans Artisans Consortium), the Town Hall of Lleida and the Natural Park of High Pyrenees collaborate and support Obrador Xisqueta‘s project and educational work .
As we can read in their blog, they also sell nice and colorful balls of wool and lovely handicrafts and promote the training of shepards and the organizing many workmanship’s workshops. The Obradors study the qualities of this special wool in collaboration with the mexican university of Chiapas and participate in the international BerwaldProjekt (Wood Project) using the xisqueta wool to protect the young birds from the ungulates.
At this very moment the project is “on the road” with the Caravana Xisqueta promoting the project in the towns they find when touring the High Pyrenees.