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. IN BARCELONA PROSTITUTES GET ANGRY…
The Indignant Prostitutes campaign (Prostitutas Indignadas) expects to generate alliances against the criminalization of sex workers and to have a say on Catalonia’s Government proposals, particularly Barcelona City Council: During the last weeks Barcelona has launched laws and rules in order to ban prostitution through a policy of harrasment and fines, against the visibility and presence of women in public spaces.
During years -and due to the banning of this activity- entities for women rights denounce, as a serious repercussion of such policies, the violation of fundamental citizens’ rights, causing a double institucional violence towards possible victims of human trade for forced prostitution.
This Campaign gives voice to those historic claims, and asks for public policies coherent with the demands by women whom exercise prostitution, respecting their citizen rights, beyond any repressive response.
Many posters have appeared on Raval’s streets during the last couple of weeks, rejecting the criminalization of prostitution. The Raval, a neighbourhood in Barcelona where prostitution has been present historically during over 100 years, is the simbolic space for this protest. Now this this area is being transformed due to a savage gentrification and property speculation, sending messages of “cleaning up” the area and claiming a “civic coexistence”
The Indignant Prostitutes campaign has started spreading its claims through social networks and calls to a citizen demo in defence or the women whom exercise prostitution on April 26th at 7pm, going from the most well-known red light street to the town-hall.
Demo Call Poster: http://prostitutasindignadas.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/cartel-mani-26a-web1.jpg
Mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
In teh news: http://www.publico.es/espana/430493/prostitutas-indignadas-contra-el-acoso-institucional-en-barcelona
2. THE PATH OF CIVIL DESOBEDIENCE: TOOLS FOR FISCAL INSUBMISSION
“When the government violates the people’s rights, insurrection is, for the people and for each portion of the people, the most sacred of the rights and the most indispensible of duties.” (Human and Citizen Rights Declaration 1793)
By this statment Derecho de Rebelion (Right of Rebellion) -a popular iniciative- works to generate and extend mass civil desobedience. We can read in their manifesto:
“If we organize, we will be able to create and defend spaces free of control and opression by the power structure. When we manage to do that, the State will not be blocked immediately; instead, it will struggle to supress our counter-power in order to save its hegemonical status. Thus, we are opening a space where the strategies of action need to be very well defined to transform into solid options that include a significant part of society. In this context we propose the civil disobedience of State laws that affect us. As individuals and as free beings, civil disobedience and self-organization in all aspects of our life are two of our basic tools for political action. As a massively organized people we have the responsability of shaping the environment where we live and acting the way we want it to be.
It is considerated that civil desobedience is a legitimate action (albeit outside of the law, which is considered unfair) which is carried out in a conscious manner and made public in order to achieve a total or partial transformation of society. In this framework of disobedience, the campaign of fiscal insubmission 2012 (Campaña #insumisionfiscal a los Presupuestos 2012) is being promoted.
The Rebeldes con causa collective (rebels with a cause) offers everyone informations and tools to exercise the right of rebellion and of total fiscal resistence towards the State, to redirect the resources to fiscal self-management through local assemblies which “deserve to manage sovereignty instead of the State”.
Many offices of economic disobedience (Oficinas de desobediencia Economica) have been opened to advise people on this. It is also possible to download, print and spread the Civil Disobedience Manual where everyone can learn individual and collective actions of disobedience, and alternative ways of life to the current capitalistic system.
A list of self-managed projects is available in the website.
The last words on their manifesto are:
“Because of the situation we live in Spain, which is similar to other countries in the world, and because the financial power is now global, we would like to encourage other people all over the world to claim their right to rebellion by means of manifestos like this one. Fiscal resistance was one of the civil disobedience strategies that lead India to the independence from the British empire; now it can be a key strategy to get independence from global financial dictatorship. Indignation time is over, now we have a new rebel dignity!”
Manifesto Right of Rebellion http://www.derechoderebelion.net/es/version-imprimir/english-version/ (English and other languages)
video promo: http://vimeo.com/40147709
video civil disobedience http://vimeo.com/33903208
“Economic Desobedience Manual” .pdf version http://www.derechoderebelion.net/files/2012/04/manual-de-desobediencia-econo%CC%81mica.pdf (ES)
Letter to Fiscal Authority’s model http://www.derechoderebelion.net/modelo-de-carta-para-hacienda/ (ES)
3. SPAIN BORDERS WILL BE CLOSED FOR THE ECB MEETING
The European Central Bank (ECB, BCE in Spanish) is holding its next meeting in Barcelona on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of May. Therefore, the Spanish Government, due to pressures by the Catalan government, is suspending the Schengen treaty from a week before ahead.
This well know agreement, signed in 1985, ratifies the free circulation of people and goods among the UE states. Every european Country is allowed to suspend unilaterally, for a certain time, the application of the treaty, only when they feel their domestic security is threatened. France made use of this rule during the NATO summit in 2009 to conduct controls along the German border, to prevent violent demonstrators from accessing the event. Major state visits, high-level meetings among politicians and large sporting events have also prompted temporary border controls in some nations. The last occasion was in 2011, when France closed its borders due to the Tunisian immigrants travelling from Italy with a residence permission given by the Italian government.
Spain will restore border controls due to the possibilty that “subsersive elements” come into the country, especially from Italy and Greek. The Catalan Government says to have information about the arrival of violent anti-capitalist protesters in Barcelona, `planning to boicot the meeting. The security will be triplicated in the city, with a large police contingent: Barcelona will be an armed city. By the way there isn’t any clue of such a boicot being prepared.
On the other hand, the French and German Home Ministers are asking the UE direction for a bigger soverignity by the States’ side when deciding the “temporary suspension” of Schengen. They would like to turn an exception into a rule, changing the philosophy of the treaty, putting one of the pilars of the European Union in danger: France and Germany want to bring borders back into Europe. It is not difficult to imagine the consequences for immigrants.
Articles on the issue:
http://www.presseurop.eu/en/content/article/623871-reforming-schengen-absurd-gesture (many languages)
The Schengen Agreement implications: http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/justice_freedom_security/free_movement_of_persons_asylum_immigration/index_es.htm (En and other languages)
Schengen Area countries: http://www.visados.es/Area_Schengen.php
4. BARCELONA IS PREPARING THE #12M15M WITH A TOUCH OF CREATIVITY…
Barcelona has been preparing the Global May actions for one month and a half. A demo on the 12th and blockings and actions on the 15th are planned. In Spain, May the 15th is also the first anniversary for the 15M movement.
A mass mobilization is expected (it could be bigger than the 350.000 people that took the streets on 15O). A circular route will start and end in Plaza Catalunya, where the square will be taken again and self-organized: a camp will be settled during 3 days with assemblies and conferences to show the work done all along this last year and call more people towards the 15M movement.
The Forum dels pobles (people’s forum) will embrace those days of debates on the streets, focusing on 5 central themes: 1) No more money to rescue the banks; 2) Public education and health care; 3) We say no to the work reform and to job insecurity; 4) Decent housing for everyone; 5) Universal basic income.
A lot of projects are on their way, like the Reflectantes one. Following the “Como acabar con el mal” (How to end evil) workshop -see NL8- a workgroup has been creating reflective armours with the aimof giving a funny and happy air to the demos and, at the same time, to create protective and calming bodies: dressed in a brillant costume, looking for a superhero aesthetics, and equiped by any kind of reflecting devices, they are going to reflect all the evil that the capitalism throws to the people and their lifes. Thanks to the German Electric electric collective, and to their workshop of inflatables, the Barcelona group is preparing inflatable cubes of 4 square meters that could become giant baloons to play with and also protection against police violent charges.
Other cities such as Madrid, Malaga and Berlin are working on similar projects.
A website is collecting the tutorials on how to make these structures, as all the cities and towns could work with his “reflectantes” improving and creating new tactics of creative activism.
Web for Barcelona’s 12M15M campaign: http://12m15m.acampadadebarcelona.org/?lang=es/
Web for global May: http://globalmay.org/
Global call from Barcelona in English https://acampadabcninternacional.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/call-for-12m-from-barcelona-12m15m/
Presentation of the reflectant team: http://www.enmedio.info/los-reflectables-ya-estan-aqui/#.T5SrnXiA8UQ
Video: How to create a reflectocube [EN] http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=w-8JYZLub-A
Blog de Electric Elecric Cloective
Testing the reflective armours http://bambuser.com/v/2573904
5) STOP EUROVEGAS: AN AMERICAN UNDER INVESTIGATION COMPANY WANTS TO BUILD A CASINO IN BARCELONA.
On Saturday April 21th the platform Aturem Eurovegas! (Stop Eurovegas) organized a ride on bicycle, joined by a farmers’ union on tractors! The rally crossed about 30 kilometers before arriving in el Prat de Llobregat, a place where the so-called Eurovegas casino resort -planned by the tycoon Sheldon Adelson- could be built. The American business magnate -listed by Forbes in 2008 as America’s third-richest man and ranked as the 16th richest man in the world in 2011- is Chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands (LVS) Corporation. This company owns the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas and Sands Macao in The People’s Republic of China’s Special Administrative Region of Macao. In Asia, the Marina Bay Sands located in Singapore is the most recent addition to the company’s portfolio. Last but not least: Adelson’s company is reportedly under Federal investigation for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act over alleged bribery of foreign officials, and there’s been issues on the casinos’ alleged “involvement with Chinese organized crime groups, known as Triads”.
Now Adelson has set out to build Euro-Vegas in Spain, being Barcelona and Madrid the two possible candidates. The project would include 12 resorts with 36,000 rooms, six casinos, nine theaters and three golf courses, and involve an investment of up to 18.8 billion euros through to 2022. The tycoon claims the project will create 164,000 jobs directly and 97,000 indirectly. However, in turn, the US businessman wants to be granted a form of legal limbo, with exemption on taxes for two years -including social security quotas, exemption from upholding current laws on anti-money laundering, Immigration (asking for preferential treatment to its employees), smoking, minors, prostitution and flexibilization on the Labour Agreements and the National Workers Statutes. He also wants a generous tax holiday, a loan by the State of 25 million euros, government investment in infrastrucure (development of transport facilities: highway, subway,railway) as well as free use of public and private lands to confer the ground required for the project.
The governments of both cities competing to host the project seem to be in line with the company’s reported demands, without considering the problems arising from the resort: from issues on compulsive gambling, corruption, prostitution and drugs to the tendency for organized crime groups to become attracted by casinos.
And if that was not enough, the appointed place in Barcelona to house these infrastructures is within the Llobregat Delta, declared a Special Protection Area as designated under the European Union Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds. Environmental groups such as Ecologistas en acción (Ecologists in action) decided to create the platform Aturem Eurovegas in opposition to the project. Over 160 entities are now members of this Platform, which coordinates and works with the Platform in Madrid called Eurovegas No to stop this surreal scenario.
Articles on the issue:
Bicycle rally: http://sociedad.e-noticies.es/bicicletada-contra-eurovegas-63827.html (ES)
Eurovegas and Sheldon Adelson: http://trabajoyeconomia.com/sheldon-adelson-y-la-burbuja-de-la-ruleta-con-los-macrocasinos/ (ES), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheldon_Adelson (EN) http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/15/spain-eurovegas-idUSL5E8EE3L020120315 (EN), http://elpais.com/elpais/2012/03/29/inenglish/1333021618_489753.html (EN)
Video in defense of the Llobregat Delta: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ou9c5hDFAp4