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. Spain’s response to corruption scandal
2. San Joan Despí’s budgets on the Internet due to citizens’ pressure
3. “Colpegem juntes, sumem forces” – Let’s hit togheter, let’s combine strengths
1. SPAIN’S RESPONSE TO CORRUPTION SCANDAL
The recent corruption scandal involving the governing Popular Party and specifically prime minister Rajoy, has provided Spain with an early spring. Corruption is nothing special in this country. It is one of the prime roots of its economic misfortunes, so the news can hardly be called surprising. But when it comes in a situation where the government imposes harsh austerity measures on its citizens, selling off their health care, their education, their water, and then a newspaper leaks a list with names and amounts of the bribes taken during years by government officials is enough to turn rage into action.
Many people in Spain are demanding the fall of the government, but also seizing and investigating the public administration helped by the civil servants and the law in order to protect the people’s basic rights to Education, Health Care and decent housing.
Puerta del Sol in Madrid is being occupied again: Five people slept on the square under the equestrian statue after the immediate protest at PP headquarters the day the documents were leaked. They decided to stay at the square to mark the start of an indefinite protest against government corruption and austerity measures, and baptised #Las5deSol although gradually they added up to 30 some nights.
Forty people spent the night at Plaça Sant Jaume in Barcelona after the protests against government corruption exploded on January 31, calling themselves first AcampadaSJ. Sant Jaume square in Barcelona has a very strong political signifance: It stands between the Town Hall and the palace of the Generalitat, the regional Catalan government.
The 15M’s strategy is not simply to protest, but to publically shame all of those who have accepted bribes. As a result of social reunification in squares has emerged a new form of coordinated action: Escrache . Born in Buenos Aires and Montevideo, this is a kind of demonstration in which a group of activists is heading to the home or workplace of someone who want to denounce. An assembly in Barcelona to decide on how to organize the new occupation agreed on mixing both ideas in an Acampada Nómada or nomad occupation: instead of taking over a square completely the new action will mean camping and occupying different spaces as a a visibilization of specific actions -for instance, by a political party’s headquarters one night, by the Government or a bank that is evicting people another night.
On February 5th a spokeswoman of the mortgage victim platform ( PAH – NL#36, 1 ) presented a popular bill in the senate economic commission, backed up by over a million signatures on official forms and a ninety percent approval rating. In forty minutes she eloquently explained the nature of the mortgage scam, the devastating effects of foreclosures on society, the complicity of the government and the way in which neighbouring countries deal with these problems: generally a lot better. The bill demands immediate cessation of all evictions, the retroactive remission of debt in case of foreclosure and the redistribution of abandoned property among evicted families on the basis of a social lease.(NL#12, 2 )
Spain’s troubles have been billed as an economic crisis, a property crisis, a banking crisis and a debt crisis. But Spain is also well on the road to an institutional crisis. According to the well-known Metroscopia poll, 76 percent of Spaniards don’t believe the People’s Party’s denials of the slush-fund allegations. Even more damning, 58 percent of the party’s supporters think they are lying.
- Updates by @postvirtual
- Escrache Barcelona blog
- International Press Reviews: January 22nd, January 31st, February 1st, and February 6th
- Spain’s Premier Is Drawn Into a Widening Graft Scandal Gripping His Party [EN]
- Another blow: The ruling conservative party is shaken by a damaging corruption scandal [EN]
- Spain sees growing corruption scandals involving key institutions [EN]
- Spanish corruption scandal rumbles on as euro economy ‘turns corner’ [EN]
- Spanish Leader Divulges Income to Quell Scandal [EN]
- Barcelona protests in The Guardian
- Protests at Sant Jaume Sq, by @Fotomovimiento: February 1st , February 4th, February 5th
- February 2nd protests at PP HQ in Barcelona, by @Fotomovimiento
- Protests at PP HQ in Barcelona, by @GroundPress: January 31st and February 3rd
- February 4th potbanging against corruption, by @Groundpress and January 31st
Accounts: @escracheBCN @Acampada_Nomada @inviernosalsol
HT: #lospapelesdeBarcenas #RajoyDimisión #Las5deSol #seguim2f #volvemos2f
2. SANT JOAN DESPI’S BUDGETS ON THE INTERNET DUE TO CITIZENS PRESSURE
It wants to be a transparency and empowerment tool, so any citizen can ask for the budgets and watch and question the Town Hall decisions: as most Town Halls don’t publish publicly their budgets, and as the procedures to ask for them have to be done usually during working hours, the OCAB offers the resources and tools to ask for this information and to publish it, so all this knownledge is shared and known by all the citizens.
This initiative joined the 15M movement in Sant Joan Despí (a town 15km from Barcelona) and they have started a process to ask for the budgets. First they set up information tables throughout December, to explain the initiative to fellow residents of the town. Then one of the members of the OCAB went to fill in all the forms to ask for the budgets, which were denied to him with the excuse that he was not a citizen of Sant Joan Despí. The importance of this act is that legally, during 15 days after the budgets are decided, these have to become public, so anyone in the town can ask questions about them and propose modifications. But most of the towns don’t even publish them.
The only thing that this second movement reached was that the Town Hall facilitated the access to the Budgets but only physically in a room and for one hour. As there were over 100 pages, and they didn’t allow to take them out or make any copy of them, there was no time to analyze them.
After a Twitter campaign #VolemElsPressupostosComplets (We Want the complete Budgets) and the request by a person living in the town, the budgets were published in the website. This is only a first victory, as the published document is less than half the budgets (only 40 pages) and now they are working on the analysis and audit of the information they’ve got.
Transparency is a needed measure in the audit campaign and in the empowerment process, as it allows to know where our taxes are being spent, establishing a strict watch over public accounts and claiming participation in the common decision taking.
- The citizen’s pressure achieves more transparence in municipal accounts [SP]
- A civic initiative reports lack of transparency in Sant Joan Despí’s Town Hall [CAT]
Accounts: @acampadadespi @auditbcn. HT: #VolemElsPressupostosComplets
X. COLPEGEM JUNTES, SUMEM FORCES – LET’S HIT TOGHETHER, LET’S COMBINE STRENGTHS
“Colpegem Juntes, Sumem Forces” (Let’s hit toghether, let’s combine strenghts) was a 2-day event in Barcelona at the end of January where several 15M collectives and platforms of Catalunya met to share common goals, think them over and discuss about how to find a new approach.
The objective was to obtain a better convergence among the different struggles currently active, in order to not waste energies and time and proposing a coordinated strategy for future actions.
The session started with short presentations of the different collectives on the point where they are right now, their struggles and aims, in order to have a basis to talk about movilization dates, strategies and tools in the afternoon. After lunch the activists were divided into small groups, as mixed as possible so as to break their usual bonds, where they discussed about strenghts, advantadges and tools, sharing finally their results in a big session with about 170 people.
The next day three working groups were created. One in order to discuss coordination tools, another about the calendarization and cooperation and the third one about how the transversal issues such as Debt, Constituency and Corruption, can become a common issue adressed from different points of view by the local and sectorial fights.
The main point of this meeting was that quite a few collectives participated and became eager to continue this new, united, approach: iaioflautas (Elder Activists NL#37, 2 ), X-net (NL#31, 1 ), PAH (Platform of those affected by the mortgage NL#36, 1 ) , some assemblies from the education community, for example Assemblea de Personal Docent Interí i Substitut Bressol Rebelat (Subtitute Teachers’ Assembly – a plataform for teaching workers’ rights NL#14, 2 ), Feministes Indignades , Grup Defensa Sanitat Publica , Comissió Cultura , Plataforma Auditoría Ciudadana de la Deuda (Debt Citizen’s Audit Platform NL#12,1 ), and many other activists from the 15M entourage gave their contribution.
After a process of specialization, now it’s time to profit from these new knowledges and fight back against austericide by combining strengths, hitting together: “United we can do anything”.
Streaming & videos
- 1st day http://bambuser.com/v/3321756 y http://bambuser.com/v/3321598 by @mirimmi http://bambuser.com/v/3322669 by @okokitsme
- 2nd day http://bambuser.com/v/3324359 by @15Mbcn_int
- Video by @15Mbcn_tv [SP]
TWITTER & FaceBook
- Account: @ColpegemJuntes
- HT: #26Colpegem #ColpegemJuntes #ColpegemAnàlisi #Colpegemlluites #SumemForces ColpegemPropostes #27Colpegem