BARCELONA #15M Newsletter nr 41

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. After the strike, direct action in universities

2. Integral revolution continues while Enric Duran is chased by banksters

3. Peoplewitness: media activism workshop on the road

1. AFTER THE STRIKE, DIRECT ACTION IN UNIVERSITIES

After the strike on February 28th (see NL#40, 2 the university world had declared war to the neoloiberal model that the Government of Catalunya is trying to implement in these institiutions, with measures that several platforms in the university see as a covered privatization that  allows companies and banks to make profit and even become part of the managing board of universities (see NL#29, 1).The UPC (Politechnical University of Barcelona) announced that they were going to fire 340 people from their staff, mainly associated professors and members of administration and service workers. This is a consequence of an unforecasted budget cut of 11 milion euro. A protest was called by the PUDUP (Platform in defense of the public university ) on March 15th in front of the place where the government council was taking place. They’ve presented signatures to ask for new rector elections because he is making decisions without the proper conensus. Also, the president of the Social Council of the UPC, businessman Joaquim Boixareu, is involved in a large case of corruption (Noós case ). The new economic regulation wants to get rid of 14 milion euro in expenses: 11 milion in staff, the rest in departments and materials, all of which is related to the payment of the debt. The assembley of workers, professors and students of the UPC’s North Campus decided to start an indefinite strike on April 2nd.

On March 21st, a hundred of students blocked Didac Ramírez -rector of the UB (University of Barcelona), Joaquim Boixareu, and Fernando Casado -ex-president of Catalunya Caixa- when they were going to give a conference in the university about all the good things they see in the new model of governing this institution. The students felt insulted by what they feel as a privatization of the University in hands of banks and companies. The conference had to be cancelled. 

Following the same idea, the students of the Assamblees Diagonal (diagonal Assamblies), a group of mainly technological and scientific campuses, performed an action to mark the banks and companies inside the university, such as Santander, Catalunya Caixa and Samsung. Shouting “they are not suicides, they are murders” referring to the terrible consequences of evictions by the banks, “Companies and banks, out of the university”, and other slogans the students made clear that private corporations are gulity of this crisis. Masked students and university workers did a procession building by building, protesting and covering the bank offices and companies with paint and stickers. They announce they are going to do it again anytime, anywhere.

Universities are facing a change of model in which quality and knowledge will be substituted by economical efficency and utilities. The people involved in the process, such as professors, teachers, administration and service workers, are organising themselves to try to stop this implementation. The harder the Government tries to destroy public universities, the harder universities will strike back.

LINKS:

Articles

Videos:

2. INTEGRAL REVOLUTION CONTINUES WHILE ENRIC DURAN IS CHASED BY BANKSTERS

Between 2005 and 2008 Enric Duran managed to accumulate dozens of bank loans which he never intended to pay back, donating instead all the money to social movements. Like Robin Hood, the English heroic outlaw, Spanish outlaw Duran steals from the rich and gives to the poor… activist groups. In September 2008 he provided a list of all the 39 banks he had taken loans from. He also circulated 200,000 copies of a single-issue free newspaper called Crisis to show how he had conned banks out of nearly half a million euros and what he spent the money on.

Duran said his system was to rise the loans partly by setting up a false television production company. He paid back some of the early loans to ensure he had a good credit rating, but later stopped paying them. A small business office of the Catalan government unwittingly helped him raise at least one of the loans.

Bankers reacted angrily. “It is not permissible for someone to laugh [at the system] like this” said Jordi Mestre, general director of Caixa Sabadell. As Duran asserts:
“It has been an individual disobedience action against banking that I have carried out to denounce the banking system.”

The banks lodged a formal request for him to be found for a trial. The social activist faced a prison term of up to six years if convicted.

Four years later, early 2013, prosecutors and 14 banks demand 8 years prison for Enric Duran. The trial was not held because Duran didn’t show up. He said that  his previous lawyer hadn’t told him about the trial date when it was called, but just three weeks before so he had not time to prepare the mediatic campaign he was planning to defend and spread his disobedience action.

After this affair Durán declared “My goal in the long run and from now on is preparing the ground to convert my trial into a popular lawsuit against banks and everything which they represent, therefore by extending it to the current capitalist system. A trial that could be both a new tool for uniting and strengthening all those who are to build an alternative society to the present.”

An alternative society that already has a name, Integral Revolution, a project that Duran claims having been working on for many years and now its time has come.

LINKS

Articles

Video

Twitter @EnricDuranG, HT #RevolucioIntegral #AbsoluciòEnricDuran

3. PEOPLEWITNESS: MEDIA ACTIVISM WORKSHOPS ON THE ROAD

Peoplewitness is a network of livestreamers born in November 2011. They help spread the voice of communities strongly hit by austerity measures, while traditional media only offers an official version of Europe’s recession that blames the most disadvantaged collectives and  protects banks and politicians.

Citizens need to report their reality, so Peoplewitness doesn’t only broadcast live from demos, talks and actions, but it offers free workshops  to provide the knowledge, technology,  motivation, support and selfconfidence people need to report their own reality and strugles through streaming.

Members of Peoplewitness have recently toured Portugal with a series of workshops. Their objective was contacting Portuguese activists, meeting several assemblary working groups and exchanging metodologies and experiences related to media activism, while enlarging the ‘peoplewitness’ or ‘citizen journalism’ network.

They arrived at Coimbra on February 1st  in order to attend the 2nd Encounter of People’s Assemblies in Portugal organized by Asemblea Coimbra on February 2nd and 3d and were hosted by the Republica Baco and Republica Das Marias do Loureiro, self managed student-community houses.

The next two days were full of workshops, discussions and sharing experiences with all present assemblies, ending with a PeopleWitness Workshop where the project was presented, together with a series of online resources they use for collaborative communication and coordinated work. The idea was that later on they could be invited by assemblies interested in continuing the learning and exchanging process, so during the following week they gave  several customized workshops for smaller groups with very specific goals.

In Porto the workshop took place in CasaViva, a self-managed social center, not a squat but a house that was donated to the social project. This time the workshop focused on a combination of tools (ICTs) that are used in social movements with great impact; trying to encourage and motivate the groups to the use of citizens journalism through streaming.

Most members of the team are now back in Spain, but one has stayed to carry out a workshop in Lisbon on March 23rd and to strengthen the contacts achieved with activists and assemblies in Portugal: At this very moment PeopleWitness is still on the road.

LINKS

Streaming

  • People’s Assemblies Encounter Coimbra : ; ; ; 4 ; 5
  • Workshop at Porto: ;
  • Workshop at Lisbon

Twitter @peoplewitness #peoplewitness
FaceBook page 

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