The economic crisis brought by the corruption of politicians and banks is triggering protests all over the world. Millions of people shout for democracy as governments shut them up with violence. A member of the Spanish revolution tells us how it feels to try to change the world. His situation reflects the reality of the country, graduated with two bachelors, knowing languages and with working experience he is unemployed and has been forced to work for free for months. Like thousands he joined the 15M movement in May of 2011, and since then the Spanish revolution has become a symbol of protest all over the world inspiring other global movements like Occupy Wall Street. Democracy has found a voice.
The first night we tried to assault the congress in Madrid we thought we could make it. Thousands of people had gathered at Sol, the center of Spain, to protest against the way our constitution is being raped by a group of bastards, their barbarities are so numerous I can’t name them all but here are some facts:
– The two main political parties in Spain PP & PSOE gather together almost 300 processes of corruption against their members, somehow they are all found innocent in the end, the only judge that prosecuted politicians, Baltasar Garzón, has been deceased from his charge for 11 years.
– Politicians have 22.500 official cars which cost 1.116 millions of euros to maintain every year, in USA, with 5 times more population, they have 1.000. Rather than decreasing this number, the way to pay for it was to increase the price of public transport.
– The electoral law is corrupted as well, we can choose to vote for a party, to vote blank, or not to vote. 11 million people like me voted blank, meaning that we believe in democracy but not in the candidates, this 11 million votes don’t count for anything and are given to the main parties to assure they have 100% backup, and any smaller parties can never get heard because of the media manipulation and blockage.
– Every journalist who criticizes the system is being fired, only the loyal ones keep their chair. A professor of mine worked as a news broadcaster in the public TV and lost his job the day he refused to read manipulated information as he was being watched by millions.
– Politicians decided to cut off the budget from healthcare, education and public charges by decreasing salaries and privatizing services. When it came to voting about reducing the salaries of politicians themselves, the voting was the following: 6 in favor of reducing their salaries, 308 against.
– The laws are being changed to consider a penal crime every gathering of people on the streets, saying that it is a clear attack to democracy, but meanwhile, cops in riots cover their identification numbers and when asked for them they attack the persons, being this stated as a crime in our constitution.
I could go on for hours, but the idea is clear, we were really pissed off. We couldn’t let this happen anymore and so we marched to the congress. We were backed up by a large group of firefighters, protesting against their precarious job conditions. They had come prepared with their helmets and protection. The feeling of cohesion was amazing. When you find yourself amongst so many different people sharing a common goal you feel like everything is possible. Rivalries are set aside for a moment, no left vs. right, it’s all of us who are down against the rotten who are up.
Marching and chanting against our enemies, nervous and excited… it felt like war. We made it to the fences and a line of cops was already waiting for us: Shiny boots, long sticks and arrogant smiles hidden behind a shield, dressed to impress.
We started shouting chants in a useless attempt to make them think… “Those who you protect are those who cut your salaries!” “Cops, learn from the Firefighters!” “Don’t look at us, join us!” An old man even climbed the fence and gave one of them a flower as a symbol of peace but they threw it away. The cops wanted to party.
At the shout of their master, the rabid dogs charged and it all turned to chaos. They started running towards us as they shot rubber bullets. People started rushing back as they came out of their stronghold. The firefighters tried to stop them but the cops cowardly avoided the confrontation and greedily rushed for easier prey. For younger men, it’s easier to escape or resist, but there are also families with kids, girls, old couples… and in those moments of chaos they always suffer the most. These situations get fucked up because no one knows what to do. Some run in fear, tripping and falling, others stand still, shaking their arms in the air, and the bravest try to fight back.
I was so confused I did a bit of everything and luckily avoided getting hit by a huge cop as I was retreating, but the guy next to me got it all. The rage with which the cops attacked him was just terrifying. Slamming at his back as they insulted him, an unarmed teenager… This scene was all over the place, reminding me of when lions hunt gazelles. Cops charged to spread us around, marching in tactical groups and always went for those who were alone. If one would fall or be left behind he would get caught by five cops, beat up and dragged to their van to spend a night in prison being humiliated. Witnessing this is extremely upsetting, the feeling of being powerless – they are trained and they have weapons while we have only our voices. So the best is always to stay in large groups or near the walls.
Dozens of cops started to come, and after some hours we had to retreat realizing that our crisis wasn’t economic but moral. Words like honor, ethics or decency no longer mean shit in a society where the corrupt profit and the honest pay. They have the power: mass media, repressive forces, the money… one could say we are lost.
But we have the heart. I looked back and saw thousands of us, individuals that freely decided to fight, all sharing a dream, a hope and a will. No one wanted to be there, but we all felt forced to, not only for ourselves but for our brothers who gave their lives to give us our freedom and for our children who will inherit the world we give them. We couldn’t give up.
We were walking back to the car as I was thinking of the French revolution and May of ’68, and I shout out loud “Yes, it’s possible!, Yes, it’s possible!” The shout grew louder with every voice that joined around me, every soul preaching this prayer to the night, because we all knew that this was a victory. We didn’t take the congress but we showed ourselves that we were together, each of us being a part of a whole.
This was the beginning of a new world.