The Spanish Revolt: defying the crisis from below

4. Struggle Innovations: new methods and strategies of dissent.

The acts of civil disobedience have become “massive” thanks to the popularity gained by the movement. The collective protests placed on the “public agenda” the problem of political legitimacy, not only of the protests themselves but also about the legitimacy of the institutions questioned: when more than 30,000 people defy the order of the government to vacate Sol square, they cannot be easily criminalized. The massive response can be considered a great victory for the movement. We shall list a number of ways of social struggle that have been practiced, especially emphasizing those we consider most relevant: 1) the “escraches”[20]: organized by the Platform of People Affected by the Mortgage (Spanish initials PAH) as a popular form of complaint against persons accused of human rights violations or corruption, which is done by acts such as sitting, protesting or making paintings outside their private home or public places; 2) “15M pa Rato”[21] online Crowdfunding: in less than 24h, the movement got 16,000 euros by means of, a new crowfunding site; 3) the “citizens referendums” organized by the different Tides; 4) “Yo no pago”,this initiative consisted in not paying the subway ticket in order to denounce the rise of the prices in the public transports; 5) Stopping of racist raids and evictions[22]; 6) “Tomalahuelga”: a platform created by different collectives trying to involve all the different sectors which form our complex society to the strike; 7) The growth of the Okupa’s movement[23]; 8) The emblematic occupations of the public space(with great symbolic power and, at the same time, defying the neoliberal logics of atomization due to the collective occupation).

We will finish this section with some remarks. Clearly, the 15M has been a hurricane of fresh air on the Left, and without it, it wouldn’t be possible to understand neither the form nor the content of the mobilizations of the last years. But we could set some matters in question. In the first place, we can ask if these kinds of decentralized organization, without hierarchy or leadership, in which information flows in all directions thanks to new technologies, etc. are suitable for the whole civil society, or only to certain sectors. Seeing the rest of uprisings of this cycle, it is clear that the most of them have a “generational mark” (between 20-40 years old). How many people do not have access to a hyperactive life on the net? What happens with the old people or people without technological knowledge? And what happens with migrant people? A second question: how many people can afford to discuss almost daily at an assembly for several hours? Is the excessive emphasis on direct democracy without delegation or representation a cause of the exclusion of some sectors of the population that could be mobilized?[24] How can we evaluate and face the lack of confidence in the existing political organizations (included the leftist political parties)? What are the limits of a movement which, in part, considers suspicious the existing institutions qua institutions?[25]

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