The Spanish Revolt: defying the crisis from below

[1]We have to say –with Vicenç Navarro– that the “welfare model” of Spain has strong sub-development in comparison with the EU inversion rate in Welfare (Healthcare, Social Services, Social Housing, etc.). This sub-development, an inheritance of the military dictatorship, changed temporarily in the eighties, but it was seriously reduced during 1993 -2002 due to the politics of deficit control implemented by Maastricht. In 2002 the difference between the public spending in Spain was of 19’7% PIB, 7’2 less than in the the EU-15 during those years (26’9% PIB). This “Social Deficit” is an essential factor in today’s crisis (it amplifies the effects of the cuts). Vicenç Navarro, El subdesarrollo social de España. (Madrid: Diario Público, 2009).P. 41-45.

[2]Treaty of Maastricht, Title VI, Chapter 1, Article 104 C. It is available in the official site of the EU:

[3]For a deep and detailed understanding of the Spanish “economic model”, see: I. Gómez, E. Rodríguez, The Spanish Model. (U.K.: New Left Review, Nº 69). P. 5-28.

[4]Ibíd.P. 5.

[5]In 1977, with the first democratic elections after the death of Franco, starts the period in Spain called “the transition”; during this period the constitution of 78 was written, the monarchy was restored and a silence pact between the political forces was made, forgetting the victims of dictatorship. This pacts are the roots of bipartidism (between the Popular Party or PP, and the Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party or PSOE), the silencing of historical memory and gave birth to the institutional system of Spain.

[6] For instance, the right to a democratic/popular control of the urban space as public or common, the citizen’s government of the city resources (Social Services, distribution of rent) and the collective construction of a non-segregated distribution of the space (anti-gentrification). See: David Harvey, The Right to the city. (UK: New Left Review, Nº 53, 2008). P. 23 – 40.

[7] For a global analysis of the 15M dynamics, see: Mario Espinoza Pino, Politics of Indignation: Radical Democracy and Class Struggle beyond Postmodernity. (UK: Rethinking Marxism, April 2013).





[12] One sight about the intensity of the messages in Twitter: is very easy to take the similarities with the Gezi Park movement: the number of active Twitter users in Turkey rose from 1.8 million on May 29th to 9.5 million on June 10th.

[13] About the relations between this huge technological change and its effects on the political – social area, there is a recent research organized by J. Toret, a disciple of Manuel Castells: Tecnopolítica y 15M. La potencia de las multitudes conectadas (It can be found here, included in English

[14] The mass media in Spain is a mediatic oligopoly with a monopolistic tendency. Only three groups – PRISA, Planeta and Mediaset – possess the principal channels of television and radio.

[15]Madrilonia, Diagonal, Periodismohumano, Publico, El

[16]15M news, La Marea, TintaLibre – on paper – or, after the mass dismissal of El País, the page “infolibre

[17] About the topic of the surprising success of the social networks, the work of F. Jameson’s El posmodernismo o la lógica cultural del capitalismo avanzado (Barcelona: Paidós, 1991)

[18] Guillermo Zapata, “Los nuevos panfletos, las nuevas plazas. Redes Sociales y movimiento 15-M” in ¡Ocupemos el mundo! (Barcelona: Icaria, 2012)

[19]Umberto Eco, “Para una guerrilla semiológica”, in La estrategia de una ilusión (Barcelona: Lumen, 1986)

[20] This is just one example of lot of them: About the history of this method of struggle:


[22] These practices inspired the same actions in Germany, where however the main problem with the housing law is the rise of the rent (not the mortgages).

[23] In Madrid there were around ten “occupied social centers” in 2011, and in just a few months they became eighteen. What is interesting to emphasize is that this practice of struggle has been, little by little, legitimized by the Spanish society (we have to remember the Real Estate Bubble). These centers are producing new ways of organizing the community (even sometimes providing social services which the municipality government had cut). They are as well as spearhead in the fight against gentrification.

[24] Although the emphasis on direct democracy is a healthy response to the emptying of liberal institutions, we believe that democracy should not be confused with its procedure. We would say we should tend to a conception of democracy in the sense that reminded us, in Spain, A. Domènech: not only the government of the poor (etymological sense) but as the struggle and empowerment of several popular sectors (the “demos”) against the privileged sectors of the social body. Antoni Domènech, El eclipse de la fraternidad (Madrid: Crítica, 2004)

[25]About this topic, the last chapter of David Harvey’s Breve historia del neoliberalismo (Madrid: Akal, 2007).

[26] An interesting analysis of the historical conjuncture of these periods can be found in: Nicos Poulantzas, The Crisis of the dictatorships: Portugal, Spain, Greece (London: NLB/Humanities Press, 1976).

[27] The rise of nazi movements as “Golden Dawn” in Greece and the “migration question” (in relation with the crisis) create new social pressures and inequalities for the migrants, translated in their exclusion from basic social services and their social stigmatization/marginalization.

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