¡Pásalo! A political lesson from SpainOn the eve of the Spanish elections last Sunday, March 14, the huge and sudden demonstrations of outrage against Aznar´s Partido Popular, suddenly become very unpopular, appeared as though by magic -- the magic being the ubiquitous cell phones at which young Spaniards have become very adept. Aznar's people accused the Partido Socialista (PSOE) of organizing the demos, but they really were much more spontaneous and beyond the control of the socialist party or any institution -- people called each other, all their friends, leaving a text message of where they were gathering to protest, and ending it with the phrase "Pásalo" -- "Pass it on." And pass it on they did.
"Phones were smoking," says an unsigned report in El Periódico de Aragón. The phone companies reported traffic almost 20% higher than on ordinary Saturdays. And not just in Madrid: responding to the calls, the huge angry crowds gathered in front of PP headquarters also in Barcelona, Sevilla, Pamplona and Albacete. And it looks as though the next day, they all went out to vote! A huge turnout, and a huge change in Spanish politics.
In the U.S., we have already seen the power of electronic communications to summon huge crowds, when MoveOn and other organizations spread e-mail messages. Friends, it is going to be harder and harder for those who try to rule us to do so by monopolizing information. If you read Spanish, check out this article with more detail on how they did it -- maybe without even planning to! Los SMS en la rebelión democrática contra el PP