2011/05/31

Real democracy now! Toward a "Spanish revolution"

video

Finally good things are happening in Spanish politics! Calling the massive demos in towns across the country a "Spanish revolution" (as some of the foreign press has it) may be hyperbole, but those assemblies have broken open a political and psychological blockage to release real democratic dynamism.

Last year I planned to post a commentary on Spanish politics every week, as a writing exercise that would help me get to know this country. But I found myself presenting excuses for failing to meet my own self-imposed deadline (for example, in this post from 2010/06/04), mainly for these reasons:
  • it was taking too much time, and I had other things I wanted to do (like publish my novel) ;
  • it was too depressing; and
  • nobody cared, or at maybe I just hadn't managed to make these events interesting or comprehensible enough for anybody to respond.
It's still depressing to watch the politics of destroying your opponent so that you and your buddies, rather than the other guys, could pillage public resources, especially when you see voters return to office notorious crooks. But now, suddenly, in a burst of mobilization that began only a few weeks ago, a major part of the electorate is no longer looking on dazed and impotent.

Last week we were in Madrid, part of the time at the Puerta del Sol, at the huge, spontaneous, beautifully ordered mini-city of thousands of people drawn to the demand of "Real democracy now!" I rolled the video above on Thursday, 19 May.

Now let's see if the official, institutionalized "left" — especially the Partido Socialista Obrero Español, which suffered disastrous defeat last week — will be able to respond creatively. Or just dissolve into irrelevance.

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