[Last autumn, a new and awful form of protest came to Spain. A string of homeowners on the verge of eviction by court orders and the riot police (antidisturbios) committed suicide by leaping from the windows of their mortgaged houses. The growing anti-eviction movement has altered the dynamic of social protest in Spain, broadening and deepening the opposition to austerity already manifested in the 15M and 25S movements. In the general strike of 14 November, called for by the largest unions, ‘everyone except the Partido Popular and Basque nationalist unions’ poured into the streets. Darío Corbeira, editor of Brumaria, sends the following reflection on the context of the unfolding social struggle. Many thanks to him for taking the time, and to Maria Adelaida Samper for the fine translation. –GR]
Hermeneutic Antidisturbios: 25S, the Anti-Eviction Movement and the 14 November General Strike in Context
By Darío Corbeira
On 25 September, several thousand citizens responded to an anonymous call to surround Madrid’s Congress of Deputies: ‘Surround the Congress, remain there indefinitely. Desert and break with the current regime, demand the dissolution of the entire government, courts and heads of state, and abolition of the existing Constitution. Begin constituting a new system of political, economic and social organization.’ The gathering citizens aimed to convey to the parliamentarians their deep opposition to the austerity program of Mariano Rajoy Brey’s governing Partido Popular (PP) and to the interventions of the European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund and European Union. Framing it was a radical critique of the parliamentarism that came out of the so so-called Transition to democracy. As made clear in their manifestos, proclamations and chants, the protesters saw that form of democracy as utterly bankrupt. What began that day has become known as the 25S movement, distinct from but clearly related to its predecessor 15M and the other movements that have emerged from the neighbourhoods, universities, hospitals, cultural centers, and manufacturing areas. All were questioning the perverse effects of neoliberal policies designed by financial capitalism and applied to the letter by the governing authorities. Those effects have shaken the fragile ‘welfare state’ slowly built up since Franco’s death and have undermined all it has achieved by way of diminishing the gaping social and economic disparities that persist in Spain despite the governments of the Partido Socialista Obrero Español (Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party/PSOE).