When I saw the newly planted vegetable garden in the Puerta del Sol on Sunday evening it occurred to me that this is not the sort of thing you do if you're planning on going anywhere.
Although many may have assumed that the protest acampada in Sol was just there for election week the reality is different. The camp is still very much active even if the big crowds seen at the weekend have now diminished. Not only is it still there but it continues to evolve and expand. Every day the camp seems to change shape as new activity commissions are set up, or as new campaigners arrive to add their voice to the protest. The structures become more solid and secure as some of the improvised constructions are improved. The camp is kept clean and continues to work amazingly well. Those who believe nothing can ever be achieved unless you have a set of bosses sitting on top of a hierarchy would hate what is happening in Sol.
Equally the range of activities and debates has broadened enormously, a white board displays details of all the activities planned for the day. Yesterday I popped down for one of the general assemblies at the camp. It was hot, very hot, but again the spirit of collaboration that exists in the camp means that water sprays, drinking water, umbrellas, hats and sun cream are all passed around for those who want them. Madrid is a city that to say the least can often feel a bit "in your face", the collaborative atmosphere at the camp is a welcome antidote to that.
The assemblies are there to discuss general organisation of the camp, future strategy, proposals from the different commissions and what to do if the police are sent in to clear the camp. Contrary to what some seem to think, anyone can take part in these meetings. What's more, the aim is consensus. Proposals that meet strong objections are not put to a majority vote but are instead returned to one of the commissions for further work. Somebody stood up at yesterday's meeting to tell us all that he had voted PP and what he most disliked about the camp was the word "consensus". No surprises there, but he was allowed to say his piece and any attempts to shout down speakers down meet general disapproval.
Looking at the reduced numbers in yesterday's assembly, I couldn't stop myself from thinking about how much longer the camp can last. The lack of any noticeable impact on the elections may have dampened the enthusiasm of many. However, I was down again in Sol last night and there were plenty of people around. The place was buzzing with activity. Leaving aside the question of possible police intervention, the question of when to move on from the camp is going to be a tough one. But the next stage of the campaign in Madrid is already taking shape, assemblies are being organised in different barrios of the city for this weekend; the aim is for the campaign to develop local roots.
Anyway, it's time for a short video dedicated to those who criticise the protesters but who offer no proposals of their own or any sort of vision of the future except that of blindly following the pain caucus.
It's ironic that the text in the video comes from an advertisement devised by Apple. I wonder what that company thinks about the look of what is due to become Madrid's new Apple Store?
I leave the last word to Mafalda: