Tuesday, May 17, 2011

15m....Democracia Real Ya In Madrid

If anyone asked what the demonstrators in Madrid were protesting about on Sunday afternoon, they might have got any number of answers. The lack of decent job opportunities, the complacency of Spain's main political parties, the Ley Sinde, the cutbacks in services, a life mortgaged up the eyeballs (if you can get on the property ladder in the first place). 15-20000 people took to the streets in a good natured but noisy protest that was organised entirely outside of the political party or trade union structures. Other protests were called at the same time in 50 cities around Spain. That small initiative from Juventud Sin Futuro a few weeks ago has grown.

Democracia Real Ya is a new platform that has really used the internet and social networks to spread the message and to mobilise, and has managed to bring people together around a feeling of discontent which is finding no answers from the country's political class. It will make the parties of the left feel less comfortable, conservative Spain is not going to take to the streets over these issues. But if those parties are failing to reach so many people or address their concerns then that is their problem to solve. The idea that the Spanish will passively accept whatever the crisis throws at them is now starting to provoke a response.

No hay pan para tanto chorizo...


Christopher Wright said...

Hi Graeme,

Ben from notesfromspain.com recommended your blog.

You´ve got a sharp eye for spanish politics and more imparcial.

Any opinions on UPyD party? I´m going to vote in Madrid on sunday 22nd and its hard to get a real feel for this new party.


Erik R. said...

It's unclear to me what the protesters goals are, exactly.

In Egypt, the protesters wanted Mubarak to resign. They had a clear objective. "If we get X, we'll stop protesting."

What do the Spanish masses want? For the government to magically employ all of them tomorrow? To halt bankruptcy saving austerity measures? Just roaming the streets because you're discontent and bored doesn't seem very useful, although I suppose it's marginally more useful than sitting at home and doing nothing...

ejh said...

So what? If there were simple answers, we'd already know what they were. It's rather more than marginally more useful than staying home, and a great deal more useful than your comment. If you want to sneer at people, at least come up with a better idea yourself.

Christoper. Re: UPyD, think German Free Democrats, or the recently-deceased Irish PDs, and you've got much of what the UPyD is about.

Graeme said...


I'm a bit taken aback by being called impartial, but I guess I can take it. Perhaps I haven't written enough posts about Esperanza Aguirre recently? As for UPyD I don't like them. I don't think they represent anything genuinely new and they've displayed the opportunism of those who like to pretend that they are combining the best of right and left. The result is an unworkable Spanish nationalist agenda which appeals more to some on the right, and a "lets see which way the wind blows" approach to everything else. They also seem to have some serious internal democracy problems, with the party being dominated by a single figure.


If you can access their web page - not very easy at the moment - you will see some of the things they stand for. Key issues are corruption and the electoral system. Given what's been happening we should perhaps add the right to protest freely without it depending on the approval of the powerful. It's a diffuse movement with a wide range of opinions and which doesn't expect anyone to come along and impose a program on it. Nothing wrong with that. It's not just roaming the streets and I think those who have protested deserve acknowledgement for having decided to participate in the political life of their country. That's a long way better than sitting at home.

Anonymous said...

I have seen a wish list but cannot say whether it is truly representative.

The protesters want a better politics with greater involvement, less corruption etc which many outside the 2 party would agree with.

Most of the economic desires are unrealistic and would push the Spanish economy closer to Greece rather than Germany but there are a few sensible suggestions such as reform of mortgages.

But like many of these movements it focuses on rights but not responsibilities. They are, as always, someone elses!

ejh said...

would push the Spanish economy closer to Greece rather than Germany

How would they do that?

Graeme said...

Andrew, blaming the protestors for pushing the economy closer to Greece is a bit like blaming the patient for protesting if the surgeon cuts off the wrong leg.

Anonymous said...

I am not blaming the protestors per se - but much of their economic wish list is wanting more for less. The political demands are much more realistic and should be seriously considered - constitutional change could enhance democracy, could reduce nepotism and corruption and could make people feel more involved.

It is, however, healthy that mainly young people protest peacefully and are heard.

ejh said...

Isn't "wanting more for less" exactly what the political class and the financial community are expecting from the citizenry?

Anonymous said...

Conciliators CAN change arrogant policies by promoting the TESTED in umpteen associations Swiss Reconciliatory UNIFIED list for elections (where they keep party ballots, but voters can form ANY combination of candidates): it calms unlulled, fearful self-destructive egomaniacs and encourages mutual aid-dialogue-transparency-decentralization-friendship!

UNIFICADA lista electoral
Reconciliadors puede cambiar las políticas arrogantes, promoviendo la (probada en infinidad de asociaciones) suiza Reconciliatoria UNIFICADA lista electoral (donde guardan las papeletas del partido, pero los votantes pueden formar cualquier combinación de candidatos): se calma no-arrullado, temerosa autodestructiva ególatras y alienta el diálogo de ayuda mutua, la transparencia, la descentralización, la amistad!
Αyuda mutua para hacer frente a la corrupción, la sobrepoblación guiada y agresiva y el canibalismo.