The protests sweeping Spain are reaching a crucial point. In the capital, Madrid, arguments rage about what to do next.
The demonstrations and protest camps have caught the mood of opposition to the government and the eurozone crisis. After days of discussions, the protesters in Madrid decided last week that they will not decamp.
Those who spoke in favour of staying said the Madrid base serves as a beacon of resistance—a challenge to the government that must be maintained.
Camps have sprung up in over 100 towns and cities. In Madrid the camp includes first aid, a library, art, drama and music workshops, a noticeboard of all meetings, a speaker’s corner, legal advice, cleaning and an opinions board.
Protesters fear that the government will make the camp illegal and attempt to clamp down, as it did two weeks ago.
Mainstream political parties and trade unions are seen to have abandoned Spanish workers.
There are many debates in the camp, about the role of the internet and the dismissal of anything “political”.
But the movement wants to reach out to all working people. Teams from the camp have been going to talk to factory workers.
The camps are not only made up of young people. We spoke to a 78-year old trade unionist and a student.
The student said, “It’s about time we took control of our futures.”
The trade unionist, a revolutionary, was involved in two strike waves on the buses years ago. He says the trade unions have sold out workers, accepting wage cuts in return for limiting redundancies—an agreement the government betrayed anyway.
The challenge for the movement now is to build and join with others fighting the cuts, especially in workplaces. There is a national demonstration on 19 June aiming to fill the streets.
One thing is clear. As the trade unionist told us, “15 May has changed everything. Nothing will ever be the same again.”
Pressure builds from below
Luke Stobart, a socialist in Barcelona, spoke to Socialist Worker about how the movement is developing
‘Organising meetings representing different camps have been taking place. In Barcelona, a decision has been made to scale the camp down, but that hasn’t yet started. People don’t feel like this is a climbdown, just the next stage.
In Barcelona representatives from over 60 towns and villages in Catalonia, and some 40 from district assemblies, gathered.
The local assemblies in districts have grown—some are now up to 500 people.
Next Tuesday activists in Barcelona will camp outside the government building to stop parliament sitting the following day—coinciding with a general strike in Greece.
And on 19 June there will be demonstrations across Spain.
Rank and file members in one of the main union federations, CCOO, say there is pressure building for the union to mobilise for the protests and to join the resistance.’