‘Disobedience 2014’: Mass Protest To End Austerity In Spain

Thousands gathered in the center of Barcelona in an event the organizers dubbed “Disobedience 2014”in protest of government austerity measures. The protesters marched under a large banner saying:“Disobedience 2014. They can’t control us if we disobey. Let’s stop [Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon’s] laws!”

The demonstration turned violent when the police moved in to try and stop protesters from reaching Barcelona’s Cataluna Square. Activists tussled with police, while others smashed the windows of banks and financial institutions and set fire to bins. The idea behind the demonstration is to protest austerity and cuts through “acts of mass civil disobedience,” one of the organizers told Spanish newspaper La Nacion.

“Through disobedience we will rebel against a system that is dragging us into an abyss and replace it with one that respects people,” said Luis Lopez who was holding a flag representing a Spanish anarchist group.

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Photos: Students Occupy University In Madrid

(AP) Students set fires and made barricades during the first day of a student strike to protest a government education reform and cutbacks in grants and staffing, at Complutense University, in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, March 26, 2014. Spanish police say they have arrested more than 50 students when the police moved in to end the occupation of a campus building after the university had asked them to intervene. Students, many with their faces covered, set fire to trash containers and set up barricades on at least two streets in the university complex during the protest.

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Massive Anti-Austerity Protest In Spain

Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards rallied in Madrid on Saturday against poverty and EU-imposed austerity in a largely peaceful protest later marred by violent clashes in which police fired rubber bullets. Central government representative Cristina Cifuentes said 19 protesters had been arrested and 50 police officers had been injured, one of them very badly, in the clashes.

The so-called “Dignity Marches” brought hundreds of thousands to the capital, according to estimates of Reuters witnesses. Travelling from all over Spain, they were protesting in support of more than 160 different causes, including jobs, housing, health, education and an end to poverty.

Banners urged the conservative government not to pay its international debts and to tackle Spain’s chronically high unemployment of 26 percent.

“Bread, jobs and housing for everyone”, read one banner, “Corruption and robbery, Spain’s trademark,” said another.

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Door Closing on Universal Justice in Spain

The rightwing government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the governing People’s Party (PP) were able to fast-track the reform of the Organic Law of the Judiciary Power in parliament thanks to their absolute majority, and are swiftly heading to block universal justice proceedings in one of the countries that has enforced them most.

“Spain will become a paradise for impunity.” — Ignacio Jovtis,Amnesty International
A reform bill, rejected by all the opposition parties, was presented on Feb. 11, with the effect that requests for reports and other legal procedures were blocked. And on Feb. 17 the Ministry of Justiceasked Congress for measures to accelerate the process even further.

The bill will be rushed through parliament after debate in a single plenary session, it was decided on Thursday Feb. 20, again with the votes of the PP alone, ensuring its speedy entry into force.

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Madrid Demo Against Repression Results In More Represion

Antifascist demonstrators took it to the streets to stop the gag “order” law which simply turns people’s freedom of expression into a State crime. “The voice of the people is not illegal,” chants echoed on the streets.

Protesters Twitted that there were cops everywhere around them – on the ground and also in the air – surveilling them from helicopters. “It feels like we’re in a war against (this) State repression,” wrote one of the demonstrators. But if you protest State repression, what you get from the State is even more repression. “This is what “democracy” looks like,” protesters said.

“We’re done with the political repression and with the institutional violence,” wrote another one.

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#GamonalEffect Reignites Mass Protest Across Spain

The conflict originated around the slatted construction of an expensive multi-story parking garage in the densely populated center of Gamonal, a working class neighborhood of Burgos. The project is to be lead by developer and local media tycoon Antonio Miguel Méndez Pozo, a former felon charged with corruption and with ties to the right-wing Popular Party. Mendez Pozo is seen as an emblematical figure, responsible for the runaway property prices that stem from years of collusion between elected officials and private real estate developers and his control of the regions biggest newspaper. Public demonstrations began on Monday, as local residents perplexed by the scale and invasiveness of the new development, went to the streets demanding a refocusing of priorities to address the city’s chronic unemployment and underfunded public services. Once the internet got a hold of it, the rising up of this working class community became a battle cry to denounce the general corruption of the Spanish government long ago taken over by banks and private interest. Under the banner of the #GamonalEffect Solidarity marches assembled in Madrid, Seville, Valladolid, Logroño, Oviedo, Zaragoza, and Barcelona.

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This Is What Happens When You Outlaw Peaceful Protest

In many of the countries that experienced dramatic social mobilizations from 2011 onward, terrified elites are now drawing up laws banning the type of street demonstrations that kick-started the Age of the Protester, desperately trying to institutionalize their Thermidorian counter-revolution now that the movements appear to be on the retreat. But everywhere these type of anti-protest legislations are being passed, the attempted closure is only drawing people back into the streets. And so we find ourselves at a historical crossroads: now that the ruling elite can no longer command the voluntary consent of the ruled, they will increasingly resort to the use of force in order to retain their position of privilege. This leaves the movements in a frightening predicament. If the state’s inner bestiality is taking over from its limited human capacity to dialogue and reason, can we really keep fighting it through the same means? Does it really make sense to reproach a rabid and murderous beast with the cunning reason of man? What is the point in peaceful protest if the state simply outlaws it and arrests us for disagreeing in public? What future is there for us if we are to be mercilessly jailed or bankrupted, our lives destroyed, simply for calling on our fellow human beings to peacefully speak out against injustice? What direction is the state driving us into? And can the movements be held responsible for what comes next?

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Don’t Move, Occupy! Social Movement Vs Social Arrest

Regardless of their final present political fate, the global uprisings since 2011 have already established mass continuous occupation of public space as the dominant form of political struggle in the early 21st century: the coming together of people who have both withdrawn their consent to be governed by the existing order and, equally importantly, discovered the responsibility, dignity, difficulty, and — above all — joy of instituting a society outside of it. In so doing, they have challenged the periodization that separated a mass political uprising from the democracy that may follow it. The common feature of all these occupations was the creation of democratic forms within the space and time of the uprising itself. This was made possible not through a politics predicated on movement, but rather one of arrest, of occupation, in order to create sites for the collective restructuring of social relations and space.

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Spain Warns US of Breakdown in Trust After New NSA Revelations

The Spanish government has warned of a potential breakdown of trust with the US following reports that the National Security Agency monitored more than 60m phone calls in Spain in the space of one month. As the White House struggled to contain a growing diplomatic crisis with its allies across the world, Madrid summoned the US ambassador to Spain to demand an explanation of the extent of US spying. The NSA is alleged to have intercepted 60.5m phone calls in Spain between 10 December 2012 and 8 January 2013.

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The Catastrophic Management Of Catastrophe

The catastrophic management of catastrophe. If there is one line that describes the nature of neoliberal crisis management, that must be it. From Mexico and Latin America in 1982 to the South-East Asian crisis of 1997-’98, and from Turkey and Argentina in the early 2000s to the European debt crisis from 2010 onward — the most catastrophic thing about neoliberal crisis management is not only that it has a penchant to turn already catastrophic financial crises caused by runaway private speculation into an immense source of private gain for the same very financiers responsible for the catastrophe to begin with; but, even more nefariously, that it makes those catastrophes so much more catastrophic than they really need to be for almost everyone else. Notwithstanding all the propaganda and rhetoric about “free markets” promoting democracy and development, the massive bank bailouts of the neoliberal era have invariably shown that those so-called neoliberals in fact care very little even about free markets — let alone about democracy or development.

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