by: Pablo Ouziel, Political Thoughts | Op-Ed
Saturday 6 August 2011
Thursday night Madrid’s city centre offered a glimpse of what Western democracies have become, as thousands of unarmed nonviolent civilians with their hands up in the air shouting “these are our weapons” and “this is a dictatorship” were beaten by police commandos in full riot gear. This event was the culmination of a month of intense mobilizations across the country by the popular movement known as the ‘Indignados’. People, whom despite being ignored by the government have made their voices heard, as banking cartels, European bureaucrats, rating agencies and the country’s elites continue in their frantic push to sell-off Spain’s remaining public wealth, and persist in the implementation of drastic cuts to the welfare state.
The ‘Indignados’ are fully aware of the fact that their government does not represent them, whenever they congregate they shout that loud and clear. They know that only popular unity will salvage them from the train wreck, which complicit speculators and politicians have created, and as they read the financial news, they know things can only get worse. When the EU announced today that the economic crisis is no longer restricted to the Euro-zone periphery countries, people in the movement understood that this could only mean bad news for them. The same was clear when the New York Times began to speculate about a double-dip recession in the United States after reporting 60,000 job cuts in July. Or when Scott Minerd, CIO of Guggenheim Partners, said that Europe was on the brink of a major financial collapse. The ‘indignados’ understand that in the game of global speculation they are always the losers. So as financial ‘experts’ in Spain speak of the impossibility of an economic recovery, the media speculates about a possible bailout, the country’s borrowing costs surge, and Moody’s speaks of Spain as being on the verge of ‘shock’, the ‘indignados’ understand that mobilizing is their only defense.
The indignation on Spanish streets has not risen out of ignorance, when newspapers announced last week that the airport of Ciudad Real had joined the growing list of airports in Spain closing because of lack of flights, the ‘indignados’ understood that it had only been constructed during the building boom so that speculators could receive huge sums of public subsidies which will never be returned to the Spanish people. That is why they were not surprised a few days ago when the IMF recommended that the country cut salaries of public servants and raise VAT, or when Spanish Finance Minister Elena Salgado suggested that the nation might need to endure even deeper spending cuts than those approved by Parliament. Nor was there a sense of surprise when the Catalan Government announced yesterday that it would sell-off 37 of its government buildings at a loss of 42,4 million Euros. Nothing shocks the ‘indignados,’ they just hope that one day they will have enough critical mass to stop these incessant attacks from the financial and political elite, on the country’s citizenry.