15M: A Cartography of the Spanish Revolution 89

Impressions of 15M, one year on …

“la revolución enamora” (words of Puerta del Sol)


The arrival in the Puerta del Sol, on Friday the 11th of May is disturbed by the presence of the police.  They are seemingly everywhere in the square, at its many entrances, before the Casa de Correos, centre of the regional government of Madrid, and in the square proper.  And their violence will be daily.  The yellow dressed employees of the gold shops, vultures of misery, compliment the image. … the tourists photograph, and hungry gypsies and soulless clowns beg …


“deseo, luego existo”


Beneath the statue of Carlos the III, the reality is fractured by a man with a large and disheveled head of white hair distributing leaflets for tomorrow’s demonstration.  “Lenin said that the revolution begins as a ball of snow, growing larger and larger as it is kicked about”, he says into my ear, as he holds me near his breath.  He is joined by a still older woman, curved by time, whitened by age, who stuffs a handful of further leaflets into my hands, only to rush off to attend to others.  This passion invades all that is done.


“Nuestra recompense se encuentra en el esfuerzo y no en el resultado. Un esfuerzo total es una Victoria completa.”


An exhibition opens on the 10th, at the Ateneo of Madrid, under the theme of the first year of indignant action.  There is suspicion about nostalgia, self congratulatory celebration, 15M as a museum exhibition, suspicions soon assuaged.  The contents of the exhibition were themselves debated more broadly in the movement, in Madrid, and the exercise is essentially pedagogical.


“por favor no molestar, estamos reflexionando”


15M as a school is an idea that constantly comes to mind during these days.  Everywhere one turns, there are discussions, debates.  Assemblies, thematically organized, are times-places of intense sharing and learning.  The Economy group of 15M Madrid holds Sol for almost 10 hours on the 13th, in an extraordinary exercise of reflection on and alternatives to capitalism.  And by late afternoon, thousands of people take part.  The patience and passion for the event, the remarkable interest and knowledge of those who intervene, is quite literally awe inspiring.  And this was repeated in numerous similar assemblies throughout the 13th and 14th.


“felicidad es ser, no tener”


Among the many anonymously in attendance at the assemblies were individuals known for their involvement in the affinity groups and neighborhood assemblies that form the archipelago of 15M.  They are the living and changing body of 15M, without whom the media saturated demonstrations and the more regular assemblies, would not occur.   But they are not known by most of those who attend.  They participate in the assemblies, they march when there is a call to, as one among many, but it is their work that sustains the movement.


“El sol es los real”


On the 12th of May, hundreds of thousands colours and sounds take Sol.  No common ideology or group binds those who march together.  They are united first and foremost by indignation, and after one year of political militancy of extraordinary creativity, by a desire for a new world.


“no nos vamos, nos mudamos a tu consciencia”


The organizing engines for the demonstration are the local, neighborhood assemblies; their banners punctuate the procession.  15M in Madrid left Sol for city’s barrios and there constructed a network of collectivities and initiatives which are today part of the heart of the movement.  If 15M is a great deal more than a protest movement, defending or claiming rights against state authority (it is that also), it is because at the level of neighborhood assemblies, alternative realities are being created.  It is at this level of the movement that we find the barter markets, the time banks, the social markets, the consumer cooperatives that are the embryo of what may become alternative economies.  The assemblies are already examples of direct democracy.  What is complementary and essential to this political process is the elaboration of noncapitalist forms of wealth production and distribution.


“utopia o nada”


15M is not a single movement.  It lacks any central organization, ideology, or practice.  Its future is unpredictable.  It has however given rise to ethical-political spaces and times which make what for many is impossible, reality.  15M holds within it a politics of utopia.


News about 12M15M:


Periódico Diagonal







… photos …





Periodismo Humano …




Madrilonia …




Kaos en la red …





Tercera información …




Roarmag …







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