A Madrid October: The weapon of hunger


Capital exploits by appropriating human creativity and makes this exploitation the necessary condition to accede to those goods required for human survival.  It is a system, not in any static sense, comprised of a complex of social relations of domination; relations that may compensate for the exploitation to the extent that it is of value to continue to exploit.  All those held are therefore always potentially superfluous, and each is daily threatened with poverty and hunger.  Hunger, or its threat, in this instance, is part of the politics of discipline and control.  It is a weapon of the Capitalist war machine.

What more effective display then of the violence of Capital than to turn its induced hunger against it; to publically display hunger in the flesh, to inscribe it in the body, in such a manner that a seed is planted, such that something else may grow in its place.

Six days ago, a young man, Jorge Azuaga, initiated such a protest, in the the central square of Madrid, Puerta del Sol.  There are now three others who have joined him, and another hunger strike has begun in Sevilla (Periodico Diagonal 15/10/2013, 16/10/2013).       

Reasons for indignation are not lacking in the country, as elsewhere.  It is estimated that 3 million people are effected by extreme poverty in spain (earning less than 307 Euros per month); a number that has doubled since 2007, representing 6.4% of the country's population.  Overall, the number of spanish households in poverty has increased from 19.7% to 21.1% between 2007 and 2013, and this while the official poverty line has decreased (15,900 to 14,700, per year, from 2009 to 2012).  In parallel, between the middle of 2012 and the first half of 2013, the number of millionaires has increased by 13%. (elpais 10/10/2013)

Yet many would question the efficacy or utility of a hunger strike as a political weapon of rebellion.  It is an individual act that makes an essentially moral criticism of existing injustices.  It is the gesture of a beautiful soul, touching, moving, but ephemeral and finally impotent.  It leaves nothing behind, because it creates nothing.

The criticism however is itself questionable.  All rebellion begins and sustains itself in the assumption of a moral position, an ethics that is expressed in a form of life opposed to ways of domination.  And if all forms of life appear in the individuals who share it, no individual is in fact an individual; each is rather the confluence and expression of multiple agencies.  And with each gesture, the expression finds resonances beyond the individual, influencing, shaping, seducing others.  

Jorge Azuaga and his comrades are aware of the limits of their act.  But Azuaga's hunger strike, called in demand of the resignation of the government, in the daily and constant gathering of people around his camp, has already succeeded in creating, however fragile, new solidarities.

#motivos de Jorge

Who am I?

A Citizen.

What am I doing?

A hunger strike.


For you. For me: Unemployment, Corruption, Evictions, Health, Education …

What are yours?

What is useless

Is to do nothing.



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