An anniversary of lives in movement: Spain’s 15M

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The upcoming 15th of May marks a commemoration, not of anniversary of a past reality, but of a present, in movement.  Spain’s 15M, over three years, has multiplied, proliferated, metamorphosised; to become not larger in numbers, but in deeper in intensity and stronger in its resonance.  Its continuity is due not to any centralising organisation, or unifying ideology, as common opinion would dictate as necessary, but to emerging forms of life that increasingly push up against the limits of capitalism.  Movements, rather than a movement, in constant re-composition; responding, searching, creating against/with current realities, moulding and sustaining new ways of being.  Simultaneously destituent and constituent, the plurality of agencies that are 15M’s composite singularities, have become, however modestly, makers of worlds.  More than characterising an atmosphere, as has been said of it, it is a collective corporeality of affective-cognitive relations of resistance that continue to reconfigure the horizons of possibility.

What follows is a translation of the statement of the general assembly of Sol-Madrid, on the occasion of this 3rd year of 15M …

A Call to Action and Participation

Policies of austerity and privatisations imposed by the Troika determine the lives of millions of people in Europe.  Together, with people throughout Europe and the whole world, we resist this restructuring of capitalism that is carried out on the backs of workers and the unemployed, pensioners, migrants and youth.  Together, we say “We owe nothing, we will not pay!”  While the regime of crisis of the European Union implies the construction of more and more borders of all kinds, with the aim of dividing, exploiting and oppressing us, new transnational movements are emerging.  We are part of social, alter-globalisation, migrant movements, movements of the precarious, the mortgaged, the indebted, and we want to link our struggles and potentialities beyond the nation state.  During the week before the European Parliamentary elections, we call upon the strength of the multitudinous social movements to institute real democracy from below.

To Institute Democracy

In times of crisis, we are told that there is no alternative to austerity.  Yet the people pay, suffer and die, while the banks have been bailed out with hundreds of millions of Euros.  Debt and exploitation, wealth and increasing precariousness, are two sides of the same coin.  This authoritarian regime in crisis does not represent us.  Its true goal – to serve capital – is marked by the supposed neutral ideology of finance.  The neoliberal crisis cannot be resolved with further neoliberal adjustments.  These destroy our social rights, cut away at our well being, and redraw economic distribution in favour of capital, pitting one territory against another in competition.

Capitalism is the crisis.  Poverty is not only a consequence of unemployment, but also of unjust decisions taken by governments, and of a vast transformation, accelerated by the political administration of the crisis.  Global capitalism divides the rich and the poor, the migrants and the citizens, including the citizens against themselves, and exploits those divisions so as to benefit from them.  Is freedom to be understood as the choice between precariousness and unemployment?  We struggle for social and economic inequality, to institute a real democracy from below!

Let us Appropriate the Commons

It is time that we appropriate the commons.  The wealth that we produce through our social cooperation is being expropriated.  The dispossession of the wealth of our planet is destroying our life’s environment.  We all suffer the consequences of climate change, the destruction of bio-diversity, the dangerous exploitation of the planet, contamination and biocide.  The bases of our social reproduction, including health, housing, education, our rights, are objects of speculation.  The increase in rents in the majority of Europe’s cities is forcing many to move, and the explosion of the real estate bubble, especially in the cities of southern Europe, is devastating the lives of millions of people.  At the same time as infant mortality and psychological illnesses increase, they close hospitals and privatise health care.

Property and its public and private management can be overcome by forms of common property and management of resources.  Examples today exist, like projects of self-managed housing (in Spain, the Obra Social of the PAH), social actions to prevent evictions and rent increases, factory occupations, spaces for self-education, self-training, self-managed social health clinics (some 50 exist in Greece).  Instead of allowing them to close hospitals, to evict people from their homes, to evict social centres, let us organise ourselves to recuperate what is ours.  These practices are the embryos of new legislations that are being written in the daily practices of struggles.

Let us Struggle Together

Europe is transnational the moment that it is travelled by millions of men and women who migrate here from their homes in other parts of the world, seeking a better life.  They accordingly put into practice the freedom of movement.  The EU enforces and militarises racist borders, where thousands of people die, or are assassinated or raped.  The consequences of colonialism and imperialism oblige migrants to live in subordination, in illegality, in detention and to suffer deportation.  The objective is to capitalise on their labour power.  The extraction of wealth is constructed on an institutionalised racism, the externalisation of borders and the exploitation of the peripheries of Europe by the centres.  The institutions of the State and governments use prejudice and fear to assure their privileges.  Racism and fascism are propelled by the crisis and the policies of austerity and scarcity.  In the streets, Romanians, gypsies and homosexuals are attacked, on the borders, Africans are assassinated, and in the institutions of State, dangerous alliances are forged.  It is predicted that extreme right-wing parties will increase their vote in the next European elections.  Racism, sexism, chauvinism are employed to divide us and weaken our struggles.  Yet our lives and strugglers are connected.  Actively solidarity means fighting for the rights of all, everywhere.  It is time to go beyond borders, with solidarity and a common struggle.                                  

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