Unrepresentable stories: Films of resistance

As long as the lions do not have their own historians, the stories of hunting will continue to glorify the hunter.

African proverb

Spain’s public prosecutor has recently asked for cumulative legal punishment of up to 74 years and 3 months for those involved in the initial disturbances that led to the acampada of the Puerta del Sol, in Madrid (2011), and the subsequent rise of the movement that came to be known as 15M. (Público 15/10/2014) This is but another expression of the politics of fear that the government has employed against the diversity of social movements that 15M has become. And it is paralleled by the effort to efface the memory of the movement, to retell its story in such a way that its radical possibilities are marginalised and silenced.

Against this, the multiple efforts to tell the radical story, and to keep making it real, become fundamental. In this way, the past does not pass away, but remains a permanent present.

We share below a documentary, 15M: Málaga Despierta, made by activists of Málaga15M.cc (part of the larger 15Mcc project), focusing on the movement in the andalusian city, along with the film’s manifesto.

Manifesto “15M: Málaga Awakens”

Two years ago, almost three after the start of the 2008 crisis, we all received a convocation through social networks for a social mobilisation. Yet another one, many of us thought. The apathy was already generalised. People continued to lose their jobs, their homes, their rights and, obviously, their illusions and their energy. However, we decided to go on hoping too. Nobody knew what was going to happen on this May 15, 2011 in the demonstration called by DRY [Democracia Real Ya], but the desire to support this call with the motto “We are not commodities in the hands of politicians and bankers”, we shared. We thought we were going to be the same usual four old faces. But we saw it as just, necessary and urgent to go into the street to make it obvious that we could no longer tolerate what we suffered, that we had to act. And thus our surprise that we were not alone! Thousands of people had decided they were also fed up. After this demonstration full of freshness, spontaneity, energy and outrage, some became depressed thinking that it was then time to leave. Again another useless demonstration? Again we are going to return home, to remain silent and alone? That organic character and spontaneity that accompanied this movement from the beginning led to a group of people deciding to stay in a square in Madrid. The morning of May 16, 2011, the light that thousands of people had radiated during the afternoon of 15 continued latently to shine amid the blankets of people who sustained the hope that something big could happen. The rest, we already know. A violent eviction led to the symbolic act of camping spreading, filling all of the squares of the country with hope. People of all ages came to the camps with firm proposals, wanting to work, wanting to change things. We were sleeping and suddenly woke up.

In Málaga, we also awoke. It was a Tuesday, May 17th. We reacted, as one has to in these cases, united and above all, believing that it was finally our chance to change the world. At first, some felt shyness and hesitation. We were not used to speaking in public about things that affect our daily life: economics, politics, law, social rights … We learned slowly, together, helping each other.

15M: Málaga Despierta is a story that happened in Málaga, but told with a universal message. The germ is the same as that of the 15M movement. We came to the square with a camera and a microphone to reflect what was happening. And little by little we were becoming more willing to contribute their faces professionalism, but above all his humanity to tell the story of the awakening of a generation.

15M: Málaga Despierta was already a seed from the first week of the acampada in Malaga. We arrived at the square to record images for Tere, a friend of Rakesh, who worked at a production company in Madrid and wanted to include sequences of Spain’s third largest camp. But, in addition to recording these images, the first week we had already decided we would do our own documentary. And in this new world of synergies, networks and solidarity brothers of 15m.cc from Madrid to tell us that they were going to start a collaborative and participatory project. It would be made with the voice of many, and assembly based. Copyleft. Pro-commons. Free. At the time we thought that this was the code we had to follow, the same we had learned in the squares since the 15th May. So we copy it.

In this way then the 15mMalaga.cc team begins to tell its own story and invites all citizens to share their contribution in the form of photographs, videos, music, creativity and knowledge in general. It’s been a year and a half of hard work. With zero budget and a great deal of creativity. With enthusiasm and energy, but also with crises and difficult moments. But we’ve been united, working together, and in the end we can say today that 15M: Málaga Despierta is a reality motivated by a desire to change things, for the regretful injustices that we daily know of and from which we’re becoming protagonists in our, for the solidarity and networks that have been created among us, now gathered to move in the same direction. We have awakened and will not return to sleep. As our dear José Luis Sampedro, godfather of this documentary, says “We have received a life, our duty is to live!”

We have told our story with the help of many voices. A story that happened in Málaga and has not yet finished: that continues to be written. A story with a universal message that we wish to share in many cities, countries and continents, across borders. We know that only by sharing can we continue to build. We know that the famous “Yes we can” of 15M can become a reality if we work together from the local and think globally.

So today we release this message on the network that we hope you will make yours. So that everyone can share it and we can go further. That’s always been our goal, equal to the slogan of 15M, “we move slowly because we are going far.” Let us continue writing together this story of change, which is ours! From Madrid, Malaga, Seville to Cairo, the West Bank, Reykjavik or Bogota we have awakened and are joined by invisible umbilical cords. We do not want to close our eyes. We have understood that now is the time to take charge of our life and start a change. We owe it to ourselves today, to the younger generation and older who already fought for our rights. So, let us follow the leitmotif of this movement, tell the story you really want to live!

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