And protests rain upon the government of spain

Between the coal miners’ strike and protests, spontaneous and organised, against the spanish government’s most recent efforts to reduce spending (increase in sales tax, reduction in the salaries of civil servants, reduction in unemployment insurance, and the like, adding up to a 65,000 million Euro cut, over a period of two years) (el pais), and the ongoing march of the unemployed on Madrid, to arrive this 21st, one may be forgiven for believing that the country is on the verge of a revolution.

And yet protest by itself has never brought about such a thing and judgements about the immanent demise of Rajoy´s government are grossly exaggerated.  More importantly, there is a revival in such talk of a notion of revolution that is not only completely out of place today, but was in fact never played out in the past, something along the lines of a growing series of acts of disobedience, leading to general insurrection and the final overthrow or conquering of state power.  Matters were never so simple, for there never was, nor is there, any simple opposition between a class of oppressors-exploiters and a revolutionary working class.  And a politics reduced to such a caricature is inevitably a politics of violence against the very agents of revolution.

The coal miners remain an inspiration, but above all moral, not political.  If echoes of anti-capitalist aspirations can be heard among them, so too can more modest demands (of the kind, “save the pits”!), demands recurrent among the miners’ union leadership …

15M Oviedo, on the 6th of July, called for unity of action among all protest movements against the one common enemy, capitalism.  (15MOviedo)  But what kind of unity is being demanded?  The statement is far too vague to answer the question and also problematic in assuming that the enemy is clear and as are those who are its’ victims.  What is necessary then is unity among those whose objective interests are opposed to those of the system.

Yet are the lines between foe and friend so clearly demarcated?  Are not the oppressed themselves a product of the oppression and the capitalists a consequence of the activity of those who labour for them?  And is capitalism to be understood exclusively as system of exploitation of the industrial working class?  Too many questions that must be thought through and which 15M in general has tried to do, both in thought and in dead.  But protest is spectacular and thereby seductive.  It cannot however be at the heart of any profound revolutionary movement.

Carlos Taibo, in a recent text, proposed 6 criteria for defining 15M’s political commitments: they should contest the basic logic of capitalism (not reformism), promote self-management against the order of property, secure the rights of future generations and maintain the delicate balance with nature, contest the marginalisation of women at all levels, assume an internationalist character and have the capacity to expand and attract others … all criteria which reflect the values of the movement hitherto and which point to a much broader and ultimately deeper understanding of revolution than a mere summation of protests.

The text follows, in spanish …


Lo que tenemos que exigir

Para que una lucha sea en plenitud la nuestra debe reunir al menos seis requisitos:

1. Contestar la lógica de fondo del capitalismo (no puede limitarse a remendar uno u otro descosido)

2. Promover horizontes de autogestión que rechacen el orden de la propiedad, y de la exclusión, vigente

3. Colocar en su núcleo los derechos de las generaciones venideras, y respetar en paralelo los delicados equilibrios del medio natural

4. Encarar con radicalidad la marginación material y simbólica que, en todos los órdenes, padecen las mujeres

5. Asumir un carácter internacionalista y solidario, con conciencia clara de lo que ocurre en los países del Sur

6. Tener capacidad de expansión y de atracción hacia otr@s



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