Saturday, May 21, 2011

UPDATED: Protests in Spain: waiting till the fat lady sings

The results of the election were exactly what the polls projected: the 15-M Movement appears to have had no affect on the voting... Whether this movement consolidates into something meaningful remains to be seen.

The Socialists got trounced because they applied neoliberal recipes and their voters deserted them, preferring the original to an imitation (Democrats take note).

What is most striking about Spain is that despite very high unemployment, the elections were quiet and without incidents. The protest movement has been non-violent and the atmosphere cheerful. This is due to Spain's society still being based on personal relationships and not just on the cash-nexus. As Dimitri Orlov says, when things get really bad, what you need are friends, friends being defined as people who will do things for you without asking for money in return. I shudder to think what the USA would be like with Spanish unemployment figures.

So yes, Spaniards still have their happy families, because if they didn't, with those levels of unemployment, the 15-M Movement would have been violent, not Gandhian. The United States could certainly benefit by studying the stability of Spanish society under stress.

As to bullfighting, the Mexican bullfighter, Ignacio Garibay, got gored badly in Madrid yesterday by a bull from the ranch of Pablo Romero that weighed 672 kgs. (nice Hemingway touch, nu?)

David Seaton's News Links
I am holding off writing about this till the votes are counted on Sunday's local elections, because till then, it will be difficult to extract any meaning from it except that, up till voting, what we have here is one of those wonderful, very Spanish, bring the family and spend the day, type of enormous fiestas, with lovely, 1960ish, hippy vibes, very well and spontaneously organized by the kids themselves. We went to the Puerta del Sol yesterday twice. Once in the morning and then later in the evening and it was beautiful... the kids are really lovable.

The rightwing is baying to have the riot police clear the square, but the government are behaving very intelligently... As I say, if this significantly affects the voting in any way. Then we we would be looking at a really meaningful protest.

It would seem logical that if people of the left wanted to send a message to the Socialists they would vote for Izquierda Unida, the Communist led coalition of the left,  which would force the Socialists to move more to the left. However, if everybody just stays home and doesn't vote, they will  have four years to regret so doing at their leisure, because the rightwing people always vote. They only win elections in Spain when there is big abstention. So lefties staying home would be cutting off their nose to spite their face. DS

If you'd like to follow all of this live, here below, is the video stream direct from the center of downtown Madrid.

Video clips at Ustream


Harry Haller said...

IU is the only party with a program in line with the demands.

Got back yesterday and went straight to Sol. Lets hope it doesn't peter out after today.

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

Latest results and projections are coming in at 9PM Madrid time. These results, with a normally high turn out are exactly what the opinion polls have all been predicting for weeks... Sooooooooooo, I would say that the protests have had little or no effect on the election at all... Much ado about nothing, I'm afraid. What the long term effect they may have on this generation remains to be seen... at this point we can only say that a fine time was had by all.

Harry Haller said...

The point was not to influence the elections... although if all the indignados had voted IU it would have made it better. Still, it's too soon to talk about this in past tense.