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New social movements by Rosana Cervera

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New social movements by Rosana Cervera

  1. 1. NEW SOCIAL MOVEMENTS: Indignados 15M, Occupy Wall Street. Are they going anywhere? Are they really necessary? By Rosana Cervera, november 2013
  2. 2. LOS INDIGNADOS (15 M) «Lo llaman democracia y no lo es», «No nos representan» «Democracia real ¡YA!» • It is asindical and nonpartisan movement, considered concerned and outraged by the political, economic and social gap in Spain, marked by the corruption of politicians, bankers and big entrepreneurs. • It is away from bipartisanship PSOE-PP (PPSOE) and the domain of banks and corporations. • It is a social movement for the repoliticization of citizenship, to promote a more participatory democracy. • It states that involving civil society can be built a better democratic system.  We want a change and a decent future.  We are fed up of antisocial reforms.  We acknowledge that the political and economic powers are responsible for our precarious situation and demand a change of course.
  3. 3. ORIGINS • Since 2008 there was an economic crisis in Spain, which has just been extended to other areas, leading to a political crisis, social, institutional and territorial. • On October 2008, “citizen revolution” in Iceland. • On October 2010 was published the pamphlet “Outrage!” (¡Indignaos!), by Stéphane Hessel, writer and diplomat, one of the drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. It poses for a peaceful uprising against indifference. • On February 2011 was established a coordination platform pro-citizen action groups, a Facebook group formed by representatives of groups in order to convene a mass demonstration and the drafting of a Manifesto. • On March 2011, this group became the Real Democracy Now Platform, which activates a website with a Manifesto, with political proposals to Spain, and summon a demonstration on May 15, 2011. • After that demonstration, 40 people decided to camp in the Puerta del Sol that night spontaneously. On May 16, 19 persons were arrested, and on 17 more than 10,000 citizens gathered there. It was the same in more than 60 cities throughout Spain, up to one millon estimated. Thousands of them remain in the squares until May 22 Elections Day, 2011.
  4. 4. 14 GOALS 1. Changing the Electoral Act: open lists and single constituency Seats proportional to the nº of votes. 2. Attention to the basic and fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution: adequate housing, articulating a reform of the Mortgage Act; public health, free and universal ; free movement of people; and strengthening public and secular education. 3. Abolition discriminatory measures and unfair laws (Immigration Law, Sinde Law, etc.). 4. Tax reform favorable to lower incomes, a reform of estate and probate taxes. Implementation of the Tobin Tax for international financial transfers, and elimination of Tax Havens. 5. Reform of the working conditions of the political class to the abolition of their salaries for life, and for programs and policy proposals were binding. 6. Rejection and condemnation of corruption, and Electoral lists free of candidates convicted of it. 7. Measures in accordance with Article 128 of the Constitution regarding to banking and financial markets ("all the wealth of the country in its different forms and whatever its ownership is subordinated to the general interest”). Immediate nationalization of banks that have had to be rescued by the State. Stronger controls on financial transactions for entities and to prevent abuses in any form. Reducing the power of the IMF and the ECB. 8. Participatory and direct democracy. Popular access to the media, to be ethical and truthful. 9. True regularization of working conditions and monitoring of government. 10. Recovery of privatized public enterprises. 11. A "real division of powers“. Effective separation of executive, legislative and judicial. 12. Reduction in military spending, closure of the weapons factories and control of the security forces. 13. Recovery of Historical Memory. 14. Total transparency of accounts and financing of political parties to control political corruption.
  5. 5. METHODS • These camping become popular assemblies, settle down in open squares or parks, and were structured in various committees (Legal, Activities, Communication, Action, Neighborhoods, State & International, Information, Infrastructure, Sign languages​​, etc.) • They were structured in working groups (Culture, Education, Politics, Economy, Environment, Social Work, Feminism, Science and Technology, Interreligious Dialogue, Migration and Mobility, etc.) • Activities were transferred to the people's congresses of neighborhoods and towns (Asamblea Popular de …) • Today, thousands of members of these assemblies have created platforms, partnerships, cooperatives, and political projects among other groups born in the wake of the demonstration. • Peaceful demonstrations, which had proved to be successful.
  6. 6. ACHIEVEMENT • • • • Had extended the 15M movement. Had spread in the local sphere direct participatory democracy (method assemblies). Had recovered the public space, and the critical thinking. Had fueled the creation of many groups, platforms and civic associations working for the common interests (15M, Asamblea de Sol, ¡Democracia Real YA!, Asambleas Populares, Marea Verde, Marea Blanca, Coordinadora anti-privatización de la Sanidad, PATUSALUD, Marea Amarilla, Marea Violeta, Marea Azul, Red de agua pública, Toma la Tele, Agora Sol Radio, Yo no pago, Plataforma Auditoria Ciudadana de la Deuda, Democracia 4.0, Toque a Bankia, Activa Preferentes, Yayoflautas, STOP Desahucios, Juristas por la ILP, Fundación Civio, Plataforma por un Nuevo Modelo Energético, Brigadas Vecinales de Observación de Derechos Humanos, Red Europea de Lucha contra la Pobreza y la Exclusión Social, Marea Roja, Tribunal Ciudadano de Justicia, etc.) • Millions of people informed, awakened, socially aware, mobilized, organized and participated in a collective and democratic common future. • Political projects born from 15 M: Partido X, Partido del Futuro, Confluencia, EnRed, Frente Cívico Somos Mayoría, Alternativas desde Abajo, Proces Constituyent, Movimiento Ciudadano, Oigame, Somos el 99%, etc. • According to a survey of Metroscopia for El País, May 2013, 78% of citizens outraged ensures that they are right in what they say, 4% have doubts about motives of protest.
  7. 7. LEARNED LEASONS • The 15M is a turning point, an event of epoch. • Since it emerged, the account of the Spanish Transition is over. • Public mobilization and organization manage to change the status-quo, and extend their influence changes over the decades, countries and generations (french May 1968, latin american struggles against neoliberalism since ´80, Island silenced revolution, Arabic spring of Tunisia and Egypt, general strikes in Greece, etc.). Immediate results should not be expected. • Public indignation calls for political regeneration and greater participation in democracy. Politicians have had to listen. • Social movements can putting on the agenda issues and objectives from citizens: electoral reform for more representative, open lists for elections, end of political privileges, punishment for corruption, Referendum on reform of the State, social audit Debt, etc. • Rethink ourselves as citizens, not as mere voters or consumers. • IT are useful tools forward social organization and democratic participation. • This citizens‘ movement is not left nor right. It is interclass and intergenational. They are democratic citizens with common goals, cooperating for the collective interest. It makes changes in institutions, laws.
  8. 8. OCCUPY WALL STREET (OWS) «We are the 99%» • September 17, 2011 New York City, Zuccotti Park (Wall Street, financial district). • The slogan was boosted by statistics confirmed by a Congressional Budget Office report released in October 2011. • It refers to the best seller «Price of inequality» by Nobel Prize Joseph Stiglitz. • The «Charging Bull», Wall Street´s iconic. • The average age of the protesters was 33. • Diversity of age, gender, race and occupy situation (students, retired, employees, unemployed, housewives, professionals). • Religious faiths: Muslims, Jews, Christians. • Majority of them felt not to be represented by political parties.
  9. 9. ORIGINS • Adbusters, a Canadian anti-consumerist publication, which conceived of a September 17, 2011 occupation in lower Manhattan (OccupyWallStreet.org web) to protest for corporate influence on democracy, and the lack of legal consequences for those who brought about the global crisis of monetary insolvency, and an increasing disparity in wealth. Adbusters emailed its subscribers saying “America needs its own Tahir» • A group called New Yorkers Against Budget Cuts (NYABC) was formed, which promoted a "sleep in" in lower Manhattan called "Bloombergville," in July 2011. • The Internet group Anonymous. • The economic crisis of 2007 did not initially produce a left social movement. The OWS movement emergered only when it was increasingly clear that the politicians were unable to address neither the causes nor the consequences of the economic crisis. • On October 1, 2011, a large group of protesters set out to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge resulting in 700 arrests. • On January 1, 2012 police closures of the Zuccotti Park encampment. The movement has turned its focus on occupying banks, corporate headquarters, board meetings, college and university campuses, and Wall Street itself. • On September 17, 2012, protesters returned to Zuccotti Park to mark the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the occupation. • That case Occupy Wall Street vs City of New York was filed in the US District Court of New York, and the court has ordered the City to pay $360.000 for their actions during the Nov 15, 2011 raid.
  10. 10. GOALS • Redistribution: more balanced distribution of income. Income inequality (risen to levels of the Great Depression) is the focal point of OWS protests. • Reduction in the influence of corporations on politics. «Corporate influence, that corrupts our political parties, our elections, and the institutions of government.» • Control of corruption on Wall Street. • Bank reform (especially to curtail speculative trading by banks) • More and better jobs • Forgiveness of student loan debt. • Alleviation of the foreclosure situation
  11. 11. METHODS EXTERNAL (ACTIVISM) • • • • • • INTERNAL (ORGANIZATION) Occupation Public meetings to discuss Civil disobedience Picketing Demonstrations Internet activism • Meetings are open to the public for both attendance and speaking. • The meetings are without formal leadership, using a queue of speakers. • The Assembly is the main OWS decisionmaking body and uses a modified consensus process: discussing until reach consensus (common sentiment, not agreement) • 70 Working groups. • «Spokes councils», at which every working group can participate. • Direct democracy. • OWS People's Library (5,554 books, Nov 2011) • OWS had accumulated over $700,000 from donors, and the median donation was $22.
  12. 12. ACHIEVEMENT • OWS has been central to driving media stories about income inequality in US. The idea of a “99%” against a “1%” has seeped into everyday talks. • In November 2011, Public Policy Poolling found in a national survey that 33% of voters supported OWS and 45% opposed it, with 22% not sure. • In January 2012, another survey showed that 51% of voters found protesters a public nuisance, while 39% considered it a valid protest movement representing the people. • OWS has already begun to influence the public policy making process. During an 2012 news conference, President Obama said, «I think it expresses the frustrations the American people feel, that we had the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, huge collateral damage all throughout the country ... and yet you're still seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to fight efforts to crack down on the abusive practices that got us into this in the first place». • The Republican presidential candidate Romney expressed sympathy for the movement, saying, «I look at what's happening on Wall Street and my view is, boy, I understand how those people feel.»
  13. 13. WHATS ON THE FUTURE? • In the present and in the future, the social subject are citizens movements, peaceful, transverse and democratic. • Civic resistance, citizen self-organization and hopefull instead of resignation, individualism, and passivity. • Evidence that citizens can change the policy in their favor. • A better world, which is possible, necesary and urgent. And it is coming!
  14. 14. THANKS!

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