On 20 November Spain will hold a general election. This blog will cover it live from Madrid. This is the second preview post on this mid-economic crisis European election. (For the first build-up article, click here)
“Es necesaria una Revolución Ética”
(An Ethical Revolution is needed)
As European leaders inch closer to a deal to shore up the continent’s leaky defences from the tidal waves of debt and deficit smashing against them, anti-capitalist protests have been continuing across the world. The Occupy Wall Street demonstration is the most well known but these public manifestations of anger do not have their roots in Manhattan but in Madrid. Demonstrations against “corrupt politicians, businessmen, bankers…the defencelessness of the ordinary citizen” have been staged in Spain since the spring, when los indignados (the indignant ones, the outraged) first occupied the Puerta del Sol square in the centre of the Spanish capital.
Of all the demonstrators across the world, it is the Spaniards who will be the next to face an election, on 20 November. On a recent visit to Madrid there was a resounding feeling amongst many people I spoke to of the need for a deeper political and societal change, not the simple switching of government from left to right, as looks set to occur in three weeks.
Los indignados are not party-political and they strive for a Spain that does not simply swing back and forth between the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party) and the PP (Popular Party). The former, (the government), is accused of exacerbating the crisis and now reacting with chilling austerity measures; the latter, (the opposition), is viewed as having close ties to the big business and large corporations the protesters see as the spark of a culture of greed and deprivation.
They are both seen as an obstinate political class favouring an “obsolete and unnatural economic model”. They are accused of not paying attention to basic rights and of ensuring the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and the protesters want a re-alignment of this ‘broken’ society. The desire to break free from a two-party system will not happen and social modification can take generations to come about but the protesters’ wish for financial change is a more realistic aspiration. However confused their demands may be, the indignados movement has spawned a rolling global protest.
In three weeks’ time the spotlight will roll back over Spain and the indignados movement have ensured that their global call for an “Ethical Revolution” in times of economic crisis cannot be dismissed nonchalantly by complacent politicians.