Gee, it's like the neo-liberals create the same problems everywhere
“The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer [x],” Pepa Garcia, a 34 year-old unemployed actress, said in an interview yesterday at the Puerta del Sol. “People should be indignant; some banks are getting rescued with our money while we’re almost drowning [x].”
Spain’s Socialist government, which faces regional and local elections on May 22, turned against its traditional base [x] to push through the deepest budget cuts in at least three decades [x] and overhaul labor and pension laws. The collapse [x] of Spain’s debt-fueled property boom left the country with an unemployment [x] rate of 21 percent, and 45 percent of young people out of work.
Spain’s bank-rescue [x] fund has committed around 11 billion euros ($16 billion) to lenders suffering [Oh, the humanity!] from the collapse of the real estate market. Savings banks need another 14 billion euros to meet new capital requirements, the Bank of Spain estimates. The government is pushing lenders to raise those funds from private investors, with the national rescue facility known as FROB acting as a backstop.
The protest movement behind the march says it doesn’t represent any political party, wants politicians facing corruption charges to be barred from running for election [what a concept] and for the Senate, the upper house of Parliament, to be scrapped, according to a manifesto hanging up in the square, one of Madrid’s best-known landmarks. It also seeks changes to the voting system to make it more representative and less dominated by the two main parties, said Noelia Moreno, a spokeswoman for the group.
“The management of the crisis has been directed by the markets [x], the governments have sold out [x] and the measures don’t solve the problems of the people [x],” Moreno, 29, who is unemployed, said in an interview yesterday in Sol.
[Socialist President] Zapatero has angered traditional supporters [x] by slashing public wages [x], freezing pensions [x] and seeking to change wage- bargaining rules [x] as part of his efforts to cut the euro-region’s third-largest budget deficit and shield the Spanish economy from the sovereign debt crisis.
Interesting! The more things stay the same, the more they change!
NOTE More from the Guardian.
In Madrid demonstrators have refused to budge from the central Puerta del Sol despite a police charge that dislodged them temporarily on Tuesday night.
Now they have occupied a quarter of the square [#173], covering it with tarpaulins and tents, setting up kitchens, tapping at laptops and settling down to sleep on sofas and armchairs.
Similar scenes were being played out in Barcelona [#173], where protesters held a midday Argentinian-style pan-bashing protest [#28] in the Plaza de Catalunya, and in numerous other cities where protesters raised the banner of what they call "the Spanish revolution".
The protests come as Spain prepares to vote for municipal and regional governments, which jointly account for half of spending and most of the welfare state. Town halls and regional governments are expected to increase the pace of spending cuts after Sunday's election as the country battles to rein in its budget deficit and avoid the fate of other eurozone countries such as Portugal, Greece and Ireland that have needed bailouts.
"Everyone is here for their own reasons and with their own proposals," said Luis de Pinedo, 20, an anthropology student who was handing out flyers [#9] in the Puerta del Sol explaining that the protesters did not represent any political party. "We are having to pay for an economic crisis that we didn't cause but which was provoked by the banks," he said.
Groups were gathered in debate . About the only demand most could agree on* was a change in the electoral law to end the two-party system that shifts power between the socialists of the prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, and the conservative People's party.
This is interesting from the Online WSJ:
Moreno, a 29-year-old video producer, said since Tuesday she's been in Sol square in central Madrid, where a hard core of around 200 activists set up a small tent city Sunday. They have been demanding greater democracy and are strongly critical of the austerity measures introduced by the government to address the country's economic stagnation and surging unemployment now affecting over 21% of Spanish residents.
The rallies have defied bans [#196] in several cities, including Madrid, and attracted media attention after a successful Internet campaign through social networks like Facebook and Twitter [#180], driven by the so-called [Let's not editorialize, mkay?] Platform for Real Democracy [here]. This group claims to represent wide segments of society enraged by political leaders with lavish lifestyles in times of crisis and shrinking wages.**
"This is a global movement," said Moreno. "This isn't an Arab-type revolt, but a European movement seeking to impose a code of conduct on business leaders and politicians, who appear to be detached from society, way high in the sky."
Of course, the code of conduct should start with jail time for the banksters who are guilty of accounting control fraud.
NOTE * If true, not a sign of maturity.
NOTE ** Not so; read the manifesto. Perhaps this is projection; what the elite thinks the non-elite believes they are guilty of?
UPDATE Boing Boing, a couple of days ago. Crowds about 7K.