THE 15-m REVOLUTION LEGACY

Article published on June 27, 2014
Article published on June 27, 2014

Every new elec­tion pe­riod re­veals the ef­fec­tive bi­par­ti­san­ship that ex­ists in our coun­try, de­spite the emer­gence of a great va­ri­ety of new, short-lived par­ties. The 15-M rev­o­lu­tion meant a fun­da­men­tal shift in Span­ish cul­ture with­out know­ing, to this date, the im­me­di­ate po­lit­i­cal con­se­quences. Is a meta­mor­pho­sis in Span­ish po­lit­i­cal life to be ex­pected?

The ques­tion that one asks, view­ing the pro­lif­er­a­tion of civic as­so­ci­a­tions (bet­ter known as civic tides), of marches for dig­nity, of pro­ces­sions and protests against the law that re­stricts abor­tion rights or our own free­dom of aso­ci­a­tion and as­sem­bly is, Why doesn't a po­lit­i­cal leader, who can be the voice and vote of these wounded and un­hinged cit­i­zens from Brus­sels to Mon­cloa, ap­pear?

The an­swer, far from sim­ple, could be sum­ma­rised in the va­ri­ety of those Puerta del Sol con­ces­sions in May of 2011, the never-end­ing year.

That month showed the flip side of the coin or rather, what's be­hind the mir­ror, where the faces of José Luis Za­p­a­tero, José María Aznar, Fe­lipe Gon­zá­lez, Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo and Adolfo Suárez re­flected a drained, dark and deca­dent po­lit­i­cal sys­tem. My op­po­nents replied that this sys­tem will out­last me and I'm sorry to have to agree, de­spite my long­ing to see my coun­try trans­form into an ex­am­ple of democ­racy and trans­parency.

Make no mis­take about it, this ar­ti­cle's in­ten­tion is not to be a pam­phlet against our gov­ern­ment's past pres­i­dents; I want to have faith that “God will rec­og­nize his own”. Rather, it's about pay­ing at­ten­tion to the civic ini­tia­tive of the so-called “in­dig­na­dos” and to re­spect their rest­less­ness. It has sought to con­demn the po­lit­i­cal “sta­tus quo” im­ped­ing po­lar­isa­tion for al­most 40 years.

Let's get back to Puerta del Sol (Madrid's most fa­mous square), wit­ness to the un­easi­ness of my coun­try­men. That May, of 2011, many pro­pos­als were heard, whether they were po­lit­i­cal, so­cial, en­vi­ron­men­tal or eco­nomic. The vast ma­jor­ity pos­sessed virtues of being orig­i­nal and in­no­v­a­tive, which went well be­yond being left or right-wing.

How can those town meet­ings in Puerta del Sol be for­got­ten; wit­ness­ing the birth of pro­pos­als such as “a house and a job for all”, the re­place­ment of aus­ter­ity with pub­lic in­vest­ments, the en­ergy tran­si­tion de­vel­op­ment, the growth of util­i­ties, the fight against fis­cal eva­sion, the ex­ter­mi­na­tion of cor­rup­tion, the im­pulse to tax cur­rency trans­ac­tions (the Tobin tax)...I re­mem­ber, with pride and some sad­ness, those days of up­ris­ing and so­cial change; some­thing changed at that time.

But in cre­at­ing a po­lit­i­cal party that brings afore­men­tioned as­pi­ra­tions to the fore­front, not just one po­lit­i­cal party ap­pears, but many. In this way, the tra­di­tional po­lit­i­cal par­ties pave the way, ob­serv­ing Julius Cae­sar's fa­mous re­frain “di­vide et im­pera” (di­vide and con­quer) to the let­ter.

Ide­o­log­i­cally, let us not fool our­selves, we all know that sev­eral po­lit­i­cal sources in­vaded Puerta del Sol, Bil­bao Are­nal, Gran Vía de Colon in Granada, Fuente Do­rada square in Val­ladolid, Cat­alo­ni­a square in Barcelona...​And ob­vi­ously, for all of these peo­ple to reach an agree­ment is nearly im­pos­si­ble. This is pre­cisely how the PP (The Peo­ple's Party) and the PSOE (The Span­ish So­cial­ist Work­ers' Party) still live and eat today, by our in­abil­ity to join forces and im­pose a farewell to our, re­gret­tably very pre­sent, po­lit­i­cal past and pro­ject our­selves into the fu­ture of “real democ­racy” - whose motto, well known to all the “in­dig­na­dos” (the Span­ish equiv­a­lent of the Oc­cupy move­ment), must be a turn­ing point of com­ing, po­lit­i­cal change in Spain.

In­de­ci­sive­ness will be the tomb of the cit­i­zen's rev­o­lu­tion; in order to ex­isit po­lit­i­cally a com­mon list of can­di­dates would have to be agreed upon and the dif­fer­ent think tanks groups, that came into being at the cit­i­zens' ini­tia­tive in May of 2011, would be at the ser­vice of the Span­ish, po­lit­i­cal re­nais­sance. I am ask­ing, United Left, Podemos, Par­tido X, Party of the Cit­i­zens, The Greens, EQUO and all the po­lit­i­cal par­ties that iden­tify with the 15-M rev­o­lu­tion legacy to gather and work hand in hand, as a sym­bol of a coun­try united in di­ver­sity, just as mil­lions of cit­i­zens did at that time, march­ing for dig­nity.