Sunday, August 26, 2012
Three years into the crisis, the government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has faced protests by miners, students, teachers, legions of jobless workers and any range of others unhappy with his austerity policies. But the protests here in rural Spain, which have tipped increasingly toward lawlessness and civil disobedience, contain the echoes of conflicts that have a special place in Spain’s history. As Spain’s biggest region and farming heartland, Andalusia was the site of many of the confrontations over land ownership leading up to the Spanish Civil War, when a landed elite resisted an agrarian reform meant to give farm hands better work conditions and job security.
“We’re not anarchists looking for conflict, but our claims are similar to those of the 1930s,” Mr. Cañamero said, referring to the war years, “because the land is, unfortunately, under the control now of even fewer people than at that time.”
José Luis Solana, a professor of social anthropology at the University of Jaén, said that even if some of the claims made by the farm unions were questionable or exaggerated, “an agrarian reform and proper land distribution in Andalusia is one of the missing elements of our transition to democracy” — both in terms of social justice and improved economic efficiency.
Thirteen Observations made by Lemony Snicket while watching Occupy Wall Street from a Discreet Distance
1. If you work hard, and become successful, it does not necessarily mean you are successful because you worked hard, just as if you are tall with long hair it doesn’t mean you would be a midget if you were bald.
2. “Fortune” is a word for having a lot of money and for having a lot of luck, but that does not mean the word has two definitions.
3. Money is like a child—rarely unaccompanied. When it disappears, look to those who were supposed to be keeping an eye on it while you were at the grocery store. You might also look for someone who has a lot of extra children sitting around, with long, suspicious explanations for how they got there.
4. People who say money doesn’t matter are like people who say cake doesn’t matter—it’s probably because they’ve already had a few slices.
5. There may not be a reason to share your cake. It is, after all, yours. You probably baked it yourself, in an oven of your own construction with ingredients you harvested yourself. It may be possible to keep your entire cake while explaining to any nearby hungry people just how reasonable you are.
6. Nobody wants to fall into a safety net, because it means the structure in which they’ve been living is in a state of collapse and they have no choice but to tumble downwards. However, it beats the alternative.
7. Someone feeling wronged is like someone feeling thirsty. Don’t tell them they aren’t. Sit with them and have a drink.
8. Don’t ask yourself if something is fair. Ask someone else—a stranger in the street, for example.
9. People gathering in the streets feeling wronged tend to be loud, as it is difficult to make oneself heard on the other side of an impressive edifice.
10. It is not always the job of people shouting outside impressive buildings to solve problems. It is often the job of the people inside, who have paper, pens, desks, and an impressive view.
11. Historically, a story about people inside impressive buildings ignoring or even taunting people standing outside shouting at them turns out to be a story with an unhappy ending.
12. If you have a large crowd shouting outside your building, there might not be room for a safety net if you’re the one tumbling down when it collapses.
13. 99 percent is a very large percentage. For instance, easily 99 percent of people want a roof over their heads, food on their tables, and the occasional slice of cake for dessert. Surely an arrangement can be made with that niggling 1 percent who disagree.
We are Anonymous, United as one, Divided by zero, Expect us.
Global TrapWire, INDECT protest planned Saturday, October 20
James Scott, is Sterling Professor of Political Science, Professor of Anthropology, and Co-director of the Agrarian Studies Program at Yale University.
On the 21st of March 2011, a motley group of eighteen cyclists broke away from London’s edges and headed south, through the spring sunshine and soft shadows of Kent. It was the first day of a four month bicycle caravan that was to link projects and communities fighting for social and environmental justice from the UK to Palestine. The project had been many months in the making; the result of countless late night discussions, and early morning dreams.
We were a self-organised collective, working by consensus decision-making, and powered by a desire to support grassroots social movements and make explicit the threads that draw seemingly diverse struggles together. There were three broad narratives that guided our journey:
The first was to respond to the call out from Palestinian civil society in 2005 for a programme of boycotts, divestments and sanctions against companies who profit from or are complicit in the occupation of Palestine. The second was to work with groups who are organising around community control of food systems and fighting for access to land, seed and water. The third was to link communities fighting for social and environmental justice against corporate control and corrupt governments, sharing their stories and tactics across contexts. We sought to use our journey to celebrate the arts and cultures of resistance by sharing stories, skills and strategies for radical social change along our route. By building meta-national relationships of living and breathing solidarity we hoped to mutually support and strengthen grassroots social movements through Europe and into the Middle East.
The bicycle was an obvious tool for such a journey. It allowed us to move seamlessly through the landscape and visit communities whilst interacting with the cultures that flowed between them. The other tools we carried with us were our ‘seeds of solidarity’ seedbank and our methods of democratic group organising.
Dale Maily is at the Occupy movement in London to have a word with the hippies; the Foundation for the Glorification of Tony Blair are on a mission to make Tony Blair a saint; and James and Barnaby are meeting for the first time at the Liberal Democrat Party conference. Meanwhile, bankers, Topshop and the London foreign embassies feel some heat.
This series brings corruption, greed and hypocrisy to the fore and drags it to the court of public opinion.
Written and spoken by Luka Lesson
Produced by Icon Kinesis
In collaboration with The Centre for Poetics and Justice
Follow on Twitter: @lukalesson
Album at www.lesson.bandcamp.com
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