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Circling the wagons
May 20, 2011 10:14 AM   Subscribe

No central organization; social media networking; multi-city protests against the status quo. Protests now banned.
Not North Africa or the Middle East but Spain which has banned Protests ahead of Sunday's local elections.
For the first time, Spain's civil society bypassed the established channels to mount its own public protest against the country's political class.
El Pais calls it Spain's Icelandic Revolt. Blogger South of Watford was in Puerta del Sol.
posted by adamvasco (45 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
The Arab Spring isn't going to be limited to the Arab world for much longer if the disparities between rich and poor everywhere aren't brought under control.

It seems that the whole world is in debt to everyone else. Why don't we just wipe the slate clean and start over?
posted by empath at 10:27 AM on May 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


"This is the first time that the left, working outside the big parties and unions and without their support, and using a spontaneous, citizen-based organization, has gone out onto the street to play out the failure of the model," he says. "People are visibly tired."

I'm a big fan of grass roots movements. Madison saw calls for General Strike coming from the grass roots, and being diverted and shut down by the labor leaders and politicians. Labor unions and political parties are inherently fairly conservative, and very easily held accountable by "the powers that be," the real change is going to have to come from below.

There's nothing horribly new about this, as far as I can tell. The article seems to play the "digital" side, but it's really just grass roots organizing. The problem with this kind of organization, is mobilizing it into something larger than a protest. How does this transition into an effective movement? What kind of organization are they building coming out of this? Once they're done the protest, there's no easy mechanism for change.

They're good at General Strikes over there in Europe, but it sounds like one of the major complaints here is unemployment. That kind of kicks the feet out from under traditional unionism as well.

I would love to see the left pushing for more organizing in the style of the IWW. Industrial unionism, signing cards to people, not to trades. Grass roots organizing and decision making, to turn this kind of protest into something bigger, and with more clout.

Or have I totally misunderstood the significance of this?
posted by Stagger Lee at 10:35 AM on May 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


No unions? No political parties? That's the best kind of uprising.

I wish the people of Spain all the best. I hope it spreads to the rest of Europe.
posted by Jehan at 10:35 AM on May 20, 2011


I wish the people of Spain all the best. I hope it spreads to the rest of Europe the whole freaking world.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:39 AM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


How did Orwell dismiss putting hope in the proles ? Trying to figure out if that applies here or not .. Are politicians the bogey men ? Most of Europe has had free/fair elections, which makes this markedly different than the Arab Spring protests.
posted by k5.user at 10:42 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think people are starting to realize that the "free and fair" elections we congratulate ourselves about in most of the developed world are fallacious; having a choice is meaningless if your options are all decided upon by the same interests.
posted by clockzero at 10:46 AM on May 20, 2011 [13 favorites]




I think people are starting to realize that the "free and fair" elections we congratulate ourselves about in most of the developed world are fallacious; having a choice is meaningless if your options are all decided upon by the same interests.


More importantly, it doesn't matter who's sitting on top if there are structural issues with your political system or economy. Those aren't easily changed from within.
posted by Stagger Lee at 10:48 AM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Of course Spain has had very meaningful interactions with genuine democracy, and seen reactionaries at their worst, in ways that us North Americans have been totally sheltered from. They probably understand the stakes here.
posted by Stagger Lee at 10:50 AM on May 20, 2011


How did Orwell dismiss putting hope in the proles ?

I always thought that was the weak point of 1984. At some point, the system rots and the proles surprise you. I can't believe Orwell didn't see that.
posted by COBRA! at 10:50 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Uprising? Franco has been still dead since 1975. They already have elections in Spain. The problem is that no vote is going to save them from their debt-ridden selves.
posted by three blind mice at 11:01 AM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Are politicians the bogey men?

Aside from the grave economic crisis that Spain is trying to avoid, a lot of the problems they're currently experiencing are a direct result of creating a self-supporting political class devoid of skills aside from those of debate. Looking back, the people in power today are those same people who guided Spain through its transition to democracy after Franco's death and solidified their power through a list-based electoral system, favoring technocrats over technicians, replaying a game of musical chairs where nobody really wants the music to start up again.

These are the same people who created, or at least enabled a culture of political corruption throughout the country, aided in part by the EU subsidies and cheap construction loans, that has been intellectually unable and unwilling to find a viable solution to the current crisis.

Have the Spanish people done this to themselves? I think it's a combination of unwillingness to change along with the expectations of past social processes and procedures that has gotten them stuck in a spiral of apathy that really required going broke and hitting bottom to address. One doesn't need to see a hundred thousand people camping out in the Puerta Del Sol to know that the system is broken from within, but maybe this will push them to confront the problem and begin to rebuild the system in a way that will enable growth and prevent the current paralysis.

Until then, I expect the "Viva yo y tu no" crowd to carry on like nothing is happening, which has been the case with El Pais and El Mundo, two left-wing-slanted newspapers that have glossed over the protests as nothing more than disaffected youth airing some grievances. The right-wing newspapers have ironically been playing them up as they believe a split on the left will help them in the upcoming elections.
posted by jsavimbi at 11:03 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wish the people of Spain all the best. I hope it spreads to the rest of Europe the whole freaking world.

Well, true. But if this is seen as somehow inspired by the Arab Spring, then the translation of that movement into European terms is important. In Arab (or Arabized) countries the problems were with the lack of democracy and real physical dangers to those in the wrong place politically or economically. In Europe, as has been mentioned, the problems are that our societies are relatively safe and prosperous, but actually far from structurally healthy in many cases, with politics and economics falling short of promises.
posted by Jehan at 11:04 AM on May 20, 2011


in Focus link
posted by valdesm at 11:17 AM on May 20, 2011


I support revolution in Spain only because of this meme.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:18 AM on May 20, 2011 [7 favorites]




hippybear, on preview, oh crap.

Grassroots movements in Spain are usually associated to the extreme left (or the extreme right, if you count the catholic church/opus dei as "grassroots"). This time it's not so much related to a specific political point of view but to the feeling of hopelessness after the realization that the major parties are just the same thing after all. Best explained by Spanish brilliant satirist El Roto here. "ELECTIONS: they could choose side A or side B, but the record was the same"
posted by valdesm at 11:26 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


How did Orwell dismiss putting hope in the proles ?

I always thought that was the weak point of 1984. At some point, the system rots and the proles surprise you. I can't believe Orwell didn't see that.


There's two things.

The first is, the technology of his day was television. 100% centrally-controlled, top down, one-to-many information distribution. Orwell's vision was that someday, the technology could look back at you: one, watching many. The decentralized many-to-many model that we enjoy now, that didn't exist at all; it wasn't even an idea when 1984 was written, not just because the technology wasn't there but because that wasn't how the organizations that built technology worked, or understood things could work.

The second is, and this is centuries older (and this is a repost of something I've written elsewhere, forgive me for that) but: in the history we’ve still got on record, there have been two big ideas about what constitutes the indivisible atomic value of human society. One model, with its roots in the Code of Hammurabi and embodied in the Magna Carta, says that it is the single individual; the unitary person has rights that even the Crown cannot arbitrarily abridge. The other idea, embodied in the Treaty of Westphalia that effectively ended both the Thirty Years’ War of the Holy Roman Empire and the Eighty Years’ War for Dutch independence from Spain, codifying the idea that power in a society is not to the people, person or even to the Crown, but to the indivisible State.

And there’s nothing there at all about small, loosely-organized groups of people driven by a common ideology - a "cell", for lack of a better term. Nothing codified as rights or erected as limits, nothing but a wide open world where a handful of smart, driven people with flexible membership rules and an idea that’s bigger than they are can be very, very hard to stop.

There are no effective ways of addressing the idea of a cell as a non-state, non-person actor that don't fundamentally undermine the ideas of statehood or personhood - see the TSA's no-fly list, or the USA's violating Pakistan's sovereignty to kill Bin Laden.

So, yeah. If there is hope, it lies with the proles. But the proles have some pretty powerful tools at their disposal now that simply didn't exist when Orwell was writing 1984. Authority, geography, those just aren't rate-limiting problems for people trying to change the world anymore.
posted by mhoye at 11:31 AM on May 20, 2011 [13 favorites]


For lack of English language resources it is very difficult to portray what is happening here.
Main stream english speaking media emphasizes the economic and employment issues when what is really stirring here is that the Spanish electorate or at least a large and vocal number of them are up to their tits with the venality, stealing and corruption endemic in their political society. Especially as politicians such as Camps in Valencia have not been bought to trial but is lauded by the PP. Likewise Jaime Matas here in Mallorca is out on three different bail postings of over Euro 3 million. (Just two of many).
The electorate see no difference between the political parties in terms of (dis)honesty. This has been building for some time.
About 15 years ago when I lived in a village I asked why they were going to elect the same thief again and they explained to me that he had built his new house and so had each of his brothers and the family relations got the contract to build the swimming pool with the crack in it so it had so it had to be redone etc. etc ( the village only had enough water for two days a week in the summer as newer bigger tankage was needed) and that if they elected someone else they would only have to start the same process all over again.
posted by adamvasco at 11:35 AM on May 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh, please spread to the US. Let the left and right realize how hoodwinked we've all been...
posted by Slackermagee at 11:45 AM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


jsavimbi, el mundo is right wing, more specifically liberal right

Political parties really are at a loss right now, their marketing campaign having somehow faded to the background. PSOE (center/left) sympathize on paper with the protesters, if only they weren't protesting against the PSOE government. PP (center/right) on the other hand is dismissing the protests, but not too loudly; they only have contempt against these protest attitudes, but in the short term they're most likely to be benefited from the split of the left wing vote. Which brings the point of the electoral system; the infamous d'Hont method which hurts the small parties is one of the main concerns of the protesters. IU (communist/green) always the most penalized by this electoral system fully supports demonstrators and has actually appealed the decision to prohibit the demonstrations.

Although the electoral committee has in fact prohibited the demonstrations from Saturday (in 3 hours), the ministry of interior has hinted that demonstrators will not be forcibly removed. Apart from the incidents earlier this week, both protesters and police have been able to pacifically co-exist.

There's a live cam from Puerta del Sol with audio; you can hear people shouting and chanting. It's 9 pm right now in Madrid, the protest is likely at its apex now.
posted by valdesm at 12:09 PM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


beanplate/

I always thought the weakest point of 1984 was the high death rate of the population in a society prone to suicides and executions and war and yet also frowning on sex and therefore w/ low reproduction. Much more likely to get a Romanian-type "breed for your country" setup in that case.

/beanplate

I wish the people of Spain much luck and the strength to endure and keep fighting.
posted by emjaybee at 12:09 PM on May 20, 2011


el mundo is right wing, more specifically liberal right

whoa, my bad. I figured anything to the left of ABC was, well, on the left.
posted by jsavimbi at 12:35 PM on May 20, 2011


Oh, please spread to the US. Let the left and right realize how hoodwinked we've all been...

And then what? We don't all just want the same America, we just disagree how to get there. The Right actually believes different things than the centrists and liberals. In fact, it's generally the Right that's doing the hoodwiking.
posted by spaltavian at 12:43 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Vamos España!
posted by elmono at 12:48 PM on May 20, 2011


...and yet also frowning on sex and therefore w/ low reproduction.

The proles were exempt from a lot of the restrictive stuff, pornography for example -- the proles were encouraged to reproduce and fornicate and make plenty of soldiers and laborers, I think there was explanation in a scene about this when Winston was watching a motherly prole do laundry from his hiding-room. It's Winston's middle-class that's suffering from opression, suicide, and sexual repression.
posted by AzraelBrown at 12:54 PM on May 20, 2011




Spain, Portugal and Italy have by and large managed to avoid the liberalization that took place in Northern Europe during the 80's and 90's. The nepotism, corruption and lack of innovation at the heart of their economies was covered up by an endless supply of funds from the EU. Now they have no economic growth, no jobs, and no perspective. No wonder.
posted by eeeeeez at 1:33 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also jsavimbi, I wish the current lot of politicians were anything like those who managed the democratic transition in the seventies, or technocrats, or skilled in debate. The fact is that they are a bunch of mediocre nitwits, skilled only in schmoozing, intriguing and buying their way into eligible spots in the party lists.
And three blind mice, the shortcomings of the Spanish political system, especially at the local level, have very much to do with the current economic crisis. The egregiously biddable political class actively aided and abbetted the rampant real estate speculation, and the way in which party finances are entirely dependent on loans, leaving the parties perpetually in hock with the banks, have turned them into little more than errand boys for the financial sector.
posted by Skeptic at 2:30 PM on May 20, 2011


And eeeeez, nice prejudiced view from the land of the Bleached Wonder. Spain actually liberalised as much or more as any Northern European country, which somehow didn't help stamp out nepotism, corruption (in politics) or lack of innovation. Spain is in a very similar quandary as distinctly non-Mediterranean Ireland or Iceland (never mind that curiously overseen elephant in the room, the UK), where misunderstood deregulation, coupled with cosy Old Boys' Clubs in finance and politics, led to all sorts of excesses. EU funds were dwarfed by the inflows of foreign capital (not least from Northern Europeans trying to put their wealth out of the immediate reach of the tax authorities at home).
posted by Skeptic at 2:50 PM on May 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Proposals:

These are some of the steps, as citizens, we consider essential to the regeneration of our political and economic system. Comment on them and propose your own in the forum !


1. ELIMINATION OF THE PRIVILEGES OF THE POLITICAL CLASS:
Strict control of absenteeism in their respective elected positions. Specific penalties for dereliction of duties.
Removal of privileges in paying taxes, the years of contribution and the amount of pensions. Equalization of wages of the average wage elected Spanish more dietary needs necessary for the exercise of their functions.
Elimination of charge associated immunity. Applicability of the crimes of corruption.
Mandatory disclosure of assets of all public offices.
Reduction of charges may be appointed.


2. AGAINST UNEMPLOYMENT:
Encouraging job sharing and reduced working hours labor conciliation to end the structural unemployment (ie, until unemployment falls below 5%).
Retirement at 65 and any increase in retirement age to eliminate youth unemployment.
Subsidies for companies with less than 10% of temporary contracts.
Job security: the impossibility of collective dismissals for objective reasons in large companies while there are benefits to big business controls to ensure that temporary workers are not covered with jobs that could be fixed.
Restoration of the grant of 426 € for all long-term unemployed.


3. RIGHT TO HOUSING:
Expropriation by the state of housing stock built in that have not been sold for placement on the market for rent protected.
Rent subsidies for young people and all those poor people.
To allow payment in kind to cancel housing mortgages.


4. QUALITY PUBLIC SERVICES:
Deleting unnecessary costs on government and establishment of independent monitoring of budgets and expenditures.
Recruitment of health personnel to eliminate waiting lists.
Recruitment of teachers to ensure the ratio of students per classroom, groups of unfolding and support groups.
Reducing the cost of tuition at any university education, matching the price of the grade graduate.
Public funding of research to ensure its independence.
Cheap public transport, quality and environmentally sustainable restoration of trains are being replaced by the AVE with the original prices, cheaper bus passes, restricting private car traffic in city centers, construction of bicycle lanes.
Local social resources: effective implementation of the Law Unit, municipal local carers networks, local mediation services and mentoring.


5. CONTROL OF BANKS:
Prohibition of any kind of bailout or capital injection to banks: those companies in difficulty should fail or be nationalized to form a public bank under social control.
Tax increases to the bench in direct proportion to social spending caused by the crisis caused by mismanagement.
Return to public coffers by banks all provided public capital.
Ban on investment of Spanish banks in tax havens.
Regulation of sanctions on speculation and banking malpractice.


6. TAXATION:
Increase the tax rate on large fortunes and banks.
Elimination of the fund.
Tax refund Heritage.
Real and effective control of tax evasion and capital flight to tax havens.
International promotion of the adoption of a tax on international transactions (Tobin tax).


7. Liberties and Participatory Democracy:
Not control the Internet. Sinde Abolition Act.
Protection of freedom of information and investigative journalism.
Referendums mandatory and binding on the wide-ranging issues that change the lives of citizens.
Mandatory referendums for any introduction of measures taken by the European Union.
Amendment of Electoral Act to ensure a truly representative system that does not discriminate and proportional to any political or social will, where the white vote and vote no also have representation in the legislature.
Independence of the judiciary, reform of the Prosecution Office to ensure their independence, the appointment of members of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Judicial Council by the Executive.
Establishment of effective mechanisms to ensure internal democracy in political parties.


8. REDUCING MILITARY SPENDING

posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:24 PM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


As long as Spain uses the euro, the government cannot fight unemployment. Spain is in the same situation as the US state governments. It is not the currency issuer, therefore, it cannot actually use monetary policy (i.e. spending money without issuing debt) to solve the unemployment issue.

Solutions lie in Frankfurt, with the European Central Bank or in Spain withdrawing from the euro.
It's pretty doubtful that the ECB will embrace a fiscal policy that allows the Spanish government (or any of the ECB using governments) to create full employment conditions. Thus pulling out of the Euro is probably the only way that the Spanish government can do what the protesters want.

Also, regarding the idea of evil Spanish profligacy driving the situation:
1. Spanish government debt is actually at a lower percentage of GDP than Germany:
http://www.indexmundi.com/g/r.aspx?v=143
2. It's impossible for every EU country to run a trade surplus the way that Germany does. By definition under current ECB policies, since the euro is a closed system somewhere ends up being the country with a trade deficit in euros.
posted by wuwei at 4:15 PM on May 20, 2011


wuwei pulling out of the euro would be the most stupid thing Spain could do at this juncture. For starters, since current private debt is denominated in euros, devaluation would strangle the millions of Spaniards whose mortgages are already under water. Secondly, since current public debt is also denominated in euros, and while the debt-to-GDP ratio is decent now, devaluation wouldn't do nothing to help with the cost of servicing that debt, much the contrary. Truth is, there aren't any free meals, and priming the printing presses rarely helps. In fact, joining the euro greatly lowered the interest rate Spain had to pay for servicing its public debt, freeing up public funds.
And, BTW, the euro is not a closed system. The countries of the euro zone can and do trade with the rest of the world, and in fact, between all of them, they currently run a slight trade deficit.
posted by Skeptic at 5:01 PM on May 20, 2011


Skeptic:
Private mortgages aside, the Spanish government could just default on its public debt or revalue it in the new currency. Of course there aren't any free meals, I never said anything about that whatsoever. If the Spanish government continues on its current course it will drown in debt service payments and will be unable to continue governing Spain. You can't just eliminate infrastructure and transfer payment spending, without further reducing aggregate demand and impoverishing the nation. For crying out loud, they already have well over 30% youth unemployment, maybe as high as 50% by some measures.

Of course the euro zone is a closed system-- there is only one issuer of euros, the ECB. There _can be no ultimate other source_ of euros, unlike in a gold standard where you can just dig up more gold and introduce it into the system. Therefore, in terms of the inter-EU current account balance then there will always be a county which is in a trade deficit.
posted by wuwei at 9:58 PM on May 20, 2011


Private mortgages aside

That's quite an enormous aside. Spain's problem is the weight of those mortgages on consumption, not servicing the debt.

the Spanish government could just default on its public debt or revalue it in the new currency

In that case, selling new debt would become well-nigh impossible, because investors, scalded once, wouldn't touch it with a ten-feet pole. Spain would be forced to balance its budget immediately, making the current austerity look like a picnic.

Of course there aren't any free meals, I never said anything about that whatsoever.

Oh yes, you did. And you insist. You are under the hugely mistaken assumption that, given the control of the money printing presses, a government can finance deficit spending without debt by printing itself money. There's one little problem with that: inflation. And not just one or two points, but well into the double digits. It's a vicious circle too, as inflation drives up government spending: if the income of public employees and the elderly is to be maintained in real terms, more money is needed. In turn, printing that money drives up inflation. We can see the end result in Argentina right now, with the government restricting food exports to drive up supply at home, and fiddling statistics to hide a 30% and rising rate of inflation. Or even, in a smaller scale, in Britain, where, despite stringent austerity measures and growth not much higher than Spain's, inflation is already hitting 5%.
If the Spanish government continues on its current course it will drown in debt service payments and will be unable to continue governing Spain.

That's nonsense, because, as you've pointed out yourself, Spain's public debt is quite manageable. Spain's problem is its private debt, and pulling out of the euro would only exacerbate it.
Of course the euro zone is a closed system-- there is only one issuer of euros, the ECB.[...]Therefore, in terms of the inter-EU current account balance then there will always be a county which is in a trade deficit.

"therefore"?? That's a really weird non-sequitur between monetary policy and trade. Can you please explain the connection? When Germany's "sole source" of Deutsche Marks was the Bundesbank, its constituent Laender, taken together, somehow already managed to have a large global trade surplus. And despite the United States "sole source" of dollars, its states, taken together, have a humonguous trade deficit.

I have the impression that you are confusing budget and trade deficits. And even then you'd be mistaken, since Germany's budget is as much in the red as anyone else's.
posted by Skeptic at 12:37 AM on May 21, 2011


W.r.t. Spain's public debt isn't the fear that Spanish banks are hiding terrible losses (like their counterparts were here in Ireland), and when this issue reaches it's crux they'll be railroaded into the state assuming those private liabilities by their own corrupt political/business class and/or the ECB and EU?
posted by nfg at 1:46 AM on May 21, 2011


nfg Given the Irish example, it's very unlikely the Spanish public would countenance subsuming the banks' debt into the public budget. Bankers are extremely unpopular right now and, even if the politicians are in the bankers' pockets, an Irish-style debt nationalisation would unleash serious riots. Also, with the exception of a few small, amateurishly-managed mutual savings banks ("cajas"), the Spanish banks appear to be considerably more solid than their Irish counterparts. This is less a tribute to the bankers' dubious acumen, or to the alertness of the regulators (even if one of Spain's saving graces is a professional and thorough, if stolid, civil service), than to the fact that the bank-friendly lawmakers have always helped the financial sector shift all its risk onto its users. For instance, re. mortgages: under the vast majority of mortgage contracts in Spain, foreclosure doesn't cancel the debt. Even after foreclosure, the debtors are still in hock for all the negative equity on their houses. Also, the vast majority of Spanish mortgages are adjustable interest rate mortgages whose rates track the Euribor interbank rates...after a fashion: most contracts have ceiling and bottom rates, and while the ceiling rates are impossibly high (well into the double digits), the bottom rates are far less absurd (usually between 1.5 and 2.5%). As a result, the Spanish public has been unable to fully benefit from the low interest rates, while the banks' profits have actually increased thanks to the widening spread between the Euribor and the interest rates on the individual mortgages. It's this manifest unfairness, and the clear connivence of bankers and politicians behind it, that are fueling the public discontent.
posted by Skeptic at 2:57 AM on May 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Skeptic,
Why would a sovereign Spanish government with a fiat currency have to issue debt? Answer: it wouldn't, any more than Blizzard has to issue debt before it creates WoW gold. The rest of your answer regarding inflation, etc, is true only if Spain had an economy with too much money chasing too few goods. With massive youth unemployment, there is excess capacity in Spain. If the government puts those people to work (however this is done) then there won't be inflation issues until the economy is operating at full capacity. I have the impression that you aren't aware of the operational realities of a fiat currency.

The Spanish government could negotiate debt restructuring for the private debt in the economy. That's a fancy way of saying, force the private debt holders to take less money in satisfaction of their debt.

Regarding debt service-- good point, I didn't explain myself as well as I should have. Which is to say, the Spanish government will have to spend money to fight unemployment, which it can't do without borrowing more money, which would force it to spend more on debt service. Good point, thanks for correcting me.

As to the inter-EU trade deficit, I'm talking about the euro current account balances. Whether Germany had an overall global net positive current account balance is irrelevant to whether a country today has a positive global net positive current account balance.
posted by wuwei at 8:53 AM on May 21, 2011


I always thought that was the weak point of 1984. At some point, the system rots and the proles surprise you. I can't believe Orwell didn't see that.

Remember that in 1984, the appendix refers to the Ingsoc tyranny in the past tense. What ended it is left an open question.
posted by Anything at 10:01 AM on May 21, 2011


Messages From the Spanish Revolution - Photos from the Puerta del Sol
posted by adamvasco at 12:00 AM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


***As to the inter-EU trade deficit, I'm talking about the euro current account balances. Whether Germany had an overall global net positive current account balance is irrelevant to whether a country today has a net positive current account balance with respect to the euro.
posted by wuwei at 9:11 PM on May 22, 2011


Spain's impossible realists
Spanish protesters ask if it's possible to reach a consensus that's shared by a majority of the public.
posted by adamvasco at 7:47 AM on May 24, 2011


Violence breaks out around Barcelona's Plaça de Catalunya, the first trouble after 12 days of protests.
posted by adamvasco at 10:20 AM on May 27, 2011




F is for Franco but not for fascist, apparently.
The new Spanish Dictionary of Biography's historical revisions tell us more about what's wrong with Spain now than in the past.
Not only an excellent and shocking article but also the comments section is well worth a read.
posted by adamvasco at 1:25 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Political corruption took a seat on Thursday at the Valencian regional assembly, which opened its eighth session amid popular protests over the presence of politicians who are facing a variety of charges for alleged wrongdoing.
posted by adamvasco at 10:03 PM on June 11, 2011


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