By Oscar Ten Houten at Jul 13, 2011
The fourth edition of the 15M News has been published online last thursday, and today we finally found an old printer in the junk room to put it to paper as well. It was a real Gutenberg experience to hear the printer snorring and see her spewing page after page of information.
As I walk out of the office, our comrade Petr from Prague hands me a copy. The news is a week old, but at least the ink is still shiny. I take a look at it in the metro on the way to a meeting. I’m almost like a normal person.
Comrades, Murcia continues to surprise me. The stereotype image that most Spanish nurture of the city and its region doesn’t seem to be very positive, but once again a great project has been born there. It’s all on the bottom of page three. The ‘15M Study Center’ has been founded.
The Center aims at offering education, online, free of charge, to anyone. Professors from various Spanish universities have offered their collaboration. They will teach History, Philosophy, Law, and Engineering. The project is open to all professors and laymen who wish to share their knowledge in the democratic spirit of the 15M movement. The University of Murcia has offered logistic support.
And to think that the project started off with a couple of boxes of second hand books, offered by the citizens of Murcia to the library of the Acampada...
The metro arrives in the outskirts and I have finished the newspaper. It has improved a lot. It starts to take form. The eyecatcher on the front page is dedicated to the citizens of Lavapiès forcing the police to withdraw from the neighbourhood. When police officers tried to arrest a black man who didn’t posses certain requested documents, the bystanders raised their voice in protest.
“Nobody is illegal.”
Many people from the neighbourhood joined in, vociferously. I’ve seen the images. The key moment was when the officers, in riot gear and almost surrounded, did their first step backward. Instantaniously a crowd of blacks, whites, hispanics, indians and chinese advanced on them triumphantly. The small step backward became a rout. The crowd went mad with joy.
The Neighbourhood Assemblies have been setting up solidarity working groups to prevent these type of racist controls. They are doing a good job. Also the mortgage committees are permanently active. They have prevented dozens of evictions in the last couple of weeks.
The newspaper gives the impression that everything is fine. But the paper, like all the others, and like myself, only tells what it wants to tell. It doesn’t speak about the current situation in the General Assembly.
During the euforic first days of the Revolution, the popular assemblies were founded on the idea of constructing a consensus through collective reasoning. Decisions were to be taken unanimously. In a big assembly this obviously presents a problem, as any passerby can block the slow and exhaustive proces of building a consensus.
In the General Assembly of Sol there is a minority of a couple of dozen people that keep blocking decisions. Their motives don’t seem to be clear. In the working groups people are getting frustrated. They have lots of plans and ideas, but, as I heard someone in Economy say: “Why should we bother?”
This has raised the question of unanimity. In order to avoid complete paralysis people have proposed take decisions with a majority of four out of five. The problem is that this motion, on the basis of the current custom, will still have to be adopted unanimously. And there is no way that’s going to happen.
People in power always look for a leader when they encounter potentially dangerous opposition. The leader has to be corrupted, or else eliminated. In a horizontal movement like the 15M there are no leaders. But the complete openness of the procedures and the partecipation makes it vulnerable for other ways of manipulation.
To me the ‘policy’ part of our movement is not the most interesting at the moment. I’m more dedicated to the ‘marketing’ side of the story. And here I see lots of things happening, lots of initiatives. The General Assembly will have to solve its problems in a comprehensive and intelligent way, so that we can start taking decisions on the real issues at stake.
The movement is on the move. And the General Assembly of Puerta del Sol can’t be left behind.