Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Spanish Spring

Over the past couple of weeks something truly impressive has taken place across Spain. The central squares of the major cities have been occupied en-mass by a diverse cross section of people united in their frustration with the status quo which insists that everyday life continue as normal when the political and economic system which regulates everyday life is clearly broken. The immediate cause has been the cuts in social spending that were put in place at the insistence of the financial markets which now determine social policy across Europe. For a short while the protesters have managed to throw off the passivity that characterizes our relationship with power. Places have been established in which people have voiced their anger, discussed alternatives and made their presence felt. The mainstream media took notice for the first few days while it was still breaking news, but gradually lost interest in spite of the fact that these emblematic spaces in the cities continue to be occupied by thousands of people in peaceful and imaginative protest. Perhaps the most important feature of the protests has been the form of organization which has been spontaneous, non-hierarchical and inclusive. Inevitably, as the days pass, the lack of concrete demands or a unified voice will start to erode the initial enthusiasm for the protest, but I think that scale of the protests, their duration, the organizational model which they employed and the symbolic connection they forged with the 'Arab Spring' will leave an impression upon people's sense of what is possible that will out-last the dismantling of the last tent.

The photos were taken by the artist, Dirk Helbig, whose blog you can visit here.

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