WA Delegate: None.
Embassies: The Internationale, The International Brigades, Communist International, Antifa, Socialist, marxist leninist party, Aragon, Catalunya, Barcelona, Damascus, Green Anarchy, Aztlan, Lima, FARC, Bay of Pigs, Sucre, and 14 others.Luanda, Phnom Penh, Kampuchea, Zapatista Colony, Leipzig, Democratic Left, The White House, VICTIMS OF CAPITALISM MEMORIAL, The Pentagon, Tel Aviv, The Anarchist International, Autonomous Peoples, Guatemala City, and Mexcaltitlan.
Madrid is home to a single nation.
Today's World Census Report
The Most Armed in Madrid
World Census experts took their lives into their hands in order to ascertain the average number of weapons per citizen.
As a region, Madrid is ranked 2,970th in the world for Most Armed.
|1.||The Madrid Defense Battalions of The XI International Brigade||Left-wing Utopia||“Madrid Sera La Tumba Del Fascismo!”|
- 13 hours ago: Embassy cancelled between Angola and Madrid.
- 8 days ago: The Cuban Revolutionary Fervor of Zopilote Negro of the region Mexcaltitlan cancelled the closure of its embassy in Madrid.
- 8 days ago: The Nomadic Peoples of Jojimbo 451 of the region Mexcaltitlan ordered the closure of its embassy in Madrid.
- 9 days ago: Embassy cancelled between Leningrad and Madrid.
- 12 days ago: Embassy cancelled between Grenada and Madrid.
- 16 days ago: Embassy cancelled between Stalingrad and Madrid.
- 18 days ago: Embassy cancelled between Managua and Madrid.
- 18 days ago: Embassy cancelled between Al Quds and Madrid.
- 18 days ago: Embassy cancelled between Filastin and Madrid.
- 18 days ago: Embassy cancelled between Corporate Profit Alliance and Madrid.
Madrid Regional Message Board
Poverty, hunger and inequality grow in Spain
By Alejandro López
24 October 2012
There has been a dramatic rise in poverty, hunger and inequality across Spain since the outbreak of the economic crisis in 2008. Spain has now become the country with the greatest inequality of the 27 countries of the European Union.
The right-wing Popular Party (PP) government and its Socialist Party predecessor have imposed one draconian austerity package after another, introducing cuts in health care, education and social services, raising taxes and passing new labour laws. This takes place in a context of rampant inflation, rising unemployment and amid a recession. According to the Bank of Spain the economy suffered a contraction of 0.4 percent in the first quarter of the year.
According to the latest statistics of Eurostat, social inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient (where 0 expresses perfect equality and 100 expresses maximal inequality), showed that Spain went from 31.3 in 2008 to 34 in 2011. The EU average is 30. Only 16 countries have issued their statistics for the Gini index for 2011. Of these Spain has one of the highest levels of inequality, only outstripped by Latvia with 35.2.
Another measure revealing the growing inequality was shown by the ratio that measures the total income of the richest 20 percent to that received by the poorest 20 percent. The higher the ratio, the greater the inequality. Spain has risen from 5.5 in 2006 to 7.5 in 2011—the highest level in the EU, which has an average of 5.7. In this measurement, Spain outstrips Latvia, which was at 7.3 in 2011.
Official unemployment now stands at 25 percent and 53 percent for youth under the age of 25. According to the Survey of the Active Population, 1.7 million homes have all their members unemployed. Of those registered in the public employment office, only 67 percent receive some state aid or provision.
In 2010, social services helped nearly 8 million people to cover the costs of water, electricity and food—nearly 20 percent more than the year before. After two years the latest statistics are still unknown, but they would be substantially higher. The PP government has cut by almost half the budget of town halls dedicated to covering basic social services this year.
One social worker said to El País, “In my 25 years as a welfare worker I had never seen anything like it… This year is noticeably worse than last. Public social services were never as overflowing as they are now, and with the cuts, there are no resources.”
The Red Cross has issued a new appeal to raise €30 million ($38.8 million) in donations to help 300,000 Spaniards. The appeal states, “A few years ago it was hard to imagine: traditionally strong western National Societies organising soup kitchens for hundreds of thousands of citizens and distributing blankets to new groups of homeless people in their 50s or 60s.
“In Spain, 82 percent of the people supported by the Red Cross are living below the poverty line, and half of the unemployed people currently assisted have been out of the job market for more than two years.
“It’s not just in Spain. In Italy, where demands for food are increasing, the Red Cross chapter will soon launch an in-depth assessment of health and social welfare conditions across the country. In Hungary, demands at its food programs are increasing, and there’s also a program to reconnect homes with electricity cut off because of unpaid bills. Even in Finland, where the economy is faring better than in other euro zone countries, the Red Cross has set up 44 health and welfare centers to counsel the long-term unemployed.”
The Red Cross’s “Bulletin on Social Vulnerability in Spain” states that 43.2 percent of people cannot afford to put on the heating in winter, while 26 percent cannot afford a meal with proteins three times a week.
Another glimpse of the social crisis Spain faces was provided when the Catholic charity Caritas revealed that the number of people it helped nationwide increased from 370,000 in 2007 to more than a million in 2011.
The Plataforma de afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH—Platform of those Affected by the Mortgage), which pushes for a moratorium on evictions, estimates that 300 families are being evicted every day.
The purchasing power of Spanish workers has seen the biggest decline since 1985, as the ruling class aims to bring about an internal devaluation to gain competitiveness in the international markets. A recent study published by the trade union CC.OO reveals that being employed no longer prevents one falling into poverty.
The study reveals that 35 percent of Spanish workers receive a monthly wage equal to or less than €641.40, the minimum wage. Among the worst affected sectors are self-employed workers, with 40 percent at risk of poverty. Eighteen percent of part-time workers are now in poverty.
The report forecasts that there will be 28 percent poverty for the whole of Spain by the end of 2012. This represents a rise of 10 percentage points from 2007.
The National Statistics Institute, INE, points out that nearly 1 million people have left Spain. Since the beginning of 2011, Spain’s population has fallen to 46,117,000 compared to 47,153,000 only 21 months ago.
On the other side, the ruling class is profiting from this social misery, even as its political representatives repeat that myth that “we have lived above our means” to justify slashing social spending.
Credit Suisse has estimated that the number of Spanish millionaires will grow by 110 percent over the next five years, meaning that there will be around 616,000 in 2017. An article published by ABC states that the so-called SICAV, collective investment schemes attractive for speculators because they are taxed at 1 percent, have grown by 50 percent in some cases.
Barcelona diary: Celebrating radical history
Oct 26 2012
Recently I was lucky enough to take part in a meeting of radical historians in Barcelona. The event was billed as “a meeting of colleagues and comrades, all active in interpreting and bringing out the radical history of the place where they live”.
As well as sharing experiences and having a good time, the gathering was aimed at establishing “a more or less formal network/platform for the future. An international network of independent tour guides, street storytellers and historical activists”.
Radical historians and tour guides from Dublin, Barcelona, Olso, Berlin and London were present, as well as members of the RaspouTeam who make innovative use of street art, QR codes and radio to celebrate the revolutionary history of Paris. For my own part, I delivered a presentation on Liverpool’s history from an anarcho-syndicalist viewpoint, including some general history of the Solidarity Federation (which goes back to the founding of the Syndicalist Workers’ Federation in 1950), of which I am a member. Also participating and helping to facilitate the meeting was a CNT member who has set up a bar off La Rambla called La Llibertària, which is run as a workers co-operative. The walls of the bar are covered in posters, photographs and original newspapers from the Spanish revolution and it is well worth a visit for anyone spending time in the city.
After the first meeting, Nick Lloyd took us on his excellent Spanish civil war tour, taking in some of the key locations of the conflict and bringing to life many of the inspiring and tragic events of the libertarian revolution.
On the second day, we visited El Fossar de la Pedrera (The Grave of the Quarry), the final resting place of thousands of Franco’s victims. In 2011, the CNT placed a permanent memorial here to those in the libertarian movement who died fighting for freedom and the social revolution. We also took the opportunity of visiting the grave of Buenaventura Durruti (who lies alongside his comrade Francisco Ascaso and the radical education reformer Francisco Ferrer i Guàrdia), something I had wanted to do for many years.
The two days we all spent together was a great opportunity to share ideas and experiences. The working title of the co-operative project is the History From Below network; a website is planned and possibly a book in the future. We also intend to meet on an annual basis, with next year’s conference to be held in Berlin with, hopefully, even more participants. Encouragingly, far from being merely historical anoraks, everyone involved is aware of the importance of linking the working-class struggles of the past to those of today.
At the time of writing, the draft mission statement of the network reads as follows:
"This is an international cooperative network of historical activists, all active in interpreting and bringing out the history from below of the place where they live. We celebrate the achievements of the past and link their struggles to today's fight for a better world. We believe unreservedly in internationalism and the shared history of these common struggles, recognising and seeking to discover the common heritage of ordinary people’s lives from Dublin to Berlin."
Asturias miners' strike photo gallery, 2012
After the government announced cuts to subsidies for Asturias' coal mines, thousands of miners have begun strikes and militant direct action in a bid to save their communities.
Asturias miners' strike: Letter from a miner
A translation of a letter from a retired miner from Asturias, where miners have been on indefinite strike for weeks, explaining the dispute and giving its background.
I’ve worked for twenty five years in the mines. I first went down the mine when I was 18 and I would like to say that I am amazed by a lot of comments that I’m reading about mining and early retirement. I’m going to give you my perspective.
Firstly the struggle which the miners are carrying out at the moment isn’t to ask for money. It is that they respect the agreement that was signed last year between the Ministry of Industry and the miners’ unions, and which had subsidies designated until 2018. This money was from the European Community and not from the Spanish government. It isn’t money that came from any Spanish people to help us as many people who are criticising us so much seem to think.
Regarding this money what I, like almost all mining families ask myself is, where is the part of the money from the Mining Funds that was supposedly going to the creation of alternative industries in the coalfields, after the closure of the mines? Well, like in many other sectors, this money has been handled by the politicians and the unions. With part of this money, for example, Señor Gabino de Lorenzo, the ex-mayor of Olviedo, paid for new streetlights in his city, the new Palace of Expositions and Congresses and many other projects. Señora Felgeroso, the ex-mayor of Gijon, spent it on the Technical University and other projects.
In the Valle de Turon, in the Caudal coalfield, where I live, there have been 600 deaths in the mines (the ones that we know about, as in the civil war they burned the previous archives) from 1889 till 2006 when they closed them. Of course they did build a sports centre, which when they opened it didn’t have any toilets and is practically unused. All around us everywhere there are heaps of rubble, which bit by bit they are trying to clear up. But reindustrialization, which is what will create stable work so that there is still life in the region, almost nothing.
Secondly, I am amazed to see that lots of people object to this subsidy, I didn’t want to write this but there are subsidies to other sectors like livestock farming, agriculture, fishing and many more. Personally I am happy about that, I would rather that the subsidies went to workers than that they went to those thieves who rob us every day.
Thirdly, after the end of the civil war, I think that many of you don’t know that the miners worked an hour a day for free for many years, to repair what Francoism destroyed, when in our houses there was not enough to eat.
Four. In 1962 the miners started a strike which spread all over Spain, in which we won many of the rights that all the Spanish people have up till now and which they are trying to snatch away from us. In this strike there were many beatings, many people imprisoned, and many people who were exiled to other provinces of Spain, separated from their families, and who only returned in 1980.
Five. Regarding early retirement, it is a myth that miners can retire at forty and you talk about quantities of euros as if we had won the lottery. The reality is different, in the payments which people who have retired early receive, a part is made up of their extra payments. We make social security payments of 50%, so every two years we work, we pay an extra year of social security, for example I have worked in the mines for 25 years and I have paid 37 and a half years of social security payments, how many of you think you have made the same level of payments?
Six. You say that the coal they bring from abroad is cheaper than Spanish coal, I’m not convinced but taking it as true, do you want to see us working like slaves like in other countries? I don’t want any worker anywhere in the world to be a slave.
I’m going to write this because it really happened. I’ve worked alongside workmates from Czech Republic and Poland, when they came to Asturias and started to buy things in the shops, they were amazed because they could buy the amount they wanted and in their own country they couldn’t do that. The first Christmas they spent with us they bought a bar of turron (traditional Christmas sweet) in each hand. We asked them why they did that and they said in their country they couldn’t afford it and their wages only gave them enough to eat, and that badly. What I want to say is that if we don’t defend our rights we will suffer the same.
Seven. Regarding the roadblocks on the motorways I will say to everyone who is complaining because the miners have made it difficult to get to work or study and who say that when they have problems in their company, they will go to the workplaces of others to “annoy them”. I will say to them that whenever other comrades from other industries came to ask for help do defend their jobs, we stopped work for 24 hours, giving support here and abroad.
In the time of the strikes of the English miners, we stopped work and we made a collection to send to them so they could feed their families. Does anybody doubt that we would unite with any affected workers? But it seems that now it’s too much effort even to ask others for help. Supporting one another is fundamental, but what we do is the opposite and so those at the top always play with an advantage.
If all the Spanish workers were as united as the miners, the rulers of this country would think long and hard before making the cuts they are making now, I can assure you. Think about who is really stopping you going to work or going to class, with firing people so easy now and the cuts in education. The people who are stopping you are the politicians.
I would also like to say to the people who say that we should go to Madrid to the doors of the Ministry and “leave everybody else in peace”, yes, we have gone there, but the censorship in the media means maybe they are not giving you all the facts.
I strongly believe that a worker who defends their rights is not a terrorist like now they are calling us for fighting to defend the wellbeing of our families.
I invite you all to leave your houses and defend what is yours. Staying at home, you are letting them bit by bit bring hunger into your lives.
They want our children and yours to be illiterate like us, that we see the walls of the schools more from the outside than the inside, because an illiterate people is more easy to rule.
Keep yourselves informed. Question everything you see on the television, now you have internet, mobiles, you can be in permanent contact, organise, in the way that you want, pacifically or directly on the barricades, but organise! Make objectives to achieve quickly as the government moves very quickly when things are in their favour and they know it.
Take the word “fear” and the phrase “for what, it’s not going to change anything” out of your minds and take control of your future.
If there is anything you don’t understand in what I’ve written or you want to ask me a question about something specific, if I can, I will answer with pleasure.
Many thanks to those who have supported us from other provinces and from other countries.
Juan Jose Fernandez, Asturias
From Solidarity Federation
Spanish Civil War and Revolution poster gallery, 1936-39
Archive of posters from the Spanish Civil War and Revolution, 1936-39. Includes posters from the CNT, FAI, Mujeres Libres, Friends of Durruti, FIJL, the Iron Column, UHP (Uníos Hermanos Proletarios - Union of Proletarian Brothers) and some joint posters between the CNT and the reformist UGT.
Gran Canaria, Spain: Campaign against financial Power
On the island of Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, several bank branches (Bankia, Banco Santander, La Caja de Canarias, and others) appeared covered in denouncing slogans and painted stencils in the morning of October 29th. The messages accused the banks (responsible for thousands of house evictions and also for the latest suicides in Spain) of being “MURDERERS”, and recommended to passersby: “IT IS BETTER TO ROB A BANK THAN USE A BANK FOR ROBBING”.
Spain: CNT general strike in Barcelona - photos
Back in September, CGT announced a general strike for October 31 around the whole Spanish state. Weeks later, yellow unions CCOO and UGT called for another one on November 14 and CGT decided to move its strike to the same day as the main unions. Nonetheless, CGT kept the strike in Barcelona for October 31 (labelling it as “Day of struggle”), where local CNT had also called for a general strike. The impact has been minimum, as expected, but sectors such as metro, taxis or post offices have recorded high numbers of strikers.
Several pickets had been organised during the morning in several neighbourhoods, while CNT had called for a central picket at plaça Catalunya. Along the way, an Apple Store and a Zara were shut down.
75 years ago: London exhibition of Picasso’s Guernica closes
On October 29, 1937 the exhibition of Pablo Picasso’s painting Guernica drew to a close after three and a half weeks on show to the public at the New Burlington Gallery in London’s West End. A number of Picasso’s preparatory sketches completed the exhibition and monies raised went to the Spanish relief fund. The exhibition was exceptionally timely because the fascist slaughter in Spain continued unabated. Gijon’s working class population—the city having fallen to Franco’s forces during the exhibition—was then being subjected to rape, slaughter, and robbery.
Picasso’s oil painting in somber tones of black, grey and white is an undoubted masterpiece depicting the chaotic and barbaric aftermath of a sustained fascist air raid upon the Basque Spanish town of Guernica in April 1937. The canvas is littered with the twisted and broken human and animal debris of carpet-bombing and the subsequent inferno which incinerated victims. The city of Guernica was selected for destruction by Franco’s generals because it was symbolic of Basque culture. Picasso’s painting has subsequently secured the status of an icon of anti-war imagery.
According to historian Juliet Gardiner, reviews of the work, initially at least, were somewhat mixed in their appraisal. For example, art historian Anthony Blunt criticized the painting as having no relevance to workers. Adhering to the Stalinist line of “socialist Realism,” Blunt wrote that the painting held appeal only to “the limited coterie of aesthetes who have given their lives so wholly to the cult of art that they have forgotten anything else. The rest of the world may see it, shudder and pass by.”
Blunt was quickly proved wrong when Picasso’s oeuvre subsequently left the then rarefied air of London’s West End and went on tour around England to Leeds and Oxford, returning to Whitechapel Art Gallery in London’s working class East End in January 1939. Ordinary people flocked to see the exhibition. Twelve thousand people queued to view the painting on its return to the capital and the £100 raised on that opening day alone was sufficient to send a food ship to Republican forces in Spain.
Spain: 10th Anarchist Bookfair of Madrid, from November 30th to December 2nd
Yet another year, making this the tenth edition, those of us who have been planning the Anarchist Bookfair in Madrid decided to again make possible this convergence for the exchange of resources, experiences and communication that advocates for a different way of understanding reality and practicing subversion. Like every year, the meeting will take place in the Escuela Popular de Prosperidad (located on 19, Luis Cabrera Street) on November 30th and December 1st and 2nd, 2012.
This meeting aims to be a point of communication and diffusion of our ideas. So, during the three days of the event, we will hold constant activities such as talks, debates, etc. which may reflect a small part of experiences, ideas or struggles that were developed in recent years. In addition, we will organize a permanent display of written material by more than 30 publishers, booksellers and distributors from various different places.
Without further ado and expecting to see you all in the bookfair, we now say farewell, but not before we encourage you to attend the event and make this kind of meetings something permanent and practical, which can become a means for both approaching realities and transmitting useful experiences amid our confrontation with everything that dominates us.
Mass demonstrations in Spain, Portugal, Italy against austerity and unemployment
Hundreds of thousands of workers took to the streets Wednesday in a number of European countries to demonstrate against rapidly rising unemployment and the austerity measures dictated by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
General strikes in Spain and Portugal brought transport to a halt and led to the closure of many businesses and schools. Airlines were hit by strike action, with hundreds of flights cancelled. Trade unions in both countries claimed that millions of workers took part in the strikes.
Strike action officially began in Spain at midnight, with demonstrators already taking to the streets on Tuesday evening. Angry demonstrators in Madrid clashed with police at a number of locations.
Police attacked pickets at a Madrid bus depot where workers were trying to stop buses from leaving. In the centre of the capital, riot police fired rubber bullets and lashed out with batons to clear demonstrators from the central Plaza de Cibeles square.
In an earlier confrontation, police used batons and pushed away hundreds of young protesters to prevent them blocking the nearby Gran Via avenue. Protesters responded by chanting “Abuse of power” and “More education, fewer police”. According to official spokesmen, police arrested 82 protesters across the country and 34 people were treated for injuries.
In Portugal, demonstrators took to the streets in the early morning hours, carrying banners denouncing the European Union, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB). According to figures released Wednesday, the country’s unemployment rate hit a record 15.8 percent and is expected to continue rising in the coming months.
Strikes brought Lisbon’s metro service to a virtual standstill and many schools and public offices were closed throughout the day. Ferry and train travel across the country was sharply curtailed.
In Italy, the unions restricted strike action to a series of rolling four-hour strikes throughout the day, which nevertheless led to the closure of schools, ports and many factories.
Demonstrations involving tens of thousands of students and workers took place in Rome, Turin and Milan, where transport workers, train conductors and hospital employees joined students in the streets. In the centre of Rome, dozens of young protesters trying to break through a police cordon were attacked by police using tear gas and armored cars.
Violent clashes between demonstrators and police were also reported in Turin and Milan. The angry protests in Italy came just one day after two government ministers had to be evacuated by helicopter from a meeting in Sardinia when protesters blocked roads on the island with burning cars.
Also on Tuesday, a speech by Labour Minister Elsa Fornero in Naples was interrupted by a man who threatened to slash his wrists to protest his daughter’s inability to find work. Protesters had already clashed with police in Naples on Monday.
Europe on strike against austerity: live updates