Thursday, January 31, 2013

Inside Spain: behind the protests

On World Voices, the Crunch news from a Spain-domiciled Englishman. It made me realise how little I know, and how much I want to. Here's some of my supplementaries:

1. The media in Spain: who and what would you read if as a foreigner you wanted to get at the truth (and what are their hidden biases)?
2. The 15-M Movement: how did it mutate? What are the Movement's personalities, images and symbols?
3. How are modern social media (Twitter, Facebook, iPhone video etc) stimulating and organising people within our democracies?
4. How does (doesn't) the weird party-list-based voting system work in Spain?
5. What are the Spanish Government's work creation initiatives, and do they work?
6. What are the effects of extra tax as experienced by business owners, wage earners, shoppers - and what do they do to get round / deal with it?
7. What are Spanish public servants like, to deal with?
8. What have been the effects of terminating contract workers in the public sector to save money, as a first resort before considering the need for some of the permanently employed?
9. What does  the increasing unemployment look like on the street?
10. How does the modern protest resemble (how is it linked with) political agitation and enmities in the past (cf Orwell in Catalonia)?
11. Who else has noticed the return of the beggars - and how are they different from the cripples and  beggars of Spain decades ago?
12. What is Spain's experience of immigrants, especially from non-EU countries? Are there any attempts to control their numbers? Any tensions, as in the UK?

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hatfield girl said...

Question 12 on migration has answers of interest to the UK for migration from both within and from outside the EU.

There are more than 800,000 Rumanians living in Italy according to government sources. We know from the media that their conditions of life are very poor - shanty towns on the edges of urban settlements-bad - and their access to welfare resources much lower than it would be in the UK. Until the end of the year they cannot access the UK or many of the other high welfare EU states.

Non EU citizens, even if settled legally in Italy, have children who are citizens of their state of origin, not Italian and thus EU citizenship. I don't know if Spain has the same citizenship-by-descent rules but it may well have. Once the campaigns to confer citizenship by place of birth are successful there will be a large increase in EU-wide welfare entitlement from migrants in member-states other than those in which they are currently present.

Brett Hetherington said...

Not exactly a direct response to any of the above questions but...

An interesting new form of direct action came to my town (in Catalonia) recently.

In Vilafranca del Peneds an unemployed woman named Marian Fernández was fined 90 Euros for unlawfully taking 241 Euros worth of “essentials” from a Maxi Dia supermarket.

She was there as part of a group called ‘PAH’ - people affected by mortgage problems who went there to make a statement about not being able to afford life’s’ necessities.

Ms Fernández, a mother of three children and having no present income, had apparently presented a credit card with a zero balance at the checkout.

This action follows from a similar act earlier last year by Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo, a mayor in Andalucia who also stole food but with the plan of passing it on to others who could not afford to buy their own.

He has become somewhat of a cult hero.

(BTW, you might also want to include my blog "Standing in a Spanish Doorway" [] as another in your Global Voices.

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