These pictures are of Madrid on 15 May, the day of the protests that gave birth to the 15-M movement. We plan to celebrate our 5-month anniversary with a coordinated global protest, in over 800 cities in more than 70 countries (and counting…)
As Irene Lozano said in ‘El Pais’ yesterday, really, the question is, what reason is there to stay at home? But if if you’re still not sure whether to take to the streets today, here some of the reasons why the 15-M Sol Economy Assembly is marching this afternoon.
Because you’re sick of this!
We’ve spent 3 years waking up to bad news every day, only to find it’s even worse the next. The financial ‘gurus’ say that 2012 could see another recession. Who can believe, then, that the the savage cuts we’re suffering are working?
Because you want work, not charity!
Work is a right. With an army of unemployed, employers pay less. In Spain there are 4,336,744 unemployed people. In the world there are over 205 million (that’s where they’re counted.)
Because they’re exploiting you!
25.4% of Spanish workers suffer from precarious working conditions. More than 2 million have suffered abuse in their workplace, and in 2010 there were 737 deaths through accidents in the workplace.
While the biggest companies are able to access public and private financing, many small and medium-sized companies find their credit supply cut off. More than 200,000 small and medium-sized companies and 300,000 self-employed workers in Spain have ceased their activities since the start of the crisis.
More than 136,000 people with tertiary education qualifications have emigrated from Spain because they’re unable to find work here. The unemployment rate for under 25s is 46.5%. Don’t let them take away our future prospects!
The health cuts have started. In Catalunya, the number of hospital beds has fallen by 30%, while there are 40% fewer surgeons. As a consequence, waiting lists have increased by 23%. Even though more than 200,000 people lack medical cover in Spain, the public health system is good, and is cheaper and more efficient than many other countries’ private systems. Keep the markets out of hospitals!
Education cuts = worse education = an ignorant population that consumes more and asks fewer questions! The new school year in Madrid has started with 2,500 fewer teachers and 14,000 more students.
Since the start of the crisis, more than 350,000 families have been evicted from the homes they rent or ‘own’. In Spain, debtors need to keep paying their mortgage even though their home has been repossessed. Meanwhile, housing has become an object of speculation, and having a roof over one’s head is no longer a right, but a business. There are more than 100 million homeless worldwide.
Spain’s public savings banks are being sold at rock-bottom prices, having been run into the ground and then receiving € 20 billion of taxpayers money in bailouts. The banking system, to a large extent to blame for this crisis, stays above water through cheap credit and public money, while rewarding itself with scandalous salaries and bonuses. Rodrigo Rato, new head of recently privatised Bankia, will earn a salary of €10,15 million a year.
While the directors of the bailed-out banks that caused the crisis are assured millionaire’s pensions, the rest of us are burdened by a pension reform that means we have to work for longer and receive smaller pensions. Through false alarms about the sustainability of the public pension system, we are urged to make up the loss with private plans (managed by those that have already left us ruined). Don’t fall for it!
Spain’s tax law favours its wealthiest citizens, but even still, those who can defraud the State or transfer their money to tax havens and avoid contributing to the public purse. Fraud and tax evasion count for a loss of over €80 billion annually. The Botin family (Banco Santander) hid €2 billion in Swiss accounts.
More than 40% of immigrants in Spain work without social security for paltry pay. 42% of police checks are carried out to detain immigrants based on their skin colour and facial features. More than 16,500 people are imprisoned every year in Immigrant Internment Centres (CIEs) without having committed any crime, and many of them suffer mistreatment.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. We will not succumb further to consumerism and media distraction while we are subjected to cuts. We are not merchandise in the the hands of the financial markets. We will not forget that we are the ones who create wealth.
The financial powers have provoked a crisis from which they are profiting spectacularly, and are setting out a road map for governments to ensure that we pick up the pieces. We demand that as citizens we participate, our basic needs are met and our fundamental rights are guaranteed.
2% of the world’s population possesses more than half the world’s wealth, while a third of the population lives on less than $1 a day. 1 billion people suffer from malnutrition, for the most part women and children. 884 million live without access to potable water, and 2.6 billion lack minimum sanitation services. 13 million people die annually due to atmospheric pollution.
These are a few of the many reasons we have to make 15 October an historic day. What are yours?
Take to the streets! Create a better world!