June 2nd: Report from Zaragoza

Occupied Plaza in Zaragoza.
Occupied Plaza in Zaragoza.

Report from participants in the Spanish popular assembly movement, from Zaragoza.

Submitted by Ed on June 6, 2011

We’re just back from the ‘political assembly’ of the encampment in the city we live in (Zaragoza).

The political assembly is probably the ‘heart’ of the movement here (and probably elsewhere)- it’s where the most people come and participate- people camping and participants supporters who aren’t, seasoned activists, and folks coming out for the first time. Its where the horizontal process is most developed and where most care is paid to process. Tonight, which was a regular night, more than two weeks into the mobilizing and with the agenda running late had about 200 people participating. Thus despite fatigue, desires and energies are running high.

The movement (or mobilizing, or whatever we call it) pushes on. It’s unclear what will happen over the next days or week or so. Each of the encampments is “autonomous and sovereign” to quote the encampment in Valladolid. A few have pulled up stakes but continue with assemblies and other activities (Teruel, Palencia, Toledo). Actions are diversifying as well. In our city (Zaragoza) there will be two actions at regional banks associated with the government crisis policies. In Malaga there was a takeover of local TV to read materials/manifestos…

Everywhere there is talk of what next, with outreach or ‘neighborhood’ work growing as well. Given the breadth of the encampment its hard to generalize and tell what will happen across the board. While Madrid and Barcelona are the largest, just about every provincial capital has an encampment and several other cities and towns as well…thus there are dozens of them (probably about 40-60 but even this is shifting).

As expected, some of the debates move around trying to establish concrete goals or common demands, versus a slower solidification and spread of the process that is occurring.

In Zaragoza there are still bi-nightly (used to be nightly) “Foros Ciudadanos” (Citizens’ Forums) where people come to express frustrations, general or personal issues linked to the political economic situations, and more generally as a place to socialize and maintain the “outrage” or “indignation”. This is a different space from the assemblies for political and tactical decision-making.

Even when things feel like they’re beginning to tire you get surprises such as the recent assembly in the Madrid encampment, in part to decide on the future of the encampment, 25,000 people showed up! And they actually tried to conduct the assembly! A family member who was there described how a sort of box/podium was used where proposals were gathered and form which proposals were read via microphone to the assembly.

Taken from the From the Plazas blog.