How are Spain's indignados mayors doing?

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Ed
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Mar 12 2016 21:35
How are Spain's indignados mayors doing?

This obviously caused a lot of excitement at the time but I've not heard very much since (except about the Barcelona mayor's dispute with AirBnB). I was (and still am) pretty skeptical of the whole thing but have literally heard nothing, good or bad, since and was just wondering whether people had heard anything from the cities which elected mayors from the social movements, what the social movements in those cities were up to now and how they relate to their new radical mayors.

Some articles from last year:
6 Reasons to Care about the Spanish Municipal Elections
Spain’s democratic spring: how the movements stood for mayor – and won

wojtek
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Mar 12 2016 22:33

I read that the metro workers' union went on strike against the Barcelona major in February.

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Steven.
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Mar 13 2016 14:56
wojtek wrote:
I read that the metro workers' union went on strike against the Barcelona major in February.

Thanks for that. Having a quick look found this article which is interesting but readers should bear in mind the source. It states the strike was "defeated" and the CGT capitulated but doesn't explain why or how or even offer any evidence this happened: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/03/11/cola-m12.html

what is correct though, is that the mayor played a despicable role in trying to break the strike using the "minimum service" laws: http://eldigital.barcelona.cat/en/attempts-to-negotiate-calling-off-the-...

akai
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Mar 13 2016 21:43

A few points. Although the CGT does cave in or doesn't even support radical action in some cases (which is normal for a large representative union), l don't see the reason to say this in this case. However, the author might be referring to the fact that the union, which had 1/3 of the votes in Metro l suppose, refused to meet with the mayor and let CCOO and UGT do it. l could see why people might not want to meet with some bastard, but actually, given their position, it might have been bad to let the other unions take lead of the negotiations. That might be what the socialists were referring to.

Also, the mayor wanted them to call off the strike.

For me, sort of a nightmare that woman, who used to block evictions and support strikes, now threatening workers and trying to stop them. But this is typical of such people when they get into power. Power really corrupts.

Poland was another country where a lot of activists tried to stand in elections, but very few won. They already betrayed their ideas during election campaigns, so no need to wait and see what they'd become if they ever got into power.

wojtek
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Mar 13 2016 22:52

Some more (pro) English language news about Barcelona:

City Council has already secured 455 flats from banks to be used for social housing

9 Months Building a Feminist Barcelona

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Mar 14 2016 09:40

Thanks for the additional info, Akai. Does anyone know what happened with this dispute? After the strike did the unions just give up?

elraval2
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Mar 14 2016 10:36
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but I've not heard very much since (except about the Barcelona mayor's dispute with AirBnB)

I live in Barcelona and these superficial, popular measures are the only things that I hear or read about also. So, Colau has stopped any more hotel licenses being given out (including AirBnb) and has been cracking down on unlicensed AirBnb rooms/flats. It also seems that more social centres are being allowed to stay open after many were evicted in recent years. Also, she has closed a number of terraces and outside seating for bars because of the noise and nuisance for residents. All of these things do matter to residents in a city that has been almost completely sold to tourism, but they are clearly done to merely reinforce the image of her being the "people's mayor" and, like I said, they seem pretty superficial really. Regarding the strike, things seemed to have quietened down. Colau was bricking it though because the strike coincided with the World Mobile Congress, but yeh, it's clear which side she's on.

akai
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Mar 14 2016 13:30

Just to add one thing, a friend has said that one reason that the CGT didn't go to the meeting was that the mayor called in union heads and they said only the strike committee had the right to negotiate. l don't have enough info to assess if any of the criticisms made are true. l see that the CGT are back negotiating. Negotiations are like negotiations, so the offers may change. As far as l see, there are general assemblies, so l suppose all of this goes past the rank and file. Also, they will call another strike if the negotiations don't work. So l suppose that it is more likely that the author of the article on WSWS site could have just been overcritical, perhaps due to a dislike of the reformist politics and methods of the Podemos, 15M movements and the tendencies of reform syndicalism that sometimes do not too great things ... but l am not sure that anything happened in this case.

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Mar 14 2016 15:16

Thanks for that Akai, so the dispute is still unresolved. So yes the WSWS article is misleading: this isn't surprising, often their coverage about unions is unreliable because they take an extreme anti-union line (unusual for trots)

elraval2
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Mar 16 2016 11:31

A friend of a friend is the official photographer for Colau and it seems that a lot of his work does involve turning her into an yes-we-can Obama figure. Sometimes I do hate hanging out, because I'm forever the cynical, suspicious one. I guess time will tell. I'm officially on the fence.

elraval2
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Mar 16 2016 11:32

wojtek
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May 28 2016 09:53

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/26/ada-colau-barcelona-most-ra...

Spikymike
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May 28 2016 15:23

And then....... squatters turfed out by Barcelona police that Colau asks to be more polite on the job!
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/27/barcelonas-gracia-district-...

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Joseph Kay
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Jul 14 2016 10:55
elraval2
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Aug 5 2016 18:30

Yeah, the eviction of Banc Expropiat was a little complicated. Basically, the mayor prior to Colau (Xavier Trias) paid the squatted center's rent because he wanted to avoid the bad press that an eviction would have inevitably caused when going for re-election. Colau came in and City Hall refused to continue paying the rent. The bank that owned site sold it to a local speculator who eventually got the go-ahead for an eviction. Where it gets a bit murky is that the Mossos (riot police and coked up thugs) are not actually under the jurisdiction of Colau and City Hall, but rather under that of the Generalitat (local government). Colau came out and managed to speak on the events without saying anything, making her, in my eyes, just another politician.

Regarding the street sellers, my knowledge of the situation is not great but there have been a lot of noises coming out of City Hall about legalizing their activities. It seems to just be an idea bouncing around at the moment but I can't help feeling this would just be a measure to actually criminalize the majority. One interesting thing in all of this is that the street sellers have created their own union and know their rights and regularly organize protests. We'll have to see what happens

wojtek
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Sep 5 2017 21:14

Any updates?

Salvoechea
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Sep 6 2017 20:38

In Spain we (the anarchists) are quite surprised to see the good press of Barcelona and Madrid Councils abroad. They're clearly failing to meet people's and workers expectations, and class war is putting everyone in its place. In this year there've been a few workplace conflicts that have put Barcelona council in the side of owners. Some examples: Metro/Underground, Bicing, TMB (buses), baywatchers...

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Sep 6 2017 21:17

Salvoechea, that's really interesting (though not surprising). I think the problem is that the only stuff that comes through in English is stuff by their promoters, left social democrat politicians and newspaper columnists. Do you know of any articles in English that mention those struggles? Or would you be willing to write/translate one? Even if it was quote short, it would be quite useful as that sort of 'radical electoralism' is getting quite popular here

Salvoechea
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Sep 7 2017 16:28

The biggest problem is that local anarchists are mainly focused in local struggles and don't care to transmit their points abroad. Not many people dominate english language or have enough time to translate stuff into english.

In Metro, the strike was based on a higher incomes as well as to democratise the company. There're around 600 CIO pointed by political parties with very high salaries that no one knows what they do while low level workers have their salaries 'frozen' owed to the crisis. In Barcelona during the 2000s the goverment was in hands of socialists PSC, and postcommunists ICV and they put their people into public companies, like TMB (Metro, tramway and bus).

With the new government of the Commons (Ada Colau) they built their coalition with ICV. And when they didn't have a majority to govern they had to deal with PSC. So, the old corrupt structure remains intact. The president of TMB is the communist Mercè Vidal from ICV.

In this conjuncture appears CGT, with a big presence in Metro and Buses in TMB. It's links with social movements and radicals lead to a transport strike during the World Mobile Congress of 2015, causing a damage to Colau credibility. Howebver the strike was uncall due to a huge mediatic pressures. On the next year the same scenany. And this year the same. Metro staff respected the Mobile Congress (strategic for the economy of Barcelona) but began a series of strikes every monday, eroding the Council. One of the petitions is to sack those 600 parasites and they want the dimission of Vidal.

The strikes are still ongoing, however CGT is not strong enough to call for a indefinite strike in public transports. In the last year also have appeared CNT and Solidaridad Obrera among the workers of the company.

http://www.elnacional.cat/es/bcn-hub/presidenta-tmb-trabajadores-metro_1...

http://www.e24diari.es/texto-diario/mostrar/765855/metro-barcelona-sigue...

http://www.metropoliabierta.com/el-pulso-de-la-ciudad/movilidad/los-trab...

As for the Bicing (public bicicles), the workers have won the strike:
https://twitter.com/Informatica_CGT/status/905705076970463233

Another point of rupture of Colau's city government is the Manteros. They are africans who sell clothing in the street. Local police harass them sistematically, through racists razzias againts them. The city Council remains ambiguous with officially supporting them while on the other hand send them the police. They've created their own union Sindicato de Manteros, and they're an exemple of precarious workers self organisation.

https://twitter.com/sindicatomanter

The other source of conflicts is the housing. Appartment in Barcelona are rising fast their price. And lots of people cannot afford the prices and have to leave the town. International giants like Blackstone are buying lots of buildings to open hotels and many owners are putting their properties in platforms like airbnb. So, the problem of gentrification has become one of the biggest one in Barcelona, and all of this has exploded this year, during the leftwing administration of Ada Colau.

Radical left and social movements have suffered a crisis in the last two years, and the level of mobilisation is quite low. However class struggle (in workplace, in neighbourhoods) is animating the situation.

wojtek
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Sep 9 2018 03:45

'Ada for mayor' documentary:
https://vimeo.com/ondemand/adaformayor

Salvoechea
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Sep 10 2018 17:15

Manuela Carmena (Madrid) wants to integrate socialists (PSOE) within her own candidature for council, even if this movement leads to breaking with Podemos.

https://elpais.com/politica/2018/09/10/actualidad/1536570170_373840.html

In Andalusia, Podemos is led by Teresa Rodriguez and her team. They came from Izquierda Anticapitalista, a trotskist organisation that is ruling Podemos in Andalusia and Asturias. She now wants to autonomise Podemos-Andalusia from Podemos-España and to work in the same way Podemos is dealing with Comuns (Catalonia), Marea (Galicia) and Compromís (Valencia).

wojtek
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Mar 30 2019 14:02

https://youtu.be/3vZL7bwq3as
A short film about Sipho - a group of women in Barcelona which resists evictions.