Notícies :: especulació i okupació
per SuZQ, IMC Philly
Correu-e: suzq ARROBA riseup.net (no verificat!)
Adreça: El Monstru, Barcelona
04 oct 2003
English language summary of the October 4th international demonstration against property speculation.
The international demonstration
, called to protest the real-estate speculation that has caused rents and housing prices to soar and provoked the current wave of governmental repression against squats, started off with artisanal firecrackers at 6:45 in the evening at Placa de la Universitat (University Square), with about 2,000 demonstrators. A slight smell of marijuana hung in the air, as helicopters whirred overhead, demonstrators stood on dumpsters to survey the crowd and the sidewalk teemed with spectators.
Most protesters appeared to be under 30, although there were some more elderly demonstrators and a few tiny children. The demonstrators were mostly European, with few Africans participating and 2 Pakistanis selling beer throughout the demo. The crowd appeared to be mostly male, although I didn't get a head-count.
Contingents included a bagpipe band, a unicyclist with a rainbow-colored beach umbrella, demonstrators playing handheld African drums, a group on bicycles that headed up the demonstration (the bicycles all sported flags showing apples turned into squat symbols, the sign of Can Masdeo one of the major Barcelona social centers and permaculture communities). There was also a giant puppet, dressed in an EU-star-spangled top hat and tuxedo, which carried a bloody scythe and sported the sign: "Espekulo a Domicilio. TLF: 666"
As the march started, buses passing the Placa honked in solidarity, and an immense banner was dropped from the roof of Barcelona University: it read, in Catalan, "The impossible is closer than we think." Throughout the march, there were many huge banner hangs, usually accompanied by colorful homemade fireworks and sparklers.
Although there were a few demonstrators wearing the classic black ski mask, the majority of those who dressed up chose instead brightly-colored wigs, false moustaches, clown noses, large phony glasses, surgical masks, paper skeleton masks, mardi-gras masks, and other festive disguises . One demonstrator walked on stilts, wearing 17th-century imperial robes. Many protesters wore khaffiyas, some of which departed from the traditional black-and-white (a symbol of sympathy with the Fatah party) to include red, violet, orange, and even pink.
A bus with a loudspeaker ran apace with the demo, waving black flags that had silver stars and silver squat symbols. Occasionally, the passengers of the bus used the sound system to make short speeches and commentary in Catalan, Spanish, and in English, and to lead chants (which often started with gusto but did not have a lot of momentum to keep going). The speakers played a variety of music, mostly popular and hard rock, with various subtly subversive themes, such as Chumbawamba's "Tubthumper."
"Contra la especulación: okupación!"
("Against real estate speculation: squatting!" This chant was preceded by words from the sound truck: "La casa no es un negocio!," which means, "housing is not a merchandise.")
"Un desalojo: otra okupación!"
("One eviction = one more new squat opened up.")
"Okupa! Okupa! Okupa tu también!"
("Squat! Squat! You squat too!")
"La Casa de la Muntanya: Resistem!"
(La Casa de la Muntanya is one of the major Barcelona social centers risking eviction, and the chant called for resistance to the eviction.)
"Unico terrorista: estat capitalista!"
("The only terrorist is the capitalist state")
"Guerra! Guerra! Guerra social contra el estado del capital!"
("Social war against the capitalist state")
"Libertad de espression: Policía no!"
("Freedom of expression: no police!")
"Okupa! Okupa! Okupa y resistem!"
("Squat! Squat! Squat and resist!")
"La policía tortura y asesina!"
("The police torture and kill." Amnesty International and the UN Human Rights commission have both condemned the Spanish state for its practice of holding prisoners incommunicado, a form of detention that facilitates torture: see http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGEUR410032003?open&of=ENG-ESP)
"No estan solas. Liberen las presas."
("They are not alone. Free the prisoners." This chant was preceded by the words from the sound truck: "We want everybody out of the prisons.")
"Solidaridad Internacionál Revolucionaria!"
("International Revolutionary Solidarity") and
"Luchar! Penser a la mierda del poder!"
("Struggle and think about how shitty power is.")
I'll write more about this tomorrow. I'm going to sleep now.
Peace out, y'all,
06 oct 2003
I took the lack of chanting as being a sure sign that we were an anarchist/liberatarian assembly.
I joked as much to one veteran of the Civil War who had travelled with his granddaughter over 250km to take part. "IF we were all bolsheviks, there would be more megaphones, and we'd all be chanting together, but we don't do that type of thing".
Many people travelled very far to attend the demonstration, not only our friends from France, USA, Italy, Greece etc., but from okupes as far away as Galizia, Valencia, and up the pyrennes.
Many thought to bring their children, and that was brave, the demonstration passed off with only one arrest, but it very easily could have been different. It is worth commenting that "we" as a general section of Barcelonan and Catalan and Spanish society _fear_ the authorities as much as we reject any moral right they have to arbitrate in our affairs.
Memories of why, were evident, one family attended wearing stickers reminding all of the murder of their son by the police.
It is also worth commenting that the "sin papales" section of those who live in occupied space were not visible. I suggest for fear of reprisal, we ought remember that after the demonstration in support of their civil and human rights, their spokesperson was arrested and faces deportation.
So there were between 2 and 4 thousand of us, and for each of us, there were scores more who for various reasons did not or could not attend.