500 African migrants enter Spanish enclave in major border stormingMarch 19, 2014
Some 500 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa forced their way into the Spanish enclave of Melilla from Morocco on Tuesday in one of the biggest illegal border-crossings of recent years, Spanish and Moroccan officials said.
Moroccan police said they arrested some 250 people in two attempts by migrants to charge the border before 8 a.m., when the group of about 500 scrambled over the barbed-wire fences that separate the Mediterranean coastal city enclave from Morocco.
The Spanish Interior Ministry delegate in Melilla, Abdelmalik El Barkani, announced police reinforcements for the border, saying there was still a great number of migrants waiting for a chance to try to scale the fences. Thousands of sub-Saharan migrants seeking a better life in Europe are living illegally in Morocco and try to enter Melilla and Spain’s other Mediterranean coastal enclave, Ceuta.
More than a thousand are estimated to have made it across since the beginning of the year — roughly equal to the total for all of last year.
In the past month, assaults on the enclave have picked up pace, sometimes happening twice a week.
At least 15 migrants drowned in Moroccan waters Feb. 6 while trying to swim to Ceuta — located about 400 kilometres (250 miles) by road west of Melilla — after several hundred tried to storm the enclave’s border by land. El Barkani said 29 of those that made it across Tuesday were treated for injuries, mostly cuts.
Morocco’s Interior Ministry said 28 migrants were injured by the barbed wire and were treated at the Nador hospital. It said five members of the Moroccan security forces were injured by rocks thrown by the migrants.
Those that get into the enclaves are normally placed in temporary centres while authorities try to repatriate them. Many are eventually released and simply told to leave Spain.
Source

500 African migrants enter Spanish enclave in major border storming
March 19, 2014

Some 500 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa forced their way into the Spanish enclave of Melilla from Morocco on Tuesday in one of the biggest illegal border-crossings of recent years, Spanish and Moroccan officials said.

Moroccan police said they arrested some 250 people in two attempts by migrants to charge the border before 8 a.m., when the group of about 500 scrambled over the barbed-wire fences that separate the Mediterranean coastal city enclave from Morocco.

The Spanish Interior Ministry delegate in Melilla, Abdelmalik El Barkani, announced police reinforcements for the border, saying there was still a great number of migrants waiting for a chance to try to scale the fences. Thousands of sub-Saharan migrants seeking a better life in Europe are living illegally in Morocco and try to enter Melilla and Spain’s other Mediterranean coastal enclave, Ceuta.

More than a thousand are estimated to have made it across since the beginning of the year — roughly equal to the total for all of last year.

In the past month, assaults on the enclave have picked up pace, sometimes happening twice a week.

At least 15 migrants drowned in Moroccan waters Feb. 6 while trying to swim to Ceuta — located about 400 kilometres (250 miles) by road west of Melilla — after several hundred tried to storm the enclave’s border by land. El Barkani said 29 of those that made it across Tuesday were treated for injuries, mostly cuts.

Morocco’s Interior Ministry said 28 migrants were injured by the barbed wire and were treated at the Nador hospital. It said five members of the Moroccan security forces were injured by rocks thrown by the migrants.

Those that get into the enclaves are normally placed in temporary centres while authorities try to repatriate them. Many are eventually released and simply told to leave Spain.

Source

Spain pushes for harsh law on abortions, sparking outrageDecember 22, 2013
The Spanish government has approved restrictions on abortions, allowing the procedure only in case of rape or serious risk to mother’s health. Outraged opposition and women rights activists say the law will take women’s rights back to the 1980s.
The law is yet to be passed by the parliament where the ruling party has a majority, but Spain’s Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz Gallardon said in his traditional post cabinet press conference that it is almost sure to happen.
The legislation puts a stop to the women’s rights to terminate their pregnancy in the first 14 weeks. Plus, the women won’t be able to make an abortion if the fetus is found to be malformed.
According to the legislation, the only reasons making the abortion possible are if the woman’s health is under threat by the continuing pregnancy, or if she had been raped.
Moreover, in the case of any hazard to health, the woman will have to provide a paper signed by two specialists to prove her case.
As for younger girls under 18 years old, they will need permission from their parents to abort – something that the previous government got rid of in 2010.
Currently, the legislation allowed abortions without any restriction until the 14th week of pregnancy and up to 22 weeks if the fetus is shown to be seriously deformed.
The new law would provide ”defense both for the protection of the life of the unborn child and women’s rights”, the Justice Minister Ruiz Gallardon indicated.
He also said the new bill would penalize those who carry out abortions but would not criminalize women for having the procedure.
The opposition and women’s rights activists are strongly against the law, saying it will take women’s rights in Spain back 30 years – and indeed, the new legislation is more restrictive than that in 1985.
As a result women ”will go to underground places”, Salim Chami, a gynaecologist at the Isadora abortion clinic in Madrid, told AFP.
Elena Valenciano, deputy leader of the opposition Socialist (PSOE) Party, called for those who were against the new law to show their opposition and ”mobilize society against what is going to be a reduction in women’s freedom which is impossible to understand.”
Source

Spain pushes for harsh law on abortions, sparking outrage
December 22, 2013

The Spanish government has approved restrictions on abortions, allowing the procedure only in case of rape or serious risk to mother’s health. Outraged opposition and women rights activists say the law will take women’s rights back to the 1980s.

The law is yet to be passed by the parliament where the ruling party has a majority, but Spain’s Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz Gallardon said in his traditional post cabinet press conference that it is almost sure to happen.

The legislation puts a stop to the women’s rights to terminate their pregnancy in the first 14 weeks. Plus, the women won’t be able to make an abortion if the fetus is found to be malformed.

According to the legislation, the only reasons making the abortion possible are if the woman’s health is under threat by the continuing pregnancy, or if she had been raped.

Moreover, in the case of any hazard to health, the woman will have to provide a paper signed by two specialists to prove her case.

As for younger girls under 18 years old, they will need permission from their parents to abort – something that the previous government got rid of in 2010.

Currently, the legislation allowed abortions without any restriction until the 14th week of pregnancy and up to 22 weeks if the fetus is shown to be seriously deformed.

The new law would provide ”defense both for the protection of the life of the unborn child and women’s rights”, the Justice Minister Ruiz Gallardon indicated.

He also said the new bill would penalize those who carry out abortions but would not criminalize women for having the procedure.

The opposition and women’s rights activists are strongly against the law, saying it will take women’s rights in Spain back 30 years – and indeed, the new legislation is more restrictive than that in 1985.

As a result women ”will go to underground places”, Salim Chami, a gynaecologist at the Isadora abortion clinic in Madrid, told AFP.

Elena Valenciano, deputy leader of the opposition Socialist (PSOE) Party, called for those who were against the new law to show their opposition and ”mobilize society against what is going to be a reduction in women’s freedom which is impossible to understand.”

Source

Victims no longer: Spain’s anti-eviction movement 
December 20, 2013

The story of Spain’s economic, social and political crisis is one about property, need and value. And at the heart of that story lies a question that is familiar to the point of cliché: what makes a house a home? It may sound trivial, but in a country where families are sleeping in the street, entire building blocks are devoid of residents, and housing remains out of reach for major swathes of the population (despite the ubiquity of “For Sale” signs in the urban landscape), it is a question that remains largely unanswered by policymakers.

For over four years, the Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH or “Mortgage Victims’ Platform”, in English) have pursued a simple and poetic response to this question: people living together, for one another. Their campaign for mutual aid, solidarity and civil disobedience strike at the very core of Spain’s power structure, and despite an often overwhelming institutional blockade, they have received the support of up to 90% of the population.

For insight into the PAH’s spectacular support, radically transformative praxis and the institutional challenges they face, I recently spoke with Elvi Mármol, a PAH activist from the city of Sabadell, just north of Barcelona. Though she worked for several years as an accountant, today she is a self-employed sales representative. This, she says, gives her a considerable amount of time to dedicate to the PAH. She is a member of PAH Sabadell’s Cases Committee and the community manager for their social networks, as well as a member of the Collective Bargaining and International Committees for PAH Catalonia.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

How did you come to join the PAH?

Elvi Mármol (EM): Like many people, I arrived at the PAH midway through 2011 through the 15M movement. I wasn’t a part of the 15M movement in my city, but I received a pamphlet promoting a talk by the PAH at the plaza in front of city hall. Until then, I had only heard of the movement through the media and didn’t know that it was present in Sabadell, so I jumped at the chance and went to the talk. I knew that my knowledge of financial products and my experience in fiscal consultancy and bank negotiations would be helpful, so I got to work right away. I was able to contribute, but what I didn’t know was how much the PAH would help me — it’s so much that we’d have to do another interview.

What spurred the creation of the PAH?

EM: In 2007, housing prices were at an all-time high. If we consider these disproportionate prices along with soaring interest rates and decreasing income (since unemployment went from 8.3% in 2006 to 17% in 2009), we find ourselves with an impoverished and debt-ridden citizenry, living in fear of an uncertain future.

In 2006, the V de Vivienda movement (a reference to V for Vendetta that translates to “V for Housing”) was born in Barcelona. For two years, they articulated the struggle for the right to decent housing and denounced the housing bubble, calling for an end to the violence of real estate speculation. When the bubble burst two years later, some of that group’s activists realized that people were going to stop being able to pay their mortgages, and that the struggle would no longer be about access to housing but that many families would actually be left without a home. They also discovered that Spanish mortgage law would leave them with a debt hanging over their heads for the rest of their lives. So in February of 2009, the Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH) was born, which put the failure of housing policies on the agenda and would prove a major blow to the administrations that had pushed the population to become indebted.

The biggest difference between the V de Vivienda movement and the PAH is its members. While the first was mostly made up of young people in precarious work who organized and fought to leave their parents’ homes, the majority of the PAH is made up of families who are being foreclosed on.

What’s the relationship between 15M and the PAH?

EM: The PAH was formed two years before the 15M movement burst onto the scene; there were already groups in Barcelona, Sabadell, Terrassa, Murcia and other cities. The 15M movement in the plazas, then later in the neighborhood assemblies, helped launch PAHs all over Spain. Now there are over 200 PAH groups. And the 15M movement was especially helpful to the Stop Evictions campaign: we went from being 50 or so at the evictions to being hundreds.

Full article

Madrid trash collectors protest against layoffs
November 4, 2013

Trash collectors in Madrid have started bonfires and set off firecrackers during a noisy protest in one of the Spanish capital’s main squares as they prepare to start an open-ended strike.

Hundreds of street cleaners and garbage collectors who work in the city’s public parks converged on the Puerta del Sol plaza late Monday.

They were due to walk off the job at midnight in a strike called by trade unions to contest the planned layoff of more than 1,000 workers.

Madrid’s municipal cleaning companies, which have service supply contracts with the city authorities, employ some 6,000 staff.

The labor groups want the city council to intervene and halt the job cuts.

Source

Spaniards protest gas storage plant after quakesOctober 6, 2013
Thousands of Spaniards on Sunday protested the presence of an underground gas storage plant over growing fears it is triggering minor earthquakes in the area.
Initial police estimates said more than 3,000 people gathered to carry banners along the seaside promenade of the coastal town of Les Cases d’Alcanar, 500 kilometers (310 miles) east of Madrid, calling for the offshore plant to be closed or dismantled. But protest organizers said 6,000 people marched, chanting, "We don’t want it. We live off fishing and tourism."
Spain’s Geographical Institute has measured a sharp increase in temblors — 139 in the 10 days up to Saturday — since operators began pumping gas into the facility. Some earthquakes have exceeded magnitude 4.0. The first alarms were set off on Sept. 13 after 300 quakes were detected.
"Some weeks after we began to inject gas, the earthquakes began," said Recaredo del Potro, president of Escal-U.G.S., the company in charge of the project.
Injections stopped on Sept. 16, Del Potro said in a TV interview by state broadcaster TVE, and the government banned further injections two weeks ago.
However, the institute has continued to detect tremors, and on Thursday the regional prosecutor’s office opened an investigation into the plant and flew inspectors to a platform atop the storage facility to determine if pumping had indeed been halted. Press reports said they had.
Jose Manuel Soria, Spain’s industry minister, said Thursday that there appeared to be a direct link between the quakes and injections of gas into rocks that form part of the underwater storage system, which was intended to serve the eastern Valencia region as a supply of fuel gas that is used to generate electricity and for domestic heating and cooking.
The project is estimated to have cost some 1.3 billion euros ($1.8 billion), with half of the funds provided by a consortium of nine banks and the remainder by the European Investment Bank, TVE said.
The tremors are occurring just off the coast of Castellon city and Les Cases d’Alcanar, an area Spain’s College of Geologists said is not known for such seismic activity.

Source

Spaniards protest gas storage plant after quakes
October 6, 2013

Thousands of Spaniards on Sunday protested the presence of an underground gas storage plant over growing fears it is triggering minor earthquakes in the area.

Initial police estimates said more than 3,000 people gathered to carry banners along the seaside promenade of the coastal town of Les Cases d’Alcanar, 500 kilometers (310 miles) east of Madrid, calling for the offshore plant to be closed or dismantled. But protest organizers said 6,000 people marched, chanting, "We don’t want it. We live off fishing and tourism."

Spain’s Geographical Institute has measured a sharp increase in temblors — 139 in the 10 days up to Saturday — since operators began pumping gas into the facility. Some earthquakes have exceeded magnitude 4.0. The first alarms were set off on Sept. 13 after 300 quakes were detected.

"Some weeks after we began to inject gas, the earthquakes began," said Recaredo del Potro, president of Escal-U.G.S., the company in charge of the project.

Injections stopped on Sept. 16, Del Potro said in a TV interview by state broadcaster TVE, and the government banned further injections two weeks ago.

However, the institute has continued to detect tremors, and on Thursday the regional prosecutor’s office opened an investigation into the plant and flew inspectors to a platform atop the storage facility to determine if pumping had indeed been halted. Press reports said they had.

Jose Manuel Soria, Spain’s industry minister, said Thursday that there appeared to be a direct link between the quakes and injections of gas into rocks that form part of the underwater storage system, which was intended to serve the eastern Valencia region as a supply of fuel gas that is used to generate electricity and for domestic heating and cooking.

The project is estimated to have cost some 1.3 billion euros ($1.8 billion), with half of the funds provided by a consortium of nine banks and the remainder by the European Investment Bank, TVE said.

The tremors are occurring just off the coast of Castellon city and Les Cases d’Alcanar, an area Spain’s College of Geologists said is not known for such seismic activity.

Source

Spanish firefighters clash with riot police during a protest against proposed spending cuts in Barcelona on May 29. Hundreds of firefighters had earlier gathered in front of the Catalonian parliament building, lighting flares, throwing smoke bombs and burning coffins labelled ‘public services’.The firefighters’ union warned that cuts to staff and budgets proposed as part of Spain’s broader program of austerity would “put at risk the safety of workers and the people of Catalonia.”

Spanish firefighters clash with riot police during a protest against proposed spending cuts in Barcelona on May 29. Hundreds of firefighters had earlier gathered in front of the Catalonian parliament building, lighting flares, throwing smoke bombs and burning coffins labelled ‘public services’.

The firefighters’ union warned that cuts to staff and budgets proposed as part of Spain’s broader program of austerity would “put at risk the safety of workers and the people of Catalonia.”


Massive crowd in Barcelona; banner: “Stop financial genocide, together we can!”
Unconfirmed reports that upwards of 200,000 people are marching in Spain today. Madrid Anti Austerity Demonstration Panorama of Sol Plaza now. On the second Anniversary of the movement.
GR.TV will be covering the events live all day: http://globalrevolution.tv/Via Occupy LosAngeles

"To you who will create the twenty-first century, we say, from the bottom of our hearts, to create is to resist. To resist is to create." —Stéphane Hessel, Indignez-Vous! (Time for Outrage)

Massive crowd in Barcelona; banner: “Stop financial genocide, together we can!”

Unconfirmed reports that upwards of 200,000 people are marching in Spain today. Madrid Anti Austerity Demonstration Panorama of Sol Plaza now. On the second Anniversary of the movement.

GR.TV will be covering the events live all day: http://globalrevolution.tv/
Via Occupy LosAngeles

"To you who will create the twenty-first century, we say, from the bottom of our hearts, to create is to resist. To resist is to create." —Stéphane Hessel, Indignez-Vous! (Time for Outrage)

Real, complete, fire-able 3D printed ‘liberator’ gun downloaded tens of thousands of times
May 9, 2013

If gun control advocates hoped to prevent blueprints for the world’s first fully 3D-printable gun from spreading online, that horse has now left the barn about a hundred thousand times.

That’s the number of downloads of the 3D-printable file for the so-called “Liberator” gun that the high-tech gunsmithing group Defense Distributed has seen in just the last two days, a member of the group tells me. The gun’s CAD files have been ten times more popular than any component the group has previously made available, parts that have included the body of an AR-15 and the magazine for an AK-47.”This has definitely been our most well-received download,” says Haroon Khalid, a developer working with Defense Distributed. “I don’t think any of us predicted it would be this much.”

The controversial gun-printing group is hosting those files, which include everything from the gun’s trigger to its body to its barrel, on a service that has attracted some controversy of its own: Kim Dotcom’s Mega storage site. Although the blueprint is only publicly visible on Defense Distributed’s own website Defcad.org, users who click on it are prompted to download the collection of CAD files from Mega.co.nz, which advertises that it encrypts all users’ information and has a reputation for resisting government surveillance.

Cody Wilson, Defense Distributed’s 25-year-old founder, says that the group chose to use Mega mostly because it was fast and free. But he also says he feels a degree of common cause with Kim Dotcom, the ex-hacker chief executive of Mega who has become a vocal critic of the U.S. government after being indicted for copyright infringement and racketeering in early 2012. “We’re sympathetic to Kim Dotcom,” says Wilson. “There are plenty of services we could have used, but we chose this one. He’s down for the struggle.”

The most downloads of Defense Distributed’s “Liberator,” surprisingly, haven’t come from the U.S., but from Spain, according to Khalid’s count. The U.S. is second, ahead of Brazil, Germany, and the U.K., he says, although he wasn’t able to provide absolute download numbers for each country.

Update: Although Spain was initially outpacing the U.S. in downloads, it seems more Americans have now downloaded the file.

The gun’s blueprint, of course, may have also already spread far wider than Defense Distributed can measure. It’s also been uploaded to the filesharing site the Pirate Bay, where it’s quickly become one of the most popular files in the site’s 3D-printing category. “This is the first in what will become an avalanche of undetectable, untraceable, easy-to-manufacture weapons that will turn the tables on evil-doers the world over,” writes one user with the name DakotaSmith on the site. “Share and enjoy.”

It’s worth noting that only a fraction of those who download the printable gun file will ever try to actually create one. Defense Distributed used an $8,000 second-hand Stratasys Dimension SST to print their prototype, a 3D printer that the vast majority of its fans won’t have access to.

Nonetheless the “Liberator,” which I first revealed last Friday and then witnessed being test-fired over the weekend, has caused an enormous stir online. Defense Distributed says that it received 540,000 users to its website in the two days since its printable gun was released, and its video revealing the gun has attracted 2.8 million views on YouTube.

The project has also already immediately inspired a legal backlash. New York congressmen Steve Israel and Chuck Schumer have both called for the renewal of the Undetectable Firearms Act to ban any gun that can’t be spotted with a metal detector.

But Defense Distributed’s real goal hasn’t been to create an undetectable gun so much as an uncensorable, digital one. As the group’s founder radical libertarian founder Cody Wilson sees it, firearms can be made into a printable file that blurs the line between gun control and information censorship, blending the First Amendent and the Second and demonstrating how technology can render the government irrelevant.

“Call me crazy, but I see a world where contraband will pass underground through the data cables to be printed in our homes as the drones move overhead,” Wilson said when we first spoke in August of last year. “I see a kind of poetry there…I dream of this very weird future and I’d like to be a part of it.”

Source (Forbes)

Scary. We reported this about a year ago when they only had a few parts of the gun available to print. It got reblogs with comments like ‘yah but they won’t develop the technology in our lifetime to print the whole gun.’ Welp, as I said then and I say now, this is not some distant-future technology. It is here now, available to people who have an expensive 3D Printer, but in the next few years, 3D printers will become cheaper and cheaper and eventually, way cheaper. So I think this is important & I think we should be paying attention to this.

This is the reality of austerity: Greek children are starvingApril 22, 2013
Force-feeding Greece with budget cuts and tax increases gets a predictable, and tragic, results.
It’s not fair to blame Rogoff and Reinhart for the austerity craze that has gripped Europe. It is fair to say that their presentation of flawed data about the last half-century of growth and debt was used as intellectual ammunition in a total war on deficits that has destroyed families across the continent.
In Greece, the fog of austerity is more than a metaphor. This winter, a very real cloud of smoke haunted the city at night, as families burned felled trees and broken chairs to stay warm. While the economy has shrunk by a fifth and youth unemployment has screamed past 50 percent, the real tragedy can’t really be told with numbers. It’s simple, really. Children are starving.
The New York Times reports the heart-breaking details:
"He had eaten almost nothing at home," Mr. Nikas said, sitting in his cramped school office near the port of Piraeus, a working-class suburb of Athens, as the sound of a jump rope skittered across the playground. He confronted Pantelis’s parents, who were ashamed and embarrassed but admitted that they had not been able to find work for months. Their savings were gone, and they were living on rations of pasta and ketchup.
The euro was supposed to tie Europe together as a single unified economic powerhouse. When Greek children go malnourished while unemployment falls in Germany, you can see very clearly that unity is just another European myth. In the United States, we have an answer for weak state economies. It’s called Mississippi. They get a permanent “bail out” through an annual transfer of money: tax credits, Medicaid spending, infrastructure assistance, and so on. In Europe, the answer for failing state economies is: You get this bag of money if you take the following measures to destroy your economy.
You don’t need to know how to fact-check Harvard economists to understand a simple truth: Force-feeding austerity to a country starving for money and growth will only get you more starvation.
Source

This is the reality of austerity: Greek children are starving
April 22, 2013

Force-feeding Greece with budget cuts and tax increases gets a predictable, and tragic, results.

It’s not fair to blame Rogoff and Reinhart for the austerity craze that has gripped Europe. It is fair to say that their presentation of flawed data about the last half-century of growth and debt was used as intellectual ammunition in a total war on deficits that has destroyed families across the continent.

In Greece, the fog of austerity is more than a metaphor. This winter, a very real cloud of smoke haunted the city at night, as families burned felled trees and broken chairs to stay warm. While the economy has shrunk by a fifth and youth unemployment has screamed past 50 percent, the real tragedy can’t really be told with numbers. It’s simple, really. Children are starving.

The New York Times reports the heart-breaking details:

"He had eaten almost nothing at home," Mr. Nikas said, sitting in his cramped school office near the port of Piraeus, a working-class suburb of Athens, as the sound of a jump rope skittered across the playground. He confronted Pantelis’s parents, who were ashamed and embarrassed but admitted that they had not been able to find work for months. Their savings were gone, and they were living on rations of pasta and ketchup.

The euro was supposed to tie Europe together as a single unified economic powerhouse. When Greek children go malnourished while unemployment falls in Germany, you can see very clearly that unity is just another European myth. In the United States, we have an answer for weak state economies. It’s called Mississippi. They get a permanent “bail out” through an annual transfer of money: tax credits, Medicaid spending, infrastructure assistance, and so on. In Europe, the answer for failing state economies is: You get this bag of money if you take the following measures to destroy your economy.

You don’t need to know how to fact-check Harvard economists to understand a simple truth: Force-feeding austerity to a country starving for money and growth will only get you more starvation.

Source

The People’s Record News Update: this week on our dying planet
March 17, 2013

  • In Spain, a majestic sperm whale has been found to have died due to swallowing 40 lbs of plastic. The dead sperm whale that washed up on Spain’s south coast had swallowed 17kg of plastic waste dumped into the sea by farmers tending greenhouses that produce tomatoes and other vegetables for British supermarkets.

    Scientists were amazed to find the 4.5 tonne whale had swallowed 59 different bits of plastic – most of it thick transparent sheeting used to build greenhouses in southern Almeria and Granada. A clothes hanger, an ice-cream tub and bits of mattress were also found. The plastic had eventually blocked the animal’s stomach and killed it.
  • Big Pharma on Friday won the first round of its fight to defeat a European proposal to ban a trio of commonly used pesticides suspected of killing honeybees. The closely watched measure, which calls for a European Union-wide moratorium on three types of neonicotinoid pesticides, failed to secure the needed votes from the 27 EU member states today, a result cheered by the manufacturers of the chemicals.

Capitalism isn’t working - look at what the private industries who hold all the power in our society are doing to the living things on this planet. We need to restructure the way we organize ourselves and we need to do it fast. This is all just so overwhelming.

Eco-socialist picture on Facebook for sharing.

Thousands of people are marching on Spain’s parliament to protest austerity measures imposed by the government.
February 23, 2013

Saturday’s protest comes on the 32nd anniversary of a failed attempt by the armed forces to overthrow the government. Several protest groups joined forces under a single slogan called “Citizens’ Tide, 23F,” referring to the Feb. 23, 1981 attack by armed forces on Spain’s parliament.

Organizers say that Spain today “is under a financial coup” and have called on people to march to parliament to protest austerity measures and what they say is government favoritism toward financial institutions at the expense of ordinary citizens.

Marchers decried “the pressure of financial markets” and corruption in government and the country’s banking system, and called on lawmakers to find alternatives that won’t “give away” the welfare state.

Source

Thousands protest privatization of healthcare in Spain
February 17, 2013

Thousands of demonstrators have marched through the streets of 16 Spanish cities Sunday to protest plans to part-privatise the public health care system, with some questioning the government’s motives.

It was the third “white tide” demonstration in Madrid, named after the colour of the medical scrubs many protesters wear.

But it was the first time cities other than the capital took part, including Barcelona, Cuenca, Murcia, Pamplona, Toledo and Zaragoza.

Protesters marched carrying banners saying "Public health is not to be sold, it’s to be defended".

Health care and education are administered by Spain’s 17 semi-autonomous regions.

Some indebted ones, like Madrid, have announced the part-privatisation of some services, with some people openly suspicious that the move is more a political-motivated ploy than an attempt to cut costs.

Civil servant Javier Tarabilla, 31, said Spain’s welfare state was being dismantled to be handed over to the private sector.

"This is pillaging of our public services, looting something we’ve all contributed to through taxes, to give it to private companies to run for profit," he said.

Source

Spaniards protest against healthcare privatizationJanuary 7, 2013
Thousands of Spanish medical workers marched through downtown Madrid on Monday to protest against budget cuts and plans to partly privatize their cherished national health service.
The march is part of a series of such demonstrations, described as a “white tide” because of the color of the medical scrubs many protesters wear. Participants on Monday walked behind a large banner saying, "Health care is not to be sold, it’s to be defended."
Monica Garcia, spokeswoman for the Association of Medical Specialists of Madrid, which initiated the march, said her organization would continue to protest “the loss of our public health care, a national heritage that belongs to us and not to the government.”
She said the regional government was trying “to obtain economic benefit” from a system it had not invested in.
Health care and education are currently administered by Spain’s 17 semi-autonomous regions rather than the central government.
Many regions are struggling financially as Spain’s economy has fallen back into recession, having never recovered from a real estate crash in 2008. Some regions overspent in the good times but are now unable to borrow on financial markets to repay their huge debts, forcing them to make savings and even request rescue aid from the central government.
The region of Madrid proposes selling the management of six of 20 large public hospitals in its territory and 27 of 268 health centers. It argues that’s needed to fix the region’s finances and secure health services.
Doctor Agustin Reverte, 31, said privatizations would lead to less diagnostic tests on patients who will be attended by fewer medical staff, reducing the overall quality of the service.
"Those in government have money, so they don’t care if they have to pay for health care," said Aurora Rojas, a 55-year-old nurse. "But the rest of us who just have a regular salary will not be able to afford decent treatment," she said.
Source

Spaniards protest against healthcare privatization
January 7, 2013

Thousands of Spanish medical workers marched through downtown Madrid on Monday to protest against budget cuts and plans to partly privatize their cherished national health service.

The march is part of a series of such demonstrations, described as a “white tide” because of the color of the medical scrubs many protesters wear. Participants on Monday walked behind a large banner saying, "Health care is not to be sold, it’s to be defended."

Monica Garcia, spokeswoman for the Association of Medical Specialists of Madrid, which initiated the march, said her organization would continue to protest “the loss of our public health care, a national heritage that belongs to us and not to the government.”

She said the regional government was trying “to obtain economic benefit” from a system it had not invested in.

Health care and education are currently administered by Spain’s 17 semi-autonomous regions rather than the central government.

Many regions are struggling financially as Spain’s economy has fallen back into recession, having never recovered from a real estate crash in 2008. Some regions overspent in the good times but are now unable to borrow on financial markets to repay their huge debts, forcing them to make savings and even request rescue aid from the central government.

The region of Madrid proposes selling the management of six of 20 large public hospitals in its territory and 27 of 268 health centers. It argues that’s needed to fix the region’s finances and secure health services.

Doctor Agustin Reverte, 31, said privatizations would lead to less diagnostic tests on patients who will be attended by fewer medical staff, reducing the overall quality of the service.

"Those in government have money, so they don’t care if they have to pay for health care," said Aurora Rojas, a 55-year-old nurse. "But the rest of us who just have a regular salary will not be able to afford decent treatment," she said.

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The insufferable human drama of evictions in SpainDecember 14, 2012
With 500 families being evicted in Spain every day, foreclosures have become a source of great suffering. But luckily, there are still those who resist.
Throughout this crisis, there has always been a certain alienating quality to the pronouncements of European leaders and technocrats. Sometimes one is led to wonder if these people are actually talking about the same continent — or the same universe, for that matter. Just today, for instance, the European Central Bank announced that “the eurozone is starting to heal.” Indeed, the major weakness the central bankers could detect from the commanding heights of their glass-and-steel tower in downtown Frankfurt was “falling bank profits.”
But this morning, huddled together with activists and independent journalists in a small apartment in Madrid, the eurozone seemed to be far from healing. Together with Santiago Carrión from the Associated Whistleblowing Press, we were there because the Platform for those Affected by their Mortgage (PAH), which runs the Stop Desahucios (Stop Evictions) campaign, had called on the city’s indignados to protect Juana Madrid and her two daughters of 21 and 17, who were about to be evicted from their humble home in the poor neighborhood of Orcasur. The atmosphere, of course, was tense.
The living room was full of people, most of them photographers, while outside the first chants of activists could be heard as people prepared to physically block the entrance to the apartment. Nervously dragging on her cigarette, Juana’s baggy and dark-ringed eyes said it all: this was a woman on the verge of a breakdown. Her voice was calm and subdued, but her facial expression exuded despair. “We have nowhere to go,” Juana’s 21-year-old daughter Isa told us in the kitchen. “If they evict us today we will end up on the street tonight.”
Sadly, the story of Juana and her daughters is by no means an exception. Ever since the start of the crisis in late 2008, over 350.000 families have been evicted from their homes. According to government figures, Spain currently faces a staggering wave of 500 evictions per day — 150 of them in Madrid alone. The vast majority of these involve families whose main breadwinner lost his or her job in the recession and who have inadvertently fallen behind on their mortgage payments to the bank. At 25.02%, Spain’s unemployment rate is the highest in the developed world, higher even than in the U.S. at the peak of the Great Depression.
Recent months have seen a wave of high-profile suicides by people who were about to be evicted from their homes. The most paradigmatic case was that of a 53-year-old woman in the Basque Country, who jumped from her balcony and plunged to death as foreclosure agents made their way up the stairs of her apartment. The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, tells the harrowing story of a Spanish locksmith who was taken aback when he pried open the door of a foreclosed apartment for police, and encountered a woman giving birth inside. According to the locksmith, it was “evident that the stress of the foreclosure had induced premature birth.”
Since then, a number of high judges have spoken out against the “inhumane” foreclosure laws in Spain, which they consider to be “overly protective of the politically influential banks”. Under immense media pressure, the conservative government finally passed an emergency law allowing the most vulnerable families to be spared from eviction. Still, the new law will only cover some 120.000 people and does not tackle the root of the problem, which is the fact that the government keeps squeezing workers, students, homeowners, pensioners and the sick and disabled in order to pay for the folly of a tiny elite of gambling bankers.
The human tragedy, after all, is only part of the story. The other part, as the Spanish indignados rightly point out, is the estafa: the fraud. Many of the mortgages that now shackle millions of families to unpayable debt loads, came about under highly dubious circumstances to begin with. The banks never cared if people would be able to repay their debts: as long as house prices kept rising, a defaulting family could still be evicted and replaced by another. After the bank reclaimed the property, it could just re-sell it at a profit. The fact that lives are being destroyed and families shattered in the process is wholly irrelevant for the financial imperatives of the bank.
And thus, the people end up paying the banks triple: first through the usurious interest rates they pay on their mortgage loans (which are essentially conjured up out of thin air by the banks); second through the tax-payer-funded bailouts of the same banks, after many of these mortgages started going bad; and third through the homes they are losing and which subsequently fall back into the property of the bank, which can — a few years down the line, when real estate prices will have recovered somewhat — sell on the property to a third party.
Full article

The insufferable human drama of evictions in Spain
December 14, 2012

With 500 families being evicted in Spain every day, foreclosures have become a source of great suffering. But luckily, there are still those who resist.

Throughout this crisis, there has always been a certain alienating quality to the pronouncements of European leaders and technocrats. Sometimes one is led to wonder if these people are actually talking about the same continent — or the same universe, for that matter. Just today, for instance, the European Central Bank announced that “the eurozone is starting to heal.” Indeed, the major weakness the central bankers could detect from the commanding heights of their glass-and-steel tower in downtown Frankfurt was “falling bank profits.”

But this morning, huddled together with activists and independent journalists in a small apartment in Madrid, the eurozone seemed to be far from healing. Together with Santiago Carrión from the Associated Whistleblowing Press, we were there because the Platform for those Affected by their Mortgage (PAH), which runs the Stop Desahucios (Stop Evictions) campaign, had called on the city’s indignados to protect Juana Madrid and her two daughters of 21 and 17, who were about to be evicted from their humble home in the poor neighborhood of Orcasur. The atmosphere, of course, was tense.

The living room was full of people, most of them photographers, while outside the first chants of activists could be heard as people prepared to physically block the entrance to the apartment. Nervously dragging on her cigarette, Juana’s baggy and dark-ringed eyes said it all: this was a woman on the verge of a breakdown. Her voice was calm and subdued, but her facial expression exuded despair. “We have nowhere to go,” Juana’s 21-year-old daughter Isa told us in the kitchen. “If they evict us today we will end up on the street tonight.”

Sadly, the story of Juana and her daughters is by no means an exception. Ever since the start of the crisis in late 2008, over 350.000 families have been evicted from their homes. According to government figures, Spain currently faces a staggering wave of 500 evictions per day — 150 of them in Madrid alone. The vast majority of these involve families whose main breadwinner lost his or her job in the recession and who have inadvertently fallen behind on their mortgage payments to the bank. At 25.02%, Spain’s unemployment rate is the highest in the developed world, higher even than in the U.S. at the peak of the Great Depression.

Recent months have seen a wave of high-profile suicides by people who were about to be evicted from their homes. The most paradigmatic case was that of a 53-year-old woman in the Basque Country, who jumped from her balcony and plunged to death as foreclosure agents made their way up the stairs of her apartment. The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, tells the harrowing story of a Spanish locksmith who was taken aback when he pried open the door of a foreclosed apartment for police, and encountered a woman giving birth inside. According to the locksmith, it was “evident that the stress of the foreclosure had induced premature birth.”

Since then, a number of high judges have spoken out against the “inhumane” foreclosure laws in Spain, which they consider to be “overly protective of the politically influential banks”. Under immense media pressure, the conservative government finally passed an emergency law allowing the most vulnerable families to be spared from eviction. Still, the new law will only cover some 120.000 people and does not tackle the root of the problem, which is the fact that the government keeps squeezing workers, students, homeowners, pensioners and the sick and disabled in order to pay for the folly of a tiny elite of gambling bankers.

The human tragedy, after all, is only part of the story. The other part, as the Spanish indignados rightly point out, is the estafa: the fraud. Many of the mortgages that now shackle millions of families to unpayable debt loads, came about under highly dubious circumstances to begin with. The banks never cared if people would be able to repay their debts: as long as house prices kept rising, a defaulting family could still be evicted and replaced by another. After the bank reclaimed the property, it could just re-sell it at a profit. The fact that lives are being destroyed and families shattered in the process is wholly irrelevant for the financial imperatives of the bank.

And thus, the people end up paying the banks triple: first through the usurious interest rates they pay on their mortgage loans (which are essentially conjured up out of thin air by the banks); second through the tax-payer-funded bailouts of the same banks, after many of these mortgages started going bad; and third through the homes they are losing and which subsequently fall back into the property of the bank, which can — a few years down the line, when real estate prices will have recovered somewhat — sell on the property to a third party.

Full article