The movement of citizens that has occupied Puerta del Sol and other plazas in diverse cities of Spain since the 15th of May has brought back political debate to the streets and put the role of political parties into question. Should the movement now take down its encampments and look for other formulas to channel its protests, or should it keep them up so that the rebellion won’t dissipate?
The 15M movement has unexpectedly gained power and vitality, and its camps are the tip of the iceberg that is a new cycle of social protest. The camps serve as a point of symbolic reference and play the roles of amplifiers for social mobilizations underway and levers for future calls for action. It is not the time to end the encampments yet since they still have vitality and in many cities new camps are still rising up (or recently set up), following in the wake of the strongest camps.
It will be necessary to end the encampments once they begin to decline and to devote their energy and power toward neighborhood assemblies and future days of action. The camp in Barcelona is proposing the 19th of June as a day of demonstrations across the country, and it seems to me to be very important to translate the enormous sympathy that the camp movement has aroused into mobilization on that day.
Esther Vivas is a member of the Centre for Studies on Social Movements (CEMS) at Universitat Pompeu Fabra. She is also a member of the editorial board of Viento Sur. “¿Deben terminar las concentraciones del 15-M?” was originally published in El País and her blog on 1 June 2011. Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi (@yoshiefuruhashi | yoshie.furuhashi [at] gmail.com).
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