Tuesday, May 31, 2011

News from Spain

Fascinating developments out of Spain that you shouldn't overlook.

For more than two weeks, since before Spain’s May 22 local elections, thousands upon thousands of protesters have been gathering in the central squares of major cities to express their anger with the emptiness and disconnectedness of the election campaigns, and outrage at the failure of the political system in general. "Los indignados" — the outraged — as they have become known are still swelling in numbers.

The rage stems largely from a deep economic crisis that has left Spain struggling to emerge from recession and with an unemployment rate of more than 20 percent, the highest in the European Union. Youth unemployment is higher than 40 percent. Unable to afford basic necessities, and confronting a desperate future, the movement is both protesting against the current government and demanding larger systemic change. What's truly amazing however is that participation in the protests hasn't been limited to angry kids - there are many many people gathering in the streets from all corners of Spanish society. Los Indignatos include everyone from construction workers to doctors to lawyers to bartenders. It is still a relatively small movement, but it is developing the look and feel of a large popular revolt.

Since the elections the tone of the protests has shifted, but they haven't ceased.

The 10-minute documentary below is a short interview with Spanish economist and political philosopher Jose Luis Sampedro, interspersed with powerful scenes from the Madrid protests. Sampredo doesn't mince words, and blames Spain's troubles on a corrupt financial system combined with a complete lack of compassion for the unfortunate as reinforced by the media. He predicts that things will get far worse before they get better. The film is required viewing. Hit the CC button in the lower part of the window for English subtitles.

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