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Two essays on Spain’s Indignados movement

August 2, 2012

A cracking new issue of Hot Spots has just been published online by Cultural Anthropology. Titled Occupy, Anthropology and the 2011 Global Uprisings it is guest edited by Jeffrey S. Juris (Northeastern University) and Maple Razsa (Colby College) and features a whole range of essays on Occupy and related movements, including two pieces on Spain’s Indignados movement, namely:

1.  My own Participatory media research and Spain’s 15M movement

“One striking feature of Spain’s 15M (or Indignados) movement has been the pervasive, sophisticated, and distributed use of social media by hackers, bloggers, lawyers, students, grassroots activists, and countless ordinary citizens.  Although a few fundamentalist hackers refused to join corporate platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, most campaigners justified their use on pragmatic grounds. For example, when the Barcelona node of the umbrella platform Democracia Real Ya! (Real Democracy Now!, DRY) was created in March 2011, participants were encouraged to use both Facebook and a non-proprietary web forum to coordinate their activities. When it became apparent that Facebook was the preferred site, the group’s informal leaders readily went along with the majority.”

2.  The #spanishrevolution and beyond by Carles Feixa et al.

“The camp was configured like a small city. From the beginning streets were established where people could walk. Different areas were marked by colored tape, including spaces for walking, sleeping, eating, and leisure. Diverse commissions were created to organize the camp. In the corner of love you could chat about metaphorical matters and meditate; there were places where you could get a massage after a tiring day at the camp; and there was even a children’s library with a small nursery. Everyone was living for the movement, for their belief that it would all work out. It has been said many times that we are the Erasmus generation: we had contacts with other cultures, our training enabled us to assume more complex roles and architectures. But we were not just a youth movement—the people from the area and the homeless also helped. They undertook logistical tasks, they made tables and chairs for us, and put up canvases when it rained. It was a very heterogeneous movement, you could find anyone: students, precarious workers, regular workers. There were many people from many places. It was like a small world inside a world, but fantastic. So spontaneous, and yet so well organized (Vanesa, 30 year-old, student, Madrid)”

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