This is the weekly newsletter that will inform you about the activities of 15M movement in Barcelona, Catalonia and occasionally the main events in Spain. This week’s issue provides blue prints for how to realise a systemic change:
1. Four days of digital culture, networks and distributed policy in Barcelona
2.Public school students called to strike by their parents
3. A solidary concert to pay for unfair fines to activists
4. F.E.S.C.: the 1st fair of solidarity economy in Catalunya
1. FOUR DAYS OF DIGITAL CULTURE, NETWORKS AND DISTRIBUTED POLICY IN BARCELONA
The week from October 24th to 28th Barcelona was interacting with the new possibilities of internet freedom. It started off with the Communication and Civil Society, then the oXcars and last but not least the Free Culture Forum.
Digital culture, networks and distributed policy have been discussed in the second edition of Communication and Civil Society at the Open University of Catalunya on October 24th and 25th.
On the 25th, as a partition between the two encounters, the fifth edition of the oXcars show recognized alternatives circulating in the network with a spectacular mise en scene: an event held at night at the Apollo Theater, where the alternative world would beat the traditional glamour of the hall.
The next morning began the Free Culture Forum. Two days of talks, discussions, workshops and exhibitions of free knowledge that usually flows through the network and was noew analyzed and shared offline.
Communication and Civil Society presented the second edition at the MediaTIC building . This year ,and after the work groups sessions, has deepened not only in the role of the network and network culture in the new movement, but what were the chances of institutional reinvention and constituent policy towards an open and distributed policy as major challenges. For example, the role of the European Union before the economic and financial crisis, the use of technology in Iceland to get politics closer to the citizens or the conclusion that while some institutions are trying to be more open, transparent, participative, this does not happen within political parties. As an alternative to negative answers from political parties, democracy 4.0 was presented: “Cooperation + abundance + desktop manufacturing: another way of `manufacturing´ an open source democracy”.
The ironic definition of the oXcars as “The First Non-Competitive Awards in the History of Culture” drew attention to the fact that applying competitive criteria to the cultural sphere distorts its very essence. By highlighting different aspects of artistic creation, the “Gala Ceremony” showed that culture exists thanks to all of these complementary approaches that exist side by side.
Different actors of free Internet culture were recognized during a night that also named as this year’s best derivated art work for the infamous restoration of Ecce Homo… though the fact that Mrs. Cecilia now wants to claim copyright for versions of her restoration braought a huge boooh! from the audience.
The ceremony ended with a massive karaoke. First with Ovidi Montllor’s song called “Perque vull” (Because I want to) and to finish the evening the attendance sang the usual closing song for the oXcars, “Libre” (Free).
FCForum is an international arena in which actions are built and coordinated with a shared agenda for issues related to free culture and access to knowledge. In the wake of the outbreak of the Arab uprisings, #15M and the Occupy movement, FCForum focused on the key importance of the new techno-political practices and digital tools that were forged along these movements. The 2012 edition focused on organising a united front encompassing solutions and proposals from around the world. It was also about discovering and interconnecting innovative projects linked to transparency, freedom of information, public data and open institutional mechanisms that empower citizens and improve distributed forms of controlling governments.
These five days have set precedents for collaborative work, with initiatives that started as personal goals and have been gathering supporters along the way.
- Communication and Civil Society: #comSc @ictlogist @CivilSc
- Free Culture Forum 2012: #fcForum12
2) PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS CALLED TO STRIKE BY THEIR PARENTS
A three-day strike happened from october 16th to 18th in primary and secondary schools. The students unions made the call and the CEAPA (coordinator for Parents associations) supported it.
For the first time ever, parents claimed that they were not going to take their children to schools on october 18th as an answer to the law project that mr. Wert, minister for education, wants to carry out and has already started to implement.
The quality of public education is being destroyed while reinforcing private schools, by making the labor conditions for teachers worst and increasing the ratio of students. There is as well a decrease of the money dedicated to grants in 185 million euro. Besides all this, the law project wants to implement a model of education based on passing exam after exam, without taking any care of the needs of the children and teenagers. It includes also a project to finance with extra profits the schools which get better average marks, so no school will take a student with special needs or with difficulties in his learning process, increasing the possibility of social exclusion. It also plans to finance private schools which use gender segregation as a method.(See http://bit.ly/XcOEaz,
or NL#15, 4 http://bit.ly/TSNmfS
). This proposal is considered a step back to outdated models of education.
This is why parents and students want Mr Wert to resign. Wert answered the call of the CEAP by accusing them of acting irresponsably, by not taking their children to school.The result was that many thousands of students, parents and teachers answered the call all over the country.
The demonstrations at 12h and concentrations at 18h in Barcelona were huge, as a lot of people attended in solidarity. In Catalonia, main slogans were against Wert and the polemic intention of “Spanishizing” the Catalan students, but also against the Catalan councillour for education, Mrs Rigau, who on October 16th was the blank for a loud collective whistling in Sant Jaume square due to all the austerity mesures she is taking.(NL #26,4 http://bit.ly/Q8gIq0
The answer to the call in universities variated from one to another. Several campus were occupied and, from the second day, many were on strike. Most university students attended the demonstrations. In Barcelona, a group of students at the University of Barcelona (UB), occupied during a day an office of Santander bank, turning it into a Study-room, under the slogan “Companies and banks, go away from university”
, regarding the intentions of the Generalitat of leting companies in to finance the university- and so to decide on what should be taught and how -as well as the intentions of changing grants for loans. (NL #29,1 http://bit.ly/UAeRAd
#16O, #17O, #18O #Rigau #SOSeducació #RigauDimissió #ExpropiemBancs #UBCentralContraElCapital @AssFilologiaUB, @uniprecaria, @mareagroga
3) A SOLIDARY CONCERT TO PAY FOR UNFAIR FINES TO ACTIVISTS
On last year’s September 3rd, a group of activists from the “Coordinadora del Vallés Occidental”
(West Vallès Coordinating Committee) (NL #11, 2 http://bit.ly/Ij89V0
and NL #18, 3 http://bit.ly/LB33qx
) blocked a higway during a demonstration to defend public health. It was an “informative blockade” as the activists were stopping intermittently the cars to give people infos about the governamental cuts in health. The traffic was never cut for more than 5 consecutive minutes.
Similar actions have been happening in several places of Barcelona, Girona and Tarragona.
People in their cars seem to show support to the protests and indignation for the cuts.
But… during this specific concentration 4 people were identified by police and subsequently fined for being the organizers of a blockade where the highway was cut with fences, which is simply untrue. They are also accused for a demo where they hadn’t even been.
In cases like this, that are spreading out everyday, expression of an undisguised and anti-democratical repression by the Government, the easiest way out is solidarity: so last week the Coordinadora del Vallés Occidental organized a solidarity concert to collect the money to pay the legal fees and possibly the fines, even if the idea is not to pay them if possible.
The concert was supported by local commerces and the artists accepted to participate without any remuneration. People helping and supporting people. It seems to be the most powerful and peaceful weapon in our hands.
Twitter: @CoordVallesOcc @Badia15M #CIUvol3000 #BadiaSona
4) F.E.S.C.: THE 1st FAIR OF SOLIDARITY ECONOMY IN CATALUNYA
On October 27th and 28th Sant Andreu (a district of Barcelona) celebrated the 1st edition of the Fira d’economia solidaria de Catalunya (Catalonia’s Solidarity Economy Fair).
The main objectives were:
- To present and show how the solidarity economy is not just a theorical alternative to capitalism, but also a real option that can solve most of life’s material necessities in many sectors;
- To involve more people in the initiative as consumers, savers, starters of new projects, collaborators with the Solidarity Economy Networks, and so on.
As the organizers describe, a Solidarity (or supportive) Economy is made by all those organizations with economic production, distribution, comercialization, consumption and saving activities that are being developed under democratic, participative, environment-friendly and socially responsible criteria. Indeed the exhibitors were cooperatives, all kinds of cooperatives: banks, self-managed spaces hosting social projects, food productors and sellers, alternative energy providers, craftsmen, weavers, publishing houses, hosting houses, turistic services, health care services, schools, and cultural associations.
The event had also performances and artistic activities that attracted more than 4.500 visitors.
At the fair you could buy books, food and artefacts, but only by using “Ecosol”, an alternative currency used for commercial activities among the different organizations and companies in the network.
The aim of the event, even being catalan-wide, is to became a statal and international reference in Europe and the Mediterranean Area, for many other similar and regular meetings.
- [Article] The Xes (Supportive Economy Network): an alternative economy in progress: NL #14, 5 – http://bit.ly/JkKett [EN]
[ICBcn] International Comission Barcelona