Spain's Indignados

Three tactical innovations.

Ángel Gris

Spain's Indignados movement, whose assemblies inspired the tactics behind Occupy’s first encampment phase, is undergoing a tactical innovation that bodes well for the future of our global uprising.

Marta Sánchez at writes that a “silent revolution” based on three tactical innovations is emerging from the underground in Spain. Here are a few of her most profound insights:

The decentralization of the movement

When May 2011 came to an end, the recently born 15-M movement had to find out how to survive beyond the camp at Puerta del Sol. Thus arose the idea of decentralizing the movement towards the neighborhoods: the “toma los barrios,” or “take the neighborhoods,” initiative supported and encouraged the creation of assemblies in every neighborhood of Madrid. In this way, the movement went local: since the creation of the neighborhood assemblies on May 28, 2011, around 120 assemblies have been set up.

The emergence of new social initiatives

One of the most successful actions of the 15-M movement that the neighborhoods have helped to coordinate is the ‘stop forced evictions’ campaign (‘stop desahucios’). Around 200 evictions have been stopped since last year… Meanwhile, the assembly of the La Concepción neighborhood, in the northeast of Madrid, has one of the biggest and better organized “bancos de tiempo,” which is coordinated through the internet. The neighbors can create an online profile where they share information about the services they can provide, and they can get in touch with people who offer services they are interested in. They conclude the transaction between one another, and a mediation commission is planned in case any problem come up… all without money.

A new social climate

As the popular assembly of Algete expressed on its Twitter account, “we were sleeping, we woke up, and now we have chronic insomnia.” Philosopher Amador Fernández-Savater goes beyond that and claims that the 15-M movement has opened a “new state of mind”.

A silent interconnection of minds takes place on a weekly basis all over the city, in the squares and on the internet. Yet the media keeps insisting that the movement is losing strength. We are witnessing the appearance of a parallel, alternative, underground economy. Yet those in power remain blind to it. As political scientist Carlos Taibo expresses it, “we constantly see how the media declares that the 15-M movement is dead. And I have realized that it is better not to reply back: the less they know about the reality of the movement, the more surprised they will be by what emerges from the invisible.”

The indignados movement has gone beyond protest: it has succeeded in altering the collective imagination and the political atmosphere at its very roots. It has generated a process of re-politicization of society.

Check out the full tactical assessment at ROARmag and weigh in below on what Occupy can learn from Spain’s three innovations.