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.

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Comments on the article “Spain's Indignados”

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Loved it! Revolution from below, gaining inch by inch our independence from the market

We have the ability to build the things we need - the rest is consummerism and incapacity to create


Global uprising...sigh. I love how any protest at all of any kind anywhere is somehow part of your movement in your eyes. Nobody else sees it that way.


Most people do not see it that way because of a media blackout on this kind of information. For there is no way they want to give a true account of the world. Is it not better to have people sitting in front of the TV watching mindless soaps or sport?


I'm sorry Americans but this is no longer the good ol' America you remember / grew up in / are told about / hear about.

Those days are long gone. This is a whole nother different beast altogether.

The sooner you come to accept that realization, the better.


Yes - agree completely. The Madrid model, its grassroots support and its efficacy is an inspiration. It's been wonderful to see the moneymen thwarted by opposition to evictions, and by neighbours coming to each others' aid. I wish them all success, and hope other Occupations / resistance movements can learn from these valuable lessons.

Kiki - OSLX Occupation Library [as was]


There's just one problem: these aren't actually friggin' innovations.
People have been trying to do this stuff for many multiple decades, if not centuries.

As long as we keep forgetting that and go on treating each repeat as something new, a new tactic, we are never going to figure out why it didn't work the last time, and the time before that, and before that...

And the reason why is not some fluke of ignorance, but the very fact that these efforts are exactly what is targeted by oppressors. In fact the very thing they spend all their time planning and waiting for, so they can then go ahead and target it. This is what they live for.

So you could probably make a solid argument that i am being too much of a cynic/skeptic, and that even if the past could be called failures, baby steps have been made and there has been gradual and incremental improvements thanks to these so-called failures.

I still would respond that it's time we look at our past for what it is, be honest, and stop calling the repeats new.
Stop being lambs walking to our slaughters.


In other words, we need to start working out plans of defense, like fast. Not just plans of action.

A few eviction blocks may seem like a defensive act, but trust me, where a good defensive plan and organization will show it's vital necessity is during the coming reaction to those blocks.


Well you know the West's foreign policy propaganda machines really serve more than one purpose.

They serve as cover stories to excuse their brutal maniacal genocides.

And they also serve to bully other people out of using the same high ground verbiage. A take the high ground and don't let anybody else on approach.

So really what we should be doing is everything the West SAYS they are doing and working for, but actually are not. And we should be actually doing it, as opposed to empty talk.

So when the West says they are only interested in a strong defense.

We should actually be implementing a exclusively defensive structure. Etc.....

Really it's like this.....We should be looking to the pronouncements of the West about what honorable things should be done as our guide, because they spend a lot of money figuring out what things to say to best dupe the world.

But UNLIKE the West, we should actually implement them.

It's so easy!


Solidarity movements based upon peaceful processes work. The reason the status quo turn immediately to force is because they understand the weakness of their arguments and the strength of their battons.... but the arm grows tired, the soul does not! KUDOS to Spain! Peaceful resistance and diversified economies NOW! - from the sunny shores of Lake Michigan, USA

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