TIDE OF INDIGNATION: WHILE SOME WAKE UP, OTHERS CONTINUE SLEEPING.
It is almost impossible not to notice a conductive thread that weaves the series of events that were triggered in January of this year by Tunisia, and that then they went on becoming replicated in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Yemen, Bahrain, Sudan, Oman, Kuwait, Libya, and Syria. Later Spain (in Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Valencia, Logroño, Santiago of Compostela, Toledo, Bilbao and others) followed suit, and this extended to the rest of Europe -as it happened in many cities of France, Greece, Germany, Portugal, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Austria. In a way, this was preannounced, among others, by the exemplary case of Iceland in 2008, the massive protests before the G-20 in 2009, and the strikes and trade union mobilizations all over Europe during the 2010. And what goes on today, in turn, preannounces much more to come.
Each one of these cases has specific characteristic proper to the history and current situation of each country in which it takes place. But all of them have the unequivocal flavour of a widespread dissatisfaction that became indignant rebellion in front of the state of affairs. This time, it is difficult for the defenders of the status quo to underrate and to disqualify these facts, attributing them to dark manoeuvres of minorities, to the hidden action of foreign governments or of international terrorism.
Although the banners of the demands that are waved may vary, all of them exude a deep weariness due to the immobility of a system paralyzed in the face of the speed of world changes, due to a self-destructing lethargy that does not get to conceive –and much less to implement - the deep changes that are necessary to face the challenges of the new world. And it does not get to it because it still pig-headedly insists on the past recipes, believing that it is enough to go on alternating the social conduction with the customary and worn out options, believing that a more or less media-likeable politician will be enough to appease the clamour for something really new, believing that the manipulation of macroeconomic indicators solves everything. It seems as though the blatant examples that are plentiful in all regions are not enough to finish convincing all that the current models no longer work.
The banners of the popular demands that are waved these days are born out of the consensus that is the common denominator of a wide diversity of unheard demands in all fields, not only in the political and economic fields, but in the social, cultural, institutional, ecological ones and others as well. That is to say, the slogans that we read in the placards are only the proverbial tip of the iceberg of a massive dissatisfaction with the current state of our societies. Demanding more than that, would amount to reducing the rallying power. It is a traverse dissatisfaction that joins generations, income sectors, creeds, regionalisms, nationalities, and a wide range of stands regarding proposals for change. Maybe the dissatisfaction is not only due to the frustration generated by the unfulfilled expectations of well-being and consumption, but also due to a dehumanizing way of living -even for the minority that is able to satisfy them.
But today's rebellions may be explained by the present that is suffered as well as by the future that is aspired to. Thus, hopefully these rebellions do not stop, and that they go beyond the mass media showiness of manifestations in the public square, finding other fields and ways of action. Hopefully they enlarge and deepen their proposal of change beyond the banners that are raised today. Hopefully they keep their character of being non violent, non discriminatory, traverse, participatory and decentralized. Hopefully these rebellions do not simply conceive themselves as local or as partisan claims, but as the multifocal expression of a worldized way of thinking and feeling, of a nascent sensibility that corresponds to a future that is held dear.
It is also to be hoped that to this world wave of rebellion in front of the established, and to this aspiration for a better world, are accompanied by a similar rebellion and aspiration for an improvement as human beings, beyond being simply demanding consumers frustrated by illusory expectations. Because it would be a half truth and a new dream to attribute all the responsibility of the state of things only to politicians and bankers, when the handling of the public affairs was conveniently unloaded on them and, consequently, the control of our lives. Because the unfulfilled promises and the frauds of all types are not something that took place in the last few years, but a long-time issue.
May it be a rebellion guided by vital essential necessities, and not by an unrestrained desire that is unsustainable and without solidarity. Among those vital essential necessities there will surely be the one of giving our lives a deep and transcendental meaning, free from the meaninglessness of placing money as the central value of personal and social life.
In any event, the rebellion against the world that is rejected and the construction of the world that is yearned cannot be "outsourced" -they require the active commitment of each one of us, before and after the electoral act. Hopefully this is already understood, and that those that today head the protest do not entrust once again the professional politicians to solve things for them, but rather themselves take in their hands the construction of a great movement that takes this new sensibility to the decision posts corresponding to them. Maybe for similar reasons Stéphane Hessel wrote "Commit yourselves!" (¡Comprometeos! in Spanish) after "Time for Outrage!" ( In French)
In terms of active commitment, they are still many forces that should add their support to the protest. These forces are varied and not only political, but also social, cultural, religious, etc. It is strange to notice that they have not still manifested their public and resolved support in favour of what is happening. What is this silence due to? Perhaps because they cannot be the main stars or monopolize what happens? Perhaps because the protests did not originate in their own organizations or places? Do they perhaps believe that they are safe from what is denounced in other places? Do they believe to be able to manage their “happy island” doing without the global system in which they are immersed? Or are they maybe so engrossed in their own interests and local scenario that it prevents them to notice that what is expressed in Europe and Africa is the clamour of all?
Even some that ideologically declare themselves to be global or internationalists seem insensitive before the urgency to replicate and to increase the protest - and mainly the proposal - in all venues and forums. In particular, the petty parties and their mean politicians still think in local terms, they continue feeding the game of the formal democracy of the allotment of posts, privileges and benefits, while the looting of the peoples continues at the hands of the clerks of the speculative financial capital.
This non-perfectible system goes on collapsing, hopelessly condemned to be surpassed. Will the case be of continuing to still believe in the reformist gradualism when the ship is leaking on all sides and is dragging all in its shipwreck? Will the case be of continuing to support the game of the formal democracy, blindly chauvinistic and classist, or of betting to the global and real change that today is glimpsed as a possibility in the squares of the world?
Because, what this rebellion is today does not matter as much as what it could become tomorrow.
Fernando A. García Buenos Aires, May 31, 2011