The last weekend saw another gathering of the Indignant movement, or the 15-M movement as they’re also called, in Madrid, Spain. Several tens of thousands of people assembled from all over Spain and some from other countries as well for three days of demonstrations and discussion. Naturally, all this happened under the radar of most of the mainstream media once again. Nevertheless, the movement is still going strong and the next stage will be a long march to Brussels where an international social forum is planned for October.
The popular movements in Spain and Greece have displayed an ability to mobilize a large number of people across classes and generations. What is also remarkable about the movements is their egalitarianism; there are no leaders or spokespersons, everybody has an equal voice. This is no doubt one of the reasons why the movements have so far managed to avoid being appropriated by established political parties.
Just gathering a lot of people together is of course not enough to challenge the system. Little was achieved by the massive anti-globalisation protests at the turn of the millennium. What is needed is a concrete political program that people can actually start implementing in their own countries throughout Europe, instead of just camping in the streets. We’ve seen plenty of photos and videos from the Indignant gatherings, but what I’d like to see more is actual political content: manifestos, declarations, platforms, ideology, strategy, anything. I’m afraid action without a program will not produce the kind of changes we want.
I realize the movement is still in early stages, so obviously I’m not expecting a complete, implementable program yet, but there ought to be something to work from. Surely after all the discussions held at these gatherings there must be something in black-on-white? Maybe these documents do exist in Spanish or Greek, I just haven’t seen them.
For a movement that has been largely organized through the Internet, the Indignants have made surprisingly little use of the Net for political discussion. I mean, let’s face it, the people actually showing up at these gatherings will always be a small minority of the population. If this is truly to be a movement of the European people, other means of engagement need to be developed. Why not adopt a wiki-based approach to drafting the program? This would allow those of us living in the periphery to participate as well.