On day 7 we woke up in Sevilla and went straight to the 1 May demonstrations. Like our sister Eastern caravan (@TEC_East), we decided to join an alternative march, not organised by the established political parties or trade unions, nor by the extreme-right, but by various progressive, citizens and anarchist groups, fighting cuts in education, promoting equality of women, demonstrating against evictions, and most of all refusing to buy into the neoliberal game of the people paying the debts resulting from a politics they had no say in (we also met a few associations related to the ones I met in Barcelona).
The atmosphere was hyped; people everywhere were shouting paroles, mainly around the subjects of corruption and repression, asking for a general strike:
“We won’t pay your crisis”
“We won't to pay the debt”
“Workers’ fight the unemployment”
And a simple, yet powerful message: “There is no revolution without women.”
We spoke to several demonstrators on the way, listening to their messages of the 1 May. One older man explained that these workers demonstrations are about European, indeed global struggles, and he worries about the future. “The situation today is worse than in the past. I worry about my children, and my children’s children.”
At the demonstrations, we joined up with Bruno, who together with his colleagues Rocio and Jorge created the non-profit association Sentido Común. They established Sentido Común, because they felt that citizens associations provide an invaluable contribution to society, but however they often lack human and financial resources and the infrastructure for their work. More over, during the times of the economic crisis, the role of associations in the third sector is ever more important, but the same time it is them who experience severe cuts. Thus Bruno and his colleagues set up Sentido Común in order to help spread the word and increase the impact of their efforts in society. They also offer a number of consultancy services and support structures to not-for-profit associations, one of them is ‘escaño 110’.
‘Escaño 110’ is the result of the modification of article 125 and allows popular legislative initiatives to intervene in the plenary session and committee of the Andalusian parliament. Ordinarily, there are 109 ‘escaños’ - parliamentary seats – and with the modification there is the option of the 110th being filled by the representative of a popular legislative initiative. This is a fantastic initiative that provides the possibility for citizens associations to debate a cause in parliament. Still, this opportunity has not really been taken advantage of, so Sentido Común formed the http://www.escaño110.org/ platform in order to make it public, promote the use of the tool and enhance the legal capacity of the people. On the page you can suggest and vote on topics within the competences of the Andalusian parliament.
Juanjo García, part of the housing commission of the 15M movement in Sevilla, makes use of escaño 110 to achieve a change in the situation with the large number of evictions taking place in Andalucía as well as in the rest of Spain. He emphasized the key role of communication through social and mass media in order to changes the situation of the vulnerable. His message of the 1 May was that the only way towards social justice is a change of system.
Clara, a journalist, who supports ‘operation vote’ in Spain, also accompanied us during the demonstrations. Operation vote aims to inform Europeans residing outside their home country about their rights and the mechanisms of registration for voting. This matters, because not everyone is aware of his or her rights, but most importantly, as Clara experienced herself, indeed not every local council is aware of the rights Europeans have to register their vote with their council!
The manifestation ended in a festive atmosphere with the masses of people escaping from Sevillas burning heat to the shades of the trees in the big squares. We took shelter in a restaurant and charged our batteries – we had a long day before us still!