15-M in Spain: Nonviolence Is Now On the Streets
NONVIOLENCE, 23 May 2011
Those who interpreted the “Arab Spring” as a phenomenon that would only touch a few countries—in general dictatorships personifying the Arab world—have not understood the phenomenon that has awoken and that may not stop until it has covered and moved the consciousness of the entire planet.
The important thing about the events that are happening is that they mark a before and an after in demonstrations. They are driven by “indignation”—like almost all rebellions—but they have a quality and a form of development which are totally new because they are based on the methodology of nonviolence. For the first time this is happening spontaneously, without leaders, without doctrines, in a totally new way.
It is this that is giving hope that these revolutions in motion in different countries may be part of a new process that has much more future than previous violent revolutions which ultimately left a trail of conflicts that people then took decades to overcome, if they managed it. On the other hand the violent system needs violence to perpetuate itself. So, acting with nonviolence eliminates its principal “food.”
One of those camped out in Madrid, the Humanist, Jesús A., expressed it clearly to me a couple of hours ago, “They can’t stop us. We don’t care what the police do. If they come and kick us out, we won’t violently oppose it. We will dissolve, but tomorrow we will return to demonstrate once more all together and we will be even more. Every day more people are coming. One thousand and one times.”
Public opinion, manipulated by Western opinion formers, has identified certain dictatorships in developing countries (with which “democratic” governments do business by the way). We started with the assumption that we were living in the best of worlds. We hadn’t yet identified the dictatorship that we are subject to in our “advanced” countries. It is a more serious dictatorship and with devastating effects: it is the dictatorship of the markets, the dictatorship of speculators and the dictatorship of money.
These protests and the many that will follow are the response to this situation. Inventiveness is great among the mass of phrases and slogans that pass between the demonstrators in Madrid, but there is one that I think is brilliant and correct, “this is not a crisis, this is a con.”
What has been happening for decades and which has become acute in recent years is synthesised in this phrase. Citizens, the people have been conned. We have been made to believe that there is a big crisis. This isn’t a crisis for everyone. This is a deception, this is manipulation, this is distortion. Those who created the crisis—the banks—continue to profit and benefit from it.
The principle has been rooted in political life that if there are profits, these correspond to the private sector because, due to market economics, companies must make profits. But if there are loses, then they should be covered with public money. In other words, the benefits are for a few and the losses are everyone’s. This is a con – plain and simple. It’s a perversion. It is not surprising that the electoral lists of the majority parties in Spain are full of people accused of corruption. This is also a con.
In a recent article about events in Tunisia and Egypt, it said, “In these acts we are shown once more the true strength of the people and their capacity for transformation that in a very short time can produce unthinkable changes without resorting to violence, in other words using nonviolence.”
Most importantly, what is remarkable is to see this new methodology of struggle being practised in different countries and extending uncontrollably and contagiously.
We think that this earthquake of nonviolence; a search for real democracy, social transformation and a dignified life has only just begun. That also, as is happening, it won’t just touch a few Arab countries. What will happen in other countries of Europe, Italy, Portugal, Greece? What will happen in the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Morocco and other dictatorships of pan-Arabism? What will happen in China, where all these phenomena are censored?
Demonstrators in different cities of Spain feel a resonance with the people of Egypt and Tunisia. They are also giving a lesson in nonviolence and pacifism. They are “outraged,” and have good reasons to be. Struggling for their rights they continue in the wake of this non-violent revolution which started in the Arab world. This demonstration effect, if it continues without distortions, will have repercussions. Finally, it should be highlighted that the protagonists are mainly young people.
All peoples, in their best moments have made great contributions to the human process. We can give thanks and celebrate these non-violent revolutions because they open the future for us and the whole of humanity. We are approaching the Universal Human Nation.
Rafael De la Rubia – Spanish Humanist. Founder of the Organization «World Without Wars» and spokesperson of the «World March for Peace and Nonviolence». http://theworldmarch.org
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