Article

Spain: the indignados rebellion of 2011 in perspective

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Abstract

The outbreak of the 15M or indignado movement in Spain in 2011 was the biggest episode of social unrest since the end of the Transition in the 1970s. Its emergence caught the political parties, media, trade unions and the most important community-based organisations and pre-existing social movements off guard. It targeted those who were identified as responsible for the recession and how it was handled - politicians and bankers -, and represented a global criticism of the existing political system and institutional framework. The 15M was not a youth movement, but a general movement criticising the current economic model, though it did have a large youth component in its initial stages. It was plural and diverse, and a wide broad spectrum of criticism and degrees of radicality and political awareness coexisted in the squares and camps. In general terms, the links between the indignados and the labour movement were weak and marked by mutual mistrust. The 15M movement was a milestone in the political trajectory of Spain and opened up a regime crisis that would deepen thereafter.

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... Instead, Based on data from over 10,000 protestors in 72 demonstrations in seven Western European countries between 2009 and 2013, confirm this finding. Accordingly, interpreting the onset of extra-institutional mobilisations during the Great Recession as the expression of a new precarious generation would only provide us a partial account at best (for an analysis of this argument applied to the Spanish context, see Antentas 2015). ...
... Indicators of political support such as confidence in appointed officials, trust in democratic institutions and satisfaction with democracy were heavily eroded between 2008 and 2011 in Spain (Lobera and Ferrándiz 2013: 43-56). Moreover, see also Martínez 2012;Antentas 2015) argue that the new wave of contestation has much to do with the erosion of the transition's hegemonic culture and the need to develop new spaces for challenge and reform. In their own words: "polls reflect growing political disaffection in recent decades, but the economic crisis raised a new challenge to the transition culture. ...
... The indignant generation represented young middle class with uncertain personal biographies and future perspectives" (Antentas 2015: 147). For many, the recession that came about was a reality check; it made patent that hopes for social mobility were unrealistic Antentas 2015). ...
Chapter
Understanding what explains the irregular distribution and clustering of protest participants across time—i.e. the varying size of protest events—is one of the core tasks that social movements scholars face (Biggs 2016). This chapter aims at analysing the trajectory of anti-austerity protests in Spain in the shadow of the Great Recession, 2007–2015.
... Instead, Based on data from over 10,000 protestors in 72 demonstrations in seven Western European countries between 2009 and 2013, confirm this finding. Accordingly, interpreting the onset of extra-institutional mobilisations during the Great Recession as the expression of a new precarious generation would only provide us a partial account at best (for an analysis of this argument applied to the Spanish context, see Antentas 2015). ...
... Indicators of political support such as confidence in appointed officials, trust in democratic institutions and satisfaction with democracy were heavily eroded between 2008 and 2011 in Spain (Lobera and Ferrándiz 2013: 43-56). Moreover, see also Martínez 2012;Antentas 2015) argue that the new wave of contestation has much to do with the erosion of the transition's hegemonic culture and the need to develop new spaces for challenge and reform. In their own words: "polls reflect growing political disaffection in recent decades, but the economic crisis raised a new challenge to the transition culture. ...
... The indignant generation represented young middle class with uncertain personal biographies and future perspectives" (Antentas 2015: 147). For many, the recession that came about was a reality check; it made patent that hopes for social mobility were unrealistic Antentas 2015). ...
Chapter
Karl Polanyi’s (2001) ever-influential contribution The Great Transformation is a superb account of the conflicting and contradictory relationships between liberal markets and society’s need for protection during the first half of the twentieth century, which led to financial recession, mass discontent and the rise of radical nationalism and war. The dialectical process of marketisation and push for social protection as a response to that marketisation is called “double movement”.
... Instead, Based on data from over 10,000 protestors in 72 demonstrations in seven Western European countries between 2009 and 2013, confirm this finding. Accordingly, interpreting the onset of extra-institutional mobilisations during the Great Recession as the expression of a new precarious generation would only provide us a partial account at best (for an analysis of this argument applied to the Spanish context, see Antentas 2015). ...
... Indicators of political support such as confidence in appointed officials, trust in democratic institutions and satisfaction with democracy were heavily eroded between 2008 and 2011 in Spain (Lobera and Ferrándiz 2013: 43-56). Moreover, see also Martínez 2012;Antentas 2015) argue that the new wave of contestation has much to do with the erosion of the transition's hegemonic culture and the need to develop new spaces for challenge and reform. In their own words: "polls reflect growing political disaffection in recent decades, but the economic crisis raised a new challenge to the transition culture. ...
... The indignant generation represented young middle class with uncertain personal biographies and future perspectives" (Antentas 2015: 147). For many, the recession that came about was a reality check; it made patent that hopes for social mobility were unrealistic Antentas 2015). ...
Chapter
Podemos, a new party launched from scratch in March 2014, issued a manifesto that included some indignados movement’s core claims: fighting poverty, inequality, the privileges of large corporations, corruption and defending public services in the face of austerity policies. The party quickly gained momentum, as the following three electoral milestones testify. First, Podemos gathered 1,253,837 votes (8.0%) in the European Parliament elections on 22–25 May 2014, getting 5 seats. Second, one year later, local elections were held.
... Instead, Based on data from over 10,000 protestors in 72 demonstrations in seven Western European countries between 2009 and 2013, confirm this finding. Accordingly, interpreting the onset of extra-institutional mobilisations during the Great Recession as the expression of a new precarious generation would only provide us a partial account at best (for an analysis of this argument applied to the Spanish context, see Antentas 2015). ...
... Indicators of political support such as confidence in appointed officials, trust in democratic institutions and satisfaction with democracy were heavily eroded between 2008 and 2011 in Spain (Lobera and Ferrándiz 2013: 43-56). Moreover, see also Martínez 2012;Antentas 2015) argue that the new wave of contestation has much to do with the erosion of the transition's hegemonic culture and the need to develop new spaces for challenge and reform. In their own words: "polls reflect growing political disaffection in recent decades, but the economic crisis raised a new challenge to the transition culture. ...
... The indignant generation represented young middle class with uncertain personal biographies and future perspectives" (Antentas 2015: 147). For many, the recession that came about was a reality check; it made patent that hopes for social mobility were unrealistic Antentas 2015). ...
Chapter
Certain attitudinal configurations are meant to make individuals more prone to protest. For example, those who report left-wing values, who are politically interested, more informed about politics and have high levels of self-perceived efficacy might be more likely to engage in protest actions.
... Importantly, the Spanish 15M campaign and the subsequent wave of protest had an important generational component. To a large extent, mass mobilisations have been the expression of a young generation blaming politicians, financial leaders and the mainstream media for the dearth of opportunities for personal and professional fulfilment (Antentas, 2015). While anti-austerity protests were not the exclusive form of action of this youthful social movement, it has been widely acknowledged that young people were overrepresented in these events: the vast majority of participants were 19-30 years old (e.g. ...
... This has made work an unreliable source of income, resulting in increasing difficulties in maintaining one's right to work and sense of belonging (Frayne, 2015). One consequence of these developments is the spread of new forms of social unrest, exemplified by the creation of such movements as Occupy and Indignados (Lewis and Luce, 2012;Antentas, 2015). Thus, the 'labour question' has become topical again (Chhachhi, 2014). ...
Chapter
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... These days, the Spanish Constitution has come into considerable disrepute, especially in Catalan nationalist circles, but also beyond. Its once-famous consensus, now reframed by revisionists as but a pact of forgetting, the continuities with the Franco regime, the impunity of its officials, evermore stressed (Antentas 2015;Domènech 2014;Gallego 2008;Navarro 2006;Santamaría 2012;Beneyto 2007). ...
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... Both the tactic of occupation as well as its signature slogan emulated and was inspired by events at the very centre of Spain's capital, in the Puerta del Sol in Madrid (Anduiza et. al. 2014;Antentas 2015;Calvo 2017;Cameron 2014;Feenstra et. al. 2017;Flesher Fominaya 2015;La Parra-Pérez 2014;Portos 2016;Romanos 2013;Sampedro and Lobera 2014; Tejerina and Perugorría 2017) -"kilómetro 0," as they call itwhich was in turn part of a broader international wave of somehow similar burgeoning forms of direct-democratic protest, including perhaps most prominently the Occupy Wall Street movement, not to mention the Arab Spring (Castañeda 2012;Castells 2012;Peterson et. ...
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... By late we mean that between the financial crash of 2008 and the massive celebration of the National Day of Catalonia on 11 September 2012 there was an initial phase in which the economic crisis seems poised to act as a driver for change through the socalled 15-M movement. In 2011, the 15-M anti-austerity movement rallied millions of protesters all over Spain against high unemployment rates, welfare cuts, global capitalism, the bailouts of banks and political corruption (Antentas 2015). In Catalonia, the 14 and 15 June 2011 popular protests in front of the Catalan Parliament were a turning point. ...
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... The Indignados did a great job in creating both critical awareness and the social construction of new subjectivities. As Antentas (2015) holds, "15M has had what Giugni calls a strong 'awareness impact,' that is, the dissemination of a particular worldview and of what we could call in Gramscian terms an alternative common sense" (p. 155). ...
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... This has made work an unreliable source of income, resulting in increasing difficulties in maintaining one's right to work and sense of belonging (Frayne, 2015). One consequence of these developments is the spread of new forms of social unrest, exemplified by the creation of such movements as Occupy and Indignados (Lewis and Luce, 2012;Antentas, 2015). Thus, the 'labour question' has become topical again (Chhachhi, 2014). ...
... Its initiators comprised a group of political scientists based at the Complutense University in Madrid: Carlos Monedero, Pablo Iglesias and Íñigo Errejón. The rise of Podemos is related to the 2008 great recession (Ramiro and Gomez 2016) and has its origins in the 15M or Indignados 2 movements (Hughes 2011;Pastor Verdú 2011;Castañeda 2012;Tormey and Feenstra 2015;Antentas 2015;Nez 2017). It is motivated by the crisis of trust in politics produced by economic turmoil and the widespread political corruption (Gomez Fortes and Urquizu 2015;Pavía, Bodoque, and Martín 2016;Díaz-Parra, Roca, and Romano 2015). ...
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... Similarly, Danish union revitalisation processes occur mainly at national and local levels, while forming external coalitions is rarely considered among their strategic actions (Arnholtz et al., 2016). And in Spain, Antentas (2015) showed how the Indignados movement's protest against bankers and politicians failed to forge a coalition between trade unions and the social movement. Time will tell whether further decline in these countries will make external coalitions more plausible as they have become in other countries. ...
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... When 15M broke out, its general criticism of the political elite was not accompanied by a push for electoral and institutional activity, although its rejection of mainstream politics was profoundly political and was influenced by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt and the events in Iceland. 13 However, the deepening of the economic and social crisis, the onset of political and regime crisis and the difficulty in securing significant social victories after more than three years of resistance, gradually posed the institutional and electoral question. Progressively, the political question and debate on the need to construct political tools to intervene in the political-electoral-institutional arena began to gain prominence, particularly under the influence of the outbreak of Syriza in Greece in the summer of 2012. ...
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... It would take almost a year, until 15 May 2011, for the social malaise to be transformed into mass upsurge. 2 'When the Spanish State was dead, Spanish society was full of life, and every part of it overflowing with powers of resistance' wrote Marx in his aforementioned chronicles of Spain's revolution of 1854. 3 This is a good starting point for assessing the current political crisis that began in 2011. It has become the first global questioning of the institutional order and its corresponding social model of what historically can be defined as the second Bourbon restoration established in 1977-1978 4 -the first of which happened from late 1874, from the failure of the first Republic until the proclamation of the second in April 1931. ...
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Since 15 May 2011 Spain has progressively entered a political and regime crisis in which the main institutional pillars of the political system constructed in 1977-1978 during the transition from the Franco dictatorship to parliamentary democracy suffered from serious wear. This can be analysed following Gramsci's notion of hegemony crisis whose main features fit well with the current situation in Spain. The regime crisis has passed through different stages – the last being the emergence and rise in the polls of Podemos, which emerged in a context marked by the deepening of the crisis and the difficulty of securing significant social victories. To understand the meaning of this current regime crises it is useful to read history, following Walter Benjamin as an open process full of bifurcations with no linear trajectory. Spanish regime crisis opens for the first time since the seventies the possibility of a social and political change whose final sense is still uncertain.
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Traducción de: Ethica ordine geometrico demonstrata
Youth Unemployment 2012
  • Eurostat
Generación indignada
  • Carles Freixa
Freixa, Carles. "Generación indignada." In #GeneraciónIndignada, edited by Carles Freixa and Jordi Nofre, 203-207. Lleida: Milenio, 2013.
El Mito de la Transición
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Indignez-vous! Paris: Indigène
  • Stéphane Hessel
La dignidad de la indignación
  • Mara Negrón
Negrón, Mara. "La dignidad de la indignación." 80grados. September 2, 2011. http://www.80grados. net/2011/09/la-dignidad-de-la-indignacion
La evolución de Los Nuevos Movimientos Sociales en el Estado Español
  • Jaime Pastor
Pastor, Jaime. "La evolución de Los Nuevos Movimientos Sociales en el Estado Español." In Los Movimientos Sociales, edited by Perro Ibarra and Benjamin Tejerina, 43 -68. Madrid: Trotta, 1998.
Madrid: Capitán Swing
  • César Rendueles
  • Sociofobia
Dignidad/Indignación.”SoberanaMente
  • Rodríguez Suárez
Le Passé, Modes D'emploi. Paris: Éditions la Fabrique
  • Enzo Traverso
El Despertar de la Historia
  • Alain Badiou
La Discordance des Temps. Paris: Éditions de la Passion
  • Daniel Bensaïd
Portugal: Precarios Nos Quieres
  • Adriano Campos
  • Marco Marques
Campos, Adriano, and Marco Marques. "Portugal: Precarios Nos Quieres, Rebeldes Seremos." In ¡Ocupemos el Mundo!, edited by Joseba Fernández, Carlos Sevilla, and Miguel Urban, 177-187. Barcelona: Icaria, 2012.