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The "Indignados" march in Europe, but America shows also signs of protests!
by Christos Mouzeviris
2011-10-15 09:46:11
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The "Indignados" movement was formed in Spain on the 15th of May, as a reaction to a perceived lack of opportunities in Spain but also in various other European countries. They held protests in many Spanish cities and soon the movement was spread to another crisis hit country, Greece. There, the "Αγανακτησμένοι" (aganaktismenoi) movement, similar to the one of the Indignados, held protests and occupied the centers of many large Greek cities.

They demanded changes and debated, discussed and staged workshops, but also gathered support with petitions from other passing by citizens. It so happened that I have also signed one of those petitions, while visiting Thessaloniki, my native. The protests in Greece were peaceful and a show of a real democracy, as citizens were taking their turns to speak and express their feelings, anger, wishes, hopes and views on the current economic crisis. Yet our Government did everything to break their protests and even used violence in cases to free the squares from their camps! Many Spanish protesters have joined their Greek counterparts and spoke about their aspirations, goals and experiences on the Spanish front; perhaps the greatest example of true European solidarity!

Those protests are not the only ones recently though. Highly linked with the Arab Spring and the protests in North Africa and Middle East, Portugal and Iceland a couple of years ago. The people are speaking out! But who listens to them? The Arab Revolution managed to overthrow the regimes that ruled their region for decades, but in Europe the protests are still being seen as social phenomenon! But is it? Can we see a real change in Europe like we saw in the Arab countries, or our democracy and freedom are only a Matrix? In the Arab countries they managed to topple their regimes and oust Presidents. In Europe we only saw the former Icelandic PM Mr. Geir H. Haarde taken to court, while in Ireland, Greece, Spain and Portugal, or any other European country we failed to achieve any real change!

Protests of support for the Spaniards and the Greeks were staged in many other European cities, like Dublin, Lisbon, Amsterdam, London and Paris. "Even though protesters in Spain were of a heterogeneous and ambiguous group, they shared a strong rejection of unemployment, welfare cuts, Spanish politicians, the current two-party system in Spain as well as the current political system, capitalism, banks and bankers, political corruption and firmly support what they call basic rights: home, work, culture, health and education." (some citations from wikipedia taken for this paragraph: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Spanish_protests)

The exact same feelings that the "Aganaktismenoi" protested for in Greece. But had their protests any impact as their Arab counterparts? Definitely not!Nobody of the responsible for this crisis was prosecuted, jailed or fined, no previous Prime Minister or member of the Government was brought to justice and no change of the political status quo happened neither in Spain or Greece.....Yet! What we see in Greece is the constant punishment of the ordinary citizens, they are called to pay for the bail out package, while those responsible escape the cuts yet again! Not only they were tax evading with the tolerance of the Greek political elite, but now they managed to escape the crisis unscathed! Among them, most rich Greek entrepreneurs and businessmen, the Greek Orthodox Church and all the politicians of the Greek Parliament, that saw no taxes of cuts to their income!

Now the Indignados are arriving in Brussels, for a week of protests before a larger Europe-wide demonstration later this month, ahead of an EU Summit. They have walked from Madrid all the way to the Belgian Capital and they were joined by French and other protesters. They have camped originally in the Park of Elizabeth in Brussels, but later they were moved to a University campus. On the way to Brussels they walked through Spain and France, and the support they received from many villagers and citizens of towns they passed was encouraging. They also picked up information and suggestions from people to take to the European Commission. Hopefully they will be heard and they will succeed in their efforts. I am behind them all the way!

Another very encouraging recent development is that this side of the Atlantic is not the only part that is being motivated! For any real change to happen in the West, America has to participate and be taken on board fortunately or unfortunately. And lately that is exactly what is happening! As we read from the press from USA : "Several thousand Occupy Wall Street protesters have marched to New York City's Washington Square Park for a peaceful general assembly.Demonstrators marched Saturday from Manhattan's Zuccotti Park, the group's unofficial headquarters where protesters have been camped out for the last 22 days. The trek was peaceful and orderly.

On Wednesday, dozens were arrested when thousands marched on Wall Street in their biggest show of support yet. Last Saturday, 700 people were arrested after they spilled onto the roadway while crossing the Brooklyn Bridge.Protesters are speaking out against corporate greed and the gap between the rich and poor. They say they have no leaders and are making decisions by consensus.Supporters have donated food, clothing and medical supplies. Some drop off their offerings, while others have mailed them."—Copyright 2011 Associated Press

That is a show that even in America, the people are fed up with the current Capitalist system and they want to speak out and react. They are fed up finding hard to make ends meet while the Bankers and the Stock Brokers dictate their lives and get richer with the money that are being deprived from them! The protests are spreading in America just like they are spreading in Europe, with Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia also having protests. The "Occupy Wall Street" campaign was started last month, as a protest movement against corporate power!

With both Europe and America in a surge of citizen protests and their expression of dissatisfaction on the current political and economical condition, will our leaders listen to them? We have come to the end of our tolerance, we can not take it any more, we do not like it anymore, we want justice, equal opportunities and those who brought us to this point to face justice! We want change, real democracy and a different kind of economic model that will be fare and beneficial to all of us, not just the few of this World! Do we have freedom and democracy as they want us to believe? Those two values are what they tell us we should be proud of our "great western civilization", can we see them in practice please? The people are speaking up! The ball is in your field now Leaders of Europe, we are watching your next move!


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