Sunday, January 12, 2014
In Defiance Of The Law
This is a protest in Bilbao, Spain, in support of Basque political prisoners, held yesterday, January 11, 2014, in defiance of a new Spanish law outlawing protests. There are huge protests like this daily now in different parts of the world. South Korea, Ukraine, Cambodia, Thailand, Brazil, Argentina, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, are a few I can name off the top of my head. In England, Germany, France, Greece, and other places, large protests have occurred recently and can be re-organized quickly.
Those of us who were around in the 1960s remember the huge marches on Washington, and massive uprisings in other parts of the world. In France, protesters nearly took over the country. They were running parts of Paris through local committees.
Concessions were made. Civil Rights bills were passed. The Vietnam War was ended. The streets emptied, and a counter-revolution was launched. Politicians like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were elected. The great Neoliberal project variously known of as Reaganomics or Thatcherism began to undo the economic gains working classes had made in the post World War II era.
Making concessions is authority's most powerful weapon, but the Neoliberals in power today, from Merkel to Obama to the Egyptian Army to the Chines Communist Party, with the goal of a worldwide low cost labor force within reach, aren't as likely to use that option as the politicians of the 1960s were.
Authorities are trying to clamp down with violence, as they just did in Cambodia, as Obama did in clearing the Occupy camps, and by outlawing protest, but as in this case in Spain, people have begun defying the law, an important development in the escalation toward what could be a critical mass, maybe in the Spring when it's warmer in the north.
Don't underestimate the willingness of authority to escalate, but there is also a limit to their power. Communication technology is such that things can rapidly feed off each other. The defiance shown here in Spain will give confidence to others. Stay tuned. Agitate. Educate.