On the “decline” of Madrid, the state re-appropriation of public space, and strange hope

Contentious Politics in an Age of Austerity

Cristina Flesher Fominaya

During the Global Justice Movement the constant refrain in Madrid’s movement network was how to break out of the activist ghetto, how to reach out to the people on the streets. With 15-M it seems those dreams were fulfilled beyond our wildest imaginings. And yet…I recently attended a protest against corruption in Madrid. Everyone in Spain, and I mean everyone, is aware of the corruption scandals that have rocked the PP, and also now two of the large unions, added to which are scandals involving the royal family and recurring urban political scandals encompassing both major parties. I therefore expected many outraged citizens to fill the square. Instead very few people were there, in fact, it felt a lot like the “manis” we used to have before 15-M, before 13-M, when we still were quite happy if 50 or 60 people showed up. Of course, just because…

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