I have read international media and saw the photos of huge protests in Spain. There are lots of fire and blood there. I have not been there, but I can tell you something: I live in Seville´s (the south of Spain main city) city center, I go to work and come back walking. 30 minutes to go, 30 to come back. Plus extra walk, daily, during the evening only to have fun. And never, ever, during the last year, have I found a protest against the government austerity measures. In fact, one of the main ones (because it has meant a game-change) has been that the almost-free medicines we enjoyed now have to be paid at a price linked to income. And it has not risen, at least on my direct experience, more than grumbles, because the reform is logic, and almost all the people supports logic measures.
Furthermore, about the social unrest in Spain, I want to tell you something difficult to believe. It exists, but I think this is not what you have seen on TV. Why. Because, at least in Spain, this protests are a fake. How could I know it if I have not seen them?. Well, I can guess, and I will tell you why.
I am a civil servant. In a previous protest, a supposed “general strike that stopped 80% of the country”, a group of Workers-Union “protesters” came to my work. We knew that that was going to happen, and I bet for arriving later than usual to avoid troubles. When I got there I found about a hundred people with red flags in my way, but leaving the area. Nothing happened to me, except that one person shouted at me, with irony, “go, and work hard, come on, you are late”, and I answered “yes, that is what I had planned”. Nothing else.
When I arrived at work, as I expected, nobody was on strike except the bosses. It looks weird, till you know that my region is reined by the Socialist party and the parading Unions were the two main (supposedly leftist) ones.
One of my colleagues, in my Unit, disabled, had her car´s windows broken, and her wheels stabbed. Another (friend of mine) had to turn round her car because of fear when she saw what was happening, because she had her little daughter into the car (she was going to park and let her child in a nearby childcare facility). I do not know what other parents did, or suffer. Some of the people that got in by walk received minor injuries. A pregnant woman was thrown to the floor (by mistake, they told me that the unionist said when he was attacked by the people that were with the woman). I asked my colleague last Tuesday (October 09 2012) about the trial and she answered me that she had quit, and that she doubted it had consequences. As there were “minor” damages and injuries, probably nothing would happen. Furthermore, as we were civil servants attacked in a protest that we were (supposedly) massively backing, we had no media coverage. The unionists were so shameless that they dared to complain about “excessive police in the streets”.
My colleague is sad, and feels powerless. For you in the rest of the world to understand, although there is something that looks similar, we do not really have economically-punitive-sanctions as you know it in the USA, in civil or penal law, and few police as well, so usually crime pays specially when it is made by “connected” people .
But that was not my point. My point is that all that people, 100 hundred or so, that attacked women, males, even somehow children, didn´t attack me. And I am not so formidable. That was because they were in a show, a violent one, but a show, for their Union. When it ended there, they simply left to continue in another place (they had a route, and I am not kidding). So when I see the current protest´s photos, and knowing as I know what is happening here, I can´t stop wondering how much of it is real, and how much of it is another violent show.