Dan Hancox on the Spanish Uprising: Democracia Real Ya! (Real Democracy Now!)

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The recent abdication of Spain's King Juan Calos I from his throne has spurred tens of thousands of Spaniards to take to the streets in protest for a brighter future.

Dan Hancox, the author of The Village Against the World and an active journalist on radical Spanish politics, explores why from Madrid and Barcelona to London and Paris, the world is starting to hear the cries of those calling for a new direction for Spain.


This political momentum is not new for Spain, says Hancox, who has written extensively on Spain's radical movements. With unemployment rates of Spaniards aged 16-24 reaching a colossal 54%, and thousands across the country being evicted from their homes, these Spanish protesters are demanding change that is a long time coming. In fact, says Hancox:
The answer is that the political momentum is always there, latent, hidden in the gaps. Beyond the hated bureaucratic monoliths of Spain's two main parties, in the interstices of the political mainstream, lies the fizzing possibility of a true popular resistance, and sovereignty. The speed of movement yesterday – and we will see much more in the coming weeks – comes from the tireless groundwork done through local neighbourhood chapters of 15M (the indignados), the PAH (anti-evictions movement), and more recently Podemos, the indignados' first concerted attempt to convert mass horizontalist egalitarianism into the form of a political party, apart from the Catalan CUP. Podemos were formed only 3 months before the European elections, but stunned the Spanish establishment by winning over a million votes and 5 seats [15], after mass primaries in which 33,000 people voted.

It is this same spirit which has brought on calls for a referendum on the monarchy – and points to why Spanish Republicanism is not just about an individual family, or even an institution – but popular sovereignty.
Visit OpenDemocracy to read the article in full.

Earlier this year, Hancox's London Review of Books Diary essay looked at Asturias in northern Spain, home of the 1934 revolution, and more recent militant miners' and Indignados' struggles against austerity. Visit the London Review of Books to read.

The Observer published an extended extract of the of Marinaleda. 

Forthcoming are two long pieces on Spain for Newsweek and London Review of Books.

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