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Arabica Robusta

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  • But their action took on real strength from its territorial outreach. They managed to mobilize local communities, parents and teachers, neighbours and local organizations, into supporting the movement in the face of increasing pressure from the government and the police. Civil society responded, in short, to the embattled students.
  • Feeling the pressure, in December 2015, state governor Geraldo Alckmin finally announced the dismissal of his government’s education secretary, and the shelving of the school reorganization. His proposal, which was received with caution by students, consists in undertaking an extensive dialogue with students, parents, teachers and principals to understand the specific situation in each school and decide its future accordingly
  • We have witnessed numerous demonstrations where citizens have organized themselves to challenge government decisions, have used technology to liaise and social networks and independent media to convey their story. And they have occupied public spaces as a means to convey the message to politicians that politics is about people’s concerns, and that democracy must prevail not only in the formal access to power, but also in the way it is exercised.

     

    The political and democratic crises are not exclusively Latin American, but today there is an opportunity for Latin America to rethink its own democracy model, originally developed in the region. The political action in the making, shown by the student mobilization in Sao Paulo, is one of the ways to seize this opportunity.

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  • If one thing convinced the founders of Podemos of the need to enter politics, it was the mass protests on the streets of Madrid in 2011, when disparate civic associations and single-issue activist groups, along with huge numbers of people with no previous involvement in politics, identifying themselves simply as “indignant,” coalesced into what has become known as the 15-M movement.

     

    There were two important things about those protests. The first is that they weren’t led or coordinated by the organizations that should have been able to do so, which were labor unions such as the UGT and the CCOO, or the Communist Party-led United Left grouping.

  • Despite the domestic and international media’s portrayal of the 15-M movement as little more than a bunch of anarchists, the creators of Podemos were aware throughout the summer of 2011, and would point this out later, that 15-M, despite its success, provided two important lessons: “It wasn’t us who organized this,” and that not everybody in the movement was “left wing.”
  • Carolina Bescansa, who had been studying 15-M for the Center for Sociological Research, noticed during the street protests that the traditional right-left divide no longer made any sense when trying to understand people’s voting intentions.

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  • The movement's strategy is based on assembling ad hoc citizen coalitions to help push back and challenge specific government actions; trying to figure out how to affect policy by exerting force on specific choke points in a system that badly needs reform. Politicians worried about inter-party politics, re-election or special interests can't see the importance of this. It's about using the power of the network to shake things up and find ways to make the political process more responsive to the needs of everyday citizens.
  • Typical of the all-encompassing approach of the 15-M movement are the myriad cooperatives set up around the country by a range of professionals looking to barter their services with other groups, as well as to sell them to the wider community.

     

    As the Spanish welfare state crumbles, 15-M offers practical solutions based on collaboration and cooperation

  • "I was brought up to be competitive; but what really matters is sharing.

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  • Since the main camp was disbanded on June 12, the government had held that the 15-M information booth that remained in Sol was a municipal concern, while local authorities argued that it was a matter of "public order" and thus of national interest.

     

    The eviction comes a week after a failed attempt that ended with police charging against the protestors. A few demonstrators told the SER radio station that this latest move is "more than strongly related" to the upcoming visit to Madrid by Pope Benedict between August 16 and 21, and that they were "expecting it."

  • Ignacio Laro, president of Apreca, the association of business owners in the area, said he was "very happy" because "the problem has been solved and the square can now resume its [commercial and tourist] activity."

  • He has outlined his pessimistic world view in books such as 2014’s Does the Richness of the Few Benefit Us All?, which argues that the world is paying a high price for the neoliberal revolution that began in the 1980s and that wealth has not trickled down to the rest of society. In Moral Blindness, published last year, he and co-author Leonidas Donskis warn about the loss of community in our increasingly individualistic world.
  • Power has been globalized, but politics is as local as before. Politics has had its hands cut off. People no longer believe in the democratic system because it doesn’t keep its promises.
  • Forty years ago we believed that freedom had triumphed and we began an orgy of consumerism. Everything seemed possible by borrowing money: cars, homes… and you just paid for it later. The wakeup call in 2008 was a bitter one, when the loans dried up.

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