PURPOSE: To set up meetings and exchanges between New York social movements and activists of the Spanish State through a visit to Madrid and Barcelona. The delegation will witness and participate in what is shaping up to be one of the most important moments in the  contemporary history of the Spanish state. This is an opportunity for the fight against neoliberalism to capture global momentum in alignment with the recent electoral victory of SYRIZA in Greece. We intend to bring back all that we learn and observe to New York in order to advance this fundamental political transformation.

DATES: The visit will take place between May 15 and 25, coinciding with the municipal and regional elections that will occur on May 24, 2015.  (Some of our  participants will arrive before and/or after these proposed dates). Following this trip, other delegations may be organized to coincide with the general election in November.

LOCATION: The delegation consists of two phases: (1) May 15-20 in Madrid, and (2) May 20-26 in Barcelona. Participants will have the opportunity to travel to other parts of Spain and to engage with other social movement actors during those dates.

PARTICIPANTS: Between 20-25 people from different U.S. organizations and social movements will be participating.  Its a very rich and diverse group of people associated with projects and networks ranging from the development of a self-managed social center inspired by those in Spain, like Mayday Space (in Brooklyn, New York), to a national coalition of groups in more than 20 cities that works in defense of the “right to the city” and against property speculation, like the Right to the City Alliance.  The group includes people who work in organizations that fight for access to basic services (such as housing, food, and legal, labor, and medical support) for people who have been especially affected by the neoliberal attack, including Make the Road NY, Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Why Hunger, Churches United for Fair Housing, Retail Action Project y Jews for Racial & Economic Justice.  Many have also participated in recent movements such as cutting Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Sandy, the Movement Against Climate Change, or Black Lives Matter, and continue to maintain projects and networks that emerged from these uprisings, such as the Worker-Owned Rockaway Cooperatives, Rising Tide or 16 Beaver Group. 

Our team also includes members of the Movement Net Lab, a group that analyzes movements networks and helps develop organizational strategies to navigate the new political terrain that networks create. The group includes others who work in the fields of culture, critical thinking and and associated media platforms such as the Center for Story-Based Strategy andJacobin Magazine. Also joining us are people directly connected to efforts that democratize political institutions including United Working Families and the Working Families Party.. Finally, we will be traveling with two people who are involved in the New York node of node’s New York of Marea Granatethe international network of émigrés of the spanish state.

SUPPORT/SOLIDARITY WITH THE PROJECT: We have a minimum budget and hope to get support, especially with respect to accommodations in Madrid and Barcelona. We appreciate any and all help to identify friends’ homes where participants can stay, and would also like to receive suggestions about activities, meetings and conversations that may be relevant to our delegation. For questions please contact lucas.shapiro@gmail or morenocaballud@yahoo.es.

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Themes

adacolauREVOLUCIÓN ELECTORAL:  The crisis of the spanish state has opened a unique opportunity for the advance of radical democracy through insurgent electoral politics and a confluence of political parties including Podemos, Barcelona en Común y Ahora Madrid. We will explore how these efforts are re-imagining political participation and, as promised, restructuring public institutions to benefit the vast majority. We will be meeting with prominent figures of these efforts before the municipal elections in May, when popular forces and movement actors are positioned to take (and then redistribute) institutional power in Barcelona, Madrid, and other places. Beyond the local elections taking place on May 24, all eyes will be fixed on the general elections this autumn. 2015 appears to be the year of the “Democratic Revolution.”

2013_5_10_Ia3x0tEAaZTOHlJorjVco4SOCIAL MOVEMENTS:  The movement for the right to decent housing in Spain has been led by the  Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH), which is one of the dynamic and powerful base community formations in the global north.  We will be talking to members of the PAH and attending their meetings and actions in order to better understand how base organizations can grow in scale and win victories at the local and national levels. In this way we will explore how to build social movements that can sustain momentum, be cross-cutting, and shift the public discourse against neoliberal hegemony. We will also examine the role played by “networked movements” in the current situation.  We will observe how decentralized organizing efforts (15M, Partido X, etc.) and the use of participatory platforms facilitate alternative methods to those of centralized and traditional organizations (unions, NGOs, etc.). We will study the lessons, ideas, and strategies that have emerged from these experiences and how the resemble, diverge, or can be incorporated into the U.S. context.

ateneu_candelaCENTROS SOCIALES: Over the past 15 years, a new generation of self-managed community spaces has emerged in Spain that have served as a source of people’s resistance to new organizational models, cultural production, and new ways of working together in solidarity and cooperation. We will visit spaces such as Patio Maravillas, Tabacalera and Villana in Madrid and Ateneu Candela, Can Batlló and La Base in Barcelona. In this way we will learn how these social centers work internally, examine their impact on urban-based struggles, and think about how these models (both squatter and more formal spaces) might be adapted to similar movement infrastructure projects in New York, such as the recently created Mayday Space.