Traditionally, the memory of workers’ struggles, those struggles that won many of the rights that are now being taken away, takes a historical sense through narratives that unite the progressive cycles of struggle. In these narratives, it is common to resort to the metaphor of the thread, a black (in the case of autonomous or anarchist struggles) or red (in the case of the Communists) thread, which refers to the background of continuity of those decades of struggles. Today, when every event is presented as a unique (fragile, vaporous or fashionable) historical novelty, it is also worth tracing these ties, however tentative, that allow us to connect the similar logics of different processes. This is what happens with the 15-M movement, which, despite many of its members not having been part of demonstrations such as No War, 13-M or V for Vivienda, those mobilizations and practices are reproduced in speeches that resonate, as do their own slogans, among themselves.
In these cases we cannot say that the unifying factor of all the struggles of the last decade is the story of the same class, or even a simple generational identification. What unites them all is a set of binding threads that have allowed demonstrations at different times respond to a collective subterranean memory of those that have derived a set of practices and ways of doing politics and being in the streets.
These transparent but strong nylon threads are what allow us to see that there are new forms of social networking, where the internet plays a central role and where political organization does not pass through a central organization, be it a party or a union, nor a petrified political program. But above all, we can observe that these ways of acting, far from being weakened because of this, as many have argued, are able to accumulate these experiences, draw lines of continuity and tie them together with a similar logic in very different political and economic moments.
These simple premises are why we have witnessed several waves of protests in recent years that have repeated arguments against political corruption, against the government’s lies, and against false democracy. And while these arguments have been attacked for being too vague and general, seen as the typical tantrums of youth who scream without proposing alternatives, they have ended up erupting into pulic space with great force.
It is true that they have not formed a political agenda, because one of the basic tenets of these movements is precisely not to have a program in the strict sense. The fact remains that the political class itself, which insists in demanding an alternative program, is consistently failing and lying in its own programs. The starting point of all these movements has not been politics seen as a noble art, as Rajoy strives to defend, but rather to start from the undeniable fact that politics has been discredited. So what politics can you believe in today? The answer is that you can only believe in grassroots politics, in real democracy.
A belief in real democracy was not developed in the theoretical plane, but through the strength of the facts. How can we believe in a political class that invades other countries against the will of 90% of its citizens? How can we believe in governments that play games with the truth about a bombing in order to stay in power? How can we believe in a system that lets the market control the constitutional right to adequate housing? How can we not take to the streets against governments that rescue the bankers and the powerful at the expense of impoverishing the majority?
The legitimacy of these movements, beyond the slogans in the press, is that they all began with the defense of an unquestionable truth and attacked those outrageous lies. Iraq was attacked for the better governance of the global economy, ETA did not carry out the M11 bombings, housing is not a right, and the weakest are paying for the crisis. Would anyone in their right mind say otherwise? These truths have not done more than to reveal that politics is covered by a the cloak of lies, corruption and the interests of the powerful. This affirmation is not a pledge to radicalness, it has been publically confirmed, it will not come out freely, there must be consequences.
These days we see that the political class has fallen into total disrepute. The social body’s self-organization has opened up a political front of networks and anonyminity, a political front with global dimensions, that kicks, screams, protests, organizes and, when possible, overthrows governments. At this point, nobody doubts that this is for real.