In 2011, we went to Madrid. At that time, the medias were passing on informations about the birth of the “spanish indignants”: they were describing us then a new form of social movement, an horizontal movement, detached from any tradition. A movement using the social networks to coordinate its actions, inspired by the events that had taken place a few months earlier during the Arab spring.
The Spaniards, they said, were taking the streets and occupying the squares protesting against their government’s politics. They didn’t want the rigor, the budget cuts or the austerity. They were raising serious doubts as to the way their democracy was working, a democracy they considered to be a vassal of the market, corrupt and disconnected from the people. Those people had no leader, no party, no union.
They were just citizens. And they were willing to change democracy. Intrigued by this phenomenon, we wanted to witness, to measure, to evaluate and to understand by ourselves what really meant this indignant movement, otherwise called the 15-M movement, that people talked about with so much exaltation.
During our first trip into the Spanish capital, we weren’t dissapointed, literally seized by the energy that this free civil society was realeasing. Everything we had been hearing was true, something extraordinnary was going on in our spanish neighbor’s back yard. We just had to cross the Pyrenees to see it. An entire society, seemed to stand, as one man. Mobilised to change the country, to handle its own destiny. For the voices and the bodies standing in front of us, everything was possible. The air was filled with hope.
A year later, we returned to Madrid. The medias had stopped talking about the indignants but the 15 M movement was still breathing. It was just transformed. The squares were emptied, people had sunken faces but they were still there, mobilised in differents ways and in a more precise way. Organisations, communities, new groups – still outside any party and traditional union – had taken over the “indignado” movement.
But this time it was not the energy and that will to fight, that drew our attention. What shoked us most, during this second journey, was the violence of the austerity policies carried by the conservative Mariano Rajoy’s government. All around us people were dismissed, budgets were cut, companies were privatised. Entire families were thrown out of their homes every day. The lines for the soup kitchens were every day longer. The State was shrinking. The young people were massivley leaving the country hoping to find salvation abroad. The health staff, the education staff, the police staff and most of the public services were in unlimited strike. The demonstrations had become the common lot of the Spaniards and the Parliament, barricaded, looked like a citadel under siege. madrid seemed wounded, ravaged. Under a state of siege.
These two journeys and these two impressions, gave birth to the idea of making the webdocumentary NO ES UNA CRISIS. Through it, we wish to bring a dual outlook on the crisis, the dual outlook we have experimented during our two stays in Madrid. This way, we wish to show the state of a european capital constrained to a severe austerity policy, but also to reveal how a civil society can mobilize, transcending all ages, social classes or politcal believes, to resist to something that looks a lot like a stampede, and to rethink democracy.
In other words, we wish to show a capital hit by rigor and galvanized by a spirit of revolt.
Fabien Benoit & Julien Malassigné