8 Nov



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA After we arrived at the Hotel Regente and parked the car, Marlene and I went out to dinner at an Italian restaurant a couple blocks from the hotel. Then we bought a new SIM card for Spain and when to The English Court, a large department store with a supermarket, where we bought fruit, bread, and whipped cream for our breakfast in the morning.
After eating and shopping we walked around the area. We found three protests that evening. The first was a group of pensioners, who were protesting the bailing out of the banks. Each Thursday, they would march in the area. They passed out a small flyer written in Spanish and English. The English version said that “the government of Spain and its banks” have stolen “30 billion euros from elderly people,” which was only from “Bankia,” one of the bailed-out Spanish banks.
The second protest was really a hunger strike by several young people. Unlike the early days of the short-lived Occupy movement in the United States, they had specific demands. One of the attached photos lists the hunger strikers’ demands. When we interviewed one the spokespersons for the hunger strikers, he said that the hunger strikers were not only in Madrid, but other cities in Spain as well, that they were on a hunger strike because of because of the social, political, and economical situation in Spain. He said that they have a government, which acts like the mafia then a government, that they have stolen public money, while they tell us to make sacrifices.
He said the situation was difficult, every day is Spain more than 500 families are driven from their homes because of the banks, and the government is working for the economic powers, for the banks and not for the Spanish population. He said it was time to change this capitalist system, which is against the people’s rights and dignity. He said that the alternative to capitalism was democracy, where the people decide the issues in their lives. He said that he agreed with nationalizing the banks. However, he would not define himself as an anarchist, a Marxist, or as socialist. He said he had been on a hunger strike for 21 days.
The third group was protesting the government not prosecuting the crimes under Franco. In a legal-size flyer also in Spanish and English said that the goal was “to struggle against the impunity for the crimes committed during the country’s cruel 1936-39 civil war and the ensuing four decades of right-wing dictatorship.” The same flyer said the goals could be summarized by the three words, “truth, justice, and reparation(s).”
While I’m supportive of a “truth commission,” all sides used violence against their enemies and committed atrocities. For example, while I’m an atheist, I would have opposed the destruction of the churches by the left; and, the Stalinist Spanish Communist Party liquidated leaders of the POUM (Partido Obrero Unidad Marxista) and of anarchists. All these crimes should also be investigated.

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