The other day I published a translation of the first communiqué from #AcampadaMérida, or Campamento Dignidad (‘Camp Dignity’). What follows is a translation of a short text from John Brown, originally published 22nd February, in support of the camp.
Acampada Mérida: The unyielding, the indispensable
At times, the important things do not take place at the centre of the monsters we know as modern States. Within those political structures, the capital plays a central role, since it is, in both senses of the word, the main stage for representation. Representative politics and spectacle meet up in the space that takes on the role of the centre. However, life, the life of people, flows through other channels distant from the spectacle and from representation. Today life is painful for many people, they lack housing, income that allows for a dignified life, freedom. That pain cannot be seen in the grand representations of the capital, but it is far more noticeable in small spaces: in the neighbourhoods or regions on the periphery seldom spoken about on television.
In Extremadura, this social and personal pain, this moral pain too, is very intense. The indicators of unemployment, poverty, child poverty and exclusion are alarming. They are among the highest not only in Spain, but in Europe, surpassing those of Greece or Romania. The region itself is not among the poorest, but it is among the most unequal, the most unjust, and it has been this way for a long time. Everyone remembers the scenes from Land Without Bread (Las Hurdes) filmed by Buñuel. Fewer recall those of the land occupations by dispossessed peasants in the 1930s. Also in the collective memory lies the brutal class vengeance exacted by Yagüe and his hordes against the Extremaduran peasants called “moors of the North” by the troops from Army of Africa and its bloodthirsty officials. Those moors of the North were treated like the moors of the south, with the brutality displayed by those little lords toward those whom they despise and fear, with the brutality of an internal colonial army. The villages of Extremadura were turned into Kabyles of the Rif, and exterminated with fury.
In Extremadura a great deal of memory persists, because in Extremadura, misery and repression, and the inequality that is an insult to dignity, are not mere things of the past. The deaths of the present, the sufferings of this past that does not end, are today the work of cold mechanisms that expel people from their homes, deprive them of their means for living by taking away their jobs and eliminating other sources of income. Within this frame, Dignity has been lifting its head for some years now, with organisations such as the Platform for a Basic Income. Comrades in the Platform have begun, away from the centre of the State, distant from the gaze of the press and the regime’s television channels, a camp at the doors of the Extremaduran Employment Office. The camp demands above all two things: decent employment and a basic income. Through work, or, if not, through a guaranteed income independent of work. It is not an extravagant demand but an indispensable one, unless it is wished that entire swathes of the population should succumb to desperation, and plunge into civil death. Hence the name of the camp -‘Dignity’- which is the other side of outrage in the face of an inhuman plundering regime.
An embrace to all those who are camping: you are the unyielding ones, the indispensable ones.