News from the debt crisis in Spain and the rise of a global response
To the dark rhythm of the batucada
Por DIAGONAL English

By Belén Gopegui / Translated by Christine Lewis Carroll

There’s a demo at six pm. It looks like rain, you’re cold, you already went to Thursday’s demo and the ones before that. And what if you don’t go? On the screens you see the world continues, different people talk about what they’re doing; they remind you of the demo but they too carry on with their activity because it’s not easy to balance times, places and plans. If you don’t go, others will go for you and on other occasions you will go for them; the children need to be picked up, work needs to be finished, it’s windy. There are too many fronts to cover, too many days out on the street, but instead of thinking “And what if you don’t go?” you ask yourself “What if the others don’t go? What if nobody goes?” Something stronger than sadness hits you just at the thought of it.

The insurrection of the Commune of Paris took place on the 18th of March 1871. “Marx, who in September 1870 had labelled the insurrection as madness, treated it in April 1871, when he witnessed the popular and massive nature of the movement, with the close attention of someone who is participating in the great events that mark the way forward in the historic revolutionary world movement.” These are Lenin’s words in his introduction to Marx´s letters to Kugelmann. Marx writes in one of those letters “the bourgeois rogues of Versailles proposed the alternative to the Parisians: accept the challenge of the fight or surrender without fighting”.

Someone on your screen is requesting rainproof gear for the people camping outside the Bankia headquarters, victims of mortgage debts. They have decided they will not surrender without fighting. You could retweet the message as others will, but some will take umbrellas, rainwear, plastic covers to make a temporary shelter and thermos flasks with soup and coffee.

You are reminded of Brecht writing about a night shelter: “The snow meant for some men falls on the ground. But the world doesn’t change because of that.” However, marching to Parliament or surrounding a means of production or a financial institution to the dark, fearless rhythm of the batucada (not festive this time) is quite different from seeking shelter for the night: if you don’t go, if others don’t go, if we don’t go, the decisive moment when people in movement shorten the era of exploitation is further and further away.

[This article was originally published in Spanish on November 25th, 2012]





DIAGONAL is a grassroots communication project based in Madrid. We print a biweekly newspaper and run this website with daily updates. We only accept adds from social collectives (cooperatives, non-profit or kindred associations) and exist thanks to a large base of suscriptors that collaborate with us. If you would like to help with translations or editorial suggestions, please contact english [at]

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