The Indignados movement changed Spanish politics forever
No, I do not think so. Some nostalgia is normal, but epoch changes do not suddenly end with the departure of just one political leader, no matter how important. The 15-M marked a turning point in Spanish society.
The 15-M in the squares was a movement born with a lack of historical memory, structure, program or leadership, but through its deliberations and activity it managed to reintroduce major political issues that challenged the consensus of base underlying Spanish political life. Rather than accept the dominant narrative of the 2008 financial crisis – that we had ‘lived beyond our means’ and therefore had to accept austerity – the indignant came together and singled out political and financial elites as the culprits of the financial crisis. At the same time, they put new issues on the agenda, such as systematic corruption or the quality of our democracy.
As sociologist Jesús Ibáñez said, the precursor of a revolution is a great social conversation, which can break down existing borders and consensus. But it can take decades for these changes to fully materialize. The 1905 revolution in Russia had to wait until 1917 for the process of social transformation to materialize.
With the right-wing’s electoral victory in Madrid last week, we must remember that the pandemic, and in particular the restrictions it has placed on our daily lives, is a parenthesis. The health emergency produced a special moment that the right was better able to exploit, with its speech promising “the freedom to do what you want”. But the deeper crisis of neoliberal capitalism is increasingly evident – and unlike a decade ago, there is now an organized left space articulating an alternative model.
Similar dynamics can be seen in the United States and elsewhere, with the coming years likely to be defined by a confrontation between competing models: a dying and increasingly authoritarian neoliberalism, or a new Keynesianism based on greater intervention. public, a welfare state renewed new social and labor protections.