Jul 25, 2014

Follow Friday: @PabGallego on the future of the Left in Spain and Europe

The GFC hit Spain hard, and the recovery from it has spurred a resurgence of the Left, says Spanish activist Pablo Gallego Garcia.

Matthew Clayfield

Journalist, critic, screenwriter and playwright

When I first met him a year ago, Pablo Gallego García (@PabGallego) had neither a job nor very much money. Like more than 50% of Spanish youth, he understood only too well the effects of the Eurozone crisis on ordinary people and had almost become accustomed to the indignities and privations of crippling unemployment. One of the original members of Movimiento 15-M, or los indignados, the Spanish protest movement that predated and inspired Occupy Wall Street, he knew exactly what he was fighting for, and against. He still knows: Gallego may now have a job, but it pays roughly €400 less per month than it would have two years ago, one of countless positions to have seen its previous holder laid off so that it might be refilled by someone else at a lower wage. Gallego's new gig is with a firm that compiles reports on the actions of the financial industry. He has been able to witness first-hand the selling of Spain: the auctioning off of its assets -- high-rises, airports -- to the highest bidders (usually Americans, Russians and Chinese). "Some people are making a lot of money off this crisis," he told Crikey. Besides finding work, Gallego's life has changed in other ways since we last spoke. In May, Spain's non-mainstream leftist party, Podemos, won a surprising 7.97% of the country's vote in the European parliament elections, gaining five seats. Then, last month, King Juan Carlos abdicated, sending thousands onto the streets to call for a referendum on the monarchy. There is something in the air, Gallego says, that arguably hasn't been there since the early 1930s.

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