BARCELONA #15M Newsletter nr 57

1. Would you like a future? Grab hold of your present

TAKE YOUR PRESENT“Are you tired of the usual present? Can’t you see any alternative to the usual shitty present? Are you looking for a unique, cheap, funny and positive gift? perfect for anybody of any age? Enough is enough! Don’t make your life sour. Give them your energy and your excitement. Give them opportunities, safety, health care and education. The most wanted gift this year at Christmas. Do you want a future? Grab hold of your present!” 
These words belong to a very peculiar Christmas marketing campaign, created and promoted in Barcelona by the activists known as Reflectantes who decided to work on a different Christmas attitude toghether with PAH (Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca/Platform of People Affected by Mortgage ), a collective defending the universal right to a public health care system, the cross-sectional collective against the death of the public education system, iaioflautas ( rebel grannies ) and Stop Balas de Goma (Stop Rubber Bullets ).

The campaign began  on December 9th with teasers on twitter and facebook, creating hype and saying it would all be explained at the fundraising dinner party  held by Reflectantes on December 12th in RAI Art. While one of the Reflectantes was presenting the project, as a surprise, the screen showed a livestreaming of  4 activists dressed in Christmas-inspired reflecting outfits starting to cover the center of Barcelona with copies of the 5 posters from the campaign: Smiling activists from easy-to-recognize collectives offer a big gift box  with little tell-tale icons that represent different lines of social activism in Barcelona: Housing, Health, Education, Human Rights against police repression and Civil Disobedience.photocall66They are encouraging people to forget consumerism and give the gift of public healthcare, public education, fighting spirit, justice and the right to housing, and to help doing so both URLS for the campaign and for their own websites are printed on the posters.
Since the campaign started, posters have been available printed versions to paste onto the advertising totems throughout Barcelona, coordinating areas through a map where these totems are marked so as to make it easier, and the new presents started to appear everywhere.

Other activities such as marches through the main shopping area downtown, “indignant carols”  and photocalls  took place during two weeks in order to invite people to join their favourite collective that is actively working to change the present situation. An updated list of activist collectives working on very dfferent subjects throughout Barcelona makes it hard to choose who to join… but easy to find your favourite topic.  For 2014, instead of complaining about the recession, grab hold of your present!


Video, Streaming and Pictures 

Social Networks

  • Twitter Account @reflectantes Twitter HT #PresenteDeMierda #MejorandoLoPresente #TomaTuPresente

2. Figaró, the challenge of governing among neighbours 

Figaró-Montmany is a little town in Catalonia, with a population of 1,100 people. The peculiarity of this village is that the governance is held by an assembly of neighbours which does not belong to any political party.

For ten years, residents of this town have been in the Town Hall practicing a participatory democracy  with a genuine desire to involve the rest of the people. This citizen participation has two types of protagonists: individual citizens and entities. The political participation is focused on housing, education, environment and urban planning.Figaro-Montmany-se-asocia-a-la_54341297747_53389389549_600_396

One of its pillars is the voting of a participatory budgeting where citizens can decide how to spend the people’s money. Each year starts with a process through which neighbours decide on the municipal budget: specific proposals for small investments as well as priorities for large ones are discussed and voted. Throughout this budget process, residents are actively involved in policy making on a daily basis as discussions continue on the street, in bars, on the football field and even at schools, where children decide over the portion of the budget allocated to them.

This process culminates on the day of voting in the ballot box, an act that is already part of the tradition for the residents of this village. The body of the Permanent Committee for Citizen Participation, consisting of representatives of the neighborhood and political parties, oversees the entire process and ensures the implementation of the regulation on citizen participation.

Figaró-Montmany is an example of citizen participation in decision-making and governing the town from the grassroots. For once, a small town is not a big hell as a well-known quote in Spain says. Quite the opposite, Figaró-Montmany is a mirror of change in participatory policy.



Social Networks


3. Pamapam: a fair trade map of Barcelona

Pamapam is a map of the city of Barcelona: streets, squares, neighborhoods and parks appear as in every map. Its peculiarity is that it is a commercial map that indicates responsible use and fair trade shops of the city.

trueque-2-300x224The philosphy behind the responsible consumption movement  is that every choice we make as a consumer has an impact on the environment and on society. When we choose something because it is environmentally friendly or socially fair, we make it easier for more such products and services to be developed in the future. Being a responsible consumer means realizing that we have the power to help change the world through the choices that we make everyday. A responsable consumption influences the behavior of manufacturers, distributors and retailers, and encourages decision makers to adopt policies that protect the environment and the rights of citizens.

The business areas on the map right now are clothes, food and banks, as the people who started the project began with the sectors they knew better, in order to push all the citizens to organize, inform, become active, think and practice solidarity economy. Indeed Pamapam is not a static and definitive map, but a collaborative project: any initiative of responsable consumption can add itself to the map, and every citizen can be part of the responsable consumption initiative’s research group.


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Author: thefreeonline

The Free is a book and a blog. Download free E/book ...”the most detailed fictional treatment of the movement from a world recognizably like our own to an anarchist society that I have read...

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