Highly recommended: this piece by Dan Hancox in today’s Salon (it was originally published in The New Inquiry), about the political and economic unrest that Spain is experiencing as a result of the austerity crisis. The depth of the catastrophe there is staggering: a foreclosure crisis and repossessed homes; the economically desperate committing suicide; a 25% unemployment rate; a brisk market in the buying and selling of gold in Madrid’s public square; the C.E.O. of the country’s leading newspaper, El Pais, laying off nearly a third of the workforce and telling employees “we can’t keep living so well,” meanwhile pocketing a salary that is the equivalent of nearly $17 million a year, and on and on.
The good news is that Spaniards are fighting back, with everything from graffiti to rude slogans and songs to rallies and a highly successful one-day general strike. As yet, though, the protests haven’t cohered into a lasting movement for change. I fervently hope the Spanish left gets its act together and gets itself organized soon, because what’s going on there now is beyond brutal.