European Spring 2013

The European Spring 2013 – A New Beginning?
27 March 2013
Sol Trumbo Vila

The European Spring’s Days of Action, that targeted the EU Summit and its austerity agenda, provides important lessons on how to develop alliances between trade unions, grassroots movements and civil society organisations.

This article analyses these initial experiences as a contribution towards building more successful actions that aim to construct a pan-European social movement.

For a European Spring was launched as a call for action on March 13-14, 2013 supported by 73 organizations from 13 European countries. This has been the first significant effort since the crisis erupted in 2008 to build a pan-European movement focused on the European Union (EU) institutions and their role in intensifying the economic, political and social crisis throughout Europe.

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The European Spring, although very initially, has demonstrated that the EU neoliberal narratives and policies can be effectively questioned and that a common pan European resistance is possible. However advancing this resistance will require new forms of cross border political action which will be strengthened in the process towards the Blockupy (European Central Bank) in Frankfurt (May 31-June 1) and the Alter Summit in Athens (June 7-9).

14N European Strike and Action Day

On 14 November 2012, there were general strikes, strikes, actions and demonstrations in many European countries, the biggest strike ever.
There was a general strike in Portugal and Spain, Malta and Cyprus, there were strikes in Greece and Italy, and actions and demonstrations in Belgium, Germany, and other countries.



New York Solidarity Action:

ETUC Brussels:


In Germany, the German Confederation of Trade Unions (DGB) called for actions and demonstrations in solidarity with #14N in Europe, following the ETUC (European Trade Union Confederation) call.
There were rallies and demonstrations in Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen, Stuttgart, Duesseldorf, Frankfurt/Main, Cologne, Wuppertal and other cities.

Reports in German / Berichte auf deutsch


Bericht DGB:
Europäischer Aktionstag: Europaweit Tausende auf den Straßen
Proteste in Spanien, Portugal, Belgien, Italien gegen die soziale Spaltung Europas. Auch in Deutschland gingen die Menschen auf die Straßen. Aufgerufen hatte der Europäische Gewerkschaftsbund EGB, um ein Zeichen zu setzen für Arbeit und Solidarität – gegen das Spardiktat der Europäischen Union.

IL und Ums Ganze: Solierklaerung:


Blockupy will continue 2013

A very short report

On October 20th and 21st 2012, the Blockupy alliance met in Frankfurt (Main) again and more than 500 people came to the debates. A tent was set up on a large square in the centre of the city.

Frankfurt, 21.10.12

On Saturday, there were several panel discussions on the catastrophic effects of the austerity measures in Europe.

On Sunday, activists discussed future plans of the movement and agreed to continue in 2013 (with action days probably at the end of May / beginning of June, and including actions of civil disobedience) and beyond (the European Central Bank is planning to celebrate the opening of its new building in 2014 in Frankfurt).

Blockupy 2013 will start by joining the European action day on November 14th with decentralised actions in solidarity with strikes in Southern Europe (Portugal, Spain, and elsewhere). In March 2013, activists from Germany will either join the protests in Brussels or organise solidarity actions. Blockupy activists will travel to Agora 99 in Madrid, 2 – 4 November 2012 and to Firenze 10 plus 10 from 8 – 11 November in Florence to share proposals and co-ordinate protests with groups and movements from other countries.

In the panel discussions, activists from Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Italy described the situation in Southern Europe and reported on the recent protests. The events on Saturday were organised because there was a ban on all public tents and protests in May 2012 issued by the city of Frankfurt.

press declaration in German:

May 2012 in Frankfurt:


counter-events to the Euro Finance Week 19 – 23 November 2012 in Frankfurt (in German):

Some press reports in German:

Blockupy-Sonderseite FR:,15402798.html
Im Herzen der Bestie:,15402798,20674958.html

Blockupy plant neue Proteste:





Infos zum Bussgeldverfahren:

Video: Panel Occupy Democracy 20.10.12:

Image source:

Occupy Wall Street Anniversary

First Anniversary 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012:
Occupy’s Protest Is Not Over. It Has Barely Begun
by Frances Fox Piven

“A good many observers wonder, is Occupy over? After all, the encampments that announced the movement a year ago have largely disappeared, and no obviously similar protest demonstrations of young people have taken their place, at least not in the United States.”

Conitnued at:

See also:
Occupy Your Victories: OWS’ First Anniversary
by Rebecca Solnit

“Occupy is now a year old.  A year is an almost ridiculous measure of time for much of what matters: at one year old, Georgia O’Keeffe was not a great painter, and Bessie Smith wasn’t much of a singer. One year into the Civil Rights Movement, the Montgomery Bus Boycott was still in progress, catalyzed by the unknown secretary of the local NAACP chapter and a preacher from Atlanta — by, that is, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. Occupy, our bouncing baby, was born with such struggle and joy a year ago, and here we are, 12 long months later.

Occupy didn’t seem remarkable on September 17, 2011, and not a lot of people were looking at it when it was mostly young people heading for Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. But its most remarkable aspect turned out to be its staying power: it didn’t declare victory or defeat and go home. It decided it was home and settled in for two catalytic months.”
Continued at:

More information:


Meanwhile in Europe…

Mass protests in Spain and Portugal

On September 15th, hundreds of thousands took to the streets in several cities in Portugal. Simultaneously, there was a huge march to Madrid in Spain. The protests will continue on September 25th when activists plan to surround the parliament: Ocupa el Congreso.

Meanwhile in Germany…

Preparations are underway for a continuation of Blockupy Frankfurt on October 20th/21st 2012.


Occupying Grannies in Berlin

Retirees aged 67 to 96 have occupied their community centre in Pankow, North-East Berlin. They have moved into their community centre with mattresses and camp-beds when the authorities announced that their social club would no longer be financed by the local municipality of Pankow due to budget cuts.

The community centre exists since 1998 and offers a variety of leisure activities for about 300 retirees, including painting courses, English language courses, chess and card games. It was to be closed by the end of June 2012 so the elderly decided to occupy the building and stay until the authorities find a financing solution. The angry retirees are determined: “We will stay until the bulldozers come”. The community centre is located in a neighbourhood near the Chinese embassy, and various luxurious town houses have recently been built.

This unusual squat has received a huge amount of media attention, even abroad, and the Grannies and Granddads of Berlin have been compared to Spain’s old-age pensioners who are fighting austerity, the Iaioflautas.

On August 7th, as they were celebrating their 40th day of occupation, they even received a visit from Spanish activists from the 15M movement in Berlin. They were given a banner: “Nos quedamos todos” (We will all stay).

Under pressure, the local authorities are now looking for financing options like charity organisations or social institutions to secure the future of the community centre.

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Quebec Student Strike

It didn’t start with Occupy, and it won’t end with the student strike! The persistence of anti-authoritarian politics in Quebec


July 23, 2012
Source: Out of the Mouths of ‘Casseroles’: Textes Qui Bougent Au Rythme du Carré Rouge:

by Sandra Jeppesen, Anna Kruzynski, Rachel Sarrasin: CRAC (Research Group on Collective Autonomy/ Collectif de recherche sur l’autonomie collective)*

What we are seeing today in Quebec, and particularly in Montréal, is a public moment of a much more ingrained movement that has been around for decades. If we use the rhizome analogy, we can better understand what is happening. A rhizome is like a root that runs underground: once in a while little shoots pop out above ground, and sometimes an enormous shoot breaks the surface. It is an analogy that suits the description of the anti-authoritarian movement in the province.

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Can the 99 percent speak

Onlinejournal Kultur und Geschlecht, Ruhr Universität Bochum
Ausgabe Nr. 9, Juni 2012

Can the 99% speak?
José Herranz Rodríguez

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak schrieb 1988 das Konzept der Subalternität neu und benutzte es, um sich auf postkoloniale Subjekte ohne jegliche Repräsentation in der Gesellschaft zu beziehen. Ihre Stimmen konnten nicht gehört werden, die herrschenden Diskurse brachten sie zum Verstummen.

Dieser Artikel fragt danach, ob dieses Konzept, einst auf (de-)kolonisierte Räume beschränkt, nicht auch auf Europa und die USA erweitert werden kann, und er erkundet die Rolle der Occupy Wall Street- und der Indignados-Bewegungen in einer Situation der Subalternisierung der Mittelklasse in den ‘entwickelten’ Ländern.

Haben die Bevölkerungen der USA oder Spaniens immer noch politische Repräsentation in ihren entsprechenden national-parlamentarischen Demokratien oder stehen sie abseits einer inszenierten gesellschaftlichen Teilhabe?

Anhand des Konzepts der Subalternität und Spivaks Text “Can the Subaltern Speak?” versucht die Analyse, Spivaks nicht ausgeführte Neupositionierung nachzuvollziehen und zu zeigen, dass ein scheinbar strategisches Schweigen dieser Bewegungen in Wirklichkeit eine wahrhafte Subalternität spiegelt.


Gayatri Spivak: Can the Subaltern Speak? Postkolonialität und subalterne Artikulation. Wien 2008.

No to EU Austerity

On May 5th and 6th 2012, around 300 participants met in Brussels for the Conference: “EU in Crisis. Analysis, resistance and alternatives to corporate Europe”. Many of the participants also signed a letter of protest against the ban on all forms of demonstrations and actions in Frankfurt (Main), Germany, from May 16th to 19th, 2012.


EU in Crisis, Brussels

More information:

Growing Movement Rejects Austerity Treaty

see also:

From Amsterdam 1997 to Seattle 1999 to Brussels 2012:

Italy: Rise up for a social Europe

On the way to Frankfurt

From 16th to 19th May, German movements launched a transnational mobilization in Frankfurt with the aim to block activities and flows of the financial capital of Europe. In Italy, we have decided to join and take part to the organization of these days. In fact, we believe it is a necessary step in order to build up a European movement that, starting from territorial struggles, specific and singular instances, is able to organize collective mobilizations against the international financial governance.

May Day



An Introduction as an Invitation to a Global Conversation

With our forthcoming book we hope to help ground what is new and beautiful in our social creation today in relationships and concepts that have been developing and evolving in Latin America over the past 20 years in particular. There are of course many similarities with preceding forms of organization, especially most recently with the globalization movement of the late 90s and early 2000s – however we are choosing to ground the discussion with movements that arose and are comprised of more “regular” people, rather than movements and groups that came about and were made up of more intentional “activists”.

Explored are concepts such as Territory, Assembly, Rupture and Popular Power, and relationships such as Horizontalism, Autogestion (self-administration), and protagonism. These forms of organization and ways of relating are described based on more than two decades of practice and experience in Latin America, from the spreading of horizontalidad with the popular rebellion in Argentina, to the concept of Territory, grounded in Bolivia and Brazil, or the construction of Popular Power in the Consejo Comunales in Venezuela and the understanding of our many diversities, creating a world in which many worlds fit, of the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico.

Now onto what the new movements are doing and where newness meets history…
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