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.

In the Desert of Cities

January 8, 2012

Notes on the Occupy Movement in the US
George Caffentzis

A talk presented at
“The Tragedy of the Market: From Crisis to Commons”:
a community gathering
Vancouver, B.C./Coast Salish Territory*

The Coptic hermits who left the world as though escaping from a wreck, did not merely intend to save themselves. They knew that they were helpless to do any good for others as long as they floundered about in the wreckage. But once they got a foothold on solid ground, things were different. Then they had not only the power but even the obligation to pull the whole world to safety after them. – Thomas Merton, The Wisdom of the Desert

No person shall sit, lie or sleep in or upon any street, side walk or other public way. – L.A.M.C. Sec. 41 18 (D)


My comments today arise out of my experience with “Occupy” movements in Greece (Thessaloniki and Athens) and in the US between June 2011 and the present. In the US. I have visited Occupy sites in New York, Boston, Portland, Maine, Oakland, San Francisco and I was at the destruction of the Occupy University of California – Berkeley site. I have not, however, spent a hermit’s night in an Occupy site.


Introduction: The Occupy Movement’s limits and possibilities internally and externally.

The recent governmental repression of the “Occupy movement” in the US has as its icons photos of New York City police officers’ harsh treatment of the Occupy Wall Street participants who practiced non-violence in the face of tremendous provocation: from the arrest of over 700 people in one action on the Brooklyn Bridge to the wrecking of the kitchen, library and the inhabited tents filled with personal effects on the Zuccotti Park site. Similar police violence occurred in most of the occupations in the larger cities like Boston, Oakland, San Francisco, Denver as well as New York City.

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Hartz IV for EU citizens

On Monday, 18 June 2012, there was a small protest about Hartz IV for EU citizens in front of the Jobcenter Neukoelln in Berlin.

The German authorities issued a reservation to the European Convention on Medical and Social Assistance (ECMSA; EFA in German) and wrote letters to Hartz IV recipients from EU countries that they were allegedly no longer entitled to receive unemployment benefits.

More information:

The german government has suspended the ECMSA (in German: Europaeisches Fuersorgeabkommen, EFA) – with grave consequences for EU citizens who live in Germany and receive unemployment benefits (ALG II). Since March 2012, EU citizens receive negative decisions on their Hartz IV applications from the Jobcenters and ongoing payments are cancelled respectively. This affects about 10.000 people in Berlin. Several rulings from Berlin social courts have banned these practices by the
Jobcenters. Still the Jobcenters make negative decisions, partially arbitrarily.

The suspension of the ECMSA is part of the federal government’s reaction to the current economic crisis. The social systems are pre-emptively closed because of fear of immigration. Germany as the big winner of the crisis is hereby suspending European solidarity. While in this country politicians talk about a “job miracle” and about the highest tax revenues ever, people in the countries most affected by the crises are left without support. We say: Solidarity, not exclusion!

Hartz IV protest

Aussetzung des EFA-Abkommens:
Informationen fuer betroffene Hartz IV-Bezieher_innen:

The newspaper Neues Deutschland wrote an article in German about the issue:
Hartz IV fuer EU-BuergerInnen:

(image source: Protests against the introduction of Hartz IV in 2004, Wikipedia, B. Laczay)