1. Barcelona rises up against Public Transport luxury prices
1. BARCELONA RISES UP AGAINST PUBLIC TRANSPORT LUXURY PRICES
From January 2014, Barcelona’s public transport price has increased again . Travelling by public transport in Barcelona today costs 71% more than ten years ago. The fare of the two most used travel cards – the T-10 (ten tickets) and the 30/50 (fifty ticket in thirty days, a kind of worker’s ticket) – have increased 5,10% and 8,4% respectively. A comparision between salary and a one-way city’s travel ticket cost in several cities around the world shows that Barcelona has the lowest salary and the highest ticket price, becoming a luxury -as in the Catalan TV sketch.
Many Catalans rose up against this unfair situation. A citizen plataform has been created to reject the fare increse – #StopPujadesTransport – and massive #YoNoPago actions (desobedience actions where people decide not to pay certain kinds of public service, usually increased or imposed without justification) are taking place weekly, starting from beginning of January, by fastening open the doors to the underground with tape so that massive amounts of people enter without tickets, blocking many large underground stations in the city and stopping train circulation in several lines at a time. The neighbourhood La Marina, located in Barcelona’s biggest industrial area (Zona Franca), supports every weekly action by demonstrations and road bloackades claiming the long promised underground service, as during decades plans for extending the metro to this area have been announced and systematically postponed.
In an ever increasing protest, on January the 29th, a user strike paralyzed the whole underground service for half an hour , for the first time since the beginning of the weekly protests. No longer a Barcelona protest, on the 29th actions where going on in more than 40 underground or train stations throughout the province. On February 5th the protest involved 46 metro or train stations, and spread also to another train network by paralyzing the Ferrocarrils Catalans , the trains which link Barcelona with the villages and small cities nearby. On February the 12th they repeat the forceful action and on February, the 19th, the weekly #StopPujades protest joined the demo against the eviction of a historical Barcelona’s squat, La Carboneria (literally the Coalyard) : dozens of metro station occupied, the underground traffic blocked, and many main street cut off.
On friday, February, the 21th the Iaioflautas (Rebel Grannies and Grandads – last NL article about them ), that are actively supporting all the #StopPujades’ protests, entered the head office of the Authority for the Transport of Barcelona asking again to cancel the increase.
Protests and picketings will continue until the increase becomes revocated.
In the meantime Madrid is also getting ready -starting from May- for the largest price increse in the last 10 years
Video & Pictures
On December 2013, Spanish government approves tight restrictions on abortion, taking the law back to where it was in 1985. By this “reform” the practice will be illegal except in cases of rape or when there is a serious health risk to the mother. The new legislation rules out the possibility of a woman having abortion if deformations of the fetus are detected.
Protest meeting, demos, performances, conferences, talks and assemblies have been taking place since the beginning of the year all around Spain as well as outside. Spain, defending the women’ s right to make decision about their bodies and lives, and therefore, demanding the retraction of the law and for the minister Gallardon to resign. The reform has been strongly criticized for being patriarchal and hypocrital law, but it will not stop abortions. This is a legal act in almost all the European countries now. As a result of this law, women in Spain will be forced to travel to other countries of European Union to undertake such a precedure in a safe environment. This law will only satisfy the fascist, ecclesiastical and strictly catholic part of the Partido Popular’s electorate.
At the beginning of January, a twitter campaign #NoMoreHangers was created to sensitize the European Union delegates about the retrograde law of the Spanish government in matter of abortion. It has been debated at the European parliament and a majority of delegates claimed the reform to be retracted.
On February 1st, dozens of thousands of people received El Tren de la Libertad (The Freedom Train – an initiative born in Asturias). After a massive demonstration through the center of the city, a brief in Congress was given to demand the suspension of the new law. Meanwhile, in Barcelona a demo started in front of the Cathedral with protesters marching through the center of the city, crossing all its touristic streets, passing by several churches until it ended in front of another Cathedral. Further action was taken in Barcelon on February 5th,
During the following week, Spanish women lined up outside government offices holding registration forms and demanding to get official registry that would prove the ownership of their own bodies as an act of protest agaisnt a law that wants to take the ownership of their bodies away.
Not only did associations and feminist groups present dozens of motions against the law but it was even supported by some members of the Partito Popular.
On February the 8th, massive demos took place in dozens of cities and towns in Spain beyond Barcelona and Madrid , as Cordoba, Logroño, Cadiz, Cartagena, Huelva, Leon, Palencia and so. On the 14th and 15th many cities took the streets again.
International Media condemned changes to Spanish abortion legislation and great solidarity has been shown worldwide to Spanish women: at the end of January 2013, people protested in front of the euro parliament in Brussels reporting the regression rights of all Spanish women . Since then, many people around the world supported the Spanish protest showing continuously their outrage in January and February : Bucarest, Roma , Paris, Amsterdam, Dublín, Reikiavik, Londres, Lisboa, Oporto, Coimbra, Viena, Londres, Estambul, Florencia, Milán, Brussells again and so many cities partecipated to solidarity protests more than once. On February the 15th, New York addede its voice to the protest.
Next big uprising will take place in March, the 8th, but until then protesters will continue to battle in many different ways. Once again, women are not going to remain quiet or to obey.
Pictures and videos
3. OCAX: AN ONLINE TOOL TO KEEP THE BUDGETS UNDER PEOPLE’S CONTROL
A year ago, the PACD (Citizen Debt Audit Platform – NL#12, 1 ) launched its campain to fight debt and lack of transparency in the municipalities. The aim was to create citizen observatories to get the budgets under citizens’ control. An online tool has been developed in order to support this task. The tool, OCAX , is totally open source: any group can download the code and implement it on their website. The code can be changed, there is no need to quote, but it can’t be used for lucrative purpose. Likewise, no logo from any political party or association can be attached to it since it wants to remain as a tool for the citizens.
The web enables any citizen to ask questions to the City Hall about the budgets, and the people who make the observatory work are in charge of bureucracy involved. All the questions are open to the public on the website and answers can be tracked and processed so it can be replicated in other observatories. Furthermore, it also includes a budget
The platform is divided in 3 websites:
For now, the campaign is focused on municipalities as it is the easiest way to reach citizens.However, it could also be useful to present information about other budgets, to help to audit any other institutions. As it is prepared to have a clear overview on the budgets, the observatories are a way to empower people. People can control their politicians and learn how to manage a City Hall at the same time.