The general strike 29-M in Barcelona: another day of violence…

By Isabel Cruz and Patricia Rivero

La huelga general 29-M en Barcelona: otro día más de violencia…

History seems to show quite clearly that when the revolutions are accompanied by violence, are not achieved desirable outcomes than anticipated by those who were, but rather, some or all of the results that are really undesirable that flow from the employment of violence”

This quote has circulated between yesterday and today by social networks to make allusion to what happened on the 29th of march in Barcelona. The quote is from Aldous Huxley, an anarchist writer british of the early TWENTIETH century, the author of “A happy world”.

There is No rhetoric, we really several questions arise when trying to apply the quote to the context of yesterday in Barcelona, What Huxley and those who quote him understand the same thing by “violence”? What the General Strike on 29 march was, or was intended to be a “revolution”? What were the “desirable outcomes” of the strike that have been unfulfilled? Perhaps if we propose to make an analysis of the dominant discourse about what happened yesterday in Barcelona we realize that this appointment is for the 29-M may be today in the mouth of the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations (CEOE).

Let’s start at the beginning, what is understood by violence? From the political sphere and media is clear: violence is to generate defects in street furniture (containers) or on private property (banks and savings banks, Prosecutor’s office of the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia, Starbucks). Xavier Trias is beyond and violence means something more allegorical: to give a bad image of Barcelona.

Who is violent? It is violent that civil to exercise that violence.

Said another way, when we condemn the violence, this violence, we are excluding all judgment to the other violence and other violent. In this sense, Pierre Bourdieu believed that the violence is not only exercised through the use of physical force, but that it could also be expressed in other ways: for example through the imposition on a particular vision of the world of the ruling class to the class dominated. In the day yesterday, apart from having experienced the physical violence of the Mossos, we have rebalsado of this other violence, the symbolic.

All together makes us think that we are restraining ourselves only to condemn those who do not play by complaining of the system on the site, time and the way that the ruling class will consent to it; violence is not what you do, but who you are disobeying. This paradox about the violence is astonishingly naturalized, and is that the violence of power, the symbolic violence that we emphasized in Bourdieu, is astonishingly naturalized.

This worldview is socially shared on violence to benefit a minority while systematically condemns the rest. According to this same speech, the victims of the violence are never the people, something that we believe would make Huxley throw the hands to the head (a protester injured is something predictable and even logical, a right is not respected, it is something that to maintain order is required). Also the Mossos are exempt from being labeled as violent when attacked, they have a category and legitimized. Imposed poverty is not violence, it is seen as part of an inevitable reality, then politicians and businessmen too are not seen as violent. There seems to be a use exclusive to a few terms to influence the minds of the people. For them, violence is not a noun, but on the contrary, the frequently used as an adjective. Looks like a giblet, but it is not: “violent radical”, “strike violently”, “day violent”, among others.

Other perversions of the language lead us to assume as natural that “we have responsibility in the political actions (because we have voted on),” while “the politicians do not have accountability in our protests (do what they have to do), and that” any citizen is co-responsible for the protests (which makes it possible that a “group of radicals deslegitime” all a strike)”. The result of these fallacies is a manipulation total of the meaning of “national sovereignty resides in the Spanish people, from who emanate the powers of the State”.

But the speech conservative that “condemns the violence” cala hondo: there has been considerable emphasis on the “right to go to work in the day of the strike” (newspeak), to the time that you have omitted the “right to a paid job” (art 35 Constitution); allowing the Labour Reform or the Law of Volunteering are free of the social debate in the strike yesterday and its causes.

The pickets of the media (manipulation), political (labour reform, bailouts to the banks), economic (evictions, limit the public deficit, privatisation) and business (coercion not to strike) are understood as results of the individual exercise of freedom, since “you give them hearing, you, you voted for/you abstuviste, you signed a mortgage, you have made abuse of the health, you decide freely if you expose yourself to a dismissal for strike action”. While, the union pickets are criminalized; Felip Puig say that a picket line has been stolen in a bingo. Picket as a synonym of crime.

What we are condemning when we condemn “the violence”? On the news of TV3 the night of the strike it was clear: they did a count of containers burned (20), and in exchange there was an omission of the number of wounded. In fact, when there were protesters was to talk about the number of detainees.

Following this exercise of the criminalization of the strike, the summaries of the day have not been chronological, but rather are based on highlight events. Sobredimensionando the violence, by removing the concept of physical violence against people perpetrated by the police. There is a growing promotion of the “speech civic” to the civil society that is finding fertile ground, and the result is that in an informative a container burned deserves more time and consideration than a citizen hurt, and that we look at it as something normal.

When speaking of the non-attainment of “desirable outcomes” of the “revolution” we realize that the judgment on the strike as a failure uses 3 arguments are fallacious:

  1. Little follow-up social: this argument is sustained through the manipulation of attendance data to the demonstrations, handling of consumption data and under-representation of strikers (workers on strike are covert and strikers who have not been absent from the work, because it does not have).

  2. Failure of the strike is to change the labor reform: the strike was intended to raise the visibility of the social discontent with the reform. Holding that the strike sought to stop the reform is a fallacy that allows you to cross it out of failure from the moment it is summoned. And is that march 29 was not a revolution, it was a strike.

  3. “Strike a violent”: this label qualifying suffered a few mutations throughout the day, between the discourse of the morning and the afternoon-evening. In the morning the strike was violent because there was violence; it was between “strikers/pickets and the people that wanted to go to work”, in the afternoon, the strike was violent because it had violence, it was between violent and Autonomous. And so, despite the fact that the strike was against the political class, employers and/or economic system, were exempted from all discussion or consideration, we constructed a discourse in which the strike was “radical” against “citizens” and the police.

The manipulation underground of the concept strike has also been considerable: “the strike is a thing of the workers, because only they affect the labour market reform” at the same time that “the strike is not a matter of the workers because they are the lucky ones who have a job”. Result: because of the strike blurred and imprecise, it is not unemployment and not the labor reform, they would like to tell us directly that there is no cause and that there was no strike. This confusion causes makes it easy to lose track of the whole of what happened yesterday, and assume it as an unquestionable truth that the strike was in itself a violent act.

We return to the quote of Huxley, and we do not fully understand the use that is being given. Or perhaps yes: we assume that in the background we do not like to assume that the picture is worse than we would like, we assume that all frightens us to put into question what we took for granted, we assume that in the background we want to believe that all this makes some sense and that politicians are thinking long-term and in the social benefit, we assume that we all want to think that the worst of the strike of yesterday was that broke out 20 containers.

We begin to assume that we live in “A happy world”.


Isabel Cruz and Patricia Rivero
March 30, 2012
Original article published at Kaos Network

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