Empire, Power, and People with Andrew Gavin Marshall- Episode 30

Riots, Rebellion, and the Spanish Miners

EPPIn anti-austerity protests around the world, over the past several years, we often hear of 'riots' breaking out, when bank windows are smashed or rocks are thrown at cops. The violence exists, but the imagery of a 'riot' evokes the notion of drunk youths mindlessly causing havoc and setting things on fire and looting shops. This is not the nature of violence in the battle against austerity. Rather, invoking a term used by Stokely Carmichael when he was describing the urban ghetto riots in the United States in the 1960s, we need to be referring to these incidents as "urban rebllions." As the urban rebellions are taking place all over the world, we are also seeing something new developing in Spain. In the northern mining towns in the regions of Asturia and Leon, the coalminers have gone on strike against the government's plan to cut their subsidy by 63% this year alone. They began blockading streets and railways, and were met by the Guardia Civil (riot police) who brought tear gas and rubber bullets to the mining communities and rural areas. There, the miners have taken to defending themselves with sling-shots and homemade rocket launchers.

We are witnessing a new phase in the anti-austerity rebellion in Europe, and emerging from the very same region and communities in which we witnessed the beginning of the Spanish Civil War back in 1934, where the miners were subsequently crushed by Francisco Franco. History is in the making in Spain, the question is: will we pay any attention?

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