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'Food, Dignity, and a Roof': Thousands March Against Austerity in Spanish Capital


'Food, Dignity, and a Roof': Thousands March Against Austerity in Spanish Capital

Sarah Lazare, staff writer

A "March for Dignity" drew thousands to the Spanish capital on Saturday in the latest show of mass opposition to the government's harsh austerity policies that have slashed public goods—from education to public health to unemployment assistance.

As they marched through Madrid, protesters carried banners that read "Food, jobs and a roof with dignity. Working for a general strike."


“As they marched through Madrid, protesters carried banners that read, “Food, jobs and a roof with dignity. Working for a general strike.””

“Caminando” means “walking” and “hacia” means “toward.” Looks to me like it says “Walking toward the general strike.”

EDIT: Following the link to the Al Jazeera article that CD writer Sarah Lazare got that mis-translation from, i see that a commenter in the Al Jazeera thread has made the same correction there that i did here.


Thanks for reversing the ‘lost in translation’. Its a subtle but meaningful distinction. People are on their feet. I also like the allusion of already ‘walking in the shoes of another’ - for the young people - and they are definitely made for walking!


Yeah, translating “caminando hacia” as “working for” is an awful translation. One change I might make is that “hacia” in this particular context might be better translated “until”.


I did not know that the CGT was an anarchist union. I learnt it from the picture coming with this article.


“to protest against the payment of the debt, which we consider unfair and illegal as it has not been contracted by the people’s decision”

Not sure i am reading this right… While the funds were coming in and everyone lived the good life did anybody bother? But when it’s time to pay the piper they claim they didn’t approve of that?


While not depreciating the importance of “Food, Dignity and a Roof”, I really think that the left really needs to start emphasizing that libertarian socialism is ultimately about humans, through their labor, achieving their full creative potential. In other words, socialism is, first-and-foremost, a “human potential” movement. It frees the worker from the alienation and dehumanization of having to submit oneself to boss whose orders are driven only by the dictates of profit, and instead frees them to pursue the creative potential and competence in their labor.

Marx certainly understood this, but somehow, this aspect of Marxism got “lost in translation” and instead it is the capitalists who took up and promoted the idea, popular among todays so-called “libertarians” that it is only capitalism that promotes, through the rewards of “getting rich”, creativity and dedication. Of course, even a cursory examination of capitalism renders this idea utter bullshit.

Hacia la victoria siempre!


Oh… and “pan” is of course “bread” - evoking, in English, the Massachusetts textile strikers song “Bread and Roses”.


The category of “illegitimate national debt” is huge. Many peoples live in countries whose leaders chained them to debts that “must” be repaid by the people, who actually did NOT have any say over or even awareness of the decision to encumber the nation with un-repayable debt.

It sounds as though you are asserting that ALL “national debts” are legitimately to be enforced to be paid by the peoples of those nations. Can you think of any historical examples that aren’t?

You might acquiesce to an assertion that the people of Uganda are not compelled to repay all the debts that Idi Amin ran up. If not i guess we have nothing to discuss. But if so, do you recognize a wider category of “national debt” that could legitimately be repudiated by the peoples of those nations?

If so, where lies the line of demarcation?

Historically, which massive debts have been duly paid? Which debts have not? Surely you recognize that many such “debts” have never been paid? And the world has not unduly suffered?

Why is it that your tendency is to react in support of monstrous financial elites, against the interests of the common people?


Also: “… everyone lived the good life…”???

Do you think the “benefits” of the “largesse” of the loans, actually worked to the broad-based benefit of all the common peoples of Spain?

Again, can you imagine categories of such debt that DID NOT create economic activity to benefit the people? That were, perhaps, corrupt? What do you know about the processes by which “the leaders” of Spain came to approve these economic policies and financial encumbrances? How exactly were the people consulted, informed, and asked to vote, to approve such debt?


Ok, we’re not talking Uganda here or some third world dictatorship. This is Spain, has all sorts of public services, large public unions and everything else someone might want, basically your typical European country. Apparently all that was funded by foreign loans, as Spain did not have the capacity to fund all that. The loans have become due and they are now in trouble. By all means, forgive all of Spain’s an Greece’s foreign debt. Are they gonna be able to function at the same level they were, without getting more loans?


Spain and Grease are in a position that much of the world will be in soon. For 30 years they have been taking from the poor and giving to the rich. Working people are out of money, out of jobs, and they are starting to realize that they have been ripped off. Loans and government manipulations always make money for those at the top, and working people are expected to pay the bill. Governments need money to function. They can’t get money out of ordinary people if they don’t have any money. The rich have most of the money and that is where governments are going to have to get it. If governments do not do this, they will collapse. If they collapse, who will protect the rich from the people that they have been exploiting all these years? It’s going to be interesting to see what happens when the bottom falls out.


My understanding of the last 20 years regarding African debt is that over $40 billion has been written of but in recent months the rising dollar has yet again crippled the debt-reduced countries with much higher repayments. They need conversion to interest free debt proofed from currency rises.

I live in Europe and I find the debate on the debt to be very narrow. There is not any talk at all of bringing ALL the debt together and paying it ALL off with bonds issued by the European Central Bank. Given a reasonable (4%) tax-free status, not tied to any time period and open to surrender at any time without penalty, such bonds would be immensely popular among the ageing European population desperate to find a safe home for their savings. But of course the great concern of EU governments at the moment is to increase consumption not increase savings yet it is only by increasing savings that the crisis can be resolved.


And the debt, and the crisis, and the austerity, are engineered, in order to break the public sector.


This really is fascinating, the mirror opposite of Americans. We fully embraced austerity – for our poor. Can you even imagine today’s Americans calling for dignity for our poor? We just dump those who aren’t of current use to employers, and post, “Do Not Feed the Poor” signs. Just like the signs warning people not to feed pigeons or ducks. America’s poor called for the same things – “food, jobs and a roof with dignity.” Our middle class said, “No,” and the Democrats delivered.

Liberals are still calling for job creation, as we’ve been doing for over 30 years, as the only response to our poverty crisis. In the real world, not everyone can work, and there aren’t jobs for all who urgently need one. The US shipped out a huge number of jobs since the 1980s, ended actual welfare aid in the 1990s. What should we do about the jobless poor right now, until those jobs come along? What should we do about the disabled/seriously ill? Right now, the Dems in Congress are once again considering, or have already agreed to, begin dismantling Social Security, starting with deep cuts to the disabled. This is what defines this generation.