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Media violence


Dear friends,

 

The movement has suddenly returned to the front pages of the newspapers with a vengeance. The reason: in Barcelona a small oart of the demonstrators has committed acts of violence. I was shocked out of my wits. This is not the way to go! I immediately started to look for figures on the amount of dead and wounded, but I haven’t found them yet. So I don’t think it could have been that violent after all.

 

What happened? Our comrades in Barcelona have been besieging the Catalan parliament for two days now. They want to avoid a gathering of the bigwigs aimed at discussing budget cuts for education and health-care. The parliamentarians who were escorted through the crowd have had a hard time. They were insulted and pelted. It was so bad that many of the delegates had to be brought to parliament by helicopter.

 

Let it be clear that I, along with the vast majority of our movement, reject any form of violence, be it physical or verbal. It is a sign of weakness. And it gives ammunition to the media. They have been waiting for it for a long time. And now they will make maximum use of it.

 

It’s completely logical. With only a few exceptions the old media – newspapers and television – are an integral part of the political-economic system. Newspapers and television stations are businesses. They are often owned by large investment companies whose sole purpose is to make a profit. They are not so much aimed at informing people, as they are at entertaining them. And violence, how cynical it may sound, has a very high entertainment value. People love it. And if the news can be used to delegitimise our movement, all the better.

 

Our society is based on marketing. Marketing of products, marketing of politicians, marketing of news. The shelves of the supermarkets are loaded, the newspapers are bursting, and if you look at the electoral lists it really seems as though you have a choice. But what people often do not realise is that there is always someone who determines which products are on the shelves and which aren’t, which politicians are on the lists and which are not, what gets published in the papers, and what doesn’t. There exist hundreds of varieties of apples, dear people, but if you go to the store then you will be lucky to find just four of them.

 

So, on today’s front pages there is talk of violence. Without numbers. If you want to find the real figures on violence you have to look at the Madrid pages and read the article about the eviction we have successfully prevented yesterday. This year more than 15,000 people have been evicted. Comrades, that is violence. The family that was supposed to be thrown out onto the street yesterday paid 250,000 euros for a small apartment in a suburb of Madrid. That is violence too. Especially when you realise that after their eviction they will still have a debt of 200.000 euros while the bank offered the house to be auctioned at half the price.

 

The antiquated media have managed to make us believe that the banks must be saved. They made us believe that we can not live without them. They frightened us with the spectre of an economic apocalypse if we wouldn’t save failing financial institutions with public money. But where does that money come from? Why is it that budgets always need to be cut and then suddenly we can coax up a couple of hundred billion euros to bail out a bunch of criminal bankers? I do not know. But if you read the newspapers, it seems to be the most natural thing in the world.

 

The people in Barcelona are angry because of cutbacks. Wages, pensions, benefits, social services. All of it is subject to austerity measures so that the culprits of the crisis can keep on playing their dirty games with the approval of all political parties. No wonder people are angry.

 

So what I ask myself is this: if half a trillion euros can be coughed up, just like that, to save a handful of bankers, why shouldn’t we be able to use the same amount of money to 1. provide everyone with free top-notch education. 2. provide everyone with free world class health care. 3. provide good and free public transport for all. 4. guarantee that everyone has a roof over his head, and 5. banish world hunger?

 

The ancient media are much too busy blowing up their own balloons to address this kind of simple questions. That’s why I ask it to you, my faithful readers. Whoever knows the answer, please share it!

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