The connection between repression and the austerity measures is becoming more significant each time the state introduces new legislation, always including principles of authoritarianism, strengthening of mechanisms of control and criminalization of our lives and our bodies. Not only can we speak of the suspension of democracy (or, rather, of how austerity and authoritarianism subverted its mechanisms and instruments so that democracy effectively dismantled itself through its own legislation and bureaucracy), we can and should also start building a discourse of illegitimizing the state. “Viva la anarquia y muerte al estado!” Taking a look at the current changes the Spanish government is imposing on its country's legislation it is evident how the state is servicing capital and eliminating all the possible obstacles in its accumulation – all the transgressive bodies, unwilling to conform and subject themselves to more exploitation. The changes have been many  (labor reforms, legislation restricting the possibility of a strike, reforms of criminal code, attempts of changes in legislation concerning abortion, savage cuts in health, education, pensions and social services1), but the last few are especially painful for the collective tissue as they remind too vividly of the times of dictatorship (franquismo).2

“La voz del pueblo no es ilegal!” …
The legislation has an official name of “Organic law of Citizens security” and is supposed to promote, according to the government, “the subjective feeling of safety”3 amongst citizens. The reality is of course much more harsh and complex. Firstly, the law attacks fiercely the transgressive, militant, resisting bodies. The weapon with which it chooses to do so is “bureau-repression” (bureaucratic, administrative repression): removing some of the actions from the criminal code and redefining them as offenses, for which fines are assigned. On the first glance it seems as a plus, making some things that were “criminal” into “just” offenses – in reality, it gives much more power and arbitrary decision-making to the police and much less maneuvering space for the militants to defend themselves. The things that before were decided in a courtroom in front of a judge, witnesses etc., are now solved on the spot, when the cop asks for your I.D. and writes you a fine immediately (and since it will be forbidden to record any police actions, well it’s really your word against theirs; where one should have in mind that the process is inverted – while in court the state should prove your guilt, in this process you are presumed to be guilty – until you somehow manage to prove your innocence - from the start, the police is given a sort of a “voucher” for their word in advance). Also, the things that before were fined, were done so in proportion to one’s income; while now, the fines are the same for everyone no matter their situation – it is clear who will get the short end of the stick here (again, question of making class differences even clearer).4 At a workshop about the ley mordaza given by one of the “lawyers of the movement”, he emphasized how there is a tendency of the state towards economic repression of struggle – to me it can only be seen as expropriating even more resources from the people for financing the same repression.

The immediate and most obvious measures of criminalization of resistance are as follows (please keep in mind it's my translation of Spanish legislation):
    ⁃    severe disturbance of public order;
    ⁃    calling for or attending an action of manifestation with the objective to break this legislation
    ⁃    unannounced or prohibited actions/manifestations in front of official buildings, preventing or blocking their functioning. The police have the right to establish “red zones” (for safety reasons) where people cannot demonstrate – including offices and homes of MP's and other officials (thus preventing escraches, which here are an important methodology of resistance against evictions).
(points 1-3 are fined up to 600.000€)
    ⁃    harsh disturbance of public order (not severe)
    ⁃    participating in actions of public disorder wearing hoodies, masks, bandanas or any kind of garment which makes the identification difficult
    ⁃    participating in actions of public disorder in manifestations in front of the parliament, municipality & other government buildings
    ⁃    creating disturbance on traffic roads and in public spaces, also including creating fire in public spaces
    ⁃    preventing police officers, public officers and soldiers or any kind of authority from exercising their functions, not following their orders
    ⁃    disobedience or resistance to public authority (= the police), including objecting to being identified and giving them your ID
    ⁃    insults/offenses to Spain, its government, local authorities, the state and all its symbols
    ⁃    damaging public property (traffic signs, trash cans etc.) in any kind of way or using them to block roads with the objective to create public disturbance
    ⁃    recording (or making pictures) of the actions of police officers while they’re on duty;
    ⁃    insulting a police officer (and/or making a parody video of their actions)
(previous points can be fined up to 30.000€)
    ⁃    occupation of any kind of public or private space
    ⁃    apparition of properties in public spaces that should not be there (and were not), like tents
(previous points can be fined up to 1.000€)

The imposing of the new legislation is being accompanied by an ongoing process of privatization of the police/the public security. Some measures are already being introduced: allowing private security to identify people and detain them, which before they were not allowed to do. The final objective of the government is to equate the authorities and power of the police and private security – a case of private-public partnership (the municipality is giving concessions to private security companies, also allowing them to take over the control over sections of streets in front of the stores, e.g. Calle Preciados, a shopping street next to Sol). In that way, the government absolves itself of any responsibility of repression, while making money of it. Also, a special database is being created where the names of people in breach of the ley mordaza will be gathered alongside the offenses. In  effect it will be a database of militants (but also of other groups of people who's existence is precarious and criminalized as it is) which will enable the government even more control over the people while also starting a process of privatization of information. One can already imagine ways in which private companies, who will, via private-public partnerships have access to these information, use them to exploit, control and criminalize people even further.

… when it should be ... “Ni la voz ni la vida del pueblo no son ilegales!”
What should be pointed out (and emphasized, since general interpretations of the legislation lack that) is that the legislation will also affect groups of people who don't have a voice or a social movement to back them up and empower them to fight back: the homeless, the prostitutes and the drug users. The objective of systematic attacks on these groups is to continue with the process of gentrification – making the city “cleaner”, sterile, pleasant, an enjoyable place for all the white heterosexual rich people, their children and golden retriever (on a leash, of course and shitting perfume, preferably). Pushing these groups out of sight, making them invisible, making their mere existence a criminality goes hand in hand with the wet dreams of the financial institutions that seek investors, raising the value of the area and speculating with the prices of the housing.5 Gentrification, a power structure in itself, will now be backed by the state and its repressive force, making the law a tool of enforcing the principle “profit before people”. Thus, the homeless will be fined for sleeping on the streets or if caught sorting through trash for food, a measure that should not be neglected, as it denounces the mere existence of a homeless person as criminal; criminalizing their strategies of survival. The prostitutes will be fined for making transactions for sexual services in any area of the city which can be accessed by children or where traffic can be obstructed – in plain terms it means restricting “street” sex work, pushing the sex workers to working in even more precarious conditions (in industrial, unsafe, abandoned areas where they can be victims of gender violence, rape and exploitation) or working in “locales”, losing their independence and control over the work that they do. Lastly, it attacks drug users, introducing random drug-related searches and testing and making illegal the service of “drug taxis” (cundas) – service where one person enables transportation to another person to “streets of interest” (streets known for drug vending) while the other gives money or drugs in exchange. The last examples also shows a dimension of class difference, because the drug users with more money do not use these services, do not go to these areas and are therefore exempt from being harassed by the police. The effect of the legislation on these groups is being neglected amongst militants; the social movements are focusing on the immediate effects the laws have on them, once again marginalizing the already powerless instead of strengthening their voice. Solidarity still lacks, I guess, when it comes to invisible, collateral damage and when a more complex comprehension of social tissue is required.

Last but not least, the legislation implies a breach on the universities autonomy – after the end of the dictatorship the autonomy of the universities was established, not allowing police presence on campus (they are allowed to enter only when summoned by someone witnessing a crime). The situation was established in response to the murders of students by policia franquista – the students were murdered for attending assemblies and anti-government demonstration. The new legislation would introduce constant presence of police patrols on campus.

#14D Rodea el Congreso
The legislation has shown its first teeth at the end of November, when 19 students, all members of different antifascist collectives, got a surprise home-visit by the police who arrested them and kept them locked up at the police station for two days. The argument behind it was a clash between a fascist group and anti-fa militants (a clash provoked by the entrance of a fascist group to the campus of one University, harassing the students of the Faculty of History, which the anti-fa decided to avenge) – the latter taking the fault for the event, while the fascist walk around freely. The media played a problematic role, as per usual, making a sensation of the event, reinforcing the language of criminalization of militancy and publishing the names and faces of those arrested. Problematic even more, given the fact that the police made the arrests used pictures of anti-fa demos published by the media to recognize random anti-fa militants, attributing them the fault for the clashes. It is no wonder that the state decided to make police’s job easier by listing the wearing of hoodies, bandanas, balaclavas etc. (the fear of the encapuchados) as a serious offense, with a fine up to 30.000€ to go with it. The solidarity mobilization was instantaneous, a group of hundreds gathered two days later by night in front of the police station, demanding for our comp@s to be released (meanwhile, over the two days, 11 more arrests were made), which they were, supported by cheers, empowering the struggle “Libertad, libertad – detenidas por luchar!” . Earlier that day, an assembly was held at our campus, making a detailed brainstorming on the process of gathering the money for the fines the people were going to get – a broad range of social centers, collectives and assemblies immediately showed their willingness to join the process.

So the tension in the collective militant tissue was accumulating, the rage and discontent was evident coming to the demo #14D. A few thousand people showed up (and, according to the media, a 1000 police was called in especially for this demo), starting the usual march on all the main roads, blocking the traffic, passing by key institutions: banks, military base (to the fence of which a guy climbed and hanged an anti-fa banner), ministries. The objective was to make a circle around the parliament (congreso), which was of course made impossible by the police, barricading the streets leading up to it. As the demo reached Sol it began to the disperse into the usual crowd of people, but a substantial group carried on to the narrow street Atocha, the closest one to the parliament as one could get. It was a death-trap: a narrow street, cars and motorcycles trying to drive past the bodies filling the space, police everywhere. The crowd stopped with powerful chants of “La voz del pueblo no es illegal.” raising their palms in the air (a sign used to denote that they are not attacking nor do wish to be attacked), while others took to banging cars, buses and trash cans, making noise. Soon, everything started flying through the air: bottles, fire crackers; some people were bashing a police car with sticks. As I was standing more in the back, I felt primarily fear, because of not knowing what was going on, having no control over the situation. I decided to leave, because people were becoming hysterical, running frantically, we also heard some shots (later, I saw on a video that the sound was that of police shooting rubber bullets into the crowd, indiscriminately, like shooting a target for practice, the fucking pigs!!! You can watch the video by clicking here) and it was becoming impossible to breathe, because the crowd of people was in panic, squeezing everything and everyone. I was also really scared, not knowing the territory, so I decided to fight my way out of the crowd with the help of a girl from my class. People that joined us later told us about the lost shoes, barricades of burning trash cans and police batons bashing all the bodies in front of them. Asessinos, absueltos, abusos del poder! Not that they will need the batons in the future anyway – they'll be beating us with the pens that they'll use to write the fines with. Because bleeding heads6, screaming and asphyxiating people are bad image, they visualize the aggression of the state and it can provide legitimacy of the clashes with the representatives of its repressive apparatus; while the “bureau-repression” normalizes the violence, making its bashes invisible and leaving different kind of wounds. The wounds are recognized with more difficulty, narrating stories of administrative expropriation taming the bodies while expropriating money from them.

Constructing a discourse around criminalization (of resistance, of life, or our bodies) will become more and more necessary; and finding and retaining common spaces of resistance where different and liberating forms of collective reproduction are possible will be crucial to fighting the brutal criminalization of our lives and bodies the state (via laws) and capital has unleashed upon us.

We are not illegal. We refused to be criminalized. And we will not pay for your crisis!


1) On a visit to the doctor I saw a pamphlet in the waiting room describing the situation of a nearby hospital: because of the cuts it was forced to close half of its capacities (beds, admissions etc.) and redirect them to a conveniently near-by-built private one. Also, there was an ongoing hunger strike of several women from Galicia, who decided to start the strike because of the severe cuts in the programs for victims of gender violence – the cuts were such that the programs will have to close.

2) That's also one of the reasons the legislation is colloquially called “la ley mordaza”, an expression used to describe legislation that attacks the liberty of expression and is usually associated with dictatorships.

3) The notion that the law is meant to promote „the subjective feeling of safety“ amongst citizens is a statement written in the introduction to the legislation and also used in public discussion when the government promotes/defends the legislation.

4) Although not included in this legislation it should be mentioned that following the recent reforms of the criminal code, once in a courtroom, a judge can take into consideration “your personal history” and your personality (“character”), allowing the state even more arbitrage into molding a transgressive body, criminalized individual.

5) On that note, the platform working on the universal right for housing and for the prevention of evictions has published facts about the government and municipality making deals with big international corporations (like Goldman-Sachs) where they have sold tens of thousands of social housing to the corporation, enabling the speculation to penetrate the fundamentals of social security.

6) The first time a demo #Rodea el congreso was called, a few years ago a police officer almost killed a 17 year old boy at the spot, splitting the back of his head open and the ambulance barely bringing him back to life. Medical assistance is always present at protests, but rarely prepared for all the wounds caused by police violence. Videos can be found on the web (just type Rodea el congreso 25S).

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