Anonymous and the Spanish General Elections 2011: Op20N
The so called ‘PIGS’ countries have gradually fallen to the demands of international markets and capital. Papandreu stepped down in Greece, Berlusconi resigned recently in Italy and Ireland and Portugal have received bailouts from the EU and the IMF. But the Spanish political class, however, seems to have been left unscathed from the current crisis; despite intense pressures from the newborn 15M movement and increasing social pressures.
Within this context, it comes as no surprise to see once again the cyber activists taking a stance in Spanish General Elections. They already did so with OpVdeVotaciones, when they called earlier this year in regional elections to avoid voting for the bipartisan system and instead chose an alternative from the usuals PP, PSOE and CiU. Under the hashtag of #nolesvotes(#donotvotethem) it became quite popular in twitter and media began paying attention. Anonymous called for a demonstration under the name of OpGoya to protest directly during the gala of Spanish cinema awards. And it was quite a success bearing in mind this mobilization was merely moved by Anonymous and ‘Anonymous-friendly’ collectives in the net.
This campaign is but one of the pillars of the famous 15M movement in Spain, that is Anonymous and movements against censorship of the net amongst others. The rest, including more information and sources have now been provided by Anonymous Spain this time, by creating an international press release to backup the upcoming Op20N and also allowing international Anonymous ‘hives’ know what is the stance of Anonymous in Spain in relation to the recent revolutions and uprising worldwide.
The press release first of all puts current Spanish politics in context, expanding the information already provided on the campaign #nolesvotes, analyzing recent reforms of both the Spanish Constitution and the electoral law; and finally it makes a brief summary calling for international civil disobedience in the face of economic and political pressures. On the other hand it calls for Spanish citizens to follow the example of the previous campaign #nolesvotes, encouraging the vote for minority parties, but they also call to consider null-voting ( source: http://op20n.tumblr.com/international ).
Greetings citizens of the world, we are Anonymous, and we would like you to pay some attention to events unfolding in Spain, which are in turn closely related to the situation in many other countries.
We have all witnessed the so-called Arab Spring, which slowly but surely has spread onto Southern Europe, most notably Spain and Greece. The Spanish Transition from Franco’s dictatorship to the current partitocracy is portrayed as an example to follow. Allow us to disagree…
The demonstrations and protest camps all across Spain that we are witnessing in this last four months is what a transition really looks like. Unlike politicians and leaders, many with ties to the previous regime, writing up a Constitution and then feeding it to a population with no democratic experience in the previous 40 years.
It is within this historical context, that we may now talk of a transition thanks to the now famous Spanish Revolution, the 15M movement and the indignados. We call this a genuine transition since it stems directly from civil society, and one of the pillars for such movement was a campaign under the name ‘nolesvotes’ (do not vote them).
The diplomatic cables showed the world that the USA was aiming to tackle piracy in Spain, and to do so they decided to lobby Spain’s national government to legislate in favour of these interests. The United States ‘blackmailed’ with introducing Spain in the WatchList of the Special 301 Report in 2008. By February 2011, US interests had prevailed and legislation had finally been approved by introducing it as an annex to the ‘Ley de Economía Sostenible’ – a much larger piece of legislation which was largely irrelevant to intellectual property. It was approved and promoted by the three major parties: PP, PSOE and CiU.
Through the internet and social networks, people began expressing their outrage at such manipulation and disinformation, and called upon citizens not to vote them (PP, PSOE and CiU). Since the 15th of May, the demonstration that kicked off the Spanish Revolution has been clear in their slogans: “They do not represent us”. Also, one of the key demands is the reform of the electoral system which clearly over-represents the two major parties in detriment of state-wide minority parties. It effectively sustains a bipartisan system with the help of nationalist parties that will provide PP or PSOE political consent in exchange of major autonomy for their regions.
Not happy enough with such over-representation, a reform of the electoral system indeed took place in early 2011 by the leading parties; however it sought to reinforce even further the dominant position of the major parties by hindering minority options. They have done so by introducing a new electoral barrier for third-option parties. For the elections on 20th November 2011, those parties that did not gain a seat in the Congress or the Senate will need to gather a specific amount of signatures from the electorate in order to be able contest in the upcoming election. The Spanish Constitution states that “[all citizens] have the right to contest for public office under equal conditions, under the requisites that the Law determines”. Therefore the reform of the electoral law exposes two contradictions. Firstly, the constitutional right to stand for public office is being hindered by the need of minority to parties to collect signatures from the electorate simply because in previous elections they did not gain a seat in Congress or the Senate. Secondly, and most importantly, it evidences that the Spanish Constitution lacks any enforcement procedures. Since the right to stand in equal conditions to public office is then left to be further expanded by legislation… and as we have seen this does not seem to be sufficient safeguard for civic and political rights when powers rest solely on a corrupt bipartisan system.
Talking about the incongruence of the Spanish Constitution, there has been a dubious constitutional amendment, again by the leading partitocracy of PP and PSOE. But yet again they have ignored their citizens. They have introduced a constitutional cap on structural deficit (0.35% of GNP) which will be made explicit in a law to be drafted in 2012, that will come into effect from 2016 onwards.
Admittedly, this reform has come from the ECB in conjunction with pressures from Merkel & Sarkozy, and they wish to extend such legislation to other EU countries! In just a few weeks, the amendment has been approved by both Chambers without any serious public debate. Whilst people are increasingly demanding a reform of the electoral system, the partitocracy has clearly ignored it and decided to legislate to the orders of the European capital.
Civil disobedience and unrest is spreading from the Arab countries into Europe and the United States. People, in increasing numbers – according to official statistics over 70% of the population have a positive view on the 15-M movement– are demanding a substantial change. Are we supposed to still believe in politics when financial markets are dictating the every-day lives of countries such as Greece and Spain? Is there any accountability whatsoever to politicians that blatantly lie in their electoral manifestos and then come into power to amend a 30 year old constitution that was previously said to be almost sacred and untouchable?
Our answer is no, and so is that of outraged citizens across the globe. From Egypt, to Madrid, from Barcelona to Paris, from Chile to NYC, people have taken their demands to the streets and squares in a novel strategy of protesting. A global crisis requires a global response, and the rise in street protests across the world are not simply coincidence or spontaneous. It is against the neo-liberal agenda that is being implemented on a global scale despite leading us into a major financial and economic crisis, and that is increasingly unable to distribute wealth across societies and amongst them. Indeed the Arab Spring has one of its sources in political reforms and civil liberties, but also their artificially impoverished economy, the exploitation of natural resources by foreign corporations and the public support western leaders have granted to the same regimes that are now being overthrown by citizen revolutions is obvious by now. But corporate and mass media has attempted to isolate this surge of protests worldwide… it is clear by now that we are all in this together, and we will be silent no more.
Networks are being built on the basis of solidarity, the free sharing of information and extensive use of new technologies to collectively build the change people are demanding. If you wonder what protest camps or demonstrations are fighting for, or demanding from our leaders; do not rely on mainstream media, go out on the streets and find out for yourself. Having said this we would like to call Spanish citizens to critically engage in the upcoming elections and citizens worldwide to engage critically with mainstream media, politicians and the surge in political protests worldwide.
To preserve freedom of speech, it is of paramount importance for Spanish citizens to support minority parties to allow them to stand in this election and in the meantime expose, disobey and inform your fellow citizens of this new reform. Secondly, the bipartisan system has clearly shown to be at the mercy of financial markets and US lobby interests, thus strengthening third-parties is the most immediate, legal and peaceful way that citizens may have to alter the current state of affairs. Therefore, by having a close look at the current electoral system and your electoral district we also encourage voting on the 20th of November to those minority parties that may have a chance of entering local and national parliaments, with the hope of slowly break the hegemonic position of the two faces of the same coin: PP & PSOE. We hope this will lead to more sustainable and engaging debates in political chambers that are already taking place in the streets by ordinary citizens.
Change has begun; it is up to you to be part of it, for it will take place sooner rather than later. Inform yourself, be critical, share information freely and build networks in your local area based on alternative principles to those of the current system. And most importantly, don’t forget to have some lulz in the meantime. Take the streets under the principles of non-violence, and add a pinch of trolling attitude. Remember that changing our lifestyle is a responsibility we should all endorse, but doing so with humor is already part of it in this depressing shitty world.
We are Anonymous,
We are Legion
We do not forgive
We do not forget,
Author and Source: Follow on twitter @anonreports
 Op V de Votaciones by Anonymous Spain: http://opvdevotaciones.blogspot.com/
 Op Goya by Anonymous Spain: http://es.anonymous.wikia.com/wiki/Op_GOYA
 Op 20N by Anonymous Spain: http://op20n.tumblr.com/
 El País, digital edition, 3 December 2010 (quoting Wikileaks diplomatic cable) – http://www.elpais.com/articulo/espana/Cable/presiones/Espana/combata/pirateria/elpepuesp/20101203elpepunac_46/Tes
 Art. 169.3 – http://noticias.juridicas.com/base_datos/Admin/lo5-1985.t2.html#c5s2
 Art 23.2, page 11 – http://www.boe.es/aeboe/consultas/enlaces/documentos/ConstitucionCASTELLANO.pdf
 El País, digital edition, 23 August 2011 – http://politica.elpais.com/politica/2011/08/23/actualidad/1314128715_080054.html
 Op cit
 Statement from Tahrir in Solidarity with OWS – http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/25/occupy-movement-tahrir-square-cairo?fb=native&CMP=FBCNETTXT9038
 Público, digital edition, 7 July 2011 – http://www.publico.es/espana/385627/el-15-m-agudiza-la-distancia-entre-los-ciudadanos-y-los-politicos
 El País, digital edition, 23 October 2011 – http://politica.elpais.com/politica/2011/10/23/actualidad/1319392784_983542.html