Barcelona General Strike
Release Date: 8/1/2012
On March 29, 2012, fed up with austerity and exploitation, a broad coalition of big labor, small labor, pensioners, anarchists, unemployed and students launched a massive general strike in Spain. The strike essentially shut down shipping, production, and distribution, shutting down auto, rubber, steel, petrochemcial, food, transportation companies and factories. Strikers also included non-union workers, who formed neighborhood assemblies to advise workers to stay home that day. Fed up with slash-and-burn austerity, which they reject (the day after strike, the government announced a package that would include 27 billion euros in cuts), some protesters in Barcelona set a Starbucks, Corte Ingles, and several banks on fire, as other protesters gathered around to protect them. Police with riot gear (rubber bullets, tear gas, and batons) responded with force.
Brandon Jourdan, a Deep Dish TV producer, was on the scene in Barcelona and uploaded this video on Vimeo:
Barcelona March 29th: General Strike from brandon jourdan on Vimeo.
Spaniards view the forced austerity not just as an economic/labor issue, but a central battleground in the fight over the right of the people to determine their own fates. This strike, the first of its kind in Spain since 2010, was the beginning; Barcelona and many other cities plan to join the global days of action from May 12 to May 15. If Occupy is to revive itself in the coming months, it could do well to learn from the Spanish strike, which reached nearly 80% participation across the country.