Restless in Puerta del Sol

?If you don?t let us dream, we won?t let you sleep.?

This is the slogan chanted by the thousands of young protesters who every night over the past few days have been packing Madrid?s Puerta del Sol and many other public squares and parks across Spain. It is certainly a romantic slogan — and it has something of the 1968 movements to it.

However, the romantic language is the only thing the two movements share.

The historical context is radically different. In 1968, the youth were demanding ?all power to the imagination.? Today, they are asking for something more fundamental: the right to a dignified life.

The young people in Spain, who call themselves Democracia Real Ya (Real Democracy Now), are jobless and frustrated. Counting some 4.9 million unemployed people — which translates into approximately 21.3 percent of the active population — this Mediterranean country is also on the verge of bankruptcy.

The future hardly looks promising. Young Spaniards are overwhelmed with despair — just like their counterparts in Greece, Portugal and Ireland, eurozone countries that have already gone bankrupt.

The indignados (angry ones) that take possession of squares and parks in cities around Spain are in some ways reminiscent of the Egyptian revolutionaries who occupied Cairo?s Tahrir Square during the wave of protest rallies against the rule of former President Hosni Mubarak.

The Spanish movement is spontaneous; it is not animated or guided by a particular political party or organization; it is overflowing with emotion; it has rallied people from the most educated and restless strata of society.

Sure, the movement is still fragile. But it could gradually grow into something stronger, as it is heading for a clash after the country?s electoral authorities effectively ordered the government to dissolve the rallies, by introducing a ban on protests ahead of elections in the country.

The message, as laid out in their manifesto, is extremely contagious and universal: ?We are ordinary people… If as a society we learn to not trust our future to an abstract economy, which never returns benefits for the majority, we can eliminate the abuse that we are all suffering. We need an ethical revolution… This is an event. And as such, a moment capable of giving new meanings to our actions and our speeches. This is born out of rage. But our rage is imagination, strength, citizen power.?

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