St. Lawrence University
Laurel Hurd '16 - Summer Research Fellow

 

Spain is experiencing an economic crisis.  People have little hope for a better future unless they can institute serious change. There is corruption in the government, banks and large corporations. The banks that are not corrupt have gone bankrupt. Education, health care and other public rights have faced severe cuts in spending money. The overall unemployment rate in 2015 was at 23.78%, doubling for youth unemployment at 49.3% (Trading Economist, 2015). Needless to say, the Spaniards are taking to the streets and taking action.

The most effective way for them to come together is through trade unions. “There are around 2.9 million trade union members in Spain,” and according to figures from the ministry of labor from 2010, “16.4% of all those in work are union members and 18.9% of employees… are union members” (European Trade Union Institution 2014). The two main trade unions in Spain are the Workers’ Commissions (CCOO) and the General Worker’s Union (UGT), both working at a national level with a relatively similar number of members. To get an idea of membership level, the European Trade Union Institution states that in 2013 the CCOO reported to Congress that they had 1,139,591 members at the end of December 2011 and the UGT had 1,169,000 affiliates in 2012 (2014). Through these trade unions, people are able to pull resources together and create large public demonstrations such as the ones advertised in these stickers.

One of the most recent public demonstrations in Spain was the 15-M movement (also known as Los Indignados translating to The Indignant). This was a response of the 99% of Spaniards who are negatively affected by this crisis. The movement was born online through social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tuenti. It is referred to as 15-M because on May 15, 2011, the movement ignited as 150,000 people took to the streets in over 60 cities and towns in Spain, demanding social, economic and political changes.

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