Tag Archives: Spain

(220) Spain reels

Spain should be enjoying the fruits of EU membership and decades of general progress on top of a strong (and diverse) sense of culture and a warm climate.  The unemployment and fiscal mental illness of the country at the moment makes for some tough reading instead.  Within the lifespan of today’s Generation Xer’s Spain had a 1930s style Fascist government.  The country was always much beset by poverty and separatist movements (at times quite violent) and the historical burden of civil war was never far from mind.  Despite these negative factors, Spain did well in recent decades, becoming more fully industrialized and trade orientated.  Large investments were made in education and infrastructure which make it harder to fully understand the present mess.  According to Eurostat data the unemployment rate in Spain hit 25.5% this summer with much higher rates for youth.

Amid poverty, food ‘expropriations’ spread across Spain
Web site wagingnonviolence.org gives some coverage to politically-motivated raids on food stores and residential squatting for poor families in Andalusia.  It’s tough to imagine Canadians and Americans pulling nervy, creative stuff like this at Wal-Mart, but one never knows.

In Spain, millions forced below poverty line Voice of America video 2:43
VOA visits Mostoles, a working class suburb of Madrid and finds engineers going to community kitchens for meals, people out of work for years now and a gloomy sense of the future.  Spain/EU approaches to public finance and banking seems to have produced dysfunctional effects not dissimilar to those produced by American and British approaches.

(127) France & Spain

France and Spain are hosts to some fairly serious situations of suburban poverty.  It is also increasingly difficult to see how they will improve upon these situations going forward. Bit of a shame when you think of the amazing cultural life, public spaces and social progress most western Europeans have been enjoying for some time now.  The kind of anger and social difficulty once corralled on the urban fringes could become familiar to more and more of the populations of Spain and France if austerity is forced upon them.  The links below are to articles from cafebabel.com.  Hints of positive solutions coming from artists and social activists are found in both items, and that’s a good thing.

Paris suburbs: cliche piled on cliche

La Tres Mils: the last oasis of nomadic life