The Indignados’ Protest Cycle and Its Consequences: Analyzing the Interaction Between Movements and Parties in Austerity Spain

Thursday, July 13, 2017
Gilbert Scott Conference Room - 251 (University of Glasgow)
Eduardo Romanos , Sociology, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
In May 2011, the so-called Indignados movement emerged in Spain, the mobilizing capacity, visibility and impact of which had no precedent in the country’s recent history. Activists demanded that authorities reverse the cuts in public services and civil rights, strengthen mechanisms of control and transparency, and create new channels of citizens’ access to decision making. Four years later, some of those Indignados participated in the emergence of new political parties that are nowadays ruling some important cities and became an important actor at the national level after elections in December 2015. In the meantime, a strong contentious cycle took place in the country. This chapter analyses the impact of protest cycle, focusing on the interaction between the protest movement and the new parties. The hypothesis is that while the action of so-called "councils for change" ruled by some of these new parties is changing the relationship between movements and institutions at the local level, other national-wide parties are moving away from the movements to end reproducing the traditional distance observed in Spain between those who protest in the streets and those who govern from the institutions. In this sense, the paper identifies two models of interaction movement-party at different scales: while local interaction is becoming more intense and fruitful, important differences are emerging at the national level.