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Bold, Beautiful, Blooming Barcelona asks: What would it mean to win?

category international | environment | feature author Monday March 09, 2009 22:58author by Dunk - Gracia (BCN) community garden collectiveauthor email fuspey at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address BCN Report this post to the editors

The Gracia community garden radio documentary trilogy and accompanying article

featured image
Hort Comunitari

Springtime in Europe and the Earth's life cycle is in bloom again. The 3 parts of the radio documentary capture magical moments in the recent history of one of the most exciting projects in Barcelona at present, our community garden in Gracia. This article was written after a lovely Valentine's weekend of much open, shared and participative activity; the highlight of which was our collective mural day in the garden. It is hoped that some of the life, current ideas, projects, tools, spaces, bargains, oddities, dreams, passions and goings on of the city and her peoples are communicated here-in.

Friday… Thinking about winning
Saturday… Painting pictures and feeling like we are winning
Sunday… Sharing passions, playing and doing, remembering the South

Friday… Thinking about winning

After work, print off the Transition Handbook freely due to creative commons and begin reading. Our BCN en Transición groups are in between the “mulling over” and “setting up of steering group and designing its demise from the outset” (step 1 of the 12 steps) stages of this wonderful viral movement that has exploded in the last 2 years, thanks to the vision of Rob Hopkins and his crew in Kinsale, which might just be the answer to both climate change and peak oil. Eitherway, communities are organising and resilient communities are (re)forming; horizontal, seemingly chaotic organising is happening and dreams of less oil dependant communities are slowly becoming realities. Much that has been lost in the recent years of the “oil age” is being remembered; old skills, stories, recipes, building techniques as well as local culture and resilience. For an ever widening and diverse group in BCN, we too we are thinking positive and dreaming boldly. We envisage each already established and much celebrated barrio (neighbourhood) organising itself on the TI guidelines… The recurring themes of the book which stood out; Vision, positivity, celebration, enjoyment… as well as the idea of the “English pragmatic” idea of a clear and simple structure on top of, around, through which can be spun the chaotic and colourful web of life…

Walk down carrer (street) Urgell, alongside its recently reclaimed car lane, now a protected 2 way bike lane which takes you right into the old town, a consequence of the some say “over successful” BiCiNg near-free public bike rental system. Arrive down to one of my local haunts, the Moroccan café in the Barri china (the “Chinese neighbourhood”- the old red light, cheap booze, drugs and naughty bars zone from Picasso´s time), in the multicultural hugely alive city centre area of Raval. This café is the place to go for the best bocadillo (roll) in the city, not alone do they fry up the marinated Halal chicken on the grill with chopped onions and peppers thrown on, they cut the roll and pull out much of the inside to make more room for what goes in; salad, meat, chips, sauces… hhhhhmmmmm. Along with this have a tasty mint tea and you’re sorted for the day. It's also an ideal way to catch up on world events from an Arabic perspective, watching Al-Jezeera, still highly emotional after recent events in Gaza, and all this for a reasonable 4 Euros.

Catch up with a few friends, then down to one of the many little spaces that has done so much for the diversity that is Barcelona, with its critical takes on art, culture and politics and all the networks within networks that make it up. We went down to Riereta, the local on Caller Rieretta where the amazing KRAX network are presently operating from. KRAX 'investigates, connects and empowers urban creativity that responds to “cracks” in the city.' Friday night saw a small group of about 20 people came down to explore the critical theme of What would it mean to win? Sprawled out on cushions on the floor and with a few Xibecas in hand (litre glass bottles of tasty BCN beer for @ E1.20), we watched 2 films and after had a productive little chat;

- Léxico Familiar (Retrato de John Holloway) , Marcelo Expósito, 28mins
- What would it mean to win?, Zanny Begg and Oliver Ressler, 40mins

The first film Familiar Lexicon is a close up interview in Spanish with John Holloway, about a theme he's been exploring: changing the world without taking the power. The film raised many critical ideas about how the fight for a different world is being waged, from refusing to play 'their' game, to the creation of new ways at looking at the world, new ways of communicating with each other, new spaces for experimenting and building in… The film finishes with examples from the Zapatistas in Mexico, with their creativity and boldness, as they occupy and destroy as well as empower, learn, excite and imagine another world.

The second film What Would It Mean To Win?was filmed on the blockades at the G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany in June 2007, where people did feel that they were indeed winning. The original was in English and German, and we watched a subtitled version, I think done by the KRAX network. Some of the people speaking on the film were part of the Turbulence collective, who have been thinking and talking about radical ideas, strategies etc. and who brought out a free magazine prior to the G8 protests in which they posed the simple, yet absolutely critical question 'What would it mean to win?'

Arising from the ideas posed and proposed in the films, we talked about new spaces, new dialogues, new strategies which led to a quick few words about the very quickly growing 'movement' as it was called by George Monbiot that is the climate camp network; the thousands of people coming together to engage in critical dialogue, skill sharing, leading to a direct action against a climate criminal, last year it was Kingsnorth coal-burning power station. The movement has also gone viral and spread to more countries, Ireland is currently organising for their own camp this summer, and recently in Chicago, the largest act of civil disobedience to happen in the US. More importantly people are organising in Denmark prior to COP15, which is the UN summit on climate change. It will also be 10 years since, returning again to Holloway's argument, N30, the 30th of November in Seattle, when organised passionate direct action shut down the WTO, as eco systems thinker Fritjof Capra called it 'the day that the political landscape changed forever'.

A beer or two in a local bar with friends and home early enough on the metro. (The city has a very good system, regular, cheap, till 2am on Friday, all night on Saturday, if you're lucky, you can catch the 'lucky carriage' at about 4am, packed with people coming from one party off to another, singing, drinking, handstands… it’s a little bit illegal, but it's fun)

Saturday… Painting pictures and feeling like we are winning

Up early enough, laze and read a bit, a quick egg and cheese tortilla (omelette) and a cup of tea up on the roof terrace called 'el bosque de la esperananza' (the forest of Hope), alongside the Jamaican bar, our very own little 'greening the city' roof zone and hopefully soon to be a food production zone. Fine sights from one of the many roofs in Gracia, beyond the densely-filled roof terrain is the 2000 year old inner city core of Barcelona, and beyond that still is the clear view of the 'centre of the world', the sea of the Medi-terranean, and beyond that still the horizon, which reminds you of your own strange existence on this little ball flying in the heavens…

Not too much to daydream this morning, there's work to be done! Head down c/ Verdi; lots of people buzzing about, into the market, each neighbourhood still has its own food market and they are hives of life. In my one there is even a second hand book stall, you take what you want and leave a donation, granted there’s a fair bit of 1987 sport annuals and the like, but amongst them, you can find the odd gem or two (Umberto Eco, Henry Millar, and the like) From there into a Chinese shop to pick up a few packets of chalk for the garden, for the kids, and for the bigger kids like me, another few streets and I’m at the new 4 month old oasis on c/ Banyoles, our local hort comunitari, or community garden.

As you walk down the quite little street of c/ Banyoles, the first thing that hits you is the fantastic mural outside the garden. It's from the opening weekend four months back and was painted / sprayed by a couple of top level local grafitistas. Today we are having another mural painting day, this time though, it is a communitarian open participative day of learning, sharing, doing… Basically how it happened: a mural artist Kevin from NYC who has done a bit of Muralismo in Mexico, was spending some time here in BCN. He dropped down to the garden two weeks back and made the proposal, it was quickly supported and this day was chosen to engage in this participative act of art which does many many things on many many levels. Audio doc 2 captures this in more detail. The theme of the mural was, more or less, Greening the City, and its structure was simply to paint basic coloured forms of a city at the lower level and from that to grow plants and greenery coming from the gardens, roofs, windows… a vision of what a happier, healthier more eco effective city might look like.

People started arriving and adding their bits onto the ever growing wall… initial questions like 'what size?', 'what about the perspective?', 'what should go here?' soon eased, as the new muralistas themselves started to ease and just get into the flow of the day. I think the slowness of the action played a significant role, as little by little, people started talking to each other a bit more, well the ones that didn’t know each other previously…It unfolded as the day itself did and by evening time, and many little blobs added for windows, the city in the city, had taken on a funny creative life of its own; lots of funny, personal, details like bras, knickers, trumpets, cats, dogs, banners, kites, bikes… the painting of all these led to a feeling of deep happiness for many, this was indeed something special. During the time we talked about some of the ideas about last night's films and how this garden was in fact exactly one of those things from which things are growing. We are not playing their game, we have made our own. The garden is a space to grow food, which in itself is a huge step in a more sustainable existence, but its far more; a place to learn in, for strangers to meet, music to be enjoyed, to dream in, play chess, experiment, be alive in.

We also might have already got a world record for the biggest painted Aubergine? The side wall had 2 skulls sprayed on it, from a previous time when our solar (empty building lot with its building removed) had a squat on it, and this was artwork done in a room. The thing is that these skulls were giving one of the kids of el tribu (the tribe- the gardens alternative education group for 1 – 4 years olds) nightmares, they were also high up, 2 floor up, so creative means had to be employed. The result; the 1.2.3 whhhoooop, whereby 8 brush poles were connected together and a paint roller placed on the last one. With this one dude held the roller end after dipping it in pinky purply paint, then 1,2,3 and he flung it upward. At the same time, the dude or dudette on the other end, lifted it up and ran into the wall to roll on lines of the paint. The shades of colour were changed and with time, they got it finished, its about 10 metres wide and 6 high, it looks great and its viewable from the street when the garden door is closed. We are not actually sure if it is the worlds largest painted aubergine, if it is, great... if not, no worries, as Kev said, and I can confer: "It makes me smile as I pass by on the street".

So as darkness rolled in, we parted our separate ways. From there I stopped off in one of my local bodegas, which are old style wine shops, where you buy directly from the large barrels of wine inside, the simple sustainable system that existed long before supermarkets and the like... On a matter of drink and economy, the difference between Ireland and Barcelona was the following; coming back with wine for a communal party in Horta sometime back, I walked with a 5 litre bottle (empty water bottle) filled with quality red wine, that’s nearly 10 pints, and it was cheaper than one pint of Guinness in some pubs at home, here you can buy a litre of wine for 1 euro! Anyway, drop into the local bodega and pick up 2 litres of wine and head on to friends apartment down by Universitat, the main part of the city university, which like the rest is under student occupation in a fight of resistance against neo liberalism and the bologna plan. In my friends apartment we talk with and play with Adrian, our friends 2 year old baby boy. It’s extraordinary the fun one can have when communicating with non language; funny faces, sounds, mimicking movements, playing the drums on the yoghurt tubs…

Then we catch the metro out to the barrio of Sants, to go to La Bahia, one of the cities many squatted social centres, this one is an ex 80´s disco bar turned into a cheap venue for artistic parts of the BCN social movements, this night it was a cabaret, I think some of the old makabra people were involved. This is a free in, bring your own booze, or buy cheap booze there and thereby assist the collective and the space directly. For a feel for the diversity in this social centre, political, artistic network with free stuff to do, you can check out the weekly calendar of events, the Info Usurpa. There are about 50 social centres in the city, and many more squatted spaces, some of which open irregularly as collective activist, social, artistic, community spaces, theres a lot of different types.

We got there late enough, just caught the tail end, had a few sups, then back on metro to Gracia to a fine old Cuban bar for a beer. Then drop into another nodal point in the Gracia barrios social network; the ateneu Rosa de Foc, (where on Thursday we screened the film “the plunder” about the struggle in Ireland against shell) for a last can of Estrella (star, the main local beer from Damm) and to catch the late night tango and salsa dancing that was happening before hitting the hay after a lovely creative healthy day of living. (An Ateneu translates as a local cultural association resource space. “Rosa de Foc” is Catalan for “rose of fire”, which was what Barcelona was called during Spain’s civil war 1936-39, when it was the heart of resistance against the fascist coup led by Franco, as well as being, for a short while perhaps the best example of an anarchist revolution in action, until its bloody end in the “civil war within the civil war”, when Stalin’s communist forces quelled the revolution, George Orwell wrote much about these tragic events in his acclaimed novel “Homage to Catalonia” which he later portrayed in his later more famous book, “Animal Farm”)

Sunday… Sharing passions, playing and doing, Remembering the South

Up early and into Raval again, this time to be on time for our meeting with Mike from the Transition town network, he is responsible for bringing out the monthly Transition newsletter. Before hand I wander up to the rambla Raval where there are celebrations as it is the feast day of St Eulalia, the patron saint of the city, there was a orchestra playing on a stand and behind that was an amazing participative playful exhibition, KATAKRAK, it rocked; recylcled beds, bikes and bits of pieces turned into games of play that look like animals. The kids were really excited; it was a beautiful thing to witness.

From there we got a bite to eat in Organics, a vegetarian restaurant, Mike was over for work reasons and his daughter who is doing sculpture in the city also joined us, we had an informal chat during which Mike took notes with the intention of writing an article for the Transition newsletter about how things are going for the BCN transition group which is growing and we are taking our first steps.

Some of the things talked about

- “Barcelona”, going from a place with a bold urban history to it becoming stale, merely seeking to entice more and more weekend tourists in on planes to spend their euros, while pushing out local communities… it was hip, its now stale, BUT, it could again play a lead role for future movements of urbanism.

- How the Transition model might land very well on the structure of the city of Barcelona, with its very well established Barrio structure, each still with their communal heart, the central food market. (most being beautiful 19th century steel frame construction buildings) as well as the participative role the community plays in their barrio which is most identifiable when they have their barrio festivals, not only the celebration on the streets, but also the creation of floats, street art, music etc… everyone participates, the grannies and 4 year old kids can still be seen dancing in the streets in the wee hours…

- The urban story of Barcelona, with its violent history, its loaded meaning. The city has played a huge part in the identity of the Catalans, as different from the Spanish. In the late 1700's, the French and Spanish teamed up to lay a siege at the city. On finally winning, they entered the walled city, evicted about a fifth of the population, razed their houses and turned the area into a huge military fort, the Ciutadella, from which to control the masses. The newly homeless made their way to the beach and about 50 years later a french engineer designed a very very tight grid iron neighbourhood for them with a strange orientation. Barcelenetta was the result, and its orientation was so that, if there was future revolts, the cannons in Ciutadella could be wheeled directly to the line of the street and shoot down... Later for the World fair the hated fortress was removed and turned into a park, the green lung of this dense grey city; Parc Ciutadella.

- How the Eixample model, the grid iron system which was born when the city walls were pulled down in the 1860´s, might be well able to take the extra layer of each block being recovered, its inside turned into a green space again, as is happening under the fantastic Pro Eixample programme, but how also, another layer could be added; eco effictiveness, green zone and roofs as food production zones, and a grey water treatment plant on site to reycyle water for the plants. If its possible to do in 1, its possible for all... Thats a lot of city, from grey to green.

- Mike asked us about the role anarchism plays, if any, in the city today. There were differing views from not much, to perhaps not so much in terms of end point of "without leaders" but definately in terms of organising, the way meetings form or round assemblies, the sense of DIY get up and just do it, the sense of local organisation... Although they lost the war, maybe the battle never ended? There are indeed some similarities between anarchism and the Transition movement; grassroots bottom up organisation, decentralised locally organised autonomous groups, horizontal open networking and organising, loose informal spontaneos assembly times, ie "open space", direct action, the community does not sit back and expect "the powers" to solve things, they organise themselves to, as Rob puts it the Transition model is something about "Unlocking the collective genius of the community".

- The term "transition" is a very loaded term here in Barcelona, as it was the term used when fascism ended and Democracy came into being. This happened after the death of Franco in 1975 and it was a difficult time, in many ways, like somewhat in Ireland, it touches too raw a nerve. Within the spanish Transition network there is some debate about this, but perhaps the movement might assist in coming to terms with the phraseology?

- How there is such a huge need for the Transition movement to really address the city, as Rob said "If we don’t crack the cities, then we haven’t really done that much." Claudia participated in the recent Transition city conference in Notthingham which helps us greatly. But also, if indeed, we manage to "crack" the city of Barcelona, then that opens much avenues for the entire spanish speaking world. As part of our problem here is that the movement is very much in English speaking world, but, in saying that, we have begun translation work of both texts and videos to assist here.

- How one of the big keys and something which already is so strong here, is the idea of "partying to change things", rather than the doom and gloom, how festivals and positive events play such a part, on that note, it was pointed out that the following week there was a party in the local garden in Gracia.

Ironically enough in terms of exploring transition culture; this barrio was first created as a food production zone for the city if and when they would be under siege. Anyway, After lunch we split, Claudia biked upto the garden in Gracia, while Mike and myself walked to St. Antoni, the Eixample area just outside raval, there we talked in greater detail about the great Pro Eixample programme. We entered and visited a fine reclaimed block and talked about the idea that with water recycling, energy harvesting and energy collection, the block could sustain much of its inhabitants in the post-oil age…If possible it would be great to test one of these blocks. We got the metro up to gracia, and again went through a different urban scale, the old indepandant town outside the city of BCN, now one of her barrios but with some fine urban plazas, passing through Placa John Lennon, we swung a corner and entered the garden. Again, as the previous day, there was much activity, Claudia had already arrived and was engaged with another English girl in the garden, who had been involved in transition and permaculture movements in the UK, turns out she remembered me from last summers climate camp, busy then catching words with people for the camp radio, both during quite times at the front line, and not so quite, when cops had entered and struck many people. Mike enjoyed seeing the garden and himself and Claudia headed away, while I stayed to paint a giant chess board on the remaining concrete area of the garden, some others in the garden joined in to help and we shared nice stories and dreams, one girl had cycled from England to Barcelona.

The painting took longer than I had expected so I was a bit late up to the talk with speakers from Latin America about how things are going there, even though it was a few hours since it started, the discussion was still in full flow, with many people eager to continue to hear more from that part of the world which is seeing such change in recent years. My two Latin American friends there found it a very exciting talk; it seems there is even more now to be learnt in Europe from Latin America, in these times of economic crisis. There I also got to meet Joseph, a student from New York, who had got in contact with us and was keen to plug into to eco things going on in BCN, he is a skater dude who has done lots of interesting work with his final year hi school class, including going to Bioneers and presenting a short film they made about local food action work in their neighbourhood.

Walking back through the trees, from nature, back into the dense urban mass of BCN, we discussed how exciting these times were, that with the crisis there is even more possibility or opportunity for radical change to happen quickly. How indeed it does feel that the "Blessed Unrest" that Paul Hawken is talking about is really happening and how beautiful a pleasure it is to participate in things. We metroed back into Gracia, went to local bodega for another cheap glass of wine and chilled out with some nice old 50s, early 60s rock and roll, happy, content, energized and buzzed up to what the future holds in store.

(the BOLD word above will have links soon)

Audio: The Gracia community garden radio documentary trilogy and accompanying article

1 - Entering, Breaking ground, dreams of a greener barrio.
2 - Murals and kids
3 - Lauras garden tour

1 - http://www.indybay.org/uploads/2009/02/12/the_gracia_co...l.mp3
2 - http://www.indybay.org/uploads/2009/02/24/gracia_garden...s.mp3
3 - http://www.indybay.org/uploads/2009/02/24/lauras_tour_o...n.mp3


Hort de Gràcia

Hort comunitari de Gràcia (earlier take)

Garden website:

Garden infos in English

Greening the city: Temporary urban green zones

Patcha Mama smiles again in Gracia

Bold, Beautiful, Blooming Barcelona on Valentines weekend
Bold, Beautiful, Blooming Barcelona on Valentines weekend

Greening the city @ BCN: feels like we are winning
Greening the city @ BCN: feels like we are winning

Embedded audio: http://www.indybay.org/uploads/2009/02/12/the_gracia_community_garden_radio_doc-final.mp3

Embedded audio: http://www.indybay.org/uploads/2009/02/24/gracia_garden_doc_2_-_murals_and_kids.mp3

Embedded audio: http://www.indybay.org/uploads/2009/02/24/lauras_tour_of_gracias_community_garden.mp3

author by Lemon manpublication date Tue Mar 10, 2009 07:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I've listened to a couple of participants and viewed some photos. My verdict:- positive urban renewal by visionaries with community spirit in their minds and art in their veins. Viva!

author by Krisispublication date Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

An interesting and informative article on the nature of urban organisation in Barcelona. There is much to be learned not only from the nature of how communities and social/urban anarchist movements organise there, but also from the type of "community" which exists in Catalunya and to a wider extent Spain, partly thanks to the structure of their local "ayuntamientos" or town halls, which are considerably more effective than their equivalent in Ireland.

Having lived in Barcelona for a number of years, it is very easy to visualise the kind of weekend the author describes, the lazy days and good food, interesting activities and fruitful and productive discussions.

All sorts of positive, inspiring initiatives exist all over the world and it is heartening to read about them, although I was somewhat surprised at the level of personal narrative mixed into this article - food, drink and watching videos - important to bear in mind that the entire world cannot live in Barcelona, with its balmy climate and rich urban history.

Important also to remember that this is a city which was forced to import water on container ships last year due to chronic shortages.

Anyway, maybe Barcelona can "lead the way" in urban activism, and the content of this article is good, if a little heavy on the references to local bars, restaurants and lifestyle in the city, distracting from the other, more useful content.

Power to the Hort Comunitari and keep up the good work.

author by dunkpublication date Tue Mar 10, 2009 15:17author email fuspey at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

BOLD Links in above article are all found at It´s A Funny Old World

To stop your IP being automatically logged by the provider of the (Blip.tv) video content, we have not loaded it automatically. If you wish to proceed to watch the video, then please Click here to load the embedded video player for video Id 1829381/

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author by ogipublication date Wed Mar 11, 2009 16:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

hey dunk very good article , good to see some optimism and personally i thought the personal touch made it much more readable!! anyway i wanted to maybe take u down from cloud 9 a bit.. (sorry)
ive been livin here for nearly 3 years now, so im gonna draw on my own perspectives. its definitely true that there is a community and tradition of hands on action here, and all u say about htat is accurate.. but there are a few negative trends that u dont mention. firstly.. although the 'ocupa' movement is comparatively strong here, itsbeen attacked by the ajuntament (council) and thus there have been alot.. i mean alot, of ocupas or social centres closed down by the police, just recently i read that there isnt even one left in the whole maresme region( just outside barcelona, but in the province) which goes to show how effective the police have been. so in comparasin with years back the movement has not been able to hold the ground it once gained.
the other aspect i wanted to talk about is more important. the public image of 'alternative movements' has constantly been being attacked and dirtied with the accompanying fall in general support from the rest of the community... this is happening for two reasons. 1 the ongoing neoliberal plan to turn barcelona into a theme park and build everywhere (successful so far) and 2 because many ocupas and/or social centres are mainly used for partying (and very few social activities) drinking etc.. which of course feeds the public idea that those people are just wasters, spongers etc.. im not saying i agree but its a sad fact that there is the same number of 'gillipollas' (xxxxxx) everywhere and within every social stratum of society..

and one thing id like to finish up on and say that .. u talk about how cheap barcelona is.. well mister its not.. just 2 days ago 'they' published the list of most expensive cities.. barcelona is 19th ahead of london!!!!!!!!! and i think its been climbing at an extremely fast rate over the last few years. the problem is, that here, there is a booming upper class and as well as having a stong social leftist/anarchist tradition, (and this is the interesting thing) the city also has a very strong bourgeoise, pijo(posh) tradition.. just look at the buildings in the barrios altos (upper). its just like the laws of physics.. where there is action, there is always an equal but opposite reaction..

author by Currency convertorpublication date Fri Mar 13, 2009 13:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi Ogi,

Like most people I noticed things in Barcelona were WAY more pricey the last time I was there -the same can be said for Berlin.

You say:
"u talk about how cheap barcelona is.. well mister its not.. just 2 days ago 'they' published the list of most expensive cities.. barcelona is 19th ahead of london!!!!!!!!!"

I would like to know your source. I wonder if you know whether the list price is linked to the recent Pound and Dollar currency fall?


author by ericpublication date Sat Mar 21, 2009 18:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

All sorts of positive, inspiring initiatives exist all over the world and it is heartening to read about them, although I was somewhat surprised at the level of personal narrative mixed into this article - food, drink and watching videos - important to bear in mind that the entire world cannot live in Barcelona, with its balmy climate and rich urban history.

Related Link: http://useralias.org
author by Amber O Sullivanpublication date Sun Mar 22, 2009 13:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This happened earlier today. I don't have time to write much but students have been sleeping in the universities in Barcelona in protest of the Bologna education system and the privatization of their education. The protest has been passive and non-violent yet today at 5.30am the Mossos Police force, along with the backing and help of the Rector (president of Universitat Barcelona) violently and brutally removed the students and then went on to approach the streets outside and around the city with a similarly violent stance (streets that were full of students peacefully marching or on their way to classes). There were also reported injuries inflicted buy the police force to photographers and reporters who were trying to cover the stories. One student is said to be in hospital with a cracked skull.
Here are some links to videos of the morning (Wednesday, 18 March, 2009):

author by Fpublication date Wed Mar 25, 2009 13:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

more photos:

vid on blip.tv

Brutalitat policial contra els estudiants a Barcelona (article with photos in catalan)

updates from (recently) occupied university network

Mossos beat students against bolonya plan in Barcelona
Mossos beat students against bolonya plan in Barcelona

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author by iosafpublication date Wed Mar 25, 2009 15:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The harsh reality of life for squatters, student protesters, those just about subsisting on little food really does clash with Dunk's general optimism, though I've nothing but praise for his assorted veggie patches I never seem to figure out how a few kilograms of home grown food in every area of 15,000 people makes a difference worth writing home about.

Last week, for the first time since March 2006, I had to open the door of my building to take in people off the street and get them out the way of rampaging police, "the mossos". Rather than follow their usual dispersal routes or even their own guidelines on only hitting someone once with a baton or bouncing rubber bullets off the ground first - they went at protesting students, then working journalists, then local folk returning home and en route added one ten year old child and 9 tourists to the list of 79 people who needed medical care. This whole thing started in the morning when they ended the university occupation which had been continuing to little avail and much disruption of normal academic life since last Autumn. In the process they arrested Enric Duran, a member of the social movements, who is very respected for paying for several websites and newspapers through his well known rolling scam which between 2006 and 2008 extracted 492,000 euros from 39 banks and credit agencies. He is all the more respected for explaining in a newspaper he published how to do it. He is a toxic asset advisor Enrique had only arrived back into the state out of hiding the night before. After that morning, the mossos continued all night. I opened the door at 21h30, at the peak of local brutality there were three dozen kids on my stairwell and a handful of neighbours who were too scared to walk home. I finally closed the door at 23h15. It was the first time in my 8 years living here that police, either the current Catalan "mossos" or the Spanish predecessor force have left the usual dispersal routes and entered the narrow streets of the old city and its relatively bourgois Born area in their riot vans. They barely fit in the streets. There was none of the usual antisystem attacks on bank machines, no burning bins, no widespread intimidation of neighbours or workers. We were all ; local and protesting student alike only scared of one group of people - our police force.

& so the next day I joined with hundreds of other people and made a formal complaint noting that every mid March since the full deployment of the Catalan police, there has been a similar outrage which includes shocking pictures of brutality and injured tourists.

Let's see how tomorrow goes off. & also see if Enrique gets out of jail soon. The association of neighbourhoods of Barcelona and the observatory on Human Rights have today declared his continued detention is nothing more than an ironically stupid attempt at vengance by the banks who lent and leveraged him the money.

keep you informed.

author by iosafpublication date Tue Mar 31, 2009 21:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

two things, one relevant to this thread & the other to the recent comments which brought attention to police brutality against students and general public on the 18th March.

The Taxidrivers' veggie patch

Dunk's motivation and hope in reporting on community iniatives such as the ones he described above are that a wider section of community groups and collectives repeat and copy the simplicity. So imagine my surprise yesterday to find the "taxidrivers' veggie patch", which according to some taxidrivers I spoke to, was inspired by the "forat de vergonya" project Dunk mentioned above, & which lest we forget, was a tniy gesture of reconciliation on behalf of the BCN city council following on from the struggles for that space over years, which reached moments of high tension in 2006 , as I reported here "The half a rood of rock" - how we value public space." http://www.indymedia.ie/article/78839

The taxidrivers have a gathering point next to the airport which filters and orders their exits, it seems thousands of them everyday spend some time in a customised carpark. Some spend their time in a little prefab bar, others play tennis with improvised nets, others gossip, some we dream even foment revolution & relevant to this thread - some have planted veggies.

In total an area of 15 metres squared has been given over to 4 fruit trees, rows of onions and even a bunch of tomatoes. I came across this project which properly belongs far out of our usual social movement radar simply because I'm teaching a course of air-traffic-control English out at the airport & my walk to teach people to put pronounce "nine" as "nineR" and spell things out as "Alpha-foxtrot-delta-charlie" brought across the spring onions.


The fallout of the Catalan police brutality of March 18th

Today the minister of the interior, the green marxist Joan Saura answered questions in the Catalan parliament on the overuse of force which saw a final tally of 85 hospitalisations, including children, tourists and journalists. The chief of the Catalan "mossos d'esquadra" police resigned this morning, offering his head it would seem in place of the acting head of the 50 strong mobile response unit riot-squad. Those who read Catalan can learn all about it here and see the whole video channel which was compiled on the brutality by the Catalan independence news platform VilaWev http://www.vilaweb.cat/www/noticia?p_idcmp=3564495

In slightly related news, university occupations continue, the hunger striker who was hospitalised last week continues to refuse food, Enrique Duran is still facing charges of fraud & the last student march took the piss completely out of the police by not following its announced route and being flanked by medical students complete with blood transfusion gear & strong aspirines.

strong aspirine always help.

author by dunkpublication date Sat Apr 18, 2009 00:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Guerrilla gardeners dig in

Guerrilla gardening is transforming neglected corners of cities the world over. As a new flower bed is created on a patch of public land in Booterstown this week , YVONNE GORDON hears about the motives that drive the movement

author by John Gardenerpublication date Sat Apr 18, 2009 09:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Congratulations to this thread for highlighting guerrilla gardening. There will be growth in the spring, as Peter Sellers said in his last movie, Being There. Congrats are also due to indymedia for letting the budding Seed group in Swords to air their views before publishing some pics of their cultivation. There are several guerrilla gardener websites in the English-speaking world, but French-speakers have been doing their petit peu de cultivation clandestine (moonlight gardening) in Quebec and elsewhere.


Gaeilge: gairdíneacht rónda. . An bhfuil daoine ag trácht ar an tábhar seo as Gaeilge?

author by dunkpublication date Thu May 07, 2009 23:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Lots of shorts and 2 longer vids in La Quimera, where the Gracia observatory is based out of, the ones who played major part in creation of the garden. The garden was a half year old some weeks back, also last tuesday there was the first court case, as its squatted land, it has been put back for 2 more months. We hope to explore the idea outlined in TUGZ, of temp urban green zones, while buildings are in their inbetween stage of "development", with the crisis that could mean 4, 7, 13 years, who knows. In new york, they have mobile gardens, so when its time to move on, they just do that.

Anyway, just to fill you in a bit on how things are progressing.

links to tmrw´s event:

Pelis Por Pachamama



An interesting discussion was started on another imc.ie thread, still no mention of any of the transition ideas bubbling in dublin, or beyond:

The Threat of Global Warming

anyway, it seems everyone is planting food now in ireland, 2 weeks back on ray darcy show they had a good bit of chat, then on newstalk, tom dunne seemed to be talking to everyone about what they are up to in their garden, so strange days in ireland.

and in case youd like to know more about the whole transition movement, heres its founder, rob hopkins outlining his dreams and experiences, much of which were down in kinsale in cork:

TRANSITION TOWNS: An Interview with Rob Hopkins

related link to audios i did with transitioners at last years climate camp:

Transition Culture: radio shows about transition towns and more

BCN en TRANSITION presents: Pelis por Pachamama (Films for mother earth (Inca language)
BCN en TRANSITION presents: Pelis por Pachamama (Films for mother earth (Inca language)

Caption: TRANSITION TOWNS: An Interview with Rob Hopkins

author by dunkpublication date Thu May 21, 2009 16:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

HOLA A TOD@S- hi all, 2 really great things going on in BCN these days.

KRAX started last night, tonight at 7pm (8pm bcn time) there are 2 major presentations of things from 2 collectives, 1 from argentina, other greece. all events will be streamed, last year there was 2 languages and headphones at event, and i think 2 streams out, well worth listening.

2nd thing is latin american documentary film fest





poder de transformar, poder de crear

3º encuentro de creatividad urbana ante la transformación de la ciudad

:: 20 - 23 de Mayo 2009 ::

RAI - c/ Carders, 13, Barcelona

Del 18 al 24 : muestra de cine documental

krax BCN - tonight argentina + athens
krax BCN - tonight argentina + athens

latin america film fest
latin america film fest

author by DUNKpublication date Thu Jun 04, 2009 16:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Tonight we have our first CINE FRESCA, outdoor cinema, in the garden. We, garden collective and BCN en TRANSICION, are showing the film from cuba, which the Irish community gardeners showed down in Scariff Co-op back in 2006. A lot has changed since then, both here and there. I have still not seen anything on imc.ie re transition initiaves in Ireland, they are taking off, and their NING site is quite impressive... http://transitiontownsireland.ning.com/

Anyways, news of our goings on: http://bcnentransicion.wordpress.com/2009/05/30/cuba/

By the way, today and yesterday I was re-reading the FREE online version of the Transition hand book, It really is a must read for anyone involved in politcal / eco action for change, as it has explored in depth that area that for me anyway, was so lacking in "activist" circles; HOPE AND VISION: http://uniteddiversity.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/t...k.pdf

At one of Transition Town Totnes's Open Space Days in late 2006, a woman said to me,
"When I think of what TTT is doing I feel so full of hope I could cry." This chapter has argued
that hope is one of the key emotions we need to nurture and sustain in order to navigate the
troubled waters ahead, and it has been something that environmental campaigns until now
have struggled to generate.
We saw in this chapter the different ways in which an awareness
of peak oil can affect people in the varied manifestations of 'Post-petroleum stress disorder'.
We also saw how important the creation of visions of a lower energy future is, and explored
some tools, such as storytelling, that can be used to help create them.


(CINE FRESCA : HORT GRACIA) El poder de la comunidad – Cómo Cuba sobrevivió al pico del petróleo
(CINE FRESCA : HORT GRACIA) El poder de la comunidad – Cómo Cuba sobrevivió al pico del petróleo

The Transition Handbook - lessons in HOPE AND VISION
The Transition Handbook - lessons in HOPE AND VISION

author by Dunkpublication date Thu Jul 02, 2009 22:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Irish Transition NING site seems really busy, lots of nice tales starting to be told about communities in Transition; From Oil dependancy to local resiliance.

Theres also talk on politics.ie about Transtion, started by Eanna, who is involved with transtion town Youghal:
Eddie Hobbs: "We are now at Peak Oil"

On the final Questions and Answers the other night, Eddie Hobbs led a discussion on Peak Oil.

"If we look to the immediate future, I think that there’s issues far bigger than Government coming down the tracks," said Hobbs. "The biggest issue of all is the one related to energy. The International Energy Agency report that came out in November was lost in the media melee over banking and it completely reverses a lot of the predictions that we’ve used to base our entire national economic planning around. It seems to me that we’re now at Peak Oil production globally so we’re entering the age of scarcity.

"We have this collective view that we’re somehow going back to what was there before with just less wealth and I believe we’re entering a brand new economic age and the future is all about energy efficiency, energy creation, green technology and we’ve a lot of catching up to do in order to prepare for that. And we’ve great potential to do so."

John Bowman: And do you think the public are ready for that message?

Eddie Hobbs: No, this is the problem. It’s not until oil hits €200, €250 €300 a barrel that people will accept it, because it’s a very personal thing. But even nationally our preparedness really is quite pathetic. For example our most recent reports on oil supplies and on what we would do in the event of oil shortages are two huge reports and there isn’t even one sentence dealing with the possibility that we’re actually at Peak Oil. Even Fatih Birol, the chief economist with the IEA says it’s 2020 but some say it’s earlier."

Minister John Gormley "Eddie is absolutely right. We have twin problems: scarcity of oil and climate change. Despite the global recession it’s very clear that our emissions are growing by 1.9% per annum, so we’re using up our oil resources."

John Bowman then diverted the discussion to wondering why climate change hasn't caught the public imagination with Noel Whelan accepting that the Green Party had brought the issue to public attention.

see for yourself: RTÉ News: Questions and Answers ( http://www.rte.ie/news/qanda/ Monday, 29 June 2009 )

And lastly, some of the irish transition crews with cultivate heads have made a super short vid about what all this transition stuff is about:

The Powerdown Show - Transition Towns and Energy Descent Pathways (From Rob Carr on Vimeo)

"Bursting with insightful analysis and creative solutions to the twin challenges of climate change and peak oil, The Powerdown Show is an inspirational pointer to life beyond fossil fuels. Essential viewing – a flash of light in the darkness."

Rob Hopkins, Founder of the Transition Movement

Available from Cultivate on 1 DVD for only €15

author by dunkpublication date Mon Jul 06, 2009 19:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sorry, wrong link given there last time; that post is found at; http://www.politics.ie/environment/81985-eddie-hobbs-we...32471

author by dunkpublication date Mon Jul 06, 2009 19:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Regarding financial crisis, transitioning, what the future might look like, how you can organise to prepare for it, NOW:

If you are concerned about what MIGHT be a very different reality in 20 years, can I direct you to the very very helpful dvd that is doing the rounds in transition groups, eco communities, eco consultancy firms etc...

My name is Chris Martenson. I'm not an economist. I'm a trained research scientist, and a former Fortune 300 VP. Most importantly, though, I'm a concerned citizen.

I think the next twenty years are going to look very different from the last twenty years. This site is my attempt to explain why.

You should start with the Crash Course. This series of videos is, I think, the clearest and most straightforward explanation of how our economy, energy systems and environment interact -- how we got to where we are today, and some reasonable expectations for the future

You can watch all the vids freely online from his site; http://www.chrismartenson.com/crashcourse

All are also on youtube, heres first; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnXZzx9pAmQ

related link; http://transitionculture.org/2009/05/25/my-conference-c...stol/

Chris Masterson Crash Course DVD - free online: critical viewing
Chris Masterson Crash Course DVD - free online: critical viewing

author by dunkpublication date Mon Nov 02, 2009 22:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

With the upcoming talks in Copenhagen, here in BCN the lead up to COP 15, is a big deal. If we dont win, well, utter climate chaos. But many feel we can and will win. heres brief update links...

expect more and audios soon.

Climate’s towering agenda in Barcelona

A ‘Save the climate’ banner by Greenpeace towered above the spires of Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia church… At a nearby convention centre, preparations were under way on a draft agreement for the UN conference next month in Copenhagen....

TckTckTck welcomes negotiators to Barcelona climate talks with a wake up call

Groggy delegates and observers arriving today in Barcelona for the final round of negotiations prior to Copenhagen were welcomed by TckTckTck’s cacophony of 1,000 ringing alarm clocks piercing the morning air in front of the Fira Gran Via conference hall.

The chattering alarm clocks served as a literal “wake up call” to the climate negotiators, many of whom veered off the path to the front door to snap pictures and watch the action as TckTckTck and 350.org activists posed for the media cameras. Barcelona is the last chance for negotiators to find consensus on critical elements necessary to forge a legally binding international agreement in Copenhagen....

vid; http://www.vimeo.com/7392982

related article; S21-S22 : A world awakening out of its "age of stupid"

Caption: tcktcktck BARCELONA - lead up to COP 15

author by Dunkpublication date Tue Nov 03, 2009 13:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Africans protest low emissions targets at UN talks

BARCELONA, Spain — African countries suspended meetings at U.N. climate talks Tuesday to protest what they call the low targets that industrial countries have set for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

About 50 African countries forced the cancellation of several technical meetings, saying they were only ready to discuss the pledges submitted by the wealthy countries....

via Guardian eco section on TWITTER; http://twitter.com/guardianeco

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