Public-Private
The 15th of May 2011 a demonstration was organized in Madrid’s city centre under the motto No somos mercancía en manos de políticos y banqueros (We are not merchandise in the hands of politians and bankers). It was supported by several groups of political activism who demanded a social solution to the [...]

Public-Private

The 15th of May 2011 a demonstration was organized in Madrid’s city centre under the motto No somos mercancía en manos de políticos y banqueros (We are not merchandise in the hands of politians and bankers). It was supported by several groups of political activism who demanded a social solution to the economic and political crisis the country was undergoing. The attendance was beyond all expectations and at the end of the demonstration a group of people decided to camp at Puerta del Sol, where it ended. The camp ended up becoming a non-violent occupation of the public space which had been slowly taken by private interests. Over nearly two months it daily gathered thousands of people in massive debates and assemblies which became an agora where health, democracy, education, economy….were discussed from mutual respect and critical thinking. After the camp the so called 15M was born, a movement which nowadays constitutes a network of people organized in popular assemblies and workgroups distributed throughout the neighbourhoods and cities of Spain and remains in contact with other movements which emerged in different parts of the world. This project captures some key moments in this process and the way it has questioned the participation of the citizenship in nowadays occidental democracies. During the camp and the months that followed a part of the citizenship has regained control over the public space questioning the appropriation of the “public” (health, environment, education,…) by private interests. If this movement has made a real change in society or not is something we will see in the years to come. For now, it constitutes a landmark in the history of European social movements. In this project we contrast two ways of occupying the space: a public one, which responds to the needs of a large part of the citizenship, and a private one based on the interests of a minority.