Democratic Upset and the 15-M Movement. the Social Basis of the Political Crisis in Spain

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 6:15 PM
Room: 418
Oral Presentation
Benjamín TEJERINA , Universidad del País Vasco, Leioa, Spain

Recent years have witnessed a great diversity of mobilizations in authoritarian political regimes (Arab Spring, Colours Revolution) and consolidated democratic societies (Europe, North and South America). Driven by the consequences of the economic crisis, the implementation of liberal economic programs in different social sectors, and the persistence of significant democratic deficits, numerous citizens with a low level of previous political mobilization occupied the public space to show their discontent. The reasons are complex and, therefore, it is difficult to find a unique explanatory array that can be applied in all cases.

The Spanish case has served as an example to other subsequent mobilizations and although it displays obvious peculiarities, due to the depth of the economic crisis, it also presents similarities with other cases mentioned. The aim of the paper is twofold. Firstly, deepen in the reasons that activists and sympathizers of the movement 15-M consider as mobilization triggers: the immediate consequences of the economic crisis and people responsible for it, the politicians’ behaviour and its role in the crisis, the functioning of democratic institutions, the elements that limit, condition and pollute democracy, and the crisis of the political link between representatives and citizens. Secondly, to analyse the contributions and proposals of 15-M claiming for a more democratic process, as well as the results and impact of the mobilization. The following data will be used: 1) the survey of the CIS (Center for Sociological Research) to the Spanish population on the 15-M movement; 2) eight focus group sessions and ten individual interviews with activists; and 3) the results of a survey carried out by the INJUVE (Spanish Youth Institute) on social and political attitudes on the 15-M based on the answers of 1,100 young people aged between 15 and 29 years old.