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Book: "The Streets Will Always Be Ours: Indignados, Podemos, and the Catalan struggle"

Delving deep into Catalan independence and other challenges to the Spanish establishment in the last decade. Help turn interviews into book

Luke Stobart

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Impressive things have been happening in Spain since the peak of the crisis: historic square occupations, riots with public approval, anti-eviction activists running town halls, a new Spanish left shaking up politics, mass strikes against sexism,... Most dramatically two million Catalans made a referendum on independence happen despite state prohibition and violence.

Elsewhere in the world the main beneficiary of the crisis has been the hard or far right. In Spain right-wing nationalism has been growing – particularly since the Catalan crisis. And the post-Franco state has rediscovered its authoritarian ways. But Spain since 2011 has seen a wave of left-wing and democratic challenges to the status quo. This exceptional situation has led many on the international left to monitor developments

However, interpreting post-2011 processes from the outside has not always been easy. This is partly because movements such as the Indignados, PAH housing platform, and the Catalan Committees for the Defence of the Republic have not been of a traditional kind.

Likewise, Catalan independence is not a straightforward issue and there is limited useful writing on the topic. Many people are unsure whether to support the independent republic announced by the Catalan parliament. And many also want to know what has happened to this struggle since the issue dropped off the global news agenda.

Some international leftists think Podemos is radical and democratic – or even a political model to emulate. Others thinks it is reactionary and hierarchical. Who are correct? And what is behind the organisation's meteoric rise and then decline?

Many international activists have been inspired by Barcelona en Comú and other left-wing platforms that have taken over major town halls. But what has been their record in government?, how have they responded to obstacles?, and what is their relationship today with the movements they emerged from?

This book will look at the varying results of what activists describe as "wagers" ("apuestas"). And it will put forward accounts of their evolution.

The Streets... is written for all those who wish to better comprehend contemporary Catalonia and Spain. But it is particularly aimed at those that wish to positively transform their own countries.

Researching the book

Interview with Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau
Interview with Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau

To prepare the book I firstly interviewed key participants in the new movements and political organisations:

Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona / PAH housing platform
Oscar Reina, Andalusian Workers’ Union (SAT)
Liz Castro, Catalan National Assembly
Pau Llonch, Committees for the Defence of the Republic
Isidro López, libertarian writer
Juan-Carlos Monedero, TV analyst
Natàlia Sánchez, CUP MP
Rommy Arce, Ahora Madrid councillor
Silvia Salamanca, Marches for Dignity / Coal Women
Miguel Urbán, Anticapitalistas / Podemos MEP
José Téllez, ex-Deputy Mayor of Badalona / CUP
Tania Sánchez, Podemos Madrid MP / ex-United Left
Jesús Rodríguez, alternative journalist
Albano-Dante Fachin, ex Podemos Catalonia general secretary

It is also based on research I have performed for an Open University report and for publications – including Jacobin, New Internationalist and The Ecologist.

Book contents

Introduction: a progressive cycle

Chapter I: Economic crisis, new movements, regime crisis
“Nothing will be the same again” (15-M)
“Sí se puede” (A wave of social struggle)
“Regime crisis” (The party-political, institutional and territorial crises)
“We are a nation” (The Catalan labyrinth)

Chapter II: The ups and downs of Podemos
“People versus the caste” (The early Podemos)
“The electoral war machine” (The failure of left populism)

Chapter III: The municipal experiment
“The town halls of change” (Theory and practice of municipalism)

Greater Barcelona as a laboratory

Chapter IV: Catalonia’s hot autumn
“We will vote” (How the people beat the State)
“Occupation forces out” (Catalonia intervened)

Chapter V: Reflections on a wave of hope

On the “15-M cycle”

Why the populist hypothesis was wrong

On “occupying the institutions”

National and social struggle

Chapter VI: Moving forward

About the author

At a meeting with Anna Gabriel – anti-capitalist MP now in exile in Switzerland
At a meeting with Anna Gabriel – anti-capitalist MP now in exile in Switzerland

I have been an activist in Catalonia and Madrid since the 1990s. I now am a researcher and writer – specialising in Catalan and Spanish politics. I have authored widely-shared articles for The Guardian and been interviewed by BBC Radio 4, CNN, Sky, Al Jazeera and Telesur. I also work as a freelance interpreter.

Why money is needed

I have a book contract. However in order to hand in the manuscript on time I must fund working 100% on the book for a few months.

To transcribe all of the interviews I would need to hire an assistant.

Estimated calendar

  • I am currently working on the manuscript.

  • The manuscript must be handed in by November.

  • The book will be published by September 2019.

  • Rewards will be sent out and presentations organised by the end of October 2019.

On me and my writing

QUIM ARRUFAT, ex-Catalan MP:

"One of the most attentive international observers – with an analytical yet engaged left perspective – of the Catalan independence process. I’m sure his book will be a reference point in Catalonia and – particularly – beyond."

TARIQ ALI, author of The Extreme Centre, on my Left Flank articles:

“The most useful analysis on the origins and political approach of Podemos.”

JANE MCALEVEY, US union activist and author:

“There's no one better than Luke Stobart to help us understand what has been taking place in Catalonia and Spain. For years he has been offering sharp, critical, and insightful analysis of complex and dynamic movements.”

On the publishers

Verso Books is the largest alternative publishing house in the English-speaking world, publishing one hundred books a year. It has published landmark books by Tariq Ali, Chantal Mouffe and Ernesto Laclau, Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky, Mike Davis, David Harvey, Eric Hobsbawm, Edward Said, Ellen Meiksins Wood, and Slavoj Žižek. Its books are translated into dozens of languages worldwide.

Visit the Verso website here

Some of my writing

One of my OpEds for The Guardian
One of my OpEds for The Guardian

Jacobin articles on Podemos / Catalonia / the new Sánchez government

New Internationalist articles on municipalism in Barcelona / the pro-independence grassroots in Catalonia

Article for The Guardian on the handling of the Barcelona terror attacks


Follow the author and campaign here


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  • Luke Stobart

    Luke Stobart

    about 5 years


    Estimado/a mecenas,

    Me da mucho placer anunciar, por si no lo supieras aún, que hemos logrado nuestro objetivo de campaña de crowdfunding. ¡MIL GRACIAS POR HABERLO HECHO POSIBLE! Es genial cuando uno descubre que un proyecto que quieres tanto también interese a muchísimas otras. Durante la última semana la campaña ha cogido mucho impulso y su página web ha recibido muchos centenares de visitas gracias a la difusión de la campaña en los MEDIOS SOCIALES (algo que fue impulsado por recomendaciones por parte de miembros destacados de los movimientos en Catalunya). Agrupaciones sindicales y organizaciones de izquierda han pedido presentaciones del libro. Y me ha emocionado descubrir que ¡tengo más LECTORES, AMIGOS y FAMILIARES que lo que pensaba...! La CAMPAÑA CONTINUA hasta mañana a las 9.51h (hora española) y antes de esa hora todavía se pueda comprar libros por anticipado o reservar presentaciones. Después Verkami cobrará las aportaciones... Pero lo importante es que ya sé que voy a poder dejar de hacer trabajos freelance para centrarme por completo en ESCRIBIR Y TERMINAR EL LIBRO. Tengo mucho trabajo que hacer ¡pero también muchas ganas de hacerlo!

    Salut i alegria!

    Luke Stobart, autor de 'The Streets Will Always Be Ours. Indignados, Podemos, and the Catalan struggle'

  • Luke Stobart

    Luke Stobart

    about 5 years


    Dear contributor,

    I am happy to announce – in case you did not know already – that our book campaign target has been met! Many THANKS! It is great to find out that a project dear to you also interests many others. In the last week the campaign surged fast and its site has had many hundreds of visits coming through SOCIAL MEDIA (helped when leading Catalan figures tweeted endorsements of the campaign). Union branches and left organisations have requested book PRESENTATIONS, and I have been moved to discover that I have more READERS, FRIENDS and FAMILY than I previously thought! .... The crowdfunding CAMPAIGN CONTINUES until 8.51 am (UK time) tomorrow and people can still pre-order a book and presentation in the hours before. After that Verkami should take the payments... But already I know that I will now able to put other things to one side and COMPLETE THE BOOK! It will be a lot of work but I am raring to go!

    Thanks again!

    Yours happily,

    Luke Stobart, writer of 'The Streets Will Always Be Ours. Indignados, Podemos, and the Catalan struggle'

  • TBB


    about 5 years

    Best of luck!

  • Enrique Aparisi

    Enrique Aparisi

    about 5 years

    Ánimo con el libro! Nos vemos en las calles!

  • Luke Stobart

    Luke Stobart

    about 5 years

    That's fine Neil!

  • Luke Stobart

    Luke Stobart

    about 5 years

    Two of the interviews performed for the book were filmed and were used for a programme on Spain presented by Tariq Ali and broadcast by Telesur. These were of Ada Colau, Barcelona mayor and ex-housing activist; and Albano-Dante Fachin, until recently general secretary of the left-wing Podemos party in Catalonia. Their very different approaches to the conflict over the independence referendum in Catalonia made for a lively and interesting debate (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HzE7U1vHDo, from 30.29 minutes)

    Dos de las entrevistas que hicimos para el libro las grabamos por video y fueron usadas para un programa televisivo sobre España. El programa fue emitido por Telesur y presentado por Tariq Ali (autor y activista veterano anglopaquistaní). Fueron las entrevistas de Ada Colau, alcaldesa de Barcelona y exactivista de la PAH, y Albano Dante Fachin, exsecretario general de Podem. Sus actitudes muy distintas con respeto al conflicto por el referéndum hicieron un debate animado e interesante (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HzE7U1vHDo, a partir de 30.29 minutos)

  • Neil50


    about 5 years

    Should have done it earlier

  • annaorgan1@hotmail.co.uk

    [email protected]

    about 5 years

    Best of luck with the book project :)

  • Luke Stobart

    Luke Stobart

    about 5 years

    Some people seem to have missed that we produced a video for the campaign, which perhaps gives the best flavour of some topics included in the book. It includes clips from interviews we did with Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau and the ex-General Secretary of Podemos Catalonia. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRXmk3jZugE or the Verkami project page.

  • Luke Stobart

    Luke Stobart

    about 5 years

    BREAKING: Thanks to the many nice people that have contributed over the last few days we have reached 3/4 of the campaign target with 4 days to go....!

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