FIRST COMMUNIQUÉ FROM ‘CAMP DIGNITY’ (#Acampadamérida)
Extremadura can bear no more. There are more than 160,000 people (more than 30% of the active population) who are unemployed, and 70,000 of them no longer have any form of income. Extremadura is currently the most impoverished area of Western Europe: more than 40% of Extremadurans live beneath or on the threshold of poverty. The brutal cutbacks imposed by the neoliberal executives in Brussels, Madrid and Mérida are destroying our region’s public systems of health and education. Men and women, young and old, workers and unemployed, are all suffering the neoliberal attack and debt blackmail in the form of unemployment, exploitation, misery, eviction, exclusion and criminalisation.
We demand a basic income now. For months, thousands of people have mobilised throughout the whole of Extremadura seeking the implementation of a Basic Citizen Income, in successive street demonstrations and by signing up to the Popular Legislative Initiative. The Extremaduran Platform for a Basic Income and the dozens of social collectives that have supported its demands do not and will not accept the so-called ‘basic income’ -which is nothing but a very limited selective charity- proposed by the Extremaduran Government in response to the social mobilisation. We demand the implementation of a Basic Income that covers 100% of people in our region without an income, one that is high enough to guarantee the minimum of dignity that every human life deserves above and beyond the rules of the market: we are people, not commodities.
We demand public employment and the end of evictions. The creation of public employment is an urgent measure, not only to alleviate the tragedy of unemployment, but also to reactivate the public welfare system and protect the commons. That is why we demand the creation of 25,000 public jobs, directly orientated towards alleviating the grievous deficiencies in our systems of education, health, long term care, and the protection of our natural environment. And of course, we demand the immediate cessation of evictions conducted against the family homes of our region, and the immediate re-accommodation of those families who are already victims of eviction from homes both in public and private ownership.
That is why we camp. The Extremaduran Platform for a Basic Income, accompanied by people from other friendly collectives and by neighbours in Mérida, have begun this Camp Dignity (in Spanish, Campamento Dignidad) (#AcampadaMérida) as a means of exerting pressure on the powerful and as a call for a mobilisation of the citizens, by that 99% of the population who are suffering government-driven austerity and looting by corporations. Camp Dignity offers itself as a meeting point for the tides (mareas) of protest that defend jobs, homes, public services, co-operation, social rights, civil liberties and environmental sustainability. We call on everyone to take part in the citizen tides that will take place this Saturday 23rd February in Plasencia, Cáceres, Miajadas, Don Benito, Mérida and Badajoz. We will stay here, indefinitely, until those who have the power to do so take the required measures to put an end to the torrent of suffering visited upon us through this plunder by illegitimate debt.
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