archivi delle proteste globali
archives of global protests



It's not yet 7am and it's nice weather this morning, the sky is blue with a reddish tinge, and the bus stop is full of the same faces as always - those women who go and clean the houses of the "others" in the city. The suburb will wake up later on, it's like a box of matches stuffed full with 10,000 people in a square kilometre that lies to the south, always to the south of every city, this time 7km to the south of Valencia. The signs of sleepiness and of the pills some of them take can still be noted - without them they feel they can't bear the strain.

Juana is happy, her husband is unemployed and that's why he works so hard - without any contract of course, with no social security, withoput knowing if he'll have work tomorrow, and he works such long hours because he doesn't get paid for overtime, but they have bought a lovely car and it's clean, they wash it every Sunday, that way the neighbours will forget he's unemployed. But will they be able to make the repayments ? Yes, of course they will... and the water and electricity bills ? And the local tax ? And the party for the kid when he makes his first communion ? Yes, yes of course they will. So that everyone will forget he's unemployed... and so he can forget this too, he has to drink more and more in the bar every day, he forgets so much that he spends half his day's pay. but Juana is happy, she's going to go to the hairdresser's for her son's communion, and she'll imagine they're like Andres's family, Andres from the second floor who works in a big factory and has a real job - although his wife Marta is worried and can't sleep at night because they've told him they may throw him out: restructuring, Maastricht and all that. with the new contract they've given him they can throw him out whenever they want.

Marta can't sleep and that's why she takes pills... They still haven't told Andres that their eldest son, Jose, the one who comes home so late, has taken to stealing her pills, or that she's caught him doing strange things with a piece of aluminium foil in his bedroom.

But they're better off than the neighbours below them, Mariano and his brother who work in an illegal sweatshop that everybody knows about, the boss has told them they have to work harder because in China they can make the same thing much cheaper, and the customer will buy it from China instead of from them, but they're already working ten hours a day and their hourly rate is a pittance.

On the television they said that Zaire is no longer Zaire, it's called the Congo now, and the Europeans are no longer in charge - what Europeans? I wonder. The French, somebody who reads the newspaper every day tells me. But which French people? The emigrants who live in the slums of Paris? No, it can't be them, anyway now the Americans are in control... but which Americans? The newspaper tells me it's the North Americans, but it can't be the Chicanos who live in the poor suburbs.

Now we are in Europe, the Europe of Maastricht which deals in the bones of coloured children and in broken stomachs that have no colour at all.

Meanwhile, down in the local Co-operative, we go on recycling cardboard and cleaning the streets so that the Council will pay, and cooking good, cheap meals in the People's Kitchen, selling water for the houses, doing little repair jobs in people's houses and now we're thinking of putting up a greenhouse to grow tomatoes, onions and everything in... as well as opening a second hand clothes shop and selling newspapers in the street.

We have to survive, we go on exploiting ourselves a little more every day, but at least it's our own affair; though they've told us that some Indians have rebelled in Chiapas, Mexico.


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