And so they rose, and took to the streets and squares of cities and towns, reclaiming the Agora, asking that democracy live up to its promise: in Spain, in Greece, in France, people demanded that elected officials be held accountable, that traditional parties stop bickering and vying for power and start actually caring about them – the people.
Our Insiders’ team sought to understand what prompted thousands to rise up, and whether they did manage to be heard. In Spain we know how things panned out: 69 seats in parliament for Podemos, a party that itself has deep roots in the citizens’ movement Indignados. Now what about France and its movement Nuit Debout – in English “Up all night” or “At night on your feet”? What inspired them and what are they hoping to achieve? Valerie Zabriskie went to meet Nuit Debout supporters to find out.
We also went back to where it all started: Spain, in 2011. Five years later, besides a strong presence in parliament, six mayors backed by Podemos are at the helm of medium and large cities, including Barcelona and Madrid. Hugo Van Offel met with the mayor of the capital, Manuela Carmena, a former judge turned politician, elected by the people on a pledge to work for the people.
To better understand the nature and significance of the citizen’s movements mushrooming across Europe, we also spoke to Albert Ogien, a French sociologist and senior researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris.
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