Conclusions from a Barcelonese winter

Certainly, my time in Barcelona was different from other moments in the life of this blog. With a scientific task, my encounter with the region was a constant oscillation between the “real world” and world of concepts. From the distance, I certainly lost some insights but also gained a perspective which I never had on similar occasions. So on the end of my time, rather then telling anecdotes (which I might could as well), I'll bore with some concluding remarks.

- The project of the European Union, once started to build up a stabile system of peace, has lost its founding idea. Due to the effects of the crisis 2008 in Spain and elsewhere and the tremendously timid reactions, ruling order satisfies markets, not more. Unemployment triples in just five years leaving every fourth person without work, 13 millions Spaniards are in risk of poverty, in 2012 526 persons lost their home every day, while inequality is on constant rise... and so on and so forth. Instead of easing or abolishing, the common market creates new inequalities between the south and the north, with Germany winning the race of competition. Question is: how long?

- That Spain does not collapse in a storm of indignation might be due to three reasons: Effects of unemployment and poverty are strongly stratified. Crisis hits those most who already before had been in worth conditions. Who lived in precarious conditions ever-since is less likely to rise the voice. The incomplete mosaic of Spanish welfare state nevertheless reaches millions of families and - although on a very low level - satisfies basic needs. Additionally, micro solidarity by the family covers the necessity of many people sitting in the gaps of market and welfare state, most of them youngsters, living in economically forced dependency.

- Hoe says that the Spanish state is not strongly challenged does maybe not look closely enough. With 15-M a strong grass-route movement started to make visible that there is and has to be alternative. With Podemos an only one year old party is likely to gain a forth of the votes in general elections this november, maybe even becoming biggest party in parliament. With about half of the population of Cataluña demanding independency, one of the richer parts of Spain is fighting to gain control over its territory, filled with hope to do it better. If that´s not signs of downfall, what is?

- Germany is becoming the new symbol of hegemonic power over Spain and the south of Europe. And what worries: it is the nation as a whole, not certain politics who is constructed to be the dominator. Media discourse is full of references to Germany, doesn't matter whether on political, economical or cultural issues and I got an idea how hegemonic ideology is constructed. There is no reason to talk about German writers or CDU party conventions, at least not more then about other countries artists and politicians, or is there?

- Barcelona definitely is a great city to live. With beaches and mountains surrounding, big-cities life and a public sphere of peace and diversity make it worth to stay o go there for a trip (leaving aside that richness in the centre is build on exploited suburbs where, as a tourist, you will never set a food inside). But, what becomes every post-crisis year more obvious, the tourism model of Barcelona routes on a model of inequality which pushes the inhabitants to the streets, rallying “cap pis turistic”. While rich northerners pay some low-cost carriers to spend a weekend of culture, beach and alcohol in the hotels and private dorms of the centre, Barcelonese become their service servants and have to move to the next remote area till the circus arrives there.

- Beauty of the Mediterranean sometimes strikes awfully. Even when going to the suburbs or leading my everyday life, every once in a while I got thunderstruck by a rock, a hill o just the light. Easy going social contacts and a culture of still gathering together with good food at holy times should be immediately imported to the North.

- It is possible to live four months in Barcelona without seeing a single game of Barça. Even not on television. Even not when they are winning again.