In addition to halting more than 65 foreclosures in Spain, which Ter Garcia has written about for this site, the May 15 movement is having an impact on many other political, social and economic issues throughout the country. As Inés Benítez writes for Inter Press Service:
15-M has not only blocked evictions but has also successfully lobbied Congress to adopt protective measures for mortgage holders, such as raising the proportion of wages that cannot be garnished to pay off debts.
The movement has also pressed for legal reforms to approve “dacion en pago” – which basically means handing back the keys and the property in exchange for the bank discharging all mortgage debt. This solution, however, was rejected by all of the major parties.
But the protesters have managed to get some banks, like Bankinter, to adopt “dación en pago” on all mortgage loans, while Banco Santander has offered a three-year mortgage payment suspension for clients who have lost their jobs, or families that have seen a 25 percent drop in monthly income.
In Málaga, one of the largest cities in the southern province of Andalusía, 15-M successfully pressured the regional parliament to begin to study a “popular legislative initiative” (ILP) presented on May 31 that would boost citizen participation in political decision-making, Cosín said.
Another victory by 15-M was to prompt a debate on the need to reform the country’s election laws, which favour the large political parties, in order to increase social participation in decision-making.
The “indignados” have also been diligently protesting against cuts to public spending, demanding free health care and public education. What this movement will ultimately accomplish is still yet to be seen, but these victories should give the activists the momentum to continue the good fight.
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