Ghost Manifesto

This is my rush translation of the ‘Ghost Manifesto’ prepared yesterday morning by citizens assembled in Sol in Madrid. Any moments of unwieldiness or incongruousness are my own. I am not sure if ‘Ghost’, rather than ‘Phantom’ or ‘Spectre’ is the most appropriate term. I would also point out that this name does not appear in the document itself, but only in the description of the document that appears in Público. Translation loss aside, I think it is a marvelous document.I was near punching the air when I was translating it.

For those not familiar with contemporary continental philosophy, the phrase ‘THIS IS AN EVENT’ may seem incongruous. In the original, it is ‘ESTO ES UN ACONTECIMIENTO’. Alain Badiou’s L’être et l’événement (Being and Event) is translated into Spanish as El ser y el acontecimiento. I am sufficiently familiar with Badiou’s work to pick out this reference. I am not sufficiently familiar with such matters to say, however, if I have successfully picked out all such references.

Items of agreement for the plural manifesto prepared during the morning of the 18th of May in Puerta del Sol.

Those assembled in Puerta del Sol, aware that this is an action in progress and of resistance, have agreed to declare the following:

  1. After many years of apathy, a group of citizens of different ages and social backgrounds (students, teachers, librarians, unemployed, workers…) ENRAGED with their lack of representation and with the betrayals that are being conducted in the name of democracy, have met at Puerta del Sol with regard to the idea of Real Democracy.
  2. Real Democracy is opposed to the gradual discrediting of institutions that claim to represent them, which have become mere agents of administration and management, in the service of the forces of international financial power.
  3. The democracy that is promoted from corrupt bureaucratic apparatuses is simply a collection of sterile electoral exercises, in which the participation of citizens has no effect.
  4. The discrediting of politics has brought with it the capture of words by those who cling on to power. We must recover words, restore their meaning so that language cannot be manipulated with the end of leaving the citizenry indefenceless and incapable of cohesive action.
  5. But the examples of manipulation and the capture of language are numerous and constitute a tool of control and disinformation.
  6. Real Democracy means putting proper names to the infamy we are living through: International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank, NATO, European Union, ratings agencies such as Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, Partido Popular, PSOE, but there are many others and our obligation is to name them.
  7. It is necessary to build a political discourse capable of rebuilding the social fabric, systematically rendered vulnerable through years of lies and corruption. We citizens have lost respect for the majoritarian political parties, but this is not the same as losing our critical faculties. On the contrary, we do not fear POLITICS. To stand up and speak is POLITICS. To seek alternatives of citizen participation is POLITICS.
  8. One of our principal premises is a Reform of the Electoral Law that restores Democracy its true meaning: a government of citizens. A participative democracy.
  9. We insist that we citizens united here make up a TRANSGENERATIONAL movement because we belong to various generations condemned to an intolerable loss of participation in the political decisions that shape their daily lives and their future.
  10. We do not call for abstention, we demand the necessity that our vote has a real influence in our lives.
  11. We are not here today to simply demand access to mortgages or because of insufficiencies in the labour market. THIS IS AN EVENT. And as such, a moment capable of giving new meanings to our actions and our speeches. This is born out of RAGE. But our RAGE is imagination, strength, citizen power.
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9 Responses to “Ghost Manifesto”


  1. 1 William Wall May 19, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    This is terrific manifesto. Thanks for the translation, Hugh.

  2. 2 Tirnanog33 May 19, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    we need lots of that here in Ireland.
    I was trying recently to engage with a few of the politicians whom I have supported previous to their inheriting the crown of power about a matter of some concern to me.
    Oddly when I E-mailed the same people prior to their elevation, I always received an immediate reply with assurances that the matter would be attended to..
    it’s funny now that they don’t need my vote anymore for the next 5 years,-they don’t need to respond to bothersome citizens problems anymore,either!.
    Not even the courtesy of an acknowledgement of my mail..
    Some things never change.

  3. 3 eddie stack May 19, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    brilliant…thanks for translating.

  4. 4 PJMG May 20, 2011 at 2:24 am

    Great translation, Hugh. I hope you don’t mind I linked to it here:
    http://www.politicalworld.org/showthread.php?t=8159

  5. 5 C. Flower May 23, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Nice document indeed.

    A response to Sol by an Irish student who took part in the Spanish protest in O’Connell Street Saturday.

    He’s calling for people to join him next Friday afternoon at the GPO.

    http://itsapoliticalworld.wordpress.com/


  1. 1 Irish Left Review · Democracia real YA! Protest in Dublin, Saturday 2pm at the Spire on O’Connell Street Trackback on May 19, 2011 at 5:37 pm
  2. 2 Spain’s Tahrir Square | Demand a referendum on the EU-IMF deal Trackback on May 20, 2011 at 12:25 am
  3. 3 Weed The Citizens « The Punishment of Sloth Trackback on June 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm
  4. 4 Irish Left Review · Weed The Citizens Trackback on June 23, 2011 at 11:13 pm

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