Several thousand protesters rallied in Lisbon, Portugal this past weekend, objecting to severe austerity measures, with parallel protests taking place in Spain. Subsequently, I’m seeing photos like the one above (see also here and here) tweeted by activists, like here by @OccupyWallStNYC.
The hashtag for the Portugal action is #olixoaosbancos but the original, in Spanish is #TuBasuraAlBanco. Yes, let’s all dust off those Spanish lesson synapses together, shall we?: Your garbage to the bank.
Poking around for an explanation I find the site of what the New York Times calls “a new activist group cum performance troupe known as Gila.” Gila, named for the Spanish comedian Miguel Gila, explains that the tactic is rooted in a targeted protest action aligned with a November 2012 garbage worker strike in Madrid.
The message is clear enough: If there is money to bail out the banks but no money for garbage workers, let the banks deal with the garbage.
As other cities have dealt with garbage strikes and harsh austerity measures in general, #TuBasuraAlBanco has spread. Admittedly it might be hard to know the difference between a pile of garbage at a bank and any other pile of garbage given how quickly garbage strikes can get out of hand, but it’s a poetic gesture nonetheless.
Bonus: Even though on first listen it sounds like the music for the video in the Gila entry was made for this protest, it turns out “Basura blanca, basura Banca” by Sindicato Del Crimen, a rap metal band from Madrid, pre-dates the action (but seems generally sympathetic with the politics?).
As ever, any further insights you can share are appreciated.