Transnational Activism of Young Spanish Emigrants and Uses of ICT

Transnational Activism of Young Spanish Emigrants and Uses of ICT

Mauricio N. Olivera (University of the Republic, Uruguay) and Denise Cogo (Superior School of Propaganda and Marketing (ESPM), Brazil & National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), Brazil)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 33
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2463-2.ch008
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This chapter analyses the transnational collective action of Spanish emigrants in the countries of destination and origin, from appropriations of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). In the conceptual framework of migrant transnationalism, we approach the collective action and communication, the experience of network activism and the use of ICTs by the transnational Spanish collective Marea Granate (MG), created in 2013, with the aim of intervening in in the discourses of the Spanish government, regarding: a) the Spanish migration; and b) their rights abroad. The focus is on MG´s four collective actions on the voting rights of Spanish emigrants, applying a qualitative methodology. In the conclusions, a transnational activism is observed, with actions mediated and unmediated by ICTs, where Spanish emigrants denounce and mobilize, causing rearrangements in the sociopolitical spaces between States and citizens.
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Recent studies by the International Organization for Migration record that during the first half of 2015, for the first time in 14 years, the direction of migratory flows between Europe and Latin America has reversed as a result, among others, of the global economic crisis and the deepening of the restriction and control of immigration borders of the European Union and the United States in recent decades, consolidating a trend that began in 2008, when the international economic crisis started. In 2012, for example, more than 181,000 Europeans left their countries, compared to 119,000 Latin Americans who migrated. The data indicate a 68% reduction in migration of Latin Americans since 2007, when the number of immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean to Europe broke the record and surpassed the mark of 350,000 people.1

The article that we propose, in the scope of a new north-south scenario of the migratory phenomenon, analyzes transnational collective action developed by Spanish migrants in the countries of destination and origin, with appropriations of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). We focus on the experience of network activism and the use of ICT in the field of the transnational collective Marea Granate (MG), “a citizen, self-managed, non-partisan and independent platform, which fights for the rights of Spanish migrants”2. In order to do this, four inter-related actions developed by MG are specifically addressed: #SinVozNiVoto (No Voice No Vote), #VotoRogadoVotoRobado (Begged Vote Stolen Vote), #RescataMiVoto (Rescue My Vote) and #Viajeselectorales (Electoral Trips). The four were developed from 2014 on, in a transnational and articulated way, and are related to the right to vote abroad of Spanish emigrants in the elections of Spain and European Union.

The Marea Granate´s actions in this field start from the complaint that the lower participation in elections of Spanish migrants abroad is not due to lack of interest but to a series of administrative irregularities of the Spanish government, which began with the electoral reform in 2011. The complaint is based on the fact that the modification of the rules to vote from abroad has as goal to “extinguish” the migrant vote (Marea Granate, 2015: 20). The main reform introduced by the Organic Law of the General Elections from 2011 was that, besides being registered in the census of the Consulate, one should “beg” (rogar in Spanish) to vote. This means that all emigrants who wanted to vote should now give an advance notice of their intention to do so. Marea Granate shows through its own data3 that 115,055 people managed to complete the whole process of demand to vote in the general elections of December 20, 2015, representing only 6.11% of the Electoral Census of Absent Residents4.

The methodology, of qualitative nature, consists of a combination of four data collection procedures, constituting a corpus of analysis around the four collective actions carried out by Marea Granate between May 2014 and June 2016. A set of eight audiovisual works (videos), produced and disseminated by the group itself, was selected. The chosen videos are part of a set of 17 integrated audiovisual works5 dedicated to this macro collective action oriented towards the vote of Spaniards abroad. The videos are posted on the Youtube channel of Marea Granate and have been chosen, taking into account the different time frames of the three actions related to the vote of Spaniards abroad (2014, 2015 and 2016) - #SinVozNiVoto (No Voice No Vote), #VotoRogadoVotoRobado (Begged Vote Stolen Vote), #RescataMiVoto (Rescue My Vote) and #Viajeselectorales (Electoral Trips) -, different genres and languages, as well as the central dimensions (content) explored in the videos.

The following tables summarize the actions and the selected videos for the analysis of the Marea Granate´s action related to the vote of Spaniards abroad.

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