DIVISIONS IN REAL DEMOCRACY NOW

Group that spawned 15-M splits over change in structure

Arguments surface about registering as a non-profit organization

Spokesman Fabio Gándara during a recent interview. / GORKA LEJARCEGI

A bitter internal battle among members of the Real Democracy Now (DRY) movement — the platform that spawned the 15-M movement — has broken out over plans to register the group as a non-profit association.

During a special assembly on Sunday, members approved the change in the group’s structure. That sparked 48 hours of name-calling and insults on social networking sites such as Twitter. The row has come just weeks before a public demonstration that has been scheduled for May 12, which will kick off a series of marches to mark the first anniversary of the 15-M movement.

Now DRY appears to have split. One faction of the organization, headed by spokesman Fabio Gándara, has – for some time – been arguing for the need to change the group’s structure, in an effort, among other things, to speed up the decision-making process at assemblies, where members have demanded full consensus before taking a decision.

The other faction, however, says that DRY would lose a lot of its broad representation if it were to change its status from a loose grassroots group to a full registered organization. While some in DRY are looking at making the group more operational, others want to study ways to improve its internal methods to attract greater participation.

Last week Gándara and Pablo Gallego, another spokesman, signed an application with the Interior Ministry to register DRY as a non-profit organization. It is not clear how this will affect the future of the group.

Speaking on the telephone with EL PAÍS, Gándara, a 27-year-old lawyer, sounded exhausted. “In the last 48 hours, the wave of insults has been brutal,” he says. “They have even attacked my personal relationships; this has become a witchhunt. There is a campaign that is being waged by the 15-M movement, which sees this as treason,” he explains.

In Barcelona, Aitor Tinoco Girona, a leading member of the group in Catalonia, offers a different perspective. “This group of people is trying capitalize on the 15-M movement. They want to steal the Real Democracy Now brand name.”

But Gándara says that the assembly was announced on DRY’s internal networks and was open to everyone.

Tinoco García claims that there should have been at least 75 percent support for the special assembly, but there was, in fact, only 53 percent.

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