On January 23, 2012, as a result of a bar conversation, Santi Perez and Èric Lluent created the blog of the New Poor People. These two school friends, born in 1986, assure that for years they have observed how their life is becoming more and more precarious, to the point of not seeing the possibility of having a future or starting any life project neither in their hometown, Barcelona, nor in their nation, Catalonia, or in their state, Spain.
Although this blog site is not a very ambitious project, it wants to help to visualize the situation of thousands of people in Catalonia who are living the same situation. According to the opinion of the blog site’s creators, these people do not feel their concerns are reflected in the media, they feel they are mere numbers of the statistics given by government spokesmen.
Through their personal Facebook profiles, Santi and Eric’s blog started to become popular and just in one week, the blog site reached an average of more than 1,300 visits per day. The creators would have never expected these so many visits and finally they translated the contents into Spanish. Thanks to the success of it, different media paid attention to the project and, from that moment onwards, the media coverage has been quite remarkable.
This experience –how two anonymous people can start a communication project that generates such a great interest– helps to highlight the lack of media coverage of the real crisis, as the media has just covered the crisis of the banks, the crisis of the states and the one explained by the statistics. All in all, it seems quite ironic that a simple blogsite with some different stories that we all know, becomes so popular.
Even if this blogsite has been created by two youths who describe themselves as part of the “Lost Generation”, it wants to be a window of all types of situations experienced by people of all ages with a common link: the social injustice that exists in certain democracies of the Southern Europe, like the one in Spain.
During the first month, the blogsite has basically published two types of stories: those of young people without future and those of single or divorced mothers who can barely take care of the basic needs of their children. An Argentinean man has also shared his story with the blogsite: he arrived in Catalonia a few years ago and he is exactly in the same situation as he was when he left Argentina, jobless, penniless and afraid of losing his house.
Nerea Gisbert, one of the people who has decided to participate in the blog, explains that she started to work when she was 16 in order to pay for her studies and to become independent. Now, she is unemployed and she has only three months left of the unemployment benefit. “I’ve been struggling for ten years to get ahead and now I see myself falling down,” she says. “I see, helpless, how the government does nothing to change the situation and how the politicians want us to believe that by reducing the budget for education, health… we are going to overcome the situation”, says Marc Bollo, a 24-year-old boy.
“The job offers are becoming more precarious (nothing to envy to ‘minijobs’): 500 euros gross for 10 hours, will we eventually have to pay for work?,” asks Virginia Campo, a 33-year-old mother. “With my salary, that has been reduced, we cannot make ends meet. We are three at home, and we just have one salary, as I am divorced. You cannot really imagine what it is for a mother to live this situation: not to have enough money to pay for the expenses at home, ” says Mar Gil, a 43 year-old mother with two children in charge.
These are just some of the comments and reflections coming from the stories shared in the blogsite. All the participants have shown a great courage to explain their situations to the world, and to affirm with no shame “I am a poor person too”.