The Yayoflautas (or Iaioflautas): Seniors against the system 1 Favorite 



Oct 27 2011



The Yayoflautas, or Iaioflautas is an organized group of senior citizens from different cities and regions of Spain. Like many others, the movement started during the first months of life of the 15-M movement, in Barcelona.

Their name derives from the words “yayo” or “yaya”, which is the Spanish equivalent for “grandpa” or “grandma”, and “flauta”, which means “flute”. The word refers to the pejorative term “perroflauta”, the way in which many right-wing journalists and talk show guests call activists. In a beautiful exercise of reappropiation, the “Yayoflautas” subvert the usual connotations of laziness and negligence that accompany the term.

They claim that they are getting back old fights for civil rights and social justice because they feel the victories they contributed to conquest are being swept by the austerity policies. According to their own words, “we are the generation that fought and achieved a better life for our sons and daughters. Now they are endangering the future of our grandsons and granddaughters”

Right now there are 12 groups of “Yayoflautas” across the country. They specialize in direct actions and occupations. So far, they have occupied places as visible and important as the headquarters of the Spanish stock market, the Ministry of Justice and several courts where other activist were being brought to trial. They have also participated in the STOP DESAHUCIOS (Stop Evictions) movement, and have showed great ability in using social media to circulate their messages and actions.

The beauty and intelligence of their actions resides in a very smart usage of their status of senior citizens and of the respect that Spanish culture still pays to the elderly. Any other group (a student, a worker) would be violently repressed by the police, but who wants to push or beat a grandma? Or, more realistically, who wants to endure the media backlash that doing it would unleash?

Posted by Rebeca Herrero on