← Back to the Portfolio


Iaioflautas. The Rebel Grandparents

The crisis we live in today has resulted in the birth of several protest movements to combat the policies of cuts and austerity, marked by the Government, the European Community and the IMF. These policies have been generating social unrest, and movements like 15M have given a voice to thousands of people disappointed with the way the Government has dealt with the crisis.

The collective ’iaioflautas’ is a movement made up of retired people that decided to join the 15 M movement to support the plight of the younger generations. They are between 60 and 90 years old and they lived through the Franco dictatorship era. They have been participants in the restitution of democracy and the establishment of the pillars of the Spanish welfare state. Today, they witness the devastating austerity measures that are in reality disintegrating the structure of the welfare state. Today, they witness how the financial and political crisis that we live in is taking apart the welfare state that was so difficult to build. Their struggle is not directly linked to their interests, it is a struggle they take for their children and grandchildren.

The name of the colective was invented ‘thanks’ to a comment made by Esperanza Aguirre (Spanish politician), who described the people from the 15-M movement of ‘indignados’ that camped in Puerta del Sol as ‘perroflautas’ (gutter punks). From this derrogatory term, and as they were part of the ‘indignados’ Aguirre had disqualified, they opted to call themselves ’aioflautas’ a name similar to that and which clearly refers to grandparents denomination.

This collective, which emerged in Barcelona in October 2011 and was formed by something more than a dozen people, brings together today, a year after its formation, over a thousand members, and already have headquarters in Castellon, Cordoba, Granada, Madrid, Mallorca, Montcada, Murcia, Palma, Sabadell, Seville and Valencia. This collective dissociates itself from a specific political ideology, due to the diversity of people that has joined in and they meet in the assemblies where they discuss the current political and economic problems that affect our lives. In the assemblies they discuss as well which are the actions to take in the future.

In the organization of such actions the Iaioflautas use clandestine methods and techniques that they learned during the Franco era and which are in turn adapted to the new times using new techniques of communication like social networks.
Unlike younger people, the clandestine nature plays a very important role in the organization of their actions, which are kept secret until the final moment. The majority of the people who come to perform the action do not know what action will be carried out or which building will be occupied. They fully trust the coordinators, a small group of people that changes with every action. The coordinators will gather information about the target and take the final decision. Subsequently, an appointment is made with the rest of Iaioflautas in a place close to the site that they will try to occupy. Only a few minutes before the agreed time, the exact site is revealed to the whole group. With this methodology they try to prevent the police arriving before the action is carried out. Once the target has been occupied, the action is disclosed in twitter and the news extends through the social networks, which in turn attracts the media.

The first building they occupied, on 27 October 2011, was the headquarter of Banco Santander in Barcelona to protest against the speculation, the financial oligarchy and the irresponsibility of this type of institutions. Since then, the Iaioflautas have continued to organize and occupy spaces such as the Department of Health of the Generalitat, as a way of protesting against cuts in public health or the occupation of the Bolsa de Barcelona (Barcelona Stock Market).

Dressed with yellow reflecting vests and carrying placards, banners and megaphones, Iaioflautas try to raise awareness about the excesses committed by politicians or bankers, but they also have risen to try to fight the passivity of most of the society.

“The fight, to be worthy, it does not depend on your age; you have to be in the fight and maintain the dignity no matter how old you are.”

Original Music: Nico Bartolomeo


  • Date: 2013
  • Filed under: Photography, Videography