BRIDGES Working papers nº 14 (May 2023)
Political discourses of exclusion have become prominent in the public and political agendas across all Europe. Spain is no exception, especially since the rise of the extreme right-wing party VOX in the last few years. Against such discourses, several actors of the civil society have organised to claim changes in the narratives and in the policy and legal frameworks to guarantee migrants’ rights and reduce structural inequalities. After a first mapping of fifteen recent initiatives that stand out for their innovative strategies and their success in spreading inclusive narratives across all Spain, two of them have been selected for an in-depth analysis. Stop Mare Mortum (SMM) is a citizens’ platform which was born in 2015 to advocate for the arrival of migrants and refugees to Europe through legal and safe pathways, and RegularizaciónYa (RY) is a movement born in 2020 to claim an extraordinary regularisation of undocumented migrants through a state level campaign.
Drawing on a qualitative methodological approach based on interviews and desk-research, this report examines the data along five key dimensions: the nature of the narratives (alternative versus counter-narratives), the audience (wide society or sensitised public), the composition of the actors (autochthonous or migrant people), the ambition (tackling structural inequalities or aiming for concrete goals), and the media, political and social impact. These findings are, in turn, analysed through the lens of the concept of ‘migration narrative success’ (Garcés-Mascareñas and Pastore 2022) by pointing out which factors explain the salience of these initiatives. The main conclusion is that while both initiatives have achieved to be influential in terms of transformativity for inducing actions like different forms of advocacy and mobilisation, the degree of pervasiveness of their narratives especially in the media arena has been higher in the case of SMM. The closer position to power structures among autochthonous activists of SMM appears as a relevant explanatory factor vis a vis the non-hegemonic position of migrant and racialised activists of RY.