The Village Against the World

The Village Against the World

Dan Hancox

Language: English

Pages: 252

ISBN: 1781682984

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


One hundred kilometers from Seville lies the small village of Marinaleda, which for the last thirty-five years has been the center of a tireless struggle to create a living utopia. Today, Marinaleda is a place where the farms and the processing plants are collectively owned and provide work for everyone who wants it.

As Spain's crisis becomes ever more desperate, Marinaleda also suffers from the international downturn. Can the village retain its utopian vision? Can the iconic mayor Sánchez Gordillo hold on to the dream against the depredations of the world beyond his village?

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purpose. To abolish property is not radicalism when that property produces hunger and scarcity for so many.’ As a partner organisation to SOC, this burgeoning jornaleros movement established a political party, in 1979 forming the Colectivo de Unidad de los Trabajadores (CUT): an explicitly anti-capitalist political party, positioned to the left of the Communist Party of Spain. That year, the first free local elections since the Second Republic and the Civil War were held. The CUT won 76 per cent

pungent anís is the most popular of these coffee chasers. Tucked away in a corner of the bakery is a stand selling lottery tickets – phenomenally popular across Spain – with millionaire prizes called things like El Joker. The big advertisement behind the lottery desk is for EuroMillones, a colossal mega-lottery that runs across Europe, with a minimum prize of €15 million: the poster features a brown brick wall cut away to reveal a glimpse of a tropical paradise, clear blue seas, and a yacht

silly. I probably shouldn’t have been surprised that Sánchez Gordillo was self-replicating in this way, inspired by Los Gordillos, the Cadiz chirigota group. The real people’s leader seemed to be absent, but his spirit lived on in ludic fancy dress. At Marinaleda’s carnaval the following Saturday night, no one was so disrespectful as to reduce their icon – and elected leader – to a caricature. But in his absence he loomed over the pueblo and lingered in the air, in half-heard conversations from

away from the mayor. For my book, Sánchez Gordillo is not everything, I said to him. I’m more interested in the people, the pueblo, as a collective, and what they have achieved – not just the one man. ‘Okay,’ he said, gravely, ‘but you’ve got to understand who we’re talking about here. Quite simply, everything Marinaleda has won is thanks to Sánchez Gordillo. That is evident. Everything we have made, it’s thanks to him.’ It felt almost like I was getting told off for having the temerity to

one rhythm track, without variation, deviation or adornment, available to all its exponents. One morning, soon after arriving for my first period living in the village, I was invited for coffee with Chris and Ali, two of the ten or so British couples who have retired there (and one of the few who seemed to have done so with an enthusiasm for its political peculiarities). We sat in their back garden in the winter sunshine, and they showed off the work they’d done in their two years there,

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