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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desire for profit. For Bakunin, freedom could only come from absolute devolution of power until there was none left at the centre. The ‘right of secession’ he wrote of was already held to be integral to liberty in the Andalusian pueblos. Bakunin called for: The internal reorganisation of each country on the basis of the absolute freedom of individuals, of the productive associations, and of the communes. Necessity of recognising the right of secession: every individual, every association, every

slowly, spotting some familiar faces in the few photos at the back. He kept flicking through, and then his small sharp eyes zeroed in on one particular passage. He smiled, the only time I’ve ever seen him do so. ‘I knew it!’ He beckoned me to lean in. ‘That’s me! That interview is with me, Cornelio! That’s my real name. I was only eleven.’ He called León over from the bar. ‘León, look – it’s me!’ We read it together: he had been a strident young lad, resolute about joining the hunger strike and

where the stomach is, but the social centre of the Spanish pueblo, as Julian Pitt-Rivers observed in his book The People of the Sierra, is outdoors, in the streets themselves. During la tarde, the broad, tree-lined promenade that runs next to the Avenida de la Libertad, connecting Marinaleda to nearby Matarredonda, is teeming with activity. Gaggles of middle-aged women walk four abreast, men just turning grey jog in pairs, and teenage boys on bikes do that half-standing, half-cycling soft-pedal

substantial financial demands of it – and simultaneously call it names, disrupt its functions and repeatedly, determinedly, break its laws. All of which makes it the more astonishing that neither the Andalusian nor the Spanish government objected to Sánchez Gordillo’s dramatic-sounding decision to abolish the police force. ‘They didn’t say anything!’ he insisted. ‘By law, due to the number of inhabitants we have here, we should have around four to seven cops. But we don’t want police here. The

peonadas, but critical. But of course I’m optimistic. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be working on this project. It’s a real alternative to the crisis, and I believe the rest of the capitalist world can be different, too. I’m aware that Marinaleda has advantages and disadvantages, but we can be an example.’ He cited their achievements again, with the same matter-of-fact confidence that Sánchez Gordillo always displays when talking about seizing the land, building houses, and reclaiming culture for the

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