By Thomas J. Michalak
In the small Spanish town of Marinaleda, located in the southern
region of Andalusía, Mayor Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo has an answer
for the country’s economic crisis and the hunger that comes with it: He
organized and led the town’s residents to raid supermarkets to get the
food necessary to survive.
Seven people have been arrested in two raids in which trade unionists
loaded shopping carts full of food and left without paying, with the
support of the townspeople cheering them on and the mayor watching with
approval. (reuters.com, Aug. 15)
Gordillo, 60, is a leftist and a member of the Izquierda Unida
political party. He sports a Palestinian kaffiyeh scarf around his neck
and a Fidel Castro-like beard. Gordilla says he wants to draw attention
to the plight of the common worker in Spain, a country in which the
economic collapse has hit particularly hard and millions are suffering.
(europeonline-magazine.eu, Aug. 14)
Since 2007, poverty in Spain has risen 15 percent, while unemployment
hovers around 25 percent and tens of thousands have lost their homes to
bank foreclosures. The conservative national government has only made
matters worse, by introducing austerity measures that have worsened the
workers’ lives, while bailing out the bankers and capitalists who caused
the crisis in the first place.
Gordillo plans to lead a march from Jódar, one of the cities most
affected by the current economic meltdown, to other Spanish towns, to
try to convince other officials to fight back against the ruling class’s
demands of cutbacks and increased hardship for the workers. He is
fighting dismantlement of state social services, bank payoffs, and the
throwing of the common Spaniard under the bus to the benefit of those
exploiting them. Gordillo hopes he can convince other mayors to stage a
real resistance to the government’s demands.
Implementing ‘concrete well-being’
Despite the grave economic situation permeating the country, in the
town of Marinaleda, population 2,600, there is no unemployment. The town
is based around an agricultural collective established in the 1980s.
Everyone living in Marinaleda is guaranteed employment, and earns 1,200
euros a month (about $1,440), in contrast to other Andalusians,
one-third of whom are unemployed. A text on the town hall reads,
“Freedom without equality is nothing, and democracy without concrete
well-being for concrete people is only an empty word.”
It has become clear that with the present organization of society,
there is no hope for prosperity for working people. Under capitalism, or
“free enterprise,” there can be no hope for the masses. As the economic
crisis continues to deepen, this will become more evident to all of
those who are struggling to simply get by.
The consciousness of people all over the world is starting to
develop, and they are beginning to realize that a new world is possible —
one without crises, without unemployment, hunger, exploitation and all
the other symptoms that come with a capitalist economy.
The people in Spain are starting to realize who is to blame. No
amount of bourgeois budget cuts can save the Spanish economy, only
struggle against the current social order. The same is true all over the