Monday, 21 October 2013


Turn all you have ever been told about capitalism upside down and act accordingly. People in Marinaleda do:

“Our experience tells us that another world is possible, another society is possible, another way of living is possible and the only thing we need to achieve it is political audacity, the desire to fight for it and unity. Although I was one of the most intense dreamers, even I didn’t believe that we would achieve so much in such a short time. …What’s beautiful about this place is that it makes the impossible look possible. The left should be utopian and should invite people to dream and realise them and if they don’t do this then they are part of the system.”

"Utopia is not just a word or a dream it's a right and through struggle we realise our dreams. Our dream was to end unemployment and we thought that the best way to realise that dream was to have land, and land is not property or a merchandise, it's a right." 

- Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo, mayor of Marinaleda

"The new Marinaleda co-operative selected crops that would need the greatest amount of human labour, to create as much work as possible."

"Our aim was not to create profit, but jobs," 

"Everyone works less so everyone can work,"

'The local government of Marinaleda expropriated thousands of square meters of land, now communal property, aiming to find land to build new houses. Then it called upon the national and regional Governments to gain funding for the construction.
This is the programme:
  • the expropriated land is given free of charge to the self-builder
  • through an agreement with the regional Government and the so-called P.E.R. (Plan de Empleo Rural), the self-builder can buy construction materials
  • professional builders are available for the construction, still free of charge
  • the architect's design is also free; self-builders are involved in the design process
  • all the self-builders finally meet in a consultation to work out the monthly payment to achieve ownership. The last houses have been built and bought at a cost of 2,550 pesetas per month (approximately 15€ per month).
The whole process is based upon the idea of self-management and recurring consultations: the self-builders meet once or twice a month to follow the works or modify the projects on paper.
All houses have 3 bedrooms, a bathroom and a garden of 100 m², allowing for future expansions.
The hours spent on the self-construction are deducted from the total construction cost; by doing so, this working activity is converted into 'induced salary',
Marinaleda counting 3000 inhabitants and more than 350 single-family houses have been built according to this scheme'

"Apparently a lot of official maps don’t show Marinaleda, a village of 3000 people, set in the middle of the frying pan of Andalusia. Perhaps it’s a bureaucratic blunder . But the fact that the mayor describes capitalism as “A thieving and terrorist system. Thieving because it is based on expropriation and exploitation and terrorist because it uses violence to maintain the privileges of the few” probably means that it is more of a deliberate mistake. The more successful a radical social experiment is the less we are likely to hear about it and the Spanish State certainly doesn’t want people to find their way to a good example."

"We even export to Venezuela without the Spanish state interfering,” she says. “We don’t have a police force – this makes us save a lot of money in benefit of the population. Everyone plays a part in the decision-making, and direct democracy exists in everyday life. We are self-sufficient and do not lack food even in times of crisis. We have a system of ‘cooperativism’ which include ten cooperatives. How many workers we have depend on the season of the vegetable. We also have a factory where we produce olive oil. It is not so profitable for us, but it is profitable for the Marinaleda community. What we gain, we invest in our town."