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Thursday, May 26, 2022


Mutania’s house in Barcelona. MICHEL RAMOS.

I was returning to Madrid after a wonderful day in Barcelona, House of Mutaniathe old barracks of the civil guard, located very close to Park Güell has been squatting since 1989. Social media announced the squatting of a building in the center of Madrid owned by UGT, which it intended to sell to the hotel chain in order to get a good chunk of its assets. What has been called speculation all his life. However, the residents of La Ingobernable (who had already been illegally evicted in 2019, as the Supreme Court ruled two days ago) asked the UGT to meet with them to talk and find a negotiated solution. The illusion that the space had just been reclaimed by and for the city was short-lived.

From the terrace of the Casa de la Muntanha, you can see the entire city, criss-crossed with ugly buildings that break the skyline and paint it grey. But you turn your eyes and see the walls of the social center full of colors. Two smiling Republican militiamen, immortalized by muralist Rock Blackblock, occupy the entire facade of the old building. At his feet, Picasso’s Guernica is displayed on another wall, under the legend Antifa Offensive. The people in charge of the oldest civic center in the city cook dinner while dozens of people discuss anti-fascism at this emblematic place where much of this Barcelona movement was cooked up. A suspicious drone hovered over our heads for several minutes. I don’t know if they heard or portrayed what they wanted, but we had nothing to hide. Mind you, the scene was pretty dystopian.

People who occupied a building in Madrid on Saturday and gathered to show their support were soon surrounded by police. They were encapsulated and not allowed to go to the toilet or eat in the middle of the street.. Hundreds of people expressed their support online, and people continued to arrive throughout the day despite restrictions on access to the perimeter. UGT insisted on performing there. Even their youth asked for it. Any. Absolute silence. Also silence on the part of those who are supposed to have been born and raised as public figures and who today hold seats in the Madrid City Council and in the Congress of Deputies. Not a single tweet from Podemos or Más Madrid. absolute silence.

It wasn’t until 10:00 pm that the union finally made its statement by stating that those who occupied the building were members of a “radical far left group” and compared the action to the storming of the headquarters of the Italian CGIL union in Rome by neo-fascist groups a few months ago. . Now those who wanted to give public and public use to the building on Via Ortaleza were attacking, in the opinion of the UGT, “the interests of the working people of this country”. As the construction of another hotel in the center of Madrid is what the working class of this country needsfor which this dying beach bar takes its representation with its holy balls.

There was no dialogue. In fact, they could even have skipped that infamous communiqué (look at the number of fascists who liked and retweeted it) and played Swedes like the institutional left while doing what they were doing, which was calling the police to quit of activists who only needed to call them guarros or perroflautas. And that, according to a statement by La Ingobernable: “This speculative operation was carried out with the connivance of the Almeida City Council, which, by fully approving a special building plan, made it possible to change the use of land for housing. in exclusive mode. In addition, the reconstruction of the building with tribal protection has been approved.” On Sunday morning they were already out. Evicted. Now they can continue to sell the building to make it into a hotel, casino, or seafood restaurant.

Those who did not even have the decency to sit down and talk, do not understand or do not want to understand what the action to restore spaces by the people and for the people means, they use the same language as the fascists and speculators, even avoiding dialogue. They live on the fringes of social movements because their business is doing well. and this allows them to still dress as representatives of the working class, while they have spent years quiet and very obedient before the government, despite the many reasons that should have prompted them to take to the streets and organize 80 general strikes. The thing is, the “good guys” are in power right now, and if we screw them up, the right will come. And when he arrives, he will accuse them of being “radical far left,” they will take away grants and ostracize them, hang them without medals for four given crumbs, even without protest, just giving a paw and getting a fiddle. Like my dog.

Those of us who have been fortunate enough to be intimately familiar with social movements know that these stab wounds are always predictable and never unexpected. Of course, they serve to portray more than one, since some were portrayed yesterday for their shitty statement, and others for their silence, also shitty. And don’t think it’s a defeat. Not at all. This weekend is a joy. Because it shows that there are still people, a movement, who refuse to remain impassive while everything is on fire, who rules, rules. Who takes sides, who shows a face and plays on it, while others put a pan or play Swedes. Some people live on it. Others do it out of love. By conviction.

Meanwhile, the Casa de la Muntanha continues to operate. Like La Molinera in Valladolid or La Casa Invisible in Malaga despite threats of eviction to speculate on the buildings. Like La Animosa in Madrid or CSOA L’Horta in Valencia, which resists at the foot of an orchard on land cultivated by neighbors, where lettuce and tomatoes planted by the people of Benimacle grow in the face of the threat of more asphalt and concrete. And many other social centers that exist in various cities. Those who implement these projects are unmanageable. It doesn’t matter who occupies the institutions. Their work is on the street, with people, not in offices, and they don’t lower their blinds when the streets are on fire so they can’t see what’s going on and trust that the ashes won’t reach them that way. It is a pity for their silence, because those who many years ago inspired many people that they would gather this rebellious spirit in order to take it to institutions, today they hid under the table. That’s why the word “out of control” makes more sense today than ever. They will remain, regardless of who weighs them. And in this country there are still too many empty buildings and a lot of anger, a lot of desire and a lot of imagination, capable of turning the most ugly and unfavorable situation into an impulse, into a challenge. In a win. We’ll be back.


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