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By Dan Hancox

100 kilometers from Seville lies the small village of Marinaleda, which for the final thirty-five years has been the heart of a tireless fight to create a residing utopia. at the present time, Marinaleda is a spot the place the farms and the processing vegetation are jointly owned and supply paintings for everybody who wishes it.

As Spain's predicament turns into ever extra determined, Marinaleda additionally suffers from the foreign downturn. Can the village continue its utopian imaginative and prescient? Can the enduring mayor Sánchez Gordillo carry directly to the dream opposed to the depredations of the realm past his village?

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The flags they carried then have been the Andalusian tricolour or an unadorned purple flag. there's no moment Republic flag, and no personalized utopia flag of Marinaleda but: the badge of resistance was once easily that of neighborhood identification, or communism. along the throng walks a more youthful, slimmer Sánchez Gordillo, his hair and beard black, nonetheless merely in his early thirties, marshalling the marching column, rousing the troops along with his megaphone, simply as he does now. again then, many weren't convinced of luck – yet in a feeling that they had little choice yet to persevere, and have been consistently chivvied by means of the intense patience of the venture and of its chief. ‘I think that over time’, Sánchez Gordillo recalled lately, ‘the small victories made humans think it used to be attainable. ’ Ever-present in that previous pictures are the vehicles of the Guardia Civil, who made absolute to hamper the villagers even if they can. ‘Arrested two times in 24 hours’, learn front web page of the now defunct Diario sixteen newspaper, lower than a photo of a marinaleña in a headband, protecting her it seems that shamed face from the digicam. The nearby executive in Seville might maintain sending orders for his or her eviction, yet occasionally it took months to get the courtroom orders – so the marinaleños stayed for months, consuming and napping in makeshift shelters. They weren't, in reality, disrupting something a lot, within the experience that the land was once no longer getting used for something in any respect – accurately their grievance. They have been idle and the land was once idle: the answer used to be visible. in this 1,200-hectare property the one issues transforming into, for miles in each path, have been wheat and sunflowers – it required merely 3 or 4 caretakers to are inclined to it. The Irish-Italian author Michael Jacobs came upon one of many farm occupations whereas discovering his booklet Andalusia: at the lengthy force as much as the cortijo I handed a gaggle of villagers wearing hoes and rakes, the ladies wearing black. they can were immediately out of a communist poster of the Thirties and this effect used to be strengthened via the political badges they have been all donning. in the course of all this prowled the leonine and immediately recognisable determine of Sánchez Gordillo, donning a Tolstoyan go well with and a purple sash. He addressed me in a gradual solemn voice without hint of a grin. i couldn't aid feeling, faced by way of this type of demeanour and visual appeal, that i used to be within the presence of 1 of the Messianic figures who toured the Andalusian geographical region within the 19th century. It was once land reform from under, now not above, brought by means of direct motion, and regularly pacifist: their rule was once to go away whilst evicted (though this didn't hinder numerous court cases for trespassing, roadblocks and different similar incidents). They fell right into a regimen wherein the Guardia Civil could evict them each day whilst, round 5 - 6 pm, after they could move peacefully and stroll again to the village. the next morning they'd stroll the 10 miles again back, flags held excessive. in the summertime of 1985, within the blistering warmth, they made the adventure on a daily basis for a month – taking basically Sunday off.

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