Friday, June 5, 2015

Marinaleda, a socialist utopia in Spain


Marinaleda is a small and remote village of Andalusia, one of the poorest regions in Spain. The town, with a population of 2,700 citizens, has a unique political and economic system of a strong socialist nature. As a result Marinaleda has virtually full employment in Andalusia, a region where the unemployment rate is more than 36%. The wage is equal for all workers, they earn 47 euro a day for six and a half hours of work. Moreover, the land is communal property. Unlike the rest of Spain, where the housing crisis is very strong due to speculation, with 216 daily evictions on average, Marinaleda has a self-building house programme that allows everyone to build their own house with a 15 Euro rent per month. Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo is the charismatic mayor of the city, in charge since 1979. He is well known in Spain for his commitment to the Andalusian peasants and his fight against capitalist economy. The political system of Marinaleda provides a direct and participatory democracy, all decisions are made by the community by means of popular assembly. In Marinaleda there are no priests nor police, and it is the community itself that takes care of any possible conflict. The city also counts with strong social measures, such as a nursery for 12 euros per month and a swimming pool for 3 euro for the duration of the summer. Notwithstanding the context of strong economic crisis, the socialist utopia of Marinaleda still provides a model of sustainable development alternative to capitalism.

Mark my words: Capitalism is a failure, communism is a failure. But a combination of the best aspects of both systems can positively transform every society in the world.

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