15Ms spain: the struggles of okupation …

Madrid15M is the newspaper of the neighbourhood and popular assemblies of the city associated with the movement.  This common, public space serves to share expereinces, give example and contribute to create the plurality that is this movement.  What follows is havested from the last issue

if you want to enjoy political equality, abolish property.

                                                               Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

The eviction of the the CSOA Casablanca continues to pull at the heart of those who knew the space, and of those whose politics was nourished by it.  More boradly, the end of the okupation was dictated by a politics which places and is beholden to the supremacy of private wealth.  Casablanca, other CSOAs, and other okupations are central part of any rebellion against capitalism.  Two new CSOAs in madrid, La Morada (fotos of La Morada) and Espacio Común Liberado la Alcalina testify to the determination and militancy of many of the city's people; of the necessity to continue to okupy: For each eviction, an okupation!

From the Participantes de la Asamblea del CSO Casablanca comes the following reflection, translated from the original spanish:

The necessary okupations

On the 19th of September, the CSOA (Centro Social Okupado y Autogestionado) Casablanca was evicted after two and a half years of okupation, a prolongation of four other earlier projects initiated in 2006.

But Casablanca is undoubtedly that one which went the furthest, probably because of its coming together with the 15M movement.  Its central location, an arduous labour of assembly based self-organisation, care for the project and an efficacious strategy of legal defense, made Casablanca, in the midst of real estate speculation, an oasis for the expression of much that is censored, marginalized and excluded in our society.

At the height of the okupations from the middle of 2011, it engaged in a practice that embraced at least three decades of shared discourses and ways of doing politics from below, autonomously from institutions, radically anticapitalist.  Nevertheless, the legitimacy of entering an empty building without the permission of the owner has not always benefited from majority social support.  Despite the fact that in this way, by okupying, it was always stated that the aim was to denounce the speculation of the absentee owners to satisfy residentential needs or to provide social spaces for those who fall outside the rules and prices of the market (and the arbitrariness of those who govern in the distribution of public goods).

With the penal code of 1995, okupations went from being a civil infraction to a serious crime.  Nevertheless, various generations of okupation activists have continued to challenge this criminalization and to liberate spaces.  Yet the sword of eviction and possible criminal condemnation also continues, hanging over every new attempt.

Against all predications, the CSOA Casablanca had avoided this danger.  A year ago, the complaint lodged by the company Monteverde (accused, along with so many real estate companies, of promoting political corruption) for the property was archived.  The judge in turn had failed to identify an individual author responsible for the okupation, as well as any crime related to the activities carried out there.  Monteverde tried again in june of this year and the judge decided to ignore the earlier decision, and this without advising the some one hundred persons accused and to be effected by the order of eviction.  Too many illegalities to not be tempted to deduce the presence of an invisible hand screaming the orders “get them out in any way and as soon as possible”.  Perhaps the proximity of the convocation of 25S bothered them.  Perhaps some authorities were mislead by right wing media repeating that the okupiers “led” the indignant masses.  Why then are the assemblies open and horizontal?

The Casablanca okupation had already brought to light that the company Yoopro acquired this building in 2001 for some four million Euros and then sold it in 2004 to Monteverde for for some twelve million.  By some mysterious art, the old college was requalified as residential property, with future profits to come from the sale of apartments sold at astronomical prices.  Before completing the work, disputes between creditors paralysed it and the building returned again to its’ phantom state.  For this reason alone, the okupations are necessary.  Furthermore, it is a matter of constructing alternatives of life, egalitarian social relations, non-commodified leisure, social struggles, direct democracy, cooperation and learning.  Okupied, recuperated, liberated and self-managed spaces seem to be rich nurseries for collective experiments of wellbeing, counter power and the autonomous management of what is common.  For these reasons, okupations are also essential.

With all of the indications that the chimera of a society of mortgage owners to which all of us have progressively committed ourselves to is exhausted, it is surprising that the absolute conception of private property continues to reign over the destinies of those who need an affordable place to live or where to socialize with ones’ fellows, similar and different.  Okupation questions directly the dogma of private property, but it leaves open many doors.  Who is without power, has power.  As long as there are no other alternatives, the autonomous appropriation of these places by those who have nothing else will continue claiming its’ part of legitimacy.

In Casablanca we demonstrated that we won that political battle.  We also won the legal one, until someone began playing dirty.  These were our weapons.  The authorities, led by the Delegación de Gobierno, chose to employ its’ own and increase the repression.  In Madrid, La Osera, La Salamanquesa and La Cantera were a few of the CSOA evicted this year by means of similar expedicious strategies.  Now the turn fell to us.  But there now also exists greater unity between the social centres, the neighbourhood and peoples assemblies, diverse self-managed collectives and a population disabused with this massive fraud called a crisis.  For this reason, our struggle has but begun.


the people were still aping the kings.

                             Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

The endeavour to encircle congress on the 25 of September, with all of the state violence that followed, is justified politically (translation from the original spanish) …

Last 25S we called for the surrounding of the Congreso de los Diputados to save it from the taking of popular sovereignty by the Troika and the financial markets.  An occupation executed with the consent of the majority of the political parties. …

We say loud and clear that we are not afraid, that we are together in this and that we will not stop until they resign and a constitutive process is initiated. …

We will continue to surround congress because we want to make a qualitative leap on social mobilization and place at the centre the recuperation of sovereignty and citizens’ power, that is, democracy. …

Coordinadora 25S


And yet the politics of okupations has little or nothing to do with a retaking of any congress or parliament, nor with citizenship or sovereignty, and nor with witing of constitutions.  No parliament was ever highjacked from the people, because no parliament ever belonged to the people, except in name.  Markets, financial insitutions, industry, in sum, capital, have always been a part, indeed, controlled politics under capitalism.  And the citizen is but the subject, the subject made, by the apparatuses of capitalist economy and democratic governance.

Okupations suggest a radically different kind of politics, a politics that the italian autonomia called separ/azione …

The war no longer allows itself to be organized as an isolated moment of our existence, that of the decisive confrontation: from now on, it is our very existence, in all of its aspects, that is the war.  That means that the first movement of this war is re-appropriation. Re-appropriation of the means to live-and-struggle.  Re-appropriation, therefore, of places: squat, occupation or putting in common private spaces.  Re-appropriation of the common: constitution of languages, of syntaxes, of means of communication, of autonomous cultures – to take from the hands of the State the transmission of experience.  Re-appropriation of the violence …. Finally, re-appropriation of elementary survival …

Tiqqun, Tout a failli, vive le communisme!

Et la guerre est à peine commencée… (w/ english subtitles):

And the war continues, in defense of the threatened eviction of the CSA Can Vies of Barcelona …



And on the 21st of September, the Iaioflautas occupied the Barcelona stock exchange and resisted police identification …

May the revolution continue!



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