Utopia or submission: La Corrala la Utopia

Capital is a system of social relations of extraction.  Its success is based on the appropriation of nature and of the collective of creativity of all of those who labour.  Whether it is land, energies housed beneath its surface, seas, plants and animals, and the infinite variety of human activity, its logic is that of theft by any means, legalized by the “legality” of state domination.

To contest this theft, to refuse, to rebel against it through re-appropriation, is the essence of any anti-capitalist struggle; a struggle for dignity, for freedom and equality.

21 months ago, 36 families, with the help of 15M inspired neighbourhood assemblies and housing rights groups, occupied a building in Sevilla (bank owned – Ibercaja – and empty, in a country with over 3 million empty houses and hundreds of evictions daily), calling themselves the Corrala La Utopia, inaugurating and becoming the inspiration for the Corralas movement in Andalucia. (For news in English about the movement, see the Guardian)  On the 15th of February, legal clearance was given for the eviction of the okupation.  After numerous to negotiate with the owners and the local authorities, to have the okupation legalised, only resistance remains, the resistance from which the Corrala was born.

What follows is a translation of words expressed in the form of a manifesto from the members of Corrala La Utopia collective …

A first word: Thank you.  Thank you for having helped to transform what began as a utopia of 36 families into the struggle of a whole people.

You know already how we arrived at this point.  You know because in each battle you were here, giving your warmth and support.

Even though they wish to label us delinquents, we are not.  We are only families that after years of work and struggling to pull our families up, we simply could not continue to pay for our homes, or we simply never had one.

We are those who working 12 hours a day for a miserable salary had to pack our things and with our children move to the streets because we either ate or paid the rent.  We preferred to feed our families.  Did we choose badly?

We are those who have worked our whole lives and when we thought that our home was more or less secure, we saw our children lose their jobs from one day to another.  We decided to help them to improve their situation, but this improvement would not arrive and with them we lost everything.  Did we act incorrectly?

We are also those who became adults and entered the labour market with precarious work, even though we dreamed of a job in which we could realise ourselves and which would permit our emancipation.  But it would not arrive and it did not arrive; and we need an independence that will allow us to grow and not be a burden on our parents.  Did we ask too much?

We are those that after many years of work and effort we were considered useless because our health was diminished.   Are we really useless?  Did we choose the wrong moment to become ill?

We are those definitely whose present and future was stolen, those whose place in the world was taken, or who never had one.  But we are also those who believing in justice and basic rights, seeing that these are  denied by public institutions, decided to empower ourselves and fight for them.  We are those who struggle to transform utopia into reality, to make the universal right to a home something real.

We are fed up with being repressed and silenced before the loss of rights and freedoms so that a few can continue to maintain their privileges.  For this we took a stand, and we will no longer be silent.  So much injustice cannot remain unpunished.

For this reason also it is important that in these moments that we are living, that we remain united, making it clear that the Corrala and its people will not surrender.

We need you more than ever.  Now that we have forced institutions and the bank to yield, they must provide real solutions, thereby facing up to their responsibility before the situation suffered by all of the people.  History is in the hands of all and it is during these days that we must continue to show the strength that we have to continue to write it.  After 21 months without electricity, water and gas, supporting in all aspects subhuman living conditions, with the pressure of being David throwing stones at Goliath, we continue to firmly hold that the Utopia is possible.

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