Economic crisis: riots, food raids, and the collapse of Spain

Saturday, August 25, 2012
By Paul Martin
August 25, 2012

SPAIN – In the small Spanish town of Marinaleda, located in the southern region of Andalusía, Mayor Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo has an answer for the country’s economic crisis and the hunger that comes with it: He organized and led the town’s residents to raid supermarkets to get the food necessary to survive. Seven people have been arrested in two raids in which trade unionists loaded shopping carts full of food and left without paying, with the support of the townspeople cheering them on and the mayor watching with approval. (, Aug. 15) Gordillo, 60, is a leftist and a member of the Izquierda Unida political party. He sports a Palestinian kaffiyeh scarf around his neck and a Fidel Castro-like beard. Gordilla says he wants to draw attention to the plight of the common worker in Spain, a country in which the economic collapse has hit particularly hard and millions are suffering. (, Aug. 14) Since 2007, poverty in Spain has risen 15 percent, while unemployment hovers around 25 percent and tens of thousands have lost their homes to bank foreclosures. The conservative national government has only made matters worse, by introducing austerity measures that have worsened the workers’ lives, while bailing out the bankers and capitalists who caused the crisis in the first place. Gordillo plans to lead a march from Jódar, one of the cities most affected by the current economic meltdown, to other Spanish towns, to try to convince other officials to fight back against the ruling class’s demands of cutbacks and increased hardship for the workers. He is fighting dismantlement of state social services, bank payoffs, and the throwing of the common Spaniard under the bus to the benefit of those exploiting them. Gordillo hopes he can convince other mayors to stage a real resistance to the government’s demands. –Workers World

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