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The Village Against the Worldby Dan Hancox
Synopses & Reviews
The land belongs to those who work it—“La tierra es de quien la trabaja.”
One hundred kilometers from Seville, there is a small village, Marinaleda, that for the last thirty years has been at the center of a long struggle to create a communist utopia. In a story reminiscent of the Asterix books, Dan Hancox explores the reality behind the community where no one has a mortgage, sport is played in the Che Guevara stadium and there are monthly “Red Sundays” where everyone works together to clean up the neighbourhood. In particular he tells the story of the village mayor, Sánchez Gordillo, who in 2012 became a household name in Spain after leading raids on local supermarkets to feed the Andalucian unemployed.
"Marinaleda, a small village in Andalusia, Spain, gained international notoriety in 2012, when its citizens, led by their revolutionary mayor, Juan Manuel SÃ¡nchez Gordillo, raided supermarkets to feed the poor. Hancox, a British journalist, traveled to the 'communist utopia' to research its history, politics and culture. With a lighthearted hand, the author portrays an alternate reality to both late capitalism and the dictatorial communism of the former Soviet Union and China. The book chronicles Marinaleda's 30-year struggle for 'land and freedom,' and how its extraordinary government and social system — grounded in owning and farming the land, providing collective work and affordable home ownership, transforming religious holidays into cultural celebrations — is uniquely suited to 'the peasant pueblas of Andalusia, and their remarkably deep-seated tendency toward anarchism.' Though he has an obvious affinity for the village, Hancox unearths its weaknesses and contradictions; among these are its financial problems and precarious political system. This provocative depiction of the vision and tenacity of this social experiment should stretch the imaginations and raise the hackles of progressives and entrenched capitalists alike. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The story of a village that dreamed of a better future, and won.
For the last thirty-five years the small Andalusian village of Marinaleda has been the centre of a tireless struggle to create a living utopia. Dan Hancox reveals the fascinating history of a community that seized the land owned by wealthy aristocrats in order to work it themselves. Since the 1980s, led by the charismatic mayor, Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo, the villagers have been fighting for a better life. But as the economic crisis started to bite, how long could the utopia hold on to its dreams?
About the Author
Dan Hancox is a journalist who has written for the Guardian, the New Statesman, Independent, Frieze, New Inquiry, National, Dazed & Confused, Q magazine, Mute and the Wire. He is the author of two ebooks: Kettled Youth and Utopia and the Valley of Dreams.
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