Evicted families have squatted a building in Seville. They are resisting despite having the water and electricity cut off.
“Twenty families in urgent need of housing, organised through the 15M movement, have squatted an empty building in Avenida de Juventudes Musicales, (the Avenue of Musical Youth!) to make homes for themselves there under the name of Patio of Neighbours “La Utopia” and to “make visible the terrible housing problem that so many people suffer”.
The building has been empty since it was completed in 2010. Instead of it sitting empty, twenty families have made it their home.”
This statement from Barrios en Lucha (Neighbourhoods in Struggle), received on Monday 14th of May, about the occupation of Corrala de Vecinas la Utopia, is the latest in a militant struggle over housing taking place in Spain. The building is an empty apartment block, never let since it was built, which is owned by a property company which has gone bankrupt, with a mortgage owing to the bank Ibercaja. The families squatting the building are homeless, some have been evicted from their homes by the banks after being unable to pay the mortgage, some are tenants who have fallen into rent arrears. There are now thirty six families as more people have moved in. In their own words, “We are a group of people who have an urgent need of housing. The crisis, like it has many people, has hurt us. We are workers, poor people, who have lost our jobs.” Since moving in the occupiers of la Corrala have been suffering harassment including the disconnection of the electricity and, from Tuesday 8th June, the water as well, even though there are people inside in a serious state of ill health.
The occupiers of la Corrala are cleaners, building labourers, hairdressers, supermarket cashiers, who have for years handed over most of their wages to pay for the roof over their heads, and when they have lost their jobs and cannot pay any more, they have been put out in the street. In the block where one woman was living, thirty families have been evicted from their homes. Most of the squatters in la Corrala de Vecinas la Utopia come from la Macarena, which currently has the highest rate of mortgage foreclosures in the city. Seville now has 100,000 empty flats in the metropolitan area, which has a population of around one million.
La Corrala have received support from the strong housing movement in Seville and from 15 M. There have been demonstrations of hundreds of people in support of the occupation and in protest at the withdrawal of gas and water. They are not the first group of people to do this in the city as there is the example of the abuelas of San Bernardo, the “granny squatters” who are elderly people whose homes were uninhabitable, have been able to get themselves decent homes by squatting.
This inspiring direct action by people in defence of their basic needs is becoming more and more necessary. If Corrala de Vecinas la Utopia can succeed it will inspire other people. The banner hanging from their balcony says “We have squatted, you are within your rights to as well.”
Great stuff! Please let us
Great stuff! Please let us know how the story develops
Awesome story - especially
Awesome story - especially good in a country like Spain where so much housing stock is just lying empty after the crash.
for those who are interested
for those who are interested in the furthre updates of this occupation you can go to their webblog at : http://corralautopia.blogspot.com.es/ the further international solidarity might be needed since the government has begun their harrasment by sending rumors about taking away their kids becuase of bad living conditions(without wather and electricity).
they also have a video channel at youtube : http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9tGF23zJwEbgdQL2CvVx4g
emblack wrote: further
Thanks for posting that, God, just when you thought they couldn't get any more disgusting.
I wish that here around Las
I wish that here around Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, the homeless would start to occupy the thousands of empty homes and buildings around the city. Equality must be wrenched from the ruling class. Good story.
Another occupation just
Another occupation just happened, people marched to the local parliment with a list of demands including the legalisation of squatting. They marched from there to the town centre and broke down bricked up doors with sledgehammers in broad daylight, while other people blocked the road. Five families have squatted there. They were people who had previously gone to the Corrala to ask for help but it is now full. They self organised and have now squatted these flats.
Live report from someone
Live report from someone there:
"Five families with children have squatted in Seville city centre. We are turning back gentrification. These families were evicted from their homes. Supported by the 15-M movement they have squatted five houses owned by a Sevillian landowner and noble."
Cheers for the updates!
Cheers for the updates!
The houses they squatted have
The houses they squatted have been empty and abandoned for years.
The people who squatted are young families who have been evicted recently after they couldn't pay their rent or mortgage after losing their jobs. Most of them were construction workers. There have been 6,000 evictions in the province of Seville in the last two years.
Women from la Corrala (the
Women from la Corrala (the occupation in the op)
thought I'd worked out how to do this. Obviously not.
Admin: I wasn't sure either at first but after knocking about I realised it was coz the bit you're supposed to c&p is the bit from after the = not the ?.. everything else you'd done was fine - Ed.
From Paul Mason's blog. The
From Paul Mason's blog. The video is worth watching as well.
Also a land occupation by SOC-SAT:
More on the Somonte occupation here:
fingers malone wrote: The
allowed to build homes but not live in them!
People asked for more info
People asked for more info about the anti eviction movement in Spain.
This eviction is in Coronil, a village in the province of Seville, Andalucia. The father in this house is an unemployed bricklayer. They have two small children. The family have been unable to pay the mortgage since he lost his job. It takes two attempts to evict this family, because between 70 to 100 people turn out to resist the eviction, including neighbours, 15-M and the SAT fieldworkers union.
The posters you can see in the windows of the houses around say "your neighbours are with you". The woman crying and being held back is the mother of the house.
This one is really
This one is really interesting, it's a long way from my manor (it's Murcia) so I don't know any background, but going on what they say, this is the 18th eviction they have stopped in Murcia. The protest seems to be organised by PAH, Platform of people affected by mortgages. I've heard of them but I don't know much about them, anyone know more?
Something very noticeable in both the videos is that most of the people involved, going by the clothes and so on, are neighbours and "ordinary" people, not predominantly from the leftist or activist scene.
 And also, these are in villages, not in the big cities where you traditionally have big political movements. Mind you, when I was in Andalucia there was loads of class struggle going on in villages.
fingers malone wrote: The
Here's a report from El Pais in July last year about PAH Madrid meeting up with 15M to coordinate action (in Spanish):
Also a couple of reports in English:
I've just come back from
I've just come back from stopping an eviction in Pinos Puente, a small village outside Granada city. It was more fun than normal because there were lots of kids and the people whose house it was bought chips for everyone. Apart from that it followed the same pattern as others I've been to: a combination of people connected to 15M (some from the specific stop evictions group of 15m) and neighbours gathered in front of the house about an hour before the eviction was due to take place, singing and encouraging passers by to join in. I'd say we ended up with about 50 people today. The bank's lawyer or whoever came past and alerted the police. Representatives of the stop evictions group (one of whom is a cgt official and the other two are housing lawyers I think) spoke to the police and to the bank and the latter decided not to try and go through with the eviction. It is possible that they will attempt to fix another date for eviction but this is not something they can do overnight and it is likely that in the meantime something will be arranged between the bank and the family, with some involvement and advice from the group. So far, noone who has contacted the stop evictions group of Granada 15m has been successfully evicted.
Danny this is really
Danny this is really interesting, please can you write some more for us about other anti eviction actions you have been to and how the stop evictions group works?
Ok fingers, thanks. Apologies
Ok fingers, thanks. Apologies in advance for the ramble.
I don't know much about how the group itself works. It came out of 15M but I don't know if there is any continuity with previously existing groups, like PAH, although I think there probably is. Their public meetings are when I'm at work and much of their day to day stuff involves meetings, negotiations and legal stuff as opposed to mobilisations. They have about 60 ongoing cases and have called around 15 mobilisations to prevent evictions. I've been finding out about the mobilisations through facebook since February and I've been to 3 since then.
The first one I went to was the most "activisty" in terms of the people there - I recognised the majority of the faces from other things. There were about 40 or so people and it proved enough for the the officials from the bank to speak to the people I mention above who seem to have responsibility for mediating with the authorities - although they do so in the presence of the people who are going to be evicted - and call off the eviction. The person who was going to be evicted is now paying a kind of rent to the bank with an option to buy, half of what he pays goes into a deposit. Everyone seems happy enough with that outcome.
The second one I went to there were much fewer people from the group and we were quite nervous that we would be swatted aside by the police (who had a visible presence on this occasion with a couple of vans parked up nearby). So we started shouting to neighbours about what was happening and someone explained the situation through a megaphone and people started joining us. In the end there were more people from the area than activists. It was a particularly shocking case in which someone had only delayed very slightly in a payment and had advised the bank in advance but was nevertheless due to be evicted with his wife and three kids. In the end the same thing happened as before with the authorities acknowledging that it was impossible to carry out the eviction on that date. We then went, accompanied by neighbours, to the bank branch of the family to kick up a fuss until a meeting between the family and the bank with representation from the group was arranged. A couple of weeks later they received another eviction notice which met with the same response. As far as I know the case is ongoing. Here is a video and article from the local paper (now a right wing rag but which was briefly heavily influenced by the local CNT during the Second Republic):
The fact that the parents of this family are African immigrants gives an interesting extra dynamic to the struggle in my opinion; as you know black Africans are hugely marginalised economically and socially here.
Yesterday's action made it into El Mundo:
The chants and slogans at the demos are for the most part against evictions in general and calls for solidarity but also have a strong anti-banker element and the "it's not a crisis, it's a rip-off" one gets an airing. Yesterday there were also chants against usury.
I should stress that there isn't an obvious separation between locals and outsiders at these demonstrations, obviously some people are both activists and locals, and in general the atmosphere is one of friendly intermingling. It's not like only the activists chant, and the neighbours also start chants and make up new ones too.
There's an article in Spanish here on the first year of the Stop Evictions group in Granada:
That is a great report
That is a great report Danny.
This video is from Madrid a few days ago, look at how the police treat the old people.
At the end the people are singing the miners song in solidarity!
Background: IU have put
Background: IU have put forward some kind of parlimentary motion about the housing crisis, and specifically call for the Corrala to have the electricity and water reconnected. The socialists back some of it including the bit about the electricity and water. The PP oppose everything. The women from la Corrala are sitting in the audience. One politician is saying "we have done everything possible to help them" and one occupier can't take it any more and she starts shouting "lies, lies" and is marched out by the police. Another woman is marched out and shouts "and thieves as well" as she goes out the door. The women start shouting and walking out or get marched out. The woman in the stripes is shouting "You only help the people with money, you never help the poor, the poor will always be poor and the rich will always be rich, with your help we will never get anywhere."
El País: Squatting the land
El País: Squatting the land to rise up against unemployment
Ten families have squatted an
Ten families have squatted an empty apartment block in Torremolinos, Malaga, which was empty and abandoned. They say they cleaned out 200 black bags of rubbish before moving in. The building has no electricity or water and they have to bring in water in bottles. They are going to set up a generator to have one fridge between every two families.
 this happened in July but someone sent it to me today for some reason so I thought it had just happened. I'll try and find out if they are still there.
And another one. Five
And another one.
Five families, evicted from their homes, have squatted flats in Calle Feria, Seville, supported by Corrala la Utopia and other social movements. The building is currently owned by a bank and the flats were all lying empty for some time.
The families demanded a new
The families demanded a new law which would mean that empty flats owned by property companies and banks would be given to homeless families at a rent not more than 25% of their income.
The five unemployed families
The five unemployed families who were squatting in La Corrala La Alegria in Calle Feria were evicted at 6:30 this morning. Around 70 people came when the families telephoned for help but they were unable to stop the eviction. The families have said that they will carry on fighting for decent housing.
Quote: Long before the
Continue reading at
After Zoido (asaik the mayor)
After Zoido (asaik the mayor) breaks his promise to restore the water, the residents of Corrala de Vecinas La Utopia go and wash their clothes in front of the town hall building, then hang them up in the main square.
Suicide in Granada: El País:
Suicide in Granada:
El País: Man facing eviction hangs himself
Attempted suicide in Valencia:
lasprovincias.es: Un hombre se lanza al vacío cuando iba a ser desahuciado
Yeah was just looking at
Yeah was just looking at that, it's terrible.
Bit macabre but makes the
Bit macabre but makes the point. from here:
Quote: Thousands of people
El País: Banks to halt
El País: Banks to halt evictions in “extreme” cases
So maybe this concession doesn't amount to much.
Another reaction to a 'financial problem' with Caixabank last week:
Corrala Utopia evicted
Corrala Utopia evicted today: