Earlier this week in Andalusia, hundreds of unemployed farmworkers broke through a fence that surrounded an estate owned by the Duke of Segorbe, and claimed it as their own. This is the latest in a series of farm occupations across the region within the last month.
Their aim is to create a communal agricultural project - similar to other occupied farms, in order to and breathe new life into a region that has an unemployment rate of over 40%
Addressing the occupiers, Diego Canamero, a member of the Andalusian Union of Workers, said that:
“We’re here to denounce a social class who leave such a place to waste”.
The lavish well-kept gardens, house, and pool, are left empty, as the Duke lives in Seville, more than 60 miles away. The occupation is the latest example of the smouldering class tensions that are developing across the area.
An unemployed farm worker said that:
“Nobody lives here now, but the sprinklers are functioning and keeping the lawns beautifully green,” he observed. “Just imagine how many farming wages you could pay instead of using the money to water empty gardens.”
As well as suffering from the austerity measures that the rest of Spain has to deal with, the farming community are suffering further, due to wealthy farm owners choosing to accept large sums of money ‘not’ to grow crops, which then translates to massive job losses across the sector.
Canamero said that:
“European subsidies reinforced landed interests because the payments’ value was based on the size of the landholding rather than on its productivity. “There is zero incentive for these already wealthy owners to grow anything,”
“We’re not anarchists looking for conflict, but our claims are similar to those of the 1930s, because the land is, unfortunately, under the control now of even fewer people than at that time.”
The Andalusian police have not yet responded to the occupation, but have evicted occupiers from other farms in Andalusia
The following is a clip from one of the other occupied farms.