Article from Black Flag #216 1999.
Basically, we are writing to thank you for publishing the article about the okupas in BF #214. Many thanks! Also, you gave only one reference as a contact here, but there are three and we feel its necessary to give the others and explain why, they're important, as well as giving an update.
For those arrested on the Cornelia demo, some of whom are CNT members, the best contact is the CNT office in Joaquin Costa, to whom they are affiliated. For the rest of those arrested, okupas. then people should get in touch with okupas through the Ateneo de Gracia, c/Perill 52, 08012 Barcelona (fax 93 213 7208,1e1: 93 284 8667. email: [email protected]. web page: www.tande.com/usurpa). Or with the ABC (Barna) at Apartado de Correos 38084, 08080 Barcelona. (Don't put any names or comments, just the address).
It's important to distinguish between CNT members, or any other organisation or collective, and the okupas, because, firstly, the okupas don't present themselves as members of any of these organisations; and secondly to avoid giving the impression that everyone is a CNT member, which just isn't true. To avoid misunderstandings, it's important to state this clearly. In the article, we gave figures of those arrested. There are now a lot more. Since the introduction of the Nuevo Codigo Penal (New Civil Code) in April-May 1996 there have been 51 known evictions of cases okupadas and 430 arrests. These are evictions of "spaces reinvindicados" with banners and murals, and not of other squatted places which are not in contact with the okupas, or have to be more discreet and don't figure in this list so the real number is obviously more.
There are other charges against those arrested at evictions including 177 cases outstanding for misuse of property (usurpacion) and another 167 additional charges brought by the cops. The state has demanded total sentences of 400 years.
Luis Gil y Vicente, arrested during the demo after the La Princesa eviction, has declared himself a prisoner of the ABC and faces a sentence of 3 years. However, after a demo last June of 5000 people and an official request of an 'indulto' (pardon) signed by all the parties except the Partido Popular. the judge has not signed the arrest warrant pending the outcome of the pardon. This has to be granted by the central government -led by blue-shirted Falangist Aznar and his Partido Popular cohorts -and be signed by the King.
Until now not one okupa has gone to prison, due to the slow legal system, so Luis' case is important as it sets a bad precedent.
Another alarming development is the sentence against the 14 okupas who occupied property owned by the Barcelona Ayuntamiento (City Council) in November 97. This became known as the Regomir case.
The judge dismissed the case because the Ayuntamiento didn't turn up in court and the attorney general in Catalonia, Jose Maria Mena, said that his legal department would not take action against the okupas if the following conditions were met:
1. The owner didn't go to court
2. The eviction was "peaceful” i.e. no fighting the cops
3. The occupied building was used as a social centre (Centro Social Okupado) and not as a living space
This declaration. made at a press conference alongside the Socialist Mayor of Barcelona, was in response to the hoo-haa caused by the cops brutally attacking the okupas. their families. friends and supporters, the offensive against the okupas in February and Luis' case.
Despite all this, a couple of weeks ago the 14 were notified that they would each have to pay a fine of 1000 pesetas a day, for 45 days or spend 3 months in prison. This has happened because "someone'. in Mena's department asked another judge to give a different sentence in the Regomir case. The only thing the okupas demand now is that Mena asks another judge to overthrow the second judge's sentence, thus re-acquitting them.
Any forms of protest should be directed to Joan Clos, Ayuntamiento de Barcelona, Piaca de St Jaume, 08003 Barcelona, Tel: 93 492 70 00
To the Fiscalia General, Josep Maria Mena, c/Pau Claris 180, 080 t0 Barcelona Fax: 93 482 3359
To the President of Catalunya, Jordi Pujol, Generalitat de Catalunya, Plata de St Jaume, 08003 Barcelona Tel: 93 482 05 00.
Any actions undertaken against "Spanish" economic and social interests, Catalan interests (e.g. Welsh and Scottish nationalist connections. language courses etc.) or other Socialist Parties who are also in contact with the Socialist Party of Spain would not go amiss!
In a later communiquo we'll inform you in more detail of the gravity of the situation here in Barcelona-Catalonia concerning "human rights", and of the consequences for other cities around the world. Barcelona is being peddled as a model of "multi-cultural diversity" and is already receiving large sums of international money. It has planned the Forum 2004, a re-run of the Olympics to bring in money from tourism for a city which is already in debt until the year 2015 from the last event. Despite massive corruption it is being cast as the model for all other cities to emulate. For example Glenda Jackson, Labour's preferred candidate for Mayor of London, was "inspired by Barcelona". Perhaps the Belgian anarchist Noel Godin could put a flan in her face like he did to Bill Gates earlier this year. If not for afters perhaps for starters. La Luella sigue!