Unemployed take food from Mercadona and Carrefour in mass action in Andalucia

Unemployed take food from Mercadona and Carrefour in mass action in Andalucia

The Spanish field workers union the SAT has gone en masse to two supermarkets to take food by direct action.

Unemployed fieldworkers and other members of the union went to two supermarkets, one in Ecija (Sevilla) and one in Arcos de la Frontera (Cadiz) and loaded up trolleys with basic necessities.

They said that the people were being expropriated and they planned to “expropriate the expropriators”.

In Arcos the police blocked the doors of the supermarket and prevented them from leaving, but in Ecija, due to other demonstrators creating a diversion, they managed to leave with twenty trolleys of food.

The foodstuffs, including milk, sugar, chickpeas, pasta and rice, have been given to charities to distribute, who say they are unable to cope with all the requests for help they receive.

Unemployment in the Sierra de Cadiz is now 40%. The union say that Mercadona, one of the supermarkets concerned, has a huge number of complaints against them for bullying and persecution of workers.

Posted By

fingers malone
Aug 8 2012 11:46


Attached files


Jason Cortez
Aug 8 2012 12:21

Strangely (at least for me) first heard this here

Let 's hope this spreads

Caiman del Barrio
Aug 8 2012 12:25


(btw am I the only person who can never see embedded videos in comments?)

fingers malone
Aug 8 2012 12:46


caiman, do the video like this, without the asterisks

fingers malone
Aug 8 2012 12:48
Jason Cortez wrote:
Strangely (at least for me) first heard this here

Let 's hope this spreads

Yeah I saw that on facebook too, but they've got loads of the facts wrong, so I thought I should do a better write up.

Caiman del Barrio
Aug 8 2012 13:13
fingers malone wrote:

caiman, do the video like this, without the asterisks

Yes I know but they never load for me, I have to quote the post then copy the URL into Youtube...

fingers malone
Aug 8 2012 17:59

They've announced that they are going to issue arrest warrents for some of the people involved in the Seville one.

Aug 8 2012 18:50

This is fantastic, should the faces be pixellated? Sure they're all over cctv anyway but still...

fingers malone
Aug 8 2012 19:14

I did think about that, but they were doing the action very publicly, also I took the photo from a Spanish newspaper, so the Spanish police aren't going to get any photos of anybody from libcom that they don't have already.....

Aug 8 2012 19:52

El País report here

fingers malone
Aug 8 2012 20:12

I don't like that report at all. It makes out to be all about Gordillo when it is not, and says that no NGOs have reported lack of food- how can they know that? I'm sure the SAT have better contacts in the region than they do. What, did the newspaper speak to every church, soup run and homeless shelter in the whole of the Sierra de Cadiz, and everybody said they were doing fine thanks? Anyway it is clearly just a lie. I left about 15 months ago, and there were already reports of people fighting over the leftover food in the dustbins.

Aug 8 2012 21:15

Great stuff, thanks for the report! Please let us know how it develops

Aug 8 2012 21:40

BTW I have seen this being shared by relatively apolitical friends of mine on Facebook

fingers malone
Aug 8 2012 23:09

Oh nice one.

There are posts going up on facebook calling for a boycott of Mercadona until they drop the charges, also this nice picture


It says "I also pushed the trolley"

Aug 8 2012 23:46

autoreduction !

Aug 9 2012 20:20

is this the same story as the one i've read today in the major newspaper that it is organized by a prominent MP? a Spanish comrade also told me that this guy is a mayor of the city and was a leader of SAT (still is?...). and that SAT is a radical communist union (not in the libertarian meaning of the word). could someone clarify?

Chilli Sauce
Aug 9 2012 20:30

This is awesome. Thanks for the write-up Malone.

Aug 9 2012 21:04


The mayor of the Seville town of Marinaleda, Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo, promised on Wednesday a repeat of the extraordinary scenes he orchestrated the day before, when he led hundreds of members of the Andalusian Union of Workers (SAT) in robbing products from two supermarkets. The Robin Hood-style escapade was carried out, Sánchez Gordillo explained, because "someone has to do something so that families can eat."

The politician, who has been mayor of Marinaleda for 33 years and is also a deputy in the Andalusia regional government for the left-wing grouping United Left (IU), spent Wednesday on a Seville estate that belongs to the Ministry of Defense. Sánchez Gordillo and his supporters occupied the land just over two weeks ago.

While the media was there in force, given the furor over the supermarket thefts the day before, there was no sign of the authorities, despite the fact that the interior minister, Jorge Fernández Díaz, ordered the arrest of the perpetrators of the theft.

Sánchez Gordillo did not take part in the robbery of goods at the Mercadona supermarket in Écija, but was outside the store, directing the operation with the use of a megaphone. At the same time, the general secretary of SAT, Diego Cañamero, entered a Carrefour store. Each group took around a dozen shopping carts filled with sugar, oil, milk and other staples, and left without paying.

But no NGO had put out a request for the items, and food banks reported that they have sufficient supplies without having to resort to stolen goods

Robin Hood mayor promises more supermarket food raids: Renegade leftist also leads squatter takeover of military base

And there's this article as well:

Rogue mayors stand firm in Seville after arrest of union members for store raids

Aug 9 2012 21:26

oh, thanks a lot!!

Aug 9 2012 21:50
MT wrote:
and that SAT is a radical communist union (not in the libertarian meaning of the word). could someone clarify?

Some background on SAT on this thread

fingers malone
Aug 9 2012 22:27

Gordillo is getting a lot of the press attention but that's the media in my opinion, they want to focus it that way. Gordillo himself also likes to be the centre of attention but there were two hundred workers on that action. He isn't the mayor of "the city" if you mean Sevilla, he's the mayor of Marinaleda, a small village built on occupied land. That news report quoted above wants to make it all about Gordillo and not about the workers because it's "a scandal" and because they want celebrities not working class colective action.

To say the SAT are a radical communist union is fair enough I think.

Aug 9 2012 23:14

Perhaps I'm being unfair, but I think the original libcom article is misleading in that by not mentioning Gordillo or how these actions were brought about, it gives the impression that this was an autonomous, self-organised affair. What do you think? x

fingers malone
Aug 10 2012 08:05

Thanks Jim.
Look, I'm not in Seville now, I'm in London. The reports I read (from the SAT and other mainsteam press sources) just talked about the action. I based what I wrote on them. The first thing I saw making a big fuss about Gordillo was when Mark posted that link to El Pais so I wasn't hiding anything from you. I don't know how the action was organised, as I said I'm not there, but I don't think the fact that the news article focuses on him tells you much more than that the newspapers are like that. The right wing press always make a big thing whenever Gordillo is in some action like "oh, it's disgusting, look at IU, supposed to be a respectable party, and look at their representative in this picket line blah blah blah" and the not so right wing media focus on him for a human interest story "the renegade mayor" or because they know who he is.

As Jim says Gordillo was outside, shouting on a megaphone. I don't think every action where he turns up, shouts through a megaphone, and then speaks to the press, means he is leading the action or has organised it. The SAT do direct action all the time, I've done direct action with them and Gordillo wasn't leading me.
The SAT is a big union, it has 20,000 members, they do direct action all the time, and they have their leaders and their media stars but to be honest there is a pretty crap culture of the "big man" in all the organised class struggle I saw in Andalucia and they were no worse for that than anyone else.

Aug 10 2012 08:57

Not much to add here but from what little I know I'd agree with fingers about SAT and also that the El País English report was pretty poor - their reporting in Spanish is better, though not necessarily to be relied on.

fingers malone
Aug 10 2012 09:09

Yeah I got the feeling that the English report was making an exotic story about the renegade mayor, which they wouldn't publish in a Spanish edition because everyone in southern Spain would be "Gordillo is a rebel, yeah and?"

fingers malone
Aug 10 2012 09:31

For clarification, I don't think the SAT policy on having elected mayors in some villages is a good thing, nor the culture of having the same blokes speaking on the megaphone at every event for years and years, what I'm trying to say is
1. That El Pais report is crap, don't bother with it, read some reports from the local press if you want some normal reporting, or read what people are saying on facebook or on the SAT website
2. It is very problematic that a lot of struggles will look for support from IU politicians to help them, a housing struggle I was in spent months trying to get Gordillo to have a meeting with them in Parliament (which he did) and La Corrala de Vecinas La Utopia went to a session in parliament (there's a video of it on that thread) which they all walked out of in disgust, and I think it's Gordillo who has put forward the motion for them to have the water and electricity reconnected. A different politician in IU was then the person in charge of evicting the old people in a different housing struggle that we were supporting. So of course yes I don't want politicians from IU involved in our struggles (I am an anarchist after all) however I think it's very misleading to say that because Gordillo is there at the action then the action is all about him and that he organised it, just because El Pais says so, in an edition only aimed at tourists.
3. In my experience of class struggle, it involves a whole load of shit. How much and what exact kind of shit you are prepared to put up with to be involved depends on your assessment of the situation really.

fingers malone
Aug 10 2012 12:53

Wojtek, look, if you think it's misleading, then I'm sorry, but how do you think the reports should be written then? I mean, I knew Gordillo was there (because I can see him in the video, but if I post up a video where you can see he's there, I don't think I'm doing a very good job of misleading you) but I didn't think anything of it, he does usually go on SAT protests, as far as I know he's been a member of the union since the 70s. I didn't report that he was there because I'm not his free publicity team and I'm not very interested in reporting where he goes and what he does.
The whole thing about him organising the protest, that is in that El Pais report, which I hadn't seen till Mark posted it, but I don't think it's very accurate anyway for reasons explained above.
Usually when I put stuff up from Spain, I use more or less these rules:
If there's a direct account from someone who is there, translate it as directly as I can, and try and make it very accurate
If it's a newspaper story, just pick out interesting facts, they can pay their own translators, I'm not a free translation service for the bourgeois press
I don't usually put much background or analysis I just report the action. If you think I'm not reporting accurately then say how you want it done differently.

fingers malone
Aug 10 2012 12:55

Getting back to the actual point, my flatmate just said that they have arrested five people for "robo con coaccion" something like "robbery with menaces" or "robbery with force" we are trying to get local news on the internet but we can't do it.

Caiman del Barrio
Aug 10 2012 13:06
fingers malone
Aug 10 2012 13:16

Dunno, maybe it's a bit ploughshares, they did mass shoplifting with union flags and no face coverings to make a point rather than so much to get the stuff, I'm not sure what to think really.

One of the demands is that supermarkets don't throw away the food at the end of the day, that they give it to the red cross before it goes out of date. There is a bit of a scandal as the supermarkets have just started putting padlock on the dustbins to stop people skipping and people are angry about it.