.. ”Giant vulture funds are fast becoming our landlords. But why should the 1% be allowed to suck our blood forever with impossible mortgages and rents boosted by their disgusting greed? From Berlin to Barcelona and every city we call for rent strikes and occupations. The Raval victory shows that mass resistance and solidarity can WIN”..
Raval neighbors 15 day blockade stops Blackstone eviction of 10 Families
Neighbours in the Raval barrio in Barcelona have held a successful 15 day long resistance campaign from 1st July to block plans by vulture fund Blackstone to evict people by surprise in Carrer Hospital. The blockade was widely supported round the clock with all kinds of activities, workshops, concerts, etcetera.
Evictions in the Raval neighbourhood are a daily occurance , sometimes up to 5 a day. In recent years anarchist groups have promoted a growing practical solidarity network to block evictions and help homeless victims.
XVII Festes Alternatives del Raval de l’11 al 14 de juliol a l’Àgora Juan Andrés divendres 12 de juliol de 12 a 14h Putivermú al Carrer […]
The local housing union Sindicat Habitatge Raval@RavalSindicat,held a press conference this morning 15/07/2019 claiming victory after the street was blocked fore 15 days and the legal eviction time ran out. Though illegal evictions are common it’s unlikely in this case as it would cause a riot.
Blackstone has begun negotiating and now offers 7 of the families rent contracts, which would be a ‘first time ever’ for the vulture fund. It seems that, like in the case of the giant Cerberus fund evicting a community garden , Blackstone is being forced to cancel a publicly resisted eviction, in order to quietly go ahead exploiting its other 100,000 properties.
Blackstone (Anticipa) and 32 smaller funds were invited in by the far right PP with tax free incentives and have always employed mob-like practices such as extortion, blackmail, bribes, rental prices which families can’t afford (pocketing public subsidies), abusive clauses, and selling apartments before rental contracts end in order to promote the expulsion of the tenants.
Over 0ne million people have lost theit homes in the Spanish State since the ‘crisis began.
The avalanche of homeless families are helped, case by case, by volunteers from the Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (Platform for People Affected by Mortgages). It’s a Spanish grassroots organization with over 150 local branches that takes direct action to stop evictions and campaigns for housing rights. For example in June 2018 they occupied Anticipa/Blackstone’s headquarters in Prat de Llobregat (Barcelona)
Above video: Mass picket outside apartment o Blackstone’s Barcelona manager Mendiluce . This protest tactic is a huge success. The banner above reads ”If you come to our houses we will come to yours. Eduard Mendiluce, Stop the eviction of c/ Hospital 99.”
MAYDAY is the name of a big new Occupied Social Center, occupied on May 1st 2019 in the central Raval area. The building was squatted twice before as a collectivised student residence. It was extremely destroyed after the 2nd eviction and is still being renovated by the new collective and neighbourhood.
‘Ágora Juan Andrés’ is an amazing self-run occupied area in the old Raval area where all kinds of activities take place. It’s been going since Oct 2014 and is named in memory of Juan Andres, a local man who was beaten to death by the police in the street.
Manifesto: l’Àgora must stay in the neighborhood
Defend an occupied green space for the neighborhood!
Speculation threatens us!
The Raval is not for sale!
On Wednesday, June 6, the occupied community site ‘Ágora Juan Andrés’ was notified of a claim by the company ‘Triquell y García SL’ against the “unknown occupants” of the plot requesting the eviction of the space and compensation of 20,000 Euros . We went to the Court nº 3 to defend ourselves against their accusations .
1. When police in a “democratic” country kill a citizen 2. Anonymous leaks documents proving that catalan govt. is spying activists 3.La flor de Maig (1896-2013): 117 years of resistence under threat of eviction
1. WHEN POLICE IN A “DEMOCRATIC” COUNTRY KILL CITIZENS
Thursday 14th Nov saw pickets and a 1000 strong march against police violence in Barcelona, joining the spot where JuanAndrés was killed and where Ester Quintana lost her eye. Also in the Nou Barris area crowds of people have twice prevented the Catalaan police making arrests amid cries of ‘Murderers’.
On October 5 two residents of Raval, Barcelona’s popular downtown neighborhood had an argument which ended up in a fight. Once it was all over, several mossos d’esquadra (the infamous Catalan police) arrived and one of them – Juan Andrés Benitez – refused to show his ID. They cornered him and pushed him to the floor, brutally beating him, ignoring his shouts of pain. Passers-by and neighbours trying to stop them or even shouting at the police were forced to leave by cops branding batons Juan Andrés died the following day.
The autopsy revealed that he had died due to multiple traumas in the cranium-facial area. Furthermore, the forensic examination showed that his teeth, cheekbone, nose and eyebrows bones were broken. He had suffered injuries to his lips, bruises to his head and to the top-right part of his face as well as a fracture on the right metacarpal. He also had injuries in his arms, legs, knees and lower back.
Juan Andrés was the owner of two shops in the Eixample neighboorhod and one of the founders of the Associació catalana d’empreses per a gais i lesbianes (Catalan association of enterprises for gays and lesbians), which had made him a well known among Eixample neighbours.
Not only his friends, relatives and neighbours claimed for justice. The reaction extended to all astonished and outraged citizens of Barcelona and social activists such as Rereguarda (NL#18, 1) who demanded Juan Andres’ killers to be punished. A website was created immediately in order to spread this news and to look for witnesses and evidence which would prove that it wasn’ t just an assasination but also a serious attempt against the rights and safety of individuals within the Spanish democracy.
Despite the police’s attempt to get rid of witnesses and photos, videos that neigbours had shot form their balconies came out as a clear proof. Even after everyone had seen how up to 11 mossos had beaten Juan Andrés, the mossos kept declaring that Juan Andrés had died of some random cause, unrelated to the police´s intervention. The Catalan councillor responsible for the police Ramon Espadaler, and the Mosso’s Director Manel Prat systematically denied any ill doing by these policemen and questioned the results of the Spanish National Police force’s investigation of this subject. Finally, 8 policemen were charged with crime against life, moral and physical integrity, coercion and obstruction to justice, and are called to testify on November 13th. These mossos have been suspended temporally from duty.
The Raval neighborhood is well-known in Barcelona for its police violence in the streets.This situation is constantly denounced by residents, immigrants, gay and lesbian communities and prostitutes (NL#10, 1 ). Raval is now – following this scandalous incident – more active than ever with increasing numbers of demonstrations, protests, assemblies and public talks, including an escrache protest under the motto : el barri parla, tu callas (the neighborhood talks, you keep silent in Catalan) (NL#42, 2 ) accusing and holding the councilor for Raval, Mercè Homs, accountable for Juan Andrés´ death.
Meanwhile, though citizens and certain political parties are demanding the dismissal or resignment of both Espadaler and Prat for not treating this death with the seriousness required, they are both protected by the ruling party and changes in the police modelin Catalonia seem hard to achieve.
2. ANONYMOUS LEAKS DOCUMENTS PROVING THAT CATALAN GOVT. IS SPYING ACTIVISTS
On October 28, Anonymous leaked documents proving that the Centre de Seguretat de la Informació de Catalunya (Cesicat) (Center of information and security of Catalunya), an agency that depends on the Generalitat (Catalan Government) and protects “computer security”, was monitoring the twitter activity of activists linked to Catalan social movements. On October 31st more documents were leaked, showing more dangerous tracking activities.
On the first leak no hidden or secret activities are reported on documents. What was shown in them were just simple and poor statistical reports based on the influence of many activists´ twitter accounts of activists and their tweets during specific actions, such as the protest camp in front of Bank La Caixa (NL#21, 3 ), the occupations of Universities, the first anniversary of the 15-M (NL#45, 1 ) etc,. Also, videos and pictures of some significant tweets, the most used hashtags and the name of the first user were reoported.
The second leak of docs added assignments for Cesicat to investigate specific profiles and ideologies. Complete reports on specific activists were listed as pending tasks, identification of activists using collective accounts was ongoing and there was a 7-page report on photojournalist and activist Jordi Borras (@jordiborras) including home address, phone and camera models he uses. This last leak was specially worrying as he is being chasen and threatened by Spanish neonazis due to his photos of their concentrations, and there were versions shared without covering up this vital info.
Since the leaking of the information, a big wave of protest raised throughout activists in the social networks. A few hours after the leak, a parody twitter account created as people were calling the Cesicat ”the Catalan T.I.A.”, inspired by a Spanish comic, where the T.I.A. is a fictitious organization which parodies the C.I.A.
The Cesicat kept silence about the authorship of the docs and, when pressed by journalists, said they would not comment on “anonymous leaks” until someone owned up for them. However, users of Dropbox who had upnloaded copies of these docs to replicate them and keep them circulating were notified that the reports had been removed as Cesicat claimed the copyright of these documents, recognising de facto the authorship of this activist monitorization. Other filesharing companies also deleted the docs without giving any reason.
Now, what´s really disturbing is not the monitoring itself, but the reason whay they are doing it. As a Barcelona lawyer specialized in internet law said: “it is illegal to create archives based on the ideology of people. And it´s even worse when the governament is using public money to do so” . People are wondering, if these leaks are from reports during mid 2012, what are they oding now? who else is in these files?
3. LA FLOR DE MAIG (1896-2013): 117 YEARS OF RESISTENCE UNDER THREAT OF EVICTION
The building La Flor de Maig (May Flower), located at Poblenou neighborhood in Barcelona, was built in 1896 to be the headquarters of the consumer cooperative called La Flor de Maig. It soon became the largest cooperative in Catalonia with 1,600 members, and was active until the 50s, but economic losses and the political context eventually forced the building to be sold.
After having the property in disuse for a few years, the Ateneu La Flor de Maig was recovered in the late ’70s thanks to the effort of local movements. This historic space was claimed as an establishment in which neighbours could carry out cultural and artistic activities.
The City Council agreed to take the necessary steps to make the place available for public use and they would pay the rent until the expropriation were possible. In May 2012, almost as a joke, the City Council decided unilaterally to terminate the lease agreement with the owner of the property, closing the Ateneu activity in disregard of the historic promise. The neighbours tried to save this social center, and after seeing the City Council wasn’t interested, in October of the same year they claimed the building by reopening and occupying it, once again for the use of the neighborhood.
The Ateneu La Flor de Maig is at a new turning point in its long history. It is time for celebration for the success of the recovery, reinvention and relaunch of the project that began a year ago: now there are over 15 active projects and groups, and hundreds of people participating in the Ateneu. Also, a permanent process of retrieval has started, which means, going through a process of historical revisionism of the cooperative in the neighborhood and fighting to get the Ateneu back.
Yet a trial was scheduled for November 5, threatening to evict its occupants as per a request by the owners. Ateneu members organized a protest conference a year after the reoccupation with the idea of raising awareness in the neighborhood of the risk of an unfair eviction and losing the Ateneu once again. The trial has finally been suspended, but the Ateneu is not saved yet, as a new schedule will be fixed soon
Hundreds of people have marched on Saturday through the streets of El Raval, San Antonio and the Left Eixample to denounce violence exercised in prisons, detention centers for foreigners and demonstrations by the police. Monday begins the trial of new prison officers accused of torture after forty inmates rioted in April 2004 .. Continue reading “Barcelona Prison Demo against torture and police violence”