The sun sets at around 4 pm in Warsaw, so it’s dark by the time protestors can leave their offices, schools and factories. As soon as they’re out of work, they wrap up warm, often in black and red, and head to the streets to protest against the patriarchal ruling class.
An anthem of resistance is the united response of the people of Vallecas against the President of the Comunidad de Madrid, Isabel Diáz Ayuso, who has imposed new restrictions to lock down Madrid’s poorest neighbourhoods and install border patrol.
Vecinas de Lavapiés are an incredible group of neighbours serving daily meals and weekly food supplies to their fellow neighbours. They’re the little sister of La Cuba, one of Lavapiés’ first Covid-19 relief food banks, and Vecinas have joined forced with Plaza Solidaria, a long-standing local association you may have spotted distributing hot food on Plaza de Tirso de Molina over the years.
Last Sunday, hundreds of market stall holders occupied the streets of the Rastro to defend their right to reopen their stalls and to preserve an ancient Madrid tradition. The same leafy street, lined with numbered buttons marking the location of each stall, was suddenly bustling again but with cries, chants and a live klezmer version of Bella Ciao.
Immigrant exploitation and even slavery is all around us. Immigrants pick our vegetables and keep them cheap. They take care of our elderly and give us free time. They clean our hospitals, deliver our food, build our homes and allow us to stay in them during the pandemic. Their institutional exploitation must stop, and that is exactly what Regularización Ya are here to do.
Here you have an ever-growing list of Madrid grass-roots groups campaigning locally for a better world. Whether you’re new to activism or have been campaigning passionately since you could first hold a banner, we hope this resource will be useful to you.
The Black Lives Matter movement has influenced the world and has taught us all how to use our voices to great effect. It’s taught non-marginalised groups not to step aside, but to step up to the challenge and fight for their neighbours. BLM has also taught those already fighting for change that the effort is worth it and to keep on fighting.
One hot summer night in 2015, protestors gathered outside Congress, quietly sitting cross-legged on the pavement with blue gags tied around their mouths and with their hands behind their backs. Their timing was key, protesting until the clock struck midnight on Wednesday 1 July – the moment their actions would suddenly become unlawful.
Becha opened up her Lavapiés tailor shop two years ago with a big ambition: to get Spanish people wearing African clothes. But what she never anticipated was that her workshop would become a small hub for African migrants and, further still: a food bank for the local community.
The same spotlights that once shone bright on the faces of Madrid’s rising stars now illuminate food parcels for victims of Lavapiés’ Covid-19 crisis.