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The Violence of Gentrification: a free talk in English by Leah Pattem

16 November 2023

Throughout November and December, I will explain with first-hand experience how and why Lavapiés has intentionally been targeted by the authorities. I take a critical view on the previously held perception that gentrification is slow, passive, and inevitable, which I firmly believe it is not.

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Spain 23 July election: ‘No pasaron’ (they did not pass)

24 July 2023

In last few days, polls and right-leaning media published that a lurch to the far-right in Spain was all but inevitable. They were so adamant, it felt as though they were almost willing on a far-right shift. Fortunately, and against the so-called odds, Spaniards put just enough left-wing slips in the ballot boxes to stop the far-right trend we’re seeing elsewhere in Europe, keeping the country on the most progressive track in its history.

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Ley Vivienda: Spain’s new housing law summarised

20 May 2023

The Ley de Vivienda is a brand-new housing law, the first of its kind in Spain, created by the current government. It is Podemos candidate Alejandra Jacinto who pushed for this law and who is hoping, if voted for, to have the powers to enforce it in the Comunidad de Madrid.

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“In Lavapiés, all of us have the right to be safe”

21 October 2022

I’ve been a resident of Lavapiés for almost 10 years. In that time, even though a lot has changed, there have been a lot of constants. Police are everywhere. Gentrification – the systematic loss of the barrio’s traditional bars, shops and markets – is a day-to-day reality here. On most streets, spray-painted bedsheets hang from balconies expressing an array of concerns from noise pollution and touristification to drug dealing and evictions. Large tour groups that snake through our streets and cluster on our squares have long incorporated the stories of our struggles into their voyeuristic spiel.

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Yes, the word ‘guiri’ is offensive

9 June 2022

No foreigner being called ‘guiri’ is going to take it as a compliment yet we’re expected to just take it. Digging deeper into the word guiri, I’ve confirmed that it is, indeed, not something that I’m okay with being called. Here’s why.

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Vicarious violence and the murder that shook Lavapiés

4 January 2022

On the night of 30 December, police were called to the home of a man and his daughter on Calle Amparo in Lavapiés. They found the bodies of 47-year-old French man, Julien Charlon, and his only daughter, Abril, who was just three years old. Both had died violently in a case of alleged vicarious violence, a type of gender-based violence in which the abuser uses their children to do the greatest possible harm to the mother.

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Meet the women fighting to dignify Spain’s domestic workforce

22 December 2021

In a leafy and affluent neighbourhood in the northern suburbs of Madrid, the school run swings around. Women dressed in maid’s scrubs that are hues of clinical pink, purple and blue – rush around collecting other people’s children, walk other people’s dogs, take out other people’s rubbish and fetch other people’s groceries. Their uniforms mark who belongs to these security-patrolled communities, but the reality that exists beyond their scrubs is one of exploitation; long hours, low wages, limited legal protection and in some cases abuse. 

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The Sabotage of Madrid’s Christmas lights redirects power to the people

20 December 2021

On Saturday night, a group of activists going under the name of Colectivo Corta Cables got in touch to tell me that they loved my work and that they had sabotaged numerous Christmas lights across Madrid. They asked me to share their video on Instagram, which has now been deleted by the platform, in protest against energy poverty in the city. I did, and it quickly became a trending topic.