Madrid, Madrid, Madrid… a fascinating city to live in, but only if you can afford to do so. If you weren’t born here, it’s difficult to deal with the stark contrast between the rich and the poor. The human mind cannot fathom such a contrast in the same place.
Having access to green space reduces depression by up to 40%, and reduces the feeling of worthlessness by up to 50%, according to a study by five doctors at the University of Pennsylvania. For those living below the poverty line, the improvement in mental health is proven to be even more profound.
On Sunday, 2 May, the night before the Madrid election, a group of activists broke into a derelict hotel in the centre of Madrid. Upon entering, they found 112 abandoned en-suite bedrooms, a decaying Andalusian patio, three large salons with a hundred wooden chairs, a sturdy stainless steel kitchen and an overall perfect space to build the youngest generation of social project La Ingobernable (The Ungovernable).
I know Serigne Mbaye from the grassroots activism circuit in Lavapiés, where he regularly frontlines at protests with powerful anti-racism speeches. It’s no surprise to those who know him that he’s now running for election in the Madrid Regional Government with Unidas Podemos, where he’s set to become one of Spain’s first Black members of parliament, and achieve many other firsts too.
Justo frente al museo, varios artistas locales instalan sus puestos para exhibir y vender sus obras. Entre ellos se encuentra Antonio Castor, ya preparado para otra jornada de trabajo. Vistiendo un saco bordó y acompañado de su libro y sus pinturas, observa expectante el pasar de los transeúntes.
Let’s take a look at Colonia de los Olivos (Colony of Olive Trees), which was built hastily in 1947 to accommodate a post-war migration boom in Madrid. Around 1,000 people have called these temporary blocks their home until their phased demolition more than half a century later, which is still not complete.
On 2 October, a power outage left around 1,000 houses in a Madrid neighbourhood without electricity. Almost 60 days later, the lines have still not been repaired – a situation that seems hard to believe, except for the fact that this neighbourhood is Sector 6 of the Cañada Real.
Madrid No Frills is finally selling prints! Orders processed within one day, prints available to collect within three days or posted to your home within one week!
“There’s nothing to do”, explains Nabil (not his real name). “We just wake up, eat and sleep”. Nabil, a 22-year-old Syrian refugee, has been living in the Nea Kavala camp in northern Greece, just next to the Macedonian border for almost one year.
La Guindalera’s traditional high streets and beautiful no-frills bars set it apart from its upmarket neighbour of Salamanca, writes Suzanne McCullagh, a resident and advocate of the area.
Just before the pandemic, photojournalist Melanie Guil visited a small Spanish town in León that, for decades, has been fading from the map. She asked the residents’ of Fornela tell us their stories, and here they are.
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.
Forget the Alhambra. We’re here to explore those places that can’t be found in the guide books, those bars that can’t be found on pretty streets, and those fragments of history that haven’t been moved to a display cabinet but instead remain in situ for us all to see… if we know where to look.
The fight against coronavirus echoes something hauntingly familiar in Spain, and it’s from this dark period in history that local artist Félix Rodriguez has found inspiration. From the confines of his home in Madrid where he remains, like the rest of us, under lockdown, a renaissance is happening.
I’d like to transport you to a place where the streets are paved with volcanic rock that braid the city, and crumbling houses wrap around outcrops of ancient lava flow.