Just as Spain was finally starting to recover from its last financial crisis, the deepest recession we’ve ever witnessed has only just begun. Poverty, inequality and reliance on precarious work inflicted by a decade of government-imposed austerity remains all around us, and the few tourists that trickle in today – just as their pre-pandemic forefathers did – continue to feed into this.
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.
Saturday 8pm, May 2, 2020 will be a moment I remember for the rest of my life as the night Madrid took back its city for the first time… in decades.
Lavapiés is a neighbourhood of extremes. It was recently crowned the coolest neighbourhood in the world by Time Out Magazine, but is also one of the most multicultural – and poor – in Spain.
It is only by chance that a small bungalow in Madrid bearing the scars of Nazi shelling still survives. And it is only by pure coincidence that, just a decade ago, this fact came to light when photographer and archeologist Jose Latova stumbled across a photograph taken by the Hungarian war photographer Robert Capa. Its residents share their stories.