Spotlight

The fight to reclaim Madrid’s abandoned plots, one plant at a time

31 May 2021

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.

Living Museums

The story of a no-frills Gran Vía Hotel run by 81-year-old Delfina from Galicia

27 May 2021

Gran Via number 12, a splendid white building dating back to 1914, has seen many things in its 107 years of history, including the Spanish Civil War. But, at ground level lives the legendary Bar Chicote, once crowned the best in the world by MTV in 2004. Its bar top has seated a long list of personalities including Ernest Hemingway, Sofia Loren and Salvador Dalí, as well as royalty, sports, politics and intellectualism.

Spotlight

Madrid welcomes back La Ingobernable – this time, in an abandoned city centre hotel

11 May 2021

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).

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Madrid Election Talk: Barriers to abortion

30 April 2021

Madrid is world-famous for its lively LGBTQ+ scene, multiculturalism and the hedonistic Movida Madrileña which undeniably lives on. But, in the background of Pride celebrations and behind balconies decorated with feminist symbols, residents of the Comunidad de Madrid are denied fundamental freedoms.

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Madrid Election Talk: The battle for Madrid

30 April 2021

On 4 May, the Comunidad de Madrid will go to the polls electing the 136 deputies that make up the Regional Assembly. One of the crown jewels of Spain’s autonomous regions, the election is also a bellwether for the broader mood of the country and a chance for the region to give its verdict on the response to the pandemic that has killed nearly 15,000 people in the Comunidad alone.

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Madrid Election Talk: Pin parental

29 April 2021

The Right is famous for writing and re-writing school history books in favour of conservative narratives, distorting society’s view from an early age. Now, they want to hinder children’s understanding of the world even further by censoring feminism and LGBTQ+ rights.

Let's talkSpotlight

Serigne Mbaye: from ‘mantero’ to activist to future member of parliament

28 April 2021

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.

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Madrid Election Talk: Gender inequality, domestic violence and reproductive rights

25 April 2021

The pandemic hasn’t affected everyone equally. In fact, it has exacerbated and deepened pre-existing inequalities. During lockdown last year, Madrid alone recorded a 37% increase in calls to its regional helpline for gender violence. Due to the pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic, women in the capital have evidently been disproportionately affected in comparison with their male counterparts.

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Madrid Election Talk: Period poverty, tampon tax and women’s rights

24 April 2021

Period poverty is an umbrella term describing the socioeconomic barriers which prevent women, girls, and people who menstruate from managing their periods safely, and with dignity. It manifests itself in various ways, from the unseen (skipping meals to scrape together money for tampons and toilet paper) to the severe (lacking access to a bath or shower).

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Madrid Election Talk: Unaccompanied migrant children

22 April 2021

First of all, we need to stop calling unaccompanied migrant children menas. This is an acronym for menores extranjeros no acompañados (unaccompanied foreign minors) – in other words, children who leave their country and travel alone without the company of an adult.

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Madrid Election Talk: The platform giving immigrants the right vote

22 April 2021

Lavapiés, Usera, Carabanchel, Vallecas, Orcasitas and Villaverde have a high percentage of immigrant residents but also some of the lowest percentages of people with the right to vote. In Lavapiés, the most multicultural neighbourhood in Spain, up to a third of residents hold a foreign passport and, even if they’re registered here and pay their taxes, they still don’t have the right to vote in regional and national elections.

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Madrid Election Talk: Car emissions, the incineration plant and up to 5,000 preventable deaths

21 April 2021

When it comes to environmental policies between the left and right in Madrid, the difference is a chasm. On the left, turning Madrid into a green capital and world leader in sustainability is one of the fundamental tenets of the campaign. On the other side, the views range from members of ultra-right Vox who deny climate change exists to the more mainstream – and arguably more dangerous – point of view of the PP, which is that climate change is happening, it just doesn’t really matter.

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