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Reclaiming our cities

2020-07-12 | Arts and Entertainment

The big corporate buildings in Barcelona and Madrid are now switched off at night. Many offices were left empty or had a large number of their staff reduced. Terraces, on the other hand, are full, masks are scarce, distances are narrow. The eagerness to mitigate at all costs the looming disaster for hotel and tourist investments, makes the new normality increasingly disturbing, more fragile with each new outbreak. In Catalonia, 816 new cases were counted yesterday. It is not surprising that from eight o'clock onwards the pavements are uncrowded and most streets are empty before midnight. The mayors tell us that it's time to reclaim the city. They actually mean that we should take more risk, go out, travel and spend to recover the revenue of small businesses and chains. Neither is it the time nor is it our problem. And yet, both the new normal summer in Europe and the winter of confinement in South America may be a good time to take back the places we live in a very different way.

Under the map of the city lies the history of class struggle

Madrid July 19th, 1936



class struggle

The Denied City

Socialist activists building the People's House of Turón (Asturias) in the 10's on their day off.


It is a map which asks us to learn from the struggles of those who came before, from their successes, their conditions and their defeats. It is the first layer of the city to be recovered. The city that encourages us to go out on stage again.

The hidden city

Bodies of Félix Galán and others of the 800 workers murdered by the Guardia Civil and the Falangists in the Plaza de Llerena in August 1936, in the repression of the July revolution of the same year.

historical materialism|Understanding history

Consciousness is disalienation, not iconoclasm

The Commune's fire barricades in their final battle. The Communards protected Notre Dame from the flames they used as a last resort of defense.

Those who deny one part of the city and hide the other, those who write historical narratives, are the same ones who periodically suffer attacks of puritan iconoclasm and start to demolish statues or congratulate themselves on the destruction of gothic cathedrals. They accept the story of the ruling class and double the stakes: Columbus would have discovered America on his own and he alone would be responsible for later invasions and conquests. In that tale there are no classes, no social forces, and certainly no human labor in shipyards, foundries and fields making everything else possible... one of the historical movements that projected more human masses on five continents would have been due only to the will of an individual and his association with a queen. Being the kings of magical thought, tearing down statues is supposed to free them from who knows what inherited guilt. Cathedrals? Mosques? Two-thirds of the same.

petty bourgeoisie|petty bourgeois

Reclaim your city

Workers' barricade during the May 1937 insurrection against the nationalization of the factories expropriated by the workers and the dissolution of the workers' militias ordered by the Republican state.

communism|everything we fought for and aspired to