Matthew’s article this week concentrates on moving to Marinaleda, Andalucia’s power of the people
Moving to Marinaleda: Andalucia’s socialist utopia
Imagine a Spain in which the Republicans rather than Franco’s Nationalists won the country’s Civil War. That’s pretty much what living in Marinaleda feels like. A town free from the commercialization of 21st century life, where Starbucks can’t open a branch let alone implement their clustering strategy which sees one of their coffee shops crowd corners of high streets elsewhere.
Marinaleda’s low on investment opportunity. If you live in Marinaleda for two years, they furnish you with materials to build your own house. That property can only be passed on to your relatives or friends, rather than sold for profit.
Ins and outs
Lying almost due east from Seville, the road trip from the Andalucian capital’s airport to Marinaleda is rather more circuitious. Allow just over an hour to reach it, travelling along the A-4.
Although Marinaleda shares the philosophy subscribed to by the International Brigades, those freedom fighters who battled against fascism, the town’s two schools are resolutely Spanish. And very much state-run ones. For private schools following a British Curriculum, you need to commute to Andalucia’s coastline.
Shop until you drop…
Don’t expect to pick up plenty of bling in Marinaleda. For a start, it houses a mere 2,600 residents. And high-street brands are the antithesis of the cooperative set up by mayor Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo. Shops here are smaller scale, like San José’s Francisco Prada Martin bakery.
Marinaleda is one of Andalucia’s pueblos blancos. The new builds, which you’re also expected to help construct, are just as white and bright.
Estate agents have discovered a loophole in Marinaleda’s free housing scheme. And so you can purchase townhouses from around €50,000.
Click to view…
In Praise Of
“I have lived in Marinaleda for 8 years and every day I realize why this place is special. With mass unemployment and people sleeping on the streets throughout the world, here we have none. Employment is provided in El Humoso, a large canning factory and in the countryside cultivating vegetables.” Vicky Shovelton
- Vicky’s thoughts on Marinaleda
- Are you an expat living in Marinaleda? What do you like/dislike about it? Let us know below.
Photo courtesy of Vicky Shovelton
Matthew Hirtes, our resident broadsheet journalist, moved to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria back in 2004. He’s travelled extensively through Spain, covering it for such publications as Telegraph Travel, Metro, and The Independent. The author of Going Local in Gran Canaria: How To Turn a Holiday Destination into a Home, Matthew truly is a resident expert.