Originally posted on internationalimperatives:
In what is perhaps one of the most poignant examples of how dire the economic situation is in many parts of the world, a mayor in the Andalusian town of Marinaleda has been directly and personally involved in robbing grocery stores and giving the spoils to those in the area hit hardest by the economic crisis in Spain, spurred on by forced austerity measures. Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, 59, has assumed the role of Robin Hood in his town of 2,645 people, overseeing raids led by labour unionists who simply walk into supermarkets, fill grocery carts to the brim with essentials, and walk out without paying. Gordillo can be seen standing outside, cheering them on, and has admitted to being directly involved. He himself has political immunity through his role in the Andalusian regional parliament, but he states he will gladly renounce the privilege and go to jail himself.
Aside from the obvious purpose of feeding individuals who are too poor to do so themselves, Gordillo and his supporters are delivering a direct and pointed message to the Spanish government and the European Union as a whole. “There are people who don’t have enough to eat. In the 21st century, this is an absolute disgrace,” he stated in an interview, adding that he wishes to draw attention to the severity of Spain’s economic situation, where poverty levels have skyrocketed by over 15 percent since the onset of the global economic crisis in 2007. Students face fifty percent unemployment, and on the whole, a quarter of Spanish workers are jobless.