Friday, September 21, 2012

Good Night, Casablanca

The social center Casablanca was evicted this week from an abandoned luxury apartment building in central Madrid. It is only the latest squat to be cleared in Madrid, as the rightwing government has gone on an eviction spree to wipe out the logistical organizing bases of the 15M movement throughout the city.
Organize for Occupation in New York has called for a peaceful protest at the Spanish Consulate on Tuesday, September 25th at Noon, 150 East 58th St (Between Third and Lexington Avenues).

Yesterday morning, Wednesday 19 September 2012, the self-organized occupied social center Casablanca in central Madrid was evicted by state police. Large demonstrations have been held to protest this sudden police action against an important center of activity for the 15M (15th of May) movement in Spain. Even now, the 10,000 volume library of the BiblioSol, the relocated library of the Puerta del Sol encampment of the 15M movement, is held hostage inside the closed-up building.
Miguel Martinez* writes: “It has been a very strange eviction because our legal case was won by us many months ago and the owner had no chance to claim the property again. We did not receive any notice about the new demand, except a brief note in June to which we replied. It was illegal not to be notified in advance of the eviction. We suspect that there are political motivations behind this fast eviction. There is a call to surround the Parliament on September 25 [and call for a new Constitution], and one of the groups organising for this action was holding their meetings at Casablanca. In the past few days, some people have been arrested and identified by the police due to their participation in this forthcoming action. We feel really sad because Casablanca had become the main venue for alternative politics and culture in the inner centre of Madrid. Today some text books for primary and secondary school were going to be exchanged and freely distributed among people who need them. And thousands of books and materials from the Sol Camp are now shut up in this now-fortified building.”
(See Miguel's longer text (in Englsh) on this event at:
READ: The Diagonal online journal piece about the eviction (in Spanish)
for reports in Spanish, follow on Twitter:
see "CSO Casablanca cerrado por razones políticas: 25S"
(Casablanca closed for political reasons: 25S [25th of September action]” (in Spanish)
3-minutes – Images of the eviction and street full of demonstrators.
"C.S.O.A. Casablanca se queda, no al desalojo!"
(C.S.O.A. Casablanca remains, no eviction!)
(in Spanish)
This 4-minute video shows images from the succession of social centers established and evicted by the assembly of Casablanca, culminating in early images of Casablanca.
Address letters of protest to:
Cónsul General, D. Juan Ramón Martínez Salazar.
Consulate of Spain
150 East 58th St., 30th floor.- New York, N.Y. 10155
Communique from the Casablanca Assembly immediately after the eviction Wednesday September 19, 2012
Today, at 7 am, the police have forcibly evicted without notice the squatted and self-managed social center Casablanca, situated at calle Santa Isabel 21-23, in Madrid, Spain. This was a totally illegal eviction. A magistrate's court and the Provincial Court of Madrid firm filed the criminal case started building ownership. It is illegal to reopen the case, and it is illegal we have not been notified of the decision to evict.
In two and a half years, Casablanca has been a meeting place open to everyone in the Lavapies neighborhood and city, as well as creation and development of social and political consciousness. Working and creating a safe space and a benchmark of solidarity, mutual support, self-management, horizontality, autonomy, and asamblearismo care. The community center has been built from the conviction that another world is possible, rejecting the capitalist system and corrupt patriarchy.
In CSOA collaborate over 30 collective, developing projects related to: Creating and critical thinking: Casablanca has served as a meeting place for various groups working and popular neighborhood assemblies and student movements, through countless lectures, learning journeys, empowerment and social criticism.
Education: a project for living free and learning with children two to six years ("Tartaruga"), a cooperative project between parents for the care of infants under one year ("Common House"), a Spanish teaching project for migrants ("the library"), reading workshops, a management project loan of more than 10,000 books donated during the camp popularly Sol and exchange of textbooks, in which more than 200 people involved in situations of need every Wednesday ("BiblioSol"), the physical file Sol …
The self, as an alternative to the model of consumption: a sewing, construction, bicycle repair, silkscreen printing, photography, computer …
Art, culture and personal health: theater workshops ("Timbuktu", "Impro theater"), dance ("Dance Lab"), yoga, queer culture ("Queer Tango Workshop"), swing, hip-hop, film (Casablanca Cinema) …
Social development: a project of support among people living with HIV ("HIV Madrid Critique"), a legal aid office to migrant groups, women's groups, the Office of Okupación Madrid, theater group ("Dystopia" ) …
Alternatives to consumer model: free store, consumer groups ("Tomarte Rojo", "BAH"), urban gardening, vegan dining, bike shop … It would be impossible to name all the people and groups who have been here for two years.
All this took place in a closed building, owned by the builder Monteverde SL, bought what was to become a college luxury homes. But came the bursting of the housing bubble and the crisis and were unable to continue speculating with it, the building being closed for more than three years. This company processes involved in corruption (Operation Malaya II), is part of the real culprits of the current political-economic context. Therefore, the proposed Casablanca has the legitimacy that they lack.
The political line of Casablanca, which has been developed for years in the occupied centers of La Escoba (the Broom; 2006), La Alarma (the Alarm; 2007), Malaya (2008) and La Mácula (2009), has become and remains a project of political struggle. This line has always believed and worked on the development and articulation of networks outside the mercantilist system. We believe in collective work as a means of achieving self-management of our lives and mutual support. We support the model of cooperation as an alternative to the model of competition and we continue to fight.
We realize that this eviction was not casual. It is the product of a process of growing repression of movement places arising from fear, and is closely related to recent calls for civil disobedience to demand the recovery of popular sovereignty. In this context, the eviction of Casablanca is now part of the strategy with which the elites of economic and political power face a new stage of social mobilization. Those of us who want to build a different reality have moved from a position of strength to a direct confrontation on September 25th, which will be a turning point. If you've come here because we have spent many months working, sharing, knowing, fighting, we are no longer fragmented people and groups. So this social center has been one of the areas where this has taken place, but the eviction is not the end of what has grown up here.
Another eviction, another squat.
Casablanca CSOA Assembly
/////////////////////// STATEMENT OF SUPPORT by Regional Federation of Neighborhood Associations of Madrid (FRAVM)
The FRAVM rejects the eviction of Social Center Casablanca
The Regional Federation of Neighborhood Associations of Madrid (FRAVM) rejects the social center eviction Casablanca occurred this morning and regrets that, with it, the building will be empty to become fodder for speculation as it closes its doors one of the few social spaces open participation of grassroots collectives.
Around 7 in the morning of 19 September 2012, several National Police agents have entered the social center Casablanca, located at number 23 Calle Santa Isabel, to evict. They put so well, by order of the magistrate court number 38 of Madrid and at the request of the owner of the building, more than two years of intense activity.
The building, abandoned for years, was occupied by a group of youths in April 2010. Since then, the community center has hosted numerous cultural, educational, social, political, educational ... Such as workshops to fix bicycles, employment, theater, concerts, screenings, presentations fanzines ... A self-managed program for some of the many groups that make up the active social network of Madrid and the result is richer than that offered many cultural centers run by the government and supported by public money.
At the time of eviction, the social hub Casablanca housed over 10,000 volumes Bibliosol, a library built collaboratively by people who give life to 15M, theatrical equipment ... The eviction today, added to that occurred in the past Usera July (The Osera Usera) and those before them back to emptying a building that will fall into utter neglect for the sole purpose of become pasture land speculation.
The Regional Federation of Neighborhood Associations of Madrid (FRAVM) demands respect to self-management projects promoted by collective basis in order to build meeting spaces open to the participation of all citizens while contributing to the creation of a living social fabric , democratic, independent and transformer.
/////////////////////////// * Miguel Ángel Martínez teaches in the Department of Sociology II, Faculty of Political Sciences and Sociology, University Complutense of Madrid – his blog:
This text by him connects the 15M and squatting movements in Madrid: He has just written this entry on the Casablanca situation (in Spanish) – He is a member of the SqEK research collective: Squatting Europe Kollective --, and
Details about Monteverde Grupo Inmobiliario S.L., the real estate group that owns the building, (in Spanish) are at: