|Free town of Marinaleda|
|• Mayor||Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo (IU)|
|• Total||25 km2 (10 sq mi)|
|• Land||25 km2 (10 sq mi)|
|• Water||0.00 km2 (0.00 sq mi)|
|• Density||106.2/km2 (275/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
Marinaleda is a town and municipio of the province of Seville, Andalusia, Spain. The town is a self-identified social-democratic and cooperative municipality, of 2,700 people. In 2008 its population was 2,708 people in an area of 25 km².
The town is located at an altitude of 205 meters and lies 108 kilometers east of the provincial capital, Seville. Marinaleda belongs to the comarca of Estepa and is situated between this latter town and Écija, in the eastern part of the province of Seville, in the basin of the Genil river. Its geographical coordinates are 37°22′N, 4°57′W.
For over 30 years the mayor of Marinaleda has been Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo of the United Left Party. Gordillo has annoited Marinaleda a "utopia for peace", which has no municipal police (saving $350,000 a year). Additionally, political murals and revolutionary slogans adorn the town’s whitewashed walls and streets are named after Latin American leftists. Every few weeks, the town hall declares a Red Sunday over a bullhorn and volunteers clean the streets or do odd jobs.
"They all thought that the market was God, who made everything work with his invisible hand. Before, it was a mortal sin to talk about the government having a role in the economy. Now, we see we have to put the economy at the service of man."— Mayor Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo, May 2009 remarks about Spain’s real estate bust and rampant unemployment 
Marinaleda has a long tradition of sociopolitical struggle by agricultural laborers, which has influenced decisively the attainment of diverse political and social advances. Marinaleda has been ruled by CUT-BAI (Collective for the Unity of Workers - Andalusian Left Bloc) since 1979 until 1986 when CUT joined United Left that has since then been the ruling party (whilst most of the composition of IU's Local branch is basically members of CUT-BAI).
Composition of the Municipal Council
Izquierda Unida (IU)
- Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo (Mayor)
- Rafaela Vázquez Jiménez
- Antonio Sánchez Hinojosa
- Juanita Sánchez Aires
- Antonio José Montenegro Rodríguez
- Esperanza de Rosario Saavedra Martín
- Romualdo Romero Aires
- Rocío Rodríguez Saavedra
- Manuel Pradas Martín
- Mariano Pradas Saavedra
- José Rodríguez Cobacho
The town operates a farming cooperative, of 2,650 people. Marinaleda is surrounded by sloping olive groves and features a 3,000-acre (12 km2) farm. The farm is located seven miles (11 km) north of Marinaleda, and grows labor-intensive crops like artichokes, hot peppers, broccoli and broad beans, as well as wheat.
Marinaleda represents a local exception of the housing crisis currently happening in Spain and due to speculation. Marinaleda was also in the national news as soon as it became known that one could buy a house for 15 euros per month, providing that one would build their own house.
The local government of Marinaleda expropriated thousands of square meters of land, now communal property, aiming to find land to build new houses. Then it called upon the national and regional Governments to gain funding for the construction.
This is the programme:
- the expropriated land is given free of charge to the self-builder
- through an agreement with the regional Government and the so-called P.E.R. (Plan de Empleo Rural), the self-builder can buy construction materials
- professional builders are available for the construction, still free of charge
- the architect's design is also free; self-builders are involved in the design process
- all the self-builders finally meet in a consultation to work out the monthly payment to achieve ownership. The last houses have been built and bought at a cost of 2,550 pesetas per month (approximately 15€ per month).
The whole process is based upon the idea of self-management and recurring consultations: the self-builders meet once or twice a month to follow the works or modify the projects on paper.
All houses have 3 bedrooms, a bathroom and a garden of 100 m², allowing for future expansions.
The hours spent on the self-construction are deducted from the total construction cost; by doing so, this working activity is converted into 'induced salary',
Marinaleda counting 3000 inhabitants and more than 350 single-family houses have been built according to this scheme.
Marinaleda's citizens reside in a colony of neat, three-bedroom houses, built on municipal land with materials from the regional government. Prospective owners donate about 450 days of their work to the construction. However, to prevent citizens from profiting, they are not allowed to sell their homes.
- Marinaleda - Territorial information system of Andalusia
- Location of Marinaleda in Seville province
- To Capitalist Folly, Town in Spain Offers Reply by Victoria Burnett, The New York Times, April 23, 2009
- (Greek) "Χωρίς παπά και χωροφύλακα" του Γιώργου Αγγελόπουλου, Τα Νέα (20 Απριλίου 2010).