The village Marinaleda, in impoverished Andalusia, used to suffer terrible economic and social hardships. Then in the 1970s, led by a charismatic mayor, Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo, the village declared itself a communist utopia and took farmland to provide for everyone. Could it be the answer to modern capitalism’s failings?
Sánchez Gordillo described Marinaleda – which has no municipal police and full employment – as a “utopia for peace”, acutely observing that “we have learned that it is not enough to define utopia, nor is it enough to fight against the reactionary forces. One must build it here and now, brick by brick, patiently but steadily, until we can make the old dreams a reality: that there will be bread for all, freedom among citizens, and culture; and to be able to read with respect the word ‘peace ‘. We sincerely believe that there is no future that is not built in the present.” Transforming human society “brick by brick”, for the betterment and wellbeing of every one of its citizens, is exactly what Blake’s vision of Golgonooza is all about.