Marinaleda is a small town in Andalusia in the province of Seville, kissed by the sun like many other charming pueblos blancos in southern Spain, but it is not a famous tourist destination. It has no museums, beaches or interesting museums, and tourists are hardly ever seen here.
The few who venture here are not looking for relaxation or entertainment, but want to see with their own eyes what is considered one of the best examples of a democratic socialist society. Impossible? Apparently not: here Utopia became reality.
Since the mayor came to power in 1979 Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, at the head of the Izquierda Unida movement, in Marinaleda there is an economic system based on equality and the sharing of resources.
All the adults in the country work, with unemployment close to zero, earning the same salary regardless of the job performed, whether it be agricultural work in the fields or work in the public administration.
Thanks to an efficient use of municipal resources and the abolition of services deemed useless, such as the local police, combined with the commitment of the whole community in the maintenance of roads and public parks, it has been possible to create an oasis of happiness where nobody lacks anything.
The cost of living in Marinaleda
How much money do the inhabitants of Marinaleda earn? And how much do they spend? Here are some examples:
- monthly salary: 1.128,00 €
- rent of the house: 15,00 euros. It is actually an installment for the purchase of the materials necessary for the construction of the house, advanced by the municipality through state and regional funds. The citizen must undertake to build the house and sign a document prohibiting its sale in order to avoid building speculation
- monthly fee for the municipal nursery school: 12,00 euros per child, including lunch and breakfast
- seasonal pass (summer) for the municipal swimming pool: 3,00 €
Is it possible to move to Marinaleda?
The immediate reaction of those who discover the reality of Marinaleda by reading an article on the web is: “fantastic, I want to go and live there!”. We must immediately dampen your enthusiasm: go and live in Marinaleda it's not that simple, for various reasons. We list the two main ones.
The “perfect” society of Marinaleda is based on a weak balance whose foundation is the cohesion between the inhabitants of the city: the inclusion of external elements is a bit risky and so far we have tried to avoid it.
Moreover, as wonderful as life in Marinaleda may seem, it is not for everyone to give up many comforts to go and live in a remote country village with few events and entertainment, perhaps to do a strenuous physical job.
The future of Marinaleda
For about forty years this revolutionary system has worked very well, to the satisfaction of the majority of the inhabitants, but recently the young people of the city have begun to show their discontent of confrontations of a political system equal to itself for so long. They complain about the lack of novelty and the central role of the mayor, who according to some has too wide powers.
Making predictions about what will happen is difficult, it is certain that the "good life" of Marinaleda was conquered by the fathers and grandparents of these young people with hard work, while they found themselves having it effortlessly and perhaps for this reason they appreciate it less .
Who knows, maybe the glory years have passed revolutionary Marinaleda it will reopen to capitalism and will become the tourist destination for those who want to see yet another utopian dream shattered. For now, however, it remains a reality.