After the fall of Spanish military dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, Spain suffered a series of blows that crippled its economy. By the end of the decade, poverty and food shortages plagued the country and the unemployment rate hovered at 60 percent.
Today Spain faces another massive economic crisis, with overall unemployment hitting around 26 percent and youth unemployment reaching 56 percent. But in the village of Marinaleda, the self-proclaimed communist utopia at the center of Dan Hancox's The Village Against the World, unemployment sits between 5 and 6 percent.
Two recent reviews of Hancox's book, by Belén Fernández for Jacobin and Nomi Prins for Truthdig, wonder if the small Andalucian cooperative-style village of Marinaleda is immune to the larger economic crisis, and if it is a viable alternative model of living and governance.
They must create the means of living with the broad popular masses, of sharing the thoughts and practical innovations of the new politics with them. They must give up the temptation to adopt, for their own benefit, the "Western" concept of democracy, meaning: the simple, self-serving desire for a middle class to exist in Turkey as an electoral and falsely democratic client of an oligarphic power integrated into the world market of capital and commodities. ...Without it, the admirable current revolt will end in a subtler and more dangerous form of subservience: the kind we are familiar with in our old capitalist countries.