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Marinaleda (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-03-20 by ivan sache
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Flag of Marinaleda - Image from the Símbolos de Sevilla website, 6 November 2015

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Presentation of Marinaleda

The municipality of Marinaleda (2,271 inhabitants in 2013; 2,482 ha; municipal website) is located 110 km east of Seville.

Marinaleda was located close to the Roman road that connected Estepa and Écija; several Roman remains have been found on the municipal territory. The Gallape towers and the fortress of Alhonoz confirm the strategic location of the territory. In the Middle Ages, the field workers employed in the big domains owned by the Marquis of Estepa built small huts. In 1751, Marinaleda was composed of 60 huts housing 80 inhabitants; the village was served by three priests but no doctor, while the only shop was owned by the Marquis of Peñaflor, who lived in Écija. In the 19th century, Marinaleda was mostly known as a den of rascals, led by José María "El Tempranillo" and Juan Caballero "El Pernales".

The Sindicato de Obreros del Campo (Field Workers' Union) was founded in 1977 in Marinaleda. The Bocarinaja estate, located between Osuna and Los Corrales, was occupied for two days in 1978; this was the first movement of that kind since the Second Republic. The occupation was suppressed by the Civil Guard, while several members of the union were jailed.
In 1979, the first democratic elections were won by the Colectivo de Unidad de los Trabajadores (CUT), a leftist Andalusian nationalist party. Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo (b. 1952 in Marinaleda), leader of the party, was elected Mayor and has been constantly re-elected since then - during the last elections held in 2015, his list received more than 70% of the votes.
Occupation of land resumed in 1984 in Cordobilla. After more than 100 episodes of occupation, the farmers were eventually granted in 1991 the use of 1,200 ha of land from the El Humoso estate, owned by the Duke of the Infantado. Since then, Marinaleda has successfully maintained an utopian model of "social democracy" based on co-management of agriculture and industries. The opponents to the Mayor, however, claim that the system could not work without the funds granted by the Spanish State and the Government of Andalusia.

Ivan Sache, 6 November 2015

Symbols of Marinaleda

The flag of Marinaleda (photo, photo is horizontally divided green-white-red with the municipal emblem in the middle. The colour and arrangement of the stripes was, obviously, derived from the emblem.

The emblem of Marinaleda is circular, bordered by a ring horizontally divided green-white-red and inscribed with "MARINALEDA" (top) "UNA UTOPIA HACIA LA PAZ" [An Utopia Towards Peace] (bottom). The emblem depicts a white village under a blue sky and an orange sun, with a white dove flying in the center. The meaning of the colours and charges is given as follows on the municipal website:

The emblem has no crown, since we are Republicans and will never use any monarchic symbol [Marinaleda is a member of the Network of Republican Municipalities, which use the flag of the Second Republic instead of the national flag].
Green represents the utopia required to transform the noblest dreams into reality by the means of struggle organized by the workers.
White represents our aspiration to peace, not only thought as the absence of violence but also as the practice of justice. Peace means equality, as well as the end of injustice and of the social classes.
Red recalls that the rights to which every human aspires cannot be obtained without struggle. Red recalls that the revolutionary left needs force and subversion.
The flying dove in the center of the emblem represents the aforementioned peace, as a non static and moving goal.
The village represents the collective spirit.
The sun and the fields represent the natural environment and our commitment not only to share land but also to preserve the planet and our environment.

The process of adoption of the coat of arms was declared null and void by a Decree adopted on 11 October 1996 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 5 November 1996 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 124, p. 14,243 (text)

Ivan Sache, 6 November 2015